Advantages and Disadvantages of Condominiums
As an end-user buyer, buying Philippine condominiums such as Cebu condominium is a great way to buy a place in a very urbanized area. There are many advantages in buying and living in a condominium compared to buying a house and lot. The following advantages are:
Location. Many condominium unit are built in an area that is convenient, and practical. Many projects are accessible to public or mass transportation, near commercial areas, schools and offices. Travel time is minimized and the buyers will have more time to do other things. At other times, the location enables the buyer to have a breathtaking view of the sea, golf course, the city or mountains from afar. Unlike living in a house and lot subdivision, the view is many times limited, unless it is a secondary or vacation house with good view of the sea or mountains, although there are exceptions.
Amenities. The many amenities in many mid range residential condo projects is almost complete that the buyers don’t have to go to other places to swim, work out, relax and entertain their guests. The people maintaining the building also will handle the maintenance of the gardens, cleaning of the common areas and parking lots, removal of trash, 24-hour reception and security, and screening of people wishing to visit the occupant. Many condo units when finished are ready to live in, with a few minor touches to do. A building administrator for a mid cost condominium related that there are buyers who have their own houses and apartment units, but they prefer to live in their mid cost condo units, because of the conveniences and security for the area. One occupant related that he could just instruct the guard to call the taxi for him anytime of the day or night. And the maintenance is much cheaper than maintaining a house. Unlike living in a house, one does not have to bother opening and closing the front gate for the arrival or departure of the car, either by oneself of the household help.
Price. The price of condos is debatable. Usually it is very high for most people. Even for the ordinary OFWs, the condominium projects need to be accredited by the PAG-IBIG for them to be interested in the units. The OFWs need to avail themselves of a bigger loan with longer payment terms and lower interest from the government. But given the convenience of the location and the amenities, the price is generally justifiable.
Cost of Maintenance. The monthly association dues although high in some, condo units, are still generally less than maintaining a house and lot. There is no need to shoulder the cost of building and maintaining a gate and a perimeter wall on one’s own. When the condo unit occupant wants to have some repairs and maintenance of his unit, he does not have to look for a repairman. All he has to do is call the in charge of the maintenance and the repairman will be there in a few minutes. Imagine the cost of renovating the whole house after 5 years to compare it with renovation of only the interior of a condo unit as the exterior is already covered with the monthly association dues
It is impossible to find a perfect residential condominium or house; there will be always pros and cons in buying, and living in one. Generally, you get what you pay for, that is, the more expensive the unit, the better the location, the features, amenities, unit size, parking slots, etc. But the majority of condo buyers will not be able to afford the high-end or luxury units, so a number of them will encounter some problems. The disadvantages and usual problems are the following:
Size. With the exception of large luxury residential condominiums, the size of the unit itself is a problem for most buyers, since it is usually quite small. The bare unit as envisioned or model unit as seen by many buyers looks large enough to live in, that is before they start to place more furniture and things in the room and the dining area. The bathroom is also sometimes incredibly small where in some units, the shower head is just above the toilet. Those who are used to living in a large house and lot will have to adjust their expectations and excitement in living in a condo. For one, many of their accummulated things over the years will not fit into their condo units. They have to throw, give away, sell or just leave many of their things in their parents’ house. Usually the room is good only for a bed and a small closet; there is no closet for ones books, books, sporting equipment, etc. The small kitchen area lacks space for the numerous kitchenware and appliances and dining wares. The drying area for the clothes, if there is any is not sufficient for bed sheets, bed covers, or the numerous clothes of the occupants. Sometimes developers would include some areas in the quotation such as the hallway in front of the unit, drying area at the roof and the parking area as part of the floor area being marketed. So, prospective condo buyers should ask if the floor area is really the unit itself of if other areas are included.
Given the financial realities, most buyers would adjust their expectations and lifestyles based on the size of their unit. Most of them will settle for a smaller and more practical furniture, limit the number of guests to their place, etc. On the other hand, other unit owners maxmize the space of their units by having many things, people and pets their unit can handle. It is common to have a middle class buyer with his wife and two kids plus the maid and pets trying to live in a two-bedroom 55 square meter housing or condo unit. With that number of occupants in the unit, the place will almost always get cramped especially if the children get bigger. This is especially common for low cost or affordable condos where some families cramped in an 18 to 25 square meter unit. if one of the family members get sick with a contagious disease, the rest will easily get it. Most of the time, there is also lack of privacy, especially if the couple engage in some heated arguments. If one is looking for some space and privacy, one has to buy at least a 130 square meter unit. Some of the amenities for projects for small compounds also have small amenities. The size of the swimming pool is not that big, the size of the function room is small, the gym is tiny, etc. Even if the condominium has many amenities, it is not possible for the occupant or his family to make use of every single amenity in the building regularly. The occupant usually can only use one or two of the amenities regularly.
Restrictions. In terms of exterior design, the buyer cannot just renovate or repaint as he pleases, since there has to be some uniformity for all the units which is specified in the house rules of deed of restrictions. For example, one cannot just repaint the front door brown if the colors of the front doors in the condominium are white. Some condominiums would only allow certain color shades for the curtains and venetian blinds of the unit occupants. This is to ensure that the unit looks clean from the outside. The administrator and security guards will most often give up on reiterating the house rules to some hardheaded residents, so they begin to tolerate minor infractions of the residents. But if the developer and association have a reputation and imeage to protect, even minor infractions are not tolerated. Most, if not all of the condominium associations would strictly not allow anything that will affect the structural design and integrity of the building. These include the breaking down of conrete walls to create more space, moving the bath tub to another location, changing the size of the windows, moving or removing of sprinklers and smore detectors, etc. Some condos will not allow buyers in the upper floors to change the wooden floor parquet to floor tiles to granite or any other heavy flooring due to the weight it will add to the computed bearing load of the floor. Even if there are open spaces and many amenities in large condominium projects, gone are the days when children can pick up fruits from trees of their own or their neighbor’s backyards. There will be no more climbing and playing around trees anymore in condominium projects. Adults who love outdoor gardening can no longer engage in their past time since majority of condos do not have enough space for real private gardening. Pets will have to be limited to ones that fit in small cages, aquariums or containers.
Parking. Without doubt, this is the main problem for most condo buyers. Different cities have different parking requirements for condo development. The cost of building a multi level parking, whether it is in the basement or not is costly for the developers. so, a number of developers just apply the minimum standard of one parking per 100 square meters. That translates to roughly about one parking for every four 25-square meter studio units. For small areas where a residential condominium tower is going to be built, most developers would just allocate parking spaces on the assumption that most studio and even one-bedroom unit buyers will not need a parking space since the projects are accessible to most public transport. As a result, there are times when parking slots are fully sold and additional parking slots cannot be made anymore. Even some high-end projects sell their parking slots on a first-come first-serve basis. But there are times when the project is located in a big compound; the developers would just wait and see if there is a demand for parking slots; if there is no demand, they will not build anymore that what is needed. Sometimes some developers build a parking building in one building site if the need arises. The lack of parking slots gives the buyer no sense of long-term security since he will not know where to park his future car/s. For many studio unit buyers, a parking slot is not allocated. If it is not possible to purchase one slot, the buyer will just have to rent one.
For the majority of the projects, the price of the parking slot is separate from the total contract price. The average price of parking slot in Cebu for example is about P750,000 per slot. The parking slots are sold either with their own separate Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT) or a Certificate of Management. The latter if used by the developer so that real estate tax payments can be reduced, especially before the lots are sold. But since the Certificate of Management is not honored by banks to be mortgaged, most parking slots in various projects are assigned with a CCT. Just like condo units, the prices or parking spaces also vary in terms of location. A parking space at basement level four would generally be cheaper than a parking space located at the ground floor. Likewise, an open parking space is cheaper than a covered one. Buyers of condo units in the pre selling stages should be way of the size of their parking spaces. Although model units are nice to look at, the parking slot may just be too narrow or too short for their cars. Even a 12.5 square meter minimum size requirement could be too short or a bit narrow for large vehicles to maneuver in and out. With the problems in parking, many buyers rush to get the best parking slots when a new condominium is at the pre-selling stages leaving others with no so good parking slot or type of parking slot, unless the parking slots have already been determined by the developer for each particular unit. The lack of parking slots is also a problem for the guests. In many condominium projects, the parking slots allocated are not enough given the many occupants in the project. If the slots are already filled, guests will have to park elsewhere usually along the private road outside the building if they are lucky enough to find a space. Sometimes the parking of the guests outside the condo building causes some heavy traffic jams.
Association Dues Cebu Condominium. On top of the utility expenses, the occupant must also pay for the monthly dues. The dues are for security, upkeep repairs and maintenance of the building, the amenities, landscaping, etc. The total monthly payment of condominium dues of a single unit at mid cost condominium for one year is usually more than a yearly association dues of a house and lot in most decent subdivisions. The dues are computed by the multiplyng the number of square meters of the unit by the rate of dues per square meter. In Cebu City for example the rate of condo dues vary from P40.00 to P50.00 per square meter. The rate is determined by the developer first, then by the condominium association after the turn over. The dues are on the maintenance, security , taxes and other necessary expenses.