Thursday, October 3, 2013

Buying a home: condo vs. house

An honest evaluation of your needs and financial capabilities will help make the choice clearer if not easier to make.

Whether you’re single or starting a family, a first-time buyer or someone who has been around the homeowner’s block looking for change, deciding to buy a home is no small matter. 

With all the billboards advertising various property developments in and around Metro Manila, one of the most basic questions a homebuyer will have to grapple with is whether to go for a single-family house or a condominium unit. 

In the Philippines, the popularity of condo-living is on the rise. Still, the majority of those contemplating homeownership now have been bred on the idea that buying a house and owning the land it sits on is the best way. The conflict is quite easy to understand. 

An honest evaluation of your needs and financial capabilities will help make the choice clearer if not easier to make. By looking at a list of considerations, you can narrow your choices, contemplate and decide on the tradeoffs (compromise is unavoidable but it doesn’t have to be painful), and see things from various points of view. 

Here are some factors you need to think about: 

  • Financing – How are you paying for your purchase? Are you spending your savings, getting a loan, or a combination of both?
     
  • Location – Where do you want to live and does the location offer options for both single-family homes and condo units?
     
  • Budget – How much do you intend to spend? Can your budget cover either option?
     
  • Maintenance and management – How much work are you willing to commit to the upkeep of your home and what degree of control do you need to have over choices that affect it?
     
  • Privacy and security – Condos and single-family homes sometimes provide contrasting levels of both and warrant serious consideration.
     
  • Availability of services – While this is generally related to location, in Metro Manila and the surrounding areas, it is a factor important enough to stand on its own. It goes beyond accessibility to schools and medical facilities; it can mean telephone, internet, and other utilities.

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