Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pros and cons of condo-living

Have you walked through a beautifully set up model unit? Seen the enticing photos and architectural renderings on flyers and websites? Received endless text messages about zero down payments and low monthly payment rates? It would be a surprise if you haven’t, for these are surely some of the most effective and enticing tactics raining down on all potential property buyers. 

How many others will share your building? Remember that you will be sharing hallways, elevators, and the rest of the common areas and amenities with your fellow residents.

If the persuasive marketing has begun to work on you and you’re thinking of transitioning from living in a house - the single-family detached, semi-detached, and townhouse varieties - to a condominium unit, you should examine important differences between the two before signing up for anything. 

Depending on where you end up buying, the dissimilarities might be so minor that you’d be able to adjust to them in no time at all or you could be hit with all-out culture shock. And, just because the situation may or may not be vastly different, it doesn’t mean they’re all negative. 

Read on and judge for yourself. 

Noise level. This can be one of the most jarring differences between living in a building and a house. Your neighbors are truly close. They’re right beside you on the same floor, and directly above and below you. The building could allow pets, have plenty of families with young children, or karaoke lovers; or it could be that your own noise output might be a cause for concern. Figure out your noise tolerance and get an idea of the noise level in and around the building where you intend to buy before making a commitment. 

Security. Many condos come with a doorman, security systems and personnel, and a concierge. Some do not. Find out exactly what is offered. Security is one of the strongest selling points for condo-living. If it’s vital to you, tailor your search and confirm that the condo you are interested in buying into meets your requirements. 

Amenities. Condos are very popular for their amenities. Usually, brochures highlight offerings such as a gym and pool. Again, inspect before you buy. There are places where a gym means a rickety treadmill plus a few dumbbells and a pool is nothing more than a glorified bathtub. 

Monthly dues. Beyond the payments for the condo unit itself, you have to add the monthly association dues to your expenses. The fees go toward the upkeep of common areas, security and maintenance staff, landscaping, etc. The fee is usually based on your condo’s square footage. This fee is similar to homeowner association dues in gated communities or the odd donation to your barangay neighborhood watch. 

Parking. Never assume that this is included and that there’s a standard size. Unlike the more generously proportioned slots in a house’s garage, some developers stick to the minimum size prescribed by the National Building Code. 

Population Density. In short, how many others will share your building? Remember that you will be sharing hallways, elevators, and the rest of the common areas and amenities with your fellow residents. Floor plans will give you a clue about how many other residents may share your floor and occupy the rest of the building. 

Management. Condos have building management that handle the day-to-day running, maintenance, and the creation and enforcement of rules and regulations.  


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