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How do you feel about condos in the Philippines?


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On 5/18/2021 at 9:08 AM, Tommy T. said:

and may load up a one br unit with 10 people for a week... But not always..

Depends on the condo management. Where I live there are limits to how many per condo size. If you have visitors or guest staying forms have to be filled out so not just anyone can come in.

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Like to add a little more here.

The unit I purchased is not down town or in a built up area. With horses for courses in mind, I would not settle into an area situated in down town. We are on the semi out skirts meaning I can walk to fields, cows, caraboul and such, this suits me fine as now time to do so.

A final point in choosing between condo..... house which had not been addressed is kids....At my ripe old age of 70 obviously no more kids, if one was to wind the clock..well...back.... in my case I would never choose a condo with kids.....Would drive one nuts.....Especially during rainy season.

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6 minutes ago, RBM said:

I would never choose a condo with kids

Do you mean you would never choose a condo which allowed kids or you would never choose a condo if you and your mate had kids?

The thought had not occurred to me until now.  I suppose kids running up and down the halls would have the potential to make me even grumpier than normal. :56da64a10ceee_1(235):

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12 minutes ago, Dave Hounddriver said:

Do you mean you would never choose a condo which allowed kids or you would never choose a condo if you and your mate had kids?

The thought had not occurred to me until now.  I suppose kids running up and down the halls would have the potential to make me even grumpier than normal. :56da64a10ceee_1(235):

Sorry I certainly phrased that wrong. Correction is if I had children, even one my considered opinion is life would be intolerable. Other kids running around does not unduly perturb me. 

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Posted (edited)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thanks for the downpour of interesting, insightful replies.

I understand it's eminently a case of "different blokes different strokes". Some of you cherish the convenience of living in a condo because they tend to be in more central or better served locations, they have communal facilities like a pool, a gym, a 24/7 concierge etc. Some others enjoy the benefit of building a house to their own size and specs, perhaps in an area that is more secluded yet more scenic.

I admit I did underestimate the fact that the typical Filipino neighbourhood is usually a lot noisier than a condo building. My first abode here in Davao was a bungalow-type house in a decent (yet not amazing) neighbourhood called El Rio Vista. The neighbours weren't so noisy in terms of karaoke or party music, but some nights dogs barking or, worse, howling in pain, would last for hours. 

Perhaps the posher gated subdivisions have larger lot sizes, more spaced-out houses and stricter rules, so noise is less of a problem.

Like the rest of you, it's hard for me to detach myself from my personal biases and be objective.

My situation in a nutshell.

I bought 3 condos here in the Philippines so far: 2 in Ortigas (same building/floor) and 1 in Davao, where I am staying now. The Ortigas condos are in a mid-quality high-rise building where "just about OK" is the definition that applies to everything, from construction quality to amenities, to management. The unit I live in is a 82sqm 2BR. While we have a good-sized master bedroom, a smaller bedroom which I set up as a my home office, and 2 spacious bathrooms, the living/dining area is on the small side, the kitchen area that is too tight to be used by 2 people at the same time. We also have no foyer/entrance to speak of: one directly walks into the living/dining area.

The second Ortigas unit is a smaller 1BR, 59 sqm, so with a comparatively larger kitchen and dining area, a proper powder room and double the amount of wardrobe space. I guess the ideal cut for the building would have been the 1BR, not 2BR. This one unit I bought as investment and, so far, because of the pandemic, I could only rent it for about half of its normal market value. "Better than nothing" applies, yet it's kind of disappointing to see that the net rental yield of an entire year will barely pay back the appliances and aircon units we installed.

Then there's the "gem" of them all, this allegedly high-end unit I bought in 2015 at Aeon Towers, which has been nothing short of a disaster. The building should have been completed in all of its parts (residential, hotel, shops etc.) 3 years ago. We are in 2021 and barely 50% of the building is completed. Only a handful of owners have moved in and the living conditions, while not horrific, are very far from what the developer promised back in the days: swimming pool is nice but tiny, gym area looks nothing like the initial "artist's impressions", only one of the 3 elevators works and some of the most basic features of a modern building, you know, like a properly functional emergency staircase, remain unfinished.

Won't spend too much time dwelling on the million problems the building, the developer and the unit have, let alone how much time, patience and cash we had to put down to rectify at least some of the things under our control, mostly about the unit. 

All I can say is that buying a condo over here and having to fit it out can be a nightmare comparable to that of building a home from scratch. Lazy contractors who always overpromise to clinch the deal and then underdeliver, or deliver at their own pace (10x slower). Labourers who fix one thing and break another. "Building management" overwhelmed with construction defects and supply/logistic troubles. And so on...

Sure, designing and building a house over here means facing all these problems many times over and for a duration of 6 months to a year. Yet, at least, at the end of the construction process you are left with something that looks a lot more to what you desire/require and, in terms of quality and price per square meter, it's much better value than any condo will ever be.

By direct experience with 3 condo properties, I can conclude that the main problem is the way condo units are deemed completed and turned over here in the Philippines. They usually come unfurnished, sometimes with the most basic kitchen cabinets and maybe some bathroom accessories. But that's fine. 

What I like a lot less is that they come with a plethora of defects that (their idea of) acceptance by visual inspection will never fully reveal. While I did notice some obvious defects last year when I took ownership of the Davao unit, the bulk of problems appeared when I tried to add more structural elements, like the typical fake ceiling with cove lighting, or when I painted some walls of a different colour than the bright white they came in as.

In short: very few lines were straight. Walls, beams and pillars, ceiling..the number of straight lines and straight angles could be counted on a single hand. Long story short it took us the best part of 3 months, 3 very painful months, to have them rectified, sometimes at our own cost.

While I haven't seen many condos here in Davao, for those I have checked out the overall quality ranges from bad to "eminently mediocre". Back in 2015, Aeon Towers was being sold to me as the "next big thing" in Davao. Six years on, the only thing this place has to show for is plenty of unfinished spaces, plenty of geometrically-challenged finished and semi-finished spaces, and virtually noone living here.

All in all, if I knew I had to go through the pain and problem, I would have invested the 200K USD I had on building a proper home.

Edited by Gandang Smile
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2 hours ago, Gandang Smile said:

All in all, if I knew I had to go through the pain and problem, I would have invested the 200K USD I had on building a proper home.

Or buying a proper home, to avoid all the hassles and unknowns of building. $200k won't even get you a lot in decent subdivision though, nevermind the house itself, unless you're willing to live hours from the city.

 

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Thank you for starting this topic. It is timely in that the wife and I are considering purchasing a place in the Philippines but don't plan on living there full time. Maybe just snowbird, spending 3-5 months a year there during the winter.

We would own a home in the US where it is easier and safer to leave a home unoccupied during the winter months. In the Philippines the impression I have is that it is not a good idea to leave a home unoccupied for longer than a day or two. You really need to have someone there to look after it.

A couple years ago we stayed 4 days at an AirBnB in The Grove by Rockwell in Pasig City just off Ortigas. We liked the condo and it was close to Sitel where my wife's youngest sister works.

I would prefer a condo but my wife would like a home. So we have to work through all the tradeoffs discussed in this topic and come to a decision. With a 3 year old daughter we would need a larger condo to give each other space and with access to green space and other facilities for the daughter to play. Regardless of whether it is a condo or a home, I would prefer to buy something that is completed and doesn't require too much initial repair work. Also parking would be nice so we can keep a car.

Location, likely Baguio or the NCR since my wife has a brother living in Taguig and a sister living in Pasig City.

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Posted (edited)

I live 10 miles from the city, 7 miles from the beach (and 2 miles from the town... I can and do walk it).

I bought my 580 square metre roadside lot for p250 per square metre in 2016. 

The house I had built is probably about 100 squ m, 90% concrete and blocks, and I doubt it has cost me more than 300,000 pesos. 

We have good water, good electric, a landline phone,and good fibre internet.  

 

Edited by graham59
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On 5/20/2021 at 8:17 AM, RBM said:

in my case I would never choose a condo with kids.....Would drive one nuts.....Especially during rainy season.

There is an expat with 2 kids on my floor. Never really hear them. Was another Filipino family with a kid but since covid have disappeared. There are things to do for kids but not all condos buildings are the same. Swimming pools, play areas etc.

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11 hours ago, Gandang Smile said:

All in all, if I knew I had to go through the pain and problem, I would have invested the 200K USD I had on building a proper home.

Quite an adventure, and not a good one, for sure.  Curious, was the 200K for the three condo or just the Aveo?   

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