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Sometimes, people get caught up in buying a property, be it a condominium unit, townhouse, house and lot, or just vacant lot, because people are buying into it; just because it’s the “in” thing these days; just because you were “pushed” into buying it, without really considering it in the first place.

Things like that happen and when that happens, you can only wonder what could have been if you thought about these things beforehand before plunging into it.

It would help if you can use some guides below in buying a property, whatever type, so that you would feel that you made a worthy investment.

1. Location

It has been said, buying a property is all about location, location, location. Consider the distance to basic services and places you frequently go to.

Is it near a church, schools, hospitals, malls, supermarkets, drugstores, barber/parlor shops, even vulcanizing shops! After all, these are places that you would go to regularly. It would also help to identify places that you need to know where to find in case of emergency.

No location is perfect. But at least, when buying a property, consider the location where most of the services or necessities or even luxuries in life are within minutes’ reach from the property under consideration.

2. Flood-free

No matter how good the location is, if it gets flooded, the value of the property diminishes. Why? Because its resale value and potential won’t be attractive to prospective clients.

And because of the onset of rains these days, the prospect of your home being hit and damaged by flood can cause a lot of mental and financial stress, aside from paranoia. How do you determine if the property or at least the area leading to it is flood-prone? You can check the walls, gates, fences of the property if there are stain marks that are probably caused by flood. These stain marks are labeled as floodlines. The owner or seller or broker of the seller is not the best person to ask if the property or area within the vicinity is flood-prone. You may subtly ask the neighbors or nearby retailers just to get an objective feedback.

A good online source to determine if the area gets flooded can be found here:

http://globalfloodmap.org/Philippines

3. Security

It seems like we are living in dangerous times these days. If you will read the current news, it seems like desperate times call for desperate moves. Criminals these days would grab your car by force.  Carjacking is rampant. So living in a secure place is paramount these days.

There are some locations or project that are known for its tight security, peace and order. And there are notorious places where frequent crimes happen. You would know it just by keeping abreast of the news.

It pays to invest in a property where security is given utmost importance by the project’s developer.

4. Water

Water is a basic necessity. Ideally, when you invest in a property, you should see to it that basic services like water are provided either by Manila Water, Maynilad or water reservoir/deepwell installed in the project. Because what’s the point of living in a good location if you have to buy water on a regular basis? We live in the Philippines, not in a desert country so water should be abundant in your place and should not be considered a scarcity.

5. Developer

Check the track record of the developer. What are they known for? What are its existing and future projects while you’re looking at their pre-selling project? Are they a full-line developer or some niche player in the industry?

How is their customer service? Are they accessible? Are their projects reasonably-priced? Find out what other people say about them.

It helps if the public perception on them is positive or negative because it gives you an idea if the image they project is consistent with the first-hand experience of their customers.

6. Property Maintenance

Some projects have very good property maintenance people by having a professional building admin personnel.  Think APMC which stands for Ayala Property Management Corporation. Sometimes, this after sales service makes the big difference in the buyer’s buying decision. After all, it’s the maintenance that counts – 24 hr security, cleanliness of the common areas/village surroundings, proper disposal of garbage… these factors lead to the developer’s reliability that it pays to invest in them because their commitment to their clients is a long-term approach. That is why there are repeat buyers.

7. Recurring charges

Just like property maintenance, it is important to note what will be the regular costs to maintain a property, a place, your home. Check out the taxes that you routinely pay every year. Some localities charge condo homeowners additional taxes aside from the routine real property tax. Consider also the regular association dues or condo dues. This is on top of your utility bills and other monthly expenses.

8. Budget

Setting your budget beforehand will give you less headaches in the long term. To manage expectations, set a budget range for cash payment, including for long-term payment if you will opt for bank financing. Property prices are certainly less expensive when you buy it cash, but it’s only practical when the property is already livable or in real estate term, ready-for-occupancy.  Bank financing also gives a buyer a leeway but in the long run, the intended amount for amortization could have been spent for other expenses. If you will take out a loan from the bank, don’t set it too short or too long.

9. Parking

This is a crucial issue and a big factor when buying a condo unit. Parking is a necessity when you have a car but consider the price difference when buying a condo unit with and without a parking. Parking slots nowadays costs half a million pesos or more. Consider renting a parking slot instead. Even if you compute the monthly rent by 10 years, I doubt if it will cost you a half million pesos already. The money spent on parking can be set aside for other long-term investments.

10. Drying Cages

When buying a condo unit, some developers disregard the need for drying cages for the basic reason that it adds up on the unit cost because of the extra space that will be allocated to the unit. But washing and drying your clothes is a necessity. In the long run, this lack of drying cages in some projects may prove to be an inconvenience and stressful on the buyer’s end.

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