Welcome to the second part of my newbie condo buyer Q & A article! In the first part of this series, I answered some important newbie condominium buyer questions for local and international buyers and investors. Now here are the rest of it.
By the way, bear in mind the information here and in the first part are for first time condominium buyers in the Philippines. All of what I wrote are also meant for those planning to purchase a brand new condominium unit only. Meaning almost everything I write about is related to a general condominium purchase that is not a resale, not a foreclosed property, has no legal issues or anything of the sort.
Are you ready to know more? Below are the questions I answer in this article:
- Why Do We Need to Do Business with Agents or Brokers?
- Can I Change Agents/Brokers Anytime?
- Are We Required to Reserve First Before We Can Buy a Condominium Unit?
- What Can I Use To Pay For A Condo?
- Can I Use my Business or Company to Purchase a Condo Unit?
- What Happens After I Reserve and Buy the Condominium Unit/s?
- What Else Should I Expect Once I Own The Unit?
♠ Why Do We Need to Do Business with Agents or Brokers? ♠
I know this question have passed your minds at some point. Why can't we directly purchase the condominium property from the developers or the real estate companies responsible for developing land into real estate properties? Speaking from my experience as an agent and as gathered across the world wide web, here's why:
1. Agents/Brokers save you time and energy.
Real estate agents/brokers are the best property assistants and consultants. You won't need to worry about the hassle of documentation too. No need to spend lots of time and energy that can be used elsewhere. We will provide all the important details of the property, the fees and calculations of whatever you need to pay for. That's it. We may even remind you of your payment due dates from time to time even if we have provided the payment schedule. What more can anyone ask for, right? (^_^) This is one of the reasons why we are paid commissions per sale.
We can even send you detailed information about the property if needed. Yes there are a lot of things you can read online but not everything is up to date. An agent will always have the latest details on any property we handle that cannot be found online or in the streets. No need to spend too much time doing your research, go directly to us agents/brokers and you're done.
2. Agents/Brokers are trained and licensed to sell properties and have more experience in the real estate industry.
No need for you to learn everything about the do's and don'ts or legalities of Philippine real estate. Everything we do is based on what we learned during training or upon getting a real estate degree. We also act within the boundaries of the law. We do no guess work or hocus pocus. Almost everything will also be processed by your agent/broker for you. Just provide the necessary papers, IDs, etc., and then you can sit pretty. Having an agent/broker is really more convenient.
You definitely won't need to spend a lot of time learning everything about the property you're interested in. It's your broker and/or agent's job to know all about the properties. This is why we do presentations and set site viewing appointments with potential buyers. Doing so enables us to provide all the information you need. Don't be afraid to go to open houses or set appointments with agents to find out the best property to live/invest in.
Any question you have will be answered easily. If not, it can be answered in time. The rest of the information will be in the fine print of documents you will receive. Don't forget to read through the legal papers.
3. Agents/Brokers do the negotiation for you (if there is a need for it).
We do all the necessary negotiation for you. Developers set a price range and we help you with the maximum allowable discounts and such. We're also your buffer to anything that may or may not go wrong when purchasing a condo unit.
Also, not everyone has the time to talk and negotiate. Developers are busy people and you cannot get in touch with them directly anyway. If there are a big number of buyers and only a few people who are the owner/developers, how can they assist everyone? You will need to go through secretaries and assistants and all that if there were no agents or brokers. It's the same thing so why think of not having a broker or agent at all?
♠ Can I Change Agents/Brokers Anytime? ♠
First of all, know that any agent can assist you when purchasing a condo. If not the agent themselves, they will always have a manager/broker who knows more than them since they usually have more experience than the agent.
Let's say you have spoken with a new in-house real estate agent and are not satisfied with their service. Remember the times when you were new at anything and be patient. Give them a chance to answer your questions even if they can't answer it well or are unsure about their response. Anyway proactive new agents will always ask their managers in case they still need help in assisting anyone. If their superior is not present during your meeting, ask to speak with their manager should you need immediate assistance. If you're still not satisfied for any reason then just be as professional as you can. Always remember this: no one is perfect.
Be aware that if you decide to do business with another in-house agent, you have to inform the second in-house agent about it. Disclose it to prevent any internal issues with fellow agents and the rest of the sales teams. If you have signed a prospective buyer's info sheet with the first agent, that means they have first dibs on you as a buyer. It is only good up to a certain time since you signed it though.
The best thing to do when you decide to reserve and buy from another in-house agent (if you've signed a prospect sheet) is to provide a signed letter specifically stating such. However if you are dealing with a general brokerage agent/broker but then decide to buy from an in-house agent, or vice versa, there's nothing to worry about. As a courtesy, just inform the first agent/broker that you won't be pushing through with the purchase from them. That's it.
Once unit reservation is done, you generally don't need to change agents anymore. After all, you will only buy from the person you've decided to trust and can help with everything. Make sure to decide who to really buy from before reserving a unit because once the reservation fee is paid it cannot be refunded. But of course it still depends on the developer's policy too.
In case the agent you get is amazing and have been selling condos for years then that's great! No need to look for other agents. I'm sure they will even get recommended to your family, friends or anyone you know. Of course if you have a new agent, be patient and he/she will get better in time.
♠ Are We Required to Reserve First Before We Can Buy a Condominium Unit? ♠
A reservation fee (RF) is required in order to have the first claim on the unit. Especially if it is a hot property, a purchase will always be on a first come, first served basis. Without a reservation how can you say anyone has the right to buy a property first as opposed to another person who also wants it? Falling in line makes everything orderly and so reserving a unit is the perfect queueing method to avoid problems.
The amount to be paid will depend on the kind of condominium you are planning to purchase. Usually, we can determine if it is a low-, mid-, high-end or luxury condominium depending on the fee.
For example, there may be condominium units you can reserve for as low as P10,000. Other affordable properties can also be at P20,000/unit like Chimes Greenhills. Sometimes the amount also depends on the developer too. A mid- to high-end condominium can have an RF of P50,000/unit. An example would be The Magnolia Residences in New Manila. Whether it is a 1, 2, 3 bedroom or penthouse unit you will still have to reserve one at P50,000 each.
As for luxury properties, the RF can be higher. An example would be The Residences at The Westin Manila Sonata Place (RWMSP) rising in the heart of the Ortigas Business District, National Capital Region, Philippines. It has a P100,000 RF which is at around $1,800 or $1,900 depending on the conversion rate. This is a prestigious development by Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) in collaboration with Starwood Hotels & Resorts which already merged with and was acquired by Marriott International in 2016.
A five-star and international hotel and resort chain would of course be the best of the best, thus the RF amount is not surprising. It's also the first-Westin branded residence in Southeast Asia. An exclusive wellness and luxury branded property is definitely worth the amount you will pay for. 😉
What makes it a luxury brand? Well if you don't know what Westin Hotels is then you're missing out. Haha. Watch this video to learn more.
RWMSP also already includes the parking slot/s in the price. No need to worry if you will have a place to park your vehicles as it has a 1:1 ratio of units to parking slots as opposed to non-luxury properties. Condominiums usually have a separate price for parking slots and are at a 1:3 or 1:5 unit to parking slot ratio. It can be vary depending on the developer and property too. If you have a private vehicle, always check if there's still available parking slots left when you reserve and buy any condo unit.
♠ What Can I Use To Pay For A Condo? ♠
The RF can be paid using cash, credit card or check. You can even pay online by providing your credit card details to your chosen in-house real estate agent. This is convenient if in case you are suddenly out of town/country. Otherwise just go to the developer's cashier and have your agent/broker process the RF.
As for the down payment, you can't use your credit card with RLC properties. For other developers, be sure to ask your agent to know more as it may differ per developer. One thing is for sure, you will be required to provide post dated checks (PDCs) for the monthly amortizations (MA). This is to ensure that each month you will be able to pay the MA.
If you are purchasing through general brokerage, you may not need to go to the developer's office. Paying thru the brokerage office may suffice so be sure to check with them first before paying anything. Be careful and make sure to transact with reputable brokerage companies.
♠ Can I Use my Business or Company to Purchase a Condo Unit? ♠
Yes of course, you can buy any condominium unit using your company or business. Buy in bulk too if you want, like if you are planning to start a staycation business. One perfect property for this would be the Radiance Manila Bay along Roxas Boulevard.
The preselling one bedroom units still available in the South Tower are perfect for starting a staycation business. You can rent it out via AirBNB or whichever website you prefer to list it on. The condo corporation won't be handling the rentals so you have free reign over your future rental business.
To be safe, always ask your agent/broker about bulk or corporate purchases. Requirements and discounts may vary from purchasing as an individual and a corporation so better let your agent know about it too.
Foreigners will be subject to certain limitations. Remember, here in the Philippines, 40% of the total condominium units is the maximum that can belong to non-Filipino citizens. In case the limit has been reached there is another way to buy. If you own a company/business in the country and have up to a maximum of 40% share in it, use it to buy a condo.
♠ What Happens After I Reserve & Buy the Condominium Unit/s? ♠
After reserving, paying the down payment, MAs and taking a bank loan or making a cash payment, what's next? Before the property has even been completely transferred to you upon full payment, there are other things you should look forward to. Now comes your property-owner responsibilities! (Doesn't that sound exciting? Hahaha.) What does this mean? Read on!
First of all, you will have to pay the miscellaneous fees. This includes the transfer tax, documentary stamp tax, etc. Usually you can pay this before, during or after your last MA. Check your payment term and ask your agent/broker for more details.
There will also be monthly condominium dues. The amount of the condo association dues will depend on the size of your purchased unit. The funds will be used to pay for the maintenance of the common areas you will enjoy like the pool, gym, elevators, etc.
Installation fees for electricity, water, cable, telephone, etc., is a separate thing. Depending on the developer and property, most likely you will be responsible to pay for the installation of various utilities. Do not expect it to be shouldered by the developer unless it is specified in the reservation application and other contracts you signed. Always skim and/or read through all the property documents before signing anything.
Ask your agent/broker for other things that might not be listed here.
♠ What Else Should I Expect Once I Own The Condo Unit? ♠
Now imagine you already paid off your new condo unit, hurray! Congratulations! Hahaha. What else should you get after it's fully paid? See below:
You should receive a Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT) and Deed of Absolute Sale (DAS) once you have fully paid your unit. A CCT is in lieu of a Transfer Certificate Title (TCT). The latter is what you get when purchasing a new house and lot, for example. A DAS is the documented proof that the condominium unit has been legally transferred to you.
Be ready to pay for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) if you will sell it. According to the REVENUE MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR (RMC) NO. 35-2017, the rate is fixed at 6% of the gross selling price or fair market value whichever is higher.
And that's it! To find out if there are other things not written here, you can ask me more or ask your agent, a licensed broker or contact the developer. (^_^)
If you still haven't read my first article, are an expat and/or an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), watch this video for more advice on buying a condominium in the Philippines.
Want some more info? You can also choose to watch this video in Filipino before you buy a condominium unit. Some of the things discussed in it are in the first part of this article series.
If you have other questions feel free to comment below.
And there you have it folks! Now are you ready to reserve and buy your own condo unit? Contact me now if you are. 😁 I'm your helpful neighborhood Metro Manila condo agent at your service! Hahaha.
Disclaimer: These articles are for general information purposes only. For the exact, complete or specific details always ask your trusted agent/broker before purchasing any condominium unit.
First and fifth images are mine. Condo images from RLC marketing dept, the rest of the images from Pixabay.