Our world is now surrounded by high rise buildings. Our streets are blocked by men and women who fearlessly stand in the middle of the road to give out condo brochures. Some even tap the sides of our vehicle when we don’t stop and roll down our windows. Rows of miniature displays of new real estate developments could be found in shopping malls. Flyers, mailers, emails, texts. They bombard me with messages. Siguro mga every other day meron sa email ko. Plus texts. (Sorry I have no money).

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Even when I visited World Wide Mall in Hk, I saw a lot of promotional materials of condos offered to OFWs.

P8,999 monthly. Zero Down Zero Interest.

It’s really enticing. Wow, P8,999 lang. Kaya ko yun. No down payment? Good deal.

Wait, before you jump into it, please remember the following:
This guide is only for those who belong to the middle income group.

1. How much is the total price of the condo?
2. Divide the total amount by the total square meters. P120,000 / sqm? P150,000/ sqm?
3. How much is one parking slot? P750,000? P920,000?
4. Divide that by 12.5 sq.m. which is the minimum parking size for one car.
5. Remember that there is no zero interest. They have already added or built-in the interest to the selling price.
6. The P8,999 is only for the downpayment.
7. Look at the amount you have to pay upon turn-over.
8. Take note of this very important thing: When you receive a notification that the unit is ready for turn-over, you are required to visit and inspect it. Do not sign anything if you are not happy with how your unit turned out. If there’s a defect, do not sign the paper the engineer would show you, even if he promised to fix your concerns. BECAUSE, once you have signed that turn-over paper, you have to pay your purchase balance in FULL within 30 days. For every single day of delay, you will be slapped with a whopping 18% or 24% interest per annum plus penalties.
9. Do not find too much comfort with the thought that the turn-over is still 5 years from now. Matagal pa, pero ang bilis ng panahon, lalo na kung wala kang pera. Make sure you know your back-up plans- where to get the money to pay your condo unit in full.
10. Arrange for a bank financing a few months before the expected schedule of turn-over so you can shop for a good bank with a lower mortgage interest rate.
11. Do not wonder why it’s easier to buy a condo than a car. Developers do not credit check buyers. Because you cannot run off with their building. The building is still under construction. If after one year you stopped paying for your monthly amortization, that would even be good news to the developer. They can still sell your unit to another buyer. And what happens to the money you’ve paid to them? You’ll never get it back. Goodbye.
12. Ask, what happens if you are not able to complete your monthly payments because your seaman husband stopped sending you money? Your are only 6 months away from fully paying the condo unit. Would the developer foreclose your unit? Ask and get all info.
13. Keep in mind that there’s a monthly condominium dues. They can increase it without your approval. If you are retired, make sure you include that in your budget forecasts.

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