To Buy or Not to Buy: Condos vs House and Lots

December 13, 2022

In the Filipino culture context, nothing quite screams, “You’ve made it!” than a place you can call your own. Coming home to a space decorated according to your style and taste is a dream come true, but owning a property is easier said than done.

Simply put, a home is a significant commitment. You’ll be investing in real estate that comes with housing loans, repayment, and maintenance. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, so it’s essential to slow down.

For first-time home buyers, deciding to invest in properties begs the question: should I buy a condominium or a house and lot? 

This dilemma can be frustrating. But before you start searching for tips on how to purchase a home, allow us to walk you through each option’s benefits and deal breakers:

Condominium vs House: Which Should You Choose?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which property is better, several factors will come into play during your decision-making process. Here’s what you need to consider.

Why People Choose Condominiums

Lower price points

Condominium units are highly popular among property investors because they’re relatively affordable pieces of real estate. In contrast, houses with lots usually come at a significantly higher price point, so only a few investors can purchase the properties.
Although upscale condos and those in high-demand business districts typically cost as much as (or even more than) houses, low-end to mid-range condominium units are much more affordable. This means first-time homebuyers and investors can usually buy condos at around 4.1 million pesos around Metro Manila.

Easier maintenance

Another benefit to owning a condo unit is that it’s easier to maintain than a house and lot. The property management is in charge of maintaining the condo’s common areas (such as the lobby, hallway, pool area, gym, and exteriors), and unit owners are only responsible for some repairs, maintenance, and renovations within their units.

The ease of management is especially crucial for those who don’t wish to spend much time and effort maintaining the space. It’s best to keep in mind, however, that management must approve repairs and renovations you plan to implement within your unit.

Convenient locations 

Condominiums generally are situated in convenient locations within a city. Many condos are near schools, offices, shopping malls, parks, and areas with public transportation. This accessibility makes condo units attractive to many property buyers.

On-site amenities

Many condos offer amenities that unit owners can use. These accessible spaces may include gyms, pools, saunas, and playgrounds. In contrast, a house with these amenities can have a significantly higher price point.

Condominium Deal Breakers

Monthly maintenance fees

Although you generally don’t have to worry about maintaining, repairing, and improving common areas in condominiums, this convenience comes at a price. Condos usually charge monthly maintenance fees, which you’ll have to pay on top of the monthly mortgage or property loan payments.

The monthly maintenance fees you’ll have to pay can vary per property. However, you typically pay around 1,500 PHP for studio units and 3,000 PHP for three-bedroom units. Although these costs may seem small, they may add up to 18,000 PHP a year for studios and 36,000 PHP for three-bedroom units!

You usually must pay for these fees for as long as you own a unit within the condo, even if you’ve fully paid for the unit.

Smaller living spaces

Most condo units are smaller than a house, which typically has numerous rooms and outdoor spaces. Many studio units in the Philippines have a floor space of just 50 square meters. So, condominiums may not be the ideal setup if you have a growing family or want a large living area.

Although you can access other amenities within the condo, you have to share these spaces with other unit owners.

Stricter rules

Owning a condo unit also typically comes with less freedom than owning a house. This is because condominium managements have more rigid rules regarding activities that may affect the building and other unit owners.

For instance, some condos don’t allow pets inside the building. This may be a deal breaker for those who plan to live with their dogs, cats, or other animal companions. Other condos also limit how many visitors a unit owner can accommodate. Those who plan to renovate their units also have to secure permits and approval from the management. 

The regulations can vary from building to building, but it may take some more time to shop around for a condo with rules that can accommodate your lifestyle.

Why People Choose House and Lots

Land ownership

Apart from the actual house, your title will also contain the land it’s situated in. It costs more than a dreamy, modern condo, but you’ll hold exclusive ownership of the entire area. 

If you own 120 square meters of land, for instance, you can construct within 80 square meters and turn the rest into a garden, poolside, or even garage. You get more than just a house—you also get amenities and space condominiums can never offer.

Accommodates your life 

Whether you’re a young professional thinking of repaying your parents or someone looking to start a family, a house and lot offer you enough room to grow. You can renovate and break down walls or perhaps add another floor. 

Spare rooms can be turned into nurseries and theater rooms, while bathrooms can be expanded to your liking. You’ll also have room for guests, especially if they stay the night. 

More valuable 

You don’t just own living space—you also own land. Privately owned lots are more flexible in the market, meaning their value appreciates over time. Condominiums can be challenging to sell, especially given their lifespans. 

House and lots are also often situated in better communities, making them more ideal and attractive to buyers. 

House and Lot Deal Breakers

Maintenance Costs

As a homeowner, you’re your own landlord. This means being responsible for maintenance and repairs, including clogged toilets, burst pipes, rusty faucets, and so on. You also need to care for windows, doors, the roof, and other areas, making an annual checkup insufficient. This can get costly, so it’s a factor you need to consider thoroughly.

Upfront Costs 

While home loans are welcome, house and lots need upfront payments like the down, be it brand new or secondhand. You also need to consider closing costs, transfer taxes, and even title search fees, when applicable. 

Purchasing a secondhand home also requires an appraisal and inspection just to ensure you’re not dealing with unwarranted problems like water damage, soil erosion, and even flooding history. 

Ready to Reach Your Real Estate Dreams?

From everything listed above, it’s evident that there is no correct answer. Condominiums offer benefits that may tick off one’s dream home requirements, while house and lots may be more to the other’s taste. 

Each real estate investment comes with benefits and dealbreakers you need to consider, but it ultimately comes down to a single factor: financial stability! Once you’ve got that covered, follow your gut, lifestyle, and personal preferences. 

Purchasing your first home can be a real challenge, but Housify offers you a lending hand. Browse through countless tips, hacks, and other information you need to succeed as a property owner.