Philippine Homeownership: Check These Things First Before Signing The Condo Contract Turnover
“Buying real estate is not only the best way but the only way to become wealthy” -Marshall Field.
It is no question that for many individuals, owning real estate is a milestone.
In fact, some may even consider it as a hallmark of wealth and success—truly making it in life, as they say. Indeed, there is no feeling of security as strong as the feeling of a place to come home to at the end of the day. Today, homeownership has evolved and redefined to not only mean strictly owning a house and lot. Modern homeownership means either owning a house and lot, an apartment, or even a condominium unit. If there is one thing that would characterize modern homeownership, it would be living in condo units. After all, nothing affords homeowners more convenience and accessibility than living in a loft unit where they can be in the midst of it all—work, school, entertainment, and so much more.
Inevitably, condo living has been gaining popularity not only in the Philippines but also everywhere else in the world. It affords urbanites the kind of holistic lifestyle where they can commute less and live in a convenient, secure, and more eco-friendly environment. More importantly, condo communities have played a pivotal role in mitigating shortages in real estate accommodations. After all, these buildings are vertical housing complexes that maximize limited spaces in cities. As a result, condo living often provides an excellent solution to mass urban migration. That said, it is no wonder that Filipinos and foreign residents alike are investing in condos. Apart from making great homes, it can also be a reliable source of passive income.
If you have already made up your mind about buying a condo—whether for your own use or for leasing, do not be quick to make an offer at an affordable condo for sale in Cubao or elsewhere just yet. If your condo is ready for you, know that there are a few reminders you need to take note of before moving in or prepping it for your lessees. Before you invest in a condo unit, familiarize yourself with the condo turnover process, applicable fees, and your rights and obligations.
If you are now in the turnover process, know that you have the responsibility of checking that everything is in order before approving the turnover. Once you sign the condo contract turnover, know that you essentially agree that everything is satisfactory. Approving a turnover indicates your agreement that the unit is in excellent condition.
For that reason, you need to know what to examine before affixing your signature on the contract. Below is a list of things you should check before agreeing to the turnover:
a.) Revisit your contract for any turnover fees
Keep in mind that the turnover process starts upon the release of the turnover clearance. This clearance requires you to settle a certain percentage of the total condo price as indicated by the contract and secure financing for any balance. You will be given notification of this as asked to confirm the dressing up of your unit. In other cases, you may also be asked to pay condo turnover fees if there are any.
That said, be sure to do a thorough review of your contract about any charges that may be related to the turnover. As the saying goes, caveat emptor; that said, you need to be thorough. There are developers that charge enormous hidden fees—which you may be compelled to pay, or you would not be able to take possession of your unit. With all that considered, be sure to read what is written on the fine print of your contract.
b.) Measure the floor area
If you invest in something as significant as a piece of real estate, it pays to know that your sales contract has all the salient details. This means that everything you need to know about your unit, including the measure or area of the unit (generally calculated in square meters), is indicated in the contract. Before signing the turnover contract, be sure that you have confirmed the measure of the floor area by doing it yourself, or having a professional do it for you. If your contract stipulates an agreed number of square meters, delivering anything different than what has been stipulated is a breach.
c.) Begin with the flooring, ceiling, and walls
The delay in condo turnovers is not always the fault of the developer. Oftentimes, it can be attributed to the owner. That said, be sure to mark your calendar with your condo’s set turnover date, which requires your personal inspection of the unit. To ensure that you have a non-partisan opinion, have a trusted friend, family member, or lawyer come with you to double-check every nook and cranny of the condo. The specifications in your contract and your requested furnishing should all be properly executed by the developer.
To check, start with the standards such as the flooring, ceiling, and walls. Your condo unit’s flooring must be even, and the paint applied on walls and ceilings should be executed well. Check for any scratches and chips that may need to be redone. Also, if you intend to install any wall-mounted furniture or heavy ceiling lighting, take this opportunity to inquire about any guidelines and restrictions the condo may have.
d.) Inspect the standard furnishings that come with the unit
Typically, condo units already come with standard furnishings. This includes the toilet, shower, bathroom and kitchen sink, countertops, and cabinets. All of these furnishings and fixtures are indicated in the contract of sale. As a buyer, it is your responsibility to check all of these. Inspect the bathroom first and test if the toilet and flush work. More importantly, be sure to inspect for any leakages under the sink as well.
Take note of the tiles and if they are correctly installed. Also, turn on the shower and see if it is working as it should. Next, head to your kitchen and check for any leakages under the sink or if there are any problems with plumbing. The built-in cabinets in the kitchen and bedroom should all be in good condition. Open and close cabinets, and slide the drawers in and out to ensure that hinges are correctly installed and not screwed too tight or loose. Note your observations and jot down any furnishings and fixtures that require repair.
If you wish to be a little more thorough in your inspection, it helps to have a plumber with you to check the plumbing fixtures.
e.) Check all of the electrical outlets, phone outlets, cables, and the like
Most would-be condo unit owners tend to overlook checking the electrical outlets and the like thinking them insignificant. However, this is an oversight that needs to be rectified as once you sign the turnover papers; you are certifying that everything is in working order. In effect, you basically agree that the unit is in order as stipulated in your contract. That said, inspecting every corner of your unit before affixing your signature on the Certificate of Acceptance is paramount.
Bear in mind that repairing outlets take a lot of time and your patience as well. You can avoid the hassles this brings by bringing in electricians during your inspection and having them report to you any needed repairs to the developer on the turnover date. Be sure to check if your phone outlets and cables are working as well.
f.) Visit your parking slot
Keep in mind that the purchase of your condo unit does not include the parking slot. In fact, the stipulations of the parking slot are typically indicated in a separate contract, as condo units do not usually come with a parking space. You may purchase this separately.
If you have opted to buy a separate parking slot, your developer will inform you if you could inspect it on the same turnover date for your condo unit. Be sure to check whether the specifications (measure and location) are consistent with the ones stipulated in your contract. Also, check if there are any hazards nearby, such as the presence of combustible chemicals. If there are any, raise these issues to your developer.
g.) Do not overlook anything
Be sure to allow a designated day for your inspection. Do not rush it, and take all the time you need to ensure that you cover every nook and cranny of the unit. To be sure that everything is in order, prepare a checklist ahead of time and list all the fixtures, furnishings as well as any special requests that may require your inspection. From there, note down any areas and items that need attention. If there are any modifications or repairs warranted, be sure to write these in detail and include your suggestions, if any.
Inspecting your condo unit is paramount. More importantly, it is also a good opportunity for you to raise questions and clarifications with your developer should you wish to have any modifications done to the unit.
Also, be sure to discuss the time frame to complete the preparation or repairs in your unit. This is especially critical if you intend to lease your unit, as the turnover date is an indication of when you could start earning from your condo.
Bear in mind that the turnover date can accommodate or delay the possession of your home. That said, be sure to prepare for this day well.