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House or condo?

08 October 2017

By Francisco J. Colayco

This was from a letter sender, MF:
“I just want to ask if it’s better to buy a condo unit rather than a townhouse or house and lot.  I’m just an ordinary man.  I cannot decide if I will choose a condo or buy a house and lot.  A possible house and lot will be far from my place of work.  On the other hand, a condo is near but I am concerned about the monthly expenses like amenities fees and association fees. Instead of getting a cheaper deal, I might end up spending more.  I also think that maybe the value of the condo unit will depreciate in the long term, unlike a house and lot where the value of the land goes up.  Please help me on how to choose.

House & Lot
Has land that will increase in value over the long term, cheaper than a condo. 
Far from work and school for the family.  Almost 2 hours travel time. 

Cheaper and near work and school.
Small, and land is not our own.  Value of the unit depreciates.  Many expenses in association fees almost like renting.”

Dear MF,
Your final decision will be a financial one.  You will have to compute each of the items that you described for each option.  For example, the transportation expense if you live in the house/lot versus the transportation expense if you live in the condo.  You also need to study which alternative is easier to sell in the future.  Depending on the location and condition of the property, condos can be easier to sell. Although the same can be true for detached house and lot units, again depending on the condition and location of the unit, and, availability of financing.
The cost of your time is very important.  What could you do during the time you save?  Perhaps, you can earn additional income?  Or you will less likely get sick and not spend on some medicines?
A big factor is the maintenance cost of each option.  Generally, the maintenance expenses for the inside portion of a condo unit would be lower than the inside portion of a house. However, in a condo, there is the maintenance of common areas like the lobby, corridors, which are the equivalent of the outside area of a house.  Each unit owner shares those costs through regular association dues. These association dues have to be paid regularly and cannot be postponed.  On the other hand, the expenses in maintaining a house/lot can be postponed if you choose to because you do not bother anyone except yourself if your place is not in good condition but you will have to face the expenses sooner or later.

We will talk about this in the next column.  Please check out  our website, www. colaycofinancialeducation. com for more information on what I do now.

Francisco J. Colayco is an entrepreneur, a venture developer and financial advisor.  He is the Author of Seven Bestsellers in the Pera Palaguin Series, the latest of which is now available in bookstores:  “Wealth Reached. Money Worked. Pera Mo, Pinalago Mo!” Find his works and catch him on TV and radio.  Check out:,,, FaceBook and Instagram.
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