When foreigners and expatriates visit the Philippines either for business or pleasure, most hunt for hotels almost automatically. Yes, hotels are convenient but they are also very pricey. A three-star hotel right at the heart of the Metropolis costs around Php 4,000 – 6,000 a night or an average of $100 - $150. But what foreign nationals have to understand is how the Philippines have become a real estate haven. Foreigners will never run out of residential options.

One very viable option is a residential condominium. Yes, a condo. The condo rental market is bigger than ever just as the real estate industry in the Philippines is on a stable growth. A survey by the Urban Land Institute and PwC named the country’s capital Manila as a top real estate investment market in Asia essentially because of the Philippines’ strong economy. And because foreigners can own a condo in the Philippines, retirees and expats are among the growing condo market, too.

This shows that Philippine condominiums are at par with the best in the world. So if you are a foreigner visiting the Philippines for a few days, weeks, or months, a condo is a good place to stay. There are a lot of affordable and safe short-term condos for rent in very good locations in the Philippines. They offer the same conveniences as a hotel but easier on the pocket. And the best thing is: it feels like home. Here are short term rental tips for a hassle-free and a more comfortable stay.

hassle-free stay

Photo by Polygon Realty Limited, Flickr, Creative Commons

Are Fees Included?

Depending on the length of your stay, you might be required to pay the monthly homeowners dues and other utilities. But if you are only staying for a few days or weeks, the rate is likely to be all-inclusive. But make sure to discuss fees and dues with the owner before agreeing to rent a unit. You can try to make arrangements. If you are liable for utilities, find out the average costs paid by the previous renter to at least give you an idea.

Furnished Doesn’t Mean Everything

fast move-in

Photo by Hsing Wei, Flickr, Creative Commons

Most condominiums offered for transient and short-term periods are usually furnished. But the word “furnished” has different connotations around the world. In the Philippines, it means essentially everything you need to live comfortably --- a bed, dining table, cooking range, TV set, couch, air conditioning unit, refrigerator, water heater, and microwave. You might get a bathtub (in some luxury condos) but you are not likely to get a pool table. Semi-furnished means a lot less.

DMCI properties and condominiums have units to accommodate fast move-in with all essential fixtures to make your stay convenient and hassle-free.

Understand Deposits

rent payment rules

Photo by Bindalfrodo, Flickr, Creative Commons

“One month deposit, two months advance.” You will hear this a lot when looking for a place to rent. Terms differ with every homeowner. You are likely to be required to pay advance payments if you are staying for several months to a year. But if you are renting the condo for a few days, you are likely to pay daily rates, which are usually higher.

Discuss “what ifs” if you are paying in advance. What if you can’t finish the term? What if you want to extend? Can you refund the deposit in full or do you have to consume it? But here is a tip for foreigners going on a short term rental in a condo: in the Philippines, there is no single rule as far as payments are concerned so feel free to negotiate.

Use Of Amenities

flair towers

Flair Towers, DMCI Homes Leasing

Here is why condos are as convenient and luxurious as hotels: it also has all the amenities. Major condo developments in the Philippines like DMCI homes have hotel-like amenities like swimming pools, gym, recreational areas, even rooftop gardens and pools. If you think you will be using these amenities during your stay, ask if you have to pay for any of it or if that means paying homeowners dues. Do you have to sign something to use these amenities? Is it okay to bring a friend?

Is Parking Available?

parking dilemma

Photo by Alden Jewell, Flickr, Creative Commons

In the Philippines, a condo unit doesn’t go with a parking slot. Parking space has to be purchased separately. So if you are also renting a car during your stay in the Philippines, be sure to ask the owner if your rent includes a parking slot. If not, ask where you can park your vehicle. Most condos provide common parking areas for homeowners and guests on a first come, first served basis. And since most condos are at the center of busy districts like Makati and Bonifacio Global City, you can also park your vehicle in vacant lots being turned into private parking areas that have mushroomed everywhere.

Yes, There Are Rules

condo rules

Photo by Roger, Flickr, Creative Commons

In any agreement, there are bound to be rules. In renting a condo, you have to abide by the rules of the condo management and also that of the homeowner’s. Are pets allowed? Can you have guests come over? Can you hold a party? How about garbage rules? Or curfew, if any? These are matters you have settle with the homeowner before signing a contract.

Proceed With A Contract

renting agreement

Photo by Flazingo Photos, Flickr, Creative Commons

If terms and payments are involved, it is best to proceed only with a written agreement. Handshakes are honored in some cases but when it comes to a condo, both parties will benefit from a contract. As the renter, make sure to review the policies and if there are things you agreed on that is not on the original contract, it is best to state it in black and white.

Renting a condo is more practical on a lot of fronts. It is also as safe and convenient as staying in a hotel. Security is 24/7 and some condos even have commercial centers for added convenience. And it doesn’t feel like going home to a hotel that is stiff and formal. Some of your neighbors are families, couples, friends, and kids. It is going to feel a lot like home. If you are a visiting foreigner who wants a piece of the local culture, there you have it right outside your doorstep. By renting a condo, you get to be a part of a community, even for just a short while.