Renting could be smart. There are people who think renting is just money down the drain. But if you are smart with your choices and you know how to spot red flags, renting could really be a smart move. There are many reasons why Filipinos would rather rent than buy property. According to a report by global property platform Lamudi, one-third or 60.7% of renters could not afford to buy a property at the moment while the rest have yet to find one that they really like. This is why properties for lease such as condos for rent in the Philippines are highly in demand. Real estate in the Philippines has seen steady growth because of the growing number of buyers and even developers who turn to condo renting. Since condos can be rented out on very competitive rates, it almost seems as if someone else is actually paying for the property’s monthly amortization.

There are people who settle for whatever space they could find for as long as it fits their budget. But smart renters should not just settle. It may be on a lease, but it is still your home. The whole process can be daunting but remember that anything worth having is worth all the hard work. For those of you who are still looking for the perfect condo for rent, read on about a few tricks to be a smart renter.

Know your priorities and narrow your search

Siena Park Residences’ Model Unit, Paranaque City, DMCI Homes

Siena Park Residences’ Model Unit, Paranaque City, DMCI Homes

Condos for rent in the Philippines belong to different communities, districts, and neighborhoods. Some are nearer to public transportation and major highways than shopping malls or schools. Re-assess what you need and want so you can narrow your search. Go back to the reasons why you want to rent a condo in the first place. If you want a place near your workplace then make that your priority. Never mind if the shopping mall is a little farther away. Having too many prospects on your short list will make house hunting much more difficult.

Keep track of listings and compare

With so many buyers turning to condos as investments, it is likely that you will end up hitting a dozen units in one day. This can get confusing and even frustrating. It helps to write things down. Remind yourself of the pertinent info about a unit, both the good and bad, and run them through your top three priorities, such as: budget, location, space. Snap a picture to help you remember. There are homes that look better or worse on the second look.

Only 5 minutes to the business district? Better see for yourself

walking distance

Photo courtesy of reynaldodallin via Pixabay

Location is a major deal breaker and home owners who lease their unit also know that. Their ad will likely say that everything is just five to 15 minutes away. What does that mean? On public transport or on foot? With or without traffic? If you kind of liked the unit, it pays to give the location a test run. If they say that the business district where your office is located is just five minutes away, then see for yourself. It is best to do this exercise during rush hour when it really matters.

Walk around and explore

explore the vicinity

Photo courtesy of Yeongkyu via Pixabay

Do not limit your search to the unit itself. You have to know how it feels to live in a certain condo community. Walk around in and out of the premises and discover what the place has to offer. Look for things that you will likely need: laundry shop, convenience store, water refilling station, or a coffee shop. It is good that real estate companies capitalize on progressive neighborhoods that have a little bit of everything.

Be nosy and trust your senses

If you walked into a unit and you smell something bad, like it’s coming from the bathroom sink or the kitchen, better ask about it right away. Look up the ceiling and search for cracks and gaps. Check the flooring and the walls, too. Turn on the shower, run the water in the kitchen sink, and flush the toilet to see if everything’s working. Open the cabinets to see the actual storage capacity.

Check the amenities

Royal Palm Residences’ Lap Pool, DMCI Homes

Royal Palm Residences’ Lap Pool, DMCI Homes

Condos for rent in the Philippines are usually priced higher than regular apartments because their location and various amenities. Walk around to see if you see yourself spending time in the pool area or if the gym has all the equipment you need so you can cancel that membership outright. If you like to go on an early morning or late night jog, find your spot. If you have kids, make sure they have their own spot, too.

Bring a measuring tape

It is heartbreaking if you find out on moving day that your customized sofa or bed frame can’t fit right into the front door. In every open house, make it a habit to bring a tape measure. Make sure that your pieces of furniture fit right where you want them to.

Where’s the parking?

parking space

Photo courtesy of JayMantri via Pixabay

A parking space can make or break a deal. Find out where your slot is, if any. Find out if there’s a designated parking space for guests, too. If there’s none, know your options. Ask the administrators for parking spaces being rented out or if there is a private parking lot nearby they can recommend. Know also the risks of street parking in the area.

Are pets allowed?

pet friendly

Photo courtesy of niekverlaan via Pixabay

Just like where to park vehicles, pets are also a major concern. It is not enough that you find a condo for rent that allows pets. It is also important to know up to what extent you can have them around. For example, do they have to be on a leash every time? Are you allowed to walk them on pathways and parks?

Uncover all (hidden) costs

Most of the time, things are not as they seem. When renting, it is important to run through all costs. Ask what are and what are not included in the rate. Is there a fee for using the swimming pool? Does the rate include parking space fee? Are there cable hook-ups or do you need to apply for one? Are window treatments, cabinets, or heater included? These are things that will cost you in the future so it’s better to find out sooner.

Get everything in black in white

record agreements

Photo courtesy of PDPics via Pixabay

Always put into writing everything you and your landlord have agreed upon. Did he say you can repaint the unit? Did he say it is okay to mount shelves and décor on the walls? Did he promise to fix the leaky faucet? Black and white agreements are life savers and help avoid disagreements between tenant and landlord down the road.

Do your own survey

The Amaryllis entrance

The Amaryllis, Quezon City, DMCI Homes

Ask around to find out more about the area. Aside from tenants in the condo building, it also helps to ask the sari-sari store owner across the street or tricycle drivers in the area. Is the area secure or are there cases of burglary that you should be concerned about? Is the area flood-free (or is there such a thing)? How’s the traffic during rush hours?

Read everything including the fine print

Rental rate and payment date are not the only important things to take note of when renting. Take time to read everything and thank yourself later on.

Always negotiate

Remember that everything on a contract can be negotiated. It won’t hurt to ask, so just try asking. For example, you can ask that your payment date be moved on the 16th of every month because that’s when you have fewer financial obligations. No one is also stopping you from negotiating the rental rate. Parking rates and association dues are also things you might want to discuss. Even the term of the contract, from one year to six months, may be negotiated. Just try.

Renting should be taken as seriously as this is still a long-term commitment. It is still your home. Make sure that everything looks right and feels right. Be smart with your choices and be firm in your decisions. Happy condo hunting!