A First Timer’s Guide to Condo Living

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Condo Living for First Timers

I recently resigned from my office job and went full-time home-based. I am very excited about this because aside from my new work lifestyle, I have also decided to move out of my mom’s place and live independently. I have always wanted to live in a condo, mainly because I like having a small space that is just enough for me and to be right smack in the metro where everything I need and want can be delivered (hello 8-MCDO!).

Moving in general can be exciting but exhausting especially if you encounter a lot of surprises that you haven’t prepared for. So having been through the process myself, I decided to do a first timer’s guide to condo living. Read through in case you are considering of living independently and want to try out the condo lifestyle!

First things first: List your non-negotiables. As for me, my condo should be/have:

1. Less than an hour away from my mom’s place (I don’t wanna move too far)
2. Fibr internet connection available (bec I am now working from home, this is a must)
3. A swimming pool (for when my nephews and nieces come to visit)
4. Reasonable association dues
5. Free parking (or at least reasonably-priced)

Condo living: Preparing financially

The next step is to prepare for it financially:

1. Budget computation
I totalled all the salaries I get per month less all my bills. I did a quick estimate of how much I can afford so that when I start condo shopping, I already know my price range.
Estimate the cost of monthly utility bills (electricity, water, Internet, cable).

Tip: I use a free iOS app called Spending Tracker which lists all my income and expenses so I can easily manage my finances.

2. Save for downpayment
In Metro Manila, the standard policy when moving in is 2 months deposit, 1 month advance. So I made sure that I have 4-months worth of rent on my target move-in date.

3. List down the basic furniture/appliances that you will need

My mom was kind enough to lend (or give??) me our microwave and coffee maker since we don’t use it at home, the rest I would have to buy. I spent about 30k to buy all my necessities (aircon, induction cooker, rice cooker, rangehood, fridge, dining table, kitchenware, bed, bathroom stuff). The rest I can just buy one at a time.

4. Open a checking account

I chose BPI because I already have an account with them so it’ll be easy to transfer funds from savings to checking and vice-versa. But you may want to consider EastWest Bank as they have a Basic Checking Account that only has a 1,000php maintaining balance (BPI requires 10,000php maintaining balance).

Condo living: What to ask? Guide for first timers

Now that I’m ready to condo hunt, here are some of the questions I asked the agent while viewing a potential unit:

– What are the general house rules? (i.e. Curtain should be of specific color only, no smoking, no pets, etc.)
– Is there a laundry area?
– Where does the sun rise? (My mom wants my unit to be facing sunrise rather than sunset)
– Any establishments within the building? (Plus points for me if there is a water refilling station and convenience store)
– What’s the Internet and cable provider available in the area?
– Meralco and water ready? (Trust me, some condo units do not have those ready yet and may take you weeks before it’s installed — it happened to me! I ended up switching units!)

I looked at 4 units total before I settled in to the one that I liked. I am 3 weeks now in my new place and apart from missing my mom and my niece so much, I love it! The recent couple of weeks were spent shopping for home appliances and it was so much fun picking out cooking utensils and all the appliances I need.

I am designing my unit little by little and apart from the expenses (my bank account just took a deep dive, huhu), I find it very exciting! I browse IG on a daily basis for condo design pegs:


Current favorites (where the above images are taken from): Heima Store and Houzz. I must admit I have no eye for interior design, all I want is something modern and contemporary in black and white. So that’s just what I am going for when buying pieces.

Now that my kitchen is complete, this month’s next project is living room furniture. Yesterday I just purchased the following Ikea items courtesy of Furniture Source Philippines

– Micke Personal Desk White – 4990php
– Tjusig Shoe Bench – 3600php
– TV Bench Black – 1500php


So as you can see, my living room is still empty with only I few pieces in it. That said, I am in desperate need of design ideas (modern minimalist) and where to buy cheap but good quality home furniture, so if you have any ideas I would really appreciate it!

Condo living: What to expect on the first two weeks

Anyway, after a few weeks of living in my new place I would like to share some of the things that you should know as part of your new condo lifestyle:

1. For a 1-BR unit, I thought I can live with just one AC (bedroom) — but turns out it is impossible to survive in the living room with just a fan.

2. Just because you stay in the 20th floor doesn’t mean that it’s mahangin and that the heat is tolerable. Trust me, it’s not. Summer time in Manila is HELL and you won’t last a good one hour in the living room without AC. Ang lala.

3. Your pambahay has to be semi-pang alis. Hahaha! I live in a pretty posh environment so even if I work from home and I can wear daster all day, I just can’t because there are moments when I have to go down (to buy at the convenience store or get bills from the lobby) and I just can’t look like crap.

4. Wireless doorbell is a MUST.

5. During your first few weeks, prepare a lot of gate pass and work permit (I have a bunch with my name, address and signature already written on it) so it’ll be faster whenever you have furniture delivered or service installed (i.e. cable tv).

6. Get to know and establish friendship with the guards as they are your bestfriend that you would be speaking to all the time for instructions and help!

So there! Hope you got something out of this post, LOL. If you are however an interior designer or a pro in condo living, please hit the comments if you have any suggestions or additional tips! 🙂


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