The reputation of the property developer is the most important but also the most overlooked factor when investing in a condo unit. Too many people fall for the sales talks, easy payment schemes, and the snazzy model units and brochures, without asking themselves, “Can this company deliver on its promises? Has the company done this before, and how committed is it to making sure I am happy with my investment?”
That’s why it’s crucial for any condo buyer to research on the property developer. What other projects have they done? Did it complete its previous projects within a reasonable time frame? What do people say about these properties? But don’t stop there. The best real estate companies don’t just build a place for you to sleep; when they develop a property, they transform the area and increase its value and your own quality of life. Here’s what to look for.
A clear vision
Some condos are straightforward and simple: lots of residential units and shared amenities like a pool and gym.
Other property developers, on the other hand, take a more visionary approach and create an entire township. The residential units are part of a bigger lifestyle hub that includes recreational, commercial and business districts. This gives homeowners three big advantages.
Firstly, everything they need is now within walking distance. They can buy groceries, meet friends for dinner, or watch a movie — just by crossing the street. Secondly, these developments revitalize the area and increase the property value, especially if the property developer is able to attract good companies and retail stores and transform the area into a prime spot for business. Thirdly, as the value and reputation of the area increases, so does the desire to live and work within the area. Those who are buying condo units to rent out or sell at a later date will have no trouble finding interested parties.
The “visionary approach” — developing an area and a lifestyle rather than just a place to sleep — also gives an insight into the company’s commitment to the property and its residents.
A clear time frame and plan
The most responsible and credible property developers have definite construction calendars, and have the solid financial muscle to complete their projects within a few years. They will declare these plans to the public, usually outlining the number of units sold, the amount of money they will be infusing into the area, and what can be expected at each phase of development.
Newspaper and magazine articles are excellent objective sources, since the facts have been checked, and journalists have already asked the tough questions to verify the property developer’s ability to meet those plans.
Success in similar projects
It is crucial to ask about the company’s previous projects. Check the company website, then do research on each of these projects by checking independent sources: feedback from residents, newspaper and magazine articles, and overall public perception of those areas. Ask friends and coworkers, “Have you been there? Would you live there, if you had a chance?” Public opinion is a good measure of how well the property developer was able to create a sense of value and equity.
However, it is important to use critical thinking and sound judgment while looking at reviews of a property. Are negative feedback or “forum rants” isolated cases? Does a glowing review sound too much like it’s been lifted from the marketing brochure? Get as much information as you can from different sources to get a complete and fair picture.
A property developer that runs short of funds will have to delay construction or resort to using substandard materials. This is why it’s crucial to check the company’s financial status as part of your initial investigation. The company’s financial health can usually be found in business reports. One can also ask friends who are stockbrokers or bankers–they usually have an ear on the ground for industry news on how well a company is really performing.
Another gauge of the “financial health” of a property is to ask how many units have already been sold, or the success of the first or second phase of the project. This infusion of investment can assure the cautious investor that the plans have the necessary funding.
If a property development is a joint venture, do research on the other company as well.
Reputable property developers like Megaworld have the ability to complete even the largest and most ambitious plans. In one newspaper interview, executives revealed that they would invest P65 billion to develop the 15-hectare Uptown Bonifacio. Following the success with prior township projects like Eastwood, Forbes Town Center and McKinley Hill, Uptown Bonifacio will be a hub of residential, business and retail districts that illustrate the company’s “LIVE-WORK-PLAY-LEARN-SHOP” concept.