Condo vs House and Lot: Pick the right property for your needs

5 min. read

Philippine real estate today is more than just an investment. The local housing market has surged amid the pandemic as homes turned into sanctuaries for homebound people who seek the comfort of a work-from-home setup, while others sought new places to live where they can experience life at their doorstep.

With the local housing market full of investment opportunities, today is the best time to invest in real estate. There is no lack of options among condominium buildings, townhouses, and subdivision developments offering different payment schemes to suit your goals and budget. But if you are planning to buy your own living space, the usual dilemma comes down between the two most common properties available in the country: a condo unit or a house and lot.

What you need to know before deciding on a condo or house and lot


Fortunately, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of advantages and considerations that can help you decide if owning a condominium unit or a house and lot suits your lifestyle and goals.  Of course, in addition to a property’s pros and cons, your personality and personal needs will ultimately be the deciding factor.


Why go for a condo unit?


Owning a condominium unit is practical for the convenience it offers. These buildings are usually located at the heart of the business and commercial districts to let you live hassle-free in a strategic location with easy access to malls, hospitals, schools, restaurants, and entertainment areas. If you need something in the middle of the night, SMDC condos typically have SM ground floor shops that are easily accessible through elevators.

Living in a condo usually puts you in close proximity to work or school, as well as the creaturely comforts of a modern urban lifestyle. Because of their strategic locations, condo living means avoiding time-consuming daily drives, stressful heavy traffic, difficult commutes, and dangerous night rides.

Living in a condo makes your metro living more secure with its security services. Common spaces on condo buildings are usually equipped with cameras manned by trained security staff to protect the unit owners from intruders. Meanwhile, living alongside other condo residents only means you have more people to turn to during emergency situations.

Condominiums also provide comfort with shared amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, function rooms, and garden spaces. Residents can live worry-free in terms of the upkeep and maintenance being handled by the building administration.

The price tag? Condo units are also more affordable than a house and lot. Apart from lesser maintenance costs, condos appeal tonvestors who plan to rent out their units, singles, newlyweds, and small families because developers and financial institutions offer buyer-friendly financing – with pre-selling units as an even more affordable option. 

On the other hand, monthly dues or the cost covering the maintenance of the building’s common areas such as the lobby, hallways, gardens, playgrounds, landscaping, swimming pools, elevators, and standard utilities like garbage disposal, can be a drawback in condo living. Fairly computed per square meter of living space, these dues are a good reason to maximize the use of building amenities.

To some, another downside is the limitation on customization. To maintain the look and the structural integrity of the building, a condo owner may only have control over the interior unit space. Property extensions are not allowed and repairs must undergo a consultation and approval with the building administration.

Though condo owners are included in the decision-making process in creating policies for the condo, not everyone will be in agreement on the house rules. Some may find them too strict or may run counter to their lifestyle. One example would be rules that restrict the type of pet one could keep in the unit, if not banning them altogether.

Why own a house and lot?


Most houses and lots are priced higher than condo units because they occupy a larger space. More than owning a structure, you own a piece of landwith a value that keeps on appreciating over time.


Bigger families prefer a  house that gives them control over space and privacy. A typical single-detached home has a front yard, a garage, and sometimes a backyard, giving you enough space between neighbors to enjoy peace and privacy. As your family grows, you can also do improvements or renovations on your property, provided a permit from local authorities was issued. For pet lovers, you will have the liberty to own and take care of any pet you want (within reason, of course).


Gated communities provide 24 hour security, roving guards, and amenities like a clubhouse, and stores.


Some subdivisions, particularly those situated within Mega Manila areas and nearby provinces are gradually establishing townships creating a complete package with schools, commercial establishments, and transportation hubs within the vicinity of residential areas.

The drawback of owning a house versus a condo is the bigger financial cost. However, although the initial cost of a house and lot might be more expensive than a condo, the scarcity of land allows it to have higher returns than high-rise properties.


More autonomy also means that you’re solely responsible for your property’s maintenance. When a  roof needs to be replaced, you shoulder the entire cost alone – unlike condo repairs where the total cost is divided among the residents. 

You’ll also be the one to find your own plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and servicemen which makes maintaining a house a bit troublesome and a little bit more costly.


And if you think you’re free from association dues, gated communities also collect them monthly from their homeowners.


Lastly, the most crucial factor when purchasing a home is its location. Most villages are located on the outskirts of business districts so the daily commute might be a bit pricier and the longer driver may be a bit more stressful.

Identify your investment goals


No matter how the real estate market changes in the future, properties in desirable locations will continue to be a rewarding long-term investment. The value of the condo unit or the land you purchase will appreciate with time.


Condo units are good prospects for steady income if you choose your locations wisely. As an investment, condominium properties do not usually appreciate as fast as a house with a building lifespan of 50 years, but condo units can be a great source of income due to their proximity to business districts. Get a prime location condo unit near a school to get student tenants. Pick condos near workplaces to provide employees with a halfway home rental as a place to stay on weekdays. If you can afford it, you may purchase multiple units in a prime location and earn income from rental fees. 


The demand for houses and lots will never decline. And since the property is yours, it can stay in your family for generations. Thus, it can be an investment that you can pass on to your children.


It’s important to look at future planning when scouting for a location for your house. Make sure to look into planned roadworks, and future plans for schools, hospitals, or malls in the vicinity. Developments like these allow the property value to appreciate quickly.

Consider Pre-selling

Buying a condo unit or a house is always a big financial decision. The downpayment becomes the first hurdle that could stop a homebuyer from making the sale. To help young professionals, real estate companies offer pre-selling properties yet to be built – so the price is considerably lower. The downpayment is often divided into monthly installments until the project becomes ready for occupancy. Those who can pay the downpayment in full get rewarded with huge discounts. Aside from the lowered prices, you can have the privilege to select the best pre-selling lots or units. Do you want your home facing a lucky direction? A condo unit with a good view of the sunset? There’s more choices available when you buy early. 

The price will vary depending on the progress of the project. The closer it is to completion, the higher the price tag. While pre-selling also has risks, find a  trusted and reputable real estate developer with a good track record to give you the best option if you are willing to wait. 


Weigh your options

Both properties have pros and cons, so weigh your needs and lifestyle.  Your property should fit your personality and who will occupy the space with you. The needs of a small family differ from a big family which differ from someone who simply wants to invest or make money. When deciding on a property, location always matters. A prime location costs more but it will pay off quicker and better. Check your budget and set a realistic goal. Make sure you have a stable financial situation before buying your house or condo unit. Do not bite off more than you can chew. A good rule of thumb is that your housing amortization should not cost more than 28% of your monthly gross income. Whether you are looking to buy for your own use or for investing, the best choice will always be the property that will give you a better quality of life.