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Experts share tips on finding the right condo investment

Brio Tower | May 21, 2019

From managing sailboats in the Caribbean and in Greece, Leli and Morten Wichstrøm have successfully transitioned into becoming real estate investors in the Philippines.

Investing in real property is a major decision that entails a lot of planning and careful consideration.

Whether it is meant as a home or an investment, buying a property should always be based on analytical research and never on emotions.

Take the case of property investors Morten and Leli Wichstrøm who have embraced property investing after their retirement from the airline industry. Despite already having multiple units in various condominium properties, the couple still make sure to do their "homework" before spending their money on a new venture.

Practice Due Diligence

From scrutinizing a prospective property's location to anticipating upcoming developments in the area, Morten leaves no stone unturned to get their money's worth.

"If we see a new project coming up, he (Morten) really does his homework. He uses a lot of time to study the location. Where does the sun rise and set? Where is there least noise from traffic? What is the view?" shared Leli.

"Yes, I love to do that," chuckled Morten.

"I even sometimes go up to the neighbor building to see how high we should  get our unit to be overlooking the next buildings (to be constructed) because air, view, and open space mean a lot to us," he added.

Invest in a sustainable market

After almost a decade of experience as property investors, the couple has come to know the pros and cons of the different housing markets and has found a niche in the middle income sector.

Living in a high-end condo, in fact, made them realize that one need not pay much to have a quality condo investment.

"We have also seen other high-end developments, but I don't know, Morten is more sold on what he calls ‘sustainable living.’ We have friends who have invested in high-end projects, and they have very nice amenities. There´s nothing you can say about the amenities, but there is much to be desired in the unit itself”, Leli said.

 

Morten shows off the balcony of their one-bedroom unit in Brio Tower. “We like to be able to sit outside, and most of DMCI Homes’ units have a balcony. Other developers don’t have balcony or if they have, it’s a small little thing, more like a smoking area.”

Morten likewise pointed out that “DMCI Homes have very good features, with some projects even having better amenities than their very expensive competitors.”

"They are paying very much for the name. They pay very much per square meter. They paid twice as much for only a small studio that we paid in Flair Towers for a two-bedroom unit," Morten said, referring to DMCI Homes' two-tower resort-inspired condo community in Mandaluyong City which was one of their first condo investments in the Philippines.

Find a reputable developer

Satisfied with their Flair Towers investment, the entrepreneur couple have become smitten with DMCI Homes since then, leading to more condo purchases with the country's first Quadruple A developer.

"Many of our friends both here and abroad and mostly living in Norway are asking us to give them advice about investments in the Philippines because they say we have been successful. I say it's very good but you have to be very selective from who you buy from," Morten said.

"We say you have to buy from the right company. And of course they ask who is the right company? I say DMCI (Homes). We have very good experience with them. They are very solid. They are building roads, bridges and hospitals for the government. You can buy from them," the Norwegian national added.

Just recently, the Wichstrøm couple accepted one of the three units they bought in DMCI Homes' Brio Tower project in Makati City, and liked what they saw with the latest addition to their growing investment portfolio.

"Brio Tower has been great. So far the best we have. It's better than what we expected. And it was delivered one year ahead of schedule. Fantastic!" Morten exclaimed.

"We see improvements compared to previous projects. We see that they’re listening to feedbacks," Leli enthused.

 

Leli and Morten Wichstrøm at the roof-deck of DMCI Homes’ Brio Tower project in Makati City.

Put premium on quality property management

And since they are into the condo leasing business, they have to ensure that their investments are well taken care of through quality property management.

Thankfully, they like what they are seeing in DMCI Homes properties which are managed by a team of Property Management and Leasing professionals.

"Most of our investments have been with DMCI (Homes) because we've had good experience with them. Both in the delivery and also quality. If we have issues, they are addressed right away. We're very impressed with that," Leli related.

"People in DMCI (Homes) are very nice. Our overall experience is that everybody working in DMCI is very professional, dedicated and sincere in what they do - whether in administration, maintenance, security, or engineering. During the last property turn-over at Brio Towers, the move-in process went very smoothly. The people in the PMO took their time, and were meticulous in going over the necessary documents. They answered all our questions and doubts; and were very helpful,” Morten pointed out.

More importantly, the couple noted the importance of having the property for keeps with DMCI Homes' guarantee of perpetual ownership. 

"Real estate in the Philippines is very good. The prices here are attractive especially with DMCI (Homes). We have been looking at other developers but we buy from DMCI. We are happy. We have also bought from three other developers but we are most happy with DMCI," Morten beamed.

 

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