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The Agony of Buying a New Condo in the Philippines

210 posts in this topic

I’ve already gone on at length about how my condo buying experience sucked. I went with Robinsons Land as a friend recommended them. He also pointed out that they’re supposedly one of the top 5 land development companies in the Philippines, so should “know their stuff!”.


First of all, I believed the verbal commitments from the real estate agent (Robinsons Land employee) that the condo would be occupied by the end of 2014. Then the agent assured me that parking would be free (then later informed me that B1/B2 parking was sold out and a space in B3/B4 was only about $14,000).


So now it’s the middle of December, 2016 and Robinsons invited me to come inspect my new condo any time after Dec. 4th. They assured me that it would be completely ready for turnover.


I go there a few days ago (Dec. 14th) on a special trip, plus made arrangements for truck, people to travel to Dumaguete to assist with the move, ordered boxes, etc… Basically spent a good portion of past 3 weeks looking into how to smoothly move (not have a ‘smooth move’ either).


I get to the condo (Azalea Place) a few minutes before my scheduled appointment with their manager and am told to go wait in this makeshift office for a bit. They offered me water and I relaxed for 10 minutes. After that I asked if perhaps the manager forgot our 2 pm appointment. I was assured that the delay was only due to a few last minute touch-up details on my apartment and I would quickly be escorted up to my over-priced condo. By 2:15 pm, I was going up in the elevator. All of this was within my tolerance for pain.


Got into the condo to find several workers trying to clean things, paint things, install kitchen cabinets, paint the balcony, etc… The manager shooed them out and we got down to the inspection. Initially I just notices some minor things, such as poor workmanship on the door trim and a missing electrical panel door. Soon enough though, it became apparent that they hadn’t really prepared for turnover to a foreigner, but worse yet, to an engineer accustomed to the perfection of a USA nuclear plant.


  1. Electrical distribution box is missing its cover
  2. Under the kitchen sink has not been finished / painted
  3. Guest CR has a leak in either the sink or toilet (water pooled on the floor)
  4. Emergency fire sprinkler bezels are painted over
  5. Cement or grout heavily splashed onto the CR floor tiles (both)
  6. Condo exterior walls have an inconsistent thickness. For example, the balcony door is attached to the wall and clearly shows the wall is perhaps 1 inch thicker at the top, than at the middle, but the bottom becomes thick again near the floor. Also applies to both bedrooms and the window installations are effected (skewed). Condo's junior engineer admitted that many other owners have noted the same problem.
  7. Guest CR has a missing ceiling access cover
  8. Guest CR shower bar is not attached securely to the wall (see also #21)
  9. Water gate valves in both CRs have a broken wall opening that needs finishing and painting.
  10. Balcony railings and floor tiling have concrete splashes all over them (heavy concentration). Of course this applies to every other condo in view.
  11. Concrete splashes on all windows and balcony door glass (heavy concentration). Same deal, all windows are heavily splashed with concrete.
  12. Air conditioning cage concrete protrusions (horizontal surfaces) are not level (skewed by upwards of 4-5 inches). This applies to most of the other condos in sight.
  13. Air conditioning cages are not secured properly to the upper and lower concrete protrusions. Screws are either missing or just the tips of the long screws actually are attached (due to #12)
  14. Plenty of concrete bits and pieces are on the horizontal surfaces of the air conditioning cages.
  15. Closets in both bedrooms haven't been completed and extra parts for the bar are laying on top of the drawers in the closets.
  16. Tile work around the master bathroom GFCI electrical outlet was not completed and mortar used instead.
  17. Master bathroom GFCI electrical outlet is not level. Upper left corner is almost flush with the wall (sunken), while the other 3 corners are correct.
  18. Blue plastic film on windows, balcony door and balcony railings have not been removed.
  19. Underside of both CR sinks has not been enclosed.
  20. Guest CR and kitchen paint around the grouted surfaces is scuffed (needs repainting / touch-up)
  21. Guest CR tile near shower bar has a broken tile (where the railing is loose)
  22. Master CR piping isn't straight, therefore the pipe fittings will leak in the near future. PVC pipe fittings must be installed straight to prevent leakage.
  23. Balcony base concrete is not completely painted and the concrete finish (render) is very poor quality, to the point of showing rebar.


  • High concern that windows and patio doors are not plumb / level
  • Concern that floors are not plumb/level
  • Concern that interior walls aren't plumb/level
  • Concern that condo dimensions are not accurate
  • Concern that electrical wire size is too small for rated loads. Neutral wire sizes are larger than the hot wire.




















Edited by Mikala
poby, Buko Beach, dockfish and 6 others like this

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Common, that's minor. Don't be so picky.

Try to negotiate a discount and fix it yourself. Having them do the touch ups will never work.


I'm sure they won't be able to fix the issues to my satisfaction, so will negotiate (if they're willing) for a cash settlement. I paid for the condo with cash 3 or 4 years ago, so there's no discount happening.


Walls that are thin in one area, but thick in other areas isn't something that can be repaired. With the profusion of earthquakes in the Philippines, I prefer walls that are consistent strength.


Exposed rebar leads to failure. That'll have to be covered properly.


Windows and patio door installed incorrectly can easily lead to leakage if the drainage isn't correct. Not something I'm interested in.


PVC water pipes that are crooked will leak easily. I suspect they'll try to cover it with concrete and pretend they fixed it.


In my twisted sense of view, a new build condo should be turned over in perfect condition. Even my Filipina wife found over a dozen of the problems.

Runian likes this

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Loss for words.


Several times I've asked Robinsons Land to simply refund my monies and they can sell the condo to someone else. I can hope they'll agree to that, but suspect it would require several years of court time and lawyer fees.

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That's horrible. I can't imagine anyone considering that ready for occupancy. Shit workmanship. The one thing I learned here is never pay for anything before it's finished. Hope you are able to get it halfway decently finished.

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Knowing this country and how they do business here once they get the money there are NO returns or they will give you far less than what you paid...Best of luck man

Mikala likes this

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That's horrible. I can't imagine anyone considering that ready for occupancy. Shit workmanship. The one thing I learned here is never pay for anything before it's finished. Hope you are able to get it halfway decently finished.

It's not possible when buying a condo they want the money upfront or start paying payments so by the time turnover time it's paid for in full, but isn't this generally the way things are done here? Not always but most of the time. The Chinese influence. I don't know how many people have gone to Thailand but generally it's not the way things are done whether it's clothes or condos. The difference between Chinese and not Chinese is Chinese want to squeeze every peso out in profit not in doing a quality job. I know I'm generalizing but generally it's true. But it probably will never change here unless they allow foreigners to own businesses here which is so badly needed. This is my experience here after 16 years. Tell me yours if I'm wrong

Mikala, Don., lolhahaha and 1 other like this

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That a good read for some one who wants to buy any thing here don't, just rent unless you have a lot of patience and a easy going guy, with lots of money to throw around.

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