You may be wondering whether you can combine two adjacent units in a building into one larger apartment. The answer is yes! Many buildings allow condominium owners to combine units, but there are some who do not permit it. Combining units can be a costly process, but if you have the budget and have gained approval from your condo association, then combining two condos would be an option for you.
Things to know before going for combined units
If you are determined to add and expand the space of your home, you can go and purchase two units. However, there are a lot of consideration you should put into this before doing so. Buying adjacent units and combining them into one would not only take up your time, but also your money.
It is true though, that your property will be very much in demand with potential buyers. Moreover, doing the renovation of combining two apartments into one will enhance your condo’s market worth. So if you’ve been wondering about combined units, we’ve listed here some of the things you should know about.
1. Will my monthly fees be cheaper in a combined unit?
Although your unit should be considered as one after the renovations you’ve done, when it comes to condo fees, you’d still have to pay for the price of two.
Technically, you’re living in two condo units. Moreover, condo fees are based on the floor area of a property so the bigger, the more you’ll have to pay.
Don’t worry though! If you’re very much determined in getting a bigger living space with combined condo units, this is not something you should worry about.
2. What should be reflected on your building document?
It should still reflect two separate units. You are still subjected to continue paying for two real estate tax bills and two condo fees.
Majority of condominium associations impose gut renovation terms and conditions such as requiring owners to have licensed contractor or structural engineer especially if you are going to have some electrical, structural elements or plumbing installations to do.
3. What do I need to proceed with the renovations?
Combining condo units require large-scale construction. In doing so, working with experts like architects, engineers, and contractors would be what you need and securing legal permits is a must.
In some cases, even minor renovation projects require permits from building admin or the property management.
If you’re planning to start a construction on a fully built, occupied condominium, you might have to seek for homeowners’ association approval as well because of the construction noise and dirt it may cause especially to your adjacent units.
4. Do I need to submit renovation plans or project proposals?
In a nutshell, yes. Preferably by an architect, the proposed renovation or construction work should be submitted to the condo management and must be approved before proceeding.
By then, the law will require the board to act upon the proposed architectural plan for a couple of days or else the proposed project will be presumed to have been accepted.
Looking at your proposed project, it should indicate what work will be done, when it will be scheduled and who are going to do it.
In that case, the building associations, specifically the board of director, will be well aware on the timeline of your project and for monitoring purposes.
5. Notifying neighbors and the Homeowners Association (HOA)
Also, you may want to inform your neighbors about your redevelopment project.
Now that you have secured an approval from your condo association as well as the Home owners association (HOA) are informed, your next move must be to update your building document and legal property descriptions with the official surveyor’s office in order to make one unit out of two.
Also a condominium adjustment must be recorded in the land records. You must secure the approval of your association with these requirements on hand and ready.
The works of combining units
After going through the list above, you must think “wow, that’s a lot of things to do!” Yup! that’s just the paper work. When it comes to the actual construction, combining two adjacent units require tearing up the wall between them. That’s why you have to secure that much paperwork!
This is especially true if the property you’ve bought is already RFO or ready-for-occupancy. In some cases though, the developer themself offers the possibility of combining two units during the pre-selling stage.
The pre-selling stage is where the building is not yet fully constructed. So if you’ve bought a property that is offered for combined units, you might just be lucky as they could emit the construction of the walls between two condo units.
The Bigger the better
You don’t have to deal with the common impression of condo living – confined in limited living spaces. A larger unit is always an option in condominium complexes, it’s just that they’re not that budget-friendly.
Even with combining two apartments into one, it is very costly and time consuming and is a lot to take in for a regular Filipino to take in. But for sure, the hassle and bustle is all worth it!
With a combined adjacent unit, you give your family the privilege of bigger condo living spaces. You’re owning two living rooms, bedrooms, and whatever you get in one unit when you combine two.
Design ideas for combined units
Once you start the renovation process, you present yourself more options with what you want to do to the space you’ve bought. However, problems could still arise.
1. What to do with two entrance doors?
That’s right! A common problem of combined unit owners are their two doors. As mentioned in the earlier part of this article, buying a pre-selling property that is offered with an opportunity of combining two apartments into one will bring you advantages (not all the time, though).
But then again, if it is RFO already, you may want to ask your contractor or building management if it is possible to seal the other door.
Whatever you decide to do with the other door, utilize or emit it, as the owner, you should ensure that it is included in the plan approved by the management.
2. Bigger living spaces
Combined units are usually two condo units with the very same layout. So if you’re getting a one-bedroom condo, you now have two! Basically doubling your facilities at home.
In other floors, or condos, adjacent units are not of the same layout so you might want to consider differently laid out units that would fit the living space you’re planning. This is to avoid duplicate kitchen, unnecessary bathrooms, and others. Buy doing so, you’d be lessening the cost of construction in your condo.
Over all, combining condos are not for everyone. It’s a lot of time and effort to put in. So carefully consider if this type of condo is for you before you start hurting your pockets!