14 February 2009

An Exercise in Frustration

When we were inquiring about the house, we had a lot of questions as to what came with the structure and what we could do with it. The Avida agent's reply was usually, "You could request that subject to approval." Even our request to see the detailed floor plan had the same answer. He assured us though that Avida was not difficult to talk to.

Okay, so now we made a request to Avida via email and here's how it went (their answer in blue):

Hi Tin,

We would like to request that the back door and the back window on the ground floor be switched please (refer to attachment "Planned Lay-out 1"). This will allow for the kitchen to instantly become a little bit larger (as it's extremely tiny in it's present state).

- Construction of house units is based on standard house plans. As such, request for changes/revisions on the constructed house is not allowed until after the house has been turned over to you. After which, you may introduce the improvements you wish but this can affect the structural warranty of your unit.-

Is it just me or does this explanation not make sense? Here's my response to their reply in purple:

Why can't you just switch it? Anyway, you guys are creating two holes in the wall - one for the door and the other for the window - you just have to switch the locations. Our architect said that it's not complicated so it should not be a problem - again considering that you will create the holes to begin with.

If this is the case, then please do not install the interior partition and the door for the maid's room. Just give us the materials and we'll handle it ourselves. You know, I've been asking so many things regarding the house plan prior to making the reservation but I kept getting a vague "only until after the reservation fee / down payment has been paid can you make a request". THIS INFORMATION SHOULD HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE PRIOR TO US PAYING ANYTHING.

Heck, our agent didn't even know that the bathroom upstairs had two doors - I had to insist there was based on the brochure.

Yes, our agent does not know a lot of things. For example, he did not know that the house came with a septic tank. I was reading the Deed of Restrictions that came with the contract and there was a line about what type of septic tank to install. I asked our agent about it and he advised that all houses these days did not come with a septic tank so that we could have control over the size. He also informed us that it doesn't cost much - around Php 50,000 only.

I told him to double check with the head office. He then called back to tell me that they laughed at his question as all the houses already have a septic tank otherwise it will be a nightmare if the residents were left up to their own devices.

I do not expect the agent to memorize the Deed of Restrictions but I think the septic tank is a major issue he cannot be ignorant about. Is it too much to expect the agents to know what they are selling?

The developers should train their employees regarding the details of the house. This should be standard but as per our recent experience, it isn't happening.

Another thing the developers should be doing is to let the clients agree to the rules first before they accept any form of payment. What they do is to just let you pay the non-refundable fees first and then they let you sign the contract stating that you agree to all their restrictions. What if you don't want to follow any of it? Will they give you a refund?

I will say this for our agent though, aside from being a nice and patient guy, he's much better trained than the agents we met from Crown Asia.

08 February 2009

Read the Large Print

We went to the bank last Friday to sign the loan. The lady assisting us (her name was Ming) advised what the loan amount was and the details corresponding to the loan.

She also advised that while they will take the developer's computation as is (meaning no appraisal needed and the appraisal fee is waived), they will round off the figure to the nearest thousand. So if there was say, Php 928 in small change, we would need to pay that amount directly to the developer.

Okay, no problem.

Later than night, I decided to double check the loanable amount as I was planning to pay the difference the next day. Lo and behold, the amount we signed for was different from the official computation given by Avida. It was Php 24,000 more.

The thing is, the miscellaneous fees were based on the loan amount. So basically, we overpaid.

This discovery then resulted in a late night phone call to our sales agent. His explanation? The bank probably took the first computation they gave. This was used to pre-qualify us for the loan as we wanted to know whether we would be approved before we gave the reservation fee.

The agent was right. Good thing I kept the earlier computations (they were attached to the official one). He promised to fix this on Monday so we'll see tomorrow.

Well, this teaches me yet again that if I want something done right, I had better check things myself. Assuming that everything is in order will result in wasted time.
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