How to Find an Affordable Apartment to Rent in Metro Manila

How to Find an Affordable Apartment to Rent in Metro Manila

Moving into Metro Manila and wondering where to stay?

Budget is obviously a huge consideration. If you’re going to rent an apartment in Metro Manila, the rental costs vary depending on the location.

In this article, you’ll learn how much it’ll cost based on an average salary of P30,000 per month as an employee in Manila.

You’ll have to consider your lifestyle, your budget and if you’re going to work or study in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Here are the estimated prices of apartment rentals so you know what to expect:

If you’re staying around university belt:

  • studio type (15-18sq): from P7,000-P10,000
  • bedroom: from P10,000 to P15,000
  • bedroom: from P18,000 to P28,000

For city areas (average condo rates):

  • studio: P12,000-P18,000
  • 1 bedroom: P20,000-P30,000

The Fort & BGC area (condo units):

  • studio/bedroom (unfurnished): >P20,000
  • studio/1 bedroom (furnished): >P25,000 to P45,000
  • luxurious building: >P35,000 to P90,000+

Rental costs per square meter range from P800 to P1,000. For posh or luxurious areas, expect the prices from P950-P1,200 (e.g. 18sq-studio apartment would be around P14,400.00 if we use the minimum cost of P800).

how to find an affordable apartment for rent in manila

How Much Should You Spend for an Apartment?

Financial experts say that you shouldn’t spend more than 30 percent of your income on rent. For an average salary of P30,000, you would be spending between P5,000-P9,000 or P10,000 at the most, but that doesn’t include the utility bills, food, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Especially if you’re just entering the workforce, it’s probably not the wisest move to blow all your pay on your pad. Live practically and ensure you’re actually getting a decent amount of savings out of your monthly income. One of the best ways to do this is to find a roommate or roommates for a 2-3 bedroom apartment. It will give you the space you want, but you’ll be able to split the costs.

What are the Hidden Costs when Renting an Apartment in Metro Manila?

Before you sign the contract, make sure you know the hidden costs of renting an apartment. Depending on your agreement with the landlord, and if you’re going to get either a fully-furnished, semi-furnished, or bare studio unit, you also need to calculate how much you’ll be spending before moving in.

One thing’s for sure, you may not have to worry about the leaking sink or broken refrigerator, since it’s your landlord’s responsibility to cover the costs. However, if you’re going to rent an apartment which is a bare unit, you’d have to be the one to purchase the appliances and furniture.

With that in mind, here are some hidden additional costs for you to consider:

  1. Security Deposit – The landlord will require the renter (or lessee, that’s you) to pay this deposit based on the lease contract. Depending on the requirements, it can be from 1 to 6 months. There’s also the advanced payment, depending on the agreement (e.g. 3 months advance or 3 months deposit). For long-term leases, some landlords will require you to issue checks of 12-24 months based on your monthly rent. Be aware that if you’re a first-timer renter, some landlords may have stringent requirements plus demand you have a co-signer).
  2. Utility expenses – It’s wise to get an estimate of your utility expenses so you know how much you’d be spending. Costs could be around P5,000-P7,000 or more, depending on your personal habits. Note, internet subscription isn’t included here. You also need to include the installation cost from the ISP, however if you’re renting a semi or fully-furnished apartment, the landlord could already have this in place. It’s always best to double check.
  3. Seasonal expenses – During the summer season, you may also want to compute how much you’d be spending on your electricity. If you’re going to use an air-conditioning unit for about 7-8 hours, expect a surge of expenses as well. During the rainy season for example, it’s likely you’re going to use your washing machine to quickly dry your clothes. It’s a good idea to think about how the seasons affect your own day to day expenses.
  4. Monthly Association dues – Clarify with your landlord if you’ll be paying monthly association dues. If you’re going to rent a condo unit, you’re obliged to pay these dues. The amount may vary depending on inclusions. Late payments have penalties and could range from about 4% to 5%.
  5. Cost of renter’s insurance – If you’re moving in the place, you also need to consider how much renter’s insurance is. It’s best to factor in not only the annual fee, but also the premiums associated with the policy.
  6. Pet rent and deposits – if you’re a pet lover and plan to live with your furry friend, also think about whether the apartment is pet-friendly. Some landlords don’t allow pets to avoid the potential damages they could cause. Even if the landlord permits pets on the premises, bear in mind that any damages resulting from that pet will come out of your pocket.
  7. Cleaning and maintenance fees – moving in doesn’t mean you’re going to be all set and ready. You also need to clean the space. Cleaning services can be around P300 or more and some even charge by the hour. If you’re on a tight budget, you can always do it by yourself or get some friends to help.
  8. Parking fees (in and outside the premises) – Parking fees are costly in metro areas. There’s no such thing as “free” safe parking. As a result, most establishments and condo units have parking fees that can be about P30 for the first 2-3 hours, and about P10-35 for the succeeding hours. There are also overnight parking fees. So, if you’re going to rent a condo and you have a car, make sure you ask for the rates.
  9. Moving costs – you may have to hire vans or trucks to help you move your furniture and other items. Depending on how many possessions you have, this can get expensive quite quickly.

Benefits of Living within or near the CBDs (Makati, BGC, Ortigas) or your workplace

If you decided to live within the CBDs and near your office, you’d be saving more on transportation costs and avoiding the stress of the commuter traffic. You’ll be more productive and be able to benefit from the convenience of the surrounding shops instead of wasting time in traffic jams. In a world that is increasingly busy, it’s important that don’t just consider monetary costs, but time as well.

Responsibilities and Limitations When Renting an Apartment in Manila

You also need to consider your responsibilities and limitations when you rent an apartment in Manila.

First, it’s your responsibility to take care of the apartment. You don’t own it, but you’re still providing income for your landlord and you need to read the clauses within the contract to know your rights as a tenant.

Second, if you’re going to rent a place within or near the CBDs, expect that you’re going to spend more on food – the prices are higher in these areas. For example, if you’re going to shop for groceries in SM Supermarkets, expect the price of fresh goods, from fruits to vegetables and dry goods like rice, eggs, and milk to be higher. Your food allowance per month could be around P5,000-P8,000 or if you’re thrifty, you can spend about P4,000. Your McDonald’s meals and Jollibee takeouts are not included here.

Third, going to wet markets early in the morning would be inconvenient for you, but the prices there are much cheaper. You may want to schedule a weekly visit to wet markets during your free time on weekends, instead of going to shopping malls.

If you’re going to rent a place away from the CBDs, you’ll save more on the apartment rent. But you’ll have to consider the transportation cost.

  • One-way fare for local transportation is about P10
  • Monthly pass for the MRT is about P500
  • Taxi (normal tariff is about P40 with additional P14 for succeeding KM)
  • Grab car for about one-way fare P100-180 (rush hour rates not included)
  • Plus, the time wasted in traffic

Lastly, you also have to abide by your landlord’s rules when it comes to your visitors or any plans you have at your new place. When it comes to late night parties and noisy visitors, expect that you may have to agree with the terms and conditions set before you.

Most popular realestate portals in Manila

Now that you’ve considered the costs, why not get started with your search. You can check the following portals for apartment rentals:

Pro tip: It’s better to look for direct leads so you won’t have to pay for the broker or agent’s fee. Also, you may want to join Facebook groups and search for apartment rentals. Post an update and ask for your friend’s recommendations.

Still thinking if renting an entire apartment or sharing it with a friend or colleague works for you? Make sure you check the hidden costs and also if the place if flood-free. Remember that living in the metro means you’re also at risk of floods when typhoons hit the region.