One of our most popular articles on real estate, 7 Useful Tips when Buying a Condo Unit, cited the “reputation of the developer” as one of the key factors to consider before deciding to buy a residential property.
In that article, we wrote:
“For condos that are still in pre-selling stage, the reputation of the developer matters a lot because it ultimately determines whether the condo building will be completed. There have been cases of condo projects in the past that halted construction because the developer ran out of money. In such a case, it would be difficult to get your money back.”
Unfortunately these days, it’s difficult to assess the “reputation of the developer”. Apparently even large property development firms could face problems in delivering and turning over a property to its rightful owners.
Cancelled but no refunds?
Take the case of First Homes Makati, a development of First Homes Inc. which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eton Properties belonging to the Lucio Tan Group of Companies.
A PMT Forum member, alex01952, narrated that the First Homes Makati project was supposedly cancelled earlier this year but, until now, buyers who bought units in the condo, are yet to receive refunds for their payment.
PMT Forum member alex01952 wrote:
I bought a unit at First Homes Makati and have been paying for over two years. The project was officially cancelled last June 2014.
I have been following up on them ever since but they have been giving me the run around every time.
I have a lawyer friend who is trying to help, we sent a demand letter 3 weeks ago giving them 15 days to give me my money back, which amounts to P356,000 without the interest but they did not comply.
We will be giving them a visit and I’m also planning to try and file a complaint at HLURB but I doubt that will solve things. Someone advised me that suing will cost too much so I’m looking for other people with similar cases because a class action Lawsuit would be a better approach.
It’s been five months since they cancelled the project and over two years of investment loss and I’m very very frustrated and angry.
– From the forum discussion thread Eton Properties Cancelled Projects (Looking for other victims for class lawsuit)
It is understandable for these buyers to feel frustrated and angry. In the first place, the project was allegedly unilaterally cancelled, without a justifiable or acceptable reason.
Worse, the promise of refunds of payments they have already made — which these customers are legally entitled to — remain unfulfilled.
About the First Homes Makati project
The First Homes Makati was marketed as a 2-tower condo with 32 floors each, located at Chino Roces Ave. corner Malugay St. in Makati City. It is said to be “steps away” from Ayala Avenue and Gil Puyat Avenue, the main arteries in the country’s business district.
Units range from 18 sq. m to 28 sq. m., costing roughly between P1.6 million and P2.5 million.
The condo, if completed, would have been fully-furnished and move-in ready, targeted to “individuals and couples just starting in life”.
Unfortunately for the buyers, it seems the decision to buy a unit there was not the start of a good life, but rather of a nightmare that appears to not have an ending anytime soon.
Are you one of the buyers of First Homes Makati? What are your experiences? Tell us your stories in the comment section below or in the PMT Forum discussion thread Eton Properties Cancelled Projects (Looking for other victims for class lawsuit).
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