Two years later after I first wrote my first review about PROFRIENDS, most people must be wondering whatever happened to our unit and how our dealings with the real estate developer, Property Company of Friends Inc. (aka PFI or more popularly known as Profriends), had turned out?
If I could sum everything up in one sentence then I’d say that “We started out right but we were quite disappointed towards the end“. If you must remember, I have also written about the progress of our PROFRIENDS unit here since the time that we first visited it in April 2012.
I think it would be best if I just write down the timeline of our transactions with PFI since day 1 up until the day of our 1st official (and succeeding) unit inspection(s). You be the judge if you still want to purchase a property from them.
1. January 2011
My husband & I were scouting for a property within the Imus and/or Bacoor, Cavite area. Lancaster Estates was one of the subdivisions that we visited since it’s a very big project and is quite popular in the area. And from the “tripping” alone, we knew it was the place for us. Price-wise, location-wise it was perfect for us. We availed a Colleen end-lot unit located inside Lancaster Villages 1 (LV1) which is a part of the sprawling Lancaster Estates community. We were not exactly thrilled with the house design of the Colleen unit which was very basic btw and we also don’t like the default color which is a combination of light & dark orange but it’s the most that we could afford (their English countryside units, Alexandra & Gabrielle, which we really like weren’t available yet at the time of our reservation and both are quite more expensive). Colleen is a single-detached unit with three bedrooms, 2 toilet & bath and with provision for a balcony and a carport that’s good for 2 cars for a price of less than 2 million Php only. The unit was pre-selling though which meant that the unit/house wasn’t built yet and we had to pay for the equity/downpayment first before we can actually move into the unit.
During that time the bank-IBIG option was offered to us which meant that we will be paying for our equity/downpayment (DP) for 24 months instead of the usual 12-15 months. In effect, the amount of our monthly payment was smaller too (less than 20K a month) because the equity/DP of 360,000Php was divided into 24 months rather than just 12-15 months. That’s also one of the main reasons why we decided to pursue with the purchase despite the negative reviews I’ve read online. Magaan sa bulsa. We were paying less than 20K a month which was affordable pa for us.It was an irresistible offer plus PFI promised us that we can already move into our unit anytime within the 15th-18th month of paying our equity.
Another good point that we considered is that Lancaster Estates is very near my parents’ house in Imus & I have a friend who bought a house in Montefaro Village who told me she had not encountered any major problems with PFI (ironically the subdivision was featured in Imbestigador just a few months ago), another friend who lives in Lancaster Residences and an aunt who also has a property in Lancaster Place (now called Kensington phase I think) and they all told me the same thing — that they had not encountered major problems with PFI. These things really convinced both The Husband and I to continue with the purchase.
After much thought, we paid for the 20K reservation a week after our “tripping”. It was also then that our agent informed us that PFI is having issues with PAG-IBIG although we can still opt for individual filing should we really want to avail of the PAG-IBIG financing. Anyhow even if PFI is still accredited with PAG-IBIG, we still would have chosen the bank financing option because we were told that local employees (who do not hold executive positions yet) can avail a maximum of only 1M worth of housing loan from PAG-IBIG and any amount more than that we have to pay for ourselves in CASH (or find a separate loan which is rather tedious).
So for example, if our unit costs 1.8M and if PAG-IBIG lends us 1M, we have to pay the loan amount difference of 800K in CASH! That’s not possible at all given our modest financial circumstances so we asked what were the other financing options available for us. We were informed about the bank-IBIG, BANK, and In-House financing options. We were able to avail of the bank-IBIG option. This is almost the same with the bank financing option except that we were paying for our equity in 24 months and not in 12 -15 months. That time their accredited banks were Metrobank and UCPB only and they let us choose which bank we prefer. We chose UCPB simply because I know someone who had her housing and auto loan with them so I’m more familiar with UCPB’s terms.
2. February 2011
We were supposed to pay for our 1st monthly DP na but we were informed that we had to issue the payments through PDCs (post-dated checks) and that if we are not able to comply within 30 days, our 20K reservation will be forfeited. They didn’t tell us this beforehand. It was really a hassle because we didn’t have an existing checking account that time and it’s very difficult to open one. Maybe because maraming tao ang nag-iissue ng bouncing checks kaya mahigpit mga bangko with letting people open checking accounts. Si personnel from PFI didn’t inform us man lang na puwede pala nila kami i-endorse kay Planters Bank (the branch beside PFI office in Imus). I had to ask my aunt (who also bought a property from PFI) and she was the one who told me na humingi ako ng endorsement letter from PFI then bring it to Planters Bank. PFI could have saved us a lot of stress kung sinabi lang nila agad.
Then we were asked to sign all the necessary docs. After signing all the required docs (contracts, bank docs, insurance applications etc), the next step is to wait for the bank’s approval of our housing/mortgage loan. Dito medyo magulo din si PFI, ang sabi sa amin the approval process is very easy and fast. Kung hindi pa ako nagtanong kay UCPB (our bank of choice) hindi ko pa malalaman that they do not approve housing loans until walang bahay na nakatayo. Eh remember ang sabi sa amin mag-start ang construction ng unit namin on the 12th month pa and matatapos within the 15th-18th month. I had sleepless nights with this thought. I worried too much na baka hindi kami ma-approve with our loan kahit na we have no delinquent records with any bank. I had no clue how the lending process in this country works.
And we didn’t want the in-house financing option because almost double yung monthly amortization that we would be paying if in-house financing kami. Imagine paying almost 30K a month for our house? Paano na ang traveling and eating-out? Lol. We really had to tighten our belts pag nagkataon. So yun. Sana lang naging honest si PFI from the very start kung kailan talaga nalalaman yung bank approval. I had a feeling na sinabi nilang madali at mabilis lang para hindi kami magback-out. And another thing ang daming docs for the bank na pina-submit sa amin from the start tapos pina-resubmit din sa amin towards the end. Confusing, stressful and doble-trabaho lang.
3. March 2011 – February 2012
Not much progress and activity within this time period. I was an obedient customer. They told us na on the 12th month of paying our equity pa mag-uumpisa ang construction so hindi ako nangungulit about the construction progress. Tumatawag lang ako sa PFI regarding our bank loan status.
4. April 2012
We decided we’d visit our unit and see if meron na talagang nangyayari. See my post here. Over-all we were happy to see na nakatayo na yung main structure ng bahay so my husband & I were very hopeful. During this visit (and all the succeeding visits), my father was accompanying us since he works in the construction business and he was checking if within specs yung gawa ng PFI. My father said na within specs naman yung size ng mga bakal, tubo etc. though he was not really impressed plus he is not a fan of Precast pero if maayos naman daw kinabit it can be reliable and sturdy too. Madami pang ibang jargons that we couldn’t understand but we’re lucky that my father looked out for and checked those things on our behalf. Kami ng husband ko ay chemical engr and chemist and we know nothing about construction. So if you know someone who is familiar with construction and real estate, it might be good to bring them with you when you visit your unit or consult with them if you have any doubts and questions.
5. May 2012 – June 2012
These months were spent sa pangungulit about our bank loan status and our unit’s construction progress. My husband and I were thinking na makakalipat na kami soon especially since nakita namin yung unit namin nung April. My father who is a contractor estimates na wala pang one-month dapat tapos na yung unit namin because nakita niya naman kung anu yung mga kulang. But that proved to be a very ambitious estimate kasi nga pala mabagal ang contractor pag ganitong developer ng subdivision ang kliyente nila. My father’s clients kasi were more on mga individually-owned properties na nasa high-end subdivisions so super higpit ng timeline kapag ganung klase ang client mo. By this time medyo frustrated na ako at the rate things are going especially with the status of our bank loan which is no concrete status pa rin. By this time na-vivisit pa rin namin unit namin and medyo mabagal na ang progress pero acceptable pa naman.
6. July 2012
Around the last week of July, a PFI representative called me up informing na approved na ang bank loan namin and that my husband & I have to go to their Mandaluyong office to sign the docs. But the thing is my husband and I were both very busy with our jobs ang hirap mag-set ng mutual schedule. Then we had a planned out-of-town vacation pa so naurong yung appointment to Aug 23, 2012! Almost a month later. But this one I must admit it’s our fault.
7. August 2012
We went to UCPB office in Makati to sign the docs and the Letter of Guarantee (LOG). Straight from the airport pa kami nyan. Buti na lang our flight was not delayed and umabot kami. We signed the docs but we were asked to submit another set of docs na previously na-submit na namin. I’m not sure if it’s their way of verifying info or something pero hassle siya. The UCPB personnel told us to wait for further notice from PFI. We got to visit our unit again pero parang wala na rin masyadong nadagdag from our last visit.
8. September 2012
Na take-out na yung loan namin by September 25, 2012 so I was making a regular follow-up na with PFI kung kelan ang 1st official inspection namin. They told me to call them after 2-3 weeks and by then ready na yung CFI (Clearance for Inspection). Obviously, by this time, delayed na sila sa pangako nilang makakalipat kami sa unit namin within the 15-18th month of paying our equity. Ito yung point na yung ibang unit buyers ay nagagalit na sa kanila because what if you’re just renting? Di bale nadodoble yung gastos mo dahil instead na tinitirhan mo na yung unit mo sa Lancaster (na binabayaran mo) eh umuupa ka pa ng another house kasi hindi pa siya pwedeng tirhan. But us? We’ve been very understanding and patient with them kasi nakatira naman kami sa house ng in-laws ko kaya hindi kami masyadong pressured na makalipat agad. At this time medyo pinagtatanggol at jina-justify ko pa nga si PFI and at some point even, there were people who were accusing me of working for PFI or being an employee of PFI. On my part, I just wanted to stay positive amidst all the chaos and the negative feedback surrounding PFI. And anyway, wala naman talagang MAJOR problem encountered with our unit except for the DELAY (which for most people is major already and I can’t blame them for that. iba-iba tayo ng situation & circumstances).
9. October 2012
By the 3rd week I started bugging PFI about our inspection schedule. Ito na ang clincher. Sabi ng girl na nakausap ko, Melai daw ang name niya, ready na daw ang CFI so I said can they please transmit it to their Imus office kasi maliligaw kami pag pumunta kami sa Mandaluyong office plus malayo ang Mandaluyong from our place. We’re from Paranaque. Okay daw but it will take 5 working days. Sabi ko okay. Malinaw yan di ba. After a few days I called them up again asking if nareceive na ng Imus office. Hindi pa daw pero in transit na. Wala pang 5 days ‘to so I let it go. After more than a week I called again and guess what, naka-hold daw yung CFI namin because PFI engineers have to do their own inspection first to ensure that we are satisfied with our unit come our first (official) inspection. I was quite irritated pero I didn’t let it show in my voice. Sabi ko na lang na sana i-ensure nila na maayos and kumpleto na yung unit by our 1st inspection. By this time bawal na mag-visit sa site. Mahigpit na ang policy nila na No CFI, no entry but since marami ng nakatira sa LV1 we were able to arrange to still enter the village and check our unit. In fairness, konti na lang ang kulang like the main door, sliding glass backdoor, toilet bowls, electrical fixtures, sink. My father said normally kahit 2 weeks kayang tapusin lahat yun.
10. November 2012
Everyday na yata ako tumatawag sa PFI until one day sinabi nila na ready na ang CFI namin. Sabi ko so na-inspect na ng PFI engineers yung unit namin and okay na. Oo daw. On the 3rd week, my husband went to their Imus office to pick up the CFI and the blueprint sana plus the contract to sell etc. pero CFI lang ang available. And December 14 na ang binigay na schedule sa kanya for unit inspection. Nag-protest siya kasi sobrang tagal na namin naghintay pero yun lang daw available schedule because fully-booked na sila for unit turn over.
11. December 14 2012
You may download this lancaster checklist during unit inspection as a guide on what to check during your unit inspection. Please note that this checklist is not mine, I just downloaded it from the Important Files section of the Lancaster Estates Homewoners Facebook page and was authored by other members of that Facebook page.
On the day of our first official unit inspection we arrived in PFI Imus office early, even before mag 8AM. Excited eh. Our unit inspection was scheduled at 8:30AM. We were sitting inside the office waiting for the PFI staff (who will assist us) to arrive only to be told later on na dapat we should have gone straight to the site. We didn’t have a car with us so we asked if puwede magpahatid doon using their shuttle. Ang daming excuses ng driver kesyo matatagalan pa sila umalis, may dadaanan pa etc etc. Ang ending hindi puwede so in effect ma-le-late pa kami sa scheduled time of inspection namin. I had to call my parents to pick us up with a car. In fairness to the girl na CSR sa PFI office, she called the site engineer and informed them na nasa Imus office na kami and ma-le-late lang ng konti kasi mag-travel pa to the Lancaster site.
We then proceeded to their office in Leighton Hall. Medyo matagal kami naghintay dito. Waiting for the engineer who will assist us and kinukuha pa daw kasi yung key ng unit namin. In the end, the move-in officer who accompanied us, Louie, turned out not an engineer after all. Anyway, even if civil engineer ang nag-assist sa amin during the inspection I doubt he will really go into the nitty gritty of inspecting the unit for us. Buti na lang my father was with us and he knew what to check and look out for.
We then proceeded to our unit after some counselling and instructions. And lo and behold, ang una kong nakita pagbaba ko ng kotse was our unit still had no main door. Which brings me to ask why the personnel from the Leighton Office was telling us that we had to wait because they had to get the key to our unit first. From that very moment I noticed my husband started to be in a bad mood already. And upon entering our unit, he got even angrier because we saw that (apart from the newly installed sliding glass backdoor), no improvement has been made at all since the last time we visited our unit in October! Remember their excuse about our unit being re-inspected by PFI engineers to ensure that we are satisfied come our 1st inspection. Excuse my expression but that excuse was pure bullshit! Bakit pa kasi kailangang magsinungaling at paasahin ang unit owner? Sana pinag-inspect na lang nila kami agad nung October kasi pareho lang naman yung hitsura/state ng unit namin. Nasayang lang ang almost 2 months na paghihintay sa wala. So ayun we proceeded in checking the defects. Except for the uninstalled items and fixtures, minor lang naman ang mga defects that we saw like hairline wall cracks (konti lang), windows that need to be oiled, and some parts of the house that need repainting plus the outside area (within the perimeter fence) had so many debris and there was foul odor (possibly from animal poop) emanating from it.
So there. That’s how our transaction with PFI turned out. Below is a photo of our Buyer’s Contact Report which contains the list of defects we found in our unit. Actually there were no MAJOR defects found but IMO, the unit was not presentable for inspection for chrissake! Hindi man lang inayos/nilinis muna or chineck saglit before ipakita sa amin.
I still wanted to remain as objective and honest as I could by not posting right after the inspection on December 14. By that time kasi, we were still very angry, mad, disappointed, sad– lahat na because I feel that I have given PFI too much leniency & benefit of the doubt but they still disappointed us towards the end. By now, we’re quite at peace with the fact that we were not able to spend Christmas in our house yet. Hopefully our January 22 2nd inspection will yield better results. And after reading other buyers’ stories and experiences, siguro maku-consider pa na maswerte kami ng husband ko because minor defects lang ang na-encounter namin sa unit namin. But still, that is not an excuse for PFI to be lax about their service. I hope they consider and review the complaints from their customers.
We are not out here to ruin PFI’s reputation. Why would I do that when my husband & I will become residents of one of their communities in the future? The only aim of this blog (and other forums) is to call PFI’s attention and have them straighten their act and possibly give their customers the quality house and service they rightfully deserve.
Jan 22 – the day of our second inspection. We arrived in PFI office in Leighton Hall at around 9AM. Louie, the guy who previously assisted us during our first inspection, was the one who attended to us again. A few days before our 2nd inspection, I texted Louie if the 2nd inspection will push through since my husband’s and my time were both important and we didn’t want our vacation leaves be put into waste. He told us we could always contact him during office hours if we have any questions. Well, I did not receive any response. When I told Louie about this, he just apologized profusely and told me that Allen (whom we haven’t seen and met) was actually the one in charge of our unit and was the one assigned to update/contact us. But still it’s common courtesy to reply to customers to clarify/confirm appointments. We were really disappointed that they cannot commit to their customers and had to point fingers to each other.
Moving on, it took more than 30 minutes to proceed to our unit. I didn’t know why. We were just there in their office, waiting. When I asked Louie he told us he was still coordinating with people from the engineering office and was asking for the keys to our unit. So after waiting for sometime, he then told us we could go to our unit already. We were dismayed upon seeing that the main door still had not been installed, a clear sign that we will not be able to accept our unit still. Upon entering our unit we have seen that the kitchen sink, electrical fixtures, the toilet bowls and sinks have all been installed. Thank goodness.
Another complaint that was not addressed was the toilet door in the 1st floor not being properly aligned (albeit the bathroom door had been replaced with a new one) so we asked Louie to take note of this. The protruding metal on the staircase wall is also still in the process of being removed/hidden. My dad told
us it can be remedied even if it really looked like an eyesore. Louie promised us he will look into our account/unit personally since we haven’t seen and met Allen (in person), the guy who was supposedly in charge with our move-in/inspection.
Anyway, we were told they’d aim to have the 3rd (and hopefully!) the last inspection on Monday, January 28. Louie told us he would give us a call on Friday, January 26 to confirm if the Monday inspection will push through. We did not hear from him. My husband still had to contact them on Saturday afternoon but nobody was picking up the phone and they also did not respond to my husband’s text message. An hour or two after, Allen finally called us back to say that the 3rd inspection will be moved to Wednesday, January 30.
We’re still waiting how the 3rd inspection will turn out on January 30.
Again, Louie called us saying that the 3rd inspection on Jan. 30 cannot push through because hindi pa tapos ni contractor yung ibang pinapa-repair namin (yung pagre-align ng bathroom door on the 1st floor) and the main door has not been installed as well because yung supplier daw has not delivered it yet.
To be continued…
After 3 postponed schedules for our 3rd inspection and a number of phone calls made with Louie and Allen, the good news finally arrived. They called us advising that the main door had been delivered and installed. Whew! And the other concerns have been addressed too. And upon seeing our unit we were satisfied enough that we decided to finally accept it. Well, there were still minor issues to be dealt with but Louie was responsible enough to list them down and commit to us that they will still be fixed and repaired even if we have already accepted our unit. We signed the Acceptance document (forgot the exact name) but we still had to go to their Mandaluyong office to get the Authority To Move In (ATMI) document. After securing the ATMI, we had to go back to the Engineering Department in Lancaster Estates to get the keys to our unit (minus the key to our sliding door which was missing and they will look for it pa daw).
Then we attended the counselling and orientation for new homeowners with the Village Administrator. Here, we were able to ask about the policies and rules of our village (LV1) and about our concerns regarding home improvement. The Village Administrator gave us a list of the requirements where everything was indicated.
We then paid for the construction bond (in their Leighton Office Hall) for home improvement. Exterior renovation costs 10k (refundable) + 500pesos processing fee (non-refundable). Interior Renovation (only) costs 5k (refundable) + 500pesos processing fee (non-refundable).
If exterior renovation ang i-aapply mo, sakop na non ang interior renovation and you need not pay a separate fee for that. However if hindi ka pa magpapa-gate you need to pay the interior renovation fee only. For your contractors who will do your home improvement, you will need to submit a form to the Village Administrator containing your contractor’s (workers) information, 1×1 ID photo, and brgy/police clearance. The Village Admin will then give them a permit to enter the premises of the village/subd. Once the home improvement is done, you can then apply for the refund of the construction bond. An engineer will then inspect the improvement/renovation done in your unit to check if nag-comply ka with their policies. May corresponding amount to be deducted from your construction bond for every violation. If wala naman you can get it in full 4-6 weeks after the inspection. It will be issued to you via BDO check/cheque which can be encashed in BDO Wilson Greenhills branch. Pwede rin naman in other BDO branch but you have to pay 100pesos.
Also in fairness to Louie, tinupad niya yung pangako niya na gagawin pa rin yung remaining complaints with our unit even after accepting it. I guess it worked na mabait and maayos kami makiusap sa kanya pero detalyado yung mga gusto naming ipagawa. And true enough, my parents who live in Imus, were visiting our unit almost everyday since Feb 12 and they’ve seen that indeed, PFI workers were doing repairs re these minor concerns (repainting, re-installing some of the glass windows, replacing the toilet bowl seat cover that had a crack etc.)
Currently, we are still having some improvement done in our unit and we hope to finally move in to our new house sometime in March.
After our home improvement was done, my husband and I finally moved into our unit and the next day, we had a sort of house blessing cum dad’s 50th birthday celebration.
However we discovered that there was a leak coming from the bathroom on the second floor going to the living room floor. We filed this as additional complaint and since araw-araw nag fa-follow up ang mother ko with them, nagpadala naman agad ang Engineering Department ng tao for the repair. It also helped na yung father ko knows what to do so siya yung nag-uutos sa PFI workers kung anu ang dapat gawin tapos sila na lang yung nag-eexecute. Medyo hassle ito kasi nagtiktik sila sa loob ng house and they had to put down yung parang beam/kisame right under the 2nd flr bathroom floor. Pero after nagawa, okay na talaga and no leak whatsoever.
Last Saturday (May 04), nag-schedule ang engineering office ng repair sa unit namin. Yung light switch kasi sa kusina namin ay walang cover. And yung key ng sliding door hindi pa rin “daw” mahanap ni Mariel (from the Engineering Dept) until now. So sabi ko wag ng hanapin at palitan na lang totally ng bago kasi 2 months na ang nakakalipas so malamang nawala na talaga yun or worse, binigay sa ibang unit owner. Yung original key kasi na binigay sa amin is for Block 04 Lot 11. Sinoli ko lang nung narealize ko na for another unit yung binigay sa amin na susi. Anyway, ang original schedule is 10AM, walang dumating. Kung hindi pa tinext ng mother ko hindi pa mag-aadvice na resched daw to 1PM. 1PM naghintay kami sa wala. May lakad pa naman kami ng husband ko so we had to leave the house. Nagtext yung mother ko kay Mariel kung darating pa siya, at dahil “professional” sila ayun hindi nagreply.
And then kaninang hapon I decided na mag-commute at sumakay ng multicab papunta sa house ng parents ko sa Alapan. Nakasabay ko yung mga taga engineering department na staff. Ang kilala ko lang dun is yung Ira/Aira whatever. Basta yung payat na matangkad. And she was with another girl and a guy na I assume are colleagues niya rin. Anyway, it was really a turn off because they were talking about a certain unit owner na nagcomplain siguro sa office nila earlier today. And from the flow of their conversation, it seemed like they were mocking the complainant and it dawned on me na wala talaga silang pakialam sa mga concerns ng mga unit owners. Next time sana lang huwag silang mag-uusap ng ganoon in a public place na alam mong may mga taong ma-ooffend. I mean hello kasakay mo yung mga homeowners ng LE tapos ganoon ang pinag uusapan niyo? Walang respeto di ba? It just goes to show na walang professional work ethics ang mga staff na ito. I didn’t want to ask kung saang eskwelahan ba sila nagtapos at hindi naituro ang basic and common courtesy sa kanila. If lisensyadong inhinyero man sila (which I hope they are), the more that I am sad and mad about their attitude. Hindi dapat yun pinagyayabang sa salita, kung hindi sa gawa. I hope PFI does something to improve their staff’s attitude and character…professional-wise at least.