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Find a New Home in a LoftTOP Resource

Looking for a new place to live but what something a bit different from the usual rented apartment? Maybe you’re interested in buying but don’t like the monotony of the condos available and can’t afford a traditional residential home. Have you considered buying a loft? Often much more interesting architecturally, lofts offer singles, couples and small families interesting living space.

What are Lofts?
Lofts are renovated warehouse apartments usually found in the downtown cores of major cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Lofts have traditionally been located in an industrial or commercial section of a city. As the industrial areas expanded with urban sprawl in the last century, former industrial areas became economically depressed and began to convert their buildings into living spaces.

The struggling artists that first used lofts were looking for an affordable place to conduct their trade. They appreciated the wood floors, the wide-open spaces and the large windows, adapting the loft into an artist’s studio. But they did not have cooking or washing facilities and bathrooms were also considered a luxury.

Who is Interested In Lofts?
Lofts are now popular amongst well-off singles and couples without children. Today it is not unusual for lofts to sell for an easy $1million on the real estate market. Not surprisingly, loft living is much sought after, offering luxurious urban living and high social status. Many loft real estate websites advertise their lofts as being designed by renowned architects with state of the art facilities. Most lofts are two floors, have high ceilings, up to 1400 square feet, offer amazing views of the city, have expansive wiring and electricity, new appliances and furniture and access to decks, terraces or roof gardens.

How Do Lofts Differ from Condos?
There is not much of a difference between a loft and a condominium except that lofts are usually renovated from commercial or industrial warehouses. Lofts can also be rented like apartments, but are usually owned like condominiums. When someone purchases a condo, they purchase the unit in the building and have shared responsibility for the common areas of the building. A loft is considered a condo when that type of ownership is offered.

Lofts are so popular in real estate circles that, to attract more clients, agents offer pre-fabricated "lofts" in downtown areas. Naturally, people flock to purchase these lofts as all the renovation is already done and all that is required is to move in. Loft purists argue that pre-fabricated lofts deviate from the original concept and purpose of the artist loft.

Pros of Loft Living
Some of the reasons people like to buy lofts include:

 

  • Loft-owners appreciate being within walking distance of great amenities like grocery stores, restaurants, parks, fitness facilities, museums and cafes.
  • You do not have to worry about maintaining a yard or garden.
  • Plenty of sunlight and space to do work or relax during your leisure time.
  • Access to communal gardens and/or private decks depending on the loft
  • May be within walking distance to your place of employment
  • If you have private parking, you do not have to worry about your car.
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Cons of Loft Living
However, loft living is not for everyone.

 

  • Depending on floor and wall construction, you may hear noise between floors and suites in a building.
  • Heating may be a problem for your loft due to the high ceilings and lack of wall partitions.
  • Decorating can be difficult as there are no closed off rooms and the whole space is visible to a visitor
  • There is a lack of storage space in lofts and little space for bulkier items like bikes and sports gear.
  • If you are purchasing an older loft, you may need to do extensive renovation to make it livable.
  • If you do not have private parking, you will have to worry about where you will park your car safely.
  • The bigger the loft and the more desirable the neighborhood, the more expensive it will be.
  • If your loft is organized like a condo, there will be restrictions on pets, parking, renting, etc.

     

What to Look for When Buying a Loft
Lofts are usually organized like condominiums so you before purchasing a loft, you should inquire into what you actually own and what falls under common ownership. Find out if you own the exterior walls to your unit, if you own balconies and decks. Determine if you have access to balconies, decks, and rooftop gardens if you do not own them.

Have the Loft Professionally Inspected
Whether the loft is older or not, you should have it professionally inspected. The inspector should pay careful attention to the electricity, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems to see if there are any potential problems.

Insurance and Fees
Ask about what type of insurance the condominium association uses and figure out what kind of insurance you should buy. You may need to purchase liability insurance on personal property like tables, chairs, sofas and insurance on renovations you have made.

Find out what the monthly fees are if the loft is part of a condominium association. The developer is required to give you the budget upon your purchase. Your monthly fees may go up after all the units of the loft have been sold.

Use Restrictions
If your loft belongs to a condominium association you will have to find out about their use restrictions on pets, leasing, parking, etc. Make sure you understand all of the rules and regulations before you sign any contract. If you do not understand the legal jargon, you should consult a knowledgeable real estate agent or a lawyer.