Most people who consider buying a loft go into it with nothing but ideas of the cool new urban lifestyle they’re about to enjoy. It turns out, though, that there’s a lot more to loft-buying than that, and that there are a lot of differences between buying a loft and buying a traditional home. So what exactly do you need to know?

What Exactly Is a Loft?

Lofts are defined as living spaces that have been made in a building that wasn’t originally designed for that purpose. Old warehouses and factories are commonly converted to lofts, particularly if they have those weathered brick walls and large windows that you see in the magazines. In most cases, lofts have few or no interior walls, which makes them airier and more open than most other forms of home. Loft buildings are usually governed by a home-owners association, or HOA, which is responsible for maintenance of the building and common areas as well as enforcing rules.

Is a Loft for You?

Buying a loft can be a great choice for people who want a unique living space with minimal maintenance requirements. They also come with a built-in community as well as the security of living in a larger building. Some even have extra amenities like fitness centers or pools. On the downside, though, a loft may not be right for you if you need your outdoor space or prefer absolute freedom regarding things like renovations or noise levels.

Does Your Realtor Know the Market?

Once you’ve made the decision to buy a loft, be sure your realtor knows the market. There are some differences between buying a loft and buying a stand-alone home, so many realtors may not be up for the job. In general, you’ll want to conduct several interviews to find a realtor who is experienced in loft transactions and can guides you through the process smoothly. Look for someone who knows the right questions to ask and can find answers about important things like the owner-occupancy level of the building and the reputation of the developer.

What’s the HOA Like?

The HOA will have a big impact on your life as a loft owner, so it pays to get to know them in advance. Many will have an application process so that you can meet members of the HOA to find out if you will be a good fit for one another. Before settling on a loft, try to find out as much as possible about which areas the HOA is responsible for, how much the dues are, and what sorts of special assessments have been done in recent years. A copy of the bylaws and minutes from the last meeting will also be very helpful to you.

What’s Next?

Once you’ve bought your loft, you’ll be ready for years of low-maintenance leisure. Just be sure that you don’t rush into the decision. Just like any real estate purchase, buying a loft is a big investment, so it will pay to do your research first.

 

Author Bio: Sara N. Larson has many years of experience as a real estate agent and broker in multiple states. Presently, she is working with Irvine real estate Residential Living. Employing her experience in this field, she shares her insight on various aspects of real estate in her writings.