Some of the hottest properties on the market today are conversions of old warehouses and commercial buildings. The high ceilings and open floor plans attract many people, as does the unfinished "industrial" look. Many loft properties are located in newly-gentrified areas, where coffee shops and hot urban boutiques lie along multi-use thoroughfares, making them extremely popular with the urban hip.
Most lofts are sold as condominium properties, which means that they are likely to have CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions) and a condo board that you should examine before you purchase your property. Sometimes there are restrictions that make the property less appealing. It is always wise to ask for an updated copy of the CC&Rs and sit in on a few board meetings to get a feel for the place.
A condominium property means that you may not own some parts of your loft outright. Many condo units are sold as "space", as in you own the space within the walls, but hold the walls separating your condo unit from the next in common with your neighbors. Ask what the loft includes as your personal property - walls, windows, balconies, rooftop?
If your loft is a co-op, you are looking at a different ownership system. You won't actually own the property you live in, but you will be a corporation shareholder. The corporation owns the entire building and you will own shares in that building. It's very important to investigate the corporation owning the co-op before you buy. You will need to pay maintenance fees each month, like in a condo.
Have a complete inspection done of your unit and the building before you buy. This may seem like a lot of money going nowhere, but it can save you a lot of grief if it is found that the building itself is shaky or that the roof needs replacing or that your loft has a huge leak and black mold! A good home inspector will give you a report that breaks down what s/he finds out and you can use that to determine whether the loft is a good buy.
It also pays to research the history of the building itself if you are looking at a loft conversion. Find out how old the building was and what went on in it. City Hall records can aid you in your search for information.
Contact us for more information on lofts in our area