When it comes to urban living, lofts are a trendy alternative to traditional apartments. Lofts are living spaces usually created out of industrial buildings and generally have high ceilings, exposed ductwork and an absence of interior walls. When shopping for a loft, pay attention to certain key features to ensure you make a wise purchase.
Because lofts are built within warehouses, industrial buildings, schools or mills, it’s possible that one phase may be completed while other phases are under construction or will be under construction in the future. The traffic, noise and inconvenience of construction can increase your frustration and decrease your quality of life for months or even years. Ask the real estate agent about the different phases of construction for the loft and what the developers are planning for your building and the area.
Some of the neighborhoods surrounding the loft might not be as ready for residential developments as other areas in the city. The good news is that converting historic buildings in run-down neighborhoods into desirable living spaces means increased neighborhood amenities because developers want to attract urban professionals to the area. Note that even if a neighborhood reclamation movement is under way, it could take months or years before plans can be implemented and positive effects fully realized. The building might also be farther away from key locations that you might need, such as schools, major roads, public transportation stops or even green spaces.
Often, lofts are part of a homeowners association, similar to condominiums. Some associations restrict what can and cannot occur, while others are more relaxed. Home association fees can also be steep. Ask detailed questions about the loft’s owners association, what its rules and regulations are and any other conditions surrounding the property.
Lofts sometimes lack energy efficiency. Concrete floors, brick walls and large windows can let in too much heat or cold if not properly designed. Determine what energy-saving features have been implemented in the loft, such as central heating and cooling systems, tight seals at doors and windows, radiant heated floors or double-paned windows. Ask about the average bills for heating and cooling the loft as well.
by Jenna Marie , Demand Media
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