Loft vs Condo - Which Type of Home Do I Buy?
The main distinction between lofts and traditional condos is the layout, because legally speaking, most lofts technically are condos, as the owner owns the particular unit but shares the rest of the building with other residents. A traditional condo or apartment has clearly defined bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens with walls that extend from floor to ceiling. On the other hand, a loft is by definition a large un-partitioned room that has been converted from industrial warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Lofts often contain exposed beams, ductwork, and brick, and they often feature very high ceilings and large windows.
It is generally agreed that the modern industrial loft was first populated by artists and other bohemians in Paris, and later in New York’s SoHo neighborhood and meatpacking district. The demand for urban lofts has increased dramatically around the country in recent years, especially in Chicago. With the growing popularity of lofts come a lot of imitators. In real estate listings, many condos that have high ceilings and open floorplans are often listed as “loft-style” or “soft lofts” even though they have partitioned rooms, but these are not true lofts.
The differences between lofts and traditional condos is mostly structural though, as the process of buying or selling a loft is no different than that of any other condo, as long as the space has been properly zoned for residential use. However, funding a loft and securing a loan can differ slightly, as some lofts are zoned as live/work spaces, while condos are only zoned for residential use, which simply means that condo residents can’t have paid employees come to work at their homes. Funding a live/work space can be different from a regular condo because many residential lenders will not fund live/work spaces, so it’s important for prospective condo buyers to seek out the proper lender.