What to look for when buying a Chicago loft
Let’s face it, some lofts are just far better than others.
Before you buy a Chicago loft, it’s important to delve into the factors that make the space work with your needs.
For example, location, ceiling height, natural light, noise and the exterior condition of the building. And whether you want a soft loft or a true loft.
Let’s take a look at each of these factors in more detail.
Authentic Chicago loft with timber beamed ceiling.
As with all real estate, location is the first consideration.
A building with a great location that works for you is of course paramount.
Public transportation, highway access, parking, restaurants and shops, parks and safety are a few important considerations.
But the importance of location doesn’t stop at the doorstep.
It’s important to also look at location within the building. Is it close to an elevator? A mile walk to the lobby? Where is your parking spot in relation to the unit? Day-to-day, this kind of stuff really matters.
The physical condition of the loft building itself is often overlooked but in fact is just as critical or even more so than the condition of the unit itself.
Older loft conversions can be high maintenance. You’ll of course want to be aware of any special assessments and building issues early in the process.
Don’t waste time looking at loft units in problematic buildings. Work with an agent that knows the neighborhood and the loft buildings well.
The financial health of the association is just as important as the condition of the building.
Make sure to review the association’s financial statement, declaration, bylaws and minutes of the board before you buy.
Windows, light, view
Tall timber ceilings, two walls of brick, exposed duct work, fireplace and diagonal real oak floors make this loft a winner.
Many of Chicago’s old warehouses were built on an entire city block.
For this reason, they are often big and square. And as a result, often Chicago loft conversion units are long and narrow stretching out to just one set of windows at the end. Thus creating a dark and dreary feeling. Especially in winter. No thanks!
For this reason, end units with windows on two sides are what you want. This brings you more light for those long Chicago winters.
Plus, look for “protected” view corridors. Those overlooking a park, canal, or facing down a street, where new construction will have a minimal impact.
And a nice view is always a bonus. That said, don’t pay more for it as in Chicago views can quickly disappear with new construction!
Potential for improvement
Finally, it’s always good to buy a loft that has some room for improvement.
Our client that bought the huge two bedroom West Loop loft pictured above was able to utilize extra living space to create a third bedroom.
Thus netting him a $100k profit when he sold just two years later!