When to Buy a Live Work Loft

What’s not to like about a live work loft?

  • They’re an investor’s dream.
  • Busy entrepreneurs and office workers can go from kitchen to office in minutes.
  • No more costly and time consuming commuting to worry about.
  • If social isolation is no big deal, it’s hard to beat a live work loft for work-life balance.

Seven questions to ask before you buy a live work loft.

Buying a loft around the estate

Is it really a live work loft?

Before you go looking, think it through: what is a live work home and what is a loft good for anyway? If you’re still determined to buy, make sure you are getting the genuine article. Only your municipality can say for sure.

Generally speaking, a live work loft must be your principal residence and have a commercial office or work space. Otherwise, you could be just working from home, with a business licence required.

The area can be a giveaway. If Toronto’s Garment or Distillery Districts conjure up the right image, then check out New Corktown and East Harbour’s redeveloped industrial sites.

Find out what happens to the deposit when buying a house.

Can it be rented?

Not all work lofts welcome rentals (or pets). Before you sign an agreement of purchase and sale, query your realtor about how rentable the unit is. Rentals restricted to a proportion of units may prevent you from keeping your home if you lose your job or get transferred at work.

Why income properties can be a good investment.

That said, an income property may appreciate more than residential condos – and their spartan spaces are cheaper to convert to a live work loft.

And their spartan spaces are cheaper to convert to live/work spaces. That makes work lofts attractive to Investors and real estate investment trusts that specialize in buying investment property in Ontario.

Investing a business around the area

Is a loft, apartment, or house cheaper?

Supply and demand can make buying a loft more expensive than an apartment or house. Lofts are in high demand, and more difficult to find than condo apartments and single family homes.

The high ceilings and open floor plans can also be more expensive to heat and cool, especially in warehouse conversions that weren’t constructed for residential living.

What about those spectacular windows? Expect to pay a lot more for custom blinds or drapes.

Is the location convenient?

Industrial lofts can be in, you guessed it, industrial locations. Grocery and convenience stores, coffee shops, theatres, or day care services may be miles away.

Many former warehouses are tucked away far from the city centre. Bus service may be infrequent (none at all on weekends) and diners could close early, as soon as lunch hour is over.

Unless you have a car, you could feel pretty isolated after hours.

Penalty for buyers not closing on time in Ontario and how to avoid it.

What are the neighbors like?

Just like a house in the suburbs, a live work loft attracts a certain kind of neighbors. The hip creative set living in barren spaces with 20-foot ceilings and a rooftop sundeck may not appreciate tripping over distressed toddlers. Particularly if their work requires peace and quiet or clients who come and go all day.

What to know about buying a commercial building.

Ask your realtor about the demographics — age, income, gender and interests — before you ante up a down payment. A live work loft is not the easiest to resell, so be sure you’ll like it there first.

A peaceful place within the property

Is it clean or green?

Similar to cargo container houses, a live work loft can harbour nasty surprises. Chemicals or solvents used to produce industrial products can linger in a building’s shell long after a manufacturer is gone.

Presumably, the condo developer has conducted an environmental assessment and remediated any potential toxins. But you never know without asking. Hiring a certified condo inspector gives you access to the building’s history. They can review previous building inspection reports to tell you if your new home has a clean or green bill of health.

Check if toxic substances were used at your location. 

How old is too old?

Heritage buildings can be charming. All those multi-paned (leaded glass) windows and wide plank floorboards are surely worth preserving. Unfortunately, the very features and finishes you admire so much may need replacing.

Questions to ask lawyers when buying a condo.

Once a building is past 50 years old, it can require major structural repairs and retrofitting. The cost to bring a heritage building up to modern building codes may break your budget. 

Not to mention, you could be on the hook for energy efficient double-pane windows or accessible features like extra-wide doorways and halls. Apply for Ontario grants to make your new home accessible.  

Is financing easy to get?

Getting a residential mortgage when you work from home takes a quick call to any mortgage broker or bank. If you have at least 5% down, high ratio lenders like CMHC, Canada Guaranty, and Sagen™ (formerly Genworth) are happy to oblige your application.

Mixed commercial/residential loans are a bit more complicated. Your lender may set limits on what proportion of the property is commercial. Talk to your realtor or mortgage broker for financing leads, or ask a bank, trust company, or credit union for a loan or CMHC commercial mortgage.

What’s included in commercial lease agreements.

Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer

Buying a live work loft or any home, on time and budget, is easier when you hire Axess Law.

We have licensed real estate lawyers in Toronto, Greater Toronto Area, and Ottawa who can review all the fine print. We ensure you understand the terms and conditions in your agreement of purchase and sale, and make changes that protect your financial interests.

What to expect when you hire a real estate lawyer.

Committing to write an offer to purchase binds you to a legal contract you may not be able to back out of unless you have a real estate lawyer review it. Axess Law adds clauses that:

  • protect your buyer’s right to cancel
  • make your agreement subject to financing you approve
  • include a professional home inspection
  • or add a final walk-through before possession.

Our lawyers specialize in real estate searches of property titles for problems, then record the transfer of title with local land registry offices. We show you how to add family members to property title in Ontario, and tie up all the details on time, for a lot less than you might otherwise pay.

Close a condo deal for less.

Affordable Flat Rate Fees for Work Loft Buyers or Sellers

Access real estate lawyer for less in Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, or anywhere in Ontario when you buy, sell, or transfer property. Axess Law’s flat fee real estate lawyers are affordable, and our rates are all inclusive (excluding taxes, disbursements, and third-party charges). Axess Law offers you only the legal services you absolutely need. Your final invoice includes no surprises or hidden charges. Your itemized statement of adjustments is explained when we deliver it, and we answer any questions you have about it.

Hire a Real Estate Lawyer, Ontario

Making appointments is easy. Book online or phone our 647-479-0118 lawyer line (toll free to 1-877-402-4207) to arrange a time that’s right for you. Axess Law locations in Ottawa and Greater Toronto Area have onsite parking and easy transit access.

We remote you in by live video conference if you just can’t get to our office on time. Our virtual real estate lawyers can close your real estate transaction online, with a lot less hassle.