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What Makes a Loft a Loft?

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By : Andy Asbury    99 or more times read
Loft condominiums are easier to describe than define.

Usually, they have huge windows, some exposed plumbing or duct work, few room divisions, and stainless steel appliances.

Interestingly, loft homes and condominiums are classified equally, making it impossible to search for them through a restrictive Internet search alone.

I am a real estate agent in the Twin Cities of Minnesota who has dedicated my business of the last six years to lofts and condos. My personal minimum criteria for a loft are: 1) the exterior walls in the home are either brick or concrete; 2) the unit has ceilings of at least ten feet. Usually the ceilings rise between ten and fourteen feet, and sometimes even higher; and 3) large and ample windows.

Having a broad definition leaves room for both true (also referred to as hard lofts) and soft lofts. True lofts are old industrial buildings converted into multi-family, residential use. As a result, the titled histories of these buildings can be very interesting to read. Soft lofts are new residential buildings designed to mimic the aesthetic of true lofts. The Twin Cities are ideal locations for either development, given the proximity of both downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul to the Mississippi River.

My definition also accommodates varying degrees of open floor plans. Many loft homes will have doors and walls only to surround bathrooms and closets. Kitchens and bathrooms may have lowered, artificial ceilings. Open design is a hallmark of loft homes. Still, some lofts do have more walls. For example, one might include an extra enclosed space specifically to accommodate a small child in a household. Raising children in condominiums is more common in New York City than in Minnesota. However, buyers in both markets have different levels of tolerance for open design and other minimalist breaks with tradition. Developers have responded accordingly.

TIP: If you are interested in shopping for a loft home, you may find it difficult to know whether a prospective real estate agent has enough experience to serve you well. Look for a realtor who can:

  • Quickly tell you if a building is a true or soft loft. If it is a true loft, the agent can tell you a history of the building’s past uses.

  • Demonstrate familiarity with the quality of prospective buildings. Some loft home conversions are completed in haste while others have great design and workmanship. A loft specialist can point out examples of either development, and can discuss the continuum in-between.

  • Answer questions about developers and others involved in conversions.

  • Answer questions about a building’s heating and cooling systems.
TheNorth Loop Condo market in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis is well-known for both true and soft loft options for buyers. Discoverall Minneapolis condos online and take advantage of powerful web tools found only at today.

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