Vertical Living
HIGH-RISES, MID-RISE, LOFTS AND TOWNHOUSES ABOUND IN THE U.S.
If you ask urban professionals the difference between high-rise living in large U.S. cities compared to that in the major capitals of the world, right away they mention the value—larger space and more amenities for the price. Similar to reasonable single-home prices in the region, high-rise properties come in many varieties—lofts, condos, high-rises—that typically are located close to employment centers, major freeways, shopping and cultural venues. With the cost of fuel increasing, many are opting to live closer to work and spend less time commuting. In this section, find out if high-rise living is right for you and what to look for when you begin your search.

SELECTING AN AGENT
Before you relocate to the area, a good idea is to find an agent who is a relocation specialist or a buyer’s agent. A relocation specialist specializes in helping people move to a new area, and many are available through nationwide real estate brokerages. If you’re unfamiliar with real estate companies in the United States, you can ask a real estate agent you know in your current city for a company recommendation or affiliation. You also can go online and search for companies that meet your needs and geographic location.

In selecting your real estate agent, consider what’s important to you. Questions to ask include the following:
  • Is the real estate agent a REALTOR®?
  • How long has the agent been in the business?
  • Does the agent specialize in the high-rise market?
  • How many transactions was the agent involved in last year?
  • Does the agent work full time or part time?
  • Is the agent a good communicator and present himself or herself professionally?
  • Does the agent know the community you may be interested in? This will be important as you’ll have questions about schools and other facilities in the area.

WHAT'S YOUR HIGH-RISE STYLE?
Before you go shopping, review the various styles of high-rise living available in your destination city to determine what’s right for your lifestyle.

Townhouses
The popularity of townhouses and condominiums greatly has increased in most major American cities in the past decade. In the U.S., townhouses are usually two- or three-story residences that are owned individually and interconnected. Townhouses are virtually maintenance free and conveniently located close to business centers and shopping. Prospective buyers will find an ample selection with affordable pricing, various styles and quality features. For many, townhouses provide more space and privacy as there is generally nobody living below or above you. Often there is a small yard for pets and entertaining.

Lofts
Traditionally, lofts were situated in low-rent urban areas. While the neighborhoods were not great, the empty spaces above were appealing to artists who needed large studio space and great light. Times have changed, and these spaces are now desirable. The characteristics that identify loft living today are location in downtown areas or near them, high ceilings, exposed brick walls, pipes and ducts in the ceiling, few hard walls separating rooms, expansive windows, open kitchens, hardwood floors and contemporary design accents.

High-Rise Living
While lofts are open and airy, high-rises are sophisticated and worldly. Chances are that while waiting for your elevator, you can hear several different languages being spoken as the city is a hub for international business. One delightful surprise for many is discovering the views from upper story high-rises. Despite the amount of construction within the urban sectors of major cities, these concentrated areas are very green with lush, colorful parks and trees. One trend that is driving the move to vertical living is interest among empty-nesters to select a more maintenance-free lifestyle. With children out of the house, there is no need to do yard work, pool maintenance or gardening, leaving more time for hobbies and travel within easy access to airports. Amenities also appeal, including media rooms, concierge service, spas and lifestyle programs.

Mid-Rise Developments
Mid-rise properties are defined as buildings that are of moderate height, about 5–10 stories. Nationally, mid-rise properties are enjoying great success and are located and being built throughout the United States. According to real estate experts, this is due to a combination of factors, including excellent locations, smaller buildings (from 70 to 100 units) and efficient floor plans. In addition, limited amenities help keep the expenses down and overall pricing affordable.

Timeshare
“Timeshares” are properties that have multiple “owners,” each with the right to use a particular property at prespecified times of the year.

Condo-Hotel (Condotel)
Unlike the typical “timeshare” product, a condotel is owned privately by a single entity (individual or corporation) yet may be offered for rent on a short-term basis, much like a hotel room. This concept appeals to many investors who are purchasing their property as a part-time residence or vacation home. There are no specific times the property must be rented out—it is simply an option for the owner. In most cases, the condotel property management will handle rental arrangements.

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