Vertical Living
Mixed-Use Projects
The term “mixed use” is used to describe any development that is a combination of both residential and retail components. An example is a high-rise condo project that has retail amenities on a ground floor, such as restaurants, boutiques or even office space, with residential units occupying the upper floors.

Urban Village Concept
Another popular development approach in a fast-growing city that’s short on available land, the “urban village concept” is a large-scale mixed-use development. Urban villages are centrally located real estate projects that combine numerous business and retail elements with residential product. The idea is that residents have the ability to do everything—live, work, play—all in the same area.

AMENITIES
As with any important investment, ask yourself what’s important and prioritize your needs. What amenities do you really need and which ones would be nice but are not critical? Once you’ve determined your list, you’ll be in a better position to tour properties and not be influenced by extras that can add up. In today’s competitive market, amenities can include a grocery store in the building or nearby, delivery service, valet service, a 24-hour concierge service, roof-top pool, a fitness center, special education and training activities, wine rooms and guest suites.

FEES AND COSTS
All lofts, high-rises, townhouses and mid-rises are subject to homeowners association (HOA) fees, which cover most amenities, depending on the property and also may include homeowners insurance (the building and common elements), waste disposal, garbage pickup, water, cable, exterior maintenance, lawn maintenance, pool and security costs.

DETERMINING IF THE URBAN LIFE IS THE RIGHT LIFESTYLE FOR YOU
The urban scene may not be right for everyone so newcomers should review their answers to the following questions with their real estate agent before making any major decisions:
  • Where is your office or work located? Do you enjoy commuting? Many people who live in lofts, mid-rises and high-rises can walk to work, especially if they live in the central district of their city known as downtown.
  • Are you married or single? Usually, singles love urban life. Young married couples do as well. Typically, when living in an urban environment or city center, you are near shops, restaurants and theaters, and most of the time you can walk.
  • If married, do you have any children? According to real estate experts, once families grow and people begin to have children, they begin to opt for the single-family lifestyle. Many families choose the suburbs.
  • Do you like to travel? Many couples who like to travel really enjoy the versatility of urban life. They can simply lock the door and leave every care and worry behind while traveling. There is no lawn to mow or painter to call, and maintenance is always someone else’s responsibility.
  • How will you finance? Or will you rent? The Los Angeles market is hot and continues to become more and more popular, especially with empty nesters growing in population and more international people moving here. As a result, it’s wise for potential homebuyers to have their financing ready.

Still stuck? If you still cannot decide which type of housing is best, you might try renting a loft, mid-rise or high-rise before buying.

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT HIGH-RISE LIVING
Are you considering buying a new high-rise residence? It’s a big decision. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you purchase in this dynamic real estate market.

Do Your Homework
When considering a new luxury condominium, potential buyers are encouraged to scrutinize and get to know the developer and their track record. What other projects have they developed or been involved with? Who is on the project development team, including the general contractor, architect, sales staff and marketing firm? Discover if the project is financed properly and if the development has any bank mandated sales requirements it must meet before their financing is fully approved and funded. What happens if those requirements are not met? It also is recommended that you inquire as to the status of construction to help evaluate the viability of a new project. Given the variety of condominium projects offered, understand the type of condominium the project is. Ask questions and make sure you know the differences between a condotel versus a residential condo versus a high-, mid- and low-rise. Find out the anticipated date of completion and occupancy, and don’t forget to consider the “big picture” by researching what is happening and planned in and around the area of the development.

Think Lifestyle
When evaluating a potential condominium community, it is important to carefully consider the sort of lifestyle you envision. As you prepare to begin your search, clearly define your desired lifestyle in terms of location, size, amenities, accessibility and use. Weigh these factors carefully and prioritize your must-haves with your wants. Understand where and in what you place the greatest value and importance. For instance, do you plan to entertain? If so, are there features and benefits conducive to those plans? Do you have pets or any other requirements that may have specific restrictions outlined in the CC&Rs (Codes, Covenants and Restrictions)? What are the amenities offered and are there additional usage charges? Be sure to inquire about the rules, regulations and restrictions of the homeowners association that may impact your desired lifestyle.

   
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