Can you tell me everything you would tell a friend who was thinking of buying a loft in Portland?
Question submitted by a client relocating from out-of-state.
First you have the real estate adage of location, location, location. Not only do we need to look at the physical address but we also need to look at the height of the unit in the building and the direction it face. In the Pearl, Mt. Hood facing views are generally considered more desirable than city facing views. You will always trade location for price. In the Pinnacle Condominiums, unit 407 was listed for $274,000 and unit 707 for $287,000. Both units are 865sqft with the only difference being height in the building. Per square foot, downtown real estate is the most expensive in Oregon. Expect to pay $300-$350+/sqft.
As of right now, there are 10 listings in the Pearl District priced under $300,000. The lowest priced is $239,900; average price per square foot is $322 and average size 802 sqft. There are lower priced units at both the Uptown Condos and McCormick Pier condo conversions but they are outside of the Pearl.
You’ll need to consider what amenities are important to you. Different homeowner’s association dues offer different things. If there is a gym and you have no intention of using it, you’re still going to pay for it. Also make sure you are comparing apples to apples when looking at the monthly cost. They may include different utilities.
Parking: most loft and condo units priced under $400,000 only have one parking space. Some don’t even have that. More often than not, there wouldn’t be a second parking space available but you might be able to rent one from someone that was not using his or hers. If a second space was available to purchase, expect to pay $15,000-$40,000 for it. There are public parking lots available for monthly rent.
Do you need a true bedroom? Smaller loft spaces make better use of space without additional walls but separating yourself from guests or someone with insomnia can be a challenge.
Things that go woof. Most buildings have a restriction of some sort regarding dogs. Unless they have started building dogs out of carbon fiber and titanium, there is no way that some of the dogs are under the 60 pound limit their building imposes. The rule is there, it is not being enforced but if it suddenly was…
Some have been proactive and had their dog American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen certified. Armed with the certification, owners of large dogs have gone to the HOA requesting approval from the Board before they complete the purchase. Ironically, it is usually the smaller dogs that have caused problems in the past. You’re also going to have to walk the dog or commit to puppy daycare. Our dog gets worn out at Noah’s Arf.
Do you need a deck or balcony? Cocktail hour through a plate glass window doesn’t have the same feeling as having the wind blowing in your hair (and the sounds of the city in your ears)…