The Loftway Report 2015

5 Feb 2015 · by ChrisSampaio

I just finished our annual Loftway Report and the some buildings have amazing numbers. Get your copy here: Loftway Report

Loftway Report IG 2015


Selling Lofts and Giving Back Homes

20 Jan 2015 · by ChrisSampaio

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For a long time I have been wanting to implement  a charity into our business. Our clients and the world have been good to us and we would like to give back. Starting in 1/1/2015, 2% of the Gross Commission for every Sale transaction will be donated to Giveback Homes, the charity builds homes for the less privileged. They partnered up with Habitat for Humanity and are currently building homes in all over the world. We created a page to keep track of our donations and thank our clients, you can access here: Giving Back.

What is Live-Work Space?

16 Jan 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Live-Work SpaceMany buildings tout themselves as live-work spaces, but live-work designations are not all equal. For example, a primarily residential building that has no restriction on working from home can be called a live-work space but it is hardly comparable to a building that allows you to have employee, walk-in customers or clients, public access parking, or locations that allow more hazardous or noisy commercial activity.

Planning and zoning regulations differ in live-work or work-live spaces compared to those that are primarily residential, but do not restrict a home occupation. Typically, these locations are part of an urban renewal between the industrial and residential parts of a city. Creating lifestyle lofts that include workspace, or work space that includes living areas can be a strong part of a vibrant mixed-used development district. Reuse of historic structures that would otherwise be allowed to decay through vacancy typically enjoys some relaxation of the standard residential building codes under state and municipal laws in many areas. However, new construction live-work spaces usually must adhere to residential codes, including the impact on local school districts.

Who lives in live-work properties?

  • Artists: the phenomenon of live-work properties started in the artist communities when artists and musicians could not find workspace they could afford and so chose to forego personal space and live in their workspace. Many urban centers offer so-called “Artists’ Protection Zones” that impose certain restrictions on rent increases to keep space more affordable for artists.
  • Start-ups: live-work lofts often appeal to entrepreneurs that see their space as an incubator of new ideas. They want to be close to their work so that living doesn’t interrupt the development of their business ideas.
  • Virtual or telecommute employees: unlike artists and entrepreneurs, employees that connect to their place of work via the Internet may find that live-work properties have better access to high-speed Internet that other residential areas. While they may not need to have a separate workspace, many virtual employees prefer to be surrounded by the sounds of other people working to keep them on task. Some live-work buildings even offer community spaces for workers to gather, meet each other, share ideas and generally encourage one another. Often, residents in live-work lofts find that they can use each other’s services.

Is a live-work loft for you?

Only you can know if a live-work situation will work for you. Often, live-work lofts and warehouse conversions are near to factories, railroad tracks and other noise-producing industries. If you need quiet for your work, a live-work loft might not be the best place for you. But, if you thrive on the energy and industry of others, and like the idea of waking up and walking across the hall to your place of business, studio or office, we can help you find the live-work loft that works for you.


What Does the Cost of Living Index Mean?

9 Jan 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

What Does the Cost of Living Index Mean?The cost-of-living index measures the relative cost to live in a certain region. There are several theories about how to arrive at the cost-of-living index, but in general it measures the differences in the cost for goods or services required for day-to-day living, including groceries, clothing, utilities, housing, transportation, health care, building materials and eating out, among others. Because it is an index, it is not an exact measurement, but it is a useful tool for selecting a location to live in if you need to move.

How is it calculated?

In general, the cost-of-living is calculated by comparing the prices for a representative sample of goods, services and other items that would be in a typical family budget. Bear in mind that your budget may not be “typical” even if you believe it is. A cost-of-living index is different from the consumer price index.

The US Government uses the Consumer Price Index (CPI) produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to indicate a measure of inflation consumers experience in day-to-day purchases, changes in interest rates, tax rates and seasonal adjustments. Beginning in 2015, the CPI will base its housing calculations on “owners’ equivalent rent” (what a homeowner would pay for their own house in rent) rather than on mortgage payments. This change, according to the BLS, is necessary to remove the “investment” aspect of ownership to the cost-of-living index. The CPI is based on 100 being equal to the cost of living in 1984 in the same location. Adjustments up or down from 100 mean that the cost of living has increased or decreased against the 1984 set point for that location.

Other indices use different market values to produce their calculations and to extrapolate the cost differences from one location to another. For example, the Council for Economic Research divides goods and services into six main categories. From those, it chooses 60 representative items and uses a one-time snapshot of those items from each location to produce its index and compares these prices from location to location.

Other sources take all of these indices into account to produce cost of living comparisons from place to place.

The US Department of State offers a list of such sources to help determine the best place for you to live in your circumstances. One of those, the Cost of Living and Salary Comparison Wizard, works for both the US and Canada. Simple enter your current base salary and the metropolitan location nearest to where you live and work. Then, choose the location to which you want to compare. The results will compare the cost to live in your current location to the new one and also indicate the difference in what you can expect to earn for the same type of job. A graph will indicate the “net change in disposable income” and an explanation of how those numbers may affect your standard of living.

For example: If you earn $50,000 in Dallas and you move to San Diego to take a similar position, you can expect to get paid about 5.8% more ($52,894), but your cost of housing, food, utilities and other items in the cost of living index will increase by 36.3%. All things being equal, you would have $15,000 less disposable income. So, in order to make moving to San Diego make economic sense, you would need to earn more than $68,000.

What if you have to move anyway?

Sometimes, you have no choice about moving. Your company may relocate you, or you may need to be near to a school or university, or near to family. When you have no choice about moving, you can use cost-of-living comparisons to negotiate a better salary.


Is this Neighborhood Headed Up? Or Down?

3 Jan 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Is this Neighborhood Headed Up? Or Down?When searching for a loft on a budget, you’ll often find great deals on the edge of up-and-coming neighborhoods. But how do you tell if a neighborhood is headed up? Or, if it’s on its way down?

Of course, the first consideration might be financial: Are the loft prices going up but still affordable? Are the taxes reasonable but enough to support great infrastructure and schools? Are there places to shop for essentials like groceries?

More than the financial considerations, however, you need to be clear about the neighborhood’s livability … that is, does it offer the quality of life you’re looking for? Will you enjoy living there? Can your family form an emotional connection to the neighborhood?

Signs of potential

There are several signs to look for in a neighborhood that point to its becoming the next hot area.

  • Proximity: One of the first things to look for is access to public transportation or easy-to-reach major roads. Young professionals and families want affordability, but need accessibility to jobs, restaurants and entertainment, and medical facilities. Find a trendy neighborhood, and then visit two freeway exits or two transportation stops past it to spot an emerging neighborhood. Neighborhoods adjacent to trendier or more gentrified ones may be next for growth.
  • Convenience: In larger cities and denser metropolitan areas, even a neighborhood that appears subprime may be on the verge of urban renewal. Check with city offices to see if an area has been reclassified as an enterprise zone or if there are special tax breaks for new businesses. If the neighborhood is convenient to shopping, workspace and public transportation it may just be the next hot area.
  • Low crime rates: when an area is on a positive growth trajectory, crime rates will trend downward. When the general safety of an area increases, that is a sign that the neighborhood is attracting young families, first-time buyers and even more single women. Use a website such as Crime Reports to check for criminal activity.
  • Gentrification: One of the first signs that a neighborhood is trending upward is a larger population of artists, musicians and other creative residents. Often, when artists settle in an area, restaurants, galleries, music venues, farmer’s markets and other desirable amenities soon follow. A thriving music or art scene in the Hudson Valley in upstate New York, for example, has attracted a green economic revitalization that mixes art culture with sustainable agriculture, and the thriving music and film scene on the east side of Austin, Texas is a magnet for both young professionals and empty-nesters.
  • Prized architecture: When an older neighborhood has significant historic architecture, there is more likelihood that it will experience a renaissance. As you drive around a neighborhood, look for signs that historic buildings and older houses are under reconstruction or remodeling. Areas with a large number of warehouses that are being repurposed into office, residential or live-work space are great indicators.
  • Retail, restaurants and recreation: When large retailers, restaurants, grocers and even coffee shops invest in an area, that is a prime indicator that the neighborhood is trending up. After all, these companies invest millions of dollars in research before investing in an area. In fact, when the retailers are ones that appeal to more affluent residents (Whole Foods, Starbucks, etc.) studies show that property values nearby can increase dramatically. In the same vein, a popular bar, night spot or consistently crowded restaurant points to a positive trend.

Finding the best neighborhood for you

As your real estate professionals, we can help you find properties in growing areas, or those on the verge of a turnaround. The more we know about what you’re looking for, the better we can help you find it. Call us today to get started finding the perfect neighborhood for your family.