Downtown Los Angeles Lofts For Sale – Top Disasters to Avoid When Buying an L.A. Loft

Downtown Los Angeles Lofts For Sale – Top Disasters to Avoid When Buying an L.A. Loft

Pocket Listings - Unlisted, unadvertised lofts in Downtown L.A.
Pocket Listings – Unlisted, unadvertised lofts in Downtown L.A.

With a historic renaissance currently under way, the once blighted neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles is buzzing with new vibrance and vitality.  Thousands of new residents are moving into Downtown every year.   Prospective buyers are seeking to capture the excitement and growth of Downtown while minimizing the risks.  To help mitigate the down sides of Downtown while enhancing the rewards, this article will provide ten of the most noteworthy problems awaiting Downtown loft buyers, and how potential problems can be prevented or mitigated.


Skid Row Downtown Los Angeles
Skid Row Downtown Los Angeles

Nearly everyone has heard about the #1 issue in Downtown, which is the poverty and strife of survival suffered by the homeless and mentally ill community in the City Center South neighborhood of Skid Row.  Downtown Los Angeles is the domain of thousands of homeless persons.  Downtown residents encounter beggars, litter and the appearance of lawlessness, particularly in the center of Downtown.  In that respect, Downtown is like a donut, with the good area around the edge, and the hole in the middle that is Skid Row.  Property values around the outer edges have held their value and increased in value slightly more than the properties closer to Skid Row.


Downtown has other issues such as financing, lawsuits, parking issues etc that buyers need to be informed about before seeing properties for sale.  A Downtown specialist Realtor(R) can provide help to avoid disasters at no cost to the buyer.


More than half of the properties for sale in Downtown are industrial or commercial buildings that have been recently converted to live-work lofts under the City of Los Angeles Adaptive Reuse Ordinance.  One of the biggest disasters that occur, especially when using an out-of-area agent and lender, is when a buyer goes through a clumsy, long process of finding the right place, finally getting into escrow, and at the end of escrow, the lender calls the buyer to say, “We cannot finance this property.  Of course we cannot lend on this property — it is a commercial property.  We only do home loans.”  To make matters worse, the seller is demanding that the buyer complete the transaction right away or pay per diem fees.

Loft Living L.A. 3-hour Tour
Successful loft buyers learn before buying

Another common disaster happens when buyers purchase a property without knowing about all of the problems such as lawsuits.  More than 20% of online listings involve a building was recently or is currently involved in a lawsuit.  Buyer’s need to know what is really going on with a building.  Just in the past few years, many buildings have involved lawsuits about poor construction, crumbling facias, broken promises about parking and lost parking spaces (imagine buying a loft and being told that it includes a parking space and then finding out a year later that your space is not yours after all), noise due to thin ceilings and thin floors, finger-crushing elevator doors, floods and other alarming issues.  Buyers who use an out-of-area agent are most susceptible to overlooking these real problems.

Troubled building or amazing opportunity
Troubled building or amazing opportunity?

Almost as common, buyers face mini disasters without ever knowing it by passing up on an amazing loft purchase because they did not have a Downtown specialist Realtor(R) to let them know that a particular legal problem was actually a presenting great opportunity.  Some lawsuits are common litigation of the Homeowner’s Association suing the developer for construction defects.  A Downtown specialist can help the buyer determine if the lawsuit going to be a problem for that buyer, or if the litigation can actually provide a lower price and then windfall equity after a settlement is reached.

Many buyers try to do it themselves, and they miss out on opportunities that they do not notice or recognize.  Buyers often waste time trying to see the wrong building, not aware that the units are already sold, or the building is only for seniors over age 55, or that the building has windows that do not open, the units have no view or light, the units have carpet throughout that cannot be removed or the units have other issues that most loft buyers find unacceptable.  A downtown specialist Realtor can save time by informing the buyer about these shortcomings.  Instead of wasting time seeing the wrong units, the buyer can be taken straight to the right units.  One wasted day often makes all the difference between failure and success in buying a Downtown property.

Which Downtown buildings have suffered floods?
Which Downtown buildings have suffered flooded units?

Countless smaller problems can add up to major headaches and expenses:  City of Los Angeles required 9A reports can be forgotten by out-of-area escrow companies and out-of-area agents, leaving the unsuspecting buyer responsible for taking care of the confusing 9A report; same story for the L.A. required retrofit inspection; sellers often neglect to install a carbon monoxide detector, again leaving the buyer holding the bag when the appraiser refuses to complete the inspection due to the missing detector — the appraiser then demands a follow up inspection and an additional $150 from the buyer.

Some mini disasters can happen after the buyer received the key and believes that they are safe.  If the buyer is not reminded by the agent to activate a DWP account for electricity, the power often gets shut off of the morning of moving day.  Moving into a condo with no electricity can be a real letdown.  These and many other disasters small and large can be prevented by an experienced Downtown specialist Realtor.

Most buyers in Downtown seek protection for these problems and gain the comfort of experience by working  with a knowledgable Downtown loft professional who visits the 60+ loft buildings Downtown on a daily bases, knows the ins and outs of the buildings.


Corey Chambers, REALTOR® (213) 478-0499

L.A. Loft Blog, Downtown Los Angeles

Corey Chambers L.A. Loft Blog

3 Replies to “Downtown Los Angeles Lofts For Sale – Top Disasters to Avoid When Buying an L.A. Loft”

  1. Buying a home is an important gesture, better not to take any risk and rely on Realtor(R) experts.
    The information that can be found on the web are not sufficient to reset the risks related to a failure in a deal.

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