For homebuyers who embrace the urban lifestyle, lofts have an undeniable appeal. These highly-sought-after units combine the convenience of apartment living with a sense of spaciousness that’s hard to find in the city’s core.
There are many things you’ll want to think about if you’re planning to buy a loft. One consideration is whether to go with a hard loft or a soft loft.
If you’re unsure about what these terms mean, don’t worry—you’re not alone. In this post, I’ll look at some of the major differences between hard lofts and soft lofts to help you decide which option is right for you.
What’s a Hard Loft?
Hard lofts are typically found in former industrial spaces, such as old warehouses and factories. Fans of these converted units love the soaring ceilings and high-quality construction that’s typical of older commercial buildings.
Because hard lofts are older, they usually have many other unique features that are more difficult to find in new buildings. Here are a few examples:
- concrete floors
- exposed brick
- high ceilings
- large windows
- visible duct work
- wooden pillars
- original hardwood
When these features come together in the right way, they create a stripped-down, urban aesthetic that many buyers find highly attractive.
For obvious reasons, hard lofts are in short supply. There are only so many old buildings in the city’s most desirable neighbourhoods that are appropriate for residential living. In contrast, new builds are springing up everywhere (earlier this year, Toronto broke condo construction records with over 60,000 units sold in the first quarter).
Many buyers believe that because hard lofts are more difficult to come by, they’re significantly more expensive than soft lofts. While the price tag attached to these types of units is often higher, this isn’t always because they’re rare. Many older buildings require frequent repairs, and those costs can get passed on to owners.
On the other hand, hard loft buildings generally don’t contain a lot of on-site amenities, which means residents often save on maintenance fees.
For many buyers, all of the considerations I’ve just mentioned are beside the point. Most people who like hard lofts really like hard lofts, period. But do you fall into this category?
What’s a Soft Loft?
Soft lofts are built as residential properties, which means they don’t begin their lives as spaces in warehouses or factories. But they do contain features that mimic those you’ll find in hard lofts, such as high ceilings, large windows, and exposed brick.
In essence, soft lofts aspire to the hard loft aesthetic—and I have to say, many of them pull it off quite successfully.
Personally, I think that one of the best examples here in Toronto is Broadview Lofts. The units in this South Riverdale building boast massive factory windows, concrete floors, exposed brick, and 10-foot-high ceilings.
Soft lofts also come with their own unique benefits. Newer buildings contain upgraded heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems. The result is often more reliable day-to-day functioning—plus, residents don’t have to worry as much about the financial hit that could result if these systems break down.
Amenities such as pools and exercise rooms are another soft-loft benefit. Newly-constructed buildings are more likely to include these features, since they’re being developed from the ground up.
On the other hand, the authentic look and feel of hard lofts is difficult to beat. Many of the high-quality materials that were used in their construction are no longer available for new builds.
Hard Loft vs Soft Loft – Which Option is Right For You?
The hard loft vs soft loft debate has been going on for a long time. But when you get right down to it, it’s really a matter of preference.
Hard lofts are usually (though not always) pricier. But if you’re in love with the slightly rustic appearance and sense of history that these units provide, you may find that they’re well worth the cost. On the other hand, if you prefer modern finishes and like the idea of having an on-site pool (or other building amenities), a soft loft might be for you.
Not sure what kind of loft you prefer? There’s no need to limit your search to one or the other. Know what price point your comfortable with, and talk to a real estate agent who can show you units of both types that will meet your needs.
Looking to buy a loft in Toronto? I can answer your questions. You can either call/text me at 416-500-5360 or send me an email at email@example.com and ask away!