Apartment Guru: Finding a Live/Work Space

live/work apartmentDear Apartment Guru,

My boss asked me to help him find a live/work loft in Midtown Manhattan. Would you recommend mentioning that he is planning to work from home in his new apartment when speaking with building managers and brokers? Also, do you have any suggestions to help me find a place for him?

-- The Amazing Apartment-Hunting AssistantMy Dear A-Ha,

My my my, do you also make coffee and vacuum the floors? If so, when you finish apartment hunting for your boss can you come over and pick up my grocery list? This Apartment Guru is one very busy guru!

To answer your question, Gabe Leibowitz, president of Aboveground Realty LLC in Tribeca points out, "It depends on the nature of the live/work. If it's artistry, there are special lofts zoned for that, though they are very, very rare in some markets. If it's retail or showroom or anything that requires business advertising, they can also be hard to find."

Given that Manhattan is a pretty tough place to apartment hunt without restrictions and special needs, it might take some real patience -- not to mention amazingness -- to find the right place. In other words, how hard you plan to work on this matter is going to depend heavily on how much you like your job.

OK. That's probably putting it a little drastically. The truth is, if your boss merely plans to have an assistant or two, the occasional client, and visits from the cable guy, it might not be as difficult to find a good, workable (and work-friendly) home -- or at least, only as hard as it is to find any decent loft in Midtown Manhattan!

"As long as foot-traffic is minimal so as not to disturb neighbors and it's not too noisy," says Leibowitz, "most landlords don't mind."

However, it wouldn't hurt to mention it to brokers or building managers anyway. You don't want to create a situation down the road where your boss is being asked to pack up his power tools, or whatever tools he might need to operate his custom-furniture shop out of the closet. Because in a moment like that he will turn to you and say, "After you make me my lunch, put up an add on Craigslist and find me your replacement."

As Leibowitz points out, "Any sort of complaint could make things look much worse than they actually are, and make you look bad."

Now, if that happens, Amazing, give me a call. I take my coffee with a little milk.

Happy hunting!

Have a question for the Apartment Guru? Email her at: apartmentguruquestions@gmail.com

The Aparment Guru is Joselin Linder, co-writer of The Good Girls Guide to Living in Sin and Have Sex Like You Just Met. Having rented apartments and houses in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Columbus, OH and abroad in Prague, CZ, she knows what it means to live in home you don't own and still make it homey. Anything she doesn't know, she isn't afraid to ask.
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