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Live-Work Spaces

Posted by Johnine Larsen on May 21, 2019
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Bringing your work home is a good idea, if the live-work space craze has anything to say about it. The only trouble is finding one of these hot, new homes.

A live-work unit combines your living quarters with your workspace. Often the business occupies the ground level and the “home” part takes up the second floor. Sometimes the residential area exists behind the commercial space or beside it, or in the case of an artist’s studio, the living space might just be a lofted bedroom above a studio. Then again, a different live-work space might stack a lavish three-story townhouse on top of a ground-floor yoga studio.


Demand for Live-Work Spaces

Who wants these homes? Artists, for one, and small business owners who host things like classes or photoshoots or anything else that requires a good amount of space. People who work from home but need a professional place to meet with clients want them, too—such as accountantsstartup owners, and traveling salepersons who need a home base.

Live-work spaces see demand from all sorts of others who don’t work in a typical office, as well: real estate agentscontractorsfreelancers, writers, etc. You could do those jobs in a normal condo or house, sure, but a live-work space makes it easier. You get a clear divide between your work space and your home space, which can be invaluable for anyone who struggles with workaholism. The organizational benefits add up, too. But the perhaps the most important benefit? Taxes. As any small business owner knows, claiming that home office deduction requires a completely dedicated work space, and if you say you have one, your chance of an audit goes up, up, up. A live-work space makes the burden of proof ridiculously easy.


History of the Live-Work Craze

Live-work spaces are a hot new trend in today’s real estate, but if you look at things with a historical perspective, they’re a revitalization of an old standard. Walk down any street in Europe and you’ll see old stores with the shopkeeper’s home right above it. Back in the day (think English villages), a doctor’s office used to be a room in his house. Parsonages were similar, too. On our side of the pond, zoning restrictions didn’t exist in many American cities during the 19th and early 20th centuries, so commercial and residential properties mixed freely. So what happened?


Zoning Restrictions

Along with indoor lighting and building codes, the 1900s brought zoning laws. A block zoned for residential use could no longer be used for commercial purposes, and vice-versa. This did give certain benefits, like creating quiet bedroom communities and making taxes simpler (commercial properties are normally taxed at a higher rate than residential properties). Safety regulations vary, too, depending on whether a property is commercial or residential, so zoning restrictions made it easier to inspect and enforce those standards. Those zoning laws still exist, which makes live-work spaces few and far between. Creating new ones gets tricky legally, and cities are reluctant to put in the effort.

When they do appear, the right sort of buyers love them. If you think you’d benefit from a live-work home, shoot us an email! We keep track of which ones are on the Seattle market at any point in time, and we’d love to help you beat the competition and move into a new/old way of thinking about home.

  • Sarah Donaldson
    Sarah Donaldson
    18:44 18 Jul 19
    Darcie was such a joy to work with. She felt like family during the sale of our house and the search for our new home. We may have found our forever home, but if we ever need a Realtor in future, Darcie from Real Estate Gals will be our first call.
    Brian Heagler
    Brian Heagler
    16:55 02 Jun 19
    I have worked with Johnine and her team for 19 years and have always received personal, knowledgeable and professional service and attention! There is never and pressure and they will guide you away from a property when appropriate, which is always appreciated when a market is hot and the tendency is to move quickly. I trust them and have never been let down!
    Anne Slater
    Anne Slater
    18:03 25 May 19
    Johnine Larsen is fabulous! She listened and came up with ways we could get what we wanted in a house and stay within our limited budget. When we found the house we wanted, she moved super fast to get the house inspected and implemented creative ideas to make our offer appealing. And out of 13 offers, we were selected and got our house. I recommend her to anyone buying a home.
    Amy Burdick
    Amy Burdick
    19:13 24 May 19
    Real Estate Gals made sure we found our perfect house! Then, when we were up against other bidders, Johnine worked tirelessly to ensure we were tops! Her extensive real estate experience combined with exceptional character and integrity provided peace of mind throughout the process. She also made sure we received the right value as a seller and got the transaction done quickly and efficiently. Simply stated: there is nobody better to help you find your dream home.
    Bill Hollman
    Bill Hollman
    22:21 19 May 19
    I'd give Real Estate Gals 6 stars if I could. We have used them multiple times, both in selling and buying homes in Seattle and the surrounding area. I can't say enough about the professionalism, knowledge, and patience they bring to the task of buying a new home, or selling your current residence. And they know the Seattle area so well, they'll offer valuable insights into the pros and cons of any location you may be to considering. Look no further, call Johnine at Real Estate Gals. You will be glad you did!
    Beth Guerra
    Beth Guerra
    01:14 18 May 19
    Johnine was a breath of fresh air in the real estate market. She listened intently to our wishes and goals, and was tireless in her search for our perfect house. She is well versed in both Seattle and the surrounding areas. She made sure all the details were taken care of after the inspection, and made the closing process seamless. She even gifted us with a housewarming present. Nearly 7 years later, we still receive holiday cards and well wishes. I highly recommend Real Estate Gals and will look no further in the future.
    Aidan Key
    Aidan Key
    15:44 17 May 19
    Johnine and the Real Estate Gals brilliantly took us through the home buying process two different times. Their willingness to educate (I was new), hear our home hopes, and support us through the process are a few of the reasons that I highly recommend this team. Speaking of a team, I love their collaborative business model - it meant that we--the home buyers--always had a returned phone call and an ability to look at a house on OUR schedule. Truly felt like they place the customer first!
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