A funny story having to do with this same question: I am friends with someone who works from his upper east side apartment, and makes his living by producing music. He has a recording studio in his apartment, with no sound-proofing. The reason he has never run into a problem is because he only plays the music loud during the day, when he knows most of the neighbors are at work.
Senior Real Estate Sales Associate
If you are looking to purcahse a co-op or a condo. You will need to purchase an unit that the association says can be used also as an office. It again will be determined by the type of office. If you do not see clients in your office, then they are more lenient.
Speak to your realtor about your needs for guidance.
What determines whether a building is commercial or residential is the zoning. Residential buildings may have ground floor commercial spaces. Similarly, residential buildings may have certain units that are professional space, which may only be used for doctors/medical professionals. Then there is the category of live/work, where a unit is able to legally used for both living space and commercial space. Then there is formerly commercial space, rezoned for residential, which is what most true loft buildings are. That answers the first part of your question. As to whether you can do commercial business from a residential property, generally, no. But it doesn't mean you can't locate a live/work location. To further clarify, you certainly can work from your computer at home doing whatever you like, but as to a flow of customers in and out in a residentail co-op or condo, you will run into serious trouble with the board.
Hope this helps.
Halstead Property, LLC
Key difference between a commercial and residential zoning is USE. Goes without saying that "Residential" use is meant for living. SOME businesses can of course be operated out of a home, but such use is very limited. Commercial zoned properties often carry limitations of commercial use also based on the business type (foot traffic, occupancy limits, environmental concerns etc...)
Key to making the right decision is to define all the ways you tend to use a property, check the zoning limitations. If you find restrictions, find out if you can apply to change the zoning.
Let me know if you have more questions.