When searching for apartments, there is always so much to consider—location, proximity to parking or public transportation, closet space—all of which are hugely important when finding that perfect place.
However, there is one often secondary factor in the apartment hunt that has the potential to profoundly affect your day to day lifestyle: the floor you live on. So, which is the best floor to live on in an apartment? Each option, top, middle and bottom, has its perks.
Living on the Top Floor
Like all things, there are both pros and cons to living at the top. To make the most informed decisions, it’s a good idea to weigh both sides when deciding exactly how high up you want to live.
- Noise: Top floor apartments rarely have to deal with noise from foot traffic both inside and outside of the building. However, if you are a noisy neighbor, living on the top floor could create some potential problems with your downstairs neighbors.The View: The panoramic views from the top floor are nothing to complain about; Keep in mind, though, that you might not need to seek out a Penthouse apartment to get the views you desire. You might be able to see the same sights from a mid-level floor, which could save you money in the end.
- Money: Apartments with the same or comparable floor plans are typically more expensive the higher up they are. And don’t forget: heat rises. Your monthly electric bill could potentially skyrocket in the summer, especially if you live in a warm climate, like the South. If money is tight, you should strongly consider these factors.
- Security: Depending on the layout of the building and its built-in security measures, basement and ground floor apartments can pose a higher risk of criminal activity and break-ins than apartments on higher levels. If your prospective apartment is in a high rise building with a door man, is within a gated community, has on-site security or requires a FOB or code for access, crime is less likely to occur. However, if you fear that criminals could easily access a ground-floor window without an alarm system or bars, you might consider “moving on up” to a higher floor.
- Access: Living on one of the top floors might be attractive, but how easy is it to get there? Does your building have an elevator, or are we talking four to five flights of stairs? Do you have an internal parking deck, but no car? How easy would it be to get to your apartment with two week’s worth of groceries? Make sure to pay extra attention to the ease – or difficulty – of getting up to your place.
Additionally, there’s the added element of the actual move in and move out, which results lots of trips up and down the stairs.
- Emergency Evacuation: Living up high can often make leaving evacuating during a fire or natural disaster much more difficult than just walking down a few flights of stairs. Check out your building’s evacuation route and plan. Will you be walking down 20 flights of darkened stairs filled with smoke? How many apartments, and residents, are there below you that will also be evacuating? These questions aren’t meant to scare you more than they are to prepare you.
- Noise: The benefit of having a top floor apartment means you don’t have to contend with noisy overhead neighbors. However, you do have to whether the risks of any exterior roof damage directly affecting your apartment.
- Natural Light: The added height is a great source of natural sunlight. The panoramic views from the top floor also are nothing to complain about; however, these pluses don’t come without their minuses. For example, the abundant sunlight drenching your apartment coupled with the “heat rises” concept is sure to minimize heating costs in the winter. However, that same combination might drive up your A/C bill in the summer.
- Pests: Living on the top floor means less visits from unwanted pests and critters. Bugs and other pests typically live in or on the ground outside, so they are more likely to infest apartments that are closer to where they live in nature.
Living on the Bottom Floor
A bottom floor apartment, too, boasts some enticing amenities.
- Access: The first floor is ideal for bringing in heavy loads, such as your move-in or that big trip to the grocery store. If you are the type who enjoys frequent trips to the supermarket, but doesn’t like the added exercise of lugging your purchases to the top floor, the ground floor might be the best choice.
- Money: The bottom floor makes for less expensive AC bills in the summer as the cool air naturally reigns in lower locations.
- Noise: While street noise might be a con in first-floor apartments, you also get the benefit of not having to worry about bugging a neighbor below you. If you’re the type who brings a recording of city noises with you on vacation so you can actually fall asleep, the ground floor might be your perfect place to land. On the other hand, late night vacuuming or the high-heel lover upstairs might get annoying for a first floor dweller.
- Pests: When you live on the ground floor, you are generally more susceptible to getting unwanted pests, which can be a major turn-off. But if you don’t mind killing the occasional roach, or have a great plan for pest control, you’re good to go!
- Outdoor Space: Living on the ground floor could mean access to a backyard or courtyard, which is great for tenants with pets, kids or who love entertaining outdoors. This isn’t always the case, but it is something to keep in mind when deciding.
Living in the Middle
The top and bottom floors are both great options depending on what you are looking for in an apartment rental, but when it comes to heating and cooling, and worrying about the trek to and from the apartment, each showcases opposing extremes. As a result, the middle floor is, in a sense, just right.
- Consistent Bills: The middle floor may not get a seasonal break from heating and cooling costs, but it usually sees a steady power consumption rate during each season. Consider a middle floor apartment if consistency in your bills is more important than seasonal price breaks and hikes.
- Access: While the middle floor has both top and bottom neighbors, it doesn’t demand a huge hike up stairs. And if your building has an elevator, access is essentially a non-issue.
- Noise: Mid-level apartments aren’t exposed to street traffic noise. However, you are surrounded by a lot of neighbors, and foot traffic in the hallways may be the trade-off there.
Not sure you want to live in a high-rise apartment building? Determine which type of rental is right for you.