If you’re looking to rent an apartment, you have a lot of decisions to make. From where you want to live to how much you’re willing to spend, you may be making dozens of significant choices throughout the process.
Some you might be prepared for; others will happen without much forethought. For example, have you considered which level of an apartment building might be best for your needs? In other words, would you prefer to live on the ground floor, top floor, or somewhere in between?
This is an issue that could be worth exploring in further detail.
Factors to Take Into Account
At first, this might seem insignificant. If you’ve never lived in a multi-story apartment building, you may assume the only difference between the ground floor and the levels above it are the number of stairs you’ll have to climb.
But there’s more to living on an upper floor than just having to climb a few flights of stairs repeatedly. Other significant factors include:
- Depending on the apartment, your rent may vary a lot between different levels. If you don’t much care where you’re located, you could save money by accepting whichever unit is currently available.
- Does the view outside your apartment matter to you? The floor level — as well as the side of the building you’re on — can affect your visibility.
- Both inside the apartment building and outside, ambient sound can have a direct impact on your ability to relax indoors. Your choice of ground floor, third floor, or top floor will determine, to a large extent, the level of quietness in your unit.
- Stairs, elevators, hallways, back doors, side doors, garage, and rooftop access are all details that may be worth considering in selecting the floor you’ll live on.
- In terms of security, there are pros and cons to each floor. You’ll have to determine which factors are most important to you.
- If you or someone you live with has a disability or impairment, you might have to weigh the repercussions of choosing to live on an upper floor of an apartment building.
Thus, many factors can affect your decision. Depending on the units you’re looking at, you might have the option of choosing between various levels. Knowing the pros and cons of each will help you make the right decision.
Living on the Top Floor
Let’s begin by evaluating some of the advantages of living in a unit on the top floor:
- Less noise. When you’re on the top level, there’s nobody above you to send noise through your ceiling. You’re also farthest away from the street, which reduces the sound level from pedestrians and traffic.
- Optimal security. For the most part, the top floor of an apartment building ensures the highest level of security. Burglars search for the easiest target, so they won’t climb stairs or take an elevator when there are more accessible spaces on the ground floor or basement.
- More natural light. Top-floor apartments tend to enjoy the most natural light in a building. If you’re hoping for a bright and cheery apartment, this will likely be your best option.
Although there are plenty of attractive aspects to living on the top floor, it’s not necessarily the perfect solution for everyone. If you’re scared of heights, for example, you might not be comfortable living on the 40th floor of a downtown high-rise.
You’ll also have to deal with the constant travel up and down elevators and stairs. (If you have a pet, this gets old fast.) As is the case with every option here, there are trade-offs.
Living on the Ground Floor
What about living on the ground floor of a building? Perks of a first-floor unit include:
- Easy access. When you inhabit a ground-floor apartment, you never have to worry about climbing stairs with groceries hanging off your arms, waiting for an elevator to take your dog out late at night, or being forced to climb 20 flights of stairs during a fire drill — maybe in the middle of the night. Access is convenient and immediate.
- Outdoor space. In some apartment complexes, ground floor units offer outdoor living space. Whether it comes as a private patio attached to the unit, or communal space shared by the larger complex, handy outdoor space makes your quarters feel more spacious.
- Lower cooling costs. Apartments on the top floor typically pay a premium for summer cooling costs. Those on the ground level benefit from cooler temperatures. That means lower AC bills.
These benefits can be enticing, but you also have to remember that noise can be a factor. Not only will you have people living directly above you, but there may also be exterior noises such as street traffic.
Some people are also turned off by potential security issues, such as having windows that are accessible from the street.
Living on a Middle Floor
Somewhere in between — both literally and figuratively — are the middle floors of an apartment building. Their benefits include:
- When you live in a middle floor, life is pretty predictable. There aren’t any of the extreme factors that come with living on either the top floor or the ground level.
- Low cost. Generally speaking, the middle floors of an apartment are going to be the cheapest and most cost-effective options. Ground-floor and top-floor apartments typically demand a premium, so the middle floors appeal to the average renter.
The issue with living on one of the middle floors is that you don’t have any distinct benefits. You get some of the watered-down perks of living on the top floor and some of the reduced benefits of living at ground level. This can be appealing to some. To others it seems like nothing special.
Green Residential: Houston’s Real Estate Leader
Nobody knows the Houston real estate market quite like our experienced team here at Green Residential. We’ve been in business for the better part of three decades and have an intimate familiarity with every side of the industry — from buying and selling to renting and property management.
For more information on our services, please feel free to contact us today!