When hunting for your next apartment, one of the questions you are going to have to ask is “Which floor do I want to live on?”
In terms of view, street noise, security, natural lighting, and pests, the higher floors of an apartment building are generally considered more desirable as reflected in their higher price.
Most apartment buildings build-up to maximize the space that they have and the number of people they can rent to. This means that there are going to be apartments that are at, or close to, ground level, and others that are several, if not dozens of floors, off the ground.
Which floor you want to live on ultimately comes down to personal preference and what features and benefits you value most in your apartment experience.
I am going to go over the SPECIFIC benefits and drawbacks renting on a higher floor gives to a renter over renting from a lower level apartment, and you can choose for yourself which features are the most important to you.
Are Apartments On Higher Floors More Expensive?
The first thing you should know about apartments on higher floors is that they are going to cost more.
Now, I am talking about those apartment complexes that are MORE THAN 6 stories high. If you are living in a complex that has 2, 3, or 4 stories, more than likely the price is going to be the same no matter what apartment you rent because the difference in features between the apartments is negligible.
There are a ton of apartment buildings that DO go higher though, sometimes much, much higher. The higher you go, typically the more you are going to pay for the apartment. And there are a bunch of reasons for this which we will go over. Just expect to pay more the higher you go.
That’s not to say that there aren’t drawbacks to living way up high either, there definitely are. For MOST people, however, the positives outweigh the negatives, and this is reflected in the higher price an upper floor of an apartment building can command.
The Pro’s Of Living On A Higher Floor
One of the best features of living up high! Your apartment now becomes literally one of the best views in the city! Your balcony is your personal escape from the world, and you get to look down on people going about their business from your lofty perch.
There is something that can’t quite be quantified about the view. The higher up you go, the more majestic the view is. Humans have endeavored for thousands of years to build higher and higher structures as a symbol of power and wealth.
In today’s world, you can get what was previously unattainable for most of human history just by signing a lease. You can get views that the majority of kings and nobility were unable to see simply by taking your elevator to your apartment each night. It is really quite remarkable!
The physical height above the ground is, directly and indirectly, the source of the primary benefits of having a higher floor apartment.
Less Street Noise
Being further away from the ground means less noise that reaches your ears in your apartment. Typically, upper story high rise apartments are amazingly quiet as there is limited street noise that is going to permeate the unit.
Even if you have your balcony door open, the noise from the population at street level is going to be drastically muted compared to what it is at ground level. Just recall the last time you were in a major city what the noise level was like at ground level and what it is like inside a building or on the roof of a high rise.
Noise, or the lack of noise, is a huge feature for renters and some people are willing to pay more for silence.
The higher up you go in an apartment, the tougher it is to get to. There isn’t easy access like apartments on the ground level or lower levels. Additionally, potential burglars can’t just scamper quickly up a few stairs to raid your place if you live on the 43rd floor of your building.
The more floors your apartment building has, the more likely it is going to have some sort of doorman or security system, either in the lobby or the elevator itself that restricts people or at least gives them a barrier to entry, when they come to your apartment.
When you have very few people going by your apartment door on a daily basis, you are going to significantly lower your chances of being burglarized. You also get solitude, peace, and quiet, which goes hand-in-hand with staying secure.
A fringe benefit of living in a higher apartment is the fact that heat rises. In the winter months, all the heat that is being generated by the furnaces of the apartments below you is going to come through the floors and help heat your apartment.
This is going to lower your electrical and/or gas costs during the cold winter months. Your fellow tenants below you are actually paying for some of your heating costs!
The higher up you are, the less obstruction there are blocking sunlight from getting in. When you are several floors off the ground, you are going to have no trees and very few buildings that are going to prevent you from naturally lighting your apartment.
Natural light is not only going to save on your electric bill, but it is also aesthetically pleasing to have sunlight, direct or indirect, come in through your windows and porch.
From mosquitos to ants and other bugs, as well as rodents such as mice and rats, a higher floor apartment is going to give you a natural shield and separation from these pesky things.
The ground is where these animal’s food source is, and the higher up they go, the more they are exposed to the elements and the tougher it is to find food and stay alive. So, the vast majority of these pests and rodents are going to stay fairly close to ground level.
The Con’s Of Living On A Higher Floor
There ARE some drawbacks to living on a higher floor, however.
The Number 1 drawback to having a higher apartment is the cost.
The higher you go in an apartment, the more it is going to cost. Landlords for buildings know how much people value the view, the security, and the prestige of living in a higher apartment and they are not scared to charge more for it. More people are placing higher bids for these apartments for these reasons, so it is natural for the price to go up.
Just know that the higher you go in an apartment building, the more you are likely to pay.
Harder To Get To
When you are moving in, remember you are going to have to haul all of your possessions up to your apartment. If you are on a higher floor, that is going to make it more difficult.
This is especially true when you are only a few floors up and there is no elevator. You may think that being 3 or 4 stories off the ground is going to be so much better than being on the ground level, but remember that you are going to have to haul your beds, your mattresses, your couches, and all your furniture up those steps to get into your apartment.
Not every apartment building has a service elevator, making it difficult to haul your things up and down the stairs.
Harder To Evacuate From
The higher up you go, the more time it is going to take getting out of the apartment if something happens. Whether it is a fire, a tornado, a hurricane, or other disasters, there may come a point where you need to get out of your apartment in a hurry.
If you are 50 stories up in your apartment building, it is going to take a long time to get down 50 flights of stairs to safety. Also, the higher you are, the stronger the winds are typically going to be.
In the same way, if someone NEEDS to get to your apartment, whether for a medical emergency or something else, it is going to take significant time to get to your higher floor than if you were on the ground level.
If there is some emergency that needs to have the police or fire department come to your building, the higher they have to go, the longer it is going to take, and the longer it is going to be before whatever is wrong is handled and rectified.
Remember when you live in the cloud, the people that are coming to help you have to travel all the way to the clouds to get to you.
Higher Cooling Costs
The converse of saving the winter heating costs because all the heat in the building rises to the top works the same way in the summer. All the heat in the building is going to rise through the walls and make the top apartments abnormally hot. Thus, you are going to be spending more money on A/C during the hot summer months.
This may or may not offset the money you are going to save in the winter, but just beware that your summer cooling costs are going to be higher than if you were on a ground floor where the ground itself is going to help cool the apartment.
Is It Better To Live On The Top Floor Of An Apartment?
In our opinion, it is better to live on the upper floors of an apartment if you can afford the cost, and you don’t have to personally carry all of your possessions up to your top level. If you can hire movers, or at least someone to help you, living on the top floor of an apartment complex gives you unprecedented views, less noise from the street, and higher security.
We recommend you move as high as you can to maximize your apartment living experience.