When you are looking for an apartment to move into, one of the choices you may need to make is which floor of the building will best suit you. If this is one of your main concerns, you will realize that you typically limit your apartment search endeavors to the floor you prefer.
What is the best floor to live on in an apartment? Depends on your needs and preferences. You might prefer the top floor due to the views a prospective apartment offers, while another tenant might feel more comfortable living on the ground floor since it means not having to deal with stairs.
Making the decision on which floor to live on in an apartment building requires you to take several factors into consideration which will generally have an impact on your comfort.
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The level of security is a key factor when looking for an apartment, and it may vary from one floor to another. For instance, living in a basement apartment or even on the ground floor may automatically mean that you are more susceptible to incidences of insecurity within the apartment building than someone who leaves on the top floor. If safety is a major concern for you, then you might want to consider living on a higher floor.
2. Views from your apartment
If views are important to you, then you are better off choosing to live in an apartment that is on a higher floor rather than a low floor, where your range of view will likely be limited.
Disability is an important factor, especially if you have a mobility impairment and you live in a building that only has stairs rather than elevators. In this case, you may prefer to live on the ground floor of the apartment building since it might be easier to move around. However, this choice is entirely up to you, and a prospective landlord should not make any assumptions on your preference based on a disability.
Living on a higher floor may mean less exposure to traffic and other noises from the street if the apartment building is in a busy area. Furthermore, opting to live on the ground floor may require you to put up with constant noise emanating from outside your apartment, especially if your unit is located near the building’s entrance, stairs, or basically any area where other tenants frequently use.
In an apartment building, unexpected mishaps may occur, therefore requiring the immediate evacuation of tenants to ensure their safety. Some of the situations that may require emergency evacuations include floods, fires, bomb scares, and any other occurrence that threatens the security of tenants.
Evacuating people from the higher floors of the building is generally more time consuming than the evacuation of tenants nearer to exit points on the ground floor. Although such emergencies rarely occur, if potential incidences of evacuation are a major concern to you, living on a lower floor may be the better option.
6. Fear of heights
Having a fear of height, also known as acrophobia, may affect how comfortable you are living on the higher floors of an apartment building. This is especially true if your upper floor apartment has a terrace, but your phobia cannot allow you to step out and enjoy the views from there. In such a case, you may want to consider living on a lower floor in order to truly enjoy the perks of having a terrace.
You may prefer to live on the lower floors of the apartment building if access is important to you. Accessibility simply means being able to leave or reach your apartment as fast as possible from the point of entry of the building. Living on a higher floor automatically means more stairs to climb or an elevator ride with frequent stops. On a lower floor, you can access the exit point faster, especially when you need to leave for work in a hurry or attend to any other emergency.
The rent for apartments that are on a higher floor is generally higher than those located on a lower floor, so unless you don’t mind paying more rent than some of your fellow tenants, you might want to consider living closer to the ground.
When you move into an apartment, you may end up on the top floor, the middle floor or the bottom floor. No matter where you land, you are bound to encounter the good and the bad. Without further ado, here is a detailed look at the pros and cons of living at the top, middle, and bottom floors to help you determine what you can live with.
1. Living on the higher floors
- Reduced chances of theft/crime incidences – When you live on the top floor of the building, you don’t have to worry too much about your apartment being broken into or vandalized. This is because criminals would typically rather go for apartments that are on the lower floors since they are easier to access. On the other hand, burglarizing an apartment on the top floor is quite a task, especially when a burglar has to carry stolen items or scale the side of the building in order to escape unnoticed.
- Better view – A lot of people are attracted to the idea of living on the top floor of an apartment due to the beautiful views that come with higher reaches. Being higher above the ground allows you to see most of your surroundings, hence you are more likely to enjoy stunning views than someone who lives on the bottom floor or middle floor.
- More peace and quiet – Living on the top floor means that you get to enjoy the peace and quiet since you are further away from the noise from the streets than your fellow tenants on the ground floor. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about people frequently entering and exiting the apartment building or deal with noise coming from a shared amenity such as a fitness center.
- Less susceptible to pests – Apartments that are higher up in the building are typically less susceptible to pests such as bugs and wild animals. Depending on how high your apartment is in the building, you are less likely to encounter flying insects since most of them don’t usually reach those heights, and as for wild animals, it is highly unlikely that they will bother scaling the building to get to your apartment.
- Heating costs are lower – Hot air tends to rise, therefore you will find that apartments on the top floors have higher internal temperatures than those below them. This is especially convenient during the winter or if you live in a colder area because your apartment will retain more heat, keeping you warmer than your neighbors on lower floors. As a result, your heating costs will be manageable since the need to turn up the heat during cold spells will not be as much.
- Plenty of light and sunshine – The added height that comes with living on higher floors provides a great source of natural light. The abundant sunlight drenching your apartment is sufficient for you to see during the day, eliminating the need for artificial lights and consequently conserving energy.
- More expensive to rent – When you live on the top floor of an apartment building, it automatically means that you have to pay more rent than your counterparts on lower floors. This is because the top floor comes with many desirable perks such as breathtaking views, reduced risk of robbery, and more peace and quiet. Therefore, as you move in, be prepared to pay more for your top floor apartment despite having the same floor plan as your neighbor.
- A higher cost of cooling – As previously mentioned, hot air rises, hence the higher temperatures in apartments in apartments on higher floors. While this is convenient for cold winter days, it is not as great during the summer when the sun is glaring and the temperatures are unbearable. Opening your windows might not do the trick so you will be forced to rely on your air conditioning unit to regulate the temperatures. Since your AC is working harder to keep your apartment cool, your electric bill will also increase significantly.
- Evacuation may be hectic – During an emergency evacuation, getting to the exit point from your apartment from the top floor will be much more difficult than if you lived on the lower floors.
- Accessibility may be a problem – Apartments on the higher floors are not as easy to get to like the ones on the lower floors. If your building does not have an elevator, this means several flights of stairs. This can be very tiring, especially when you are carrying heavy groceries up to your apartment. Moving into a top floor apartment while heavy furniture will leave you exhausted.
2. Living on the lower floors
- Cheaper rent – By living on the lower floors of the building, you are opting to pay less for monthly rent rather than enjoy the views offered by top floor apartments, which is a more than reasonable compromise.
- Cost of cooling is lower – When hot air rises, it leaves your apartment on the bottom floor cooler. This allows you to save the money that you would have spent on your air conditioning bill.
- No downstairs neighbors – When you live on the ground floor, you don’t have to worry about making too much noise as you move around in your unit since there is no one below you. This allows you to do things more freely than if you were living on a higher floor where you would have to be considerate of your neighbors.
- Access to outdoor space – Another perk of living on the bottom floor is access to yard space or a garden. A yard is great for activities such as walking your pet or even eating outside for a change. A garden is a nice space to have to unwind and read a book when you have a break in your busy schedule.
- Easier to carry things into your apartment – It is easier to transport items from your car to your apartment if you live on the lower floors of the building, especially if your building does not have an elevator.
- Faster exit – Since you are close to the exit point, you can easily slip out of the building when there is an emergency. Furthermore, you can leave your building faster when you are in a rush to get to work.
- Higher risk of criminal activity – Although it depends on the layout of the building and the security measures putt in place, living on the ground floor or in the basement typically means you are at a higher risk of being burglarized than if you lived on a higher floor. This is because it is easier for criminals to access lower level apartments.
- More exposed to noise – You are more likely to deal with noise emanating from foot traffic outside your apartment when you live on the bottom floor as compared to someone on the top floor. You are also more exposed to noise from the street, generally disturbing peace and quiet.
- More susceptible to pests – When you live on the lower floors of the building, you are more likely to encounter bugs and wild animals since your apartment is in closer to the ground.
- Cost of heating is higher – Since heat is lost from the apartment when it rises to the higher floors of the building, the cost of heating during colder days also increases.
3. Living on the middle floors
- Bills are more consistent – Your bills are more likely to remain fairly the same since the temperatures don’t get too hot or too cold when you are on an apartment on one of the middle floors even with changing seasons.
- Access is essentially a non-issue – Since you are not as far from the ground floor as someone who lives on the top floor, climbing the stairs is not such a hard task, and it can even serve as a form of exercise without feeling too exhausting.
- Less exposed to street noise – You have less street noise to deal with on the middle floor than if you lived on the ground floor or first floor.
- Surrounded by neighbors – When your apartment is on the middle floor, there are neighbors below, above, and beside you. This means you have to deal with noise from all these sources.
- No break in bills – Living on the middle floor means no seasonal break from heating and cooling costs since your bills remain relatively steady all through the year.
- How many floors is a high rise building? The definition of a high rise building varies by country and organization. For instance, in the US, for a building to be referred to be as a high rise, it has to have at least 7 stories. On the other hand, a high rise building in India is at least 4 stories high.
- How can I cool my top floor apartment more efficiently? Instead of turning on the AC, you can use fans around your apartment. They are affordable and won’t affect your electric bill as much as air conditioning.