First Floor or Top Floor? How to Decide Where to Live in an Apartment Building

"Just 18 more floors to go!"
"Just 18 more floors to go!" / ljubaphotos/E+ via Getty Images

In today’s challenging real estate market, finding a place—any place—to live may seem like a gift. But sometimes, you may find yourself with options. If you’re apartment-hunting, that decision may come down to whether you opt for space on the ground level or upper floor of a sprawling complex. While the cost of rent may be a big factor, it’s not the only one you should consider.

A recent post broke down the pros and cons of each. For upper-floor apartments, residents can expect quite a few amenities. Being away from the street means far less noise as well as a reduced risk of break-ins and less opportunity for pests to invade your space. You’ll also be getting quite a bit of natural light, presuming you’re not facing another building. And the best part? If you’re on the uppermost floor, you won’t have to deal with any foot traffic happening on the floor above you.

The cons? Because heat rises, your cooling costs will likely be higher in warmer months. And depending on how high up you go, and your options for getting there, everything from toting groceries to moving furniture will prove significantly more challenging.

Living on (or closer to) the ground floor solves those issues but introduces a few negatives. While utility costs should be lower, you’ll be dealing with more outside noise and greater potential for pests. At least you’ll find it easier to evacuate in case of an emergency, though. And if you’re a pet owner, living near grass is going to make walks or bladder relief much more convenient. (For your dog, not for you.)

Ultimately, your lifestyle is going to dictate whether an apartment—or apartment floor—is right for you. Renters in buildings typically have more walkability options and don’t have to worry about maintenance costs or property taxes. Considering the volatile home buying market, living on any apartment floor may sound appealing.