One choice you may need to make when looking for apartments is which floor is best for you. Some apartment hunters care very much about which floor they live on, and so they limit their search accordingly. For example, people who want to live on a high floor may limit their apartment search to high-rise buildings (and only those offering upper-floor vacancies). Other apartment hunters don’t care much about the choice of floor but, for instance, just wish to avoid renting a ground-floor apartment out of security fears.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to which floor is best in an apartment building. If you’re on a hunt for the perfect apartment, you must weigh the factors and decide what’s important to you.
Here are the factors to consider:
One major reason tenants choose higher floors is because of the view. If this is important to you and you’re willing to pay for it, choose an apartment on a higher floor. Keep in mind that you might not need to look very high to get the view you want, and so you may be able to save some money in rent (see below).
Generally speaking, comparable apartments within a building cost more to rent the higher up they are. So, if living on a high floor is something you can do without, you’ll probably save money by opting to live closer to the ground.
Some tenants prefer high floors to minimize traffic and other street noise. Others just aim to avoid the ground-floor because living there may require you to put up with noise from other tenants walking through the hallway. However, if a ground-floor apartment isn’t located on a path between the building’s entrance and elevators, stairs, or a popular amenity, such as a fitness center, then there may be no noise issue.
When you need to leave your apartment for work, errands, or any other reason, is it important that you get outside quickly? Some tenants have little patience waiting for an elevator to arrive and possibly make several stops on the trip to the ground floor. If this bothers you, then you may prefer either to live on the ground floor (where you wouldn’t need to use the elevator) or a low floor (where you can comfortably take the stairs).
Living on the ground floor or in a basement apartment could pose an increased crime risk. Depending on the structure of a building and its security measures, it may be easy for criminals to break into a ground-floor or sub-level apartment from the outside, without any climbing.
Keep this in mind to investigate when looking for apartments. The bottom line is if you just don’t feel safe living in a ground-floor or basement apartment, then don’t even bother looking at vacancies on those floors.
Sometimes, a fire, flood, bomb scare, or another emergency requires authorities to order everyone out of an apartment building. People who live on higher floors of a building generally have a longer, more involved evacuation, and damage to a building could make it difficult to leave from a high floor.
Fortunately, such emergencies don’t occur often, but if the thought of possibly having to evacuate quickly from a high floor makes you anxious, then this is an important factor to consider.
If you suffer from acrophobia, or fear of heights, you might get a little queasy living on a high floor. Even if you’re okay to stay inside an upper-floor apartment but would be afraid to step out onto a terrace, why give up the amenity? Instead, consider a lower floor that would let you enjoy both the apartment and the terrace.
If you have a mobility impairment, you may prefer an apartment on the ground floor — especially if your building doesn’t have elevators. Be aware, though, that the choice of floor is a decision that’s always a prospective tenant’s to make. Federal fair housing laws bar landlords and brokers from making assumptions about a person’s housing needs based on a disability.
If you have an issue with the number 13 (a condition known as “triskaidekaphobia”), then you’ll probably try to avoid renting an apartment on the 13th floor of a building. However, as you may notice on elevator button panels, many buildings skip from 12 to 14 in numbering their floors in recognition of this sensitivity.