Updated: Nov 16
Looking for an apartment can be challenging with all the factors you need to consider. You may be interested in a good neighborhood or an affordable apartment, but the one question on every potential tenant’s mind is, should I live upstairs or downstairs in an apartment?
The unit you choose can have quite an influence on your daily activities. While a top floor offers a view, moving up and down stairs every day could become a hassle. A closer look at the pros and cons of living upstairs or downstairs in a rental apartment can help you decide which unit is best for your needs.
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Is it More Expensive to Live Upstairs in an Apartment?
The cost of apartment living is influenced by location, apartment size, and utilities. While not a rule in apartment rentals, the upstairs units are often more expensive than living downstairs.
Living upstairs means higher costs for air conditioning. Hot air rises and you will probably find yourself relying on your cooling systems more than if you were in a downstairs unit. To make the most of your top floor apartment, simple steps such as keeping the blinds closed on a hot sunny day or using a floor fan can help cool the interior. It can reduce overall reliance on the HVAC system. When you live downstairs your apartment is cooler in summer. However, during the winter months, you will find yourself using more energy to heat the apartment.
What are the Pros and Cons of Living Upstairs?
The Pros of an Upstairs Unit
Depending on your location, living upstairs offers a better view than living downstairs. Most people enjoy not looking at traffic or parking areas.
The most obvious advantage of living upstairs is the lack of noise from above. Many downstairs apartment tenants are disrupted by stomping or movement of neighbors from above, so living upstairs can prevent such annoyances.
Upstairs units will have more natural light. If you enjoy letting the light in, then an upstairs apartment will suit your needs.
Living on the top floor means less traffic passing your door. It is considered a more private rental option.
Cons of Living Upstairs
As previously mentioned, you may be spending more on cooling in the summer.
From moving your furniture to purchasing groceries, you will have to contend with the stairs every day.
Receiving deliveries may be more awkward than if you were staying on the lower floor.
What are the Pros and Cons of Living Downstairs?
It is generally less expensive to rent a downstairs apartment. If you are looking to live in a secure complex, the downstairs unit could be the most affordable.
The Pros of a Downstairs Unit
For ease of access, the first floor is the best choice. This is true for tenants who have mobility difficulties or do not wish to haul groceries up and down flights of stairs. For families and those who have lots of equipment, the bottom unit is considered a fair option.
Depending on the complex, a downstairs apartment may have a small patio or garden area.
The Cons of Living Downstairs
Older apartments that have not been renovated leave tenants subjected to the noise of upstairs neighbors. Moving furniture, walking, and jumping will be heard in your apartment. Fortunately, many new and remodeled units reduce the amount of transferred noise from upstairs neighbors.
Because your neighbors have to pass your unit to get to their rooms, you will have a lot more traffic to deal with. This includes deliveries, friends and family visiting, and maintenance services.
Mail and packages left at your apartment could be subject to damage and even theft when left downstairs. While most complexes have secure services, it is best to arrange a time when you or someone you trust, will be home to collect the delivery.
Which Apartment Unit is Safer?
The upstairs and downstairs apartments each have their own set of pros and cons according to your living preferences. Both are safe when you stay in a secure complex with security available. Many feel that an upstairs apartment is better from the perspective of burglaries. A thief is less likely to pass multiple tenants to reach the top floor and break-in. They are also less likely to haul your goods down the stairs. In terms of emergencies, you will be last to evacuate when on the top floor.
What Happens During an Emergency if My Apartment is On the Top Floor?
Every apartment has a standard protocol that must be followed when an emergency evacuation is in order. If you live on the top floor, ensure you are familiar with such procedures. Also, look for fire extinguishers that are easily accessible should a fire breakout. It will take longer to leave the building; however, you will be provided equal attention when facing risk. Apart from an emergency circumstance, upstairs will take longer to reach a take-out service or meeting guests.
How to Move Furniture into an Upstairs Apartment?
You have made the decision to move into the top floor, great choice! The next stage is to get your furniture in. You may not have thought about moving your belongings or how new items will be lugged upstairs. A look at the best ways to move your furniture can help you prevent damage and injury.
If you do not have the assistance of a professional moving company, find people you can trust, including friends and family, who can help. If you have purchased a new suite or television do not try to move it upstairs alone.
Use Moving Equipment
A dolly is a popular way to move large items up a staircase. You can use moving equipment and strap items to ensure that it reaches your apartment and does not get in the way of stairs and other tenants.
Slide the Goods
While not the best idea, for boxed items that are not fragile, you could gently slide or hike it upstairs. This also depends on how many flights you would have to go up. Any couches and chairs are easily moved into an apartment by turning it sideways. You may look at your apartment and think, how am I going to get my furniture in? But with some smart moves and management, you can move virtually anything into a rental.
Is it Better to Live Upstairs or Downstairs with Pets?
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Living on the top floor offers views, privacy, and minimal noise but if you want to have a pet, the rules must be considered. First, determine whether you are allowed to own a pet in your unit. Most landlords and property managers do not permit having pets. For those who do allow animal companions, there may be a limit on the type of animals you can own.
Popular pets for apartments include cats, fish, birds, and smaller mammals. Generally, smaller animals are quiet and will not cause disruption to the lives of neighbors. Owning a smaller dog is easier to manage on the upper floor. It will also prevent your pet from making a noise and it's running around or jumping upsetting the neighbors below. If you wish to own a dog in an upstairs unit, it will take some work to ensure you raise a healthy pet without having a yard. Daily walks before you leave for work and when you return home are necessary. An area for your dog to relieve itself without messing up the apartment. Toys for stimulation and taking them out regularly when you are home can help your pet adjust and prevent disturbing the neighbors.
Choose Upstairs or Downstairs - This is The Question?
Living on the top floor or the downstairs floor has its own set of pros and cons. Each feature will depend on your current and future living circumstances. If you do not mind the slightly higher bills, desire natural light, and want more privacy than a top floor apartment is suitable. For families, pets, and persons with a lot of equipment, living downstairs may give you more space and access. Whether up or down, always visit the apartment unit you are interested in renting. Have a look at its layout, space, and whether you can make minor changes to transform the place into your home. Discuss options with your landlord and soon you will find the best apartment, whether upstairs or downstairs, for your lifestyle.