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First floor or second floor apartment?

First floor or second floor apartment?

When renting apartments and selling multi-families, I have never really been able to figure out which people prefer: a first or second floor apartment. On one hand, the first floor apartment is usually easier to move furniture into and doesn’t require you to climb a flight of steps every time you come home. On the other hand, second floor units are usually safer because the windows are not reachable from the ground. They also tend to be quieter since you don’t have anyone above you.

My assumption has always been that the preference is slightly in favor of upper level units, but I am curious what you think. Which do you think is better? Please feel free to share explanations in the comment section.

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Matt Kastner

Matt Kastner is an Investment Real Estate Consultant at St. Louis Real Estate Society in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also develops properties on the side through Threshold Properties. When he isn’t representing investors in the purchase or sale of multifamily properties, rehabs, foreclosures and other income producing properties, he is often taking on rehab projects himself. He lives in South St. Louis and has been in the real estate business since 2004.

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4 thoughts on “First floor or second floor apartment?”

  • Joseph

    March 1, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Somewhat related: I like my landlord’s rule that 2nd floor and above tenants may only keep cats. Only ground floor tenants may keep dogs. I had never considered it before but lots of people cannot stand the ‘tip tap’ of doggie paws on the floor.

    Reply
    • Matt Kastner

      March 1, 2010 at 12:34 pm

      That’s not a policy I ever really considered, but it makes sense. The only thing I could see tweaking is to possibly allow small dogs upstairs. A 5 pound Chihuahua or Terrier doesn’t weigh enough to be a problem.

      Reply
  • Derek M

    March 1, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Lower Level Unit
    ADVANTAGES
    Easy to move in/out.
    Greater accessibility-if older this is significant.
    Reduced utility bills.
    DISADVANTAGES
    Noise from up-stairs neighbor through floor
    Upper floor tenant has to “pass by” your unit at a minimum typically.
    Closer to street noise.
    Greater accessibility-less security which is significant if older or a single female.

    Upper Level Unit
    ADVANTAGES
    Better views.
    Less impact from neighbor below.
    Reduced street noise.
    More private.
    More secure.
    DISADVANTAGES
    Harder to move in/out
    More stairs to deal with on a daily basis.
    Higher utility bills (roof).

    For the most part, the disadvantages with being on the first floor are one/two-time, while the issues with being on the second are more for the duration.
    Being elderly would invert that disadvantage quickly though.

    Reply
    • Matt Kastner

      March 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm

      Good points all around. One thing I am curious about is the actual difference in utilities. There is no question that it costs more to cool the upper unit, but I have always figured that it was a wash in the winter for cooling. With heat rising and all.

      Reply

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