Buying a First Floor Condo
A first-floor apartment might be priced lower than an upper floor neighbor, even if space has been completely overhauled. During my apartment search a few years back, I remember falling in love with a first floor unit in a grand prewar building. When I thought long and hard about spending my life savings on that one-bedroom unit, I couldn’t pull the trigger because something didn’t feel quite right. Knowing what I know now about the NYC real estate market, I feel confident that made the right decision to live on a higher floor instead.
A walkup might be the exception to the rule, particularly if it offers access to a private outdoor space. But if you plan to purchase in an elevator building, you might want to avoid making offers on ground floor apartments for the following reasons.
Not only will you experience more street noise, but you’ll have to contend with building racket too. Mailboxes, delivery people, more frequent opening and closing of elevators, not t mention every resident of the building could be passing by your apartment door on a daily basis.
Let’s face it. First floor apartments are more likely to be targeted for robberies than those on high floors. They’re accessible from the street by windows, and depending on the building’s security system (doorman, no doorman, virtual doorman) someone might even sneak into the lobby and be looking for trouble. If this is the case, it’s unlikely that a criminal will travel to a high floor because they usually want to get in and get out quickly.
Not as private.
If your windows face the street, you won’t have the same level of privacy as you would even a few floors up. Do you want strangers peering into your apartment and watching what you give yourself a mani-pedi? The other option is never open the windows and keep your shades or curtains drawn, so passersby don’t have the option of spying on your every move.
Lack of view.
Not that every single apartment comes with a view, but you won’t have any view in a ground floor unit unless your apartment overlooks a garden or backyard.
High floors garner more natural light, so chances are, you’ll be giving up sunlight for the duration of your time living there.
Harder to sell.
For the reasons mentioned above, potential homebuyers might pass on your apartment when you go to sell. Or, offers may be slow going –– if you get any offers at all. Comparable apartments on higher floors will more than likely move first.
Lower resale value.
In co-ops, higher floors have a larger number of shares. Although maintenance costs are steeper, an apartment on the tenth floor will usually have a higher resale value than an apartment on the first floor. If you choose to buy a ground floor unit, know that when you go to sell, the same square footage and condition apartment will probably sell at a higher price even if it’s only a few floors above yours.