Blocks & Lots

Things to consider before buying a groundfloor apartment

If you live in an old NYC walk-up or a townhouse that is split into apartments you probably dread traipsing up flights of stairs at the end of the day. And if there are bags, packages or furniture involved, let alone elderly parents visiting, there’s no end of the hassle that walking up a narrow flight of stairs can bring.

It’s enough to make you think about moving.  However, if you do manage to nab a ground floor condo, you could soon be regretting it. Let’s examine the pros and cons of living in the ground floor apartment in NYC.



Accessibility from the street is a huge plus for ground floor dwellers. Perfect for carrying in bags and packages or dealing with kids and shopping. 


For the elderly, a ground floor apartment is almost mandated. The risk of falling going upstairs or even making your way in and out of an elevator is one that is not suited to those with fragile, unstable legs.

Price & Pets

Also for pet lovers, a ground floor could be essential. It’s a short distance to take a furry friend out for a walk and the residents below won’t have to hear your dog scampering around on your hardwood floors. 


A huge positive could be the price. Ground floor apartments generally cost considerably less than those higher up (more of this later) and so you may be able to nab a steal of a deal compared to your neighbors.


Alas, if you had your heart set on a ground floor condo for quick access to the outside, you want to reconsider your choice after you’re read this laundry list of potential  issues


Let’s start with rodents and insects. This is New York City and cockroaches and rats rule the roost. A homeowner’s and building manager’s mission, which they’ll ultimately wage until the day they leave the premises, is to try and keep the vermin out. However, as a ground floor resident, you will be the first point of entry. If there are restaurants nearby who are less than efficient in emptying trash, watch out! The same goes for a building super. Before moving into a ground floor apartment you will need to check how often the garbage is taken out and wherein the building the drop off is located.


One of the major issues with a ground floor unit will be the noise. Traffic, passersby, garbage trucks, even people hanging around in the lobby, waiting for an elevator. Three words of advice for ground floor residents — noise-canceling headphones!

If you are on the ground floor of a townhouse where there are no elevators, you may also have to endure upper floor residents trampling up and down the stairs and could face the prospect of having packages and parcels blocking your entry to your apartment if you enter through the lower floor entrance.


Inevitably in a city like New York dust will be an issue and ground floor residents likely see it accumulating at a much faster rate in their homes than those on an upper floor.


This is one of the main reasons that ground floor units are cheaper than those on an upper floor — natural light. If you are surrounded by other buildings there will be limited light on the ground floor and no views at all.


If Hurricane Sandy has taught us one thing it’s that New York can flood. If the condo is built on low lying land you’ll want to be wary of flooding, not just in a hurricane but in heavy rains too. Of course, this should not be an issue for luxury condos who should have thought this all through. But as we’ve seen, the best minds in the land are no match for extreme weather.


And speaking of weather, ground floor units have the potential of being colder than those higher up, because hot air rises. Higher heating bills are not pleasant for anyone but for the elderly on a fixed income who need to live on a lower level, it can be a double whammy in the winter.

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