Pros and Cons of Ground Floor Apartments

Originally posted on November 18, 2022 3:00 pm
Updated on November 07, 2022 11:14 pm

NYC is the king of apartment buildings, and people here love living high in the sky. However, many homes in NYC are street level, and someone has to live there. People have different opinions about ground floor apartment buildings, and all of those opinions are valid. The truth is ground floor apartments are right for some and wrong for others. But how do you know what’s right for you?

Pros of Ground Floor Apartments

There are many positives to ground floor apartments that largely go unnoticed. Some of the biggest benefits of these homes include:

1.) Easy Access

One of the best parts of a ground floor apartment is that you don’t have to take stairs to an elevator to get to them. Living in a walk up apartment is killer in NYC, especially since most buildings under five stories, which is a lot of them, don’t have to have an elevator. Walking up a ton of stairs is a nightmare, especially in the summer. Even if your building does have an elevator, there might only be a small number for a huge building. Plus, elevators in the city break down all the time. Having a ground floor apartment eliminates all these annoying aspects of an apartment complex, as your front door is just a short walk from the entrance to your building.

2.) Cheaper Rent

Yes, you read that right. Ground floor apartments are usually much cheaper than apartments on other floors. Many of the reasons why will be covered in our cons list, but cheap rent is a benefit that’s hard to find in this city. Many people are being priced out of the city, so affordable housing is more important than ever right now. Ground floor apartments can be a game changer for lower-income earners who can use the money they save on rent for more important things, like family or healthcare. Saving money in NYC is super rare, so getting a ground floor apartment could mean the difference between making it here and trying to make it elsewhere.

3.) More Space

Ground floor apartments might have cheaper rent, but they also usually come with more space. If you look at taller buildings in NYC, many get slimmer as they get taller. This means less space for homes, whereas apartments lower to the ground floor usually have more to work with. Additionally, since many dislike ground-floor apartments, complexes usually make these units larger to entice more tenets. These larger apartments are perfect for people who need a little extra space or for those who want a guest room, library, or office. They also make great space for people with children. Speak of which…

4.) Great For Kids

Kids need space to learn and grow, and ground floor apartments can provide that. Additionally, kids who make noise on the ground floor will only have to deal with annoyed upstairs neighbors as opposed to neighbors above and below them. These factors make ground floor apartments great for kids, as they need to be allowed space to be loud and creative, which can be a challenge in many apartment complexes in NYC. Plus, kids will like not sharing elevators with strangers or climbing up five flights of stairs to get home. Not to mention, the rent savings will mean you have more to spend on your children, another rare achievement in NYC.

5.) Yard Space

Finding green spaces in the city, aside from parks, is next to impossible. While some brownstones have backyards, apartment complexes are largely part of the concrete jungle that the rest of the city is famous for. However, some complexes have private outdoor spaces that are only accessible to the ground floor. You can see where I’m going with this. Ground floor apartments have a higher chance of having access to a yard. This is a great aspect to consider when choosing a place to live, especially for larger families. A yard is something you have to pounce on in NYC, but since ground floor apartments aren’t particularly popular, you can wriggle your way into one without too much of a fuss.

Cons of Ground Floor Apartments

Ground floor apartments aren’t particularly popular in NYC, and there is a reason for that. For all their benefits, there are some major drawbacks. For example, some of the worst aspects of ground floor living include:

1.) Easy Access

Solicitors aren’t usually a problem in NYC, but they do exist and are super annoying when they come to your door. If you live on the ground floor, guess whose door they’re knocking on first. Political solicitors, salesmen, and even religious groups can easily visit your home before the building management has time to kick them out. This can be one of the more tedious aspects of ground floor living, especially when you don’t know if the visitor at your door is important. However, some aspects of ground floor living can be even worse.

2.) Lack of Privacy

Living on the ground floor means living next to the sidewalk. Since your apartment is legally obligated to have windows, any passerby can look into your home. This is a rare occurrence as most people find looking into another person’s home inappropriate. However, some folks will not hesitate to look through your windows. Even worse, on the weekends, you might have some intoxicated visitors knocking on your windows. This is creepy and awful, and it will make you question humanity a little. Again, though, this is a rare occurrence, but it is something to consider, especially when you have children to take care of.

3.) Lack of Light

NYC apartments often brag about the abundance of natural light they provide to their residents. However, most ground floor apartments do not have this luxury. For one, many complexes have opted to tint the ground floor windows to help with the problem of lookie-loos. Second, many buildings in NYC are quite tall and can block out the sunlight that would otherwise be provided to other complexes. This is already an issue for apartments on higher floors. Ground floor apartments, particularly, are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to natural lighting. Since they are so close to the street, even smaller buildings will cast a shadow on them. You’ll have to invest in some good lighting fixtures.

4.) Noise Pollution

Every New York apartment will be noisy. That’s just part of the gig. There’s a ton of traffic, sirens, and people chatting, and most people can hear bits and pieces of it throughout the evening. Ground floor apartments, however, are on a different level. The noise is often right outside your home and can be deafening. Many people can get used to the noise, but many can’t and end up suffering for a long time in their new home. Even people who usually don’t mind the noise can be disturbed by it, as sirens can come out of nowhere, surprising residents and waking people up. The noise is a factor you must consider when buying these homes.

5.) Weather Issues

Another rare occurrence, though one that will happen with more frequency as the climate continues to change, is that ground floor apartments are more susceptible to weather damage, especially from flooding. Buildings in low-lying areas should be especially cautious, as flooding has become a problem in NYC since hurricanes and large rainstorms have become much more frequent. Ground floor apartments might not be lethal, but the damage caused to them can be. Even if people aren’t hurt, their wallets might be, as flood damage can be a massive cost forced onto tenets via damaged personal items.

What to Look For in a Ground Floor Apartment

First and foremost, check the age of the building. Older buildings have less protection against flooding and fewer noise-canceling qualities. This isn’t to say ground floor apartments in older buildings are bad, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Another good thing to look at is the building’s history, especially regarding violations. Building violations can be a major factor in safety and comfort for any apartment but are even more important when looking at a ground floor apartment. Finding a building with a good history means the difference between living a happy city life and having to move within a year.


Ground floor apartments can be a tenant’s best friend or their worst enemy. Depending on the person, the pros might outweigh the cons or vice versa. If you can hack the cons of the apartment, then a ground floor can be the salvation needed for a person to stay in the city. On the other hand, if the cons are too much, folks might want to look elsewhere. Ground floor apartments might be the ultimate double edge sword when it comes to NYC apartments, and people seeking to rent one should do their due diligence before committing to one outright. 

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