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Low Rise vs. High Rise Apartments

July 03, 2012

When you think of glamour in NYC, chances are that your mind will immediately snap to images of a high rise, modern apartment looking out over the Brooklyn Bridge, or perhaps over Times Square if that's more your thing. But perhaps that's not the ideal apartment for you: what makes a high rise any better than a low rise, in terms of overall value? When it comes down to it, the debate of low rise vs. high rise apartments isn't nearly as straightforward as most people like to think. Here's some quick pros and cons of each of these options.

Low-Rises: The Pros of Low Rise Apartment Living

  • Nearer to the street: Allows a faster connection to the street and less elevator time.
  • Often in residential areas, which are quieter and farther from the congestion of cities.
  • Offers greater privacy because of a quiet location and less occupants per building.
  • Generally more cozy and encouraging than the average high-rise, which is modern, removed, and features office-like spatial features.
  • Most importantly, the rent is typically negotiable: because there is less demand, landlords will be willing to lower the price if you haggle enough.
  • The rents are generally cheaper than high rises.
  • Occupants are typically older, indicating less parties, noise complaints, and mess
However, there's also another side to low-rises.....

Low-Rises: The Cons of Low Rise Apartment Living

  • Typically have very few amenities in each building, lacking fitness centers, pools, and gardens.
  • Often won't have any laundry facilities available.
  • Landlords and Supervisors may not necessarily live in the building, and may take longer to contact.
  • Typically won't offer a parking space, as opposed to the garages of a high-rise.
  • Less luxurious and high quality than the average high rise.
  • Don't always have the necessary utilities wired up, such as cable, internet, and phone cables.
  • Often won't include furniture, home design, or extra appliances in the building.
  • Much farther from the heart of the city, where many occupants might work.

Conversely, high rises will have many of the opposite features that appeal primarily to the younger and more wealthy class. Here's a quick run-down of features of these super-tall buildings.

High-Rises: The Pros of High Rise Apartment Living

  • Often have many amenities in the building, such as small grocery stores, convenience stores, or pool.
  • Usually will have laundry service, or they will have a laundry machine in each apartment.
  • More flexible leases: month-to-month renting is much more common, and it is much easier to cancel.
  • Typically will have elevators, as opposed to the average low-rise apartment.
  • Will have many different sizes of rooms available, as opposed to a single model.
  • Typically are more busy, offer greater social opportunities.
  • Will usually have concierges and doormen.
  • Located closer to the center of cities, which is often closer to one's workplace.
  • Landlords and supervisors will often be live-in, meaning that they live in the buildings themselves and are on hand for emergencies.

However, high-rises aren't always the best choice. If any of these next cons concern you greatly, you might be better off getting a low-rise apartment.

High-Rises: The Cons of High Rise Apartment Living

  • Are typically MUCH more expensive, due to their better location and more luxurious spaces.
  • Take much more time to get to your apartment from street level.
  • Typically are in congested, high pollution areas with poor air quality.
  • Noise pollution is also a problem, as your ideal location will lead to car horns and daily traffic interrupting your nights.
  • Much more difficult to move in or out, especially if the entrances are small and limiting.
  • Unlikely to have any private outdoor space, such as a garden.
  • Harder to negotiate a deal because the rooms are in high demand and owners are typically less forgiving.
  • Less privacy: many more people will occupy the same building, leading to more social interaction and possibly more disputes.

And there you have it. Be sure to be careful about knowing exactly what you want before going out and purchasing an apartment!