Walk-Up Apartments: Pros and Cons That Renters Should Know

While living in a walk-up apartment is great for saving on a gym membership, it may have drawbacks.

If you live in a big city or watch enough TV and movies about New York City, chances are you’ve heard of walk-up apartments. But, what does that mean exactly? We explain what a walk-up apartment is and what the benefits and drawbacks are of living in one.

What is a walk-up apartment?

As the name suggests, it’s an apartment that’s only accessible by stairs. Walk-up units, which can range in size from studios to multi-bedroom apartments, don’t have any elevators. So, the only way to reach your apartment is by walking up and down the stairs. If you live on the first or second floor, that’s not so bad. But, if you live on one of the top floors? Having to carry groceries up multiple flights of stairs all the time can get old, not to mention tiring.

There’s a silver lining, though. As you may have guessed from the fact that there’s no elevator, most walk-up apartment complexes are older buildings commonly found in geographically and architecturally dense, historic urban areas like New York City.

As older buildings, walk-up apartment complexes are generally about five to six stories high. So, even if you do live on the top floor, it’s not like having to climb the stairs from the ground floor to the top of the Empire State Building.

Apartment with unique character and charm

Pros of a walk-up apartment

From being in lovely, walkable neighborhoods to affordability, there are many upsides to living in a walk-up apartment.

It’s generally less expensive

Even if it’s in the heart of a major city like New York, a walk-up apartment is usually priced lower than other similarly-sized apartments in the area. Why? Lots of people don’t want to deal with the hassle of not having an elevator. The challenges and inconvenience this presents will dissuade lots of renters, so there will be less demand for the units.

To keep walk-ups attractive to renters in a convenience-oriented world, landlords will usually offer lower rents. Walk-up apartments are a great option for affordable living in big cities.

Location, location and location

As many walk-up apartment buildings are found in historic inner cities, they form part of dense, community-oriented neighborhoods. Think of those charming New York City neighborhoods with classic apartment buildings right next door to bodegas, restaurants and stores. Neighborhoods like this usually very walk- and bike-friendly, with access to cafes, restaurants, shops, mass transit and other urban amenities.

Even new walk-up complexes are often located in neighborhoods undergoing urban revitalization, with plenty of things to walk to and enjoy.

Unique touches and amenities

If you love all things vintage, you’ll probably love living in a walk-up apartment complex. These older buildings often still have original design elements like pretty tiles, crown molding or historic appliances.

If you find yourself in a newer, recently constructed walk-up complex, what it lacks in vintage appeal, it may make up for with chic, modern amenities.

Good exercise

Say goodbye StairMaster and hello to flights of stairs. You can forget the gym membership if you live in a walk-up apartment, especially if you live on one of the top floors. All that walking up and down the stairs and carrying items like groceries will definitely work those legs and help you burn calories on a daily basis.

Even if you only live a flight or two up from the ground floor, that’s still good exercise. Living in a walk-up apartment and using the stairs every day for exercise is very good for your health in this regard.

Fewer neighbors, more privacy

Since walk-up complexes are rarely higher than six floors with fewer units, even when at capacity, the building won’t have as many tenants as larger complexes. If you’re a renter who prefers privacy and keeping to yourself, you’re more likely to find privacy in a walk-up complex. However, if you’re a social butterfly who loves connecting with neighbors, this could be viewed as a con. But, it does give you the chance to create genuine bonds and connections with the neighbors you do have in a walk-up apartment complex.

Family moving in using stairs

Cons of a walk-up apartment

It’s not all affordable rent and getting insanely toned legs, though. Living in a walk-up apartment is not always ideal for the following reasons.

Those stairs will wear you out

Sure, it’s good exercise. But at the end of a long day, the last thing you want to do is trudge up six flights of stairs. So, if you get tired easily, it’s not the best option.

Difficult to move in, out

If it’s tiring enough just thinking about walking up and down all those flights of stairs, imagine doing so while moving in. With no elevator and narrow stairwells, it makes the moving process that much more difficult. You’ll have to lug all those boxes up or down the stairs all by yourself.

And once you’ve tried to get a mattress or couch up a narrow flight of stairs, you’ll know just how unpleasant it is. Just think of that one scene from “Friends” where Ross, Chandler and Joey are attempting to pivot a couch up a flight of stairs and you get the picture. Plus, if you spring for movers, they may charge extra for the lack of elevator and extra stairs.

Not wheelchair-accessible or disability-friendly

If you use a wheelchair or have a different physical handicap that makes it difficult to use stairs, a walk-up apartment is not for you. These types of buildings are not usually a good choice for people with mobility-related disabilities as there’s no elevator or ease of access to reach the different floors.

This also applies to the elderly. Getting a unit on the ground floor is one option, and sometimes landlords have made modifications to certain units or floors to make them accessible. But that’s not a given. Luckily, there are many other accessible apartment options out there.

Outdated buildings and amenities

Since many walk-up apartments are older buildings, they usually have older appliances and amenities. These can sometimes break or be challenging to use. The difficulty of having them replaced also means the landlord is unlikely to replace them until they absolutely cannot be fixed and used anymore. The walls and floors are likely thinner, so you’ll probably hear your neighbors more.

Is a walk-up apartment good for me?

As you can see, a walk-up apartment may have nice benefits like affordability and being good for your health. But it also has drawbacks like not being accessible for people with mobility disabilities and tiring you out. So, would they be a good fit for you?

The type of renter who would most benefit from living in a walk-up apartment would be young, healthy and budget-conscious people looking for a bargain. They don’t mind exercising or having to carry heavy loads up or down the stairs. Often, walk-up apartments don’t have a doorman or reception area to leave packages or deliveries, so the ideal renter is fine with heading up and down to receive these deliveries.

A walk-up is also best for people who work from home and don’t need to come and go too often. Introverts and homebodies who enjoy spending most of their time at home will like walk-ups.

Of course, there are exceptions. Different types of renters can still thrive in walk-up apartments, like elderly individuals who live on the lower floors and can still handle the stairs. But you should still seriously consider the cons.

A walk-up apartment offers character and affordability

Walk-up apartments are great for some renters but a real pain for others. Now that you know the pros and cons of living in a walk-up apartment, you can make the best choice for you and your needs.

The post Walk-Up Apartments: Pros and Cons That Renters Should Know appeared first on The Rent.com Blog : A Renter’s Guide for Tips & Advice.

Source: rent.com

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