High rise or low rise… it’s a question many prospective homeowners find themselves asking. Both come with advantages, but how relevant those advantages are really depends on your lifestyle. Before you come to any decision, it’s crucial to consider exactly what your individual situation is, and which option fits in best with it. Here, we’ll be looking at how you can decide whether a high-rise apartment is right for you.
What is a High-Rise Apartment?
Before look at some of the advantages of high rise living, a quick explanation about what, exactly, a high rise building is. There’s no real rules or regulations to dictate exactly what constitutes a low rise, a mid-rise, or a high rise, but typically speaking, it all comes down to the number of stories. Low rises tend to have less than 4 stories, mid-rises have less than 7, and high rises have anything from 7 up (which generally equates to around 75 feet). All high rises will have lifts (some even have several), and by law, a fire fighting system and an earthquake-resistant structure is required.
The Perks of Living in a High-Rise Apartment
If your heart’s been swayed by the thought of living in a high rise, it’s understandable. High rise living comes with a score of attractions that, on paper at least, make for very appealing reading. Some of the chief attractions include:
- Panoramic Views – Although the definition of ‘high rise’ is a little flexible, in the US, it’s generally used to describe buildings that have at least 7 stories. And what do you get at 7 stories or higher? Views. If there’s one thing high rise buildings have in abundance, its views. Obviously, what the view is and how desirable it is depends on where the building is… although that said, even the grimmest outlook tends to look better from a-high.
- Fancy Amenities – As Rentberry notes, high rise buildings tend to come with fancier amenities than their low rise equivalents. If you like the thought of having easy access to gyms, pools, laundry rooms, convenience stores, rooftop clubs, wine cellars, and even, in some cases, valet service, high rise living is likely to suit.
- No More Stairs – If you live in a building of no more than 4 stories or so, there’s a chance you’ll need to trudge up and down the stairs several times a day. High rise building architects, on the other hand, generally anticipate that expecting tenants to cope with climbing 7 plus stories is asking too much. The result? An elevator. Can’t ask fairer than that.
- Easy Maintenance – Although it does depend to an extent on the individual building, the vast majority of high rises come with their own maintenance team. When something goes wrong, help is just a phone call away.
- Less Noise – Most high rises have strict rules in place to control noise levels. As Highrises.com notes, most high rise condos have a set “quiet period” between dusk and dawn during which noise must be kept to a strict minimum. If you’re tired of being woken up at 3 am by noisy neighbors, you’ll have no such worries in a high rise.
- City Living – The one thing most high rises have in common is their location: 9 times out of ten, high rises are set centrally, giving you easy access to all the retail, job, and recreational opportunities urban living affords.
- No Additional Charges – If you like to keep a firm grip on your finances, high rise living could be right up your street. As realestateproarticles.com reports, in most condos, the costs for heating and cooling systems, internet and cable TV is already built into your monthly rent, meaning you save on additional expenses and don’t get any surprise bills mid-month.
Things to Consider
So, high rise living comes with a list of perks almost as long as the buildings themselves. But what’s the flipside? In truth, it really depends on how you define a ‘flipside’. For some, the items we’ll mention below won’t warrant a second thought. But for others, they might be crucial in deciding whether high rise living is for them.
- HOA Dues – When you’re looking at the cost of renting or buying an apartment in a high rise, don’t think the basic rent or mortgage will be the sum total of what you’ll need to pay. Tenants of high-rise condos are subject to HOA Dues – in other words, the fee associated with reserves, upkeep, staff, insurance, and repairs. The amount of fee you’ll need to pay will depend on things like the building’s age, amenities, and the number of residents. In some buildings, HOA Dues can be nominal. In others, they can add a considerable whack onto your monthly expenditure. HOA Dues aren’t necessarily a ‘bad thing’, but it really depends on your personal circumstances as to whether they’re worth it. Essentially, the fee replaces what you might otherwise be paying for gym membership, home repairs, insurance, or anything else the building provides. If you currently pay for these as a matter of course, HOA Dues are nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if you haven’t been in a gym for 20 years, couldn’t care less about the rooftop club, and are more than happy to do your own repairs, you may end up paying over the odds for services you’ll never use.
- Pets – Pets aren’t generally restricted in high-rises (although some will bar “exotic’ animals), but if you have a dog, you might want to consider just how far the nearest park is. Urban living comes with benefits, but if you’re going to spend half your life trekking around trying to find a green space, the novelty will soon wear off.
- Noise – Remember when we said the noise regulations in condos were a ‘good thing’? We weren’t lying, but if you’re a 24/7 party person, you might want to consider just how well your lifestyle is going to fit in with the requirements.
Is A High-Rise Apartment Right For You?
So, the crucial question… is a high-rise apartment right for you? Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer here. For many people, high rise apartments are a superbly attractive option. But whether they’re right for you depends on exactly how well your lifestyle matches the one supported by high rise living. Work that out, and the question answer’s itself.