The pandemic has changed our attitudes on everything—even apartments
Start showcasing your ground-level digs for all their amazing advantages
For decades, ground-floor apartments had a certain stigma. In cities like New York, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., first-floor dwellers often complained about lack of privacy, pest invasions, and lack of natural sunlight due to their location.
You may have also heard that ground-floor apartments tend to pick up the sounds and smells of the outside street. With the fumes of garbage and noise of people walking by at all hours of the day and night, it’s no wonder the ‘lower level’ was such a dealbreaker.
From problem to promise
In 2020, all that changed. Multifamily apartments that were once impossible to rent instantly transformed into the most coveted of all. People living in the city were desperate for ground-level access—away from perceived dangers of crowded elevators/stairwells.
Families also realized that ground-floor living comes with a ton of hidden benefits. These units tend to be slightly larger than those on higher floors. They also have more convenient proximity to amenities such as onsite laundry, outdoor space, and storage. And if you’re getting pizza or provisions delivered, street access is an obvious plus.
In all, there are countless advantages that come with living on the first floor. Owners and property managers can tap into these benefits to secure premium rents and minimize vacancies—even in a global pandemic.
It’s time to kickstart a fresh new multifamily marketing campaign! Check out these 5 features that make ground-floor living so much more attractive.
Perks of Living on the Ground Level
1. Ideal location
Sure, some lower-level apartments may give passersby a front row view of what’s happening inside your home. But the reality is, that notion is becoming more and more antiquated. Today’s developers and renovators are aware of the stigma and now strive to preserve occupants’ privacy as much as possible.
Living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and other prime living spaces are now positioned in the back of the building where it’s quieter. First floor dwellers are also conveniently located away from common areas like stairwells and elevator lobbies, which helps decrease noise and promote social distancing.
And finally, you’re free to stomp around as much as you’d like! Families love not having to worry about disturbing neighbors living below.
2. More green space
If your property has outdoor space for tenants, consider investing in landscaping to make it more desirable. Families living on the first floor have prime access to the front yard, backyard, and alleyways. Even if the space is technically ‘shared,’ ground-floor dwellers enjoy the easiest outdoor access.
In places like New York City, above-ground apartments have the best skyline views. To balance things out, consider granting ground-floor tenants special access to available outdoor space. You can convert a patch of grass into an attached patio; a dumpster zone into a mini backyard; or a stoop platform into a small herb garden. Offering something ‘extra’ helps justify rates when higher units seem safer or more appealing.
3. Extra storage
Most renters don’t realize it, but ground-floor units tend to be slightly larger. This is because you have access to common areas that the majority of neighbors won’t use.
“You have your own private entrance, under the stoop, and get a sort of mudroom via that common hallway that leads down to the basement,” broker Win Brown explains. “And besides the backyard, owners will usually give tenants access to the basement for laundry and extra storage, which means more space overall.”
Developers are also using below-grade space in more livable ways. Be sure to highlight these secret ‘extras’ when marketing your first floor.
4. Home-like feel
One of the best features of a ground-floor unit is its separate entrance. In many buildings, first-floor renters can easily avoid shared corridors and go days—even weeks—without seeing a neighbor. Such a living situation is not only pandemic-friendly but also highly attractive to individuals and families looking for the feel of a standalone home.
Developers in NYC have come up with the term ‘maisonette’ to describe these unique residences. Units have beautiful cathedral ceilings, long, towering windows, multiple stories, and other amenities that feel more like a townhouse than an apartment. People living on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th floors don’t get to experience the same level of privacy.
5. Easy accessibility
With COVID-19 came a ton of newfound trends. People are using home delivery services more than ever, whether it’s groceries, meal kits, Amazon, or Postmates. Social distancing and quarantine concerns have made the handoff difficult in recent months, as drivers are worried about their safety while tenants try to limit people entering their buildings.
Luckily, first-floor residents don’t have to worry about the typical delivery frustrations. Deliverers can walk right up without issue. And if you’re carrying a bunch of groceries yourself, the convenience is even greater. Remind potential tenants of the ease of access enjoyed by those living on the street.
Everest says: lay low, rent high