Getting on the level
Pros & Cons of buying an apartment on the ground floor, middle floor and top floor.
One of the most important questions asked when buying an apartment is what floor it’s on. When going on viewing and considering apartments there are many things to think about: neighborhood, apartment size, price etc., but while the floor level often gets overlooked it’s an integral part of the comfort of your Berlin apartments. So here are some pros and cons to living on different levels.
First things first, German levels work differently than other places around the world, and it’s a constant source of confusion – especially if you’re moving to Berlin for the first time. German levels start at ground floor “Erdgeschoss” and go up from there. So, while in Canada or the US the ground level would be called the first floor, and going up one flight of stairs would put you on the 2nd floor, in Germany that 2nd floor is considered the 1st floor, making every subsequent floor seem one lower.
█ Erdgeschoss (ground floor) apartments
- Accessibility: great for those who have difficulty climbing stairs (as many beautiful Berlin apartments do not have elevators).
- Cool summers. Living in a ground floor apartment keeps the AC bill down in the summer.
- Courtyards: Many first floor apartments have their own garden or have much better access to public courtyards, which are less used by residents on higher floors.
- Less privacy: With your windows facing right onto the street or the inner courtyard, you’ll want some good curtains to let it light, but still give you some privacy.
- Security: lower floor apartments are more likely to get burgled.
- Noise: Being on the ground floor means you’ll be closer to foot or auto traffic.
█ Middle floor apartments
Middle floor apartments are kind of the Goldilocks/ compromise areas. While you’re surrounded by neighbors who could possibly be noisy, it also gives you more opportunity to meet those around you. Also, because there’s not much change in the heating or cooling, your bills will stay pretty stable all year round.
█ Top floor apartments
- Views: Top floor apartments have the best opportunity for good light and a good view, and top floors with a balcony create your own haven.
- Security: Being on the top floor (especially in apartments with no elevator) means you have an extremely low chance of a break-in.
- Heating: Top floor apartments tend to be the warmest, so you’re heating bill will be the lowest of any floor – which is great in the Berlin winters!
- Stairs: You’ll want to be fit or have the drive to get fit if you’re living on the top floor. While some apartments come equipped with an elevator, the famous Berlin altbau will have you hitting the stairs.
- Movement: If you’re moving in or out or just replacing furniture, it gets a fair bit harder to haul large items up and down.
- Heating: While in the winter this is a pro, during the summer you’ll be in the warmest floor of the apartment.
By Alice Bauer