What Is A Walk Up Apartment? (Pics)

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Updated September 22, 2021
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A walk-up apartment is a type of apartment that does not have an elevator. Instead, the stairs are the only way to get in and out of the building, which can be a pro or con, depending on your lifestyle! They are prevalent in big cities where three-story brownstones are a typical style of apartment living. We’ll list out the pros and cons of walk-ups and talk about why they might be the perfect fit for you!

What is a Walk-Up Apartment?

If you don’t like waiting for an elevator, then a walk-up might be for you. Walk-up apartments are buildings with 3 to 4 stories tops that have stairs only. When you think of New York City, you might think of walk-ups being one of the most popular apartment types. You’ll see a garden-level apartment with stairs down, the first floor with stairs up, and just 2-3 stories above that.

3 story walk up apartment exterior

They’re definitely not for the faint of heart, especially if you’re on the top floor. However, the good thing is that they often cost less than newer, updated high-rises because of the lack of elevators and overall amenities.

The Benefits of a Walk-Up Apartment

Here are some of the significant benefits of living in a walk-up apartment vs. high-rise complexes.

They are Often More Affordable

They tend to be cheaper since walk-up apartments lack amenities like pools, gyms, and elevators that up the price at high-rise apartment buildings. As a result, they’re an excellent option for young professionals who are just starting out or those who want to set some money aside in their budget!

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Smaller Buildings Mean Fewer Neighbors

Walk-up apartments tend to be fewer stories high, which means the building is smaller. This also usually means there are fewer units in each walk-up apartment complex as well. Since space can be limited, you’ll find that walk-ups have just a few tenants per floor, which means you have a much smaller community of neighbors, which can be nice!

You’ll Get Your Exercise!

Since walk-up apartments don’t have an elevator, you’ll be taking those stairs every single day. This can be a good thing because it’s great exercise, which makes up for the building not having a gym, right?

Beautiful Aesthetic

Walk-ups are usually older, built around the turn of the 21st century, and are architecturally stunning. Many of them have the original crown moldings and other impressive aesthetics that have been there since day one. This old charm is an attractive point that drives many people to live in the big city.

Basement Storage

Because of the stairs and the lack of size in-unit, many of these older buildings will often provide accessible basement storage units. So you can store more oversized items like furniture and bikes in them during your time as a tenant! It makes life so much easier.

apartment interior stairwell walkup apartment

The Downsides of a Walk-Up Apartment

Now we’ll address the cons of a walk-up apartment. One is definitely, you guessed it, the lack of an elevator.

Moving In Sucks!

Moving is the worst anyways, but add in a four-story walk-up, and you’ll be wishing you’d hired movers. Navigating through stairways and narrow doors can make moving in and out a pain in the butt at a walk-up. However, there are many ways around that, such as hiring a moving company or purchasing smaller, more apartment-friendly furniture at IKEA or other modern stores.

Older Charm Can Sometimes Mean Repairs Needed

Since walk-up buildings are older, they might need some more repairs than a newer building. Don’t let that deter you, though! Just try to find one that has been well maintained over the years or ask around for recommendations of a great property manager who can make sure your walk-up is in tip-top shape when you move in.

Groceries and Laundry Become Challenging

Hauling in groceries or laundry baskets now becomes ten times harder, especially if your apartment unit is on the upper third or fourth floor of the walk-up. Luckily, using reusable grocery bags or laundry hampers with a comfortable handle can help alleviate some of the pain.

No Front Office

One last downfall of walk-up apartments is that there will not be a doorman or front reception desk like in newer places. This can make deliveries tedious, and you might find yourself getting “sorry, we missed you!” notes on the main door instead of your package. Scheduling deliveries or picking them up from the post office can help avoid missed deliveries. And always make sure your delivery drivers have your phone number to call so they can meet you at the door when your food arrives!

A walk-up apartment can be ideal for its affordability, intimacy, and even the built-in exercise. However, it is not easy to maneuver during a move or with heavy packages, but the old charm and cute aesthetic might make up for that! Either way, before deciding if this type of living space suits your needs, weigh the pros and cons first. If you feel like checking out some of our available walk-up apartments, look at the ones for rent here, and schedule a time for a showing!

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