What Is A Walk Up Apartment In NYC?

First off, a walk up apartment in NYC is what it says.  It is an apartment within a building where there is no elevator and you are more than likely to have to walk up flights of stairs to get to your apartment.  Unless you are on the first floor that is.  Walk up apartment buildings range from 2 to 6 floors.  Sometimes the entire building is comprised of apartments throughout.  Sometimes they come in the form of a Brownstone. And sometimes the first floor of the apartment building is a retail establishment whether it be a restaurant or dry cleaning.  If you are not looking for a description of what a walk up is and instead are looking for a list of no broker fee walk up rental availabilities that you can rent direct from management companies, you will find that there are plenty of available Walk Up Apartments in NYC located all throughout the city.    

On the outside, they generally look like this:


Walk Up Exterior Non Retail.jpg

Walk Up Brownstone.jpg

And like this on the inside:

walk up interior.jpgWalk Up Stairs.jpg

Everybody knows renting in NYC is expensive.  A hot topic amongst New Yorker friends/colleagues has always been "What percentage of your net income (after-tax dollars that actually enter your bank account) do you pay in rent?".  Though no scientists have conducted thorough research on this topic, the general consensus through discussions, blog forums, and anywhere else you can read about this topic is that many New Yorkers are allocating over 50% of their earned dollars straight to rent compared to the national rule of thumb 30%. 

Whether you are fresh out of college, moved to NYC on a whim, or trying to save up some extra cash in that nest egg, one alternative method to lowering the biggest expense everyone has, is to rent in no fee walk up apartments NYC.  Walk up apartments in NYC do get a bad rap and rightfully so under any circumstances.  Especially now with the coronavirus wreaking havoc throughout the world, some of those gripes are starting to come to light.  However, there are also many positives when renting and living in one of these apartment buildings.  We have a bunch of reasons listed below:  

1.  Cost 

Living in a walk up apartment cost the least amount of money compared to the other types of buildings in NYC.  Compared to a doorman-elevator building, walk ups cost much less in rent.  We are talking about a few hundred dollars per month difference.  For example, a studio in a walk up building can rent for ~$1,800 versus ~$2,400 in a doorman-elevator building.  Why is there such a drastic price difference?  The main culprit goes to the cost of the doormen.  Most of the doormen on staff are salaried and unionized with benefits.  They are great to have because they come with their own benefits but their presence is the bulk of the price difference.  

Because walk up apartments cost the least amount of money relative to other buildings, most first time New Yorkers flock to these apartments.  They are great affordable starter apartments for anyone new to the city.  They are also great for those who have an agenda to ramp up their savings account.  If you have lived in an affordable place for many years and have started to save up some serious cash and happy with the status quo, why change now?

2.  Plenty of No Broker Fee Availabilities

It is a well-known issue that NYC rental broker fees cost a few thousand dollars.  Having to pay that kind of money upfront while purposely trying to save money would be the same as pouring salt into an open wound.  Transparentcity, provides a full list of no broker fee walk up buildings throughout NYC where you can contact and rent directly from the property manager, enabling you to bypass the broker fee and save thousands of dollars.  In Manhattan alone, there are over 700+ of these no broker fee walk up buildings.  Renters used to assume these apartments were impossible to find and somewhat of an urban legend.  Or people tend to give up and spend the few thousand dollar broker fee because apartment hunting could be such a dehumanizing experience.  Rest assured, these no-fee walk up apartments do exist and they do in fact cost much less than a doorman building.  It doesn't take too much research to find of these apartments nor is it hard to get one.  A broker is NOT required in order to get one.  Surprisingly, walk ups comprise the majority of the no-fee buildings in NYC.    

3.  Privacy

Walk up apartment buildings are the smallest ones.  Each building ranges from having anywhere between 4 to 40 apartment units.  There aren't as many people living within a building compared to those doorman buildings.  There's no doorman up in your business knowing every move you make, judging every step you take.  What separates you and your apartment is a doorman-less door.  No one needs to know your schedule, when you leave in the morning or what time you get back at night  Except the roommate of course.  But it is total privacy away from the people that don't need to know.  

4.  Vintage Apartments

Walk up apartments are generally on the older side.  Meaning they could have been built anywhere from the early 1900s all the way through to the 1960s.  It is very rare nowadays for new construction of walk up apartments.  NYC wants to build higher and higher so generally anything new that gets erected is over 20 floors.  Demolishing an entire walk up building only to put up another of the same is nonexistent.  Any renovations to walk up apartments involve inside redos and some outside facade work.  Because the only work generally includes giving it a modern facelift, they continue to maintain that classic New York feel and style. Imagine, living in a classic piece of NY where you then walk out of your apartment into the biggest city in the world.  


5.  Exercise

Is the glass half full or half-empty?  Critics cringe at the sound of the term 6th floor of a walk up apartment.  It is true the convenience factor goes out the door when you need to lift heavy groceries or if you are on your way home from a night out.  But think about the number of steps you are taking on a daily basis.  Check your Fitbit or your health app and compare it to your friends.  It's a nonquestion that the number of steps you take is going to be infinitely higher than everyone else you know who lives in a lazy doorman-elevator building.  Who needs a gym when your thighs are well on their way to becoming tree trunks?

Overall, there are plenty of positives to living in walk up apartments NYC.  Take the chance.  Find your no broker fee walk up apartment at Transparentcity.


There are literally over 1,100 no broker fee walk up apartment buildings in NYC.