Carol Staab
Associate Broker
Douglas Elliman
111 Fifth Avenue
New York , NY 10003

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The Pros and Cons of Buying a Manhattan Penthouse

Manhattan Penthouse

Penthouse with soaring ceilings and amazing views!

Do you dream about owning a Manhattan penthouse and wonder if it would be the right choice? Well here are some pros and cons of owning a penthouse to help you make that big decision!

PROS of Owning a Manhattan Penthouse

1. The prestige factor of buying a trophy apartment.

2. Ultimate quiet because you have no neighbor above and are so
far away from the street noise.

3. Unobstructed views, amazing light, higher ceilings, elevator that opens up directly into your apartment, terraces and a great layout. Unique amenities that apartments on lower floors don’t possess.

4. Customization- Ability to build and up if the building has not sold its air rights.

5. These pros apply as long as the penthouse is really a penthouse and not apartments simply labeled penthouse A or B on the same floor. Top appraiser and publisher of our Douglas Elliman market reports refers to these penthouses as “marketing ploys” and not much worth than another high floor units in the building.

CONS of Owning a Manhattan Penthouse

1. Terrace leaks in the unit. Roof leaks from extreme storm weather causing damage to the penthouse and neighbors below. There are no insurance surcharges for proximity to the roof. Also depending on the insulation, a penthouse can be a lot colder or hotter than in other apartments.

2. Landscaping the terrace can be very expensive requires a lot of maintenance. Plants must be able to survive weather extremes. How about the snow? Where do you put the snow that accumulates? You can’t push it off the roof or the terraces! What about when it melts and some of the snow is ice blocking access to the roof.

3. During local law 11 work on the façade the workers will come through your penthouse to gain access to do roof work.

4. Possible litigation over disputes over what is your outdoor and what is a common area. Everything you put on the outdoor space must be legal and not disturb neighbors below. When it comes to decorating you must not exceed the 40 pounds per square foot limits.

5. Renovation costs are higher due to the added cost of transporting materials, a much greater distance. Whether renovating the inside or outside you have the weather working against you. If you are going to be storing things on the roof you need to take them off before it begins snowing.

6. Emergency issues. In case of a medical emergency or fire it is going to take longer for paramedics and fire fighters to reach a penthouse.

7. It is going to take you longer to get down to the lobby and also in some penthouses cell service can be spotty.

That said the benefit of having amazing 360 degree views, wrap terraces, very high ceilings, privacy and the prestige of ownership is truly worth it!