The idea of living in a penthouse often gets attached to those who walk among the rich and famous. Just the very word “penthouse” conjures up visions of a lavish lifestyle. But what exactly separates a penthouse from just a really (really) big apartment or condo?
Although typically associated with larger spaces, some penthouses can be just 350 square feet (as one such example in NYC). However, many can jump way past 15,000 square feet or more; they all usually include luxury features. Also, a common feature of a penthouse is it takes up the entire top floor of an apartment/condominium building.
Originally, a penthouse referred to a house constructed on the roof of an apartment building. Eventually, it came to refer to the lavish unit that takes up the entire upper floor. It’s pretty much a given that the penthouse will be the most expensive unit in the building.
Table of Contents
- Making a Penthouse Work for You
- Penthouse Layout Ideas
- What Are Some Unique Perks in Penthouses?
- Related Questions
Making a Penthouse Work for You
You don’t really have to do much to make a penthouse work for you. When you think about it, if you can afford a penthouse, then you probably have a lot of options. Of course, if you can’t really afford it, that’s a whole other story.
Assuming owning or renting a penthouse is well within your budget, then you’ll likely have space and privacy. Now, there’s always a possibility of some drawbacks.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Your lifestyle, and more importantly, how it could possibly change, is critical. It plays a big part in whether a penthouse is a suitable choice for you.
For example, assume you purchase a two-bedroom penthouse as a single person. You have all of the amenities you can dream of, plus lots of extra space. However, then you get married and have kids. The same amount of space might not work as well for a family of four or more.
When your life situation changes, the once roomy two-bedroom penthouse might not be as ideal a dwelling for you anymore. Get the picture? Therefore, it’s still essential to strongly factor in your lifestyle and future plans before making such a big purchase. If you think your living situation might change in the near future, tread carefully.
If it’s possible you’ll outgrow a space fairly soon, renting might be a better option than buying. Then, once you’re situation is more stable, you can move toward purchasing a penthouse.
Penthouse Layout Ideas
Penthouses come in a variety of different layouts and designs, many of which are unique and jaw-dropping. You’ll find most penthouses in more urban environments. These big city digs usually feature wide-open floor plans with lots of windows.
This is because penthouses typically take up the top floor of tall buildings. Therefore, part of what you pay for are breathtaking views. After all, if you’re paying for a penthouse, you want to make a statement.
When guests walk into a room like this one, you can bet they get a huge wow factor.
Lavish and Luxurious
This impressive and spacious penthouse features a split-bedroom design. The owner’s (master) suite tucks away in its own corner, complete with a private bath, terrace, and two walk-in closets. Across the penthouse, you’ll find the other three suites, hence the term split-bedroom.
This penthouse is the epitome of luxury, so every bedroom gets its own bathroom and walk-in closet. The rest of this unit features spacious living and dining areas, a huge kitchen, a separate den, bathrooms, and storage. There are also two massive terraces for outdoor living and entertaining, independent from the owner’s private terrace.
The terraces offer more than enough space to include furniture for eating, lounging, and soaking up the sun. On pleasant days, these outdoor spaces become true extensions of the living space. This makes the penthouse feel even larger than it already is.
While many penthouses spread out across the entire top floor of a building, some penthouses feature two levels. This is also a four-bedroom, but it keeps one guest bedroom on the main level, while the rest are upstairs. This is a good idea for guests that might not be able to handle the spiral stairs.
Once again, each bathroom has its own bathroom, while the master also gets two walk-in closets. The main floor showcases a library and living room with double-high ceilings, a large kitchen, dining area, and den. Plus, there is ample outdoor space available for added living and entertaining options.
A Simpler (But Not Too Simple) Penthouse
This penthouse still features luxury finishes and lots of amenities, but it’s not quite as spread out as the other examples. It’s a four-bedroom, and each room has its own bath, but you won’t find walk-in closets here.
Plus, the second bedroom actually shares a bathroom with the study, which doubles as another potential bedroom. There is no bathroom off of the main living areas. Therefore, guests need to go through the study or a bedroom to use the facilities.
This might not be ideal, especially when you’re paying penthouse prices. But you do get lots of terrace space and an ample size living/dining/kitchen combo space. There just isn’t many bonus rooms, but hey, you have a penthouse.
What Are Some Unique Perks in Penthouses?
You keep hearing about all of the extra perks of a penthouse, but what are they exactly? Well, beyond luxe finishes, extra outdoor space, and amazing views, perks vary depending on the penthouse and location. However, here are some examples of unique benefits:
You can find alarm monitoring, security cameras, even bullet-proof glass in some penthouses. Depending on how much and who you are, you might even get your own security guard.
In some penthouses, you might not need to go through the building to get to your front door. It could come with its own private entrance, complete with a private elevator.
VIP Access and Treatment
Depending on the complex, owning the penthouse might open you up to special privileges. You could enjoy earlier pool or fitness center hours, for example, or extra parking spaces.
You also usually enjoy higher ceilings and a more open floor plan in a penthouse. Plus, you typically get your own laundry and a fully equipped, top-of-the-line kitchen.
You might also find unique features like temperature-controlled wine storage or your own private sauna. If there is something in particular you want, you likely have more options and available space with a penthouse to renovate. You can add personal features and creative touches after purchase but likely won’t have as much freedom if you’re renting.
How much does a penthouse cost?
Putting an average price tag on a penthouse is tricky because you need to consider a lot of factors. The most significant determinants are location, size, and amenities. Plus, you can rent a penthouse or opt to buy a penthouse, so costs can vary.
Penthouses across the United States can cost anywhere from about $650,000 to over $3 million; that’s a big spread. Typically, penthouses run 5 to 15% more than other units in the building. A bargain price would be somewhere around $600,000 to $700,000.
Renting a penthouse could be as low as $5,000 a month for a small unit. Conversely, you would pay closer to $15,000 monthly for a larger space.
You can even find penthouses that run close to $100,000 a month. Yep, you read that right. The more amenities and extras you pack on, like separate entrances, high-tech security, and designer finishes, the higher the price.
What are the pros and cons of living in a penthouse?
Obviously, if you can afford it, a penthouse is loaded with advantages. You get more space, more privacy, access to amazing views, and luxurious perks. You also typically get extra benefits within the complex, including efficient service and support.
The biggest con of living in a penthouse is the price. These dwellings aren’t inexpensive by any stretch of the imagination. But, if you are shopping around for penthouses, maybe the budget isn’t an issue.
Other potential drawbacks are really long elevator rides. After all, you’re likely on the top floor of a very tall building. Although some penthouses might offer a private elevator with direct access, it can still be lengthy.
If you use the same elevator as everyone else, you also have to account for multiple stops along the way. This could get a little old day in and day out when you think about it.
If the complex features public rooftop amenities, such as a pool or lounge, the penthouse could get a bit noisy. These are just things to consider when you’re making your final decision.
Is buying a penthouse a good investment opportunity?
A penthouse can be an excellent investment, as long as you can afford it in the first place. Typically, this is because you usually find penthouses in prime locations in the city. They are certainly some coveted pieces of real estate.
You also have a unique target market of individuals that want the best of the best. People looking for the best city views, the most space, privacy, and unique features will gravitate to a penthouse. Penthouses also offer more options than other units in a building for flexibility of layout or expansion.
Plus, penthouses aren’t as plentiful as regular apartments and condos, so it keeps supply precious. Many real estate agents express that most penthouses will achieve if not surpass their asking price. For this reason, penthouses typically feature great resale value as well.