Zero Lot Line Explained

4 Min Read
Published March 5, 2024
Homes very close to each other with the skyline of San Francisco in the background.
Written By Miranda Crace

When home buyers purchase a traditional single-family home, their lot often has two side yards. While this is the standard home lot, some homes only have one yard or no yard at all.

Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of a zero lot line house.

What Are Zero Lot Line Homes?

A zero lot line house is a residential property that comes up to or sits on its property line. Because one side of the home is near the edge of the lot, there’s no room between the house and its boundary line.

City authorities and land developers often collaborate to determine zoning laws and regulations for zero lot line properties.

Why Do Zero Lot Line Homes Exist?

Zero lot line homes allow homeowners to have more interior space while only paying for a lot the size of the house, which can affect its property value.

Where Can You Find Zero Lot Line Homes?

Zero lot line homes are typically in high-density urban areas. They offer an alternative to condominiums and provide housing options for more people in tightly packed areas. Common types of zero lot line homes include row houses, garden homes, townhouses and patio homes.

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What Are The Advantages Of Zero Lot Line Homes?

Now that you know what a zero lot line home is, let’s explore some benefits of purchasing one, including:

Lower Purchase Price

Zero lot line houses allow homeowners to maximize the square footage inside their homes while only paying for lots large enough for their homes. A lower purchase price is one of the biggest advantages of owning this type of property.

Lower Maintenance Costs

Less land means less or no landscaping or maintenance for homeowners. Homeowners will likely have less yard work or won’t need to hire professionals to tend to their yards.

More Privacy

Many buyers prefer zero lot line houses over apartments and condos because they offer more privacy and independence and are typically low maintenance. Instead of sharing walls with neighbors in an apartment or condo, zero lot line homeowners only share a few walls or no walls with their neighbors, allowing for less noise and more privacy.

Stronger Sense Of Community

Despite the privacy a zero lot line home offers, this housing arrangement can foster a sense of community through shared alleyways and front porches.

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What Are The Disadvantages Of Zero Lot Line Homes?

Before deciding to purchase a zero lot line home, weigh your options and get familiar with some disadvantages of this living arrangement:

More Road Noise

Because zero lot line homes can be closer to the street than homes on larger lots, you may hear more noise from cars and traffic, especially if the home is on a busy street.

Less Room To Expand

Another common problem with zero lot line properties is owning limited land, which can prevent homeowners from expanding their homes.

Many of these factors diminish home buyer demand for zero lot line homes, and they don’t always fare as well on the real estate market.

Is A Zero Lot Line Home For You?

Purchasing a zero lot line home entails a decision you need to make carefully. You should feel confident that the property aligns with your goals, budget and more.

Here are a few other factors you should consider before making an offer:

Your Long-Term Goals

Think about your long-term goals before making an offer. A zero lot line home may be a good fit if you plan on staying or eventually making it a rental. Otherwise, zero lot line homes can be harder to sell because of their small or nonexistent yards and limited potential to expand square footage.

Your Budget

Zero lot line properties are usually cheaper than traditional detached homes because you’re mostly paying for the home, not the home and a large plot of land. If you’re working with a tight home buying budget or want a nicer house for less, a zero lot line home may be right for you.

Your Lifestyle

Before buying a zero lot line property, you should think about your present and future lifestyle. If you want a home with a large backyard to entertain friends and family, a zero lot line property probably isn’t the right choice. If you don’t want to bother with yard work and prefer entertaining in your dining room, a zero lot line home may be worth a look.

The Bottom Line

What zero lot line homes lack in yard space, they more than make up for with affordable purchase prices and less maintenance. Zero lot line homes are ideal for buyers who want an easy-to-care-for property that won’t break the bank.

Whether you’re considering buying a home on acreage or prefer a zero lot line house in the heart of a city, you must know how much you can afford before you start house hunting. Apply online today to begin the mortgage application process and get started on your home buying journey.

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You can get a real, customizable mortgage solution based on your unique financial situation.