Homes very close to each other with the skyline of San Francisco in the background.

Zero Lot Line Explained

4-Minute Read
Published on April 29, 2020

When home buyers purchase a traditional single-family home, their lot often consists of two side yards. While this is known to be the standard home lot, some homes have only one yard or no yard at all. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of a zero lot line house.

What Is A Zero Lot Line?

First, let’s define a zero lot line house: It’s a residential property that comes up to or sits on the home’s property line. Because one side of the home’s structure is near the edge of the lot, the property has no room between the house and the boundary line. Zero lot lines exist to create more interior space for homeowners while only requiring homeowners to pay for a lot large enough to hold the house. This can affect a zero lot line’s property value.

Zero lot line homes are most common in urban areas with a high population density. They offer an alternative to condominiums while providing housing options for more people in a tightly packed region. Some of the most common types of zero lot line homes are row houses, garden homes, townhouses and patio homes.

In terms of zoning laws for zero lot lines, all regulations are predetermined by the land developer and the city.

See What You Qualify For

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

Get Started

Advantages Of Zero Lot Line Homes

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

  • A potentially lower purchase price: Zero lot line houses allow homeowners to maximize square footage inside their home while only paying for a lot large enough to fit their home. A potentially lower purchase price is one of the biggest advantages of owning this type of property.
  • Less maintenance: Having less land means homeowners don’t need to deal with landscaping. Homeowners probably won’t have to handle much upkeep or pay for professionals to tend to their yards.
  • More privacy than in an apartment or condo: Zero lot line houses are often preferred over apartments and condos because they provide more privacy and independence for residents while still being low maintenance. Instead of having to share numerous walls with neighbors in an apartment or condo, residents of these homes only share a few walls or no walls with their neighbors. This allows for less noise and more privacy.
  • Strong communities: Even with the privacy that comes with living in a zero lot line house, you can experience a sense of community from having shared back alleys and front porches on the street.

Disadvantages Of Zero Lot Line Homes

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

  • Less privacy than traditional homes: The main disadvantage to living in a zero lot line home is little privacy compared to a traditional house. There’s not a lot of space separating your property from your neighbor’s property, and sometimes the window placement can be problematic, too.
  • More road noise: Because zero lot line homes can be closer to the road 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 zero lot line problem is owning little land and lacking the ability to expand the home if desired. Because of these factors, zero lot line homes don’t always fare as well on the real estate market.

Is A Zero Lot Line Home For You?

Whether to purchase a zero lot line home is a decision to carefully consider. You’ll need to be sure you’re buying the right property for your goals, budget and more. Next up are a few factors you’ll want to consider before making an offer.

Your Long-Term Goals

Zero lot line homes can be harder to sell because of their small or non-existent yards, their limited potential to expand square footage and the lack of privacy they offer compared to standard homes. Think about your long-term goals before making an offer. If you’re planning on staying in the home or want to turn it into a rental down the road, it may be a good fit.

Your Budget

Zero lot line properties are often cheaper than traditional standalone homes. This is because you’re mostly paying for the home, not the home and a large plot of land the home sits on. If you’re working with a tight home-buying budget or just want to get a nicer house without spending as much money, a zero lot line home may be ideal.

Your Lifestyle

Before buying a zero lot line property, you’ll need to think about your lifestyle and the type of lifestyle you want in the future. If you’re looking for a home with a large backyard where you can entertain friends and family, a zero lot line property isn’t the right choice. However, if you’re the type of person who hates the idea of yard work and prefers to host guests indoors, a zero lot line home may be worth a look.

The Bottom Line

Zero lot line homes may not have large yards, but they offer many benefits for prospective buyers. With lower maintenance requirements and modest purchase prices, these 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 the city, you’ll want to know how much you can afford before you start looking. Apply online to begin the mortgage approval process today and figure out your budget.

See What You Qualify For

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

Get Started

Miranda Crace

Miranda Crace is a Senior Section Editor for the Rocket Companies, bringing a wealth of knowledge about mortgages, personal finance, real estate, and personal loans for over 10 years. Miranda is dedicated to advancing financial literacy and empowering individuals to achieve their financial and homeownership goals. She graduated from Wayne State University where she studied PR Writing, Film Production, and Film Editing. Her creative talents shine through her contributions to the popular video series "Home Lore" and "The Red Desk," which were nominated for the prestigious Shorty Awards. In her spare time, Miranda enjoys traveling, actively engages in the entrepreneurial community, and savors a perfectly brewed cup of coffee.