What is a 'Zero-Lot-Line House '

A zero-lot-line house is a piece of residential real estate in which the structure comes up to or very near to the edge of the property line. Rowhouses, garden homes, patio homes and townhomes are all types of properties that may be zero-lot-line homes. They may be attached (as in a townhome) or detached, single story or multistory.

BREAKING DOWN 'Zero-Lot-Line House '

Zero-lot-line homes are not just for low-income homebuyers; they are an attractive option for anyone who doesn't have the time or inclination to maintain a large yard. These homes are especially popular in urban renewal settings. In places with high population density, such as the urban core of a large metropolitan area, zero-lot-line houses impart buyers with options beyond the typical lofts and condos while maintaining the ability to provide housing for large numbers of people in a tightly circumscribed area.

Zero-Lot-Line House Advantages

With a zero-lot-line house, the buyer only has to pay for a lot large enough to hold the house. Such a home confers savings to purchasers who cannot afford a larger lot or do not feel they need one enough to justify the expense.

These homes are also an appealing alternative to condos because they offer greater privacy and independence while still being low-maintenance. A common complaint in condominium settings is that a homeowner shares walls with as many as five neighbors, increasing the chances of noise disturbances from neighbors and eroding any sense of privacy. While certain zero-lot-line homes, such as townhomes and rowhouses, still include shared walls, they are fewer. Other zero-lot-line options, such as garden homes, offer homeowners the freedom of a standalone structure.

Zero-lot-line houses are built very close to the property line to create more usable space. Not leaving room in the property plot for a yard allows for maximum square footage in the home.

Zero-Lot-Line House Disadvantages

Window placement, noise and a lack of privacy can be issues with these types of homes since there is little to no buffer zone surrounding them. Moreover, because zero-lot-line homes typically feature less setback from the road compared to homes on larger lots, noise from passing cars can be a constant concern, in particular if the home is situated on a busy thoroughfare.

Zero-lot-line houses can create challenges among neighbors, especially in areas where people are used to having larger buffer zones. In traditionally dense neighborhoods where residents are used to living in close quarters, smaller buffer zones are less of a challenge.

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