Flag Lot Definition

What is a Flag Lot
What is a Flag lot in Real Estate

Sometimes, a lot of builders are limited to building neighborhoods and homes within this boundary to prevent urban sprawl. So they built homes in every available space that they could to get as many homes in the allowable space. And any of these “infill” homes are on flag lots that are tucked away off the main street.

Although, I have discovered that there seem to be people that have no issues with a flag lot, and some like them, but in most cases, they are not as desirable as having a home on the main street.

What Is A Flag Lot?

In real estate jargon, a flag lot is when a home does not front a road, but rather the long driveway (like a flag pole) provides access to the home and another parcel is in front of it, or sometimes, a new access road or shared driveway provides access to two or more homes from the road.

And this typically happens when a homeowner quite literally sells their back yard or, when a developer tries to squeeze as many lots onto the parcel as they can.

Pros and Cons Of Flag Lots

One of the pros of a flag lot would be that you have a private road to yourself and the others who share it. And this might be a good thing if you have children and want them to play in a “safer” place where the only cars coming up the road are usually those that live there or guests visiting.

Flag lots also have cons and one of them could be that, you do have to share this road with others, there is usually limited parking, and your home is often hard to find and this can be a major disadvantage for emergencies when a fire truck will have difficulties navigating a flag lot as well as finding your home in the first place.

Because the drive is often a shared easement, there might be shared repair issues as well. You’ll also need to look closely at the tax records and plat maps when purchasing a home that is on a flag lot to see if there are any restrictions or shared costs for that particular property.

Flag Lot Requirements

Flag lot configuration is subject to the following limitations:

  1. No current lot shall be subdivided into more than two (2) lots.
  2. Each subdivision shall be subject to the approval of a parcel map as well as a conditional use permit.
  3. The original current lot to be subdivided shall have a street frontage of at least eighty feet (80′).
  4. Each such subdivision shall be limited to the creation of no more than one flag lot, with a minimum street frontage of twenty feet (20′); within the required twenty-foot (20′) wide minimum accessway to any newly created flag lot, no more than twelve feet (12′) may consist of hardscape, the remaining four feet (4′) on either side shall consist of landscaping, the abutting landscape strips shall be fully irrigated and shall be improved with shrubbery and tall, fast-growing plants as opposed to ground cover and low lying plants, the driveway shall contain decorative brickwork, stamped concrete and/or landscaped pavers, subject to review and approval of the granting body, no parking or storage shall be permitted in the twenty-foot (20′) wide access way.
  5. 5. A minimum of seven thousand two hundred (7,200) square feet of lot area shall be provided per newly created lot, exclusive of any “pole” portion of a flag lot, which provides access from the street.
  6. No such “flag lot” subdivision shall be created on Halifax Road between Daines Drive and Live Oak Avenue, legally described as lots #1-12, block A, lots #1-8, block B, and portion of lots #9-11, block B of tract no. 11695, Los Angeles County recorder map book 215-23-24 and a portion of lot 32 of E.J Baldwin’s Addition #1 to Santa Anita Colony, Los Angeles County recorder’s miscellaneous records 52-60, as shown on Exhibit A.
  7. No “flag lot” created under the provisions of this section shall be improved with any structure which exceeds one story or twenty feet (20′) in height.

Always remember that when gathering specific property data in the second step of the appraisal process, it needs to be determined what type of lot the property is built on.

Types of Lots

Lot types include:

  • Cul-de-sac lot: a lot facing the rounded turn-around portion of a dead-end street, the cul-de-sac property is private since it is not subject to through traffic, unlike rectangular lots, the cul-de-sac lot has a small front yard which is offset by a larger backyard.
  • Corner lot: a lot located at the intersection of two streets, the corner lot does not have a great deal of privacy due to traffic on the streets it intersects However, the corner lot may be more desirable since access to the side yard and backyard for vehicles is available from the side street.
  • Key lot: This is a lot bordered by three or more lots on the sides and the back and one of the biggest Disadvantage of the key lot is the lack of privacy due to numerous neighbors abutting all sides of the lot except the frontage, the key lot is also a long thin lot similar to the shaft of a key that is often bounded by as many as five or six lots, this also refers to a lot that has added value because of its strategic location, The lot six on the street was called a key lot because of its shape.
  • T-intersection lot: This is a lot at the end of a dead-end street, one of the biggest disadvantages of the T-intersection lot is noise and lack of privacy, there is also a higher danger of traffic-related damage.
  • Interior lot: a lot surrounded by lots on all three sides, the interior lot is the most common type of lot. And the interior lot is usually rectangular with a large backyard However, privacy is limited since the lot is adjoined on all sides by neighbors.
  • Flag lot: This is a lot located behind other lots with a long and narrow access driveway to a public street, a flag lot generally has a reduced value due to the lack of privacy that results from being surrounded by other homes’ backyards, flag lots also lack curb appeal.

What does it Mean When a Property is Flagged?

A flag lot is a real estate term that describes a land parcel that lies at the end of a long driveway, the flag lot may lie behind residences, buildings, or open land, and it is usually not visible from a road. Acquiring a lot that has no road frontage may give you privacy, but it may have some drawbacks as well.

Also note that red flags – Red is the most common flag, it signifies electric utilities, such as cables and power lines, and these mark the power lines that connect to a neighbor’s power grid.  By marking these junctions it helps to avoid a neighborhood-wide power outage. And they are also important because they can affect your ability to sell the house later and how much money you can get for it.

Conclusion

In summary, a flag lot is far from the worst thing you could allow in your city, but certainly, we hope you do not participate in creating any new ones. Also, remember there is one exception, we do think that a flag lot is preferable to having a lot where the only access is by way of an easement over a neighbor’s property, so if you have a chance to prevent future conflict due to an encroachment over or very near to an easement, and the only way to eliminate the necessity of the easement is through creating a flag lot, feel free to allow that.

Also note that Flag Lot describes the shape of a certain type of lot, where the access to the road is provided along the long narrow “flag pole,” and the shape of the lot is rectangular, as a flag. Sometimes when a broker has difficulty locating a property, it can be because it is on a flag lot.

 

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