What is a Flag Lot and are there any Pros and Cons to buying or selling a home on one?

By
Real Estate Agent with Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon
http://actvra.in/c6p

 What is a Flag Lot and are there any Pros and Cons to buying or selling a home on one?

One of the common questions I get is what is a flag lot? Here in the Portland Metro and surrounding suburbs, we have what is called the Urban Growth Boundary.  Builders are limited to build neighborhoods and homes within this boundary to prevent urban sprawl, so they built homes in every nook and cranny that they could to get as many homes in the allowable space. Many of these "infill" homes are on flag lots that are tucked away off the main street. diagram of a flag lot

In the diagram to the left you can see one type of Flag lot.

This is on a small street off the main one that is shared by four homes. I've found that there seems 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 a main street.

The Pros of a flag lot would be that you have a private road to yourself...well and the others who share it. 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.

The Cons are that you do have to share this road with others, there is usually limited parking, and your home is often hard to find. This can be a major disadvantage for emergency situations when a fire truck will have difficulties navigating a flag lot as well as finding your home in the first place.

Since the drive is often a shared easement, there might be shared repair issues as well. Of course you'll 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.

Diagram of a Flag Lot

In the second Diagram, you can see that there are two seperate flag lots. One is off the main road that leads down to two homes tucked away while the other leads down to just one single property.

I listed one of the homes at the end of the two home flag lot and I can tell you that the parking was indeed difficult and I had to back out of the long driveway just to get out. There is also the issue of being very close to the neighbor that you share the driveway with. This particular neighbor was great, kept the home neat and didn't clog up the driveway with cars...but you don't know who will move in next should they decide to sell.

The other flag lot that leads down to just the one property in my opinion is a more desirable one than the others since the driveway is not shared.

If you choose to buy a flag lot, know that there might be re-sale issues as you have a 50/50% split on desirability, you will lose that 50% buyer pool when it comes time to sell. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, so your agent can look and see if there has been a difference in sold flag lots compared to your regular lot in that neighborhood.

Like anything when buying and selling a home, you need to look at all the factors. If a flag lot is in a desirable neighborhood, close to the city and shopping, the downsides can often be overlooked.

If you have any further questions on what a flag lot is, please feel free to contact me.

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Knowledgeable, Approachable, Service Oriented

Cindy Westfall ABR,GRI

Premiere Property Group,LLC

5000 Meadows Rd., Ste. 150, Lake Oswego, OR 97035

Cell: 503-819-5241      

E-Mail: cindy@cindywestfall.com

www.CindyWestfall.com

 

Cindy Westfall, Portland Real estate

 

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Bob & Leilani Souza 06/08/2011 09:21 PM
Topic:
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Location:
Oregon Washington County Tualatin
Groups:
1st Time Buyers
Portland Metro
Portland Metro Real Estate
Portland Oregon Home Buyers and Sellers
Posts to Localism
Tags:
prudential nw properties
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what is a flag lot

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Rainmaker
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Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

Hi Cindy,


A good post on flag lots!  Once I shared a driveway with another home and the other homeowners were wonderful -- but after they sold their home, the new buyers were a nightmare:  ran over my exterior lights, screamed at my kids, threw sticks at my dog ... so as a result of that experience, I'll avoid flag lots in the future LOL

Feb 23, 2011 12:46 AM #1
Rainmaker
477,435
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Maureen, Those people sound like the neighbors from hell! This is never good in a non flag lot situation, but when you're sharing a driveway and are in closer range with the other home and people..(especially after the prior homeowners were great) as you witnessed personally, it can be a nightmare. Sorry you and your family had to deal with that..yikes.

Feb 23, 2011 10:44 AM #2
Rainmaker
441,494
Mike Carlier
Lakeville, MN
More opinions than you want to hear about.

I showed a rural home yesterday located on a flag lot.  That's not quite as bad because the "pole" portion runs through a bean field.  Only problem is that the home is near an intersection of two roads, and the "pole" runs from the main portion of the lot to one road, and the driveway runs to the other road.  Emailed the listing agent for clarification, and am still hearing nothing but crickets.

Jun 08, 2011 02:18 PM #3
Rainmaker
477,435
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Mike, that does sound pretty rural and confusing. Thinking there should be a showing attachment for these kind of special properties. Crickets..aaah the sound of summer.

Jun 08, 2011 02:24 PM #4
Rainer
242,098
David Ames
Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco - San Francisco, CA
San Francisco

Not too many of those here in the City, but there seem to plenty in the burbs.  My Godparents lived in one, and I remember thinking how odd it was and yet magical at the same time.  it all depends on the boundaries and access.

Jun 08, 2011 03:36 PM #5
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Peter Pfann @ 1 Percent Realty Victoria, and Pay-Less For Victoria Real Estate Results!
1 PERCENT REALTY, Victoria BC www.1percentrealtyvictoria.com - Victoria, BC
Talk To Peter 250-213-9490 www.pay-lessrealty.com

Hi Cindy,

Very cool topic and information, in our area we would call them either panhandle subdivisions, and or( bareland )shared driveway lots with easements and rights of way.

they would no longer be created due to fire tuck access problems in the past, but they do remain, cool topic.

Jun 08, 2011 06:24 PM #6
Rainmaker
477,435
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi David, It really does depend on how it's laid out and such. I like your description..odd yet magical...hmm..could be a marketing choice of words for marketing :)

Jun 08, 2011 07:28 PM #7
Rainmaker
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Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Peter & Linda, Thanks, It's one of those subjects that I find myself explaining when there is a home on my showing list that's on a flag lot. I think flag or panhandle lots as well as cul-de-sacs have been hard for firetruck access. Heck..some of them are hard to just back out of in a sedan. Good thing they have long hoses!

Jun 08, 2011 07:33 PM #8
Rainmaker
236,637
Judy Klem
Transition Stage LLC - Shelton, CT
Home Staging, Senior Move Management, Fairfield/New Haven counties

Hi Cindy - This is a very clear, well-written post on this topic. I hit Suggest.

Jun 08, 2011 08:50 PM #9
Rainmaker
951,302
Bob & Leilani Souza
Souza Realty - Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Loomis, Granite Bay, Penryn, Newcastle, Auburn, Meadow Vista (California) - Roseville, CA
Placer County, CA: Foreclosures, Auctions, Rentals

Cindy, this is an EXCELLENT post about the pros and cons of flag lot homes! I'm not only going to suggest it, but I'm re-blogging it as well! :)

Leilani

Jun 08, 2011 08:53 PM #10
Rainmaker
477,435
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Judy, Thank you so much! That means quite a lot to me!

Jun 08, 2011 11:41 PM #11
Rainmaker
477,435
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Leilani, Thanks for reading, the suggest AND the reblog! Much appreciated!

Jun 08, 2011 11:43 PM #12
Rainmaker
355,461
Kat Palmiotti
Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty, Monroe NY Real Estate, 914-419-0270 - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I came here from your 2013 blog and did find this quite interesting.   We don't have "flag lots" per se, but we do have areas where various homes will share a private road or driveway for other reasons  - in that case, the issue is whether there are formal, legal, maintenance agreements in place that include things like who is responsible for plowing.   Those homes are usually less desirable than a normal one driveway-one house home.

Dec 19, 2013 11:33 AM #13
Rainmaker
477,435
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Kat, Sharing a road typically comes with sharing responsibilities which is one reason for being less desirable. You can't pick your neighbors!

Dec 19, 2013 12:22 PM #14
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Rainmaker
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Cindy Westfall

ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate
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