Patio Homes or Zero Lot Line Houses
This corner of Almaden is located at the end of Serenity Way near Glenview Park and Cathedral Park in the Williams area. The Glencrest patio homes area is shaped like a pentagram (a five sided object) so is easy to spot on the map.
The community enjoys a shared pool. The outside ring of homes are single family houses on large, normal lots of about 10,000 to 13,000 square feet (on Valley Quail Circle, Hollow Lake).
The more modest patio or zero lot line properties are found on the inside streets and have about 6,000 SF lots – the streets are Quail Creek Circle, Mountain Quail Circle, and Quail Cove Way.
The Glencrest homes were built by Shapell, a company which is known for a very high quality. Most were built in 1987 or 1988.
The big draws for these homes are as follows:
- Top Almaden schools are close by: Williams, Bret Harte and Leland
- Shappell is a highly regarded builder, perhaps the most valued in Santa Clara County
- The Glencrest area homes, whether on normal lots or zero lot line / patio homes, are fairly young by local standards
Because the Glencrest patio homes are smaller, they are more affordable. Many people consider them entry level houses for Williams Elementary School. For this reason, real estate sales in the Glencrest area often command surprisingly high prices given that structures are built on one of the property lines and that there are no windows on that side of the home.
There are some negatives to any area. Here, the interior streets are narrow, and of course a zero lot line is not ideal. Water and hillside locations don’t help homes, so it’s important to manage drainage effectively.
Real estate listings and homes for sale in and near the Glencrest neighborhood of San Jose’s Almaden Valley: please view using the following link
Not everyone is familiar with the term “patio home” or “zero lot line” house when searching for Silicon Valley real estate. Awhile back, a listing agent of such a property called me for feedback and when I told her that my clients did not want a zero lot line home, she didn’t know what I was talking about. She had no idea that this term applied to her listing!
So I thought maybe this topic deserved a little more attention.
What does zero lot line mean?
With most houses, the structure is set into the lot or land such that the property boundaries are at least a few feet away on all sides – often 5 or 8 feet. One common exception is garages in older parts of Willow Glen, Los Gatos, downtown San Jose, etc., where often these buildings were set directly against the property line on one or two sides.
When a house is right up against the property line, directly on the line, that’s referred to as a zero lot line and is usually referred to as a patio home. To view that wall, you’d literally have to go onto your neighbor’s lot to have a look. Although this is not terribly uncommon in dense, urban areas, it’s fairly infrequent in Silicon Valley.
Why are homes designed on zero lot line properties? The main reason is to increase the density while providing more yard to the home owner. Rather than having two 8′ side yards, perhaps you’ll have one much larger 16′ yard.
Interestingly, these houses do not always sell for less with the zero lot line – at least not that I have been able to discern. (That’s counter-intuitive….)
How can you tell if it’s a zero lot line house?
It should be disclosed in the MLS as such, but often isn’t (sometimes the listing agent doesn’t even know), so you’ll have to look carefully at the neighborhood and the property to see. Here are some clues: Continue reading