Before you add a fence to your property, know the guidelines to follow so you increase your property value and don’t run the risk of decreasing it!
If you are thinking about erecting a fence on your property, be sure that the fence you choose adds to your property’s curb appeal and value – selecting the wrong fence for your home can have just the opposite effect. Follow these guidelines and you won’t go wrong when choosing the best fence for your home.
In 1914, Robert Frost wrote in a poem, “Good fences make good neighbors.” He then said, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” Although a metaphor in “Mending Wall,” it illustrates the different views on erecting fences and begs the question of whether or not putting up a fence remains an important issue for many homeowners today. Fences can add value, privacy and security. But is building a fence always the best answer? How will it affect the value of your home?
Why Build A Fence?
The main reasons a homeowner may choose to build a fence are:
- Privacy. Homeowners may have a patio they want to make private. Or, they may live on a busy road and want to feel their house is somewhat secluded.
- To improve curb appeal. A well-maintained fence that matches your home’s architectural style will enhance the curb appeal of your home.
- To fence-in a pool on the property. Some municipalities make it mandatory that a pool is fully fenced-in. This is done to keep small children and animals safe, and to keep unauthorized people away. Also, most home insurance companies will demand that a pool is fully fenced-in before they will offer homeowner’s insurance.
- Security. Many parents feel safer if their young children are protected by a fence. Children can play and inadvertently run into the street, or be watched or approached by a stranger. A fence will help keep away unwanted visitors, and make home residents feel more secure.
- Pets. Dog lovers want the best for their pets and will go to great lengths to make them happy and keep them safe. A fence can keep them out of harms way and safely enclosed in pet-specific areas of the yard.
Not All Fences Are Created Equal
If you decide to install or fix an existing fence, be aware that the value added will depend on several factors. They are:
- the material the fence is made of;
- the aesthetic appeal of the fence;
- how well the fence blends with the home’s architectural style;
- the current condition of the fence;
- the age of the fence;
- the ability of the contractor. (The posts must be secure in the ground, and the fence cannot be leaning or have parts that are not level.);
- how well the fence fits in with the neighborhood’s character.
How Fences Affect Property Value
For top home value, it is imperative that fences are well maintained and have not fallen into disrepair. A fence is like a person’s calling card. It is the first thing that someone will notice about the property, and your home only has one time to make a first impression.
A poorly maintained or downright ugly fence will only detract from the property’s street appeal, and lower the property’s value. You can be sure that potential home buyers will be mentally envisioning having an unsightly fence torn down shortly after closing. Whatever they think that cost will be, will surely be deducted from their initial offering price. So if you are planning on putting your home on the market, and your fence is unsightly or in general disrepair, either tear the fence down or fix it.
However, a well-maintained fence that enhances the property and fits in with the neighborhood will surely add to the property’s value.
Don’t Add The Wrong Fence
If you are thinking of adding a fence to your property, there are a couple of things you should know before you proceed.
- You do not want to fence-in your property just to make your home stand out. If no other homes in the area have a fence, you do not want yours to be known as “the house with the fence.” There are definitely better ways to boost your curb appeal.
- If a neighborhood or association encourages homeowners to fence in their property, you should probably go ahead and comply if you are putting your house on the market soon. Without a fence, prospective buyers will wonder if you have been skimping on home investments and may worry about what else in the home is sub-par. Also, prospective buyers may think that as new owners they will need to install a fence, which can result in a lower offer.
- Be sure that the new fence compliments the architecture of your home. Meet with a fencing contractor to see which styles he recommends. Having the wrong style of fence can detract from your home’s curb appeal, and reduce your home value. This is especially true of affluent neighborhoods or in communities that follow specific home aesthetics. A home that has the wrong fence can be compared to an outfit being matched with the wrong pair of shoes. It just doesn’t work!
- Keep your fence in line with other fences in the neighborhood. For example, if all the fences in the neighborhood are white picket fences, don’t make yours an elaborate, tall metal fence; it will be jarring to the eye and make your home stand out in a negative way.
Personal Taste Matters
Finally, as in Robert Frost’s poem, thoughts about fences are a personal matter. For some people, a fence around a home may represent warmth, security and privacy; they envision their children and pets gleefully playing on a sunny Sunday afternoon. However, other people may see a fence and wonder, “Hmmm. Is there a reason this home needs a fence. Is there a high crime rate, or bad neighbors?”
When it comes to fencing, the smart real estate guidelines are simple: If your home has a fence, keep it well maintained; if it is an eyesore tear it down. If you want to add a fence, add one that fits the architecture of the house and your neighborhood. If you don’t have a fence, don’t feel you need to add one just to increase property value, after all - the buyer may not like fences. However a good-looking fence that is well suited to your home’s architecture and neighborhood, will likely add to the value of your home and not detract from it, so if you want a fence to enhance your current home or lifestyle, go for it!