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Fence Questions for Soon-to-Be Home Sellers

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As a homeowner, you may have questions about what to do with your fence when you sell your property. Should you update it to look more modern? Do you need to replace missing or damaged boards or posts? Or, if you don’t have a fence, should you consider having one installed pre-sale to increase your home’s value? Read on for answers to all of these fence questions.

My Fence Is Old and in Pretty Bad Shape. Should I Remove It?

Leaving a beat up, broken fence in your yard can give buyers a negative first impression of your home. Why? Because if it looks like you can’t be bothered to deal with a major eyesore, they may wonder if there are other issues with the home you’ve neglected to fix. The good news is, it’s not difficult to resolve the issue.

It’s pretty easy to find relatively inexpensive general laborers who are willing to come and haul away broken-down fencing. So, if your fence is falling apart, it’s best that you get it removed prior to listing. However, if it’s repairable, consider whether it’s better to remove the fence entirely or simply fix it up.

» MORE: Big for sale by owner mistakes you should avoid

Should I Get My Fence Fixed Before Selling My House?

It really depends on what kind of damage you’re dealing with. There are basically three scenarios here:

Your Fence Looks Outdated, but Isn’t Physically Damaged

If this is the situation you’re dealing with, take the initiative to spruce it up. With a couple hours time and a couple coats of paint or stain, your fence will look as good as new. This is the best case scenario because it’s a cheap and easy way to impress potential buyers.

Your Fence Damage Is More Extensive, but Not to the Point of Being Dangerous

In this case, it’s a good idea to get a couple cost estimates to find out how expensive it will be to repair your fence issues. If the damage is extensive, you may not recoup the cost of repairs at close. In this case, it may be better to leave the fence as-is and see if the buyer brings it up as a negotiation point at the offer table.

The Fence Has Damage That Could Be Dangerous

If you have exposed posts, slats hanging into the yard, or any other sort of issues that could be considered dangerous to pets or kids, you really should get those things fixed before you list your home. Get multiple estimates so you can select the best value for the repair to increase your odds of recouping the cost of the fix at closing.

Should I Install a Fence Before Selling a Home?

Not only are home buyers willing to pay more for a home that has an attractive fence, but there are many home buyers who are specifically looking for properties with fencing. Buyers seek out fenced properties because they value privacy or because they have kids or pets they want to keep safe out in the yard.

So should you put one in? Research has shown that installing a fence is one of the best returns on investment, potentially getting yo

u up to 200% of the fence’s installed cost. If there’s demand in your area, and you’re confident you can find a good deal on materials and installation, it may be worth it to install a fence pre-sale.

But, if you live in a neighborhood where fencing is not in high demand, you’re probably better off not installing a brand new fence. You only want to invest in projects that are going to pay you back at closing as you get ready to list your home.

What Type of Fencing Should I Install?

There are a few things to consider. Many managed neighborhoods have HOA regulations on what kind of materials are allowed, so make sure you know what those are first. Then, weigh your options based on how much money you want to spend.

If you don’t have a lot of money to invest, a vinyl or wood privacy fence is going to give you the best bang for your buck. If you have more money to invest, cast iron fencing or even stone wall fencing can make your home much more attractive. In general, it’s usually not worth it to put up a chain-link fence. Since it’s less attractive and offers no privacy, you’re not likely to see as good of a return on your investment.

Should I Add a Fence in a Fenceless Neighborhood?

You may be concerned about adding a fence if your neighborhood is primarily fenceless. However, as long as there are no HOA restrictions, installing a fence should still add value to the property. The only additional consideration for fenceless neighborhoods is that you should try to pick a material and style that blends well into the neighborhood’s overall aesthetic. As a courtesy, you should also make sure you talk to the neighbors to get their blessing before you bring in the installers.

Many homes can be improved with the addition of a fence, and broken or damaged fences will usually be considered a liability in the mind of a buyer.

Adding a fence can be a serious investment, and you shouldn’t add one to your property without knowing that you will absolutely get a decent return at closing.

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