I got asked recently about Fences and thought that this could be a good post. Many people have fences, but when we go to sell our homes, should we add, repair, dismantle or replace? Let's take a look at the factors that might lead into that decision.
First off, what is the purpose of the fence? Is it a visual landscape enhancement? Is it for the safety of children and pets? Is it a practical border of the property? Is it to provide a visual screen or a noise barrier? The answer of what to do with your fence depends a great deal on what your fence's primary purpose is. Let's take a look at the most common fence types, and address their utility in turn.
Chain Link Fence.
Chain link works for Ballfields,
but not for homes.
Chain link fence is practical to install, but over time gets bent, warped, rusty, and occasionally unsightly. Used primarily as a border of property for safety, both of the property and those inside the fence, it generally has little aesthetic appeal. If your home is in an area where safety is a primary consideration, it probably makes sense to fix the fence, and enhance it if possible by perhaps growing hedges or ivy along it. Otherwise, I'd look to minimize it and remove it. Most buyers see chain link as a visual negative, especially if it's in poor shape, and that affects curb appeal, and that, in turn, affects your sale price.
Split Rail Fence
Split Rail Fence is also a practical fence to install. While it provides an rural feel to a property, especially a larger parcel, it does little to keep pets and children safe. If the fence cuts across your acreage in a way that makes the land feel smaller, I'd look to dismantle those sections, and repair the rest, as long as your not talking a complete rebuild. Generally, anything that adds visually to your property will add curb appeal, but anything in disarray or disrepair just looks like a future expense, and buyer will do little to reward new projects in this market.
Sectional Wood Fences
There are many types of wood fences, but all require
maintenance over long periods.
An older style of fence that may have been painted or stained, but is often weathered, these fences can be attracted additions to a property. But overtime, the untreated wood can deteriorate, sections can be come uneven, and repairs necessary. It is not uncommon to see huge sections that need complete repair. If the fence provides a good privacy screen, marks the borders well, or encloses the property effectively, repair is probably the way to go - but if you can, skip the paint or stain. The additional cost (and effort) is probably better spent elsewhere, and I don't often find buyers too picky about mismatched fences, as long as you're under the 700K price point.
The newer fences are typically vinyl. Unlike wood, they start white and stay white. They (typically) have sections that can be replace without much difficulty, should an impact damage or break them. They aren't low cost, but the years of trouble free maintenance and the visual styles that can be achieved make it a valuable product for those looking for either safety or visual effects on their property. Six foot high (or taller) fences will function as a privacy enhancer and a noise deterrent, if you have high traffic or noise issues abutting your property. But as mentioned throughout this post, if you have numerous sections that are broken, chipped, missing or not working, they should be replaced. Further, if you're in a situation where the enclosure makes the back yard feel like a small dog run, and not a home, you'll have to make the difficult decision of whether the fence should come down. Really small yards, relative to competitive properties, can be a very tough sell, and that will come out of your top line, so be honest with yourself about the effect that fence is having on your property.