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Steps to take before erecting a fence
Fences serve many purposes on a property and can even add visual appeal and value
to a home. A fence can effectively delineate property borders, serve as a safety
barrier and keep pets and children from wandering into the street.
According to Zillow, an online real estate database, erecting a fence on a property in
an area where fences are common usually increases the value of the home, putting it
in line with similar properties nearby. However, this may only be the case if the fence
is installed professionally and matches other fences throughout the neighborhood.
Homeowners planning to install a fence should first secure a copy of their property
surveys. A survey of the property is often conducted upon purchasing a home and/or
when the land and home is being assessed. If you do not have a survey, you can hire
a professional to conduct one.
The survey will be handy because it clearly marks property lines. Depending on the
local regulations, fences may need to be installed a certain number of inches or feet
within the property line. Your municipality and building code office will be able to
guide you further as to what is legal. Reputable fencing companies that work in the
community should also have a good understanding of fencing regulations.
A permit is typically needed to install a fence. Either your contractor or you will need
to apply for the permit before construction can begin. It is best to follow the law so
that the fence can be installed in a manner that is consistent with local regulations
and will not be subject to potentially costly removal.
As a courtesy, speak with your neighbors
about your fencing plans. The fence
will separate your properties from one
another, and your neighbors may have
certain feelings about what they want to
look at. Even if a neighbor is not sharing
the cost, it is a good idea to discuss fencing
with your neighbors in an effort to reduce
the likelihood of conflict down the road.
Fences have been points of contention
between neighbors, and you don’t want
a previously amicable relationship to turn
In some instances, neighbors will be
excited about the prospect of a fence and may want to share the cost. Fencing
contractors may offer discounts for multi-home installations, so it pays to inquire
with the neighbors for that reason alone.
Homes with pools may need fences as a safety precaution. Be sure they fit the
protocol. They may need self-latching/locking gates to prevent entry to the yard.
A fence can be a good investment, but homeowners must take the appropriate legal
measures and consider their neighbors before erecting any fences.