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Steps to take before erecting a fence

Friday, July 18th, 2014
Issue 29, Volume 18.
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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 donít want a previously amicable relationship to turn sour.

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.



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