Putting a fence in your yard can dramatically change the look and feel of your Santa Cruz real estate. If you’re thinking about adding a fence, whether for a functional or ornamental purpose, there are several things to take into consideration:
1. Check local codes. Does your homeowner’s association, county or city forbid fencing or forbid a particular size or type of fencing? Find this out first.
2. Prepare for placement. A wrongly placed fence can add significantly to the cost of an already pricey project. Call utilities to have them determine where you can safely place your fence. If you hit an underground line, you could be injured and be charged as much as several thousand dollars by the utility for repairs. Hire a surveyor to verify your property line, and then place the fence well within that line. You may think all this sounds time consuming and expensive. But, it’s much less than the high cost of litigation.
3. Pick a purpose. Do you want the fence to keep your dog in the yard (or to keep other dogs out of your yard)? Perhaps you want it for privacy. Or, maybe you want it simply to add beauty to your yard. Think through the purpose of the fence before proceeding.
4. Consider the cost. Get several estimates before signing a contract. Most people underestimate the cost of fencing by about one-third, determine your budget and then multiple that by three. It’ll give you the wiggle room you need. Be sure to consider not only the cost of buying the fence, but also the cost of installation and long-term maintenance. If you have to replace a fence twice as soon because you chose inexpensive materials, you will greatly increase your costs.
5. Think about the style and age of your Santa Cruz real estate. Is it old or new? Contemporary or rustic? Choose a fence style that complements your property.
6. Mull over the material. After taking into considering the purpose and cost of the fence, and the style and age of your Santa Cruz real estate, you’re still left with a wide variety of fence materials from which to choose. Here are the most popular options:
a. Metal: Aluminum and steel fencing are hot sellers because they complement historical homes as well as new construction. Steel is a particularly popular alternative for keeping pets in the yard, while having the look of wrought-iron. Maintenance is minimal if you choose a well-made product. Poorer quality fences tend to have paint and rust problems.
b. Chain-link: Forget the old, ugly chain-link fencing. Today it’s available in green, black and brown and is powder-coated for rust protection. This is one of the least expensive fencing options.
c. Wood: Avoid cedar posts unless you want to replace them frequently; they rot quickly. Expect a wood fence to last about 10 to 15 years and require a lot of maintenance throughout its lifetime. Pre-fabricated wood fencing is one of the less expensive and lower maintenance options, if you really want wood. Bamboo is a popular “green” wood fencing option that is made from some of the most environmentally sustainable wood on earth.
d. Vinyl and composite: Believe it or not this is usually more expensive than pre-fabricated wood and most ornamental-iron fences. However, vinyl and composite are some of the lowest maintenance and longest lasting fences, which often makes it well worth the price. Evaluate warranties carefully because some vinyl fencing can crack in freezing weather or warp in heat.
Looking for a home with a fenced in yard or with a great space for a fence? I can help. Give me a call today at 831-662-6522 or email me at Lauren@LaurenSpencer.com.
For more information, please visit my website at www.MySantaCruzRealEstate.com.