Buying a home should be pretty straightforward. Pick an area. Find a home. Buy it. Move in. Seems simple, right?! If asked, we would hope our clients would tell you we made it seem that way! While a buyer may fall in love with a kitchen or an owners suite, there are other factors that play into the final decision. There are countless examples, (look for these in future blogs) but for today let’s talk about fences. On many wish lists for buyers is to have a yard: For kids to play, for the dogs to run, to garden, or to entertain. But if you need a fence to surround all or part of this yard, take note that some communities, some locations, may not allow the fence you want! We find ourselves doing research on fence restrictions a lot lately and thought you may appreciate some tips.
First define why you would like to have a fence. Do you need to have a physical fence? If so, what style do you want: wood fencing, iron fencing, chain link, 4 foot, 6 foot? Would an invisible fence be an option? Do you need to surround the entire yard? Or just part of the yard?
Why does this matter? If you know that you need a physical fence, there are some communities that will not be an option for you. Some new developments only allow invisible fencing, nothing physical. Another community may allow fences but may restrict the type and height of the fences. Each one is different but usually outline the rules in the association documents when applicable.
Your first thought may be to stay clear of developments or associations to avoid fencing restrictions. Not so fast! Some homes back up to wetlands or designated natural areas governed by such authorities as the City, Department of Natural Resources, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and, even organizations specific to an area, like the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District. These entities may require certain fence setbacks for abutting properties. You will usually notice signage, stakes and/or posts on the edge of their property.
Some cities require permits for fences, some do not. Cities often have this information on their website or will have the answer when you call.
As you design your new fence, know that a large number of neighbor to neighbor disputes have to do with fencing along property lines. Surveys are key and of course there is common courtesy and protocol when installing a fence.
Obviously, this is just a quick outline of what to watch for! The key is to do the research, even in a fast-moving market, so there are no surprises. It can get overwhelming, so definitely contact us with any questions!