Does a fence add value? Retrospective appraisal?


Dear David,

I am wondering whether a fence adds to the value of a home?  – CURIOUS

DEAR CURIOUS: The quick answer to your question is yes, especially if you have a larger property. What I have found over the years, is that buyers have an easier time appreciating the true scope of a property if it is framed in. This is especially true if it happens to be a corner lot.

There are many good fencing options. For the sake of aesthetics (and the preservation of community harmony), I wouldn’t suggest venturing too far away from the styles in close proximity to your yard. If you own a townhouse and your neighbours are doing something tasteful, I suggest you carry that on. If you are the only one erecting a fence, go with something attractive.

Many of today’s families are pet owners, so it’s not uncommon to see a fenced-in yard on a homebuyer’s wish list. That said, I wouldn’t rush out to put something up unless you were planning on doing so for your own purposes. Adding a $5000 fence is not necessarily going to add $5000 to the value of the house.

Pro Tip: If you’re shopping for a home and find the perfect place, a fence is one of those features that’s easy to add after the fact.  

Dear David,

I separated from my spouse a number of years ago. Is there a way to determine what the value of our home would have been at that point, for the purpose of property settlement?  – HINDSIGHT

DEAR HINDSIGHT: This is something that can be accomplished with a property appraisal. The appraiser should be able to establish what the value of your home would have been at the time of your separation. A retrospective appraisal is not uncommon. It’s required in situations like yours, and sometimes in the settlement of estates as well. I strongly suggest you call a professional property appraiser for a job like this. It’s not really something you want a Realtor to do, as experience and motivation could potentially affect the outcome. There are many factors involved. In my opinion, the best results will come from a full evaluation by an unbiased party.

Pro Tip: If you and your former spouse have difficultly agreeing on an appraiser, I usually suggest that you each choose one, then agree to average the two appraisals together. To go one step further, you could each compile a list of candidates; she can choose an appraiser from your list and you can choose one from hers. If it would help, I’m happy to provide a few referrals. #AskDavid