The white picket fence dream

February 7, 2019 BY

THERE is a reason why the term “white picket fence” conjures up images of and aspirations for dream homes and enviable lifestyles.

A fence is not just a practical boundary to keep pets and children in and unwanted visitors out, it is also an important visual feature of your property and can add thousands to the value of your home.

You only get one chance at a first impression and a property’s fence is one of the first things that prospective buyers will notice about a home. With the current competitive market, vendors should look at every opportunity to maximise their home’s appeal.

Victorians take the aesthetic value of our boundaries very seriously, there is even a Facebook page dedicated to poor brick fences that has more than 55,000 followers!

With the selling season upon us, it is timely to take a look at your perimeter divider with fresh eyes and assess if it needs a paint, repair, replacement or, for those who have built or are building a new home, what type of fence you should erect.

The cardinal rule for selecting a fence, as well as being practical of course, is to ensure that it complements your home. For example, erecting a modern fence around a heritage property is not a good look and vice versa.

Do your research: there are a plethora of websites out there that can help you to compare different options and get a few quotes if repairs or construction is required.

You’ll need to take into account the height and perimeter required, durability and maintenance requirements and budgetary constraints. Popular materials include wood, vinyl, aluminium, steel, wrought iron and brushwood.

For major repairs and new fences, you will also need to consult your neighbour or neighbours. The Fence Act outlines rules around who pays for a fence, the nature of fence to be built, notices required and dispute resolution.

Generally, neighbours will share the cost of boundary fence and the best-case scenario is that you both agree informally on the type of fence, contractor, cost and location. If you can’t reach an agreement informally, you may need to follow the processes detailed in the Fences Act.

Councils and government are exempt from the requirement to share the cost of a fence so if you border public land, you will pay the full cost of any required divider.