How much is privacy worth?

Should We Build a Fence So Buyers Won’t Worry About Privacy?

TIM McKEOUGH | New York Times | July 31, 2013 | link

Q. Our neighbors can see straight into our house from their backyard. Should we build a fence so buyers won’t worry about privacy?

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A. “It’s never great to be able to look into someone else’s window,” said Lyn Stevens, a real estate broker at Sotheby’s International Realty in Greenwich, Conn. And it’s worse still when they can look into yours. But before trying to solve the problem, she said, “think about return on investment, and salability.”

A thoughtfully designed fence may improve the look of your yard and resolve privacy issues, she said, which could make the property more salable. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a higher sale price.

“These things end up costing a lot of money, and you won’t necessarily get the value out of them,” she said. “If you had two homes side by side, and one had a fence in the backyard and the other one didn’t, I don’t see the one with the fence selling at a higher number.”

You should also check your local building code. In New York City, for instance, the fence height would be limited to six feet, said Susannah C. Drake, principal of dlandstudio, a Brooklyn architecture and landscape architecture firm. That might not be tall enough to block prying eyes.

“But that doesn’t mean that plants can’t grow over six feet,” Ms. Drake added.

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Author: kimhuntkw

We specialize in Real Estate in the Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore areas of the East Bay in California

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