Does a fence add value to a home?

A smiling woman in a yellow shirt paints a new wooden fence that surrounds her yard.Image: A smiling woman in a yellow shirt paints a new wooden fence that surrounds her yard.

In a Nutshell

In addition to enhancing your privacy and security, a fence can also increase your home's value over time.
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Having a fence on your property can give you privacy and security.

And while there’s no reliable way of measuring the return on investment in a fence, a quality fence can increase curb appeal and be a selling point for potential buyers.

If you’re thinking about building a fence, here’s what you should know about how it can improve your way of life and affect your home’s value. We’ll also review the average costs to install a fence.

Does a fence add value to a home?

A good fence provides privacy and security. While a fence may enhance a yard’s look and usability, it’s unclear how much value it will add if you decide to sell your home.

For the backyard, a high-quality privacy fence — typically between 6 and 8 feet tall — can help provide peace of mind for parents of small children and pet owners.

In the front yard, a fence can increase the value of your home by adding to its curb appeal. Though front-yard fences are often more for decoration than function, they can add value by improving security. Popular types of fences for the front yard include picket and wrought iron.

Keep in mind that some municipalities and homeowner associations regulate residential fence heights — and some won’t allow a privacy fence in certain areas. Be sure to check your local regulations for specific rules. 

How much value does a fence add to a house?

The value a fence may add to your property depends on a lot of variables, including the type of material it’s made from.

While the precise value of a fence is hard to measure, you may be able to recoup about half the price you paid for it when the home is sold. 

How much does it cost to install a fence?

The cost of installing a fence depends on the length and height of the fence as well as the type of materials used.

Besides materials and labor, other costs could include permits, grading the property and adding gates. You may also want to consider a property survey to make sure your fence is built on your own property and not on your neighbor’s land.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of materials you can use and how they might affect the cost of the project, according to HomeAdvisor.

Wood fence

Wood is one of the most common materials for fence construction, and it can last a long time, but you’ll need to stain it regularly to extend its life. You can expect to pay between $10 and $45 per foot.

Vinyl fence

A vinyl fence, which can be expected to cost between $17 and $55 per foot, is durable and easy to install but doesn’t provide the same level of security as other materials.

Composite fence

This type of material can cost between $20 and $40 per foot, depending on the quality. That’s a hefty price tag, but these fences can last upward of two decades, and they don’t need much maintenance.

Aluminum fence

If you want a metal fence, aluminum is relatively inexpensive — costing between $19 and $55 per foot.

It’s durable and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, but it may not provide much in the way of privacy or security.

Wrought-iron fence

Wrought iron is a heavy-duty option that can last a lifetime. You can expect to pay between $20 and $56 per foot.

It can also provide some of the best security compared to other options. But it may not give you privacy, and because it may need to be customized to your property, it can be one of the most expensive options.

What’s next? How to pay for fence installation

Although the average cost of a fence is relatively modest compared to other home improvement projects, you may need help paying for the project.

Cash is typically the best and cheapest way to fund a home improvement project, but you may not have enough saved up.

Here are some financing options to consider:

  • Home equity loan: A home equity loan usually has a fixed rate and is secured by the equity you have in your property. Your borrowing power will depend partly on your home’s value and how much you owe on your mortgage loan.
  • Home equity line of credit: A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, provides you with a revolving line of credit, which you can draw from over a period of time. If you have more home improvement projects on the way, this could be a good option. However, HELOCs are also dependent on how much equity you have in your home, and interest rates are usually variable, so your costs can fluctuate over time.
  • Personal loan: A personal loan typically doesn’t require collateral. But interest rates may be high compared to other options, and you’ll likely need strong credit to secure the best rates.

As you research your options, think carefully about the advantages and disadvantages of each to determine which one is the best fit for you.

About the author: Ben Luthi is a personal finance freelance writer and credit cards expert. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and finance from Brigham Young University. In addition to Credit Karma, you can find his wo… Read more.