I Want to Buy a House: Will I be Able to Put up a Fence?
This is a question I hear quite frequently. Most towns have restrictions on the location and size of a fence on a residential property. In addition, a a specific neighborhood may impose its own limitations. There are basically two resources for finding out these types of restrictions:
1. Home Owners' Association (HOA). When you are thinking of buying a home in a particular neighborhood, ask if there is a Home Owners' Association. This is typically an organization created to put formal standards in place that relate to the appearance, care, and operation of that neighborhood. You will want to ask for a copy of the HOA bylaws as well as rules and regulationsto make sure that your intended uses of the property are within the boundaries of the HOA.
For example, I know of a neighborhood where the HOA states that a fence may be erected in the back yard only. So if you were hoping to have a fence around your entire property, you would not be able to do so.
2. Town Zoning and Building Departments. In addition to a Home Owner's Association, the town will have a say in the construction of a fence on your property. There may be restrictions in height, material, and distance from the lot line. To find out these limitations, contact the Zoning Department of the town, as well as the Building Inspector. Make sure you get the facts in writing, before you make an offer on a house.
Ignoring the HOA guidelines and/or town laws regarding the construction of fencing can result in heavy fines, as well as the cost of erecting and then taking down the fence should your fence violate the laws. Best to be safe and due your research before you buy. Of course if you are working with a buyer's agent, that person can help you do the research.
Moving to Central Massachusetts? I can help you research the rules on fences in the fine communities here. Give me a call: (508) 982-0686.
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Kathryn Acciari, Brand Ambassador
Century 21 Real Estate LLC
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Madison NJ 07940
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Cell: (508) 982-0686
Blog: Real Estate Blog