The verdict on chain link fences and property value

Do chain link fences increase or decrease property value in a neighborhood? I asked this question to some very experienced real estate agents and investors in the Sacramento area, and here is what they said:

Eric Peterson with Praxis Capital: We remove the chain link fences 100% of the time. We do the same to a house with bars on the windows. When buyers see this stuff they immediately think about safety concerns. It’s not the mindset you want to instill in a prospective buyer. If the houses around our target property have chain link fences, we likely will pass on the house. It’s just all about perception and no one wants to make a huge purchase decision while worrying about the safety of the street. 

example of chain link fence

Jeff Grenz with Erik Berry & Associates 916-425-3228: When I am evaluating homes for investor purchases… If the only home on the street with a chain link front yard fence is the home I’m evaluating, I include a cost to remove the fence, a few hundred dollars…but you can’t remove it from adjacent homes. Landscape and presentation of the subject and adjoining homes impacts the speed of the sale, and ultimately the price. Chain link yells “DISTRESSED”

When I see chain link in the front yard, I start looking for why… where is the big dog? Is there a high crime problem? Is there loitering? Will a potential buyer be asking the same thing and how many will pass by without even looking? I will lose prospective buyers.

It’s an economic decision…. as you lose prospective buyers and narrow your field, it costs more time to sell and you have to discount, both of which devalue the property.

Dennis Lanni with Housing Group Fund: It would not matter to me, but the chain link fence represents what kind of neighborhood it is. It tells me that safety is a concern, sort of like security doors but worse.

example of chain link fence

Kaleena Amuchastegui with Capri Property Real Estate: Automatically what comes to mind when you mention a front yard chain link fence is a home in an undesirable neighborhood, there is just something about chain link that screams it’s needed to be there to protect a home, not to mention it’s a huge eye sore in my opinion. I think of older neighborhoods that are run-down, I think of areas with higher crime rates… I know that if we acquired a property with a chain link fence around from auction there is a 90% chance we would remove it. I also know we would never add a chain link fence to a property.

Max Boyko with Team Hybrid Real Estate Services: Of course what I think and my investors think can be a different thing, but I would say chain link fences are definitely one of the most unappealing items in a neighborhood. It varies case by case, but primarily my investors would take them out, which I agree with. I wouldn’t say they would pass on a property if it was a good deal, but it takes away the appealing factor and creates a sense of poor security in the neighborhood, which may turn off potential buyers

Please note if you have a chain link fence, nobody is targeting you or saying you’re bringing down the neighborhood. These are simply the opinions of experienced real estate agents and investors. Of course, it may be worth considering what they are saying since they are constantly buying properties to fix and sell on the open market. Clearly they’re in touch with the perceptions of buyers, what makes a difference in property value and the reality of how important impressions are for a neighborhood. If certain elements of fence design give off a negative impression for the community, what can be done about it? What options exist?

If you want further information, I wrote a series last year called “Blight Week” that might provide some more insight into this important conversation. I wrote a previous post that shows a variety of different types of fences and considers the influence a front fence can have on a property. I firmly believe any neighborhood that is experiencing signs of decay has the potential to see better days with a little intention. There is always hope and we can find and experience that together too.

What do you think about chain link fences? Do you agree with the specialists above?

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  1. says

    I never really thought of a chain link fence signalling that an area needed protection. My first thought is that they either have small children or animals that they don’t want to wonder off. Not to say that there are not some people that do use them for protection but in our area these types of fences are common with older homes in more established areas that don’t necessarily have secutiry issues. Thanks for sharing the perspective in your market.

    • says

      Tom, it seems like chain link is seen in older areas here too (but areas with lower property value tend to have way more chain link fences than other areas). It’s not customary to see chain link in neighborhoods with higher property values, which is telling. The agents and investors above flip many properties in the local market, so their opinons carry weight.

      There are many older houses built in the 1950s that do have charm and have a chain link fence. The fence may not look bad in my opinion in situations like this, but when a fence is on every other house and the neighborhood is run down, it just leaves a less than positive impression of the community. Newly constructed houses never add chain link in the Sacramento Region and investors never do either (as mentioned above).

      I’d be curious to hear from residents and other real estate professionals. What do you think? How do you think buyers tend to perceive a chain link fence? What are the positives and negatives? Why do chain link fences tend to be located in areas with lower property value? What does that tell us? What other affordable fencing options are available for home owners?

    • says

      There are probably ways to help a chain link fence look a bit less like one. What you mentioned might help out. Additionally, when attractive vines and flowers grow over a fence and really cover it, I think it’s less of an issue.

  2. s says

    Chain link fences equate to owners who don’t care what their yard/lot looks like. If you want a barrier that maintains visual appeal, put up a quality fence.

  3. Christine says

    I do not necessarily agree. It really depends on where the home is located. As in my situation, chain link fencing is a necessity as I live in the country in Arizona. We have coyotes, bobcats, and many other wild animals that will kill for food. I do agree if your looking at a home say in Phoenix, that fencing is there for security from people, not animals. As far as a better looking fence? not much out there that can keep a coyote out…

    • says

      Well said, Christine. Being in a rural area is an entirely different market compared to a typical tract neighborhood. I would tend to agree with you. Your comment underscores the reality of different markets in real estate. Just as chain link may be more acceptable in a rural market, a 3-stall horse barn in a residential tract neighborhood on a postage stamp lot would very likely not work (but it would in your area). Thank you for adding value. I appreciate your comment.

    • says

      Hi Jeremiah. Thanks for reaching out. I don’t know that I’ve seen an acrylic chain link fence before. I would just say to be aware of other fence types in the neighborhood and whether this type of fence style would blend in well and/or help the neighborhood look like a welcoming place or not. How fences look can communicate quite a bit to neighborhoods outsiders and insiders, so I’m a big fan of taking an objective look and acting accordingly where possible.

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