When Good Dogs Have Bad Fenced Yards

by : Carol Freyer

Home buyers looking for houses with fenced yards for their dog would do well to examine that fence carefully. Fences can have hidden problems that can cause unexpected expenditures and endanger the family canine.

Is the fence fully on the property? If your newly purchased property comes with a fence that has sneaked over to your neighbor's yard, you may end up having to tear it down and rebuild it on your own property - at your expense.

Is the fence allowed to be there? Before a fence is built, a home owner needs to obtain a permit to do so in most municipalities. Not having one means that your fenced yard may end up having to be unfenced at some point in the future. Also, it may mean problems for you if you decide you want to improve or replace the fence in the future.

Does the fence fully encircle the area it appears to? Sometimes fences that look like they continue behind shrubbery or buildings actually don't, or are secured far enough away from solid objects to provide an opening a dog can get through.

Is the fence in good repair? What is it made of, how old is it, and is it strong and secure? If the fence is falling down or looking shabby, chances are that you will have to replace it to make sure your dog can't force its way through. Are there any places where your dog could squeeze through or nudge aside? Go over every inch of fence to ensure there is no major damage or wear.

Is the fence suitable for your dog? Some dogs are diggers. Some like to jump or climb fences. Will this fence keep your dog safely contained or will you have to build on it to ensure that he stays put? Will you have to dig to bury fencing or stakes that will prevent your dog from digging out? Will you have to make the fence higher? Will you have to install an inward-sloping addition to the fence to make sure your dog can't climb or jump out? If so, you may want to calculate the cost of these additions before you make an offer on the property.

A short time taken out to examine the fences of the properties you are considering as future dog havens will prevent unpleasant incidents in the future. It will also give you a better idea of how much value the fence really adds to the property.