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Neighbors and Fencing

Neighbors and Fencing
ask phyllis a real estate question

Ask Phyllis: a blog series of frequently asked real estate questions.

Dear Phyllis, I have been enjoying your real estate questions and answers for years, and I think I have a new situation for you. The neighbor to the west of me and I share a very old wood fence that is falling in several areas. Not knowing that I would move, we agreed to each pay for half of a new fence. I just learned that I have a job transfer to South Carolina and will be selling my home. My neighbor has not moved forward with getting the fence rebuilt. We have not even decided on a design. As a result, the new fence will most likely not be done before I move. How should the neighbor and fencing be addressed when selling my home?


Dear Melissa,

Home buyers feel uncomfortable entering an unknown situation. Thus, you are correct in getting this resolved prior to selling. This can be achieved in many ways:

As potential buyers will be concerned about the old fence, you might attempt to get it built as soon as possible, which would be the best solution. Or, If comfortable, you could explain to your neighbor that you are moving and no longer wish to honor your verbal agreement.

If neither of these options work for you, I recommend that you or your neighbor get an estimate. Then draft an agreement between the two of you. Have the buyer acknowledge the estimate, so they know what the fence will look like. Your half of the bid and a small cushion in the event of overruns can be held in escrow, and escrow can disburse the funds to the people who construct the fence upon completion. Any “cushion” can then be returned to you. Have your Realtor check with the escrow company, as they can’t hold the money indefinitely.

Another option is to credit the new buyer the amount of the fence. However, in this scenario, you won’t know for certain that the buyer will honor the agreement with your neighbor.

Best of luck to you on your sale!

One thought on “Neighbors and Fencing

  1. Nancy says:

    The old saying strong fences make good neighbors comes to mind here

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