If you make improvements to your property like building a deck or a fence, they can naturally increase the value of your home. Different appraisers may use slightly different methods to determine the value of your property, but a fence or deck add to the value of your home under most circumstances, provided they're in good repair and decent looking.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
A deck or a fence add value to your house in most circumstances.
Privacy Fence and Home Value
Many homeowners and renters prefer to live in a house with a fence. Fences can help with privacy and security, allowing you to use your yard without being visible to neighbors and people passing by. They can also provide safety by making it harder for pets and children to leave your property and your supervision and by keeping other people's pets and wild animals off your property. If you have a pool, a fence may even be required by local regulations or by homeowners' insurance providers as a safety measure so children and others can't enter your property and accidentally injure themselves in your pool.
A good fence can cost a few thousand dollars to install, with exact prices varying based on materials and local labor costs. Chain-link fences are often the cheapest to install, but they provide less privacy and add less to the resale value of a property than less transparent and more attractive alternatives made of wood or even concrete. The best fence for resale value will be one that is practical in terms of providing privacy and safety while also enhancing the visual appeal of your property.
Appraising Your Fence
When your home is appraised, an appraiser will examine the inside and outside of the home, including any fencing that you may have. The fence will add more value if it is in good repair, with any physical damage to the fence's structure repaired and a fresh coat of paint applied to the fence if it's made of materials that require it.
Naturally, regardless of official appraisal value, how much a fence actually adds to your home's resale value will depend on market conditions and how much individual buyers are willing to pay to own a home with a fence around it.
Deck Value at Appraisal
Many people looking to buy or rent a house with a yard or other outdoor area will be interested in relaxing outside. A deck, porch, patio or similar structure can add value to your home when it's appraised or when it comes time to sell your property. If you choose to rent your home, you may be able to ask a higher rental price if you have a deck or something similar where your tenants can enjoy themselves outdoors.
Appraisers will typically look at the size, condition, location and materials of your deck as part of determining your home's overall value. A larger deck is usually more expensive to build and maintain, but it can also contribute more to your home's value. One built of sturdier materials or treated to resist damage from pests can also be more valuable.
Choosing a Deck or Porch
Screened-in decks and porches can also be more valuable than those open to the elements, especially in areas where rain and storms are more common. As with any other improvements to your home or property, the condition of your deck will also help determine how much it affects your property value. A deck that requires repairs in order to be useful or pleasant looking won't add as much to the property as one that's been recently installed or well maintained over time.
If you have one of the few homes in your neighborhood without a deck, your home may be valued less than those around it.
Steven Melendez is an independent journalist with a background in technology and business. He has written for a variety of business publications including Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, Innovation Leader and Ad Age. He was awarded the Knight Foundation scholarship to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.