The Enduring Street Appeal of Wooden Picket Fences
Street appeal is important to four very distinct groups. It’s important to people selling their home, and just as important to people who want to buy a home. The third group is people who own a home and have absolutely no intention of selling. And the fourth group is real estate agents, who reckon street appeal is one of the top five things to consider when listing a home. Bringing all these groups together in some sort of bear hug is a wooden picket fence. We’ll discover why shortly.
Street appeal is broadly defined as the attractiveness of a property when seen from the street – a first impression that can make or break the deal for a potential home buyer. It’s been suggested that 9 out of 10 people will offer below the asking price if they’re not impressed with a property’s street appeal. On the other hand, good street appeal can add value, which is quite the prospect for a home seller. And for the person who is neither buying or selling, but simply staying put, street appeal is about prestige; owning a home that looks lovely to all who pass by is good for the ego…and we all have an ego.
By its very nature, street appeal is based on what we can see at the front of the house. If you were to cross the road and look at your place, what would you see first and foremost? It’s a fair call to nominate the roof, the front garden, the driveway…and the fence. In fact, the fence is probably the first thing anyone sees, so its importance in the street appeal equation can never be understated.
Unfortunately, many modern fencing materials do to street appeal what a side salad does to a plate of fish & chips…it just spoils the whole effect. When a fence is that crucial to making a great first impression, you want materials that look great, while still providing a degree of privacy and security. Wooden pickets tick all those boxes, and enhances street appeal like few other materials can.
Wooden picket fencing can be adapted to suit any style and age of home, thanks to the way it is shaped, designed, painted and finished. This versatility is one of the reasons why picket fencing has never gone out of fashion, and remains popular with home owners, as well as home buyers. Not only does it look good, but it is a relatively inexpensive way to boost street appeal – “the return on investment” is high.
But it’s not just aesthetics and value that makes a wooden picket fence so important in making a good initial impact. Consider the way it is designed. It is not a big, blocky, wall-like structure that hides everything from view. A wooden picket fence does provide privacy and security, but it is also able to integrate and reveal other features that enhance street appeal. For example, a picket fence can show off the landscaping in a front garden – and when you consider the suggestion that mature landscaping can add up to 25% to the value of a home, it is a feature you really DO want to show off!
On the other hand, fences that look like they were designed by the same bloke responsible for the Berlin Wall will not integrate with the property nearly as well. The really good things you want to display, like landscaping or a flash front door, or a beautiful sweeping driveway made from decorative concrete, can be hidden from view and ignored by potential home buyers who often do a drive-by before setting foot on a property. So, unless there’s a Picasso mural painted on that big walled fence, there isn’t much else of interest to see….and that’s a wasted opportunity.
When recent Australian studies show that potential home buyers will offer as much as 25% LESS based on just a first impression, then it becomes even more obvious that street appeal is important. Wooden picket fencing is part of the equation that adds up to enhance street appeal, so it’s one of the first materials to consider. Going for something else could be a mistake – an expensive mistake.