Happy Neighbors…Happy Life

You’ve just moved into a beautiful new neighborhood. You’re excited and nervous. What will the neighbors be like? If you’re lucky they’ll be around your age and interested in the same things you’re interested in. Maybe you’ll have them over during the week for dinner or drinks and over on the weekends for cookouts and football games. Maybe you’ll be best friends. Or maybe…just maybe…they’ll be AWFUL. Maybe they’ll be the kids who party all night and play their music way too loud. Maybe they’ll have 14 dogs who bark at all hours day and night. Honestly, new neighbors are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Cheesy but true.

Whether you are friends with your neighbors or mortal enemies, you share a property line which means that you currently or will share a fence in the future. Most of the time there will be few issues. The neighbor who decides to replace their fence pays for the entire project and gets the “pretty side” of the fence facing their yard.

Sometimes neighbors will come together and decide to split the cost on a “good neighbor” fence, which means the panels flip flop facing opposite directions. Good Neighbor Fence

Another option for neighbors wanting to split the cost and still have an esthetically pleasing fence is the “shadow box” fence. This fence alternates each picket instead of each panel. Shadow Box Fence

Both of these options are great for neighbors who can come to a mutual agreement. But what happens when your neighbors are the nightmare neighbors? We’ve seen it many times. Our customer wants to replace their fence but the neighbor refuses to share the cost of their section and wants their demands met. Are you under any legal obligation to meet their demands? The answer is no, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be considerate in the process. Make sure to keep the lines of communication as open as possible. Inform your neighbor of the demo date ahead of time so that they have time to prepare for the containment of their pets. People get understandably cranky when their fur babies escape. It takes just a little common courtesy to avoid the Missing Pet posters.

It’s also a good idea to talk about the project ahead of time so that your neighbors know what to expect from the final product. If you’re ripping out an old fence and replacing it with a new fence that is exactly the same, you shouldn’t have an issue. However, this may not be the case if you plan to change the size or quality of the pickets, add cap and trim, or change the type of materials used.

In the end it is always a good idea to keep in mind that you are neighbors and whether you agree or not, you will still have to interact with each other from time to time. Being considerate and respectful of each other’s time, property, and opinions will certainly make things easier.

Remember…Happy Neighbors…Happy Life 🙂

The HOA Mob Runs My Life

The Austin area seems to be growing by the second and almost every neighborhood now comes with an HOA. When house hunting, they may seem enticing. Someone will guarantee that the neighborhood will always look nice and presentable? Who wouldn’t want that? Where do I sign?

Fast forward 6 months…you’re starting to think that the HOA Mob is actually just out to run every aspect of your life. For instance…you accidently put the trash out on the wrong day and now have a violation notice with a picture to prove your transgression. Now, lets say you didn’t ok the new paint color for your shutters (they are now a beautiful barn red) and guess what? You have to change it to a community-approved color (your choices are tan, tan, or tan). Or maybe it rained for 3 days before you were gone on vacation for a week and you forgot to schedule lawn care. You now have yet another violation notice with a picture of your grass next to a ruler proving that your grass is 3 inches too long. Welcome back to the real world. Where am I going with this?

Grass with Ruler

Well, perhaps you’re searching around the Internet for ideas for your new fencing project . Maybe you’ve found some beautiful photos of iron fences with custom scrollwork or pictures of wood fences with oversized horizontal pickets. You love the fact that your project will stand out; that your fence will look original and not like all of the other cookie-cutter fences in the neighborhood. However, you may have just put the cart before the horse. It is important to verify the restrictions of the community as far as uniformity of fencing. Some neighborhood HOA’s may have very strict rules and regulations as far as fencing height, picket size, and quality of materials used. Before signing any contract for work or material orders, it is important to contact your HOA to confirm that you are within the limitations of the contract you signed with them. If this step is skipped and you decide to go ahead with your project without HOA approval, you may be out the cost of work and materials for a fence that has to be ripped out. Believe me when I say, it happens. Save yourself the headache and get your project approved. Then give Barrier Fence Systems a call and we will do our best to make your fence dreams come true.

Also, try not to be too upset with the HOA Mob should they deny your request. Their goal is to make sure that your house and neighborhood maintain their property values, and this will be very important when you decide it’s time to sell your property. Also, consider getting involved in your local HOA. It’s a great way to meet other people in your community and voice your opinion on policies you may not agree with.