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Mon 8 April 2013
Good fences make good neighbours – this line comes from a poem Mending Wall by Robert Frost-it was part of my O’level syllabus.
I have to admit that at 15 I wasn’t particularly interested in poetry. My long suffering English teacher Mr Warren, would be red faced with frustration at my ignorance saying to me “Deborah you have to look for the second level” I was more of a Level 42 girl in those days!
However my education did not go to waste, my job as an Estate Agent has taught me that Robert Frost was a very wise man. Rarely in one sentence has anyone else summed up one of the most important issues to us all when buying or selling a home.
Our homes are our castles, our places of family, safety, fun, a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and our fences, our walls, our hedges are important – they mark our boundaries, they define our space, they allow us to have control over our immediate environment.
Whether we are buying a property or renting, whether we have paid off our mortgages or are struggling to pay them off, home is home. Home isn’t defined by value, area, how big, how small, how smart, how old or how new it is. Home is where we go back to, where we bring up our children, where we welcome our friends and family, where we can do (within reason!) whatever we want.
And fences are important, they keep our children safe, they keep our pets from wandering, they define the space where we can plant, grow, play, sit, bounce on a trampoline, paddle in a pool, swing on a swing, with no one able to say – “you can’t do that here”.
So boundaries are important, who has the right to cross them, who maintains them, who has the right to move them, all important issues when it comes to selling your home, all considered when it comes to buying a home.
Do you know which boundary you are responsible for? Is your fence falling down? Do you know where your garden ends and the field begins? You should know, you need to know. The value of a property is based upon several factors and position is arguably the key factor when we are considering a move. Proximity to other properties affects value, we will always pay a premium for space, a good plot but above all we will pay for control over our immediate environment. Whether it is a courtyard garden or a property with land. If you are going to buy a terraced home the fact that the neighbours are on the other side of your sitting room wall is not an issue, the fact that their dogs and children are playing in your garden would be.
So my advice – maintain not only your good relationships with your neighbours but maintain and protect your boundaries. Problems over access rights, ownership and disputes with neighbours are one of the major reasons why sales fall through.
So if you are thinking of selling know your limits - that is the limits of your property, it is crucial. It can add value, it can make a sale.
And to Robert Frost? Yes a very wise man.
Footnote - Another line in the same poem is “something there is doesn’t love a wall” – something that Ludlow Town Council and Hereford Diocese will be only too aware of at this difficult time.
Ludlow Town Wall collapsing – www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-21502955
Debbie Anderson – Property Chairman