Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


Good fences make good neighbors

     There is a saying here in the NW that, “Good fences make good neighbors.”  Perhaps this is a saying in your area as well.   Where I came from, back East, there were no such saying that I can remember.  There were plenty of stone walls and barbed wire fences but they were more to control livestock----than to control neighbors.

     At a recent inspection of a bank owned property there appeared to be what may have been a neighbor taking things into own hands “in the middle of the night” so to speak.

     Sometimes it is actually hard to determine who actually owns the fences between homes and often maintenance and construction is shared between neighbors.  Regardless of how this fence got to be the way it is, it is pretty clear that “someone” wanted it shorter.  Three sections of the fence had been completely removed and then the next section cut down to about half of its original height.  The rest of the fence has been cut off to that height---but only half way through.

Sure wish the fence was shorter

     The other side has been “marked” for cutting but remained the original height.

Just have to cut this side now

     I have to wonder if I went back to the site today whether the “remodeling” project has been completed.

Charles Buell


Seattle Home Inspectors, ASHI Home Inspector, Licensed Home Inspector, Structural Pest Inspector, Charles Buell Inspections Inc, Seattle, WA


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Comment balloon 15 commentsCharles Buell • September 27 2009 11:51AM


Hi Charles~ It looks like there was some real disagreements over the fencing!  What a mess that is!   My husband would totally agree with you that good fences make for great neighbors, LOL!

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) over 9 years ago

Now that's interesting.  We've seen some wild stuff on our REOs - like the time we had to hire a crime scene clean-up company to come in.

Posted by Syreeta Saunders, Keys, MBA - The Keys2Day Team (Keller Williams Realty Centre) over 9 years ago

Well, if nothing else, it gives you another funny story to add to the RE repetoire.

Posted by SEO Expert: Michael George, Real Estate and Law Firm SEO over 9 years ago

Vickie, my thought exactly----and with the neigbors gone what a great opportunity to deal with the issue:)

Syreeta, REOs are for sure "different"

Michael and Karen, everything indeed can become blog fodder:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

You DO know where that "saying" cam from, don't you? It's from a Robert Frost poem.

Posted by Leslie Prest, Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson, (Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ) over 9 years ago

MAN---those brain cells must be long gone:)  Cool----I had to look it up.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

I have one neighbor I adore and the one on the other side... well they don't build fences tall enough.

I wonder if they did ever finish cutting this fence down.

Oh and county ordence here require a fence be "clearly" on your property.  If putting within 6 inches of the line you must have a survey first.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 9 years ago

Tammy, here there is this interesting "convention" that says that whoever builds the fence is supposed to put the "good-looking-side" toward your neighbor's property.  Sometimes that results in a double sided fence like the one I pictured where it is the same on both sides.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Just add the barbed wire for homeland security...
What a great day to be alive!

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Northwest.) over 9 years ago

Paul, I had one a while back where the top of the fence had two rows of carpet tack strip----is that just as good?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

I have heard that saying back here in the East from my Father-in-Law. Here grew up on the opposite side of CT from where you were raised. I guess that saying didn't cross the fence to to East.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 9 years ago

Strange one. Maybe someone wanted to see what Wilson looked like?

Posted by Ana Hitzel, Professional Home Stager Inland Empire ( AccentPositives Home Staging ) over 9 years ago

Was the back door a Dutch door?  That would follow since you apparently have a Dutch fence.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

I seem to get along with my neighbors much better now tht we have added a nice tall privacy fence. Weird.

Posted by Ian Niquette (Square One Home Inspection) over 9 years ago

James, I think if I had lived in the city back East I might have been more likely to have heard the saying

Ana, Wilson?

Jay, perhaps they were waiting for the neighbor to "go Dutch"?

Ian, it does supposedly work that way:)


Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago