Fence vs. Man cave

8 Replies

Hi all

My Fiance & I just bought our 2nd flip in North St. Louis County, MO. Cute 10 yr old 3 Bed, 2.5 bath on .6 acres in a nice section of the Hazelwood West school district. I really like the house and I think we'll do well on it, but it feels like it needs a little something extra.

For public living space, there is really only the eat-in kitchen that opens into the living room... after that it's all bedrooms on the main level. The front porch is small and does not have a back deck/ patio.

The budget is a bit tight-- the furnace, AC,water heater, kitchen and bathrooms were all ripped out and need to be replaced.

In your opinion, would it be better to put a few extra dollars together to do a man cave/family room in the basement or fence in a portion of the backyard for some private outdoor living space?

thanks for the advice


Jessica,  sounds like a nice project you have there.  You didn't say what the square footage of the house currently is, but I'd say if the house feels like it needs some space the bonus area in the basement may be your best bet.  

But if the living room provides ample space, a fenced in yard would be appealing as well.  I think the fence would be more cost effective as well.

Hope that helped. :)


I agree with Matt in finishing out the basement.  Instead of a fence I would consider a deck/patio which will increase the outdoor living space.  Unless there is something unsightly with neighbors which justifies the fence.

Man Cave! Man Cave!  But that is just my opinion.  However I think that if I would want something there probably is someone out there who wants it too.  I agree with @Matt Inman  bonus areas and rec rooms seem to be in demand right now.  Probably bigger bang for your buck.

@Matt Inman oops you're right I forgot sq ft. It is a little over 1200 SQ FT. I have been leaning more to finishing off the basement. The living room is a decent size, but I think having that bonus area makes the most sense & I've been looking for an excuse to build a bar :)

@Rocky V. one of the big selling features for us was that there is a house being actively remodeled on one side that looks to be pretty high end and the other neighbor has beautiful landscaping. Nothing unsightly.. so maybe I can eek out a small patio to give some space, but I think the focus will be the basement.

thank you both, I appreciate the feedback

Hi @Jessica A-Lynn!

Being a fellow St. Louisian myself, I say as the others that your money will be best spent for the basement. As you know midwestern's love a finished basement, plus I think it would give you a better ROI than a fence.

Good luck with the project!


@Nicole Oh yeah we do love our basements! :) Thanks for validating my instincts. I'll be sure to come back with pictures

Sometimes I try and put myself into regular buyer shoes and think about what I'd rather have to finish to make the house as I want it. As a casual buyer, I might be a bit scared to tackle a basement finish whereas having a fence put in seems like a rather easy project to hire out. I think basement work scares a lot of people, and I'd rather say "oh you only have to put in a fence" rather than "oh you only have to finish the basement."

Dylan has a good point, "put myself into regular buyer shoes". See what other houses in the neighborhood/your competition have to offer. If most of them have a basement, then it would present somewhat of a challenge not to have one in your property. If you have a mix, then consider what is the demographic/type of tenant you want to attract. Let's say it's a young family with a kid. They would probably want a fence to protect the kid from the traffic, weirdoes walking by, etc. If other houses don't have fences and yours does, you have value proposition that just might help you rent the house faster and to a better quality tenant.
Also, you might want to consider the following idea: negotiate with the tenants if they "must" have a fence. I don't know whether it will work, maybe other professional landlords can comment on this. But if the tenants love your house and would like to rent it from you but there is no fence, maybe you can offer them a slightly increased rent and the difference would go toward the fence? This way you are not shelling out of the pocket an entire cost and they get what they need.
What do you think?

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