“Swimming pool” is a must-have on many wish lists. It’s also a big, shiny asset that home sellers include prominently on listings when it comes time to move on. However, when buying or selling a property with a pool, things don’t always go swimmingly. There is a lot to love, and a lot not to love, about the thought of becoming a pool owner––is it worth it? That decision is ultimately up to you (and your budget). But there are a few things to consider before you sign on the dotted line.
PRO: Mega curb appeal
Let’s start with the obvious: a shimmering, in-ground swimming pool nestled neatly into a landscaped backyard is an aesthetic asset and sought-after feature of many modern buying markets. It can serve as a calming outdoor space ideal for relaxation or as a boisterous hub for social gatherings––it can even take your property’s neighborhood reputation to the next level, ideal for making fast friends once you’ve moved in.
CON: Extra work
That being said, not everybody loves a pool. And, to some homebuyers, especially retirees or those with small children, a swimming pool could be seen as a chore or an outright liability. Chances are, if you’re considering buying a home with a pool, you’ve likely got the funds to support it. But while money may not be an issue, the headaches can be. Skimming, sweeping and vacuuming are all daily elements of basic pool care necessary to keep it functioning. You may have the dime, but do you have the time? And as a new homeowner, you’ll have more than enough housework to do.
PRO: Increased home value
It goes without saying: a swimming pool can add value to your property when it comes time to offload (as home sellers know all too well) –– especially in parts of the country where the weather is sunny all year round. And while that is a boon for home sellers, the homebuyer who just purchased the new property may not be thinking of resale just yet. But it’s certainly a worthwhile investment asset and, in some high-demand cases, a bargaining tool.
CON: Maintenance and repairs
It’s very easy for house hunters to walk into a prospective backyard and immediately fall under the spell of the thrill of owning a large, in-ground swimming pool. The possibilities for social events and weekend relaxation sessions can cloud good judgment and get in the way of many of the sobering realities associated with being a homeowner with a pool, such as higher utility bills, maintenance and repair fees. Just like indoors, heating water and keeping the machines working well costs money.
Most service and maintenance professionals can charge anywhere from $50 – $250 a week ($1,000 a month–that’s more than an entire car payment) for proper pool management, including testing the water’s pH levels and cleaning filtration maintenance, and more. And this is all in addition to the costly seasonal opening and closing services.
What’s more, if the lining of your pool experiences a tear or scratch, the entire material will often need to be replaced, setting you back by thousands of dollars. For a family on a fixed income, this can mean the difference between cutting costs elsewhere or not replacing the tear and risking additional damages.
PRO: Physical and mental health
These are tough times, and a private swimming pool can certainly help to alleviate the stress and mental strain associated with quarantines and working from home (with a house full of kids). Depending on where you live, you also might not be able to attend your local gym for adequate fitness for a considerable amount of time. Despite all of the costs of pool ownership, some current homebuyers might consider it well worth it.
One thing most people don’t consider when buying a property with a pool (which also happens to be the one thing home sellers count on homebuyers not knowing) is the associated insurance fees. Drowning and safety accidents resulting from diving board accidents and slip-and-falls account for a considerable number of hospital visits each year. Even if you think that you can swing the maintenance and repair fees, you must consider including your pool in your home insurance policy. And, as with any additional risks, your premium is likely to go up.