As summer approaches and the mercury rises, some home buyers are adding a new item to their wish list: a swimming pool. While pools are a great way to beat the summer heat, they come with additional costs. Before you buy a house with a pool, read on to learn about pool upkeep costs, maintenance issues, and the pros and cons of pool ownership.
Should We Buy a House with a Pool?
There is no easy answer to this question. All buyers are different. In some cases, an above-ground or inground pool may be the perfect recipe for family fun and relaxation. In other instances, buying a house with a pool ends up being more trouble than it’s worth.
Before you decide, make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Pool Upkeep Costs
That summertime relaxation comes at a cost. Both above-ground and inground pools require expensive equipment and regular maintenance to function correctly. Keeping your pool clean is vital to keeping your family healthy, so not maintaining your pool isn’t an option.
Swimming pools run off electric pump systems that use filters, salt, or “diatomaceous earth,” a fine powder used to filter out chemicals and debris. These systems can be fickle, so it’s essential to clean the filters and introduce additives often. If a pool pump or any part of the filtration system breaks, you could be looking at hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repairs.
Depending on the pool’s filtration system, you should also account for other upkeep and maintenance costs, including:
- Pool test strips or liquid to check chemical levels
- Chemical additives like chlorine, pH balancer, or clarifier
- Pool cleaning accessories like vacuum hoses, scrubbers, and robot vacuums
- Replacement filters or skimmer baskets as needed
- Pool covers for safety or to keep the water warm in cooler months
- Alarm or fencing systems if you have small children or pets
Pool owners can also expect to pay for winterization and to open up the pool again in the spring. Additionally, utility costs, like water and electricity, will also increase during pool season.
All this maintenance sounds intimidating, but everyday pool maintenance isn’t difficult once you understand your system. Most homeowners can tackle regular pool upkeep on their own for just a few hours a week and a few hundred dollars a year.
Advantages of Pool Ownership
The biggest advantage, of course, is that pools are FUN! There are few things better than a low-key weekend with the family, floating in the pool with an ice-cold beverage while your kids take turns doing cannonballs. It’s pure bliss. And on those days when the temperatures reach triple-digits, you’ll be thankful for your backyard oasis, no matter the added expense.
Even when you’re not swimming, pools can be calming. Many have lights and water features, all of which add to a serene backyard setting all year round.
Disadvantages of Pool Ownership
Before you buy a housewith a pool, know that owning a pool isn’t for everyone. It takes time and effort to keep a pool swim-ready, and not all home buyers are ready for that commitment. There are plenty of companies that will do regular maintenance for you, but that’s an additional expense you must consider.
As with anything in your home, swimming pools can falter or fail. In most cases, pool problems are easy fixes that you can tackle yourself. But more significant problems, like freezing pipes, leaks in the underground plumbing, cracks in the cement, or pump failure, could require costly professional repairs.
Is a Pool a Good Investment?
Keep in mind that pools can be rather polarizing when it comes to home value. Depending on your location, you could find it harder to sell your home with a pool. In some areas, pools are seen as a burden, and houses with pools sit on the market longer than those without. But that’s not always the case.
Homes in the sunbelt – that is, homes where summer sticks around most of the year – tend to sell faster with pools and have higher home values. Buyers in these areas often want a house with a pool, are used to taking care of pools, and are willing to pay the additional pool upkeep costs.
A pool isn’t always a good investment, but it all depends on where you live. Before you buy a house with a pool, weigh the pros and cons, speak with your Realtor, and then make the best decision for your family.
In the end, if everyone wants the pool and you’re prepared for the upkeep, then it’s a good investment!