The Truth About Pools

    I remember when my family had a pool built in our backyard sometime around 1974.    We were the envy of the neighborhood…and the hotspot to cool down on a sweltering summer day.   It added a new dynamic to family fun and we were the “go to” house for family gatherings.    If you have kids and a pool or grew up with a pool you know what I’m talking about.   Conversely, if you were the one who befriended the “kid with the pool” you may have longed for the day when you could just open the back door to your own refreshing oasis.

    Are you thinking of installing a pool now or purchasing a new home that already has one?  That vision of paradise tarnishes a bit when you think about how much it will cost you to install and maintain a pool. And what about resale value? Will adding a pool increase the value of your home when you decide to sell it?

    That’s a great question, and the best answer is maybe—if you’re lucky.

    That’s probably not the answer you were hoping for on this sizzling summer day. But there are plenty of reasons to be cautious about adding a swimming pool.

    Add Up the Costs

    Let’s start with the obvious—how much will it cost to install a swimming pool in your yard? According to Houselogic.com, the National Association of Realtors’ online magazine for homeowners, the average cost to install, equip, and fill a 600-square-foot concrete pool starts at $30,000.

    You’ll also need to enclose your pool with a fence—a requirement in most states. And don’t forget lighting and landscaping.   When you start adding it all up you might just consider taking the family on a fun tropical trip every year!

    Then there are the ongoing costs:

    —The pump and heater, if you have one, could drive up your utility costs by $100 a month or so.

    —Houselogic suggests you hire a professional to open and close your pool for the season. That’ll cost $500 per visit.

    —You’ll spend about $600 during the swimming season on chemicals if you maintain your pool yourself. If you live in a climate where you’ll use the pool year-round, budget $15–25 a week for DIY maintenance.  If you hire a professional pool guy it might set you back around $200 a month.

    Your homeowner’s insurance probably already includes coverage for a swimming pool, but it’s worth checking first. Consider increasing your liability coverage as well just to be safe. It’ll cost you less than a couple of bucks a month to bump your coverage from $100,000 to $500,000.

    A Home-Selling Obstacle or Feature?

    Add all that up and you’ve got a large price tag to try to recoup when you’re ready to sell your home. It won’t be easy since a swimming pool can actually make your home harder to sell. Many buyers consider it a liability rather than a luxury.

    Under the right circumstances, however, a pool could boost your home’s value by as much as 7%, Houselogic estimates. Here are the conditions:

    1. You live in a higher-end neighborhood where most of your neighbors have pools.
    2. You live in a warmer climate like Southern California, Florida, Arizona or Hawaii where you can enjoy a pool year-round.
    3. The pool doesn’t take up your entire yard—there’s still room for a swing set and a garden.
    4. The style of the pool fits with your home and neighborhood, and it’s well maintained.
    5. You can attract a buyer who wants a pool in their new home.

    In the end, if your heart is set on adding a pool, don’t look at it as an investment in your home, but in your lifestyle. A pool can add to your family’s enjoyment of your home, just like it did mine…and you can’t put a price on that. Just be prepared for the ongoing costs and responsibility to maintain it as well as the obstacles that might crop up once you put your home on the market.

    Let me know if you’re looking for a quality pool contractor who I trust with my clients.

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