Buying a House with a Pool: The Four Key Things You Need to Know
Pools. With our 25 years in real estate, we can definitively say that no other home feature generates such strong reactions– positive and negative — as a swimming pool. If you are thinking of buying a house with a pool, you should fully educate yourself first!
On the positive side, homes with pools are often the “cool” homes. They are the natural place for kids and families to gather together for fun and socializing. On a broiling hot day, there is nothing more refreshing than coming home and jumping into your own pool. They also offer a convenient place for both adults and kids to get some exercise.
On the downside to buying a house with a pool, is that pools are very expensive to install and maintain. Owning a pool is a major commitment of both time and resources. And of course, they come with a host of safety concerns as well.
Considering buying a house with a pool? Allow us to tackle some of the big questions we are often asked on this matter.
(1) How Much Value Do Pools Add to a Home?
If you live in a warm weather state, a pool will absolutely increase your home’s value. In places like Florida, California, and Texas, pools are almost expected at homes above a certain price point.
If conditions are perfect (you live in a warm weather climate, most of your neighbors have pools, yours is well maintained, and you still have some yard left), pools can add about 7% to your home’s value. If you live in a cool weather state, a pool will likely not increase your home’s value.
Inground pools cost an average of about $30,000 to install. That number can easily climb much higher depending on your chosen size, finishes, and features. If you choose to install a pool, make sure the numbers make sense given your neighborhood’s current market.
(2) Do Pools Help or Hurt Resale?
Again, if you live in a warm weather climate, buyers are looking for homes with pools, especially ones that are newer, well planned, and maintained.
In moderate areas like ours, pools are a nice addition, but not necessary.
If you are trying to sell a home with a pool, bear in mind that your overall set of potential buyers will be smaller, as many house hunters will not even look at a home with a pool. Couples with young children often won’t even consider homes with pools for safety reasons.
(3) Associated Costs
First and foremost, don’t think you can skimp on your pool’s maintenance. Leaving a pool unattended can result in nasty bacteria, a plethora of bugs, expensive repairs, and more. Here are the main areas of expense when owning a home with a pool.
The various chemicals used to maintain a pool have an average annual cost of $500-$800 (assuming summer usage only). With year-round use, this cost is more like $1,000. In areas where your pool must be opened and then closed each season, expect to spend another $500 for a professional to handle this task.
If you want to skip the the task of scooping out your pool weekly, a robotic cleaning system can do the job for you, but will cost you about $500-$800 for a system.
Pools are typically covered by homeowners insurance policies but always check yours to be certain. You will want both property coverage (for damages to the pool from a big storm, for example) as well as liability coverage. Typical policies offer $100,000 in liability; pool owners should have $300-000-$500,000 in liability coverage due to the many pool related accidents and incidents. Such an increase is relatively low, costing just about $30/year.
Some states or municipalities have laws regarding fencing around residential pools. Always check with your local jurisdiction to see what may be required. Typically, you will need to have a 4’ fence (both the the City of Alexandria and Fairfax County require a 6’ fence) around the pool, combined with with gates that are both self-closing and self-latching. Fencing is almost always required when adding a pool to your homeowners’ insurance policy. The average cost to add a pool fence is $1,500-$2,000 according to allsafepool.com.
If you have pets or small children, you may also want to install a flexible mesh fence immediately surrounding the pool (like this one), for an added level of security.
For pools with heaters, the average heating costs run about $100-$300 month.
You will certainly want a pool cover for additional safety, but also for helping keep your pool clean when not in use. Expect to spend several hundred dollars on a safety cover like this one.
If you need additional heat for your pool, consider a solar pool cover for heat and protection all season. Such covers can increase water temperature more than 15 degrees, simply using the sun’s natural heat waves. They also reduce the frequency which you will need to add chemicals to the pool water. Using a solar cover slows the evaporation / chemical dissipation process, so your pool will stay sanitized longer with less effort.
(4) Plan for Repairs
In addition to routine maintenance costs, you should plan to set aside funds for these common repairs that pools often require.
You should plan to resurface your pool every 8-10 years. A typical resurfacing job costs $5-$7 per square foot. So for a standard 15’x30’ pool, a resurfacing job at the average cost would be $2,700.
Another common repair is replacing the pool’s pump motor. This job is likely to run you several hundred dollars, depending on the size of the motor.
Your pool’s liner needs to be replaced about every 15 years. To replace a pool liner, expect to spend $2,800 in our area ($1,700 nationally according to improvenet.com). Of course, typical liner problems, such as holes, bulges, and leaks, can arise anytime.
Plumbing issues and leaks are another area where costs can add up quickly. Expect to spend about $1,000 to have a professional fix your pool’s leak.
If you adore a home but not the pool, fret not. You have options such as filling it in or removing it, if you want to proceed in writing an offer.
If you are considering buying a house with a pool, be sure to do an inspection for the pool (separate from the home inspection). Make sure it’s up to all safety codes, in tip-top shape, and that no major repairs are looming.
The Bottom Line
Buying a house with a pool can be fabulous! Whether or not it adds value to the home depends on many factors. The maintenance of a pool can be quite expensive so make sure you know what you’re getting into!
Want to talk through the pros and cons? Reach out today! We are always happy to help.
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