The perks of owning a pool are obvious: lounging poolside, cooling off with a dip on a hot summer day, and parties with all your friends. But as pretty as that picture is, the realities of owning a house with a swimming pool can be ugly — so much so that some may advise house hunters to never buy a house with a pool.
The truth is that being a pool owner isn’t right for everyone, but it may be right for you. Our guide breaks down everything you need to know about buying a house with a pool to make sure your purchase goes swimmingly.
Every pool is a little different. Not only their shapes and sizes, but even the variety. Here are some of the types of pools your dream home might have:
If you’re thinking of putting in an offer on a house with a swimming pool, it’s important that you understand your backyard oasis comes with some drawbacks. These include safety risks, high cost of repairs, and required regular maintenance.
Review the steps below to ensure you don’t end up wishing you never bought a house with a pool.
While you may be ready to become a homeowner, you might need to consider if you’re prepared to be a pool owner, too — especially if you’re looking for a home in a neighborhood with lots of swimming pools. There are many factors to weigh, including the additional burdens to your insurance policies, property taxes, and home maintenance and safety.
Your premium will go up when you buy a house with a pool, but not without reason. Your policy will cover basic damage to your pool and may even help pay for injuries from a pool-related accident. It’s worth considering getting additional liability coverage to help pay for any legal or medical expenses that result from an accident.
In most localities, when you add value to your home — with a renovation or addition — assessors will recompute your property value and tax you at a higher rate. This is true for pool additions, too. If an assessor determines the swimming pool adds value to a home, you’ll pay higher property taxes when you buy a house with a pool.
That image of lounging poolside with your friends doesn’t tell the whole story of owning a pool. But if you pictured all of the work that goes into the upkeep of your personal oasis, you might never buy a house with a pool.
You’ll have to put in some elbow grease to keep your water crystal clear. This includes regular testing of water chemistry, applying chemicals, emptying skimmers, maintaining vacuums, skimming and brushing, and much more.
Some house hunters aren’t cut out for that kind of work, and that’s okay. Others might not understand that there’s a financial cost, as well as a personal price to pay too. Check out the table below to make sure your pool maintenance fees don’t end up feeling like a hidden cost of buying your home.
There is a tax deduction that may help you pay for your pool if you need it to treat a medical issue — for example, to manage a chronic pain condition or for physical therapy. If you installed your pool specifically to treat your condition, talk to your accountant about the possibility of writing off your pool fees. But keep in mind that it is exceedingly uncommon to qualify for this tax deduction.
Safety is paramount when owning a pool, especially if children live at or frequent your home. According to the Center for Disease Control, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages one to four and the second leading cause of death for children ages one to 14.
To protect yourself and any children, ensure that your pool is up to safety standards. While local regulations may vary, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends, at minimum, that you have the following safety measures in place:
Maybe you’d never buy a house with a pool, but you’re considering installing one yourself. Increasing the value of their home is top of mind for many homeowners, and you’ll probably want to factor in the return on investment for this major addition.
According to Orchard real estate agent Steve Gary in Dallas, "pools are not a good financial investment — the ROI is approximately 30% of what you paid — but if you have children, they're priceless because you know where your children will be playing all summer."
The average cost to install a swimming pool is roughly $30,500, but it will depend on a variety of factors like design considerations and special features. For such a big investment, a pool may only increase your home’s value by 7%. Pools tend to add more value to houses in high-end neighborhoods and warmer climates.
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While this comes at a price for the homeowners who took the plunge to install a pool, it’s good news for those buying a house with one already installed: With such low ROI, it’s a better deal to buy a house with a pool than to install one yourself.
Here's even more about buying a house with a pool.
When considering a house with a pool, it's important to ask questions about the pool's age, condition, and maintenance history. You should also inquire about the pool's equipment, such as pumps and filters, and whether they have been regularly serviced. Also ask about any warranties or guarantees associated with the pool.
There are several downsides to consider when owning a pool. First, pools require regular maintenance, which includes cleaning, balancing chemicals, and monitoring water quality. This ongoing upkeep can be time-consuming and costly. Pools can increase homeowners' insurance premiums and add to the overall cost of homeownership. Pools can also pose safety hazards, especially for households with young children, and they can limit the use of yard space for other activities.
The worth of having a pool depends on individual preferences and circumstances. Pools can provide a source of entertainment, relaxation, and exercise, especially in warmer climates. They can also enhance the aesthetic appeal and resale value of a property, especially in these areas. However, it's essential to consider the associated costs, maintenance obligations, and potential safety concerns before determining if a pool is worth it for you. Assess your lifestyle, budget, and long-term plans to make an informed decision.
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