As the spring season begins, buyers across the country are beginning to look around and swimming pools can be attractive. You may be tempted to buy a home with a swimming pool, but before you go off the deep end (pun absolutely intended), there are a few things to consider.
Swimming pools are both beautiful and lots of fun, but you should be ready for the amount of expenses and work it takes to maintain, as well as the increase to your liability. So should you buy a home with a pool or not?
As an outdoors trend, swimming pools have joined the ranks of backyard landscaping, fencing, walkways, decks, weather-proof kitchens, fireplaces, covered and open patios, arbors, ponds, and play areas. Pools are enjoyable, they promote fitness and they’re always a great place to entertain family and friends. Keep in mind though, only you can determine how much you’ll use it and enjoy it.
And although a pool is great fun, there are definitely some negative aspects to pool ownership. There are safety and compliance issues, such as having to put a (not-so-attractive) child-proof fence around the pool in some neighborhoods or counties where it’s required.
There’s required maintenance, which can be monthly and turned over to a pool service if you wish, but that’s yet another bill to pay. Pool water can be considered a living, breathing organism and needs to be constantly monitored for chlorine levels, leaves and to make sure your filters are working. Plus, a swimming pool uses lots of water and chemical treatments to keep it clean, attractive and safe, and it will increase your homeowner’s insurance. These are the costs of pool ownership, and you have to be ready for them.
Pools come in five styles, which I’ve ordered in least to most expensive:
- Above-ground pools are the cheapest construction option, as well as the easiest to build. They are available from a variety of manufacturers, but aren’t allowed in most subdivisions due to restrictive covenants.
- Fiberglass pools are made from fiberglass-reinforced plastic, which has been molded into a basin shape. Because of the material, they can only be up to a certain size. In-ground spas are generally fiberglass models.
- Vinyl-lined in-ground pools are a lot like above-ground pools, structurally. They look more like conventional in-ground designs, but liners need to be replaced every 10 years or so. This is much cheaper than the next two options and is quicker to install, but not as durable.
- Gunite pools are currently the most popular design in much of theUnited States, a highly durable sprayed mixture of cement and sand over a mesh grid. They can be built in any shape and size, and feature a variety of interior finishes.
- Poured-concrete pools are similar to Gunite pools, but they’re a lot harder to build. Instead of spraying concrete material around a rebar framework, concrete is actually poured into conventional wooden forms. Some pool builders feel that poured-concrete is the most durable option, but this is negligible with today’s materials.
So you’re looking at buying a home with a pool. If you’re wondering whether or not a pool is worth what you’re paying as an amenity of the home, consider the following:
- Are pools popular in your area? Is the pool going to be a good or bad thing when you go to sell the home?
- Does the pool complement the home and yard? Was it well-designed, or did it eliminate important space for a play yard?
- Is the pool being maintained as well as the home? Are there any visible cracks, broken tiles, or cloudy water that could possibly mean more expenses to you? How old is the pool and its mechanical components? How soon will they need to be replaced? Have the tile surrounds and concrete walkways need updating?
- Are there additional outdoor features that augment the pool area, such as a cabana, barbeque or outdoor kitchen?
- Something no one ever thinks of is where will people change their clothes and use the bathroom? Is there an outdoor room? Or will they be tracking wet footprints through the house?
Before buying, gather all of the maintenance and repair records the seller might have for the pool, and make sure to include the pool in the home inspection. Have your Realtor® put together comps for homes with and without pools, and obtain recent prices from local pool companies on similar pools to see if you are overpaying for the seller’s pool, especially if it needs updating. Many pool companies will be happy to help in order to possibly get the maintenance, repair, or redesign business from the new owner.
My advice is to be ready for pool ownership, and make sure that it’s what you want before buying. If it ends up being the right move, that’s great! I love my pool. It’s great for outdoor entertaining and is perfect for cooling off in theGeorgiaheat.
Do you have any interesting stories about buying a home with a pool or owning a pool? Please comment below!
Tags: above-ground pool, atlanta, atlanta real estate, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers, Buyers, fiberglass pool, georgia, gunite pool, in-ground pool, Metro Brokers, pool maintenance, pool ownership, poured-concrete pool, Real Estate, swimming pool, Tisha Gay