There are a number of factors to consider if you’re thinking of buying a home with a swimming pool. While the social, health benefits, and glamour of a pool may be enticing, owning and maintaining one properly comes at a cost and additional responsibilities.
The very first cost you’ll encounter if you plan to make an offer on a home with a pool is the cost of hiring a specialist to evaluate the condition of the pool. Hiring a specialist may run you about $300. This is in addition to the separate expense of a home inspection. Be sure to ask the current owner the age of the pool, when and if the liner has ever been replaced, as well as an itemized list of the annual costs they’ve incurred.
Aside from the seasonal expense of opening and closing your pool, there is weekly maintenance required. Maintaining proper PH and calcium levels, cleaning out water and skimmer filters, vacuuming, and brushing walls of the pool are necessary for keeping it a clean and healthy place for friends and family to swim. Your pool’s water should also be tested periodically by a professional. Unexpected costs such as a tear in the pool’s lining, or finding and patching a leak, can be costly. There is also the time required for daily maintenance. You may want to consider hiring a professional to provide routine maintenance, which comes at an additional cost.
Having a pool can add significantly to your utility bills. Yearly filling and maintaining water levels, chemicals, electricity for pool lighting, skimming and, in some cases heating, may add as much as a $100 or more to your monthly expenses.
Pools are a high-risk proposition as far as home insurance companies are concerned. Liability insurance, which insurers traditionally start at $100,000 of coverage, is more likely start at $300,000 when you own a pool. Upwards of a million dollars or more in coverage is recommended in the event someone is seriously injured or even dies in your pool. You can bring down the cost somewhat with the addition of a fence and locked gates. Removing a diving board is also recommended and may provide some additional savings.
Along with insurance, you’ll want to be sure that everyone in the family is able to swim and knows CPR. Adult supervision is always required when toddlers and young children are in the pool. Fencing and a locked gate are a must, as well as proper pool and outside lighting.
A pool can add to the value of your home when it comes time to resell, provided you live in a warm climate. Homes in the northern U.S. where summers are shorter will likely take longer to sell and provide a smaller return on investment than a kitchen or bath renovation. Not everyone wants a pool and the time and expense of the maintenance that comes with it.
The Bottom Line
You may want to pass on a home with a pool if all of the above seems overwhelming. If not, the health benefits of the low impact workout that swimming offers and the social interactions and family memories created poolside may well be worth it.