July 11, 2016
To Pool or Not to Pool…That Is the Question!
When it’s hot outside, most people who don’t already have a pool think about getting one. It’s that time of year now, and a lot of potential homebuyers are asking our opinion about pools. Truly, though, the answer always lies with you. There are good reasons to get or not to get a pool, and only you and your family can decide if a pool is a good fit for your lifestyle. First of all, consider whether or not your community has a pool. If you live in a planned or gated community, you may have access to a fine in-ground pool that is used only by the residents of your development and their guests. Because this is a relatively small group of people overall, you may want to pass on installing a pool of your own. The same is true if you live in a residential area that has a well-maintained public pool that is not overly crowded. However, if these options aren’t open to you, it’s time to consider a few factors closely before ‘diving in’ to pool ownership. Cost Pools are expensive, not only to buy and to install, but also to maintain. The average basic, in-ground swimming pool with minimal landscaping and few extras will seldom cost less than $25,000 to install. In 2014, the national average cost, upfront, for buying and installing a residential, in-ground pool was a little over $39,000. Fancier pools with slides, diving boards, pool houses or cabanas can run upwards of $50,000 to $100,000 to install. Small swimming pools such as those offered by Endless Pools can be more economical if you don’t have a large family or if family members tend to swim alone or in small groups. Costs for these pools start at about $23,000. Maintenance costs can easily run up a big bill if you have a larger pool. While some pool owners spend less than $100 on average monthly, the average pool owner will spend about $190 a month on pool supplies and service. You can get a good average breakdown of the costs here. Above ground pools are certainly less expensive. The average above ground swimming pool kit will cost between $1500 and $4500, depending on the quality of the pool. However, keep in mind that this price usually doesn’t include decking, which can cost just as much as - or more than - the pool itself. Surprisingly, maintenance costs aren’t significantly lower for above ground pools. Ground Conditions Take a good look at the surface where you’re thinking of installing the pool. Is it hilly? Rocky? Is the soil light and dry, or heavy and wet? While these questions are important in all cases, they will have a big impact on the installation of an in-ground pool. Insurance Check with your insurance agent to see if your pool would be adequately covered under your homeowner’s policy. Residential pools are considered an “attractive nuisance” by most insurance companies, and they usually advise that pool owners purchase additional liability insurance. Most homeowner’s policies include a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability protection. Pool owners, however, may want to consider increasing the amount to $300,000 or $500,000. Local Regulations Each town has its own definition of what a “pool,” is, and usually it is based on the size and water depth of the pool. If the pool you are planning to buy meets the criteria established for a residential pool, you’ll need to meet local safety standards and building codes. These can include installing a fence of a certain size, locks, decks and pool safety equipment. Safety Concerns It’s common to hear stories of young children falling into pools, some of the tales with sad endings. Other safety concerns include injuries due to roughhousing, diving or jumping awkwardly into the pool, or swimming while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Having a pool is a big responsibility, and many people don’t want the additional worry of monitoring a pool, whether it is in use or not. Time and Lifestyle Although you love the idea of a pool on the ten days it is 100+ degrees, you have to take into consideration how often you and your family will actually use the pool. If the kids will be in it practically every day and/or you like to swim for exercise four nights a week during pool season, you’re probably going to want to go ahead with the pool. However, if family members are rarely home or aren’t avid swimmers, the pool may not get enough use to be practical. Home Resale Value It’s a widely held myth that homes with pools always command a higher price tag. While some buyers are excited at the thought of buying a house with a pool and are willing to pay more to get one, at least an equal number see the pool as a drawback to ‘closing the deal’. Don’t install a pool simply because you think it will drive up the value of your home when you’re ready to sell. As you can see, there’s a lot of points to ponder and angles to consider before you ‘take the plunge’ and purchase a pool. Do your research and give the subject a lot of thought before making a final decision. And don’t hesitate to trust your gut reaction – for a pool to be fun, you have to be completely satisfied with your choice.