When you're house hunting, it's always a challenge to find the home that will be the right fit. Sometimes, you find the perfect home, only to discover there's a pool in the backyard. It's something you weren't counting on. So, you've found the perfect house, but is the pool a deal breaker?
Here's what you need to know about buying a home with a pool and how you can decide whether or not the pool is an upside or a downside to the purchase.
Purpose of the Property
If you're buying the house as a real estate investment, it's probably best to go pool-free. Renting a home with a pool opens you up for all kinds of liabilities, while enjoying none of the benefits. If you're buying a house to fix up and flip, fixing up a pool can be costly, and can deter some buyers who don't want to have a pool in the backyard.
It's generally safer in the long run to avoid a pool if you're looking for an investment opportunity. However, in a fixer-upper sort of situation, filling in the pool and landscaping the backyard could be an option if the pool is very rough shape to begin with.
Maybe you weren't counting on a pool, but now that you think about it, relaxing pool-side on hot summer days has its appeal. A pool might not be so bad after all. Just make sure you budget the costs of pool maintenance into your new house finances, because you will need some extra cash squirrelled away in order to keep your pool in good working condition.
Some of the costs include:
- patching or repairing liners and concrete. Over time, tiles come loose, liners get punctured, and concrete erodes. Since pools are just as much an aesthetic tool as a recreational one, you'll need to make a sinking fund for resurfacing, especially if you live in the house for a long time and if the pool is in poor or mediocre condition to begin with.
- chemical treatments and filters. Even when you're not swimming, your water needs to remain balanced to keep it ready for swimmers. Testing kits and chemicals are not pricey individually, but they can add up over the course of a year.
- heating and electricity. If your pool requires heating, your energy bills will be much higher than they normally would for a similar (but pool-less) property. Even if your pool is heated by sunshine alone, you still need electricity to run the filters and the vacuums.
Some of these costs are worth it to home owners, especially in areas where heat is the norm and any outdoor recreation is challenging because of intense temperatures.
Another aspect of pool maintenance is time. If you're a busy professional, will you be able to care for the pool yourself by skimming out debris, vacuuming, winterizing, and treating the water? If you don't have the time, you'll need to hire someone, which should be factored into your list of costs.
When you live in a warm climate, having a pool is a bonus and in some neighborhoods, is expected. If all the neighbors have pools, you can assume your pool will be an asset if you purchase that house. The insurance and maintenance costs are worth the expense. If you are purchasing a home in such an area, you won't have to worry as much about whether or not a pool will hurt your ability to sell your home.
However, you should be aware that buyers in less wealthy areas will weigh the pros and cons of having a pool, and it could turn people away from the sale. Consider a pool to be like a boat, car, or other "toy." You pay for enjoying the benefits, but with little chance of seeing much return when you sell it.