Growing up my siblings and I would spend quite a bit of time at our local town’s pool. It was probably one of the most favorite activities I did as a kid in the summer. At one point our parents considered putting a pool in, but after lots of advice, the costs involved with building it and maintenance, it was decided that we would be fine with driving the 2 miles to the local public pool.
Flash forward about 25 years and I was faced with a similar decision. My hubby and I were building our dream house. I had always loved the water, but just didn’t care for swimming in public (funny how we become more self-conscious when we get older about being seen in a swimsuit). I was also not very motivated to drive a couple miles to use the public pool or pay membership to someplace that had a pool. After a great deal of advice taking, research, and lots of thought, we decided to move forward and build it.
Is that the right decision for you? Let me share some things to think about when considering to build a pool or buying a house specifically with a pool vs no pool that we walked through in our decision making process. One key piece of advice you must realize upfront if you considering building a pool… DO NOT build or not build a pool thinking it will increase or decrease your home’s value. Value of a pool resides strictly in the eye of the beholder!!!! If you are in the market to buy a home, possibly with a pool, you also need to consider the above statement when deciding on what to offer for a home.
Motivation – Did you or your family grow up with a pool or swimming often? If you are currently without access to a pool, do you often make trips to swim elsewhere? Do you have any experience with pool maintenance? A pool should not be taken lightly as it can become a large burden as I explain below. If you truly do like and would use a pool, but unsure of what it’s like to own one, ask for advice. Facebook is a great way to acquire people’s opinions. People tend to be honest about swimming pools, and you will hear advice going both ways. As with anything you take advice for, listen to as many people as you can. Don’t go on one person’s advice! I cannot stress enough to ensure you are wanting a pool for the right reasons!
Location – Are you located or looking in a neighborhood that has a community pool that you are already “paying” for via POA/HOA fees? For many neighborhoods, this is a great hangout place, especially if you have kids. Kids typically want to swim with other kids. Don’t have kids, are you comfortable going to a common use pool? If you are not in or looking in a neighborhood with a common pool, do many neighbors have a pool? Not sure, pull up Google Maps in satellite view. It will be very clear to see the saturation (pun intended) of pools in the neighborhood. If you tend to engage with your neighbors and your kids are very sociable, there is a chance that there may be lots of opportunities to swim at other homes in the neighborhood (of course by invitation only). Is there a public pool close by? Many local pools have cost effective packages that can be purchased if you frequent them often, or just a daily rate if you aren’t sure you want that much of a commitment.
Investment – Are you prepared for the cost of a pool? This is something that you need to consider whether you are building a pool or purchasing a home with a pool. The cost of maintaining a pool goes beyond the construction and mechanical maintenance. There are regular maintenance costs, which some can be avoided by being a do-it-yourselfer, but then reference point #1. The biggest expenses per year are: opening a pool for the season, and subsequently closing the pool for the season. Then there’s costs for chemicals, but there are also multiple hidden costs that most people overlook. Pools need electricity to run a pool pump for 4+ hours per day to “turn over” the water the recommended once per day. That’s a cost that is directly related to equipment (pool size and pump). And if you choose to have a heater on a pool, the gas or electric needed to run the heater at the beginning and end of the season. Pools are listed as an improvement on a property, thus they are an item that is calculated into your property taxes. Finally, make sure you check regarding homeowners insurance as a pool will be an additional liability and typically raise your insurance payment. Talk with your agent PRIOR to building a pool as you can mitigate that cost some by understanding what makes insurance rise on pools, typically but not limited to, diving boards, slides and lack of fences. A more detailed article to read on costs is located here.
Time – Pools demand time, not just time to care for, but also time to use. The time needed to perform general maintenance depends on alot of factors (which is another blog), but would require AT LEAST one hour per week (for the most easy factor set), but also additional time through the summer to perform additional maintenance tasks that may be done fewer times. There is time to test (driving to and from a pool store at least once weekly), daily cleaning, periodic vacuuming, filter maintenance, and the list goes on. Beyond care, consider if you even have time to use the pool? Are you so booked up in the summer with other activities and vacations that you wouldn’t get the full benefit vs cost of having a pool? Only you can decide what that balance is.
I hope these points will assist those who are in the conundrum of trying to figure out what to do. I also realize that there might be alot of questions about specific details, but that’s another blog day. Please leave your comments on what you think, or things that you would like more detail on and I would be glad to expand on specific topics in later posts.
Until the next post, make it a great day!