A beautiful summer’s day spent in the backyard with family and friends. A fun and relaxing place to gather with your loved ones. The barbecue is fired up and you have a cocktail in hand, lounging on the pool side while the kids splash about. Ah, the dream. Is the dream within reach for you? It’s important to make an informed decision when it comes to making such a big investment. A pool can definitely be a good investment if it makes financial sense. Homes with inground swimming pools are a dream-come-true, but will you regret the cost? What things should you consider before you move forward? Read on to find out the facts that can help you make a good decision.
Real Estate Value
In the right market, the right pool can appeal to the right buyers. That’s a positive statement with a lot of limitations, isn’t it? An above-ground pool? No. Not at all. An inground pool can raise your home value if it’s designed well, if it doesn’t take up all the outdoor space, if it’s well-maintained at time of sale, and if you live in a warm climate where the work and expense is for a year-round benefit. Or, if you live in a community where it’s commonplace. You will have a smaller pool of buyers, perhaps, but you may get more for the house if you’re patient.
An inground swimming pool can increase the value of your home. A few years ago, the National Association of Realtors stated that on average, an inground swimming pool will increase a home’s value by 4-6%. Therefore, on a $500,000 home, one could expect to get 20-30k in additional home value with a pool purchase. This does not typically cover the entire cost of the pool project, but yes it does certainly make up quite a bit of the difference.
Pools Aren’t Cheap to Build
The average cost in the U.S. to install, equip, and fill a 600-sq.-ft. concrete pool starts at $30,000. Add in details like safety fences (most states require them), waterfalls, lighting, landscaping, and perhaps a spa, and you’re easily looking at totals approaching $100,000. But, you can choose to forego a lot of the aesthetic details if they are not in your budget!
Costs also depend on the type of pool you choose. The standard for modern inground pools is Gunite. A mixture of cement and sand that can be poured into almost any shape. Gunite inground pools are cheaper in the long-run as the alternative is fiberglass shells. Although the fiberglass shells are on the lower end budget, they must be replaced every ten years or so. This is not only costlier in the long-run, but also a lot of work. Changing the liner requires draining the pool and replacing the edging.
Additional Costs: Filtration, Heating and Maintenance
The filtration pump takes up the most energy in a pool system. Efficiency is key when choosing a pump. New, variable-speed pumps use up to 80% less energy than old single-speed pumps, dramatically cutting operating expenses.
One of these efficient pumps costs about $500 but some local utilities offer rebates through participating pool dealers. You can further cut energy costs by scheduling the pump to run at non-peak times, when electricity rates are lower.
Gas heaters are the least expensive to purchase and install, but they have the highest operation and maintenance costs. Electric heat pumps are the alternative. They extract heat from the surrounding air and transfer it to the water. Heat pumps take longer than gas to warm the pool, but they’re more energy-efficient, costing $200 to $400 less to operate per swimming season.
All pools require that the water be balanced for proper pH, alkalinity, and calcium levels. They also need sanitizing to control bacteria and germs. These days you have a variety of options, including systems that use bromine, salt, ozone, ionizers, or other chemical compounds that can be less irritating to skin.
Chlorine remains the most popular because the upfront costs are reasonable, and you don’t have to be as rigid about checking the levels on a set schedule.
In a seasonal swimming climate, budget about $600 annually for maintenance if you shoulder the chemical balancing and cleaning yourself; in a year-round climate, it’s more like $15 to $25 per week.
To save yourself the task of once-a-week vacuuming, you can buy a robotic cleaning system for between $500 and $800 that will do the job for you. In locations where the pool must be opened and closed for the season, add another $500 each time for a pro to handle this task.
Up To You
In short, your pool has the best shot of adding value to your home if you live in a hot, tropical area where neighboring homes have pools as well, whereas you might in fact end up with a negative ROI from installing a pool if you live in areas where there aren’t any pools in the neighborhood. Now, that being said, don’t build a pool JUST as an investment, because it’s too tricky for the resources that requires. But if you’re going to love and enjoy it before you sell, go for it!
Only you, the homeowner, can determine the true return on investment. Inground swimming pools can add value to your quality of life and enhance the enjoyment of your home. You can’t put a price tag on that.
Family Time… Priceless.
We love our kids. Their laughter brings us joy. Our time with them as parents is finite. Inground swimming pools are a great place to bond and play with our kids, or watch them play! If you want to enjoy every moment of this wonderful gift called parenthood, I can definitively say that owning a swimming pool adds incredibly to this time period and the joys that come with it.
Children aren’t the only ones that benefit from swimming pool ownership. Basically, the pool is an entertainment hub for friends, family and visitors to play, talk, laugh, and genuinely pass quality time together without the normal distractions of the world. A way to stay cool on a hot day and an inexpensive way to exercise. There’s no need to spend money on a gym membership when you can get a full body workout in the pool!