Does a pool add value to your home?

Here’s a cool and refreshing thought: does a pool add value to your home? Research suggests this is the case, but you need to know what you’re getting yourself into before you venture into a swimming pool. Maintenance, repairs, and insurance coverage can be costly, and there are no guarantees that your home will be sold for more later because of the pool.

Does a pool add value to a home?

Many experts say that a well-kept pool can increase your resale value, especially an underground pool.

“When looking for real estate, you’re sure to see higher costs for homes with prefabricated backyards that include pools,” said Ralph DiBugnara, president of Home Qualified, headquartered in New York City, a digital resource for buyers, sellers, and others Seller broker.

Melissa Zavala, a broker at Broadpoint Properties in San Diego, agrees.

“Right now, in the age of the coronavirus, many buyers are looking for a pool. They like the idea that their home is a one-stop-shop for all of their summer entertainment activities because they are worried about leaving the house, ”says Zavala.

Tom Casey, vice president of sales at Anthony & Sylvan Pools in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, says pools are more sought after in warmer regions where they can be used year round.

“Living in warmer climates like Florida or Texas can add to your property value and make it more likely that you will sell your home,” notes Casey. “Coastal or resort communities with vacation home rentals allow owners with swimming pool properties to get higher rental rates than nearby properties without them. And high-end neighborhoods are also more accessible to pools that add to a home’s resale value. “

In fact, if most of your neighbors have pools but you don’t, it could decrease your home’s value in the marketplace.

“But if you live in a typical community where some homes have pools but most don’t, building a pool likely won’t affect the value of your home,” warns Robert Taylor, owner of The Real Estate Solutions Guy in Sacramento , a home buying and flip company.

However, not all pools are built equal.

“In many markets, underground pools are preferred and above-ground pools do not add value to a house,” says Zavala.

Cost of installing a pool

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to build an underground pool, including labor and materials, is between $ 20,000 and $ 60,000 for a fiberglass pool and between $ 35,000 and $ 100,000 for a gunite or concrete pool. The typical tab for an above-ground model is $ 1,500 to $ 15,000.

These expected prices are in line with Casey’s estimates.

“Keep in mind that underground pools are more expensive but tend to last longer than above-ground pools,” says Casey.

Cost of maintaining a pool

The pool’s maintenance and repair isn’t cheap either. HomeAdvisor reports that the average cost of basic annual maintenance for the pool is between $ 1,200 and $ 1,800. If you bring in the necessary repairs and utilities (like water and, if you’re using a pool heater, fuel) the total annual cost can be anywhere from $ 3,000 to $ 5,000.

Maintenance requires chemicals to be purchased and added to maintain the correct pH and prevent algae growth. The pool must be vacuumed and cleaned regularly during the bathing season. In addition, accessories such as telescopic poles, attachable brushes and blade skimmers must be purchased.

“Homeowners can cut costs significantly by doing some of the maintenance themselves instead of hiring pool services,” suggests Casey. “Also, investing in a saltwater pool instead of a chlorine pool can lower your costs.”

Cost of insuring a pool

Another cost factor to consider is the price of insuring your home. Your homeowner’s insurance premiums are likely to be higher when you have a pool.

Lev Barinskiy, CEO of SmartFinancial Insurance in Costa Mesa, California, says that most policies typically cover up to 10 percent of the cost of replacing an external structure like a pool and at least partially covering most pool accidents.

“Even though the liability portion of your homeowner’s insurance policy covers pool accidents if a guest is injured or dies, you can still be held legally accountable if you did not provide a safe swimming environment when you allowed guests to use your pool” says Barinskiy.

If your insurer sees the pool as an external structure, you need to include it as one on your policy, ”Barinskiy adds, noting that most policies require you to put a fence around the pool and remove any springboard.

It can also be wise to pay for a personal endorsement policy that offers liability protection beyond the limits of your homeowner policy.

How much value does a pool add to a home?

The experts disagree on how much a pool can add to the value of a home.

A HouseLogic study suggests an increase of no more than 7 percent under ideal conditions, while HGTV reports that the average underground pool can add 5 to 8 percent to the value of your property. Another analysis by broker Redfin of 19 warm weather markets found that a pool can add value to your home between $ 11,591 and $ 95,393.

As with virtually every facet of real estate, location makes a huge difference.

“In cities with a below-average number of pools, a homeowner with a pool could see a strong increase in value due to its unique selling point,” explains DiBugnara. “The need for pools is also likely to increase the most in neighborhoods where there are many school-age children.”

Be warned, however: having a pool is not enough to increase the likelihood of higher resale value.

“A poorly maintained pool that needs repair or maintenance can degrade your home and put off buyers,” warns DiBugnara.

If you are thinking of having a pool built, consider getting a professional valuation. This expert is the best place to judge whether adding a pool adds value to your home

How to finance a pool

Do you fancy a pool? You may need to borrow money to make this purchase. The good news is that interest rates are near historic lows, which means the cost of borrowing is cheap.

Once you qualify, you have several pool funding options:

  • Track a withdrawal refinance, where you tap into the equity of your home and upon closing, withdraw additional cash that you can dedicate to the pool.
  • Apply for a home loanwhere you pull equity out of your home in the form of a fixed-rate secondary mortgage.
  • Consider a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)This is a variable rate line of credit that you can draw on if necessary, up to a pre-approved limit.
  • Opt for a personal loanThis is an unsecured loan that does not require collateral or your home equity cannot be used, but it may come with a higher interest rate.
  • Choose a credit cardThis can be a viable alternative if you don’t qualify for any of the above qualifications and are eligible for a zero to low fare card that you can cash out before the introductory price expires and higher prices apply.

Bottom line

The decision to build a pool or buy a home that contains one should not be taken lightly. Think carefully about when and how often you want to use it. Investigate how this can be incorporated into your entertainment and recreational plans, and determine if you have the funds and local resources to keep the pool in good condition.

Finally, think about how to prepare and market your property and pool when it is time to sell.

“You need to target the right buyer and use good marketing tactics. The pool needs repairs and cleaning, and you want to showcase your outdoor retreat, ”recommends Casey, who also notes that high-end buyers and families with children or teenagers are the most likely buyer candidates.

“And if you’re in a colder climate, you should wait to sell when the weather is nice and your pool is open,” Casey says.

Featured image by JohnnyGreig of Getty Images.

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