Does a Swimming Pool Increasing Your Home Value?

Talia Lee-
June 07, 2024

On scorching hot days, nothing beats taking a dip in a swimming pool. In some parts of the country, a pool is almost a necessity. There are 10.6 million swimming pools across the U.S., with 3 million in California alone. Pools come in various styles, sizes, and prices, ranging from in-ground to above-ground and chlorine to saltwater. While having a pool just steps from your back door may sound appealing, it’s essential to consider whether it’s a good economic choice and if it will increase your home’s value. There are many factors to weigh before adding a swimming pool or even buying a home with an existing one.

Having a pool sounds like a great way to become the life of the party when hosting friends and family during warm months, but it can be expensive. As with most large purchases, many people finance the addition. The average cost to build an inground swimming pool is $35,000, with most spending between $28,000 and $55,000 for the initial investment. The cost can vary significantly depending on the amount of site work, soil type, and additional finishes. For many, the equivalent of a new car is worth the enjoyment a swimming pool would bring.

The costs associated with maintaining a swimming pool vary based on location, size, and type. According to Michelle Sbabo, co-owner of Northwest Arkansas Pool and Spa, homeowners can expect to spend a minimum of $500 per summer on chemicals and supplies, plus at least a couple of hours a week on maintenance tasks such as testing water, adjusting chemicals, brushing, vacuuming, cleaning filters, netting, and emptying skimmer and filter baskets. Depending on the type of swimming pool, average annual maintenance costs can range from $375 to over $2,750. When choosing the type of swimming pool, it’s important to inquire with a local pool maintenance company about what to reasonably expect in annual maintenance costs.

In certain regions, swimming pools can remain open year-round, but in colder climates, homeowners must close them to prevent damage from cold weather. According to Sbabo, “Closing a pool will typically cost $200-300 for a standard pool, with higher costs for pools with complex equipment and plumbing. Opening a pool is roughly the same cost as closing, unless the pool is exceptionally dirty or green, requiring more time and chemicals for cleanup.”

Michelle Sbabo of Northwest Arkansas Pool and Spa further elaborates, stating, “The composition of source water significantly influences pool water maintenance. In several regions, water contains high levels of calcium and other minerals, leading to scaling on pool surfaces and equipment interiors. Proper treatment is essential to reduce scale damage. Moreover, weather conditions and environmental factors play a crucial role in pool care. Pools located in areas prone to heavy rain or wind may require a wider range of chemicals to combat contaminants entering the pool. Additionally, specific plants and trees can pose maintenance challenges.”

With the addition of a swimming pool on a property, the risk of injury or fatality rises, leading to an increase in homeowner’s insurance premiums. Zack’s Investment Research highlights that insurance providers often mandate heightened liability coverage, occasionally up to half a million dollars, and may recommend supplementary umbrella policies. To maintain reasonable premiums, homeowners can take precautions such as installing a locked gate around the pool, utilizing a safety tarp to cover the pool, incorporating motion sensors, and implementing surveillance cameras in the pool area.

It’s crucial to acknowledge that swimming pools may not appeal to everyone. Simply having a pool on the property can deter certain potential homebuyers. However, whether a pool adds value depends on various factors. In regions like Southern Florida or California, pools can significantly enhance appeal and property value. Conversely, in areas like Michigan or Northern states, pools may be less desirable, potentially leading to appraisals lower than installation costs. Nonetheless, a recent study by LendingTree indicates that homes with pools are valued at 54% higher than those without.

Michelle Sbabo, co-owner of Northwest Arkansas Pool and Spa, shares some valuable advice for individuals considering adding a pool or purchasing a home with an existing pool:

  • Ensure Pool Inspection: Since most home inspections typically exclude the pool, it’s wise for buyers unfamiliar with pools to enlist the services of a pool professional. This ensures thorough examination of equipment and understanding of potential expenses.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Engage with a local pool maintenance company to learn proper pool care techniques. Many new pool owners find immense value in receiving personalized instruction through a “private pool lesson.”
  • Explore Home Warranty Options: Investigate Home Warranty plans that cover pool equipment. Some comprehensive warranty programs have been known to cover significant equipment expenses, often requiring only a minimal deductible payment.
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