Before You Dive into Building a Pool

Does a pool add value to a home? Yes and no. In a few circumstances, a pool can add value to your home. However, once you figure in construction, planning, and maintenance, the value add becomes more a matter of quality of life and enjoyment of your own home.

In general, building a pool is not the best way to add value to your home – at most, you may see a 7% increase. If you don’t plan to sell in the next twenty years, you may actually detract buyers with an aged pool. Keep in mind that it could also be off-putting to buyers with young children or who are looking for a low-maintenance home. If an increase in home resale value is the goal, you’re better off making physical improvements to your actual house instead of adding a pool to your yard.
A pool can add value to your home IF:

  • You live in a higher-end neighborhood and most of your neighbors have pools. In fact, not having a pool might make your home harder to sell.
  • You live in a warm climate, such as Florida or Hawaii.
  • Your lot is big enough to accommodate a pool and still have some yard left over.

But only you, the homeowner, can determine the true return on investment. A pool can add value to your quality of life and enhance the enjoyment of your home. You can’t put a price tag on that. But we can put a price tag on how much a pool costs to build and maintain.

Cost

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. Costs also depend on the type of pool you choose. You can pay more upfront with gunite, a popular mixture of cement and sand, that has become the higher-end standard, or pay more later by installing pools with fiberglass shells or vinyl liners that typically need replacing every 10 years or so.

Maintenance

All pools require that the water be balanced for proper pH, alkalinity, and calcium levels. They also need sanitizing to control bacteria and germs, which is where chlorine typically comes in as the least expensive option. In a seasonal swimming climate, you can plan to spend about $600 for maintenance if you do the chemical balancing and cleaning yourself. Budget closer to $20 per week in a year-round climate.

Insurance and Taxes

Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover a pool structure without requiring a separate rider, but you should increase your liability from the standard amount. It costs about $30 a year to bump coverage from $100,000 to $500,000. Many underwriters require you to fence in the pool so children can’t wander in unsupervised. In some areas, adding a pool may increase your annual property taxes, but it won’t necessarily add to your home’s selling price.

The decision is primarily a personal one. Adding a pool may not give you the greatest return when it comes time to sell, but it can definitely add a lot of fun.

What are some of your favorite and least favorite parts of owning a pool?

 

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