With many city pools closed this summer, families everywhere are considering whether this might be the time to finally put that pool in the backyard. A swimming pool can be a great investment for some families and some homes, especially if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to maintain it.
But before you jump in with both feet, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of installing an in-ground swimming pool. How will your home value be affected? What are the hidden costs? How much use will it get?
Despite what you may have heard in the past, an inground swimming pool can increase the value of your home. But probably not as much as you might hope. Adding a swimming pool may only increase your home's value by about 7%, depending on a number of different factors.
If you live in a neighborhood with large backyards and posh homes, putting in a pool can improve your chances of getting your home noticed by potential buyers. Climate matters, as well. Living in a warm climate with a longer pool season makes putting in a pool a better investment than if your pool season is only a few months long. Unfortunately, many people may consider the pool to be a safety hazard for young children, and for good reason. Nearly 300 children under the age of 5 drown in backyard swimming pools every year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). So when you try to sell your home, you may be limiting potential buyers to older couples or families with teenage kids.
One of the most important things to consider is upkeep. While modern technology like salt and fiberglass can make pools more manageable and less work than before, they still require a lot of maintenance. Are you ready and willing to devote several hours per week to cleaning, maintenance, and upkeep? Most homebuyers will pass on your home if you have an old pool in poor condition that doesn't fit the style of your home or neighborhood.
It’s common to assume that the cost of installation is the price of the pool, but this could not be more false. Consider the following costs that may apply, and make sure to add them to your budget before you finalize your decision.
- Many cities require a fence
- Permits and inspections
- Trees that need to be cleared, or utilities that need to be rerouted
- Safety features
- Landscaping, a deck or patio, lighting, etc.
- Cleaning and maintenance
- Electricity bill
- Accessories such as diving boards, a slide, seating, floaties, storage, etc.
Will it get used?
Because installing a swimming pool is a big investment, you have to ask yourself if you'll get your money's worth for an addition that you'll only use for a few months out of the year. Estimate how many times per week, month, and year you will use your pool, and compare that with the costs of installation and ownership over the life of the pool. Does it seem reasonable? Do you have access to a public pool or other alternatives?
A pool can be a fantastic hub for your family, offering a way for you to play, talk, and spend quality time together right in your own backyard. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise, and having quick access to a private pool can be a wonderful support for your physical and mental health. Families can experience hundreds of hours of quality time together, creating family memories while building swimming skills and physical strength.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. Do your research, consider your particular needs, and make the choice that best suits your situation.