Should you buy a house with a pool? If you’re a swimming fanatic and your family is too, then absolutely. But if you’re unsure about your answer there are many things (both pro and con) that you need to know. Buying a house with a pool is a very big deal. To be clear I’m talking in-ground, not above ground; that type is a whole other issue.
The pros of pool ownership are numerous:
- Children’s socialization
- Maintaining swimming skill
- Social status
You’ll enjoy all of these benefits if you buy a house with a pool. There’s nothing nicer than a swim on a 30+ summer day. Kicking back poolside with a beverage, bbq and friends sounds pretty good too. And you’ll make your teens extra cool if you let them have the neighbourhood kids over. Yes these are some big pluses, but you really need to be a water fanatic to truly maximize your pool investment. And if your kids are moving out in the next 5-10 years how much will your pool be used?
The cons of pool ownership are equally numerous:
- Ongoing maintenance
- Electricity costs
- Water costs
- Natural gas costs
- Continual vacuuming and cleaning
- Opening and closing costs/time
- Risk of drowning
- Liability requiring additional insurance
Ownership isn’t cheap. Plan on $1500-3000 a year in maintenance costs. You’ll want a rainy day fund as well for things like new liners, tile repair or replacement, or concrete work depending on what type of pool you have. You’ll need to get water samples off to your supplier for testing and there’s a bit of a learning curve for the various chemicals you’ll need. If you buy a house with a pool you are incurring some legal risk. Here in Waterloo Region you’ll need a fence at least 5 feet high around your pool. If you have small kids you’ll need to be extra cautious even if the little ones are very good swimmers. And if you like your pool warmish like I do you’ll be spending a bit for either gas or electric to heat it at the beginning and end of the season.
Pool ownership and the Real Estate market
A property with a pool is often a liability. A pool won’t cost a seller money necessarily but will impact marketability and the number of potential buyers. Simply put, the vast majority of the buying public doesn’t want the headache of pool ownership. And you’ll usually see conditional clauses for a separate pool inspection due to the additional risk a buyer is taking on. This can be especially problematic if the sale is made when the pool is closed. You could be hit with hold-backs as well to ensure compensation if there are issues when the pool is finally opened.
If you buy a house with a pool you can always have it removed. That is an option and is also something a homeowner would do at the end of a pool’s lifespan. You can’t just fill it in either. You’ll have massive drainage issues and frost heaving as well if you tried. The pool needs to be pulled out and the hole back-filled, compacted and landscaped. There are a variety of pool types such as concrete, fibreglass and vinyl. Concrete, because of its mass and durability will be the more expensive type to remove. An internet search show US dollar costs of between $3000-15000 to remove. With our cheaper Canadian dollar you can expect upwards of $20,000 Canadian to remove a pool like the one in the photo. Here’s a GTA firm, Canadian Pool Removal and Landscaping who does this exact work.