The Pros and Cons of Buying a Home With a Pool
Most of us like the idea of having a pool in our backyard. You can cool off in summer, host barbecues for your friends and families, and possibly even get in some low-impact exercise. But pools aren’t always as useful or attractive as they seem; they can be costly and time-consuming to maintain, and you may not use your pool as often as you imagine.
Advantages of Pools
There are some major benefits to owning a pool, including:
- Summer cooling. Most people think of the fun they could have in a pool during the hottest days of summer; you get a chance to cool off and enjoy a cold beverage with your loved ones, instead of roasting and sweating outside. It’s still possible to suffer from heatstroke and other conditions even if you’re in a pool, but it’s much less likely.
- Exercise. Some people like the idea of a pool so they can exercise. Swimming, water aerobics, and other aquatic activities have the power to build muscles and burn a lot of calories – all without adding much stress to your joints. This is ideal for people with existing joint problems or aging populations who need extra physical support.
- Relaxation. Floating on the water has a soothing appeal to it. You can listen to music, read a book, or just zone out while enjoying the rhythm of the water’s tiny waves. If you’re chronically stressed, it could be exactly what you need to relax.
- Social benefits. Lots of people like spending time in and around a pool. If you’re the only family in the neighborhood with a pool, you can make a lot of friends quickly. It’s also a great way to entertain family, friends, and neighbors – and it gives you a good excuse to host regular parties.
- Home value possibilities. In most cases, pools add value to a home. If you’re buying a house that already has a pool, that’s not going to help you, but you might benefit from bigger rates of home appreciation.
- Overall quality of life. Many people who own a home with a pool report a higher overall quality of life. They get to exercise, socialize, stay cool, and show off a bit at the same time; it’s hard to feel bad with all those benefits.
Disadvantages of Pools
Pools aren’t all fun, however. You’ll need to keep these downsides in mind:
- Safety risks. Every year, there are nearly 4,000 fatal, unintentional drownings in the United States, and an additional 8,000 nonfatal drownings. If you’re going to have a pool in your backyard, you need to be responsible for it. That means preventing unapproved or unfamiliar people from entering and taking extra precautions if you have small children around.
- Maintenance and cleaning. New pool owners are often surprised to learn just how much cleaning and maintenance is required to keep a pool operational. You’ll have a built-in filter to keep the water somewhat clean, but you’ll still be responsible for skimming, scrubbing, and taking care of your pool in other ways.
- Utility bills. It costs a lot of money to keep a pool operational. You’ll pay for the water to fill the pool and the electricity required to operate the pumps and filters. If you have a heating element, you’ll pay even more.
- Higher insurance. Utilities aren’t the only increased cost you’ll face, either. Your insurance rates will likely increase as well, since pools are associated with greater financial and health and safety risks.
- Demand for space. It’s nice to have a pool in your backyard, but it occupies a lot of space – which means you can’t use that space for anything else. Depending on the size of your yard, you may not have enough room for certain yard activities.
- Fence and zoning requirements. Depending on where you live, you may be required to have a fence around your pool, or you may face other zoning requirements. These can be annoying to coordinate and expensive to construct from scratch.
- Home value uncertainty. Though many houses see higher value and appreciate faster with a pool installed, this isn’t a guarantee. Depending on the location and the dynamics of the neighborhood, you may even see a decrease in home value.
So is it worth having a pool? That all depends on why you want the pool, how often you’re going to use it, and whether you’re okay with the costs and downsides. Conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis before you decide whether you want a home with or without a pool; it’s not a decision to make impulsively.