Splish splash! Do pools add value to homes?

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Remember all the trips to the pool this summer? The gear you had to load up and the time it took to get everyone out the door and then back? It might have you thinking about adding a pool to your property. But, will it add value to your property?

Pools are a staple of the south and seasonal fun around the country. They’re a lot of fun, but can be costly. What kind of pool should you choose? It really depends on budget, how much you’ll use it and how long you want to maintain it. Here are your options:

In-Ground

Redefy Real Estate pool in-ground. Photo: Roger W, Flickr
Pools in buggy climates like Florida are often screened or glassed in.

In-ground pools are the most popular. They’re also the most expensive. It’s definitely a case of “you get what you pay for” with an in-ground pool. A well-maintained and styled pool can add value to a home but are many factors that go into that determination. Pkdata – a pool and spa research firm – says the average cost of a basic 32X16-foot pool is $21,919 (don’t get excited – that’s just the pool, not pumps, site preparation, etc.). There are 3 types of in-ground pools:

Concrete (Gunite or Shotcrete)
Redefy Real Estate so you think you want a pool
Photo: Your Pool.

Installation takes the longest, but concrete is fully customizable and extremely durable. Because they’re formed onsite, the reputation of the builder matters.

Concrete pools can also be rebuilt and updated. Expansion can cause cracks, which will require repairs.

Vinyl

Vinyl-lined pools are highly customizable to the shape you want for a lot less than a concrete pool. The downside is that you’ll have to replace the liner every 10 years or so. They’re quick to install but can be punctured with sharp objects. Repairs are possible, but it’s best to get a thicker liner (at least 20mm).

Redefy Real Estate. For the Important Things (not real estate commissions)
Fiberglass
Redefy Real Estate so you think you want a pool. Fiberglass.
Photo: J L Blaiser Construction and Pools

These factory-molded pools can be installed quickly but have limited shapes and sizes. They have a nice smooth finish that is durable and nonporous for easy cleaning. They’re heavy, though, so it will take a crane to install it.

Above Ground

Redefy Real Estate pool above ground
An above-ground pool set into a hill can look more like an in-ground pool.

Above ground pools are budget-friendly, nonpermanent options. Unlike an in-ground pool, they don’t add any value to your home.

Above-ground pools have a limited depth that is not suitable for diving. But many higher-end options have nice deck options. Pkdata says the average cost to build a 19-foot-diameter above-ground pool is $6,243.

If your yard is tiered, you can create the look of an in-ground pool. Most above-ground pools (except those that come as a kit from discount stores) have a fencing option to keep kids out.

Do pools add value to your home?

The answer is yes… and no. It really depends on where you live, the type of pool for the neighborhood, property size and the condition of the pool.

  • Warm climate. Pools add value if you live in a warm climate where pool usage is almost a survival tool to stay cool (did that just rhyme?). You’re probably not going to get much value out of an outdoor pool in Wyoming.
  • Neighborhood appropriate. Pools add value if your pool fits the neighborhood. An above-ground pool will be viewed as an eyesore in an upscale neighborhood. Conversely, a high-end in-ground pool will not see much return in a neighborhood with lower home values.
  • Size appropriate. Pools add value if your yard is big enough to have room left over for entertaining, gardening or playing. Squashing in a big pool and leaving no room for anything else in your backyard will likely be a turnoff.
  • Maintenance. Pools add value if they’re well cared for. You’ll be hard-pressed to sell a property with a pool that’s an eyesore or that’s going to need a lot of maintenance. Older pools are also less likely to be an added value, as the style may need updating.
  • Safety. Pools add value if they’re set up for safety. Fencing and gates to the pool area will open up the feature to all buyers, not just those with older children or no children.

A great pool can add some value and a terrible, outdated one will certainly hurt your home value. Likely, you’ll put in more money than you’ll get back. Investopedia says look for about 15 to 25 percent returns. So why put in a pool?

A great pool can add some value and a terrible, outdated one will certainly hurt your home value.

Pools are really more about lifestyle than added equity. Will you use it? Are you willing and able to keep up with maintenance? Is it appropriate for where you live? If you’re still thinking yes, then get yourself a good landscape designer and ask an agent what’s appropriate for where you live.


Looking for a house with a great pool? Redefy is a full service brokerage with well-qualified agents who know your area. Need to sell first? Save money for that pool with our flat fee, full service model for sellers!

By Susha Roberts, Redefy Real Estate

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