Buyers: Will a Home With a Pool Sink You?

By Robyn Jackson, Palm Beach Florida Redfin Agent 

You’ve found the perfect house to buy in the perfect location at the perfect price, with one unexpected twist: it has a swimming pool. You don’t despise pools, but it wasn’t exactly on your top 10 list of home features, either. How do you make sure that buying a home with a pool won’t sink you?

To help you stay afloat, the following are the top concerns I commonly encounter with buyers who have never owned a pool, but are considering a home that has one.

1056 Raintree Dr

The home at 1056 Raintree Dr. in Palm Beach, FL, comes with a backyard pool. It’s listed for $229,000.

Is a Pool Worth It?

The benefits of having a swimming pool are clear: a quick swim just steps away, relaxing afternoons afloat with a book in hand, weekend pool parties, and when not in use, a swimming pool can even enhance your view. However, the flipside of pool ownership can be a tidal wave of responsibility that a buyer might decide to walk away from, including pool maintenance, safety, insurance, and home value concerns.

Pool Maintenance

Common costs to think through include daily heating and filtering, weekly cleaning, yearly inspections, occasional major repairs, and resurfacing every 10 years for in-ground pools.

  • Heating & Filtering: Pool heating costs can run anywhere from $100-$300 per month and vary depending on the climate you live in, your pool temperature preferences, and how you power the heater and filter (electric, gas, or solar). You can usually get a rough estimate on costs from your local electric or gas provider to understand typical monthly fees for the home, but in general, electric is the most expensive per month, followed by gas and then solar. In warmer climates, heating costs are less of a concern because the pool only needs to be heated one or two months out of the year.
  • Cleaning: Pool services typically charge $80-$100/week to clean, add chemicals, and replace the occasional filter or submerged light bulb, depending on how your pool is equipped. You could choose to do this maintenance yourself, but then you’ll need to factor in $5 per week for supplies plus your time. Foregoing weekly maintenance is not a good idea because skimping on cleaning will result in bugs, bacteria, and if left unattended for months, a soupy eyesore.
  • Major repairs: While you can’t predict if you’ll ever have to repair a leak or replace a broken pump or pool liner, these types of major repairs are measured in thousands of dollars when it comes to cost. A more predictable expense is resurfacing the pool, which a homeowner should expect to do every 8-10 years for $1,500-$2,000 a pop.

Safety & Insurance

Keeping kids, pets, and visitors safe from pool-related injury or drowning is another biggy for buyers. Make sure the residential pool meets the minimum code requirements for your city, which may include a fence, alarm, or additional safety measures. If the pool isn’t equipped when you buy the home, installing safety measures could be another up-front cost you’ll need to account for. The latest on standards, statistics, and simple safety advice is available at www.poolsafely.gov.

Impact to Home Value

Your homeowners insurance is likely to be higher when a pool is involved, and you should get a clear idea of what is covered by your policy. In South Florida, for example, pool enclosures are typically not covered by insurance because they are easily damaged or blown away in a hurricane.

In warmer climates where residential pools are common, they are more likely to bolster a home’s value. In South Florida, a well-maintained pool can contribute $35,000 to a home valued at $500,000 (or seven percent of the total home value). In colder climates where there are fewer warm months to enjoy a pool, it may not factor into a home’s value at all.

So You’ve Decided You’re Ready to Dive In… Now What?

When you tour a home for sale that has a pool, look for obvious warning signs: needs resurfacing, has cracks, or is visibly in disrepair. Ask if the homeowner has kept detailed maintenance records.

If your offer on a home is accepted, the pool should be inspected along with everything else. Keep in mind that a general property inspection may not catch all possible issues, especially challenging things to test for, like leaks. If you still have questions about the pool’s condition and maintenance records aren’t available, look into having a qualified pool specialist inspect it, too.

Pool RemovalOr, You Really Love the Home… Not the Pool

If you’re sold on the home but not the tidal wave of responsibility it brings, you still have options: buy the home and then fill the pool or remove it altogether. The Redfin Forums are full of discussions about how much pool removal costs (approximately $6K-$10K), regulations and permits required (varies by city), and nightmare scenarios (sinkholes due to poorly compacted dirt).

One extra caution: if you’re thinking about draining your pool for an extended period of time, do some research first. Drained pools are a safety issue when not appropriately enclosed or fenced-in and, if at sea level, can pop out of the ground altogether! You may think you’re saving money in maintenance by draining it, but can end up with a more expensive mistake to tackle.

Did you buy a home with a pool and love it? Or do you have a huge case of buyer’s regret? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Discussion

  • Karl

    IN Europe a few days ago they posted a number of video’s about private public multinational accomplishments in making glazings that are dark but don’t fail to reflect the invisible heat carrying rays like literally green not just black, but black included. Unfortunately they are also adding value to styrofoam by decreasing bubble skin thickness (nanofying it) and impregnating wax so in order for heat to get in or out it first has to melt the wax or vice versa in the language of cold, run out of melted wax to harden before it can start chilling your wall on it’s interior.

    This is literally a ‘melt in your wall’ solution to what ails the planet based upon good and bad ideas not obviously enough. The latter is horrible because we have calculators and can use them and it attempts to say toO much in favor of passive ‘climate’ control as if the high tech pumps used to make the foam are forbiden in any form residentially.

    A complete home includes not just an oversized trash facility or worse a place to deny others the use of your car, but also, and this is essential, a place to put or take heat from at least daily if not seasonally. You mention homes that sell for half a million dollars- without pools or incomplete. It’s true that maybe we don’t need to crush our own trash before putting it on the curb, but dirt has no phase change and yet mucking around in it is proposed for this purpose. A certain equation determines based upon climate how many thousand gallons of water, or something better, must be housed, for us to be not so third world in literally when not dumping heat into the air like industry used to in lakes and rivers and still in oceans however rightly so, but then later the same day or simultaneously making more- and it should be illegal to build, sell, move into, any home without such a thermal ACTIVE bladder even if only water not frozen or vapor kept ever.

    THe fact that pools are not used for what they do best is of interest both least and most to investors. But for anyone who cares about not just life on earth but ever being able to escape it etc. as well there is nothing more important to do with our ‘empire’ enjoyed mainly by being able to borrow many years of wages to pay for whatever we decide should be owned hypothetically if not more then us some day but used well right away.

    A house without a pool is a vagrant tent. It is blight defined for any four season climate or hot summer suffering hood. Even ‘this old house’ runs quite frequently now on PBS the episode not just but also the excerpt about how one should not cast the heat outside harvested from latent stickyness in just spring air if one has a pool that is not nearly too warm or no shelter for itself. Modernity means we don’t try to make old fashion walls smart, we actually start pumping and storing the sun instead of enabling it to destroy us from reckless spit of it not answering our whim.

    Don’t burn or try to get heat from the air as you need it- that is stupid for sure. Cover the pool if necessary but use it’s mass to into caring for earth to someday heaven yourself pass.

  • anon

    Too bad no comments. I like your article. It has good points! I appreciate the tips in case I have to make this decision. I do love in
    ground pools as a rule, but I love nice woodsy back yards too.