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Is a swimming pool a property value game changer?

By Rikki Cook

A swimming pool is generally considered an upscale amenity, and a personal pool certainly has personal value on a hot day as a luxury feature. As far as property value goes, however, the impact of a swimming pool is less clear.

Given pools are some of the most commonly added home features, every homeowner considering an installation must ask themselves, “is a swimming pool a property value game changer?”

Here’s some guidance to help you answer that question:

Pros of a home swimming pool

While there’s always the beach, a personal swimming pool can provide much-needed refreshment on the hottest of days. Cooling off with a quick dip or sunbathing beside the pool with a fridge full of your favourites is an easy way to relax, while you don’t have to worry about forgetting a personal essential at home.

A swimming pool can also be useful in entertaining neighbours, and the kids will also likely be thankful for having a pool to use with friends or other family. A pool is also attractive for functional reasons, like as a convenient place to exercise in quiet or late/early hours.

But is a swimming pool a property value game changer?

When it comes down to the financial impact of a swimming pool on property value, the upside isn’t as straightforward. Judging the worth of a pool is a matter of comparing the costs and the potential return you can recoup if you sell the home. In the end, the total costs of building and maintaining a pool need to be justified by the benefits and there are a lot of costs to consider, including:

  • Construction: Depending on the type of pool, it can cost anywhere between $6,000 to $100,000 to build a pool. In-ground pools with concrete will take the most time and money, while above-ground pools are on the less expensive side and usually use plastic or come in assembly kits. Building a deck or making terrain adjustments can add to construction costs.
  • Maintenance: Pools can a lot of money and effort to maintain. Either you need to buy chemicals, treat the pool and clean it yourself, or hire professional help to do so. Either way, this is an ongoing cost you’ll have to factor into every household budget.
  • Insurance and registering: Because a swimming pool presents drowning and other safety risks, your home insurance premium may reflect that addition. There may also be local laws to be aware of that require fees for registration.

The opinion of a home appraiser will be central in determining whether the potential increase in value will justify these costs. If, for instance, a new, in-ground swimming pool comes with a total price tag of $75,000 but only increases your property value by $40,000, it may be a hard decision to make.

Value depends on the buyer and market

Oftentimes, value is in the eye of the beholder in the case of the swimming pool. Some buyers will specifically look for homes with pools and increase their bids to win over sellers if they like the pool enough. Other buyers may see it more as an overall plus, but not worth an increased bid; some may even actively avoid houses if it has a pool. Families with young children can be in that segment.

The local market will also influence whether the pool can increase property values. Generally, a premium is most often to be paid in locations with the warmest climates, but how much of a premium is entirely up to the local market conditions.

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