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Do Pools Increase Your Home's Value?

When people think of their dream California home, they often think of lounging in a deck chair with a cocktail in their hand, all in their backyard next to their beautiful swimming pool. It’s true that swimming pools are a popular and attractive home feature in Southern California—the blistering hot summers and high energy costs make them a practical and feasible way to beat the heat as well as a great source of entertainment and exercise for kids.

You might think that a swimming pool is a huge part of your property, and thus a big contributor to your property value when the time comes to sell your home. However, if you’re considering putting in a pool or thinking about posting your home with a pool for sale, you might be surprised at the truth. While pools are an attractive feature, they’re somewhat polarizing for buyers because of the amount of responsibility and work they require. They also add a lot of expenses to homeownership—expenses which need to be balanced along with the mortgage payments on the property. As a result, they often don’t add what you might think to your property value.

Pools Are Expensive

Pools have a number of costs associated with them, and those costs can really add up. Many people love the idea of having a pool in their yard, but few are really prepared to find out just how much of an investment in comfort they are.

For starters, there are the energy costs involved. And no, we’re not even talking the cost to heat your pool or spa, which can be massive itself. Pools need to have a filtration pump going at all times in order to keep the water clean and free from dust, dirt, and other contaminants. A dirty pool is an eyesore and can be a real pain to clean. Keeping the filtration pump going at all times can help prevent this problem, but adds a lot to your energy cost. It’s by far the biggest energy sucker. However, the good news is modern pumps are a lot more energy-friendly and could help lower this cost.

Then there’s the cost of the chemicals needed to keep your pool safe to swim in. The water needs to be balanced for the appropriate pH, alkalinity, and calcium levels, all of which require a precise chemical mixture. They also need to be sanitized so water-borne bacteria can’t grow and spread. For years this has been done with chlorine, but modern pools have started to use things like bromine, salt, or other compounds that are less harmful to your skin. There are kits you can use to take care of this chore on your own, but even small mistakes can have disastrous consequences, so it’s usually best to have a professional service your pool. That adds even more cost.

There’s the matter of insurance costs. Pools present a lot of inherent risk for injury, and that means homeowners’ insurance costs are usually significantly higher for these properties. This cost can be reduced by installing child-proof fencing that prevents young children from getting in unattended, but that can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your expenses. And even then, the cost of insurance having a pool is simply going to be higher than not having one.

Finally, there’s the idea of taxes. Pools increase the value of your home according to property tax assessments, and that means you could wind up paying more in property taxes.

Is a Pool Worth It?

All of this sounds like a lot of reason not to get a pool, but that’s not necessarily true. Pools can be immensely rewarding, especially when you’re going to own your home for a long time and enjoy using your yard for things like social gatherings, parties, or simply being the house where your kids’ friends like to hang out. There are tons of homeowners who absolutely love their swimming pool and wouldn’t trade it away for anything!

However, as someone selling your home, it’s important to consider that all of the extra costs are likely going to offset some of the extra value that a pool adds to your home. In order to sell your home, you’ll probably have to list it at a lower price, which means you’ll lose out on some of the value your pool could potentially offer. This is why you may see a number of homes around you with pools that have sold for only a small percentage more than comparable homes without pools. If you’re trying to improve your property to increase the value in hopes of selling at a higher price later, a pool definitely isn’t the way to go.

If you’re considering putting in a pool, the question you need to ask yourself is whether or not the investment is worth it for yourself. Make no mistake, a pool is a big investment—the national average for a 600 square-foot pool starts at around $30,000, and you can expect to pay more than that in California. However, a good rule of thumb to follow is don’t invest more than about 15 percent of the total value of your home into installing a pool. You don’t want to sink too much money into a property feature which more than likely isn’t going to pay you back.

Learn more about selling your home by calling Dippy Real Estate at (661) 441-3304 and speaking with a Valencia realtor about your property!