There are many changes you can make to your home to increase its value. You may consider new landscaping or even sprucing up the inside of your home with some fancy, high-end upgrades. And then there's the much-coveted swimming pool. This can be a great investment if it's the right size and if you live in the right place, not to mention if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to keep it in good shape.

But before you consider a pool, it’s important to weigh the costs of installation and maintenance of a pool against the actual utility/value of the pool. Read on to find out about some of the factors you should consider, along with the figures on installing and maintaining this expensive addition to your home.

Key Takeaways

  • A pool is a great addition to any home but makes more sense if you live in a warmer climate and a posh neighborhood.
  • The average cost of installing a pool is about $28,000, while maintenance can run as high as $4,000.
  • Having a pool will only boost the value of your home by a maximum of 7% in certain circumstances.

Considering a Pool?

Most of would dream of putting in a swimming pool. After all, it represents a lavish lifestyle. Who doesn't dream of sitting on a lounge chair by the pool with a cocktail in hand? But if you're thinking about getting one installed—and you're serious about it—it's a good idea to figure out if it really makes financial sense.

A pool is a great addition to any home. But it makes much more sense if you live in a warmer climate or in an area that has fairly short and temperate winters. Why bother putting something in if you're only going to be able to use it a few times each year? Similarly, it's much more appropriate if you live in a high-end neighborhood. There's a much better chance that other homes in your area will have a pool, allowing potential buyers with an apples-to-apples comparison if you decide to sell—more on this a little later.

Now let's look at the costs associated with pool ownership. According to HomeAdvisor, the cost of building a swimming pool ranges anywhere between $14,112 and $41,424, with the average cost sitting at $27,588. These figures account for both in- and above-ground pools.

Then there's the cost of maintaining and running the pool. Depending on the size and type of pool, you can expect to pay as much as $8,000 for heating and filtration. Then there are the extras such as:

  • pool covers: $600 to $2,000
  • diving board: $300 to $5,000
  • enclosures: $4,800 to $14,300

HomeAdvisor estimates that the cost of running an in-ground pool can range anywhere between $500 to $4,000 every year.

If this hasn't deterred you, but you still want to save on the cost, consider going from a large pool to a smaller one—perhaps a cocktail, lap, or plunge pool. The material also affects the cost. While concrete will last longer, it costs more than a pool lined with vinyl or tile. Fiberglass shells can cut your cost by about 50%, and going from in-ground to above-ground reduces the price tag even more.

You can cut down the cost of installation if you choose to go with a smaller pool.

Resale Value

Not only does a pool increase your social worth, but it can also increase the value of your home. But probably not as much as you think. According to HouseLogic, there's no real guarantee that you'll make your money back. In fact, adding a swimming pool may only increase your home's value by 7%. This, of course, depends on a number of different factors including your location. Living in a posh area and a warm climate will definitely help get your home and your pool noticed by potential buyers. But it's also important if you still have some backyard left for other activities. A pool that takes up the entire backyard can be a turnoff for most shoppers.

There are also other factors that can determine whether you'll get a return on your watery investment including the condition of the pool, the type of pool you have, and its age. Most people will probably pass on your home if you have an old pool that is in poor condition that doesn't fit the style of your home or neighborhood.

And remember, you may love your swimming pool, but it's not for everyone. A lot of couples may consider it a safety hazard for their young children. So you may be limiting potential buyers to older couples or families with teenage kids.

Pros and Cons of a Swimming Pool

If you really want a swimming pool, you have to weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of putting one in your home.

Pros

Let's first take a look at some of the benefits of having a pool. If you fork out the money to put one in, you'll probably be one of the most popular people in your neighborhood or social circle—especially if you're the only person who has one. The pool gives you a great space to entertain your family, friends, and other visitors.

You'll also give you and your family a place to swim in the summer—if it's an outdoor pool—or all year-long in the case of an indoor one. Aside from the cost of maintenance, you won't have to spend a dime on a YMCA membership or burn gas to get to a community swimming pool. And not only is it convenient, but it's also private, so no sharing with strangers.

Having a pool at home also provides you a way to stay cool on those hot summer days. This can help you save money during a heatwave, cutting back on the costs of air conditioning.

Cons

Other than the initial installation cost and ongoing maintenance costs, some of the disadvantages of having a swimming pool might be:

  • Adults may not derive as much enjoyment from it as kids do
  • Depending on where you live, outdoor pools can only be used during the warmer months
  • You may experience a high degree of accidents and/or injuries
  • If you sell your home, it may sit on the market longer than homes without a pool

The biggest issue to weigh is the extent to which the pool will be used. You’re spending a lot of money on it, so you have to ask yourself if you'll get your money's worth for an investment that you'll only use for a few months out of the year. Sure, you'll have an at-home alternative to beach trips and community pools, but how often do you go on those trips? Will you be out in the pool every day? Once a week? Every other week? Take some time to carefully consider your options before you make a decision.

The Bottom Line

Think carefully before you get a contractor to break ground on a swimming pool. Do the costs outweigh the return? A pool has the best shot of adding value to your home if you live in a hot, tropical area where neighboring homes also have pools. But you may end up with a negative return on investment (ROI) from installing a pool if you live in areas where there aren’t any pools in the neighborhood. If this is the case, don’t waste tens of thousands of dollars on a worthless investment.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are those of Home Advisor and are subject to change at any time due to changes in market or economic conditions. The comments should not be construed as a recommendation of any individual holdings or market sectors. This material does not constitute any specific legal, tax or accounting advice. Please consult with qualified professionals for this type of advice.

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