Your pool is a great benefit to your health and adds tons of enjoyment to your life, but as you well know—especially if you built your pool from scratch—a pool also represents a major investment.

Does My Pool Add Value to My Home?

Your pool is a great benefit to your health and adds tons of enjoyment to your life, but as you well know—especially if you built your pool from scratch—a pool also represents a major investment.

As real estate markets across the country are beginning to boom again and as homeowners consider things like retirement and the long-term values of their homes, the question of whether or not having a pool raises the value of a residential property is being asked ever more frequently.

As with many things in the real estate world, the answer isn't entirely simple. There are several factors that come to play when determining if and how having a pool will affect your home's value.

Pools and Homebuyers Have a Love a Hate Relationship

Location, location, location. It's the old Realtor standby and it stands true with pools, too. In some parts of the country, having a pool is an absolute necessity if you want your home to sell in a reasonable amount of time.

"In Florida buyers expect a pool in some neighborhoods but it adds very little value," says Brevard County, FL real estate agent Cynthia White. "It does increase the appeal to buyers when selling."

In other words, while you might not see a dollar for dollar return for your pool investment, good luck trying to sell your home without one. The benefits of being able to sell your home quickly often have a financial element, and a faster sale is also less stressful for all involved. 

On the other hand, markets where pools aren't usable for much of the year or in neighborhoods with lots of family buyers might see the opposite reaction to the addition of a pool.

"In the Bay Area, an in-ground pool typically does not add a great deal in terms of the overall value of your home," says real estate agent April Tavares. "In many instances, home buyers consider a pool a negative because of the additional work and expense it creates. It is also sometimes viewed as a cause for concern by home buyers especially if the home is in an area that is sought after by families with young children."

No matter where you live, some homebuyers will see the maintenance and/or safety concerns of a pool as a drawback, and these sentiments are stronger in some regions more than in others. Paying attention to pool trends in your area and checking with local realtors with other region-specific real estate resources can help you determine how adding a pool will affect the future sale of your home.

Pool Value is Measured in Luxury and Convenience

Keeping in mind that regional and neighborhood trends rule the roost here, the second major determiner of whether your pool will have a positive, negative, or neutral effect on the value of your home is the quality of the pool itself: the features it has, the integrity of its construction, the ease and expense of its maintenance, and its current condition. A dirty or poorly tended pool is not only a backyard eyesore, but it also a sign that your house as a whole hasn't been properly cared for. If you would like to add a pool but are concerned about selling your home in the future, taking steps to ensure your pool's health is essential. (Of course we at Sutro can help with that!)

"When looking at the value that an inground pool can add to your home, you must look at a number of variables: from the pool being screened or enclosed, being heated, having water features, as well as general condition of the pool," says Joseph Dionne, another real estate agent from the pool-happy state of Florida.

Heated pools require a bigger investment but are more likely to pay off when you sell your home because they can be used year round in many climates. Similarly, salt water pools can sometimes can have lower maintenance costs, though the pool chemistry is no less complex and the initial cost to build can be substantially higher.

Additional features such as waterfalls, wading areas, hot tubs/spas, and safety features like pool alarms and fences can help turn a pool from simply something you enjoy to something that adds real value to your home and your property. Keep in mind the average home price in your neighborhood and the purchasing abilities of people shopping for homes where you live—pool features will only pay off where people are able to afford them.

The starting value of your home and comparable homes in your neighborhood can also tell you a lot about how much (if any) value a pool will add to your home. Pricier homes in pricier neighborhoods will tend to see a bigger jump in their real estate value when they add a pool, both in terms of absolute dollars and in the proportion by which the property's value is increased. This is a reflection of added luxury and reduced marginal cost of ownership for pools in these neighborhoods (it costs just as much to maintain a pool on a $200,00 property as it does on a $2 million property, but the wealthier homeowner can absorb that cost more easily). 

Determining the Real Value of Your Backyard Pool

When all is said in done, no one can tell you with certainty whether your pool will pay off financially. Your pool has hopefully already paid off in other ways, though. The opportunities your pool provides for exercise, recreation, socializing, and simply getting a nice pool-side tan can't be assigned a dollar value and are the real reasons for having a pool.

If your pool has brought you years of enjoyment, relaxation, improved fitness and better health, then that pool has unquestionably made a valuable addition to your home.

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