By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine
On a hot summer day, who isn’t envious of the house with the inviting, backyard pool to jump in and cool off? But today’s cost conscious homebuyer may be leery of taking the plunge with buying a home with a pool, viewing the upkeep as putting them in the deep-end of mounds of extra expense.
In-ground pools can be attractive features when selling a home; Realtor.com allows buyers to narrow their home search to properties with only a pool. However, some buyers are looking more closely at the added expense, just as some home owners are even opting to remove that once-considered jewel of the backyard.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article (Taking a Bath on Your Pool by Brett Arends), experts estimated that pools can add $3,000-$5,000 in maintenance a year. And if something goes wrong, say the filters or pump need replaced, costs can quickly add up.
For example, a pool that is five years old often needs a new filter or pump, which could cost an estimated $500, according to an MSNBC article (“Is It a Pool or Money Pit?” by Melinda Fulmer). A pool that needs to be resurfaced may cost $5,000-$10,000, depending on its size. And thinking about upgrading the tile, decking, or plaster? That could cost you up to $20,000, according to the article.
And don’t forget initial installation fees too. Pool installation fees, which vary considerably, often range from about $25,000 to $50,000.
Don’t want the pool any more? Getting rid of it isn’t cheap either. A partial removal can run you anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000, depending on the size. A full removal, which varies greatly, averages $10,000 to $15,000 for a small pool, according to CostHelper.com.
Taking into account all of the expenses, many financial advisers are telling buyers to take caution before jumping into pool ownership.
However, expenses aside, a well-maintained pool, especially in an area where you can use it more than three months out of the year, can still be an attractive feature to buyers.
The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, a trade association representing the industry, recently posted a response to The Wall Street Journal’s article questioning the expense of a pool: “There are many, many things – including pools – which people choose to buy because it makes their lives better,” the association writes on its Web site. “A pool or a hot tub may or may not be a financial investment, but they are most assuredly a quality-of-life investment.”