Adding a swimming pool to your property can add cash value and an enhanced lifestyle, but it'll also cost you to keep it sparkling and, perhaps, some extra effort when it's time to sell.

The pros and cons are many.

Home buyers love swimming pools and they hate them. Ditto for sellers.

A pool can be a family oasis during swim season or a mosquito breeding swamp during the off season.

Pools put small children at risk, but provide full body workouts for hard core athletes.

With construction down, chances are, you can drive a hard bargain to have a new pool installed these days. However, it's going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars and, because of buyers' love-'em-hate-'em relationship with pools, don't expect to get a full return on your investment when you sell, especially in harsh winter areas.

If you are going to add a swimming pool to your property take as much time considering and planning for the improvement as it will take the contractor to put you in the swim.

Value factors

When it comes to value, get the opinion of a home appraiser in terms of how it will impact the value of your home. Even then it can be a toss up.

In a community with many existing pools, a poll could boost your home's value nearer the value of like homes with pools. In a community without pools, your return could be smaller because you'll attract a smaller pool of buyers.

The neighborhood also comes into play on the value scale. Even if you have the only pool on the block, if your neighborhood has excellent schools, is low on crime and is in a sought-after location, the pool could be a plus for the right buyer and your bottom line.

Also talk to a real estate agent familiar with your neighborhood to determine how homes with pools sell. Talk to sellers in neighborhoods with both high and low pools-to-homes ratios to see how they affect value and salability.

Of course, if you've got a family of swimmers and plan to stay in your home many years, selling and a return on your investment is far less important.

LandscapingNetwork also says anyone considering a pool addition should include design factors in the decision-making process.

Design factors

A pool will erase a large chunk of your property. It's design must be a good fit for your family and your property. Once your plan reaches the blueprint and permit stage, changes can rack up additional costs.

• Drag out the hoses. Use a connection of garden hoses to outline your pool's location to get a feel for the space you'll loose to a pool. The hoses allow you to easily and quickly visualize a variety of pool shapes and sizes. Likewise, heavy rope, brightly colored power cords and other materials can serve the same purpose. Leave each design in place for a few days to really get a feel for pool space.

• Engage the neighbors. While discussing pool values with your neighbors, especially those who put in a pool after moving in, ask them to share their pool experience. Ask about their likes and dislikes; what changes they'd make; how long and disruptive it was to install the pool; and ask about unexpected costs. You'll also want nearby neighbors to know major construction may be afoot.

• Start a scrapbook. Start a collection of pool images collected from magazines, showrooms, online searches, your own photos and other sources. Collect pool images that are alluring to you and stockpile images that contain pool features you like. The images will help you visualize the form and function you want built into your pool. After a while, you'll see a common thread in the type of pool you desire.

• Make a wish list. Go overboard. Right now, don't consider cost. From your images make a list of all the features, designs and other elements that would create your dream pool. Then budget what you can really afford, what will actually fit in the allotted space and otherwise whittle down the list you can show the contractor, along with the images you've gathered.

Both the value and design pre-work will help quickly get your pool improvement project off the drawing boards and onto your property.

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Gina's Avatar
Gina replied the topic: #11283
We had a prior home with a swimming pool and it was so nice during the hot summer. Our new house doesn't have a pool and I miss it a lot. But it was very expensive to have the pool installed in our old home. Can't afford that now with the bad economy or else I might do it with our new home.