So, you’re shopping around for a home and have decided that a pool is a must-have. Do you buy a place that has a pool already? Or look for a property with the perfect yard to build your ideal pool? Realtors Mark Harris and Daryl King weigh in.
Pros of buying a house with a pool
When it comes to the advantages of buying a house with a pool—besides the obvious enjoyment that comes from refreshing dips whenever you want—skipping the muss and fuss of renos is definitely a big one.
“Not having to live through a renovation” certainly tops the list of pros versus cons for Mark Harris, sales representative with Keller Williams Real Estate Associates. “Renovations are always difficult,” he says.
Harris adds that buying a house with a pool also simplifies things financially. “It’s always good if the cost is rolled into the mortgage. It’s a lot harder to come up with 30, 40, 50 grand after the fact.”
For many families, the expense of installing a new pool soon after a home purchase can be difficult financially. In addition to the pool itself, there are other costs such as landscaping and fencing– be sure to check your local bylaws for pool enclosure requirements. Yearly maintenance costs also need to be factored into your budget, as well as a contingency fund for any unexpected damage to the existing space or unplanned add-ons. The costs can really add up.
“As far as stress and time goes, buying one that’s already in existence is a lot easier as long as the correct homework is done. Take the right steps and protect yourself,” Harris says.
Cons of buying a house with a pool
Despite the advantages of buying a house that already has a pool, it does limit your options as far as house shopping goes, as King points out.
“If you’re looking for a pool, you’re going to have a limited number of houses that you are going to see,” he says.
Options for customizing an existing pool, such as adding stairs when only pool ladders are provided, are also very limited, he points out. “The size has already been determined, as has whether it’s vinyl or concrete. Adding additional features after the fact can be costly,” Harris says.
The condition of the pool is important to look into, as repairs can be costly. “Changing any equipment that needs to be changed—such as replacing a jet or fixing a line—is difficult once the pool is already set; it can require breaking the concrete around the pool,” Harris adds.
Pros and cons of buying a pool-size lot and building your own
Buying a home with the perfect yard for a pool is an option, although it’s one that needs to be considered carefully.
“You want to make sure you have the setbacks, and that they can get a pool in there. If you’re backing onto a conservation area, what is your setback from your pool to the conservation area? You have to know the bylaws for each area you’re buying into, especially if you’re going to build a pool,” says King.
While this is your chance to build the pool and backyard of your dreams, it’s a good idea to keep mind the eventual resale value and check your expectations.
“Sometimes you won’t get that value back in the value of your home,” Harris advises. “Pools are perceived as more valuable to a certain buyer: If you want a pool, you will pay more for a house with a pool. If you don’t want a pool, you’re not going to pay more. You can have a beautiful house and want an extra $50,000 for the pool, but the perfect buyer may not be willing to pay that premium.”
Which is the best option? The answer will be different for everyone, but whichever option you go with, there’s no doubt that having a pool will enhance your summer in the city.
“The beauty of a pool is that you don’t need a cottage,” says King. “Instead of getting into traffic for 2.5 hours, 2.5 hours back, and then going up there and doing all the work, you’ve got a 24/7 pool at home.”
Buying a house with a pool? Here’s what to look for:
It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of buying a home. When looking at a place with a pool, make sure you take the extra time to make sure it’s worth what you’re paying, and that it’s not going to need costly repairs down the road. Here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself:
- If it’s offseason and the pool is closed, ask for pictures of the pool to assess the condition.
- Ask for maintenance and service records and see if any repairs have been done to the pool or will be needed in the near future.
- Find out if the homeowners pay a company to open and close and service the pool, and contact them for a report on the pool.
- Ask when the last time things such as the liner and the pump were replaced.
- Look at the technology installed, such as whether the heater is gas or electric, and check the age of all equipment.
- Speak to the home inspector and make sure the pool is included in the inspection.
- Check if the pool is a chlorine or saltwater pool, and make sure your home inspector is knowledgeable on the type of pool.
- Underground leaks can be an issue as they are hard to detect from a home inspection – ask the pool maintenance company about any past issues, and get the owner to put it in writing that there are no underground leaks.
- If you buy the home when the pool is closed, include a clause in the purchase that the seller is liable for costs if there are issues once the pool is opened.