When searching for a new home, you probably have a list of must-haves like a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms, an open concept layout, a location close to work/school, etc. If a backyard swimming pool is on your home wish list, there are several things to consider. While having a pool in the backyard sounds like a fun and relaxing summer activity (or year-round activity depending on where you live) it comes with responsibilities and expenses. Before you take the plunge and purchase a home with a pool, make sure you weigh the pros and cons of pool ownership.
Added Responsibilities and Costs of Pool Ownership
The obvious pro of having a swimming pool in your backyard is the fun you’ll have and memories you’ll make with your family. Just imagine jumping into the cool water on a hot summer day or hosting a pool party for your friends whenever you want. Think of the added fun having a pool will bring to your next barbecue or Fourth of July party.
And, while this all sounds great, owning a pool does come with additional responsibilities and costs. Examine the pros and cons of pool ownership before committing to your purchase to make sure you’re ready for the responsibilities that come with a pool.
Keeping a pool in tip-top condition takes time, attention to detail and money. General pool maintenance takes a time commitment and includes maintaining the chemical balance of the water and cleaning it regularly.
- Cleaning — General cleaning includes tasks like removing debris like leaves, grass and bugs from the water with a pool skimmer, brushing the walls of the pool, vacuuming surfaces and checking the filter to ensure it’s working properly.
- Testing the water — On a regular basis, the water chemistry balance needs to be checked using a test kit. pH and chlorine need to be tested often to ensure the chemical levels are within a safe range. Based on the results you may need to make adjustments. Remember, when using pool chemicals be sure to follow safety procedures for handling, applying and storing.
- Addressing water problems — Issues like cloudy water or algae growth can happen. If you see these issues, you’ll likely need to check the filtration system and properly treat the water.
- Opening and closing — If you don’t live in a climate where the weather is warm year around, there are certain seasons your backyard pool will be in use. The time frame varies based on where you live, but you’ll need to perform tasks to open and close your pool for the season.
Costs of Pool Ownership
Costs for maintaining your pool will vary and depend on the type and size of pool you have. On average, HomeGuide estimates it will cost about $3,000 to $5,000 a year to own a pool. This includes maintenance, repairs, electricity and water. If you prefer hiring a pool service instead of maintaining it yourself, the cost of upkeep could increase. If you opt to care for the pool yourself, you’ll need to purchase chemical testing kits, cleaning accessories and replacement parts.
Additionally, some of the highest expenses of having a backyard pool are the utilities. The electricity needed to operate the pump and filter, as well as the water required to keep the pool filled, can add up quickly each month. You may pay between $50 and $300 a month for electricity for your pool.
Repairs and Replacements
Unfortunately, making (sometimes costly) repairs is part of owning a pool. Over the course of owning a backyard (in-ground or above-ground) swimming pool you may need to repair cracks in the walls, leaks, tears in the lining and malfunctioning filtration/pump systems. When repairs can’t be made, you may need to replace entire systems altogether, making you question if a pool is worth it. These costs can quickly add up, especially if you need to hire a professional company to make the repairs.
Before you buy a home with a pool, do your research and due diligence. The first thing you’ll want to do is consult with your insurance agent. Your agent can explain how your homeowners coverage works for covering swimming pools and whether or not it will increase your insurance costs. Different insurance companies may cover pools differently. You’ll also want to ensure you have enough liability coverage in place either with your homeowners policy or additional coverage (such as an umbrella policy). Umbrella insurance is an extra layer of protection in case someone gets hurt on your property. It starts where your homeowners policy’s liability limits stop.
Outside of maintaining and repairing your pool, you’ll also be responsible for taking safety precautions. Swimming pools are often labeled as an “attractive nuisance” and can present hazards for kids and pets. As the homeowner, you’re responsible for taking extra precautions to protect unsuspecting children from potential danger caused by your pool. Safety precautions include installing and maintaining a fence around the perimeter of the pool, a safety cover and providing accessible safety equipment.
When shopping for a new house, certain aspects may increase a property’s value. Depending on location, a swimming pool (specifically an in-ground pool) can be a popular amenity and increase the appraised value of the home, thus increasing property taxes. You may find a comparable home without a pool that features a much lower price tag.
Decking It Out
In the summer, you’ll want to spend a lot of time outdoors in and around the pool. Making your backyard the oasis you’ve dreamed about can cost some serious money. From new outdoor furniture to grilling must-haves and lighting, you can quickly break your budget.
Ready to Dive Into Pool Ownership?
Before you make your offer, do your homework to fully understand the pros and cons of pool ownership. Having a pool in the backyard can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to know what you’re taking on to avoid unpleasant surprises later. This includes having a certified pool company perform a detailed inspection.
Your local Farm Bureau agent can discuss your insurance needs with you to help ensure you have the necessary protections in place, so you can kick back, relax and enjoy your pool.