Ah, the great debate: buy a house with a pool or add one later? If you happen to be a seasoned homebuyer, you may have experienced this dilemma, either with a pool or some other home feature you really wanted. It happened to me with my first home in Florida. The house I bought was perfect in every way, and it did have the perfect spot for a pool “someday.” Well, you guessed it. Someday turned into never.
If a pool is an important feature to you, it’s important to sit down and really understand the financial implications of buying a house with a pool, adding one later or building a house with a pool from the ground up.
Buying a House With a Pool
If you find a resale house — that is, an existing house that has previously been lived in — with a pool in good shape, you’re most likely going to get a better deal than if you install a pool later.
Like any other part of a home — the roof, the HVAC and septic systems, the appliances — a pool has an average useful lifespan. As a pool and its systems age, they are going to require more maintenance and ultimately replacement. A pool depreciates, and a house with an older pool is simply going to be more affordable than a new one.
So while it could be great news for you on the purchase price of the home, you have to consider the long-term implications of owning an older pool. If you decide to put an offer in and go under contract on a home with a pool, it’s important to have a pool inspection that’s separate from the home inspection to determine the pool’s condition.
A professional pool inspector will look at the following:
- Pool surface
- Pump and electrical systems
You also need to consider any cosmetic updates the pool needs. If the tile is dated or the deck is cracking, you’ll want to get estimates from a pool company for upgrades and repairs and factor that into the cost of ownership. Only then can you decide if buying an existing house with a pool is truly a good deal.
Adding a Pool Later
The dilemma a lot of home buyers find themselves with is that they find the perfect house that has everything they want, except a pool. They promise themselves they’ll add a pool sometime in the future. But often, sticker shock hits when they finally start pricing out the pool of their dreams. The truth of the matter is that installing an in-ground pool is a major and expensive addition to your home.
In-ground pools vary widely in price. Pool companies have gone to great lengths to make pool ownership more affordable. Fiberglass pool “shells” are available, and manufacturers claim DIY installation is possible, although I wouldn’t try this at home unless you are very handy, as these shells still cost upwards of $10,000 before any excavation and installation). Concrete and gunite (dry concrete ingredients sprayed with water through a hose over a rebar framework) pools are what most people are familiar with when they think of in-ground pools. On the low side, these pools cost around $50,000.
Of course, spas; landscaping; custom tile work; heaters; upgraded decking materials; a pool cage, cover or fence; and fun extras like slides and diving rocks further drive up the price.
The solution? If you’re looking at buying a house without a pool and adding one later, get quotes before you even put in an offer. Sit down with a couple of pool companies and talk about your vision. They can align your expectations with reality so that you have a firm idea of what the cost to add a pool could look like “someday.”
Build a New Construction Home with a Pool
This is truly the best solution. A new construction house is already superior to a resale because, well, it’s new. Nothing will be aging or broken or needing to be replaced when you move in.
And when you work directly with a developer or homebuilder — especially if they are building many houses in a neighborhood — they have economies of scale to their advantage. They can build a house with a pool in the same time and for less than a pool company can. They’re already excavating a lot for a house — what’s an extra hole for a pool? They buy materials and pay contractors a fraction of what a pool company can because they’re building homes and pools on such a large scale.
You also don’t have to contend with gas lines, buried utilities, tree roots or any other obstacles that may crop up when you try to install a pool at an existing house.
Find Your New Home with a Pool
Ready to see house listings across the country, and get familiar with what pool options are available? Start your search for new home communities and builders in your area today at NewHomeSource.
Liyya Hassanali is a Project Manager and Content Strategist for Kinship Design Marketing, a boutique agency that provides marketing strategies and content for architects, interior designers, and landscape designers. She is a 15+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry, working closely with her clients to provide written content that meets their marketing goals and gets results.
Liyya is passionate about home design and décor and is a confessed HGTV and Pinterest addict. When not providing content writing services for her clients, she can be found browsing home décor sites or spending time with her family.