Ever since I was a little kid, I have always wanted a house with a pool. I previously posted that a serious desire of mine is to own a home with a pool. While access to one would be great, a private one would be ideal. My newest fascination is the concept of an indoor pool. Living in Virginia, I justify to myself that we would be able to use the indoor pool year-round. I know there are doubters out there who think I probably wouldn’t utilize a private pool that much. Please don’t pop my dream just yet 🙂 Of course, most houses in Virginia with indoor pools usually are top-tier properties and therefore cost a lot of money. I’m not sure I would be able to find a home with an indoor pool, in my price range, around here in the near future.
Growing up, the kiddie pool in my backyard made me the most popular kid in the neighborhood. I was truly a waterbug. I even remember digging up my parents garden one year attempting to make a bigger and better pool with some of the neighborhood kids. That did not go over too well with my dad. At the age of four, I had to shovel all the dirt back into the hole that we had created. I probably also got grounded for a month, but I don’t remember for sure. Quick side note: while some of my punishments run together now, I distinctly remember being sent to my room this one time and told I couldn’t leave. So naturally, I peed on the carpet in my room. This obviously was a huge no-no, especially in light of my grandpa coming over to visit for the weekend.
Waterbaby by Birth
Speaking of my grandpa, he owned his own pool company years ago. He and my father actually built the White House pool, thanks to my grandpa’s friendship with President Gerald Ford. My parents even have some Presidential glasses they received as wedding presents from the White House. All that to say, my affinity towards swimming pools runs in my blood.
Unfortunately, shortly after I was born, my grandpa sold the pool business, and my dad switched careers into the IT world. So, much to my chagrin, my family never had our own pool.
I have been fortunate to have access to public pools over the years, though. My other set of grandparents joined a pool in 1965, and my grandma is proud original member #18 there. At 92 years old, she still goes up to the pool almost everyday to swim. She’s amazing.
As you know, residential pools are typically considered a liability when selling a house, at least in Virginia. Additionally, an unheated outdoor pool is restricted to usage from around mid-June to mid-September in my area. That’s only about three months out of the year that I’d be able to actually use an outdoor pool.
According to most realtors in the area, pools are a deterrent to most potential buyers. Between the maintenance and the liability, people just don’t want to deal with them.
I have mixed feelings about a pool now that I’m older. While I still desire to have one, I am torn because having a pool with a small child is cause for concern. I don’t think that I could live with myself if there was ever a fatal accident in my home’s pool.
When the book Freakonomics was published, there was some uproar in the anti-gun community, when the authors provided data that revealed more children die in swimming pools accidents than gun incidents every year. Naturally after learning that fact, I became less enthusiastic about owning a pool. Safety is clearly an issue when it comes to pools, but I was still curious. So, I researched the cost to install a pool.
Cost of a Pool
Most pricing options fell anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000 including a privacy fence, landscaping or an attached hot tub. My eyes bulged out when I saw these costs, but I thought maybe my return on investment would make up for it. Shockingly, I have seen figures between 6% – 30% depending on the area. If I only received 20% back on my money, I wouldn’t ever be able to recoup a potential $40,000 – $80,000. That’s money that could be spent investing in the S&P 500 or my fun 10% of my portfolio or traveling around to the best pools in the world.
On top of that, I would need to factor in yearly maintenance, including pool chemicals, pool cleaning, and costs involved with opening and closing each season. I’ve read that I would realistically be spending about $100 a month on this, and that figure might be low depending on the pool. In addition, if the pool was heated, gas or electric bills could increase by $100-$200 per month to operate the pool.
Having a pool definitely attracts family and friends. But the more people who use the pool, the more likely someone could suffer some sort of accident. This is where I might need to increase my homeowners insurance. While this shouldn’t cost a ton, it would still be an additional expense of around $30 per month.
Finally, here is the biggest kicker in my opinion. Having a pool will require more paid towards property taxes, even though the pool may not bring an increase in value to the home when it comes time to sell.
Adding up all these factors, I feel much less inclined to build a pool in my backyard. As fun as it might be in theory, it probably makes more sense to find a neighborhood with a community pool so that we don’t have the liability or extra costs associated with a private pool.
My one glimmer of hope in terms of owning a private pool is that I might be able to find a steal-of-a-deal house with a pool since they are typically less desirable.
Do you have a pool? If not, would you consider buying a house with one? Share your reasons below.