Between hosting neighbourhood pool parties, the convenience of cooling off when the mercury rises, and having a solid excuse to buy cute, doughnut-shaped air mattresses, there are plenty of reasons why buying a property with a pool may seem like a no-brainer. But despite all the pros, consider the cons before you dive into a pool purchase.
If you’ve fallen in love with a house that has a pool, book an appointment with a certified pool company to conduct a full inspection. The water lines should be leak-free, the pump pressure tested and the heater in top-notch condition. The equipment, such as the cover and safety fencing, need to be looked over too. Problems begin to arise as pools age, so ask the sellers for installation dates and any repairs that have been done over the years.
Search and Employ
When it comes to pools, knowledge is key. Find out what the municipal bylaws are around private pools — there may be restrictions that need to be taken into consideration. Talk to a reliable pool company about maintenance and annual repairs costs, and think about who will clean it and treat the water. It’s also smart to look at recent, in-the-neighbourhood sales of properties with and without pools to see if their investments of time and money paid off when it came time to resell.
Cannonball competitions are super fun, but they aren’t going to fund the pool’s heating bill or yearly maintenance costs (unless you charge admission). Get an idea of what the sellers spend so that you have a clear picture of what your financial commitments would be. Also, protect yourself from unexpected water-related costs by putting a condition in the offer for a full pool inspection.
Beyond the financial commitment, think through how much time you’re realistically able to spend cleaning, treating, covering, uncovering, draining, scraping and scrubbing that pool. If you go on extended yearly vacations or head up to cottage country every weekend, will you actually have time to enjoy the pool? Look at your life and see if there’s room to really use this backyard investment to its fullest.
An outdoor pool can be the fun, family-friendly focal point of a backyard…but only if you feel safe having it. Secure pool fencing and locking gates are a must to protect kids — and pets — from getting into deep water. Taking out liability insurance is something to consider too, especially if you plan on hosting summertime pool parties or have friends (and their friends) use the pool, particularly when you’re out of town.
To figure out if a pool will increase or decrease the resale value of your new property, take a good look around you. Is it in a good location? Does it get plenty of light? Survey the other properties in the area to determine if there are a plethora of pools; not having one could affect future pricing because it’s an expected asset. But if the house is perfect and a pool is still not for you, don’t be deterred — there are economical ways to fill it in.
Weather the Storms
You love the idea of having an outdoor pool — evening dips with daiquiris, kids splashing about, and morning workouts — but do you live in a part of Canada where it makes sense? You need to get six months use out of a pool to make it cost efficient, so be realistic about the climate or else your investment will be under three feet of snow for half the year.
With all the cons neatly listed for your consideration, all that’s left to do now is figure out what’s best for your family. Sure, there are costs involved, but no one can deny that having a backyard pool is loads of fun for a family and can be a backyard memory maker. Decisions, decisions…