Summer is just around the corner. Have you been thinking about adding a pool? It can be a great way to enhance your outdoor living space and time with family and friends. Will it increase the value of your home? Probably. Will it increase as much as it cost you? (Let's just get this out of the way). No, in almost every case. And no, not by a long shot in a lot of cases. (I'm speaking to our Greater Atlanta market here, not Florida, Arizona, Southern California, etc.).
Before "taking the plunge", there are several important factors to consider when adding a pool to your property:
Budget The first consideration when adding a pool to your property is budget. You'll need to factor in the cost of the pool itself, installation, landscaping, fencing, and ongoing maintenance. And give yourself a cushion of 10-20% for unexpected expenses that may arise during the project. Size, Shape, and Type If you have a large backyard and plan to entertain guests, you may want a larger pool and more hard surface area. However, if you have limited space, plan to use the pool for exercise, or want to heat the pool smaller may be more practical.
You also need to consider the many options available. Above-ground pools are generally the least expensive, but usually the least attractive as well. Above-ground pools are considered 'personal property' not real estate, so they will not add value to your residence in an appraisal or in a mortgage lending situation.
Above-ground pool (Source: thespruce.com)
For the most part, this blog post addresses in-ground pools which can include the following:
Source: the spruce.com
As an appraiser in southwest Atlanta since 2007, most of the inground pools I see are saltwater vinyl pools. Pebble Tec is probably the second most common. Vinyl is generally the least expensive inground pool. These days they can be quite attractive, but be prepared to replace your liner every 5 years or so, or maybe a little longer if you keep your chemicals carefully balanced. Also know, once this decision is made, you will not save any money if you decide to convert to a hard surface pool later. It will cost at least as much as installing an entirely new pool, maybe more due to demolition costs.
Permits Before adding an inground pool to your property, you'll need to obtain the necessary permits from your local government. The requirements can vary depending on your location, so it's important to check with your municipality to find out what permits you'll need. Please don't consider hiring someone who says you will save money by not permitting your pool. This is a recipe for all sorts of problems (too long to address here).
Pool Features There are many features you can add to your pool to enhance its functionality and aesthetics. Some popular features include waterfalls, slides, diving boards, lighting, and heating systems. Again, generally the more surface area of a pool, the faster heat dissipates.
Maintenance Inground pools require regular maintenance to keep them clean and functioning properly. This includes cleaning the pool, testing the water chemistry, and maintaining the filtration system. You'll probably want to invest in a pool vacuum as well. Over the years, I have had many brands of pool vacuums. One suction brand literally sucked the ink right out of my vinyl liner! (Brand name omitted to protect the guilty). My favorite vacuum is the Dolphin by maytronics. It's kind of expensive, but I've had very few issues and the cleaning is excellent. (This is just my personal opinion/experience).
Safety Safety is an important consideration when adding an inground pool to your property. You'll need to ensure that the pool is enclosed by a fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate. In my county (in Southwest Atlanta GA), you need to have the gate not only latched but locked to be to code. You may also want to consider adding alarms, pool covers, cameras, and other safety features such as pet and wildlife escape ramps to keep your family, invited and uninvited "guests" safe. Also, remember some family pets (like bulldogs) just cannot swim, they will drown, so make arrangements to keep them away from the pool!
Climate Finally, consider your climate when adding an inground pool to your property. In warmer climates, you may be able to use the pool year-round, while in cooler climates, you may need to close the pool during the winter months. Again in Southwest Atlanta, you don't have to 'close' your pool in winter, but do have to make sure the thermostat starts your pump when the water reaches a certain temperature to help keep pipes from freezing.
In conclusion, adding an inground pool to your property can be a great lifestyle investment. You can create a beautiful and functional outdoor space that will provide years of enjoyment for you and your family. Also, be aware, if you plan to sell one day, you will lose some potential buyers who just don't want to maintain a pool. However, in Southwest Atlanta, many homes do have pools and I wouldn't let that impact my decision if I really wanted to install one.
If you have more questions about pools, and their impact on your property, or would just like some references for installation, maintenance, or repair services, feel free to contact me.