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How to Know if a Pool is Worth the Cost

An inviting feature or a mistake to avoid?



A pool is an investment – one that should be carefully weighed and discussed prior to making a decision. From increased insurance liability to cost, there’s a lot to consider when deciding if a pool is worth the cost for your family.



Consider materials and costs

Let’s talk about the cost of a pool. The materials that you choose to construct your pool out of will affect not only the installation costs, but also the long-term maintenance of your pool.

Fiberglass pools are made of a preformed shell put into a levelled hole that is pre-dug to match the shape of the pool liner. Fiberglass pools offer the best bang for your buck when considering installation, maintenance and ongoing costs. The average national installation cost for a fiberglass pool is $31,400. The 10-year maintenance cost of a fiberglass pool is about $3,750, which includes chemicals. Anticipate spending about $2,500 annually on opening and closing your pool and increased electric bill costs. Fiberglass pools do have limits on the size, typically no more than 16 feet across, to avoid breakage during shipping and installation. Fiberglass pools are extremely easy to clean and limit algae growth, so routine cleaning and maintenance can typically be done by the homeowner.

Vinyl pool are very versatile in shape and offer a non-abrasive surface that many homeowners prefer. With an average national installation cost of $25,700, vinyl pools are the lowest to install. Vinyl liners do begin to wear, however, and typically need replacement at about the 8 to 11-year mark, putting the 10-year maintenance cost at an average of $4,000. Annual costs are average $3,000-$4,500, including opening and closing your pool plus costs of chemicals and increased electric usage. Vinyl pools are extremely easy to clean and limit algae growth, so routine cleaning and maintenance can typically be done by the homeowner.

Concrete pools are the most expensive option for homeowners, with an average national installation cost of $29,600 – $50,000 depending on size, location, and numerous other factors. These types of pools are also among the costliest to maintain, with an average ten year maintenance cost of $10,000. Annual costs average $3,000-$5,000 for chemicals and electric usage. Concrete pools can be poured to match any shape or size and are very durable, but allow mold and algae to grow easily. Due to this, your concrete pool will require an acid wash to strip away any algae growth every three to five years. The acid wash slowly chips away at the layers of the concrete, so every 10 years, your pool will need to be replastered.

Consider increased insurance costs

Inground pools are already covered by your homeowner’s insurance, but you’ll want to think about increasing your liability from the typical $100,000 to $500,000 if you decide to install a pool. This increase typically adds about $50 to $75 to your annual premium.

Since you are responsible for anyone who uses your pool, whether they have your permission or not, a pool fence is a must to keep reduce your liability. The average cost of pool fencing is $17 per linear foot, with each gate adding an additional $325 to your total. Childproof locks or latches should always be installed, even if you don’t have small children in your home.

Your pool may be considered in the replacement cost value of your policy or an extraneous structure. Talk to your insurance representative to confirm how your policy classifies a pool, as this will affect the replacement amount that your insurance company will pay out if you file a claim on damage to your pool. If considered an extraneous structure, you may need to take out additional coverage to cover the full replacement cost, since these structures are not typically covered at 100% of the full replacement cost value.

Consider an increase in real estate value…maybe

A pool can increase the resale value of your home by as much as seven percent. This amount is based on several factors including whether you live in a higher end neighborhood where most neighbors have pools; live in a warm climate where the pool can be enjoyed year-round (or at least the majority of the year); still have room for other outdoor activities in yard; and whether the pool fits the style of the neighborhood and your home and is well-maintained.

Of course, finding a buyer who wants a pool is also a must, otherwise your feature could become an obstacle. This is why it is recommended that homeowners try to limit the costs of a pool to 10% to 15% of the total purchase price of the home to avoid losing money on the investment.

Consider summer vacation savings

One of the most cited reasons for installing a pool is the attraction of having a cool place to relax on hot summer days. This draw could mean fewer vacations and more opportunities for your family to enjoy a staycation.

With Americans spending an average of 10% of their annual income on vacations, according to LearnVest’s 2017 Money Habits and Confessions Survey, with some even going into in debt to cover the costs, your pool could pay for itself in just a few years. Just beware of all the new friends, long-lost relatives, and neighbors who will be popping in to say hello (and just happen to have brought along a swim suit).

A pool can provide many opportunities for your family to spend more time together, help your family become healthier through increased physical activity, and be a community builder for you and your neighbors. Weighing all the costs and the benefits in critical when making the decision to install a pool or not. If you’re thinking of buying a home with a pool, remember to have the pool inspected by a professional to ensure that it is structurally sound and undamaged.

Are you considering installing a pool or already have a pool? Leave us a comment below and tell us about your experience.

EXIT Realty Bob Lamb & Associates is Murfreesboro’s most innovative real estate team.

EXIT Realty Bob Lamb & Associates
2630 Memorial Blvd, Murfreesboro, TN 37129

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