In the market to buy a house? The arrival of nice weather may have you daydreaming about spending your summer by an in-ground pool. Having one in your backyard will definitely score you points with neighbours and family but before you dive in (pun intended) there are many factors you need to consider. Is it better to buy a house with a pool or put one in yourself? I lean towards buying one with a pool and here is some info that can help you decide.
PUTTING IN A POOL
There is a growing segment of people who pass up buying cottages and invest in their own backyard oasis. If you’re looking to buy a house and install an in-ground pool remember that many lots just aren’t big enough these days. A pool can occupy valuable space and this is especially true if you do not have much yard space to begin with.
If lot size isn’t a problem there are local safety standards to consider. In Guelph, by-laws call for specific fencing and gates as well as paperwork to complete before you can start digging. You must submit a permit application and pay a fee. The application must contain a copy of the lot survey showing proposed pool details with fence and gate locations, a sketch of all accessory structures with dimensions and the pool specs (from a pool contractor). On top of this, you will have a rather large price tag attached to the pool and landscaping. Sounds like a big job!
BUYING WITH A POOL
If having a pool is worth it to you it is important to purchase with both eyes open. Do you due diligence and gain as much info as possible to protect yourself.
Inspection – Before buying have the pool inspected by a pool specialist. A regular home inspector will likely only tell you if it is working or not. Buying when the pool is closed is not ideal as the pool will probably be covered and partially drained which makes a full inspection impossible.
History – Who built the pool? Research the company, read reviews from other customers. Inquire with the homeowner about who serviced the pool and access the records. A pool that is plagued with problems can be expensive. Quality construction matters more than its age.
Cost – Get an idea from the sellers of what they spend on the water, hydro and maintenance so that you have a clear picture of the financial commitments. You can also expect to pay more insurance; ensure the policy covers liability and potential repairs to your pool.
Time – Consider how much time you will have to spend cleaning, treating, covering, uncovering.
Putting in an in-ground pool can come with a massive price tag. In Guelph, a pool adds relatively little value due to our short summer season. In many cases, houses are priced as though the pool doesn’t exist and hope it doesn’t detract from the house. A pool is not an investment. It is something to help you enjoy your home more. There are exceptions of course but that’s usually only with higher-end neighbourhoods.
Some math can help make sense of your options:
Option 1 – Buy a house with no pool and install one. You spend $50k.
Option 2 – Buy a house with a pool that the previous owner spent $50k on. Say the pool adds 5% value. The cost to you $2500.
Overall your better off finding a place with a nice pool and refinishing it (if needed) than installing a new one.
Whatever you decide, a pool has its good and bad sides, just like any other amenity in your house. Ask the right questions and do your due diligence. It takes money and time but for those who truly enjoy it, all those costs and efforts are worth it. Don’t forget to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent who will help guide you in asking the right questions and making the right decision. Any questions? Feel free to contact me anytime!