There’s perhaps nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than taking a dip in your own backyard oasis. That’s probably why there are about 10.4 million residential swimming pools in the US alone! Yep. This $1.1 billion industry is still one of the most popular home additions. However, before you jump in, review these top 6 questions you might want to ponder.
- Why do I want a pool?
While this may seem like an obvious question, it’s important to be honest with yourself. It can be a massive investment and have an adverse effect on your resale value (more on that later) so you want to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. On the other hand, it can bring years of family memories and create a hub of entertainment — not to mention that oasis of relaxation mentioned earlier. You’ve probably done this already but maybe ponder future activity in the pool and what does that look like. Is it you swimming laps every morning? Ask yourself if you’ll really do that. Is it your kids having friends over? Be sure to ask them if they even want it. (You may be surprised.)
- What are MY unique logistics?
Unless your house is on a big flat field, there are probably going to be some hoops needing to be jumped. Think about where you want your pool. Is it on a slope? Does it cross an easement? Are there buried power lines or pipes? Is it in a historic district which requires an approval process? Will the pool builders be able to access the area with their equipment? These are all aspects that can affect cost and timing but all considerations that should be considered.
- How long will I be in this house?
Generally, adding a pool to increase your sale price is not a good reason to put in a pool. Pools typically do not recoup their value. In fact, they shrink your “pool” of buyers (pun intended) because not everyone wants a pool, but a buyer that wants a pool can still add one to a house without one. Make sense? Having said that, life is to be enjoyed, so unless you have specific plans to sell your home in the next year or two — don’t let resale stop you.
- How much will it REALLY cost?
This is probably the FIRST question asked, but it’s important to know the true cost of owning a pool. We break it up into these categories: pool construction, landscaping & hardscaping, ongoing maintenance, insurance and, of course, the always underestimated entertainment costs. When putting together your numbers, be sure to get a variety of quotes. And don’t assume the cheapest quote is the best option. Research any contractor you are considering. Ask around. Go look at their work. Look them up on BBB and read online reviews. Make sure they are insured and bonded — and get proof.
- Pool Construction: Depending on the type of pool (above ground, fiberglass, vinyl, custom in-ground) the costs can vary. It would be impossible to tell you how much a pool costs as there are so many different options that can reduce or increase the price. We suggest you do your research on all of these. Custom in-ground pools will be the most expensive but are also the most durable and the most luxurious. There are pros and cons to every style.
- Landscaping & Hardscaping: When you close your eyes and picture your new pool area, it probably has some beautiful landscaping, maybe an outdoor kitchen or a gazebo….all those things may not be included in the pool cost. There may be other elements you don’t picture, but might be necessary like a fence, or pool cover. Many pool builders are just that — pool builders. So be sure to include any other expenses in your overall budget.
- Ongoing Maintenance: Once a pool is in the ground, you’ll need to purchase a few maintenance supplies like a telescoping pole, nets, pool brush, vacuum, etc. Then there will be ongoing monthly costs including chemicals, and an addition to your electric bill for the pool filter. Keep in mind, you can always hire a pool maintenance service to take care of the pool for you. In that case, they will bring all the necessary equipment and keep it looking good for a monthly fee.
- Insurance: Now this can vary, but it’s a good idea to speak with your home insurance agent BEFORE you break ground, so you’re not hit with any unwelcome surprises. Some insurance companies add costs for pools and some don’t. Be sure to put that on your pre-pool building checklist.
- Entertainment costs: One thing that all “pool” people generally have in common is that they like to share it with friends. More entertaining means, more towels, more goggles, more pool toys, and more snacks and drinks. You might try a hard “BYOE” (Bring Your Own Everything) policy but historically, that doesn’t seem to stick. Just a small line item to keep in mind.
- How can I make my pool as safe as possible?
While pools are an invaluable source of fun, being a responsible pool owner is part of the package. Your pool builder can help with any code and safety issues that you will need to follow during pool construction, but other things you might keep in mind are:
- Installing pool covers, nets, fences and/or alarms if you have little people or wildlife that could fall in
- Ditch the diving board and post signage or messaging around the pool such as “No Diving”
- Have a designated lifeguard for larger gatherings
- Learn CPR
- Keep chemicals and cleaning supplies in a locked, secure area
- What kind of pool features are a must have, and optional?
Entertainment value is an important aspect of your pool project. So be ready to tell your pool builder what features you most definitely want and what features you’d like but aren’t necessarily a deal breaker. Features could include: hot tub, beach access, fountains, lighting, jumping rock, waterfalls, swim-up bar, outdoor shower, slide, custom tile work, statuaries, winter heating, and more. The possibilities are endless, but your budget probably isn’t, so be sure to have a good idea before meeting with your builder.
When all is said and done, there is nothing quite like enjoying your own backyard pool. And there are a myriad of reputable pool builders in the Texas Hill Country. If owning a piece of Texas — with or without a pool— is a dream of yours, contact our team at Fredericksburg Realty Group or Texas Ranch Realty, and we’ll get you headed in the right direction.
Visit us at fredericksburgrealty.com or call us at 830-997-6531.
Whether you are considering selling or acquiring property, we would love to be your trusted real estate partner and advisor. At Fredericksburg Realty and Texas Ranch Realty, we stand by our word, our authenticity and treat each client like family.