High season for home sales coincides with the onset of summer’s scorching heat and longer days. If thoughts of cooling off in your own backyard pool are swimming in your head as you search for your next home, here are three important factors to consider.
1. Marketability. Whether a swimming pool increases or decreases a home’s attractiveness to potential buyers depends on the location, said Mike Mavromates, branch manager of the Long & Foster | Christie’s office in Avalon, New Jersey. In get-away destinations like the Jersey Shore, where many of the houses are vacation homes, a swimming pool is desirable.
“We’re basically a summer home area, a resort area,” Mavromates said. “Most people would prefer to have a pool.” Inland, he said, is a different story. It’s not a requirement for most buyers looking for a primary residence there, and some might view a pool as a potential safety hazard.
2. Maintenance. Home buyers should consider the ongoing costs associated with a pool, said Mary Lucente, a Long & Foster agent based in Greenville, Delaware. The filtration pump can use a lot of energy, and so can heating the pool if the owner chooses to do so. And there’s continual monitoring and of chemical levels, whether it’s bromine, chlorine or saltwater.
“Pools are an expense,” Lucente said. “I think people who own pools know that, but they’re willing to have that seasonal aspect in their budget.”
According to the National Association of Realtors’ blog Houselogic, a homeowner should budget about $600 per year for maintenance and cleaning of a seasonal pool. It could be as much as $1,300 annually for a year-round pool.
A robotic cleaning system can cost $500 to $800 to purchase, if you prefer to let a machine do the work. Add about $1,000 a year to pay professionals to open and close a seasonal pool. Lucente, whose home has a pool, said she prefers to have a professional perform that job, because a service provider usually takes on the liability if it’s done incorrectly, for example if the pump’s pipes burst during winter because they weren’t properly drained.
3. Liability insurance. Basic homeowners insurance usually will cover the pool itself, but it’s advisable to also increase your liability protection in case someone gets hurt in your backyard oasis. Experts say pool owners should raise their liability limits to $300,00 to $500,000 from the typical $100,000.
The Insurance Information Institute recommends pool owners carry a separate umbrella liability policy. For roughly $200 to $300 per year, you can get $1 million in additional protection through the umbrella policy.