Deciding to Put a Pool in Your Backyard or Buy a Home with a Pool Already? Top 7 Things to Consider FIRST!
It is that time of year when the temperature is rising and you might be considering putting a pool in your own backyard. Here are some of the top things to consider. When Mark and I were deciding to move 3 years ago we went through the same thing - do we put a pool in our backyard and stay put or do we see what is on the market with pool homes currently. We ultimately decided to sell and purchase a home with a pool in the backyard - a decision we have never regretted. However, no decision is a one size fits all.
As we have helped clients through the process of making this decision you need to answer these questions:
1. What is the cost of putting a pool in your backyard?
In today's market it is hard to do it for anything less than $50,000 - And will you see that dollar for dollar return in the sales price of your home? On an appraisal the most they normally give in value is $15,000 so then you need to ask yourself if that additional $35,000 is worth your enjoyment. Here is an article on the hidden costs of putting a pool in - in Southern California it is even higher.
2. Do you have the cash to put the pool in or would you have to finance it?
I see people add pools and then either add a home equity line of credit or place high interest loans in order to have them thinking they will refinance and rarely do the people actually complete that action - what happens is that they think their home might be "worth" a certain number in order to achieve this - many times believing they will get the full appraisal value for the pool cost, and are shocked when that doesn't happen. If you would like to see what your home is worth today and if you put a pool in it, we are happy to do it for free with no obligation - simply click HERE, enter your information and we will email your report to you.
3. Do you have at least 20% equity in the home?
Many times people leverage the full value of their home believing "they will never move" - but life happens. If you had told me that my husband would be in the hospital on and off for 6 months 2 years ago I would have thought you were crazy. Death, divorce, job transfer, and more can happen and if so if you need to sell your home you need to make sure you are able to do it.
4. Do you have at least 6 months of emergency funds in savings?
As a Dave Ramsey ELP (endorsed local provider) we talk with people about the baby steps all the time and how important they are (Check out the complete list of BABY STEPS Here). Stuff happens, and when "Murph" (Murphy's law) moves in you want to be ready - not losing sleep about paying your bills.
5. Are you prepared for construction?
There are several AWESOME pool companies we recommend, there are more pool companies that we would tell you to stay away from. Occasionally we will have someone who will decide to contract the pool themselves. Our next door neighbor was one of them. He poured over $100,000 into his backyard and had to live through 10 months of construction day in and day out. He had to ride the subcontractors who many times would not show when they were supposed to or not do the work the way it was contracted. The result? He finally got a beautiful pool in his backyard that went 40% over his original budget AND when it was over he was done with the house - they sold it and moved. Now someone else is enjoying his pool.
6. Do you have enough room in your yard for a pool?
Sometimes adding a pool can be a drawback if you don't have room for it. Don't add a pool if you can't walk around your backyard with out worrying you might trip and fall in. It will be a drawback to buyers when you go to sell. This is an example of a home that was lost in a foreclosure sale and should never have had a pool put in the backyard. There isn't even space to put a chair by it.
7. Do you have enough budget dollars for servicing and repairs on a monthly and annual basis?
If you are going paycheck to paycheck DON'T put in a pool - costs will be going up for repairs. To replace a salt cell is $1000, new pool light is $750, a new pool motor is $500, servicing and chemicals is $100 per month, you have to run your pool filter and that will raise your costs, twice a year you need to have your filters cleaned for $250 each visit, if your pool needs to be shocked you have that additional cost. In our budget we have at least $5000 per year that we use for our pool. When you build a pool you will have the repairs covered by a warranty for a period of time but not forever. When you purchase a home with a pool we ask for a home warranty that covers the pool equipment - but no warranty will cover the servicing or the things under water. Just make sure you have the budget and ability to maintain your large investment.
In conclusion, when you are thinking about adding a pool or buying a pool home really think about the following questions and also take time to go look at pool homes that are on the market in your budget. You might be surprised with our historic low interest rates you might be able to buy one and reduce your current payment. Here is a complete list of all pool homes currently available in Corona with their own private pool in their backyard.
The vast majority of the time it is better to buy a home with a pool than to put one in yourself - but do the analysis and be aware of the potential pitfalls before you make your decision. We LOVE having a pool in our yard and we swim almost year round!