Is It Harder to Sell a House With a Pool?

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|13 min read

For many, a backyard pool is synonymous with luxury, relaxation, and cherished memories. Yet, when the ‘For Sale’ sign is staked in the front yard, does a pool make selling your home harder or easier?

Let’s be clear – in this article, we are discussing in-ground pools, not above-ground pools, as the latter doesn’t contribute any value to a property. Above-ground pools can be easily removed and have a shorter lifespan than permanent in-ground pool fixtures.

Does a Pool Increase or Decrease Your Home’s Value?

Unfortunately, it’s not a straightforward answer. It’s all about how potential buyers perceive it; they either see it as an asset or a liability. 

There’s no denying the appeal of pools. A pool can increase a home’s value by as much as 7% if the circumstances are right.

However, the initial investment for pool construction and the recurring maintenance costs might tip the scales against its perceived value addition. 

So, how a pool affects a property’s value depends on several factors, such as location, climate, condition, and buyer preferences.

Location and Climate

Whether a pool increases or decreases your home’s value depends on where you live. The pool question is all about ‘location, location, location’. For California owners, pools equal significant value boosts. 

In Los Angeles, homes with pools sell for a whopping $95,000 more than comparable ones without. However, in cooler areas of California like Oakland, a pool only adds about $29,000 in value.

With year-round sun and heat, many California buyers crave a backyard oasis to lounge poolside. So, while numbers may vary, one thing’s for sure – in California, a pool can pay off.

Although California tops the list, having a pool also affects the property’s value in other states.

  • Texas: $18,000 to $50,000
  • Florida: $21,000 to $36,000
  • North Carolina: $34,000
  • Nevada: 30,000
  • Arizona: $11,000 to $27,000
  • Virginia: $23,000

But not every real estate market dives into pools with such delight. In some regions, maintenance hassles and costs make pools more polarizing. Assess your market beyond the surface before banking on your pool’s value.

On the other hand, a pool can add less value or even decrease the value of a home in a colder climate where it won’t get as much use, such as in the Northeast or Midwest.

In these regions, a pool can be seen as a burden rather than a benefit, as it requires more maintenance, heating, and winterizing costs and may pose safety risks for children or pets. 

Pool Condition

A well-maintained and visually appealing pool is more likely to enhance a home’s worth than one neglected or in poor condition. Regular maintenance, proper cleaning, and ensuring that all pool equipment is in good working order are essential factors that positively influence the perception of the pool’s value.

This is not just about aesthetics; it’s about demonstrating diligence in property upkeep. Buyers want to feel confident that a pool has been well cared for so they don’t suspect they are purchasing an expensive project. 

Buyer Preferences

A pool adds more value to a home if it appeals to the buyers’ preferences. It also adds value if it meets a niche market’s specific needs or wants, such as families with children, retirees, or vacationers.

However, a pool adds less value or may even decrease the value of a home if it alienates or discourages interested home buyers. This happens if the pool does not align with the expectations or preferences of the target market.

A pool can add more value to a home in some situations, but it can add less value or even decrease the value of a home in others. While sun-soaked regions often see pools as coveted outdoor luxuries, boosting property values, it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario.

The Costs Associated with Owning an In-Ground Pool 

Owning an in-ground pool comes at a cost. Homebuyers understand that while a swimming pool can be a fun property feature, it also raises property ownership costs.

Firstly, installing a pool is not cheap. A hole must be dug, and then the pool and its systems must be installed.

The average cost of a pool installation in the US is $35,000. However, this cost depends on the property’s needs and location. In more expensive markets (hello, Californians), concrete pools can cost upwards of $100,000.

But the expense doesn’t stop at installation. Total pool upkeep costs range from $3,000 to $6,000 per year, covering chemicals, repairs, and electricity.

These costs include:

  • Water and utility expenses, which range from $700 to $3000 per year for filling and maintaining water levels. If you choose to run a pool heater, these costs can skyrocket up to $150 per month.
  • Chemicals, which cost up to $50 per month.
  • Insurance and liability costs to cover the required additional coverage, which range from $100 to $500 annually.
  • Seasonal costs for winterizing and reopening the pool cost about $200 to $500.

Many homeowners choose to hire professional pool maintenance companies, which are an additional expense ranging from $150-260 per month.

Can In-Ground Swimming Pool Hurt Property Value?

When selling a home, the presence of a backyard pool can be a double-edged sword. For some potential buyers, it’s a dream feature, while for others, it’s a potential turn-off.

When selling a house with a backyard pool, the pool itself can either be an obstacle or a desirable feature, depending on various situations.

Obstacles to Address with Buyers

Having a pool can be a luxury, but it’s not for everyone. Here’s how to tackle some common hesitations potential buyers might have:

Safety Issues 

For parents, especially those with non-swimming children, a pool can be a source of anxiety. Recommended solutions for these issues include: 

  • Emphasizing the safety features your pool offers, whether it’s a sturdy fence, a secure gate, an alarm system, or a protective cover, can allay fears. 
  • Recommending local swimming lessons to parents not only provides peace of mind but also highlights the family bonding opportunities a private pool setting offers.

Maintenance Costs

The upkeep of a pool can be a lot of work, and an added financial burden. Recommended solutions include:

  • Sweetening the deal by including a short-term pool maintenance package, a gesture that eases the transition for the new homeowners. 
  • Providing a clear breakdown of typical maintenance costs dispel myths of exorbitant expenses. 
  • Highlighting recent upgrades that reduce the need for frequent maintenance, such as a new filtration system or energy-efficient pool equipment.

Outdoor Space Concerns

A pool can dominate a backyard, potentially reducing space for other activities like gardening or children’s play. Recommended solutions include:

  • Reminding potential buyers that pool areas are multifunctional– they can serve as entertainment hubs for parties or tranquil oases for relaxation. 
  • Offering landscaping ideas that harmoniously blend the pool with garden elements can also be enticing. 

And don’t forget to display photos that showcase the versatility of the pool area, demonstrating its potential as more than just a swimming spot. When selling a pool home, be ready with answers to buyer concerns. Show them the value and versatility of a pool, turning potential drawbacks into positives.

Selling Features of Pools

Having a pool isn’t just about potential drawbacks—it also comes with several enticing advantages. Here’s how to emphasize the positives to potential buyers:

  • Outdoor Entertainment: For those who love hosting outdoor activities, the swimming pool becomes your go-to place for gatherings. Emphasize the pool’s capacity to enhance outdoor events, making them both memorable and distinctive.
  • Family Activities: Beyond entertaining, a pool creates wonderful memories with family.
  • Warm Climates Benefits: In warmer climates especially, a pool offers the perfect sanctuary to beat the heat. Rather than heading to the crowded public pool or lake, homeowners have a relaxing oasis steps from the backdoor. A pool adds real value in hot regions as an appealing feature that buyers love.
  • Luxury Appeal: Pools are perceived as an item of luxury. They can often draw buyers because they make them feel their new home is more desirable and high-end.

When showcasing a pool home, feature the benefits (or make sure your real estate agent does it for you). For many buyers, these situations can turn a property with a pool into their dream home.

An experienced real estate agent from FastExpert will be your property advocate and help buyers see how a pool will positively impact their lifestyle.

Tips for Selling a House with a Swimming Pool

Selling a house with an in-ground pool requires preparation and planning. You want to address buyer concerns before they arise.

To make the most of this appealing feature and attract potential buyers, here are some practical tips for homeowners:

Get on Top of Pool Maintenance

Nobody wants a dirty pool! Ensure that the pool is in excellent condition before putting your house on the market. Clean the pool thoroughly, address any visible issues, and make sure the water is clear. Regularly maintain the pool throughout the selling process to showcase its pristine condition to potential buyers.

Install Safety Hazard Protection

Buyers value safety. Address safety concerns by installing necessary safety features around the pool area. This may include fencing, safety gates, pool covers, or alarms. Proactive steps ensure pool safety and provide peace of mind to potential buyers, especially those with children or pets.

Choose to Sell When the Weather is Hot

Timing plays a role in attracting buyers to properties with pools. Consider listing your property when the weather is hot and sunny. You want your buyers to dream of cooling off in your sparkling pool.

Stage Your Pool Area

In addition to staging your house, stage your pool and surrounding landscaping. Make sure it has an inviting ambiance to help potential buyers envision themselves enjoying this space. Arrange outdoor furniture, add colorful cushions or towels, and strategically place some potted plants to create an appealing atmosphere.

Turn your pool area into an additional outdoor living space. Consider staging the area with a few poolside accessories, such as stylish loungers or an umbrella, to highlight the potential for relaxation and entertainment.

Presenting your swimming pool in its best light and addressing any safety concerns significantly contribute to attracting buyers who appreciate the added value and enjoyment that a pool brings.

How to Market a House with a Pool

“A pool can be a great way to increase the value of your home, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a guaranteed return on investment. Make sure you do your research and talk to a real estate professional before investing in a pool.” – Dave Ramsey

To successfully market your home with a pool, target the right buyer demographic and showcase the alluring appeal and value of this feature. Here are some tips for marketing your home:

  • Showcase the swimming pool as a place to relax and de-stress.
  • Present the pool as a place to have fun and be entertained with friends and family. Add accents that show the pool space as a place to host memorable events or enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle.
  • Present the pool as a symbol of the owner’s commitment to their family, home, neighbors, and community to create a sense of pride and exclusivity that attracts buyers seeking a property with character and charm.
  • Keep the pool impeccably clean, clear, and well-maintained even throughout the sale process (yes, even after a contract is signed).
  • Consider a pre-sale inspection and evaluation to address any concerns before your property hits the market.
  • Include high-quality photos of the pool and surrounding area in marketing materials.
  • Have a drone take an aerial photo of the property and pool.
  • Organize open houses with a poolside theme to let potential buyers experience the entertainment value firsthand.
  • If the pool has energy-efficient equipment or solar heating, make sure those features are mentioned in marketing materials.
  • Offer a comprehensive survey of the pool as a buyer incentive. 

Marketing a house with a pool requires a targeted and informed approach. Sellers position their property as a premium offering in the real estate market by understanding the concerns and desires of potential buyers. 

When selling a home with a pool, ensuring that the pool is in top condition will give buyer’s peace of mind. Getting a pre-sale pool inspection done will help you resolve potential red flags and ensure a much smoother sale process. Sharing the pool inspection report with potential buyers is a gesture of transparency. It provides a clear picture of the pool’s condition and shows buyers that you’re forthright and reliable.

Discovering issues during a buyer-initiated inspection can be a deal-breaker. Addressing problems beforehand prevents last-minute negotiation hiccups or potential withdrawal from the deal.

Furthermore, an inspection ensures that all safety features, such as gates, alarms, and drain covers, function correctly. A safe pool environment is a significant selling point, especially for families with young children.

Lastly, identifying and rectifying potential issues early helps you avoid last-minute costly fixes. Sellers have the time to compare repair costs and find the best deal, instead of being pressured by buyers and a closing date. 

Conclusion

Many home buyers see swimming pools as a fun way to create memories and enjoy a resort lifestyle right at home, while others see it as a threat to their children, an added monthly cost, and worry about the upkeep. Some prefer a bigger yard without a pool taking up space.

In some parts of the country, a pool is an excellent asset, while in others, it might be a deterrent to buyers. However, no matter where you live, you can make selling your house with a pool easier through the right preparation. Properly maintain and clean your pool, get a pre-sale pool inspection, and ensure safety concerns are addressed. 

With a little strategy and the right approach, selling a house with a pool doesn’t need to be a hassle. Engage a local real estate agent who will provide to gain personalized advice tailored to your specific situation.

Whether a pool is a valuable asset or not depends on your local real estate market. To determine how a pool impacts home value in your area, find a trusted real estate agent with FastExpert. A local real estate agent will provide valuable insights into your market, advise on pricing strategies, and offer guidance to effectively market your home with a pool to attract the right buyers.

With the right expertise on your side, you’ll be set up to make a splash when selling your home with a pool.

Kelsey Heath

Kelsey Heath is a real estate content specialist with an extensive background in residential, industrial, and commercial property. She has been involved in the industry for a decade as a professional and personal investor, gaining a deep understanding of the market and trends. With a passion for written communication, Kelsey loves helping people understand the sometimes-complicated concepts behind real estate and is now a sought-out guest and ghostwriter.

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