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Can a pool add value to your home?

Feb 06, 2023

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Come the Aussie summer, there's really nothing better than jumping into a pool. It's cooling, it's relaxing and if you've got kids, it can be a great way to keep them busy over the holidays.
Aside from its fun factor, does a pool add value to a home when it comes time to sell? Or is it the opposite: a hindrance that makes a home less attractive to prospective buyers?

It turns out the answer isn’t so clear-cut. In some circumstances, a pool can be a big drawcard, but in others, a major drawback.

How much value do pools add to homes?
As of 2018, nearly 2.7 million Aussies lived in a home with a swimming pool – or around 13% of the population – according to Roy Morgan. So clearly pools are popular and may be becoming more so.

But how much value do they actually add? According to HouseLogic, a pool can lift your home’s value by up to 7%, but it’s usually under certain circumstances.

Some of these factors include the climate where you live, the kinds of people you’re selling to and the type of pool you install.

While many pool installation companies may claim that adding one can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to your potential sale price, the reality isn't as straight forward.

Do buyers want homes with pools?

When it comes to buy demand nationally, 'swimming pool' is one of the top search terms among browsers on realestate.com.au.

Some buyers see a pool as a plus, while others view it as an inconvenience.

A big reason buyers might want a pool is the climate. In warmer climates, the length of time through the year they’re usable is much greater. In cooler climates, a pool does have the potential to limit purchasers, especially in locations where your realistic swimming window is only three months or so.

Families are by far the largest sector of the market that would include a pool on their wish list, whereas downsizers may consider a pool to be less desirable; comparing potential usage with the maintenance involved.

How to add value to your home with a pool

If you’re thinking of installing a pool, but are concerned about the potential impact on your home’s value, there are a few things you can do to increase the likelihood of it becoming an asset rather than a liability.

Go for a high quality pool

In-ground pools are generally more expensive, but they’re considered more valuable to a home than above-ground ones. So, if your budget allows, you may want to go for the former. Concrete in-ground pools are the most coveted type.

Keep the design classic

Investing in good lighting, landscaping, tiling and other parts of the pool area can add value, too. But when it comes to design, keep things relatively neutral and timeless.

Another note on design: try to put the pool in a spot that gets adequate sun and is visible from your house. This can help turn the pool into a visual feature of your garden. It also increases the safety factor, as parents are better able to watch their kids from inside.

Know that bigger isn’t necessarily better
Even if you have enough room for a huge pool, it doesn’t mean you should let it fill the entire backyard. You still want to keep a decent amount of usable yard area, which prospective buyers definitely value – especially if you’re trying to appeal to families.

If you’re tight on space, or your home is more suited to singles and couples without kids, think about a compact plunge pool.

Maintain your pool

A well-kept pool is much more likely to increase a home’s value than one that’s looking a little worse for wear. Keep the pool clean, tidy up the landscaping, maintain the paving and any features like waterfalls and slides, and perform repairs as necessary.

Three things to consider before you get a pool
Before you install a brand-spanking-new pool, you’ll want to evaluate a few things ahead of making the commitment:

The value it adds to your home
Think about all the factors we mentioned earlier that influence a property’s value if it comes with a pool: climate, the kinds of buyers you want to appeal to, the type of pool you can afford to install and its design. All of these will make a big difference as to whether or not a pool is a smart move.

To get an idea of a pool’s value, you could also assess the sale price of properties in your area that come with pools compared to those that don’t.

How much it will cost – now and into the future

It’s also worth looking at the cost of installing and maintaining a pool versus how much you’ll use it and the return on investment.

According to Canstar Blue, an above-ground pool can cost anywhere between $2,000-7,000 to install, while an in-ground pool is significantly more at $31,500-100,000 depending on the materials you choose. Add to that fencing, landscaping, lighting, paving and pool accessories, and the up-front cost of a pool can soar pretty quickly.

After that, you’re looking at an average annual running cost of between $660 and $1,000, or around 17% of your electricity bill. You also need to consider that because a pool is a safety risk, it may increase your home insurance premiums.

The work involved

In addition to the costs associated with having a pool, it can require quite a bit of work.

You need to clean both the pool and filters frequently (unless you pay for a professional to take the work off your hands), regularly measure chlorine and pH, maintain the landscaping and paving around it, look out for any repairs that need to be done, stick to strict safety regulations and keep the water levels in check. That last one can be tricky during periods of water restrictions, as pools use a lot of water.

But if you think you’ll get good use out of your pool, the work, costs and potential challenges around selling your home may well be justified. In many cases, the decision really is a lifestyle one rather than an investment one. So think hard and carefully about your personal preferences and whether the effort is worth it.