Four Big Things to Consider When Looking for a Home Pool

Homebuyers here in the Midwest and across the country are looking for properties with more outdoor space to enjoy — and that includes a rise in homeowners searching for homes that come complete with outdoor pools. 

As writer Barbara Ballinger recently put it for REALTOR® Magazine

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a huge wave of interest and increased desirability for stay-at-home entertainment, but home shoppers should be prepared to pay a premium for a house with a pool or to have one installed.

According to data compiled by Homelight and presented by REALTOR® Magazine, homes with pools are currently selling at a premium across the country. Here in the Midwest region, for instance, real estate agents polled by Homelight project that the estimated value of having a backyard swimming pool has increased by 88 percent since the start of the pandemic. Across the country, 68 percent of real estate professionals say that they expect pool additions to continue surging in popularity within their local markets. 

It’s easy to see why pools are becoming more popular in the face of the pandemic. Just like vacation homes and open-air features such as outdoor kitchens and dining areas — which are also surging in popularity in our current market — pools offer the chance to cool off and have fun, without leaving the comfort and safety of home. At the same time, buying a home with a pool or adding one to your property can come with some major challenges and responsibilities to be aware of. 

If you’re one of the people adding a pool to your list of “wants” in a future home, it’s important to do some research and understand what you can expect. Here are some important considerations for owning a pool to discuss with your Chicagoland real estate broker:

What Style of Pool Are You Looking for?

Pools go through trends just like kitchens or bathrooms — and what’s in style now might not be the same thing that buyers are looking for in five or ten years. Similarly, whether you’re purchasing a home with a pool or looking to add one to a property you already own, it’s important to understand all of the options and features available to you. What size pool are you looking for? Do you want to be able to dive or swim laps, or just go for a quick splash on a hot day? What materials interest you the most? Granite? Fiberglass? Do you want a salt water pool, or a chemically treated pool? Heated or unheated? Where will the equipment be stored? 

As with so many real estate-related decisions, it’s important that you take some time to research and look into all of the options out there before moving forward, so you can find the pool that’s the perfect fit for your goals.

The Right Fit for Your Lifestyle 

Looking for the opportunity to exercise or relax in the great outdoors? A pool may certainly be the right fit for you. Swimming, water aerobics, and other aquatic activities have been linked to a whole host of positive health benefits — from promoting improved muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness, to alleviating stress and promoting overall well-being. At the same time, a pool can be a wonderful destination for entertaining, especially when coupled with a great outdoor patio space.

With all that being said, it’s also important to be realistic. A pool can require a significant investment of time, energy, and resources. Will it be worth it? How often will you use the pool for exercise, or to entertain? Are you willing to commit the work required to maintain the facilities properly? Think about the weather and its impact on your lifestyle, as well; realistically, how often throughout the year will you be able to put the pool to use?

Paying the Prices

While a pool might seem like an enticing feature, it’s important to factor in the many different costs involved — ranging from higher monthly utility bills and the costs of routine cleanings, to unexpected repairs and maintenance if anything ever goes wrong. Meanwhile, pools often come with higher insurance premiums, and homeowners with pools often report paying more in property taxes, as well. And while a pool might seem like a sterling investment, it’s important to remember that it does not ensure appreciation or return; for instance, prior to the pandemic, a 2018 poll found that only 2 percent of REALTORS® said that a pool helped to sell a home. 

Safety First

Safety is one of the most important considerations when purchasing a home with a pool, or adding one to your property. When buying a home with a pool, this starts before you get to the closing table. Many experts recommend making sure that a pool inspection is part of your transaction; as writer Sally Herigstad puts it for, an inspection is key for giving you confidence “you can afford to fix the pool and maintain it” over time. 

Pools can also become  a major source for accidents, and it is important to take steps to ensure that your pool will be child- and pet-safe, which may require both adding safety features and investing time in training and coaching your family. You might also be required to take on other projects to ensure that your pool is safe and in compliance with all local ordinances, such as adding fencing at a particular height or at a specific distance from the water. 

When Home Means More, You Need a Team With More to Offer

Is your home working for you? For many of us, the way we think about our homes has changed — and that might mean you’re ready to make a move to find one that better fits where you are now. After all, home is about so much more than just four walls. Sometimes, you need more of what’s outdoors.

Buying or selling a home is a big deal, and with everything we experienced in 2020, our homes have never been more important. That’s why your local Baird & Warner agent is with you at every step of the way, with the tools and support you need to make your real estate journey easier — including in-house connections with local experts in mortgage and title

So whether you’re looking for more space to run and play or just enough for a seat in the sun, your Baird & Warner agent can help guide you through every part of the buying and selling process to find the place that’s just right. 

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