One of the biggest things that homebuyers are looking for these days are homes with pools. In fact, last year it was the single most-searched term among people looking for homes in Pennsylvania. (The appearance of covid and the associated closure of public pools has probably augmented those searches among those still buying homes, too.) If you’re thinking about buying a home with a pool, you may be wondering: “What are the advantages and disadvantages to having a pool in my backyard? What are the pros and cons here?”
Well, the combined wisdom of those who have homes with pools and Realtors who have helped buy and sell them over the years has a few lessons to teach on this subject. There are several advantages to having a pool in your backyard, but there are also a few disadvantages and complications you should consider.
Advantages to Buying a Home With A Pool
(Or Adding One After You Buy)
An excellent way to get regular exercise
Swimming pools are a great way to exercise in a way that is far more low-impact than exercising on dry land. You can get cardio in by swimming laps or playing games like water polo, and you can even use the limited gravity we experience in water to help you with weight training. Exercising in a pool reduces the impact on our joints, which becomes more important the older you get. Regular access to a pool can help you stay in shape!
Great for getting the kids to go outside
Kids these days have a lot of indoor distractions that it’s hard to lure them away from, but there’s no denying the call of a cool blue pool on a hot summer’s day. Having a pool for kids to swim in is a great way to tempt them away from screens into the great outdoors. Not only will that, but the extra exercise they get playing in the water when it’s hot out will help tire them out – something many parents of young children with boundless energy are desperate to do when they’re not in school.
Helps keep older kids out of trouble
As children get older, social interests call them away from the house and out to experience exciting things in the world more and more. And while this exploration is important, sometimes boredom and desire to do fun things with friends can lead them into undesirable or even dangerous situations. I’m not saying a pool will solve that issue by itself, but it’s no secret that most teenagers would love to group up and hang out around a pool. Keeping them in your backyard more often means knowing they’re safe more often.
In short, a teen with a pool is usually a well-entertained kid, and well-entertained kids aren’t usually the ones getting themselves into trouble.
Provides easy family bonding time
Keeping kids out of trouble isn’t the only worry parents face as their children get older. Sometimes as kids get closer to adulthood in varying stages, it can be harder to find activities that the whole family can bond over doing together. But hanging out by your backyard pool is definitely something that it would be hard for someone of any age to dislike.
This is true for parents whose children don’t live with them anymore, or even have children of their own: If you have a pool, the grandkids are going to want to come over all the time, and their parents will probably want to stay a little longer too. It’s not that they need the incentive, but when it exists, it sure is nice.
Great for hosting parties and gatherings
On the same note, having a pool area means having an space that makes it really easy to throw great summer parties and gatherings. Everybody loves a good barbecue, but those grilling parties go from great to amazing when there’s a pool for people to take a dip in. If you and your family are the social type, having a pool is like having a built-in party venue. To put on a spin on the old adage: “If you fill it with water, they will come.”
No paying for community pool memberships
Another advantage to having a pool? You don’t have to shell out for one of those (potentially expensive) community pool memberships every summer, nor do you have to deal with the crowds or the agony of trying to find a group of chairs large enough for everybody in your family. At your pool, you make the rules, and you are in charge of who is there and for how long.
(Plus, you can’t do fun things like take midnight swims in community pools!)
Easier access to relaxation
On top of that, when the pool is right in your backyard, it becomes worlds easier to just have a pool day. No more worrying about making sure you’ve got your bag all packed, that everyone has their suit and a change of clothes, loading everybody in the car, and then having to corral everybody (now soaking wet) back INTO the car at the end of the day. When you have a pool in your own home, all you have to do to use it is put on a suit, put on some sunscreen, and step outside.
Could help you save money on A.C. bills
It’s no secret that air conditioning can get pretty expensive in the summer. If you have a pool, all you have to do to combat that is tell everyone, “Ok, the A.C. is going off for the day, if you want to cool off, go jump in the pool!” It’s a tiny advantage, but sometimes a couple of days not running the air 24/7 can make a big difference on your electricity bill at the end of the month.
Adds value to your property
Of course, one of the largest advantages to owning a pool is the value it adds to your property. Homes with pools can be worth anywhere from 5% to 8% more than they would with a plain yard. It’s not an advantage you’ll see until you sell your house, but when that does happen, and you look back over all your years spent by the poolside, you’ll probably be more than glad that you had one.
Of course, with any large investment or extra area of a home, there are some disadvantages as well. Even if you don’t build the pool yourself, they come with their own challenges.
Disadvantages to a Home With a Pool
They require a lot of maintenance
Pools do require a lot of cleaning and care in order to keep them safe and fun for everyone. Never mind the fact that you’ll occasionally have to replace tiles or hardware to keep the pool running: You also have to make sure you maintain a healthy pH level by regularly replacing filters, cleaning out debris, and being sure that you don’t have too much or too little of the chemicals required to keep the water safe and free of bacteria.
Keeping a pool is either going to be a lot of work, or, if you hire a pool cleaning service to come in regularly, an extra expense.
In PA, you can only use them roughly five months of the year
If we lived in a climate that was warm year-round, of course having a home with a pool would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, here in PA, things don’t usually start to warm up until late May at the earliest, and the latest the weather usually stays warm enough for swimming is mid-October. That means that for more than half the year, you have to keep your pool covered over (and you have an area of your yard that’s basically unusable.)
That’s not to mention the extra work and expenses involved in draining, covering over, cleaning, and refilling a pool every year.
They do come with some extra liability
If you own a pool, you’re responsible for the safety everyone who uses it. You have to keep an eye on vulnerable children who may not be strong swimmers, and you have to make sure that you have adequate gating and fencing around the pool so that nobody falls in by accident. If you buy a home with a pool, you have to be ready to accept the risks that come with having a body of water in your backyard.
If you’re a pool-loving type of person, it’s clear that the advantages of owning a home with a pool greatly outweigh the disadvantages. You can’t exactly quantify the pros that come with it; it’s hard to measure years of family fun, happiness, and good times with friends. As long as you’re ready to accept the expenses, work, and responsibility of maintaining a pool, I bet you’ll see that buying a home that comes with one will be one of the greatest decisions you ever made.
If you’re looking to buy a home with a pool – or any home at all – please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, either by phone or email. I’d be happy to talk with you about all of the boxes you want to check on your new happy place, pool or otherwise. Let’s get you into the home you always dreamed of!