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Thoughts on a pool?
Old 01-27-2013, 03:03 PM   #1
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Thoughts on a pool?

DW & I are looking for a home for soon to be ER (mine very soon, hers a couple yrs). I was wondering what some of you thought about swimming pools in the backyard. I'm exclusively talking about a single family home, not apartment-type situations. Either you bought a house that already had a pool, or you added the pool after you were living in the house.

I know there's some added expense, both maintenance & additional insurance. If somebody wouldn't mind sharing what they experienced in both areas, I'd really appreciate the help.

Also, how much did you use the pool? Did you use it more or less than you expected to? Do you feel like it was worth the cost & effort involved, or did/does it seem like a big hole in the ground where you throw your hard-earned money?

We're currently considering buying a home in Louisiana, that has a nice pool in the back that the current owner had installed by a reputable local company. We have a daughter in the area who I think will probably bring our 2 grandkids over some to swim, but I'm not sure that, plus the "now & then" that DW & I will use the pool is enough to justify the ongoing expense & hassle.

Or....we may find that we really enjoy having the convenience of a pool right out the back door, and that it really is worth it. Does anybody have any thoughts on whether having an in-ground pool might make it harder or easier to sell the house in a few years, should we decide to unload the house?

Thanks for any and all input on this topic. I did a very quick search, and didn't really turn up a related thread. I admit I was pressed for time though, headed back out to take another look at the house/pool....
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:28 PM   #2
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Pools are great when you have young kids, or grand kids. When my children were pre-teen, we used ours nearly daily in the summer. It's a good-sized diving pool. Many homes now just have a wading pool.

Then, for nearly 10 years, the pool was just there for me to maintain. Paid for it to be resurfaced once. I believe there were some years where no one got in the pool for an entire summer. I consoled myself that if not neglected, a pool took less time to maintain than a lawn.

Last year, my wife and I decided that we would use the pool every day in the summer. It was refreshing to go for a walk, then to take a swim when the temperature was 100F+. So, I will try to use it again until wheelchair time.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:38 PM   #3
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Marty, for reference, we've never owned a house with a pool and there is a reason for that. Owning a pool is like owning a horse - care and feeding/maintenance is never ending. You will have to do it yourself or pay someone do it. Either way, it is a permanent chore, and unlike owning a horse, you can't sell it without selling the house.

Not sure about how it impacts resale, but when we were shopping for houses it was one of those extras that caused us to look elsewhere.

I'm sure others will be along shortly with an entirely different opinion...
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:40 PM   #4
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I have a large pool . It is easy to maintain but frankly the best option is living in a community that has a pool . We use ours in the summer but not enough to warrant the expense.My next house will have a community pool only.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:41 PM   #5
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We had one when the kids were little then took it down during the college years. We now wish we had one for ourselves but have no need for something big, just something to cool off in. Something along the lines of a small 5' x 7' dipping pool.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:43 PM   #6
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What Moemg said.

Although we never owned a pool, when our kids were growing up we lived in neighborhoods with community pools, paid for by our homeowner association dues. That worked great, especially when they became teenagers and got summer jobs lifeguarding!
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:45 PM   #7
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Built a house when kids were early teens, on insistence from DW. In FL. Turns out the social attraction for the kids was not there, it was at the community type pools. Maintenance was a headache. I'd put it up there as one of the worst decisions ever...for US. I'm sure others love their pools, we didn't. Now retired, we love the community pool. If someone offered a free one in our back yard I'd turn it down. Same for a hot tub, which we never had. Anyone want our jacuzzi tub?
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:54 PM   #8
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Had one when I lived in the CA desert. It was nice and I was young but I wouldn't want to have one now unless I had enough money to hire someone to feed it, bathe it and put it to bed.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:57 PM   #9
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Marty, if you do a little searching and asking around, you will find all kinds of pool horror stories - much as you will hear all kinds of tenant horror stories when you're thinking of becoming a landlord.

Many people enjoy pools for years with no problems, but if something goes wrong with an in-ground pool, it can be a real expensive headache. Communities require you to put up a fence to keep out kids - if kids trespass into your pool and are injured or drowned, a court of law will hold you responsible (google "attractive nuisance.")

Also, unless you're in southern Florida or California where it's warm all year round, your pool will need to be heated, or else your use will be limited to the warmest months.

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Old 01-27-2013, 04:00 PM   #10
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Had a large pool in Texas, and as the others have said, the maintenance is a serious chore.
You mentioned insurance costs, but our experience was that it made no difference in the premium. They were mainly concerned that we had a fence around the yard that was lockable. We did not have any small kids at the time. Some of the neighbors said that having a diving board made a difference, but we also had a board. One thing for sure, have a detailed inspection done on the pump, filter, lights and surface. These are all things that are vital and very expensive.

All that said, we had some great times with the pool, but they could not justify the cost. Glad it's gone, but now the $3500 pool table drives me crazy cause it never gets used.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPatrick View Post
Glad it's gone, but now the $3500 pool table drives me crazy cause it never gets used.
You bought a table for your pool?
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:11 PM   #12
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You bought a table for your pool?
Yup, and once in awhile, we are visited by pool sharks.

sigh..
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:15 PM   #13
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We had a house built and had an in-ground pool put in a few years later when our son was about 4. It got used 3-5 times a week during the summer but gets used less now that he is 13 and is into video games and other things. We still use it about twice a week when its hot. A couple times per season we have a big pool party and its a lot of fun to have all of our friends over playing volleyball and goofing off. We also had an in ground hot tub built and we use it about once a week during the non summer seasons. If we moved into a new house at this point in our lives I wouldn't want a pool as I just don't think we use it enough anymore. Having said that, the maintenance is nowhere near what alot of people talk about. I probably spend 30 minutes per week on it. All I do is brush it once a week and sweep a few leaves out of the bottom after a big wind storm. The Polaris does the rest.

In summary, we loved it when our son was young. Now, just the hot tub would be great.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:28 PM   #14
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Had one, filled it in 2 years ago. Hadnt opened it the previous year and rarely used it after the kids became teenagers. What I remember most was it was a pita to keep clean, particularly if you dont use it much.

I prefer pools to lakes and oceans....but I dont think I would ever want to overhead of a pool again.

Disclaimer - we live in New Hampshire. Season's pretty short here.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:30 PM   #15
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When we relocated to central FL, we couldn't find a house we liked, so we had one built. In FL even at our moderate price range, a pool was considered essential for resale. There wasn't a single home in our neighborhood without a pool, and a screen enclosure.

It was great fun at first, but after a few months, we'd dive in to cool off (it was refreshing) but get out almost right away. Didn't even sit out there. It was also nice to jump in & out while mowing the lawn or working outside. But eventually we weren't using it at all. The maintenance costs were moderate but significant, and the pool must be constantly maintained - no ifs, ands or buts. I let it go just a little once and had an algae bloom that was an expensive mess to clear up. Skimming and cleaning is a PITA, but I bought an auto crawler/cleaner, it was worth it.

If you have kids or grand kids over a lot or it's necessary for resale in the area it might be worth it. But I'd never have another pool otherwise.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:40 PM   #16
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I've had two houses with pools and currently have a Sundance spa.

Pools have advantages and disadvantages. My experience is that they are not really much of a net positive or negative for resale (talking about in the South). Some people absolutely want a pool (or think it is a positive), some absolutely don't want one and many are neutral.

Overall thoughts:
st pool - we built it to your specifications when we bought the house. Pool was beautiful, rock waterfall, built in spa.

Positives - fun use, spa was nice, was beautiful and made the backyward look nice. Maintenance was done by DH and was easy to do. Had very few problems.

Negatives - Even doing maintenance ourselves there is a cost for chemicals, equipment (but frankly it wasn't onerous). We had a 5 year old child so I was absolutely paranoid about safety. In addition to the fence around the yard, we added a wrought iron inner fence. Most people make those 4 foot for aesthetics but it is useless so we put in a 6 foot inner fence. We also put alarms that would beep loudly on every door in the house if someone went outside. Basically for our son to get to the pool, we would have to get out the back without us noticing and then would either have to climb over a 6 foot fence or find the key to the locked gate.

You mention grandchildren. I don't know how old they are. If they aren't old enough to be proficient swimmers I would implore you to put in safeguards. Grandkids have been known to die in grandparents' pool because the grandparents didn't really put in effective safety since they child isn't there all the time.

DH and I used the pool some, but used the spa more.

Pool 2 - Kids were much older by then and we were sort of agnostic on having a pool. The house had one so we bought it anyway. Pool was very plain vanilla, no spa. It was basically blah. Never used it that much.

Big negative of this pool - Yard had many, many trees. We constantly had leaves in the pool which made it very difficult to balance the chemicals. It was never ending work. We finally did hire a company to do the regular maintenance. I would never have a pool again in a situation with high leaves.

Current house - We just bought last month a Sundance Maxxus spa. For us, it is the best of both worlds. Much easier maintenance, less cost, less space requirements. But it gives us the spa which is what we liked most in the pool. A pool with a built in spa is nice....but a standalone spa runs rings around a built in pool spa.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:50 PM   #17
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+1 on children's safety.

And all little kids should take swimming lessons ASAP, whether they have a pool or not. One does not have to be a competitive swimmer, only to know enough to not drown a few feet from shore. It's a skill one should have, just like riding a bike or driving.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:50 PM   #18
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I have a sister who has a pool.... they used to use it a lot when their teenage kids were still at home... usually use it about once a week during the summer...

When I went house shopping I asked her how much it costs to maintain the pool... she figured it out to be about $600 per month for 'the season'... IOW, the time you can really use a pool....

The cost is in electricity for running a pump almost all the time, added water (the sun will evaporate a LOT from it), the chemicals and any breakdown... and it it has a leak, that can be a PITA....

We bought a house with a decent size hot tub... we can heat it in the winter and go splash around if we want... we also have the neighborhood pool right across the street, so can just walk over there when we want... the downside is they are not open as long as we would like... but, to me the cost/benefit just does not compute to owning a pool.....
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:51 PM   #19
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I had a house with a pool for 11 years. I did all the maintenance and it really didn't take a lot of effort. You do need to purchase chemicals for it unless you get a system that cleans the pool without them. I checked the water levels weekly and adjusted as needed.

I did have to replace the pool sweep twice. Once because it broke and the second time because someone stole the new one. They came into my unlocked back yard and took it out of the pool during the night. I locked the fence from then on.

While we lived in the house, my kids were 6 - 18 and they used the pool constantly for the first 8 or 9 years. However as they got jobs and cars and were busy in high school, the pool was used less. I did not use it much.

If I wanted a pool now, I would buy a house in a community with a pool. Then I could go and use it but not have to do the work or have it take space in my back yard. I have raised beds to grow vegetables in back and would not want to trade that space for a pool.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:00 PM   #20
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Marty...

The three things not to have...a pack of dogs...a boat too big to trailer...and a swimming pool.

We had a pool a number of years ago. It was nice for a while. But, it didn't get used later on. Pool upkeep is time consuming and chemicals can get expensive. In the long run, I do not think a pool is worth it. I would rather use the space for a garden like KB said.
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