Should you buy a house with a pool?
Maybe...maybe not. Make sure that your decision to purchase a home with an existing pool is based on need and knowledge and not an emotional decision.
There is a common statement here in Palm Coast "The first home you buy in Palm Coast/Flagler County has a pool...the next home you buy does not" Why is this?
Pool homes can be a very exotic teaser to the first time buyer of a home in a warm climate...feeding into the lifestyle dream of floating around all day like you are on vacation, hosting lavish parties by the pool and inviting all of your new friends over to splash around with you etc....but after you purchase your new home and have paid the additional cost for a pool...not soon after you move in.... the reality takes hold. A pool can be very costly to maintain and unless you are a water fanatic that uses the pool on a daily or weekly basis....it just becomes a sparkling hole in the ground that eats money and time spent cleaning, chemicals, resurfacing and added insurance premiums.
Before you start imagining having wonderful weekends in that home you are about to purchase with the sparkling pool...also known as the "Cement Pond"-"Money Pit" by many pool owners....stop for a minute and ask yourself some very important questions.
1. Have you ever owned a pool before? Are you a swimmer? Do you currently make it a priority to swim at your local public pool or health club? Will you be spending time daily and or weekly in the pool.?
Keep in mind that most pools in Palm Coast are sized for dipping and splashing and not for swimming laps. Many first time pool owners are shocked at the amount of time and expense required for the upkeep of their new backyard "cement pond"....something they were not prepared for when they were imagining floating in the pool with a fruity drink in hand.
2. Do you have the time and desire to dedicate to a pool?
Maintenance on a pool can be very time consuming and costly. How much time do you plan on spending taking care of your pool? Are you familiar with the chemicals required to maintain your pool? You may need to spend several hours per week topping off the water level, testing the water and adding chemicals. It will also be important to scrub the sides of the pool to keep any algae from forming. .
3. Is the pool you are buying worth it?
The age and condition of a pool is important...VERY IMPORTANT. It is advisable to always get a separate inspection for specifically the pool. Make sure that all of the electrical is up to code, that any additional or new safety requirements have been implemented. The equipment on newer pools are less apt to leak and many pool contractors will put a new warranty on their work....not always an option on an older pool.
4. Does it really make sense to buy a home with a pool that is over 10-15 years old?
According to the experts, pools once they hit 10-15 years of age could require huge outlays of cash due to resurfacing and plumbing problems. Resurfacing an older pool can add up to as much as $10K depending on the size of the pool and how much tiling is involved, while a plumbing problem could run thousands if the decking around the pool needs to be ripped up to solve the problem.
5. Have you budgeted for the additional expense?
Here in Flagler County/Palm Coast, Florida, because we do have three seasons and it does occasionally get cold enough to freeze....you will probably only be using your pool 3-4 months out of the year unless it is heated. The costs associated with heating your pool in addition to running the cleaners and pumps can add up to an additional $200-$300 per month depending on the age, size and heating system of the pool. If you choose to hire a service to take care of the pool for you...plan on a bill of $60 - $100 per month for that service
6. Have you taken your liability and safety into account?
If you own a swimming pool or hot tub, you should seriously consider very high liability insurance . Many homeowner's insurance policies limit the maximum exposure of the insurer to $100,000. In Depending on the insurer you may be able to raise to $300,000, but getting covered beyond that, from your homeowner's plan, may prove rather difficult.
You may want to look into an umbrella plan and factor that additional cost before making your purchase. This is a separate liability policy in addition to your homeowner's coverage. The cost for this additional insurance protection will be different between insurers but should be roughly around an additional $500 per year.
Considering the millions of dollars of coverage it affords you, it is worth some very heavy consideration. We live in a very litigious society, and there may be legal consequences involved if anyone is harmed on your property. Safety issues are a concern when anyone (child or adult) is swimming in your pool.
"Drowning is the leading cause of
unintentional injury related death in
children ages one to four."
If you have children, elderly or pets that will require supervision when in or around the pool area...please, please, please read the following safety information before choosing to purchase a pool home...it could save a life.
7. Will I be happy with this pool in the future?
The house fits all of your needs, the location is ideal and the price is right...but you are unhappy with the size, condition, shape or placement of the pool. Or you never really wanted a pool to begin with...but all other aspects of the home meet your criteria. What should you do....WALK AWAY. The last thing you should ever do is to settle on what is considered a depreciating asset because you think you will learn to love it in the future or will have money in the future to change the design, configuration or upgrade the components of the pool. If you have to question why I say this...you are not prepared to own a home with a pool. If your instincts for any reason give you doubt about purchasing a home with a pool...listen to that little voice and ask yourself...how will I feel about this decision a year from now.
The bottom line is that you should only purchase a home with an existing pool if you really want one and are prepared financially for the upkeep and repairs.
As a professional REALTOR and person experienced with buyer's and seller's who have made home purchases based on the fact that the home had a pool and then later regretted that decision...even when I have tried to explain the responsibilities of purchasing a pool home....I have had several customers over the years that have stated when they moved to Florida...they thought they "had to have a pool"...after all isn't that the dream of moving to Florida...having a home with a pool? That lifestyle dream had in many cases cost them significant financial losses.
Whether you believe that you are prepared to own a pool home or have decided that a pool home does not fit your needs or budget...I would be happy to put my expertise to work for you in choosing your ideal home.
I ran some very interesting statistics today....they are very telling: This data is based on Single Family Residential Homes in Palm Coast, Florida.
- 649 Palm Coast Homes sold since January 1, 2008
- 125 Palm Coast Homes that sold since January 1, 2008 had a pool.
- 19% of all sold homes to date in 2008 had a pool
- 38% of all currently active homes for sale have a pool
- Average price per square foot premium of pool homes sold since January 1, 2008 is $32.61 per square foot.
Based upon the above data, it seems clear that the majority of people who are buying homes in Palm Coast/Flagler County do not want a home with an existing pool....hmmmm. And based upon the average square foot premium paid for a pool home of $32.61...for every 1000 square feet of home you could be paying as much as an additional $32,000 + for your home. Now call me crazy...but for $32,000 I would want to make sure my pool had a warranty and the newest and best technology for chemicals and heating and not inherit the previous owner's problems or bad design choices. But that is just me :-)
I will however make a very important suggestion - even if you have decided not to purchase a home with a pool...absolutely make sure that the home you do purchase has a lot that is large enough and will accommodate a pool in the future for any potential buyer's that do want a pool. Even if new buyer's of your home never do install a new pool...knowing that they have the choice will make your property more valuable than a property that is so restrictive that a pool will not fit.
With over 12 years of experience in buying, selling, managing & investing in real property personally in addition to being a very active, full time REALTOR in Palm Coast/Flagler County, Florida for 7 years come this October....I have learned that information is power and I am an advocate for customer empowerment.
Please feel free to search the MLS for free at my website www.Palm-Coast-Hot-Properties.com. You can sign up to be on the list of first to know when properties meeting your ideal criteria are newly listed, go pending or are sold.
DICLAIMER: The above statistical data was gathered from the Flagler county MLS and is not to be guaranteed reliable or accurate and is for informational purposes only. The search homes information is provided through IDX and Kristi L. Ross PA, Hawk Beach Realty, My Broker or associates are not in anyway responsible for any mistaken information provided and no information provided on my blog should ever be mistaken for legal advice. I am not an attorney...I am a Florida Licensed REALTOR.