The economics of a pool decision.

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
Hi everyone, I have been using TFP to solve some pool algae problems and generally getting up to speed on pool maintenance. We purchased this home three years ago and went through major remodeling before moving in.. However, one of the items still needing attention is the current pool. It is a very old in ground vinyl liner pool with lots of challenges. I did spend a little money dressing up this sow's ear, but it's far from a silk purse. I added some natural flagstone coping, new pump and a new cartridge filter. It kinda functions but...

The pool sits in a heavily treed location, has one small skimmer, no pool robot connections and we have been through at least four(!) different pool maintenance people in that short time. There are very few people who want to maintain liner pools in our area (DFW), and even less that want to deal with our "leaf catcher". The last person said there were fundamental problems with the pool that required too many chemicals, the circulation was poor etc. etc. and quit right at the end of August.

I came here to TFP after the pool turned a beautiful shade of green under my woeful pool maintenance skills to SLAM it back into shape and rethink how, why and what I am doing longer term. That has led me to consider replacing the pool, and that idea has led me to the first and likely most important part of this whole thing....money.

So I have looked all over the site to try and find where we talk about pool cost, value, return on investment and resale value. And, i'm not sure this discussion belongs here either but I'd like to share my thinking with others and see if I am even reasonably on track. I want to figure out how to get from here to a new pool that is easier to maintain, adds value to us, our friends and family and our home in the event we resell at some point.

Oh, and by the way, i'm 61 years old so none of the "kids" justifications apply to us directly.IMG_9242.jpg
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,633
Bedford, TX
L,

For the most part, there is zero return on investment for installing a pool... But... having a bad pool can certainly have a negative return on investment when you want to sell the property.

My take on this is... I don't care... I did not build my pool as an investment, or to impress my neighbors, I built it for our enjoyment.. We love it and would do it again in heart beat..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
442
Prosper, TX (DFW)
I've heard in the DFW market, you get back about $1 for every $8 you spend on a new construction of a pool. I'm not sure that translates to your existing pool, but either way its terrible from an investment standpoint.

Since you have already spent some $ on it, I would still try to make it work if you are going to use/enjoy the pool at all.

Is your primary issue the leaves? I would imagine that is mainly a fall/winter issue around here and much less in the spring and summer.
If that is the case, have you looked at some sort of cover to keep the leaves out? You also mention you have "no robot connections". A true robot (dolphin and other brands) only need a normal old electrical plug. Even if you dont have a plug by the pool you can get an extension cord. I have also seen solar powered skimmers and other gizmos that may help out with your skimming problem.

Good luck.
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
Hi Jim,

Well therein lies part of the problem, I was in our pool about five times last year. And frankly, I would enjoy a pool a lot more if I knew it was money well spent - thus the post.

Mark
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
3,828
Damascus, MD
I look at my pool as an investment in my life. I am not big on travel (Actually I HATE to travel) so this gives me a vacation at home. I also know where my kids are since they all like to swim and hang out at the pool with their friends. I love the water features and sitting on the deck with a glass of wine listening to the waterfall. If you are looking at a pool strictly as a financial return/investment, the numbers will not add up.
 

TWAcres

Silver Supporter
Jul 9, 2018
41
Ramona, CA
We are in the process of converting our IG vinyl liner pool to a standard shotcrete pool. And I will say, as much as I enjoy swimming, I don't think we would have taken on this project if we didn't have kiddos. It seems to me, the ROI on a pool project is almost always in intangibles, not money. However, having a non-functioning or troubled pool will give a negative ROI on both counts. Maybe different ideas for it? Fill it in and replace it with a bocci ball court? Turn it into a tilapia farm? Partially fill it in and create a reflection pool?

~ TWA
 
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RMcGirr83

Gold Supporter
Nov 19, 2018
432
Tuscola, TX
We had one installed when we finished building our house. From a pure Economics stand point, nope not worth it. From a 105 degree four months of the year stand point, definitely worth it. Plus we've had a few BYOF/ BYOB parties and it always gets used. Would we do it again? Not sure about inground. Cost per swim is right around $550 as of today but that number will decrease as we use it more.
 
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Katodude

Silver Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
403
West Palm Beach/Florida
Hi Jim,

Well therein lies part of the problem, I was in our pool about five times last year. And frankly, I would enjoy a pool a lot more if I knew it was money well spent - thus the post.

Mark
I would take some picture of your pool and post them. Nothing you indicated in your initial post is insurmountable. If your skimmer does not work well get a solar powered floating skimmer. I have one and it works great for me. $550 to solve that problem.

Someone already mentioned a pool robot and that will pick up what the skimmer does not. A good one starts at around $700. In fact start with that before you consider the solar powered skimmer. If you have poor circulation run the robot every day, it will help circulate your water.

We love our pool. I like being in it. I like looking at it. I could not imagine our home without it.
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
142
Katy, Texas
Being a CPA for 46 years, I can't help but look at ROI. In the case of a pool, I'd be happy to learn I could even get my money back on a resale. Talk to a realtor in your area to see what your chances are of getting your money back from upgrades or major maintenance repairs. One good question you could ask yourself, is how much was it worth to you when you bought the house three years ago? Financially speaking, in my opinion, a swimming pool is a lot like a boat. but where a boat is a hole in the water into which you throw money, a pool is a hole in the ground. One difference, though, is if you don't use a boat it doesn't cost you anything, where a pool will cost you money every month of every year you own it. I found Rich's comment interesting where he figured it cost about $550 per swim. Frankly, I'm a little afraid to do that math. Not sure I could take it.

As someone else mentioned, there are skimmer options, although I've not heard of one of those $600 solar powered skimmers that lasted long enough for my comfort. I would really appreciate hearing of one of the three solar skimmers currently on the market having lasted five years. One of the new models was just shown at a show in New Orleans, so it has -0- history. Their website doesn't even speak of a warranty. The others seem to be one year.

As to the stuff that falls to the bottom, again, as someone said, a robotic from Maytronics (Dolphin brand name), or another brand, especially a higher end one, will do an excellent job on the bottom. I'm in my first southeast Texas fall with my Dolphin M500. My neighbor two doors down got some river birch trees planted along both sides of his backyard. I sure hope he's gotten as many leaves in his pool as his trees have send via winds out of the north into my pool! After one serious blow and rain week before last, I walked out back to see a couple hundred leaves floating in my pool along with a similar number on the bottom. I used a net to skim those on the surface, but then I put the M500 in the pool. Note. The M400-600 have a third counterrotating brush in the center of the bottom, and I think that helps stir up debris to get sucked into the slots fore and aft of that brush, depending on which way it's going. It also does a credible job on the waterline.

Otherwise, a new liner might be the answer, along with serious maintenance beginning the day after the new liner is in place...and continuing until you die. I'm 72, and even the granddaughters (13 yr old fraternal twins) are less interested in a pool than they were five years ago. When they came for an overnight this weekend, they were more interested in ping pong than getting in the spa.
 

RMcGirr83

Gold Supporter
Nov 19, 2018
432
Tuscola, TX
I found Rich's comment interesting where he figured it cost about $550 per swim.
Pool was new Nov 2018. My wife and I get in at least twice per week for 4 months (pool season can be a bit longer...guesstimate). From one accountant, I'm a CFO for a IRF hospital, to another. Granted that isn't the "total cost of ownership" but close enough for government work.

Don't get me going about owning a Boat. We had one when the kids were younger, like 20 some odd years ago, a 26' SeaRay that had to be in a marina due to the size. I know all about "Break Out Another Thousand" which is what Boat actually stands for. That was a true money pit.

Pools aren't investments, they are for pure enjoyment. If it increases the value of your house a bit, I consider that a bonus.
 

walkinpool

Gold Supporter
Jul 19, 2019
23
Austin, Texas
I use this article to make myself feel better when I start thinking about how poor of an investment a pool is.

I'm still going to put a pool in soon...
 

Saturn94

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2015
708
Virginia
I use this article to make myself feel better when I start thinking about how poor of an investment a pool is.

I'm still going to put a pool in soon...
Interesting link.

I was surprised to see how much value a pool added in our area.

Knowing we were staying in our house long term, our decision to have a pool installed was purely based on the enjoyment we would get from it. Almost 16 years later we have no regrets.
 

mguzzy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
792
OV, CA
I was surprised to see how much value was added in MY area!....

So yeah... send us some pics of the pool.. and some more detail about the issues your other pool guys had and I bet you'll get lots of good recommendations about a course of action to take.. whether it will be to rehab, renovate, replace or demo! I am always amazed at the depth of knowledge around these forum walls.

Just a few ideas:
-Patch what ya got, and add more tech to make up for the short comings: ie robot, floating skimmers
-New liner, how old is the old one.. they do need to be replaced after awhile, and it would give you the opportunity to upgrade the circulation issues i bet
-Convert to a gunnite pool- more permanent. The hole is already there.
-I'll take ANY opportunity to tell people to convert to a SWG!
-Fill it in and turn it into a planter ... that costs money too

To me it sounds like you want to keep it as you have already added some bling to it.
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
I've heard in the DFW market, you get back about $1 for every $8 you spend on a new construction of a pool. I'm not sure that translates to your existing pool, but either way its terrible from an investment standpoint.

Since you have already spent some $ on it, I would still try to make it work if you are going to use/enjoy the pool at all.

Is your primary issue the leaves? I would imagine that is mainly a fall/winter issue around here and much less in the spring and summer.
If that is the case, have you looked at some sort of cover to keep the leaves out? You also mention you have "no robot connections". A true robot (dolphin and other brands) only need a normal old electrical plug. Even if you dont have a plug by the pool you can get an extension cord. I have also seen solar powered skimmers and other gizmos that may help out with your skimming problem.

Good luck.
Thanks for the information. I hadn't heard the $1 - $8 number before. I had heard a 7% of total market value of the home, which is interesting. But I can't help but think, like all remodeling projects that a lot depends on the design and execution and how the pool "fits" the neighborhood, home and the overall price of the house.

While we have been limping along with the old liner pool I looked at three different robot skimmer options. And I recently bought the hose and vachead etc for vacing with the skimmer suction but not really looking forward to that task everyday during fall...(just bought insulated rubber gloves).

But all of those options squeeze more life from this old pool by investing more time and money into it....which could easily be the best decision but...I have had two realtors here and and two pool builders and all say that our current liner pool is a liability to the value of our home.
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
I look at my pool as an investment in my life. I am not big on travel (Actually I HATE to travel) so this gives me a vacation at home. I also know where my kids are since they all like to swim and hang out at the pool with their friends. I love the water features and sitting on the deck with a glass of wine listening to the waterfall. If you are looking at a pool strictly as a financial return/investment, the numbers will not add up.
Our pool is not visible from the main part of the home, we don't have kids and we have 2.5 acres of other places to sit and enjoy the outdoors. We do travel some but my wife isnt going to let me trade one for the other.
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
We are in the process of converting our IG vinyl liner pool to a standard shotcrete pool. And I will say, as much as I enjoy swimming, I don't think we would have taken on this project if we didn't have kiddos. It seems to me, the ROI on a pool project is almost always in intangibles, not money. However, having a non-functioning or troubled pool will give a negative ROI on both counts. Maybe different ideas for it? Fill it in and replace it with a bocci ball court? Turn it into a tilapia farm? Partially fill it in and create a reflection pool?

~ TWA
Love it, Tilapia farm...

I'm interested in why you chose to switch. What I know about IG liner pools, and I've tried to do my research, is that they are considerably more popular elsewhere in the US and don't carry the same stigma they do here in DFW. In fact one pool builder who still rehabs and builds liner pools says they're popular almost everywhere BUT DFW. And that DFW is THE home of gunite pool snobbery. And that snobbery was echoed by both realtors I had advice from. They say A- buyers won't even come look at the property with a liner pool B- they will be disappointed to discover its a liner pool, or C -they would want a contingency to build a new pool.

All of that translates into poor ROI for keeping the thing. IMO.
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
We had one installed when we finished building our house. From a pure Economics stand point, nope not worth it. From a 105 degree four months of the year stand point, definitely worth it. Plus we've had a few BYOF/ BYOB parties and it always gets used. Would we do it again? Not sure about inground. Cost per swim is right around $550 as of today but that number will decrease as we use it more.

Have you had a realtor give an opinion on the pool's value to your home? Here in the suburbs of DFW, for house our size etc the realtors say a pool is a pretty big must-have. And my argument has been - if that's true, why is it such a bad investment?
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
I would take some picture of your pool and post them. Nothing you indicated in your initial post is insurmountable. If your skimmer does not work well get a solar powered floating skimmer. I have one and it works great for me. $550 to solve that problem.

Someone already mentioned a pool robot and that will pick up what the skimmer does not. A good one starts at around $700. In fact start with that before you consider the solar powered skimmer. If you have poor circulation run the robot every day, it will help circulate your water.

We love our pool. I like being in it. I like looking at it. I could not imagine our home without it.

Thanks for the information...had not heard of the solar skimmer...will it handle lots of big leaves? (Post oak specifically). I will post pics later today.
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
3,828
Damascus, MD
Have you had a realtor give an opinion on the pool's value to your home? Here in the suburbs of DFW, for house our size etc the realtors say a pool is a pretty big must-have. And my argument has been - if that's true, why is it such a bad investment?
There are no definites in life and even less with "investments". In some markets a pool adds value and in some it does not. Even in one neighborhood in the same market it might add and another not. Pools, in general, are not considered value added additions to homes rarely returning even a break-even and much less a profit. You've got to look at the whole picture and factor in the intangibles. In your DFW case, do all/most homes in that neighborhood have a pool? If so, and yours does not, your home may value less or take longer to sell. In essence the pool is adding value.

The more expensive the neighborhood in relation to others in your area also factors in. Those that can afford a bigger/better home also tend to want more features like a pool. Those that are already stretching their budget tend to not want "frills" like a pool.