The economics of a pool decision.

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,180
NY
I think it’s all relative to *who* is looking to buy a house in your neighborhood. My neighborhood has always been for families with small kids looking to get into the local schools. Most of them would take the house with the pool faster than the comp house without it. Not everybody of course, but most of the people buying houses near me. At the moment about 50% of the hood have pools. People aren’t looking to retire and downsize in my neighborhood so the people looking to not have a pool are looking elsewhere. If my pool gets my house sold quicker and for the asking price, then it’s a defacto ROI versus the no pool house that sat for 6 months and came down $40k on their asking price. So I can not have any extra equity on paper but still get it if I get what I’m asking when the non pool house doesn’t have 3 people bidding for it.
 

lngtrm1

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

Awesome article...this is exactly what I needed to see. Unfortunately they don't list DFW but, it begins to expose how to look at the economics of a pool build. It doesn't break down the difference in pool type but still, there seems to be a sweet spot where a pool build can be a sound financial investment IF it's a good design and execution.

Thanks!
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
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.
Thanks for the insight and I completely agree. Context matters as the article posted above illustrates. Those general "pool" is a bad investment stories aren't necessarily accurate in the way they depict pool ROI.
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
I think it’s all relative to *who* is looking to buy a house in your neighborhood. My neighborhood has always been for families with small kids looking to get into the local schools. Most of them would take the house with the pool faster than the comp house without it. Not everybody of course, but most of the people buying houses near me. At the moment about 50% of the hood have pools. People aren’t looking to retire and downsize in my neighborhood so the people looking to not have a pool are looking elsewhere. If my pool gets my house sold quicker and for the asking price, then it’s a defacto ROI versus the no pool house that sat for 6 months and came down $40k on their asking price. So I can not have any extra equity on paper but still get it if I get what I’m asking when the non pool house doesn’t have 3 people bidding for it.

Thank you for your insight. I think having kids plays a large factor but I'm having trouble figuring that out too but more on that later. In my view the number of bedrooms a house has to play a part in what kind of buyer is interested in your home. As is price of course, and here in southern climes, a pool plays a role. If someone is house shopping here, they will fire up Zillow and at least enter the price range, number of bedrooms, the desired location (schools) and pool or no pool. (IMO).

I have a four bedroom home, in the second most desirable school district in this area. I think any prospective buyer will likely have kids, and thus want a pool...which then begs the question, what kind of pool? Play pool w/slide, volleyball net, etc etc?
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
Just as an added note here, I want to be clear that we aren't trying to sell our house, we are trying to make investments in it that have good ROI, always have. The underlying issues are many but suffice to say, my wife and I don't come from money, never really expected to have any, and think of our home as a major investment that is part of our investment mix. If we decide to do something to the home it always has a ROI component. We purchased this home in a great school district because we know that will help values in good times or bad. We don't have children and the property taxes are ridiculous, but we know that goes with good schools and good schools go with good home values over time.
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
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...
I think that article says, if there's enough value in the home, that you should absolutely put in a pool.
 

lngtrm1

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

Thanks Bowser, we were having friends over in our age group and told them to bring their suits...the reply was...we don't have pool bodies...so no.

I'll do some research on the dolphin, thanks for that. BTW, did you read that article linked here...good stuff imo, the methodology sounded like how I would analyze it...you agree from a CPA pov?
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
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.
Agree with everything you said here. But that's where it gets tough and it's clear to me now, the decision can't be answered with "it's a 25% ROI at resale" and it can't be 7% of a home's value either. And just for context's sake, I asked a gunite pool builder here what the cheapest pool he had ever built and his answer was $37,500. So if that's the floor, and the sky's the ceiling, no singular rule of thumb applies. And that is also telling me, there may be instances where a pool build could at least get 100% resale ROI if conditions were perfect.
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
I think it’s all relative to *who* is looking to buy a house in your neighborhood. My neighborhood has always been for families with small kids looking to get into the local schools. Most of them would take the house with the pool faster than the comp house without it. Not everybody of course, but most of the people buying houses near me. At the moment about 50% of the hood have pools. People aren’t looking to retire and downsize in my neighborhood so the people looking to not have a pool are looking elsewhere. If my pool gets my house sold quicker and for the asking price, then it’s a defacto ROI versus the no pool house that sat for 6 months and came down $40k on their asking price. So I can not have any extra equity on paper but still get it if I get what I’m asking when the non pool house doesn’t have 3 people bidding for it.
Agreed, surprised to see the 50% number there in NY. You bring up a good point that's hard to place a value on, and that's time on the market. But the question no one seems to be able to answer is, if a pool helps you sell your house (depending on the likely prospective buyers of course), how can it not have a superior ROI that can possibly pay for the pool? To your point. And if it does, how can it not at some point, be a solid financial decision?
 

foo.c

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2018
103
Georgetown, TX
Everything has a ROI, but not everything has a positive ROI.

If I thought it was going to prevent me from being able to retire or send my kids to college I wouldn't get a pool, it's a luxury item. I don't need a positive ROI on my pool and I've pretty much written the cost off in my head.

However, I would argue that labor and materials have a decent chance of being more expensive in the future (no guarantee though), so a well maintained pool in good shape could play a factor to a future buyer, but it's hard to estimate what that could be now.
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
Everything has a ROI, but not everything has a positive ROI.

If I thought it was going to prevent me from being able to retire or send my kids to college I wouldn't get a pool, it's a luxury item. I don't need a positive ROI on my pool and I've pretty much written the cost off in my head.

However, I would argue that labor and materials have a decent chance of being more expensive in the future (no guarantee though), so a well maintained pool in good shape could play a factor to a future buyer, but it's hard to estimate what that could be now.

Good point, there is some form of depreciation for the pool, some amount of inflation and some amount of market flex that will drive labor costs up or down. And to some degree materials. But imo, inflation will cancel out future cost increases except for market fluctuations related to real estate booms or busts. (The entire value of the house will be reduced in a cooler market but I would expect the pool to decrease at the same rate, not more or less, in any reasonable fluctuation.)
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
Here's what I have so far from these discussions and general input...any thoughts?

Primary factors in pool value and financial ROI in descending order.

1 - Location in the US - is the pool in warmer climates where one can expect to get more use, and, therefore, be in a city/town where pool ownership is higher.
2 - Location in the city or area - is the home in higher or lower end residential areas with more or less pools? And, what % of the homes are suitable/preferred for kids. (Kids increase pool ROI)
3 - Home value - Homes with greater value are expected to have pools along with other amenities. Homes with lesser value are unreasonably burdened by a pool’s ownership and purchase cost.
4 - Importance to the home’s aesthetics – is the pool prominent? Is the pool an enhancement to its appeal?
5 - Pool type – Is the pool attractive, and consistent with the norms for the location and value?
6 - Pool builder – is the builder still around? Is there a warranty? Are they known for quality?
7 - Age of the pool – does it look or perform like it's well past its prime?
8 - Pool problems – cracking – needs new plaster or liner or gel coat, is it old equipment, or equipment with a bad reputation (salt pools?) does it have poor or substandard fencing?
9 - Pool maintenance – is the pool difficult to maintain?
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,180
NY
There are probably just too many intangibles to put any definitive spin on it. The same goes for any remodel. There are accepted general rules of thumb, but it all falls back to the market cost of any specific neighborhood. If you live in a $150k neighborhood, your ammenities matter much less to your ROI. You can take an offer down 10% from your asking price and pocket the money you didnt spend. $200-k-$400k houses probably fall into some sort of grey area as to what the buyers are demanding and how much you are willing to spend to appease them, and over $400k you better have more ammenities to justify the asking price.
 

TWAcres

Silver Supporter
Jul 9, 2018
41
Ramona, CA
Love it, Tilapia farm...

I'm interested in why you chose to switch.
We looked into liner (could only find one PB out of the 10 we called), but the cost of the liner and needed repairs was only a "little" less then fixing the pool in shotcrete & stonescape finish. Keep in mind, this was an abandoned pool and we were basically starting from scratch. And vinyl liner pools are not popular at all here in SoCal.

~ TWA
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
1,352
Morris Cnty NJ
To the OP please post some pics of the pool and deck. I see alot of trees in the single pic you posted. No matter the pool type leaves are a nightmare especially from trees that close. A robot isn't meant to pick up that amount of droppings. Evan an expensive autcover would need a leaf blower first before uncovering. If the pool is structurally ok it can be rehabbed far cheaper than a new build.
 

Katodude

Silver Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
403
West Palm Beach/Florida
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.
I would start with a s200 series robot. If you like that and you decide you want to make maintenance easier then buy the Solar Breeze. It has about 2 times as much capture area as a skimmer basket. But depending on how many leaves you have you will still need to empty is.

Again start with a standard robot. It will make your pool life much better.
 

needsajet

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 4, 2016
4,698
Sydney, NSW, Australia
All I can add is to give the one skimmer a fair shot. A single skimmer is not unusual for a pool that size. You may be able to re-aim the return jet eyeballs and get better circulation of the surface water toward the skimmer. There's not much easier pool maintenance than emptying the skimmer, and it costs nothing to try :)
 

mguzzy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
792
OV, CA
Here's what I have so far from these discussions and general input...any thoughts?

Primary factors in pool value and financial ROI in descending order.

1 - Location in the US - is the pool in warmer climates where one can expect to get more use, and, therefore, be in a city/town where pool ownership is higher.
2 - Location in the city or area - is the home in higher or lower end residential areas with more or less pools? And, what % of the homes are suitable/preferred for kids. (Kids increase pool ROI)
3 - Home value - Homes with greater value are expected to have pools along with other amenities. Homes with lesser value are unreasonably burdened by a pool’s ownership and purchase cost.
4 - Importance to the home’s aesthetics – is the pool prominent? Is the pool an enhancement to its appeal?
5 - Pool type – Is the pool attractive, and consistent with the norms for the location and value?
6 - Pool builder – is the builder still around? Is there a warranty? Are they known for quality?
7 - Age of the pool – does it look or perform like it's well past its prime?
8 - Pool problems – cracking – needs new plaster or liner or gel coat, is it old equipment, or equipment with a bad reputation (salt pools?) does it have poor or substandard fencing?
9 - Pool maintenance – is the pool difficult to maintain?
There are probably just too many intangibles to put any definitive spin on it. The same goes for any remodel. There are accepted general rules of thumb, but it all falls back to the market cost of any specific neighborhood. If you live in a $150k neighborhood, your ammenities matter much less to your ROI. You can take an offer down 10% from your asking price and pocket the money you didnt spend. $200-k-$400k houses probably fall into some sort of grey area as to what the buyers are demanding and how much you are willing to spend to appease them, and over $400k you better have more ammenities to justify the asking price.
yep.. I think you pretty much summed it up.... In a purely economic sense there is no ROI that can justify a pool... then why are we hanging around this website ;)... because we like them, and that will represent a different value to each person.

It the case of your pool... I just looked at the pic you posted in your first post. There must be some reason you maintained it and added some nice decking to it after moving in, yes? I think it looks nice. If the condition of the liner is fine, then keep it, just IMHO. If you are looking for ways to make the maintenance easier I like what's been suggested. A cover for the leaves, a robot for sweeping, an SWG for chlorine will almost make it self sustaining..

I too am the same age as you.. The kids are all heading off to college, but I maintain the pool because its a part of the house and yard experience.. I just like it. Yeah it gets fired up for parties, but the summer days of non stop swimming is long gone. But I still think it worth it for me. If you find your pool is not really a part of the lifestyle you have for your property after 3 years, I can see where you are considering the value of maintaining it or cutting it loose.. good luck. Keep us posted
 
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SBall

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2017
249
Nashville, TN
Let's face it, you bought the house three years ago and it had the pool, presumably in poor shape. You should know far better than any of us how that may (or may not) have impacted your decision to buy the house. The pool looks better now than it did, and IMO, looks very nice and clean from that pic. Spend a few thousand bucks on a new liner, get a robot, grab a wine cooler and chill about it. You bought this house with this pool...somebody else will buy this house and this pool from you.
 

lngtrm1

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2017
45
Colleyville Texas (DFW)
We looked into liner (could only find one PB out of the 10 we called), but the cost of the liner and needed repairs was only a "little" less then fixing the pool in shotcrete & stonescape finish. Keep in mind, this was an abandoned pool and we were basically starting from scratch. And vinyl liner pools are not popular at all here in SoCal.

~ TWA
Yes, finding the same things...a couple guys do them and they seem semi retired or just not that interested. Our walls are bowed, the liner wrinkled, etc etc...