Four things to consider before installing a pool

In these hot summer months, most of us have looked at our backyards at least once and wondered whether a pool would be a worthwhile addition. But before you start phoning around and getting talked into something you don’t want, think carefully about why you want a pool, and whether it’s actually a good idea for you. We’ve compiled a list of four things you might want to consider before installing a pool, whether it’s for personal use or as a property investment.

1. Consider the climate

It’s easy to think that a pool belongs anywhere, but maybe you’re living in one of the warmer parts of the country. Installing a pool in southern parts of Australia is a different project. Not only is installation likely to be more expensive as there’s less demand in the area, but it’s less likely to add value to your property. Pools require a lot of maintenance. While this might not be an issue if you can use the pool year-round, it may be different where it’s colder. Combine maintenance costs with the amount of space that they take up and pools look far less appealing when you can’t use them every day.

If you’re in the kind of place that has nice summers but miserable winters and isn’t near the beach, check to see if there are nearby heated public pools. If you’re considering your resale value, proximity to those facilities become its own selling point, especially in colder climates where heated pools are often connected to gym complexes like the YMCA.

2. Consider your target market

If you’re considering a pool as a property investment, you first need to consider who the target market for your property is. There are plenty of demographics that would love a pool: families with school-aged children (so long as it’s properly fenced!), singles who like to entertain, families with a focus on fitness. But there are also plenty of demographics who don’t want the hassle or the expense. If you do decide to put a pool in, consider what it’s likely to be used for (kids, entertaining or just to have) and base your decision on that. A family probably doesn’t want a lap pool, but an executive couple might.

If you’re a homeowner, you need to balance what your family wants and what will make the property more saleable in the future. If you’re looking to hold on to your house for a long time this will be less important, but if you’re thinking about your resale value, think about the market and who you’d most likely be selling to in the future. Even if it doesn’t guide your decision, it might help steer it a little. A pool that fills your entire back yard might make sense to you now, but may dissuade buyers in the future.

3. Consider the cost and ongoing expense

Wanting something isn’t the same as needing something. There’s a part of us that knows this, and this is the part of us that compromises poorly to get what we think we want. This means that while you might really want a pool, you may not be able to afford one, or not the one you want. This may result in decisions that save money in the short-term rather than spending more upfront and getting the better product. For an expensive investment like a pool, this can be a problem. Once a pool is installed, you’re very unlikely to upgrade it, so make sure that you make the best decision and not just the cheapest decision.

A pool is a huge investment that can take up a lot of time, resources and space (in your head and in your backyard). It makes sense to wait for the right option rather than learn your lessons after installation. Ensuring the decisions you’re making are best for you now, and in the future, will save a lot of heartache down the line. Don’t forget: something you install that’s a compromise based on cost also denies a future buyer an easy installation. If the potential of someone else’s dream pool is worth more than the pool you can afford, then the right thing to do is to leave it.

4. Consider the pros and the cons

For a long time a pool was considered an obvious investment. The amount you paid for installation was about as much as it cost you to install it and the maintenance became something more like a subscription fee. Unfortunately, given inflation and the market, this may no longer be the case. 

As we discussed in this article, you need to consider your target market and what you want out of your pool. But you also need to think about whether you’re getting the best value out of your money. A pool might be a nice luxury, but would a covered outdoor area be a better investment? You only get to spend your money once, and pools not only cost money upfront but also create an ongoing cost with maintenance.

A pool might seem like a great idea, and it can be easy to convince yourself that it’s as much an investment as it is for personal enjoyment. Unfortunately, this may not always be the case. While this is not much fun to acknowledge, realising the reality of cost versus reward (either in value or personal enjoyment) is a calculation best done upfront. Not only will it give you more time to come to peace with your decision, but it’ll result in fewer frustrated conversations down the line when it comes time to sell and it hasn’t added any value to your property – or worse, it makes potential buyers walk away!

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