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Buying a Home with a Pool

Brooke Chaffee-Zayas realtor with Monticello, Licensed Real Estate Broker Clifton Park NY

Brooke Chaffee-Zayas realtor with Monticello, Licensed Real Estate Broker Clifton Park NY

Brooke Chaffee-Zayas recently pulled together helpful tips for home buyers looking to own a home with a pool. As mom, pool owner, and realtor Brooke shares some great advice.

1. There are many misconceptions about what a pool can do for the property value of the home. Many home buyers and sellers believe it clearly adds value, but that is not always the case. Does having a pool add property value to your home, and if not, why? 

For some families, a residential pool can be the center of the home for everyone to enjoy all summer long. In this market, about 50% of our buyers do not want a pool. About 25% would like to have a pool and the other 25% are undecided. So, when house hunting for those that do want a pool, or are undecided, pools certainly add value this time of year. A house with a well- maintained pool on a warm, sunny day in July looks inviting to a buyer. And can certainly change the minds of those undecided on pool ownership. However, in late February, when the pools are covered and there is snow on the ground, buyers are not as interested in pools. It’s cold out, and the overall look of a yard is not nearly as inviting as it was when the pool was open.

For sellers, make sure to take photos when your pool is open and the landscaping looks its very best. Save those photos if you decide to list when the pool is closed. Then buyers have an
opportunity to see your backyard and envision their family enjoying a pool during the summer months.

2. Summertime always brings stories to the forefront of accidental drownings and pool-related deaths for young children. As a realtor, what have you seen home owners with a pool do to enhance the safety of their outdoor space?

Pool ownership certainly brings enjoyment for the entire family, but also requires a level of
responsibility in keeping everyone safe. Homeowners have added fences around the pool, with gates that lock and/or have an alarm that will sound if opened. Especially for those with small children, keeping the gates locked is an important safeguard for homeowners.

Another safeguard for pool ownership is locks/alarms on exterior doors. As a pool owner
myself, and a mother of two young children, we added additional locks our children cannot
reach. They were added to sunroom and exterior doors that lead to the pool.

Pools with diving boards, slides and jumping rocks add additional risk to pool ownership and
liability to the homeowner. Especially for those with homes and pools that were installed prior to regulation changes in diving depths, putting you at greater risk for injury. We decided to eliminate the diving board from our own pool. As a mother, I could not risk having my children dive into the pool without 100% certainty the grade and elevation was safe for diving. If you decide to keep these features, homeowners must continue to inspect for defect because they break, crack, or malfunction which will increase risk in use.

A solid cover, one in which pets, children and adults could walk on without falling into the pool is important in pool ownership. Many homeowners still use the tarp to cover their pool during winter months. If you use this method, homeowners must be hypervigilant in keeping everyone away from the pool always. Even if you are an excellent swimmer, falling into a pool
with a tarp cover is extremely difficult to escape. Pool stores sell mesh safety covers that
resemble a trampoline and are generally maintenance free. And from an esthetic perspective,
they look much better for home buyers when buying a home when the pool is closed!

Even with these safety measures, the most important tool for pool ownership is education. The entire family must know the rules. There should always be a responsible adult watching over the pool. Kids must know they are not allowed near the pool without an adult and everyone should know how to swim. Teaching kids to swim, even when you don’t own a pool, is key to keeping your children safe in and around pools all summer long.

3. If a buyer is looking for a home with a pool, what are some of the key things to look for while inspecting that part of the house? Rather than just a beautiful pool or landscape, are there other safety features they should make sure are there?

When buying a home with a pool, it’s important to have a pool inspection performed by a
certified pool specialist. They will ensure the pool is in full working order, the diving boards or water features are safe and the overall pool functions are up to code. If they are not, hopefully the buyers and sellers can come to an agreement in repairing the necessary items so the new owners can fully enjoy the pool.

As I mentioned earlier, the cover is an important safety feature a home buyer should look for.
If they do not have a mesh safety cover, buyers should plan to invest in one as soon as they
assume ownership.