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 Installing a Swimming Pool (Part 2)
By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS
Tue, Aug 29th, 2006 8:24 am

Yesterday I explored your options for beating the St. Louis summer heat by building a swimming pool.

But if you’re serious about building one and expect to sell your home in the next few years, here’s what you really need to know.

Swimming pools can actually LOWER the value of your home in the Midwest and cause your home to sell slower!

Unlike California, Arizona or Florida, swimming pools in St Louis are generally only usable from May through September (unless heated).  That’s less than half the year!

As a result, a lot of potential home buyers are turned off by the time and expense it takes to maintain a home feature that is rarely used because of Midwest weather.

This not only includes the time and money to keep the pool clean in the summer when it’s in use, but the cost of having the pools “opened” and “closed” in the spring and fall.  Owners also need to budget for repairs that may be needed after a long cold winters.  In-ground pools have to contend with the pressure of the ground contracting and expanding in freezing weather which can cause cracks and other damage.  Above-ground pools when emptied have to contend with wind storms and the weight of snow piling on their covers that can cause them to collapse or bend inward.

As a selling point, swimming pools can also be a turn off to parents with small children and pets. Drowning is the number one cause of death for children under 5 in states known for having lots of residential swimming pools- including California, Arizona and Florida.

Because of safety issues, homeowner’s insurance may be more expensive and there may also be ordinances that require the property owner to maintain a safety fence around the pool- all of which adds additional costs to prospective buyers.

I’ve also experienced buyers who, while looking at homes with pools, will start factoring in the cost of removing the pool as a part of the overall “purchase price” of the home- putting the homeowner at a disadvantage over other sellers of like homes that don’t have pools.

But all this doesn’t mean don’t install a swimming pool.  If it brings great joy and value to your life or your family, by all means do it unless you’re planning to move in the next few years.  You just have to look at it as an entertainment expenses instead of an investment.

Another option, which I always recommend to our buyers, is if you really want a swimming pool, look at homes that already have them so another owner has already taking much of the loss on installing it.

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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in the technology industry which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director in 2005. In 2011 Sid launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc, while continuing to perform marketing and operations for Kimberly's team. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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