Many Americans dream of adding a pool to their home, and that's especially true during the hot summer months. You may even be thinking that a pool could make your home's value go up. And in many cases, you'd be right.
Before you start getting estimates, however, there are a few things you need to know. Here's a rundown of just how much value a pool might add to your home to help you decide whether it might be a good idea for you.
Does a pool add value to your home?
The short answer is yes. If you add a pool to your home, its value will likely rise. And to be clear, we're only referring to inground pools in this discussion -- above-ground pools are often turn-offs to buyers and can actually reduce your property value. This is why many homeowners associations (HOAs) specifically prohibit anything other than an inground pool.
Having said that, there are a few major caveats.
There's a limit to how much a pool can add to your home. Under optimal circumstances, a pool could boost your home's value by as much as 7%, according to Houselogic.
Because of this general limit, you're unlikely to increase the value of your home by the amount that the pool costs. The average pool in the U.S. costs about $30,000 to install, and the median home value in the U.S. is $229,600 as of October 2019. This means that the typical homeowner will spend 13% of their home's value to construct a pool and will be lucky to recoup half of that in the form of added value. You'll recoup even less if you build a pool that's too nice or elaborate relative to the rest of your home.
Pools also have significant maintenance costs, relative to other home improvements. According to an article on Realtor.com, homeowners should expect annual maintenance costs of $1,200 to $1,800. On the other hand, if you remodel your kitchen or put new siding on your home, the added maintenance expense is minimal if anything at all.
Finally, if you're just looking to add value to your home, there are better ways to spend money than a pool. We already said that you'll be lucky to recoup half of the pool's cost in the form of added equity. That's a pretty awful return on investment (ROI). Just to name a few examples, a minor bathroom remodel can be expected to return 102% of its cost in the form of added equity, landscaping can recoup 100% of its cost, and minor kitchen remodels can be expected to almost break even with a 98.5% average value addition, according to HGTV.
Where do you live?
It's also worth mentioning that the value-add to your home greatly depends on where you are.
For example, if you live somewhere where you could swim all year, a pool could add significantly more value to your home than in areas where the swimming season lasts just a few months. In other words, a $30,000 pool might make more financial sense in Miami than it does in New Jersey.
Finally, it's also worth noting that while a pool might not necessarily add tremendous value to your home, it could certainly make it easier to sell, especially in warmer climates. As my real estate agent put it when I lived in Key West, Florida, "buyers here want pools." On the other side of the equation, a pool can actually be a negative when it comes time to sell your home in areas where pools aren't really expected.
That said, if adding a pool is not likely to add value to your property, this doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't do it. It just means that you shouldn't add a pool if adding value is your only motivation. If you want a pool and think you and your family will use it often, there's nothing wrong with that.
A pool can be a value-adding enhancement to your home, but you're unlikely to fully recoup its cost. The bottom line is that you should add a pool because you want a pool, not because you want to maximize the value of your home. If you and your family get enough enjoyment out of a pool to justify its expense, any addition to your home's value is a nice bonus.