Swimming Pools…Movie Stars

Whether it’s the melody of Mele Kalikimakai or the image of cousin Eddie and/or Nicolette Scorsese (the girl in the red bathing suit),  everyone remembers the iconic swimming pool scene in the holiday classic  National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Clark Griswald’s fantasy of the backyard party  gathering around their newly installed swimming pool likely sparked the dreams of many homeowners adding pools to their backyard landscape. Well, we made it to Memorial Day weekend… the unofficial start to summer.  Our days will be filled with  the aroma of fresh cut grass and grilling and the sounds of lawnmowers  and kids complaining about being bored.  With forecasted high temperatures and full sunshine, many will frequent the neighborhood swimming pool. There are 10.4 million residential and 309,000 public swimming pools in the United States, according to the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP).   And although the Griswald’s vision for summertime fun may be tempting, there are others who perceive a swimming pool as expensive to install, a risk for safety and a nightmare to maintain.

More than one in 10 Americans who have a pool on their property now say it’s not worth the trouble. Their biggest gripes are the expense and liability; homeowners say they spend nearly $1,500 a year to maintain their pool.  The cost of building an in-ground concrete pool can range, on average, from $35,000 to $100,000 depending on style, size and materials used, according to the industry publication Pool Magazine.  Just for giggles,  an infinity pool with an enclosure ranges from $100,000 to $150,000.

Safety around the pool—such as from slipping and falling on the pool deck—is also a big concern. Thirty-two percent of pool owners say a safety-related incident has happened at their pool.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2020 data shows that, on average, there are “379 reported pool- or spa-related fatal drownings involving children younger than 15 years old each year.” Seventy-five percent of these drownings involve children younger than 5. There are also possible slip-and-fall injuries and diving board accidents to consider. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistics Center, diving accidents headed the list for recreation-related spinal cord injuries between 2010 and 2017.

Finally, from a real estate perspective, the ‘investment’ of installing and maintaining a pool likely will not be as profitable as one may believe.  If you sell, in most cases you’re not going to recoup the cost of installing an in-ground pool, and “it’s not going to increase the resale value,” says Colleen Wightman, a REALTOR® with Hunt Real Estate in the greater Rochester, New York area. “Maybe in the Southwest that might be different, but if you’ve got an accessible lake or ocean shoreline within 20 minutes of your home, a pool is not going to increase your home’s value.”

I’m not saying if you get that holiday bonus, it’s a horrible idea to purchase a pool.  I just ask that you do your research and keep your expectations on the realistic spectrum.

Until next week, Love where you Live.  And if you don’t… contact your local REALTOR®.

Brian Haufe, 2022 MBOR President