Do you really want a pool?

At this time of year, homeowners often think about putting in a pool in time for summer, and there are many good reasons to do so, but you shouldn’t count on it adding much value to your home.

“If you’ve been stuck in the traffic on a sweltering summer day, there’s nothing like a quick dip when you get home. Pools are also great as an integral part of a stylish outdoor entertainment area, swimming is one of the easiest ways to stay fit and of course your children and all their friends will love it.

“However, you also need to be prepared for the fact that pools take a lot of maintaining,” says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.

“Baskets need to be emptied, the pool needs to be skimmed frequently with a net to remove debris (which immediately begins to collect again), water needs to be tested and various chemicals need to be bought and regularly applied to keep it clean, sparkling and algae free.

“Pool pumps and cleaners also have to be carefully maintained and, in order to get more use out of your pool, you may also decide to install a heat pump. By law, you will also need to put a childproof fence around your pool or a safety cover on it whenever it is not in use.”

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he notes that pools these days come in a huge variety of types, shapes and sizes, and that prices vary as widely, with specials often available in winter and immediately after summer, in March or April.

“A traditional in-ground, concrete-walled pool with marbelite finish will probably cost you at least R35 000. Pre-moulded fibreglass shell pools and above-ground pools may be somewhat cheaper, depending on size, but are usually shallower.”

And no matter what your pool costs, Everitt says, estimates are that you will only get a maximum of about 15% of the outlay back in terms of the value added to your home if you decide to sell the property – compared to up to 100% of the outlay on a new garage and up to 300% of what it costs to paint the house inside and out.
“Thus you should be very sure before you build a pool that your family and friends will love it and use it a lot – and that you are going to live in your current home long enough to enjoy it yourself, and justify the building and maintenance expenses.
“You should also, of course, deal only with reputable pool builders and installers who are members of the National Spa and Pool Institute (”

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