Ah, swimming pools. Is there any other home amenity that can provide both exercise and relaxation, as well as keep a gaggle of kids happy?
Arizona is prime swimming pool territory, and the majority of homes in the Tucson metropolitan area come with a pool in the backyard. Not to mention all of the gated and planned communities and housing developments that come with a community pool or two.
Depending on the ambiance you’d like for prime pool enjoyment, you might consider buying in a location where the pool is right in your own backyard—or you may prefer to live in a community where the pool is within reach, but you don’t have to worry about maintaining it.
While buying a house is a big enough commitment on its own, a house with a pool brings added responsibilities (and enjoyment!). To help you weigh out which choice is best for your household, I’ve provided some of the pros and cons of buying a home with a pool.
Even if you have a relatively small swimming pool, a pool is a great source of exercise. From swimming laps or doggy paddling to water aerobics or splashing around with the kids, moving your body in the water burns calories, increases overall strength, and may even help you build greater bone density.
Imagine: sitting in the shade poolside with fresh Sunday brunch; setting yourself free for an afternoon float; celebrating a beautiful sunset as it reflects in the water while you sip a cocktail; going for a peaceful morning swim and still having the whole day ahead of you. Having your own swimming pool—or a pool in close proximity—creates endless possibilities for relaxation.
If you have children of any age, chances are good that they become somewhat stir crazy in the summer. The high outdoor temperatures aren’t always conducive to just sending the kids outside to play, and even the most creative of children can’t help but get bored without a change of location.
Adding a pool to the mix brings in a new range of possibilities, from simple splashing-about to a variety of pool games. And don’t forget swimming lessons for those who don’t already know how to swim! Sure, supervision is still required. But even teenage children appreciate having their friends over to swim—and you can appreciate not having them all glued to their TV or computer screens all day.
Swimming pools do require a bit of work to maintain. Between keeping the pH levels safe and preventing algae growth, you have to regularly monitor the water. Pools also tend to collect leaves, bugs, and anything else that might blow in with the next haboob, so a little cleaning is also in order.
A pool cleaning system is a good investment to help with the cleaning work. If you have the money, you can also hire a professional to come to maintain your pool each week—or you could hire a responsible neighboring teenager who knows what he or she is doing.
If you don’t plan to use your pool from November through March, you may want to at least do some minor regulations to keep the water from turning too brackish throughout the winter. Keeping the pool covered is a good option to help with this, as is keeping the chlorine and pH levels within a reasonable range.
Some people completely drain their pools for the winter, considering that a deep-cleaning backwash may be in order anyway come March. Just keep in mind that it takes a lot of water to refill the pool, and the sudden shock to your water bill may not be a great way to kick off swimming season.
While purchasing a home that already has a pool spares you the cost of having one installed yourself, you will still have to invest some money into the pool to keep it in good condition. With maintenance comes the cost of chemicals, such as chlorine, to help keep water levels safe.
You may also need to add water to the pool throughout the summer, because of evaporation and excessive splashing. Pools occasionally need to be backwashed, too, which involves draining a portion of the water and then refilling. These are things that will certainly affect your water bill.
Finally, there is always the possibility that you will need to replace or repair a part in the pool's filtration, cleaning, or pump systems. The cost of the part and the repairman will be things to keep in mind and possibly set money aside for.
And of course, let’s not forget accessories. Beyond the important things, such as a pool net to use for cleaning and any safety items such as life vests and railings, you may also need to put down some cash for pool toys and floaties, rafts, lounge chairs, and anything else that will make your summer experience by the pool a most pleasant experience.
Think the pros outweigh the cons? Then great, let’s get you on the ground and looking for a place with a pool.
Still not so sure? Perhaps you might be more interested in a planned community with a pool. Or maybe you can buy a home with a big, open backyard for now; you can always add an in-ground or aboveground pool later.