The main discussion point when assessing the value of a backyard swimming pool is the inherent impact on the real estate value of the home. Depending on region, and immediate neighborhood, real estate associations estimate that an in-ground swimming pool (usually in the backyard) adds approximately 8% to a home’s value. These figures are made more complex when incorporating the initial building costs of the swimming pool into a potential selling price. Needless to say, there are plenty of cost/value variables to deal with.
An experienced real estate agent, and especially one who sells higher end properties, will refer to “super-adequacy” when discussing added value relative to a backyard swimming pool. It means that the pool presents some “functional obsolescence” - in other words, a feature that does not contribute value in an amount that equals its original cost. The fact is, this happens with renovated kitchens and bathrooms in the same way as a swimming pool.
In real market terms, a swimming pool could deliver more or less real estate value than the association estimates indicated above. Just by example, a residential home in an area where swimming pools are common (and expected), will have a different value proposition than a neighborhood where pools are less common. All things considered, much depends on what real estate agents call the “perceived value” of a swimming pool in the buyer’s eyes.
Another type of value (non-monetary) has everything to do with lifestyle and quality-of-life matters. Many years of pool usage, many hours of family fun, and many happy memories can make the initial cost investment of a swimming pool well worth it. In that scenario, any added real estate value may be immaterial, and not much more than a bonus to the seller. In this kind of situation, pressure is reduced on the real estate agent to deliver added value.
The truth is, not many homeowners build their backyard swimming pool in anticipation of adding significant real estate value down the road. Indeed, realty professionals agree that making substantial improvements to the living space inside the house results in much more added value than a pool. BUT - they also agree that a great looking swimming pool, with fabulous landscaping to match, may well influence a potential buyer to close the deal.
Regardless of added home value (even if it reaches 8%), a backyard pool still needs to be well presented. And although you can’t do much about dated design, the current state and condition of the pool can be enhanced, and the surroundings well maintained. And if we’re talking about an aboveground pool, there is a reasonable likelihood that your agent will recommend complete removal – it’s likely the best solution to a potential problem.
In short, if you’re considering installing a swimming pool, and you’re doing the necessary research, enhancing property value shouldn’t be a determining factor in your decision. There is no reliable calculation to assess future potential, and no reputable agent will make promises based on so many variables. And anyways - return on investment often has more to do with fun and enjoyment than dollars and cents.