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Should I take the plunge with a pool?

There are lots of pros and cons to having a swimming pool. Aside from the initial costs, there are lots of expenses to consider

Dear Heather,

We are thinking of putting in a pool at our house as we have the space. Will this increase the value of our house or make it more rentable if we decide to rent it out? Should we take the plunge?

Pool Or No Pool

Dear Pool Or No Pool,

There are a lot of pros and cons to having a swimming pool. It’s probably a good idea to make a list and keep adding things as you think of them. One of the first things to think about is cost and whether or not it will produce the return you are expecting.

First of all there is the installation and landscaping of the surrounding patio; any good pool company will be able to give you a quote.

Bear in mind that you will need plans and planning approval, which can anywhere from six months to more than a year. The pool will need to be fenced and securely gated — an additional cost. You may wish to add sail shades or awnings (another additional cost) and, finally, you will probably want to invest in some nice patio furniture.

Keep in mind you may need to store it over the winter months and during hurricanes, and work out whether you have a place for this.

The costs don’t stop there. You then have to take care of it. You can count on a pool increasing your electricity bill by approximately $300 a month and, unless you are meticulous about taking care of it, you will need to employ a pool company to clean it for you — roughly $200 a month. Then there are annual maintenance items: pool filters, pumps, robotic pool vacuum cleaner, etc. Plus, your house insurance will increase slightly to include the value of the pool.

If you have come into a bit of a windfall, before you do anything you should consult a financial adviser and make sure you have sufficient funds set aside for a rainy day. If you are thinking of borrowing, perhaps consider borrowing a little bit more and adding a pool house or apartment that could be rented out? This could help offset some of the costs and bring you a monthly income that would help with expenses.

You might also consider installing solar panels to help with the additional electricity costs.

This may increase the value of your home, as many people are looking for guest accommodations, a granny flat, nanny’s quarters or even Airbnb when house hunting.

Conversely, people with babies or small children may steer away from a pool due to safety concerns. A word of advice when adding an additional living unit to your property, be sure to consider privacy for all occupants, particularly where entrance and entertaining areas are concerned.

The bottom line regarding putting a pool in: it will probably increase the value of your property but it is probably a wash in terms of cost versus value. Then again, it will bring you and your family and friends countless hours of fun and memories, so value can go far beyond money recouped in a sale or rental. It really is your choice.

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for nearly 30 years. Contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Look for Ask Heather Real Estate on Facebook