Maintaining a clean pool requires both time and money, but can be an unparalleled entertainment investment.

Owning a pool is not something to take lightly. While there are many benefits, important considerations are needed before diving headfirst into pool ownership, including pool maintenance, cleaning, repairs, safety and additional costs. Since these expenses can have a profound effect on your bottom line, it is beneficial to cover some bases involved in pool ownership before taking the plunge.

Buyer Beware

Homebuyers considering purchasing a home with a swimming pool must use extreme caution to avoid being caught with significant repair bills. Learning as much as you can about the condition of the pool and its related equipment will give you an idea of potential repair costs you could face in the future. Here are some things you should do when considering a home with a pool:

  • Ask the current owners or real estate agent pointed questions about the pool. When was it constructed and who built it? Have the pump and related equipment been repaired or replaced recently? Are service records available? What is the average cost to maintain the pool on a monthly basis?
  • If you can locate the pool builder or company, ask them to confirm basic information about the pool’s construction and equipment.
  • Hire a professional to inspect the pool, the drain and all components. Knowing the current condition of the pool system will help you plan for possible repair costs. In addition, a pool needing major repairs can be an excellent tool when negotiating a home purchase price.
  • Look at the age, durability and height of the fence around the pool. Next, evaluate the redundant layers of protection, like a gate lock, a door chime or a pool cover. Together these protections help make the area in or around your pool safer and more secure.

Maintenance and Time Constraints

A sparkling swimming pool can be a great feature for many property owners and buyers. It provides an outdoor space for friends and family during the summer months that is simply unmatched by other outdoor home amenities. However, it is not without a cost, as a good deal of work and expense goes into pool ownership. Maintaining a pool requires constant cleaning to keep it pristine throughout the season. Some investments on the list include:

  • Filters: Filters in pools must be cleaned or replaced as needed.
  • Testing: Pool water must be tested two to three times per week during the summer months and once a week during the winter to maintain water quality.
  • Balancing pH: The pH level indicates how much acid and base is in the pool water. By balancing it, you can control corrosion and prevent cloudy water. Your pool’s pH levels should be tested and adjusted on a weekly basis to maintain water quality and protect your investment.
  • Sanitation: Chlorine is a necessary requirement of pool maintenance, as chlorine products sanitize pool water and kill off bacteria. Alternatives to chlorine include salt water (which brings its own maintenance to the table), ozone, non-chlorine shock, baquanide and bromine.

The pool maintenance mentioned above is general in nature and is intended to give your an idea of what is involved when you do it yourself. Do-it-yourself pool care will vary depending on how much you use the pool, but averages between $20–$100 per month for the chemicals. You must also purchase additional items to maintain a pool, including a vacuum head and hose, maintenance kit with wall brush, leaf skimmer, test kit and telescopic pole.

Professional Pool Cleaning Costs

As you might have determined by now, a lot of time, effort and money goes into maintaining a pool. Pool owners who lack the time or desire often choose to hire a professional to maintain their swimming pool. Pool cleaning costs will vary depending on pool size and location, but average between $75–$165 per month based on four weekly visits.

Additional Costs to Consider

If you plan on installing a new pool, keep in mind that the average cost for a residential in-ground swimming pool is just under $40,000. Whether you’re installing a pool or purchasing a home with one, here are some additional costs that you can expect:

  • State, city or local ordinances may require your pool to be fenced and include a locking gate. A fence may also be required by your homeowner’s insurance.
  • A swimming pool could add $50–$75 dollars to your homeowner’s insurance premiums.
  • Higher utility bills — water and electric — can be expected when owning a swimming pool. It takes extra electricity to run the pool’s pump and filtration system, as well as a heat pump, if you keep the pool heated.

Consider the benefits of pool ownership as well as the cost of maintenance when looking at homes with pools. Be sure to visit Owners.com for more real estate tips, services, and listings.