Is it worth thousands of dollars to fix an inground pool?
March 21, 2013 2:05 AM   Subscribe

Is it worth thousands of dollars to fix an inground pool? I've own my home in northern Delaware for less than a year. One of the reasons I bought this house was it had a pool. I bought the house when it was in foreclosure, so I knew there would be many repairs to do to the house, pool included. The inground pool is about 30ft by 10ft by about 7ft deep. Estimates to repair the pool liner and large filter are in the neighborhood of 5-6k.

The house itself is almost 30 years old, and I've done some repairs inside already. Now that the weather is getting better, it is time to start thinking about the pool. Is it worth thousands of dollars to fix an inground pool? I would enjoy having a pool to use on the weekends in the summer, as well as being able to invite over friends to swim. Plus fixing it means that it's not an eye sore in an already small yard. The reason I started second guessing fixing the pool is that it was mentioned to me that fixing a pool doesn't add much value to my house. While there is nothing inside that is screaming to be fixed at the moment, due to the age of the house, there is always things to be fixed. Am I better off taking that money an fixing things inside of the house?
posted by meshoppe to Home & Garden (21 answers total)
Are you planning on selling this house or staying for awhile? If you bought it to fix up and sell and might be somewhere else next year, I'd skip the pool. If your plan is to live here and stay for several years, I think I'd go with what was going to make me love living there, especially if the pool was one of the reasons you bought the house.

If you aren't going to resell for a long time, I think what you want in a house in more important than what some future buyer might want in their home.
posted by katinka-katinka at 2:12 AM on March 21, 2013 [7 favorites]

A pool will not add value to the property. It's an insurance cost increase, can be expensive to maintain and a possible danger, especially for those with kids.

That being said, I would flipping love to have a pool and despit the cost, tue enjoyment that comes from it would make it worth it for me.
posted by raccoon409 at 3:51 AM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

It sounds like one of the reasons you bought the house was the pool, so by all means, fix the pool if you have the money.

Also you mention that a pool does not add to the value of a house. That's the conventional wisdom when you're considering adding a pool. That's not your scenario. You have a pool now and it needs some material repairs. Your options are to fix the pool or remove the pool. Having a property with not only a pool (depresses value) but a pool in need of repair (even more so) is a double whammy.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:56 AM on March 21, 2013 [10 favorites]

I'd worry less about the $5-6K, which isn't a huge amount of money in home improvement terms, and consider how likely it is that you'd use it often enough, over the long term, to make the ongoing maintenance costs and chores feel worthwhile. Is there a decent municipal or private pool nearby that could give you almost as much fun for way less work? Do you love swimming by yourself or very occasionally with friends so much that it will continue to feel great even after the novelty wears off?
posted by jon1270 at 3:58 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Did you buy the house to fix it up and sell for a profit? If yes, leave the pool alone.

Did you buy the house to live in and enjoy for an indeterminate number of years? If yes, repair the pool.
posted by kavasa at 4:03 AM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

To echo what's already been said, fix it up if you want to use it, but not for resale value.

Also, perhaps time for another Northern Delaware meet up soon.
posted by JMOZ at 4:04 AM on March 21, 2013

What if you filled it with dirt and made it into a garden. Would that even work?
posted by oceanjesse at 4:20 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Fix the pool!

A friend of ours has a pool. They've only lived in the house with said pool for one summer but I tell you, that one summer was a blast for their children as well as the children of their friends. One night, the grown ups even kicked all the kids out after dark and we ran around the outer of the pool, laughing and carrying on, until we made a whirlpool. We're adults, keep in mind. IT WAS A BLAST.

If our friends pool had issues that needed repair, I'd go so far as to offer them money to help with the repairs just because it's been such a fun thing for everyone.
posted by youandiandaflame at 4:45 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

If the liner is not fixed, will the condition of the pool deteriorate to the point where it becomes an even bigger repair down the road or, even worse, a complete loss?
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:10 AM on March 21, 2013

I agree with Admiral Haddock: your reasoning re the pool is actually about adding a pool. What you have now is a huge hole in your back yard. I would be very surprised if the value of your house is the same with that huge hole as it would be with a working pool. Fix it or fill it in.
posted by OmieWise at 5:11 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Filling in the pool, based on the estimates we got last year when considering buying a house with a pool, will likely be even more expensive than fixing it. It is a surprising amount of work to fill it right, and your area may have code as to how it needs to be done.
posted by procrastination at 5:16 AM on March 21, 2013

We bought a house with a pool. Yes, it's been really fun, but only 3 months out of the year (we are in PA), and it's a time-sucker and a money drain to maintain it. Because it's in-ground, we can't ignore it or it will turn into a swamp, which will cost even more $$ to fix up. If I had to do it over again, I'd like an above ground pool, which you can pack up and whisk away if it's no longer wanted, with little landscape impact. Or even better than that, I'd get a hot tub instead. Hot tubs have a longer season of use and I can't help but think that the maintenance on a hot tub has got to be cheaper and easier than an entire pool. If you decide to fix the pool, do it very soon - pool professionals are busy, busy, busy during the pool season and it's hard to get them to do repairs.
posted by molasses at 5:18 AM on March 21, 2013

My sister's house, which she's owned for 25 years, has an in-ground pool. She lives in Rochester, NY, where the pool season is easily a month shorter than yours will be. She loves having it and uses it almost every day in the summer, and I'm sure considers it money well spent.
posted by mr vino at 5:49 AM on March 21, 2013

Pools do not add value. They are money sinkholes. Unless you really, really want a pool for your own enjoyment, do not throw more money at it. An in-ground pool will kill the re-sale value of any home not in southern California.

Example...The house across the street from me was purchased as a foreclosure by a local contractor. The first thing they did was break-up and bury the in-ground pool in the back yard.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:06 AM on March 21, 2013

What if you filled it with dirt and made it into a garden. Would that even work?

It won't drain properly in the rain if you do this. If you don't want to pay $6k to fix it, you really don't want to pay the court judgement when someone falls into a mud pit in your backyard and drowns.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:30 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

What's the monthly cost of pool maintenance in your area? Are you going to scrub and vacuum the pool and learn how to adjust the chemicals in the water yourself or will you hire a pool service dude?
posted by elsietheeel at 7:48 AM on March 21, 2013

I agree that this is for you not resale.

Pools are expensive. However, it does not increase our homeowner's insurance. YMMV.

We've had to replace the following in 16 years:
3 solar covers plus reel
1 winter cover
1 liner, and again either this year or next, plus cost of french drain
1 heater, maybe again this year or at least $200 of electrical
1 filter
need new fence or significant repairs this year
new steps down to pool
DIY landscaping around pool
I'm sure I'm missing some things.

The quotes we receive for pool work are ridiculous. I don't have the details at hand but let's say three times the cost of ordering an item ourselves (a heater or filter let's say) plus several hundred dollars of labor for an install that my husband can often figure out. We've saved thousands this way.

Liners - do not do yourself. But do get multiple quotes. If you order it online will someone install it?

There are many message boards that talk about pools all day. Get yourself there and research this. For example salt-water filters are all the range and cost more initially but we get all our salt from Walmart and this saves on chemicals.
posted by RoadScholar at 8:12 AM on March 21, 2013

I would definitely first check with your homeowners insurance company. Having a in ground or larger above ground pool in our area is considered an attractive nuisance, and the insurance is extremely high. The insurance companies require you to have the proper fencing around your pool deck to deter unwanted access. Don't want some unsupervised child or neighbor coming in at any time. Shoot there's also people who nag you to death wanting to swim even you don't want them to,lol. Then there's the expense of the chemicals and upkeep. Its a lot to consider.
posted by PJMoore at 8:12 AM on March 21, 2013

You've got to do something with it because right now it's probably a health and safety hazard.

You know how much it would cost to fix it up and restore it to being a pool. How much would it cost to fill it in properly?
posted by mskyle at 8:34 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

You've already got the hole in the ground so you have to do something. Before you commit fully to the pool, though, make sure you have a good estimate of what it costs to maintain the pool. Filter pumps and maintenance are expensive.
posted by Nelson at 9:40 AM on March 21, 2013

A pool will add to your home's value in the eyes of a buyer like *you* - someone who wants a house with a pool.

We have lived in a house with an inground pool for ... 10-ish years? We consider the money we've spent on the pool to be entertainment costs, and we've used the crap out of it. We have replaced our liner and our cover, and I think did a new sand filter? We would drop that money again in a heartbeat.
posted by ersatzkat at 10:55 AM on March 21, 2013

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