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December 28th, 2011 9:20 AM by David W. Welch
So, you caved in to the persistent Florida sunshine a few years back and built an in-ground pool. You loved the days of fun in the sun, but now it’s time to move on, and there’s still that pool in your yard, a legacy of an investment of over $30,000 and months of construction. Hopefully you decided to build your pool for the right reasons: to make building a pool worthwhile, you must genuinely enjoy (and have time for) swimming, sunning, and all aspects of lazing around in the backyard. You heeded the advice to never buy a pool solely for the resale value. You also know that after you did build your own private paradise, you can’t expect to recoup all of the cost of building a pool in the resale of your home.
Like it or not, your pool can have a huge effect on how potential buyers view a home. Many will look at your pool and see clear water and attractive landscaping, but some will only see maintenance expenses, and still others just see a hazard for their young children. Obviously the proportion of each kind of buyer will vary with the local climate and relative number of home pools in your area— a pool in Florida will obviously gain more admirers than a pool in, say, Maine. In Florida, a pool usually adds value to a home, particularly a high-end home that already has a lot to offer. Typically these buyers are willing to pay more for the privilege of owning your former poolside retreat. The relative desirability of a pool is reflected in the monetary value of reselling a home with a pool.
What can you do to make your pool an asset? Research indicates that it’s the little things that make a big difference when reselling a home generally, and this advice applies to pools as well. The good news is that you can control what buyers see when they look at your pool. To that end, it’s time for a pool check-up. Does the stone or tile seem worn or eroded? Water not sparkling? Fountain running slowly? Fixing these issues will go a long way toward dressing for success for buyers. Remember that your home is competing with the best new homes in your area, and emphasize the advantages of inheriting a pool from previous owners. A beautiful, inviting pool will win over buyers and make them more willing to pay those few extra dollars.
Of course, sprucing up your pool is most helpful for persuading truly undecided buyers, the people who are flying in from Buffalo and have never even thought of owning a pool in their lives. These buyers may be put off at the thought of the pool initially, but once they see the raft floating near the spa or the towels out to dry in the sunshine, they may be seduced. However, those who are more familiar with what it takes to buy and maintain a pool, but haven’t decided if such an investment is right for them, can be the trickiest to persuade—yet another reason to be sure your pool looks its best when real estate agents come calling. When shown to its best advantage, your favorite weekend hangout can become a great reason for a buyer to choose your home.
reprinted by permission from Katherine McKenzie