Before diving into a pool building project, think about why you really want an in-ground swimming pool. It’s a major addition to your home and property and a huge investment that may not pay off. The average range is about $35 – $65,000.00
If your No. 1 reason for getting a pool or hot tub is because your brother, neighbor, or college buddy has one, maybe you should reconsider. Planning, building, and maintaining a swimming pool or spa is not a whim or keeping-up-with-the-Joneses kind of purchase. It dramatically alters the landscape of your outdoor living space. It can be a lifestyle change, albeit a positive one: more entertaining, more fun with your family, more exercise.
For the record, Pool and spa projects often cost more than anticipated. Are you really ready to take the plunge?
- Why Do I Want a Pool, Spa or Hot Tub?
Meet with your family, partner, and all household members for a “Getting in Touch With My Swimming Pool Needs and Desires” session. Everyone should write down the reasons they do—or don’t—want a swimming pool, spa, or hot tub. Consider each person’s opinion, even the youngest at the table. Depending on size and complexity, building a pool will disrupt your lives for many weeks.
- What Will I Use It For?
Do you love to swim and plan on swimming laps? Did your doctor recommend a pool or hot tub for therapeutic reasons? Do you have visions of entertaining guests in and around your pool? Is it for your children and their friends? Determine who in your household will use the pool, and what it will be used for.
- What Type of Pool Do I Want?
There’s a sea of styles out there, some you probably have no idea about. All kinds of shapes, sizes and combinations. This is one of the fun aspects of the project, it’s like going “pool shopping.” Research books, magazines, online, and visit home and garden or pool and patio shows to see a few spas or hot tubs in action and gather brochures.
- What Size and Shape?
If you have a sprawling estate—well, lucky you. Your biggest considerations are where on your vast property you want to place your swimming pool or spa, along with your small farm, children’s theme park, orchards and vegetable gardens.
For those of us with smaller lots, it may take some creativity, special design and compromise to make a swimming pool or spa work for your outdoor space.
- What is My Budget?
Oh yeah—that. Pool builders and suppliers always like to say, “There’s a pool to fit every budget,” which is a positive sales pitch, but a sales pitch nonetheless. Financing a swimming pool project is like any other home addition, and the funds often come from the same sources: home equity accounts or lines of credit, savings, inheritance, home loans, family, etc.
As with any home addition, expect it to cost more than you anticipated or have calculated.
- Maintenance: Me or a Pool Pro?
Ah, maintenance. Heaters, chlorine, bromine, pumps, pool cleaners, test kits—the list of chores is endless. Are you up for the time commitment and monthly costs of maintaining your pool? Can you afford to hire a monthly pool maintenance service to do the dirty work for you? Research local rates and get smart about all that’s entailed in maintaining a swimming pool, spa or hot tub.
- Will This Raise the Value of My Home?
It used to be that everyone wanted a private backyard swimming pool. Then, those who had them found it a challenge to maintain and repair, with many walking away from these obligations, especially during the recession that began in 2008. Think about the costs of building, maintaining, fixing, and upgrading.
- Is This My ‘Forever’ Home?
Are you living in a home or area in which you plan to stay? Or do you have a job that may transfer you to another location? Consider long-range plans before installing a pool. Will you be living in the same house with the same yard and continue to enjoy the benefits of that pool?
- When or How Soon Do I Want It?
If you’re planning a backyard wedding at your house for even six months after the pool-building start time—don’t. Be realistic about how long it will take to build or install your pool, and discuss with potential contractors which months will be optimal for construction.
- Would I Be Happy Using a Community Pool?
If you want to build a pool because you love to swim and relax, have you considered using a local pool? Join the nearby club, or gym with a pool. You can get your exercise whenever the pool is open without the expense of building and maintaining it.