Author Topic: Looking to buy a house with a pool  (Read 2698 times)

elduderino

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Looking to buy a house with a pool
« on: September 18, 2017, 11:31:44 PM »
I live in the southwest and am looking to buy a home. Since it does get pretty hot I was contemplating getting a house with a pool. I've been trying to figure out how much the maintenance/electric costs would be per month. Anyone have experience with owning a pool? Advice?

JLee

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2017, 11:33:13 PM »
My tenants are paying a pool service $95/mo in Phoenix to maintain it.  I'm not sure what the electric costs are, but my usage dropped dramatically when I went from the archaic single speed pool pump to a modern variable speed pump.

Khaetra

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2017, 05:43:01 AM »
I have pool experience, enough so that next year I am ripping the damn thing out of the ground and I will finally have a yard! 

Besides maintenance costs, I would ask yourself if you will truly use it a much as you think.  I know a few people who thought having a pool would be the best thing ever and they would use it daily.  Turns out that is not the case.  Back to costs though, I clean mine myself (not really hard to do) and my chlorine and things usually run around $50-$70 a month (depending on how much rain we get, which can throw it all out of whack quickly).  Electric costs aren't much, but my pump is very old and I am sure the newer ones are more efficient.  Pools do have a life span, if they have a liner you can expect to replace it every 10 years or so so you need to add that to your cost list as well.

nereo

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2017, 06:58:41 AM »
I live in the southwest and am looking to buy a home. Since it does get pretty hot I was contemplating getting a house with a pool. I've been trying to figure out how much the maintenance/electric costs would be per month. Anyone have experience with owning a pool? Advice?

Yes.  Pools are very expensive.  That's about as specific as one can be without knowing a myriad of other details, such as the volume and footprint of the pool, its age and construction, the type of filtration, how well its been cared for in the past, the nearby landscaping (shaded? full sun? trees?) & concrete deck and whether it leaks or not.
Moderate repairs can cost several hundred dollars and there can be multiple per year.  More substantial repairs run into the many-thousands-of-dollars.

FWIW I worked for a pool company for several years servicing and repairing residential and small commercial pools.  Most of our customers used a weekly service package that ranged from $50-$125 depending on the factors listed above. This was in addition to the cost of chemicals and repairs, which varied by a few orders of magnitude depending on underlying issues.  It's not uncommon for a pool repair to cost more than a new SUV.  If you are not diligent about keeping the pH and total alkalinity at the right levels you *will* wind up with very expensive repairs down the road.
Even perfectly maintained pools will require some expensive repairs every few decades as filtration systems need replacement and pipes wear out.

Sibley

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2017, 07:24:28 AM »
OP, how much do you swim currently? and for what purpose do you swim? Those factors are important in your decision making process.

Fishindude

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2017, 07:27:37 AM »
I'd think a pool would be great in the southwest where you have hot weather much of the time.
We had one in the midwest for 15 years while our kids were young and got a whole lot of enjoyment out of it.  When they moved out we did away with the pool and now have a hot tub.
You won't be heating it, so all you will have is electrical costs, chemicals and an occasional repair, it won't break the bank.   I'd guess $100-150 per month if you take care of things yourself.

Might have a pool guy look at it before you buy to make sure their are no major issues.

andy85

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2017, 07:34:21 AM »
i spent $700 on my pool this year (does not include extra electric/water). I would say probably 1000-1500 per year. It isn't a terrible price imo, especially in the southwest. You definitely need to keep on top of the water chemistry and cleaning it...if you get algae you will just be pouring money into it trying to get rid of it...trust me.

Not sure i will be re-opening my pool next year. Usage was down a lot this year compared to last. Don't think it is worth it to me anymore.

FireHiker

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2017, 10:02:14 AM »
I had a long post, but deleted it because it was rambling. To summarize more succinctly:

I agree with Andy's estimate of $1000-$1500 being a reasonable annual baseline to assume. This year we have spent almost $1300 so far because we had to replace our chlorine generator, but the past two years were $224 and $365 respectively. We have a 30,000 gallon salt pool with mini pebble finish, so we don't have to worry about liners and will likely never have to touch the surface before we sell. Variable speed pump will help a lot with electricity cost, but we have solar and haven't had a bill in two years, so I'm not sure how much the pool really adds. Water bill is so much lower in our current home even with the pool than it was in our previous home (different water district), that I'm not sure how it compares to average elsewhere. Our average water bill, including pool, was $79/mo last year (giant house, 5 people, tons of laundry). Keeping a cover on the pool will reduce evaporation and lower your water bill.

Our kids love the pool, but we won't ever own a house with a pool again. We even chose to put it in, largely my fault, two years before discovering the concept of FIRE. I'll be kicking myself for it for years, but not much I can do about it at this point except make better financial decisions in the future, and make sure we use it as much as possible since the cost is already sunk.

GuinnessPhish

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2017, 01:16:15 PM »
For the OP, and for anyone else who has a pool, here is a great website which you might consider posting to in the forum section.

http://www.troublefreepool.com

catccc

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2017, 01:25:29 PM »
DH grew up with one, and he liked it as a kid, but he would never have one now.  Too much work.  We happen to live near a community pool and the membership this year was only $99.  Hard to beat.  Yeah, you have to share it with a lot of people, but honestly it was fun for my kids to run into school mates.  And if I timed it right, I'd have a lap lane to myself, which was nice.

Marley09

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2017, 01:45:08 PM »
We just bought a house last year that has a pool and we love it! I probably get in the pool 4 days a week and we had people over probably every other weekend to hang out by the pool.  Pool ownership and maintenance had a huge learning curve for us between opening, closing, cleaning and water chemistry, but once we got the basics figured out it was less stressful. We do all of the maintenance ourselves and the chemicals were costly; mostly due to us not knowing what we were doing, so I am hoping that it will be less next year.  As others have mentioned, when something in the pool breaks or needs replacing (filter, liner, etc), it can get really expensive. 

I did check our electric bill and our bill for an all electric home is $200 less during the summer than the winter, but I cannot break that down for just running the pump.  Also, for the pump, something that we learned, is that we don't need to run the pump 24 hours a day and waste all of that electric.  We run the pump 8 hours a day and when we are using the pool and it stays free from algae.

A side note, there are neighborhoods in our area that have neighborhood pools that are free to use if you live in the neighborhood.  Do you have anything like that in your area?  It might be a nice way to "have" a pool without the work or expense.

Edit to Say:  I was just able to get into my Mint account and we spent around $600 this year on the pool, not including electricity.  This is because we had to buy a pool cover, a reel for the cover and all of the pool chemicals.  Once we realized what worked, we found the chemicals for about half the price at Costco!
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 01:59:06 PM by Marley09 »

JLee

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2017, 03:02:18 PM »
We just bought a house last year that has a pool and we love it! I probably get in the pool 4 days a week and we had people over probably every other weekend to hang out by the pool.  Pool ownership and maintenance had a huge learning curve for us between opening, closing, cleaning and water chemistry, but once we got the basics figured out it was less stressful. We do all of the maintenance ourselves and the chemicals were costly; mostly due to us not knowing what we were doing, so I am hoping that it will be less next year.  As others have mentioned, when something in the pool breaks or needs replacing (filter, liner, etc), it can get really expensive. 

I did check our electric bill and our bill for an all electric home is $200 less during the summer than the winter, but I cannot break that down for just running the pump.  Also, for the pump, something that we learned, is that we don't need to run the pump 24 hours a day and waste all of that electric.  We run the pump 8 hours a day and when we are using the pool and it stays free from algae.

A side note, there are neighborhoods in our area that have neighborhood pools that are free to use if you live in the neighborhood.  Do you have anything like that in your area?  It might be a nice way to "have" a pool without the work or expense.

Edit to Say:  I was just able to get into my Mint account and we spent around $600 this year on the pool, not including electricity.  This is because we had to buy a pool cover, a reel for the cover and all of the pool chemicals.  Once we realized what worked, we found the chemicals for about half the price at Costco!

If you don't have a variable speed pump, I'd recommend it. I bought this one and it's been great for over two years now.

nereo

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2017, 03:37:13 PM »

I did check our electric bill and our bill for an all electric home is $200 less during the summer than the winter, but I cannot break that down for just running the pump.  Also, for the pump, something that we learned, is that we don't need to run the pump 24 hours a day and waste all of that electric.  We run the pump 8 hours a day and when we are using the pool and it stays free from algae.
...
Edit to Say:  I was just able to get into my Mint account and we spent around $600 this year on the pool, not including electricity.  This is because we had to buy a pool cover, a reel for the cover and all of the pool chemicals.  Once we realized what worked, we found the chemicals for about half the price at Costco!
Two thoughts - for understanding your energy usage you can install a kill-a-watt (or similar) meter that records electricity use.  There are whole-house versions that are very good at breaking down energy use by appliance/circuit.

Also, while Costco has better prices on name-brand chemicals than most retail pool stores, they're still selling name-brand chemicals which have a 30-50% markup.  "HTH" is one example of a name-brand when the chemical is calcium hypochlorite (aka "granulated chlorine"). 
For much cheaper chemicals find the commercial suppliers - if you can't find them with google call up the community pools and ask who they buy their chemicals from. You'll probably have to buy in bulk and you might need to pick them up in an industrial park somewhere, but you can save a few hundred$/year this way.

WSUCoug1994

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2017, 06:41:36 PM »
We have a pool and we really enjoy it.  We wanted a pool - which is likely face punch worthy around here - as you won't find support for this feature in the MMM neighborhood.  At first we were paying a local service $125 a month which included chemicals, cleaning and winterization for our solar pool heater.  Now we do this ourselves once we had time to figure it all out.  It's pretty simple.  Our costs are similar to the comments above.  We did buy a new robot for cleaning the pool for $185 this year  What we love about the pool is my daughter and her cousins use the crap out of it.  I like being the house where the kids spend time together and I get to know their friends and I don't mind being able to keep an eye on them. lol.   

After speaking to multiple pool owners through this process I think one of the keys to success is having a real cover for your pool.  Ours is electric (open/close) and it is a solar heater for the pool.  It is crazy how good the solar cover works because when you get in the water at the top of the pool is literally 10-15 degrees warmer than the bottom.  We have very little evaporation, our pool stays incredibly clean (we only have to run the filter 2 hours a day) and except for the winter months we don't ever need to heat the pool (which we don't typically do).  We also have solar electricity so it is hard for me to tell you the costs to run the pool but I suspect it is substantial.  We run it during peak solar hours because we always produce more than we consume during the middle of the day.  We are in Northern California and we use our pool 7-8 months a year.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 06:50:24 PM by WSUCoug1994 »

elduderino

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2017, 11:47:41 PM »
I would probably use it daily if it was warm. I like the idea of a hot tub, which I assume is less maintenance and more cost effective. Right now I go to a gym that has a heated outdoor and indoor pool. There are also a lot of homes with access to a community pool. I know that is probably the smart decision. I can see myself dreading paying for the cleaning and electricity. All the pools are in-ground here.

apricity22

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2017, 07:02:30 AM »
I have a pool in Phoenix. I spend about $20 to 40/month maintaining it myself. It is really easy to take care of in the Winter, the Summer takes a bit more effort and chemicals. In the Winter I probably spend about 5-10 minutes a week maintaining, while in the Summer I probably spend 15 - 30 minutes a week maintaining. I've heard friends complain about maintaining their pool and how much time it takes and when they start to talk about the details I realize how little they know about properly maintaining a pool. Sometimes this is pretty surprising since they've been inefficiently maintaining their pool for years and years!

I know people here who use their pool all of the time (including me) but some people don't so I guess you will have to decide whether you will personally use it enough. A pool will cost $30k to add to a house but doesn't add much value so if you want a pool, buy a house that already has one. In the Phoenix area (while it still doesn't add any value) it does make the house easier to sell if it already has a pool. The cost of electricity is completely unnoticeable but I did install a variable speed pump that cost me about $1000 so I have a very efficient system.

Sibley

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2017, 07:52:55 PM »
I would probably use it daily if it was warm. I like the idea of a hot tub, which I assume is less maintenance and more cost effective. Right now I go to a gym that has a heated outdoor and indoor pool. There are also a lot of homes with access to a community pool. I know that is probably the smart decision. I can see myself dreading paying for the cleaning and electricity. All the pools are in-ground here.

Honestly, a gym or community pool is probably the best bet. You don't have to pay for repair/maintenance/chemicals/electricity, you don't have to clean, etc. If there are plenty of options, just go with that. You also avoid liability or worries about liability as well.

Marley09

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Re: Looking to buy a house with a pool
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2017, 07:04:22 AM »
Two thoughts - for understanding your energy usage you can install a kill-a-watt (or similar) meter that records electricity use.  There are whole-house versions that are very good at breaking down energy use by appliance/circuit.

Also, while Costco has better prices on name-brand chemicals than most retail pool stores, they're still selling name-brand chemicals which have a 30-50% markup.  "HTH" is one example of a name-brand when the chemical is calcium hypochlorite (aka "granulated chlorine"). 
For much cheaper chemicals find the commercial suppliers - if you can't find them with google call up the community pools and ask who they buy their chemicals from. You'll probably have to buy in bulk and you might need to pick them up in an industrial park somewhere, but you can save a few hundred$/year this way.

Thank you!  I will have to look into the chemicals over the winter and then see if we have a commercial supplier nearby.  Also, thanks for the reminder about the kill-a-watt meter, we have one in the toolbox in the basement. I just need to find it.   

If you don't have a variable speed pump, I'd recommend it. I bought this one and it's been great for over two years now.

Thanks! I will check this out.

-Marley