Home search in Massachusetts: Would you buy a house with a swimming pool?
If you are a buyer, now on a market for a home here in MA, you have come across these listings: a house with a swimming pool. Is this a good deal or not?
If you always wanted a pool, or were planning to put one in, it will be more cost effective for you to buy a property with an existing swimming pool. Putting an inground pool can cost roughly between 20 000 and 40 000, depending on the size and complexity of the project. A house with a swimming pool tends to sell for about the same (or slightly less) as comparable properties without a pool, so that's a saving right there.
Major concern about swimming pools is the upkeep (cost and time involved), and relatively short swimming season. Both valid points.
Usually, home owners in MA open up their pools around Memorial Day weekend, and close them up again around Labor Day, give or take a couple of weeks, so yes, the pool season is short. But think bout this: Even if you hire a company to do EVERYTHING for the pool, it will come to about the same you would spend renting a place on a Cape for a week. If you don't have vacation property, if you have demanding job with unpredictable schedule, if you don't like to drive to take a swim (and especially drive back after the swim) - your own pool might be a good solution for you.
If you don't know anything about caring for pools when buying a house, you can negotiate with the seller, that they will pay a company to come and teach you, that the seller pays for say a year of pool upkeep, or make other arrangements. Talk to your agent about this.
There are 3 parts to keeping up the pool: opening up, keeping it clean, and closing it up for the winter. There are service companies, who will do this for you, they offer full or partial closing and opening. If you choose "partial" it means you will have to deal with the pool cover on your own - taking it off, cleaning, drying, folding neatly for storage, and respectively putting it back on and secure tightly (a task for 2 strong people).
During your swimming season, you need to clean the pool regularly, and adjust the chemicals in the water. Many specialty stores selling pool supplies provide you free water testing (Central Pools store, for example). You bring a sample in a plastic bottle, they check it and print out what you need to add to adjust the levels of each lacking chemical. You can also buy a testing kit for under $20 and test the water yourself.
Chemicals needed for a pool are often sold at discount stores, the local favorite being Ocean State Job Lots (several locations all over New England). Some chemicals are nothing fancy, just plain old "baking soda" for example, that is cheaper to buy at a discount grocery store anyway (Think Big Lots). Once you know what you need, it's easy to look for a deal. There are plenty of online suppliers as well.
All in all, if you happen to like a house that comes with a swimming pool in the backyard - it might be an option worth considering. And check back for more posts about pools - this week is a "pool" week!