For most people, selling their home will net them the biggest chunk of cash they will ever earn in a single transaction.
Even something that can increase your home’s value by a few percentage points, when we’re talking about a property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or over a million dollars, translates to tens of thousands of dollars in extra value.
Naturally, you want to do a great job of sprucing up your home so that the appraiser gives the highest evaluation possible.
It’s well known that an inground swimming pool can increase the home’s value by anywhere from 5-8% (typically closer to the lower end of this range). This begs the question: do above-ground pools add value to your home the same way inground pools do?
Generally speaking, above-ground pools do not increase your home’s value. In fact, most realtors will tell you to take down the pool if you want your home to sell. Most prospective buyers either don’t want to take care of a pool, or they prefer an inground pool over an above-ground pool. Above-ground pools are typically seen as undesirable to most buyers.
In this article, I will go over the reasons why above-ground pools don’t increase the value of your home, and how they compare to inground pools when it comes to increasing a home’s value.
Above-ground pools are seen as an eyesore
A stigma that has been around for many decades are that above-ground pools are seen as trashy, whereas inground pools are seen as luxurious.
Inground pools can easily cost five times the price of even the most expensive above-ground pool, and homeowners who can afford this expense are more than happy to use it as a status symbol. The same cannot be said about an above-ground pool.
The design of an above-ground pool is very generic and often clashes with the aesthetic of the house and the surrounding landscape. In terms of aesthetics, it fails, and it also presents a practical problem.
Rather than seeing an above-ground pool as a budget option for a family to have a swimming pool, a prospective buyer will be thinking about how much acreage is being occupied by the pool, and how much it would cost to remove it.
Most buyers would rather buy a house in move-in condition and any extra work they would have to do is seen as a deterrent. If there is a pool, it needs to be a luxurious inground pool in perfect condition, not an unsightly above-ground pool.
Hence, realtors will even tell you to take down an above-ground pool to make your home look more attractive to a prospective buyer.
Not everyone wants to maintain a pool
Not everyone wants to own a pool. You may have heard the saying: a swimming pool is just a hole in the ground you throw money into. Well, that phrase applies to above-ground pools as well.
Not only does an above-ground pool not increase your home’s value, but the extra cost and labor of maintaining it is yet another hindrance to prospective buyers who would rather not deal with any of these things.
You, the current pool owner, know full well the expenses that come with owning a pool:
- Cost of electricity and water
- Cost of filters and accessories
- Cost of chemicals
- Cost of pool safety features
- Cost of pool repairs
First time homeowners and experienced buyers alike will run from these costs.
Just take your above-ground pool down when selling your home
For many of the reasons listed above, you should just preemptively take your above-ground pool down when putting your house on the market.
But what if there is someone who really wants an above-ground pool for some reason, you may ask? You can still try to sell it as-is, but you’re probably wasting time.
Even if an above-ground pool technically doesn’t decrease the value of your home, it can dissuade people from even considering your home for purchase.
There are some buyers who insist that having a pool is a must, but they are referring to inground pools, not above-ground pools. I’ve seen above-ground pools in perfect condition get taken down because the new owner doesn’t want it.
So if you take your above-ground pool down, you aren’t losing value in any way. Rather, you are increasing the likelihood of selling it to someone who doesn’t want the hassle of a pool in their life or who thinks an above-ground pool is ugly.
Do inground pools add a lot of value to your home?
If you were on the fence about whether you should save money and get an above-ground pool, or splurge and get a much more expensive inground pool, reading this article may push you in the direction of getting an inground pool because you can justify it as an investment.
However, consider what I said about a pool adding around 5-10% to your property value (typically 5%). If your home is worth around $300,000, adding a swimming pool can increase your home value by about $15,000.
But the cost of building the pool will likely be even more than that. You must also factor in the cost of maintaining your pool year-round. So are you really recouping your costs or coming out ahead in any way?
The math works out more favorably the more expensive your house is, but then that likely means you have a larger property and you probably want a larger pool, so the cost of building a larger pool would be even greater.
Unless you keep that same property for 15-20 years where it had time to appreciate in value significantly so that the appreciation offsets the cost of building an inground pool, then you should expect to always be in the red.
Why a deck may add value to your home
Most above-ground pools have decks attached to them. Depending on how the deck is built, the deck may add value to your home.
Any deck that is attached to the back of your home at the ground level will increase your home’s value. This is especially true of longer-lasting pavers or concrete decks instead of wood decks.
However, if the deck is built higher up such that it encircles an above-ground pool, then it may not add any value to your home because a prospective buyer may want the pool taken down, and leaving the deck with an awkward hole in it, so the deck has to go too.
Basically, think about whether the deck is still useful after an above-ground pool is taken down. If it is, then that deck likely adds value.
Additionally, any added lighting that is still useful even when the pool is gone adds long-term value to your home.
In a similar vein, any landscaping done around the pool that still looks good when the pool is gone can add value.
So think carefully about how you set up your above-ground pool so that perhaps you can recoup some of your costs when you eventually sell your home.