We hear this question A LOT: ‘Is a pool worth it?’
Whether you’re moving to Arizona for the first time or you’re living in Arizona and considering a move, the pool or no pool debate is a serious one!
While I can’t make a sweeping statement about whether or not everyone should or shouldn’t have a pool, I can offer up four important discussion points that will help you to make the right decision for your family. These are the same talking points my husband and I used when were making this tough decision for ourselves.
If this is your first time here, welcome! If you’ve been here before, thank you so much for spending your time with me. My name is Lindsay and I‘m a proud Anthem resident and your local REALTOR® with the Wise Move AZ Team at Realty ONE Group. On this blog and on our YouTube channel we have a lot of fun talking about all things Anthem and real estate every single Thursday, and we absolutely love having you along for the ride.
How Common are Pools?
A quick search of the active listings shows that roughly 40% of the homes on the market today in Anthem have a pool in their yard. We’re confident that this number is reasonably indicative of the number of homes in Anthem that have private pools, give or take 5% or so. So, how do you decide if you will be part of the 40% of households with a pool, or part of the 60% that don’t. Decisions, decisions!
The thing is, the decision to have a pool is really quite personal. It depends on you, your family, and your financial situation. I hope these four considerations help to make that decision a little bit easier.
This absolutely has to be the top consideration. We all know that kids love pools and if it were up to them we would all have pools in our backyard, right?! And we would probably be in that pool all day, every day!
Having your own pool can be a great way to escape the heat in the summer without having to pack up all your stuff and head over to the community center or a friend’s house. The convenience of having your own pool is huge, we totally get it, but having a pool also comes with a ton of responsibility. Keeping the pool area safe and supervised for children and adults takes diligence and constant attention. It’s your responsibility around the clock, both when the pool is being used and when it’s not.
Thankfully, there are so many ways to increase the safety of your pool. You can use safety latches on the doors, self-closing doors, fences, alarms, cameras, and so on. A quick search on the internet will give you a wealth of ideas of what you can do. If the pool home you’re looking to buy doesn’t already have these safety features you’ll need to budget for them. Also, it’s important to know that these safety features don’t remove the need for constant monitoring.
The Risks are Real
We’re not big on fear mongering, but according to the World Health Organization, drowning is a leading cause of unintentional death worldwide. We would hate for you or anyone else to become a part of these statistics.
If diligent supervision and safeguarding the pool area are too daunting for you and you expect children or adults who require supervision to be in your home and yard, then you may want to opt for a home without a pool. Make friends with someone who has a pool or move into a community that has a community pool, like Anthem. Here in Anthem, we are so lucky! We not only have a pool, but we have a water park and splash pads. If you would like to check it out, click to watch this video.
I hate to say it, because I love floating in the pool as much as the next guy but pools are a lot of work! They need weekly cleaning and maintenance checks, and every once in a while they need major work done. You can do this work yourself in some cases, or you can hire it out. If you are planning to do it yourself, the first thing you need to consider is if you know what you’re doing. If not, you need to take time to educate yourself.
There are chemical balances that need to be carefully maintained and replacement schedules that need to be adhered to.
Do you have the time to commit to regular cleanings and maintenance?
If so, I recommend setting a calendar reminder and doing it at the same time each week. My Dad makes a point of doing all of his pool work on Sunday. Do you have the equipment you need? If not, you’ll need to build this into your budget.
If you’re thinking you’ll probably hire out all of the pool cleaning and maintenance that is absolutely fine too, and it actually segues perfectly into my next point.
Did I say pools were a lot of work? I should also have added that pools can get expensive. The cost of regular cleanings, annual maintenance, and repairs add up quickly. You can save a little money by taking on the regular cleanings and the labor part of maintenance and repairs, but don’t forget if you’re doing the work yourself, you still need to budget for all of your supplies.
Costs may also pop up in unexpected ways.
For example, your homeowners’ insurance may be higher because you have a pool. Your utilities will also be higher if you have a pool. Evaporation is a real thing in the desert, so you’ll typically spend more on water than non-pool homes. Also, the equipment will draw additional electricity. These added costs are usually quite manageable if you know what to expect and can budget accordingly. It’s always helpful if you can get a year of water and electricity bills from the owners before buying their home. While there are a lot things that contribute to utility usage, this can give you a good starting point. You can also contact local pool maintenance and supply companies to understand the costs in your area.
Beware of Heating
If you decide to heat your pool in the cooler months the costs can increase dramatically. My parents once decided to heat their pool over Christmas. We had over 30 guests coming from colder climates and thought they would love it. Well, even heated the combination of the pool temperature and the air temperature was too much. The total amount of time the pool was used amounted to less than half an hour. Needless to say, they weren’t too pleased when they received an over $500 gas bill for a week of heating the pool!
Additionally, every once in a while your pool will require major work, like resurfacing. This can set you back a few thousand dollars depending on the finish and cost of labor. We recommend setting aside money every year to soften the blow when these bigger ticket items pop up.
I promise, I’m not saying these things to deter you from getting a pool. I just want you to make these decisions fully informed. You just need to make sure that the joy of having and using the pool is equal to or even outshines the costs. For many people it absolutely does, especially when the temperatures are over 110 degrees for the fifth day in a row!
How much will you use a pool? Be honest with yourself. The most common complaint we hear about pools is not about safety or the costs, it’s about the fact that people don’t use them as much as they thought they would. This means that they have a big dangerous water hole in their backyard that costs them several hundred dollars per year without really getting any benefit from it. OUCH!
Snowbirds and Seasonal Residents
I should clarify that we rarely hear this complaint from people who live in Arizona year round. It generally comes from our winter visitors or snowbirds who come from colder climates. When they’re buying their new home the thought of owning a pool seems perfect! They have grand plans to be in the pool every day…until they realized that the pool is 70ish degrees and that it’s too cold to hang out in during the winter months. Initially they think, no problem, I’ll get a heater! Then they find out that gas is expensive AND the pool still feels cold. Remember my story about Christmas?! If you’re going to go this route, we strongly recommend solar heating for the pool, it costs MUCH less than gas in the long run.
Other Pools Available to You
The other thing to consider is if you have any other pools available to you. On the hottest days of the Arizona summer there is no amount of air conditioning that comes close to as good as jumping in the pool feels. If you have friends or family that have pools you can use, or as I mentioned before, if you have a community pool, it may become less imperative that you have your own.
Anyways, think long and hard about how much you’ll actually use the pool. If you are away from your home in the hot summer months, when the pool is actually warm enough to use, you may want to rethink having your own pool. Even if you live in Arizona year round, if you know your family and you’re just not going to have the time or inclination to hang out in the backyard to use your own pool, maybe not having a pool in your backyard is a better decision. On the other hand if you know you’ll be floating in there every summer afternoon with a cocktail in hand, or the kiddos will spend every weekend in there, it makes a lot more sense.
So, there you have it! What do you think? I hope this video has given you some food for thought! Are you leaning towards a pool home? No pool? In the end my husband and I decided that we couldn’t justify having a pool at this point in our lives. Thankfully we can use the community pool and my parents pool on those days where the heat becomes unbearable. I would love to hear your thoughts! If you’re curious about homes currently for sale in Anthem with and without pools, click on the corresponding links in the description box below.
Also, if you’d like to check out the community pool and water park in Anthem that I mentioned, click here, or if you’re also wanting to tackle the equally popular Solar versus No Solar debate when it comes to buying an Arizona home, then click here.
Enjoy those and I’ll see YOU next Thursday!