At first blush, a pool may seem like a smart investment when you’re flipping a house. Everyone loves a nice, private in-ground pool, after all, and with the right bells and whistles they can really enhance a backyard’s beauty. However, for as much as a pool can add, its effect on the property value is marginal at best.
The main issue is that homebuyers are typically in one of two categories: those who definitely want a pool, and those who definitely don’t want a pool. While those in the first category ensure that there’s always some demand for backyard pools, especially in warmer climates, the second category largely outnumbers the first category and drags down the value-add of an in-ground pool.
There are plenty of reasons not to want to own a pool. Having one in the backyard may be dangerous for small children and animals, it eats up backyard space you might want to spend on something else, and maintaining a pool demands time and money even with modern conveniences. Meanwhile, a poorly maintained or empty pool is an eyesore that can actively detract from a home’s value. An outdoor pool also becomes less valuable in northern latitudes where the pool season is much shorter.
On top of that, properties above a certain value are often assumed to have a pool, which means it doesn’t provide an intrinsic benefit. On the other hand, this means you’ll have to install one if you plan on improving your property past that threshold.
There are plenty of personal reasons for a person to install a pool in his or her primary residence: exercise, fun, relaxation, and therapy are all valid reasons. However, the money spent on a pool is money spent on personal enjoyment, not on property investment, and as such property rehabilitators should for the most part avoid installing pools.