As Summer heat heads our way a lot of people look at buying a pool as they start to remember just how stifling and draining the hot stretches can be.
You might even be looking at real estate adverts of homes with pools and thinking, yeah, that looks good.
Buying a pool for your home is fun, they’re great for those long hot school summer holidays, and they add value to your home…if you do it correctly.
It’s essential that you do some research before you make your decision to build a pool at home to determine if this is the right investment for your home.
A swimming pool can be the ultimate summer treat or a backyard disaster. Here is a quick run down on the things you need to know before you liquefy your backyard and jump in.
- What kind of pool do you want?
Pools come in all shapes and sizes for a very good reason; they are functional. When you are looking at installing a pool it’s not about considering the size and shape you want, it’s about choosing the size and shape you need.
When you build your pool with purpose it becomes more functional, the work is worthwhile, the money spent is satisfying and it will be in use. Getting the wrong pool will equal a really big, high maintenance birdbath.
Your pool will probably end up serving multiple purposes, it’s important that it does to get your money’s worth. You need to know what the main purpose will be.
Go through this list and order them in importance of priority 1-7
- Cooling off in summer
- Entertaining friends (adults)
- Entertaining family (kids)
- Taking in the views/building your home’s aesthetics
You might have other main reasons as well. Add them to your list and number everything accordingly. Each pool has its own specifications that will help you make the right choices. A party pool will need good lighting, a romantic pool may need heating, a splash pool for the kids will need lots of shallow space, a pool for entertaining will need to be large and deep.
- Where is it going to go?
Do you have space, is the soil quality okay, are there any rocks buried in your garden that would make digging slow to impossible?
There may also be local council requirements that you need to take into account that can restrict the size and depth as well as distance to fences, property boundaries and tree lines.
Do check in with your council to see their licences and permits for home pools in your area and take them very seriously. This includes building permits, safety fence requirements and notifying neighbours.
Know your backyard and desired pool dimensions when you head to a pool supplier to talk about your options, take a to-scale map of your intended pool space if you have one.
- How much do you want to spend?
An above ground pool is cheaper than an in-ground pool at first glance but you need to take into account additional costs that might come in from having uneven ground, poor soil quality or decking to make the side of the pool more versatile.
The cheapest option is Vinyl. Vinyl-liner pools can be built above ground for a total cost of around $10,000 total (that includes the pump, ready to go costs).
A built-in vinyl pool will cost around $30,000 to $75,000 (although most Australian homes chose to go for concrete or fibreglass built-in pools.)
Vinyl pools need to have the lining replaced every ten years. This can be expensive, factor around $4,000 to $7,000 for a new liner.
The starting point for a basic fibreglass pool (installed) is around $25,000 and they can range as high as $75,000 if you need a lot of work to your soil or land before you get started, then include all the bells and whistles.
The shape of fibreglass pools is pre-set so there are limited options for sizes and shape, however they are very quick to install, look amazing and are really robust and require little maintenance.
Concrete pools are the most expensive kind. If you go for this option you can expect to pay somewhere between $35,000 and $100,000, the average price is about $50,000.
The benefit of a concrete pool is it’s fully customised. It can be any shape or size you desire. That flexibility makes it a more popular choice for Australians, however, concrete pools are not as strong as fibreglass and can crack and leak if there is poor soil quality beneath it or a change in the soil condition (drought/flood). They also take a lot longer to build.
Concrete pools may require more chemicals to keep clean and depending on the way you choose to line yours, could need a total resurfacing in 15 years time.
N.B. None of these costs includes pool fencing.
- What will my pool builder do?
It’s important to know what’s included when you are getting quotes. Make sure everything is upfront and dig out any hidden costs. Be aware that it will be hard to give an accurate quote from the showroom, a builder will need to see your land and factor in any difficulties.
Press your builder for an all-inclusive quote in writing that has a detailed breakdown. You want to be sure that when you pay all that money you actually have a pool ready to swim in. Also check for warranties and insurance.
Cleaning costs, chemicals, water to fill and top up and landscaping will be additional.
Of course the biggest backyard nightmare is not a dirty, unused pool that requires hard work and a lot of money, but the safety of your little ones. Always be sure pool safety is your number one priority and teach everyone in your home about water safety.
Important Note: For those in NSW, when your pool is completed you need to visit http://www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au/ to register your swimming pool.
Peta Stewart – Certified Practicing Conveyancer