If you’ve always dreamed of having a pool in your backyard, then 2020 might be the year you finally start exploring the pool installation costs for your home. With so much information available online, though, you may have a hard time knowing where to start your search.
To help answer a few common questions about pool construction, we spoke with John Kolacki of Cody Pools. With over 20 years of pool installation experience across the country, Kolacki is the right person to help you cut through some of the noise and figure out the true swimming pool costs and rewards.
What Is the Average Cost of an Inground Pool?
The installation costs can vary depending on the type of pool you want. Depending on the size, you should expect the cost to build a pool to be anywhere from $30,000 to $70,000 in the state of Texas. These costs can also vary depending on the type of ground on your property. If a contractor will be digging into solid rock, they will likely charge more than if they’re digging into soil. According to Kolacki, Austin homeowners should prepare for a price tag “somewhere in the $60,000” range for a new build.
When it comes to annual maintenance costs, HomeGuide suggests budgeting for a range of $3,000 to $5,000, but these numbers decrease as pool technology improves. "With the advent of today’s variable speed pumps and chemical reduction systems, the yearly operational and maintenance costs of owning a pool could be less than $1,000," Kolacki says. These costs may also vary depending on your market and the relevant soil, so be sure to talk to your pool installation contractor for more accurate estimates for your market and the size of your pool.
How Long Will It Take to Finish Construction?
Once you’ve made up your mind and secured financing for your new pool, it may be time to hurry up and wait. There are many steps to building a pool – including regulatory ones – so setting the right expectations can help you avoid weeks of frustration.
Once you begin the process, your builder will first need to draw up the pool designs for your new pool. Depending on your municipality, you may also be required to get permission from your HOA as well. “Most homeowners associations require that you give them at least 30 days to review” your architectural designs, Kolacki says.
Before you break ground on your new pool, your pool builder will also need to pull the necessary residential permits from the city offices. This can add weeks or even months to your timeline. “If you’re going to pull a permit through the City of Austin, you’re probably looking at anywhere from four-to-five weeks to have a permit in-hand,” Kolack explains.
When it comes time to excavate and build, the unpredictable nature of Texas weather can play a significant role in the final timeline. “God bless us in Texas,” Kolacki sighs, “we need to figure out if it’s going to be winter one day or summer the next day.” The more complex the project – and the more varied the weather – the more this process can stretch out.
When you take each of these steps into consideration, Kolacki estimates that the range of outcomes for new pool construction can be anywhere from 45 business days to four months.
Will I Need to Hire Additional Contractors?
A swimming pool might be the most substantial investment you make in your backyard, but is it the only investment you have in mind? If your long-term vision for an outdoor space involves more than a few bags of mulch and a portable barbecue, it’s crucial to think about the big picture before you start making permanent changes to your backyard.
When meeting with a client, Kolacki always begins the conversation by asking for their long-term vision for their home. “Sequencing of events is really important,” he explains. “We help people expand their thinking to get a good idea of what the ‘all-in’ price will be for their backyard.”
Here are just a few additional services you may also need to consider:
- Landscaping Services. What kind of grass or flowers do you want to be located around your pool?
- Patio or Deck Installation. Do you need to remove or extend your existing deck?
- Outdoor Structures. Would you like to add a pergola or an outdoor kitchen to your new space?
- Masonry Services. Do you want to add new walkways or a fire pit to your pool area?
Even if you have a strong vision for how all the pieces will fit together, these additional services may require that you change your overall approach. For this, Kolacki recommends finding a contractor who can help them “through the process of expanding their thinking” to land on a single, all-in price.
Will a Pool Add Value to My Home?
If you suspect that you will be putting your home back on the market in the next few years, you may be wondering how much a new pool will add to the value of your home. The answer to this question can often be hard to pin down.
Experts like Kolacki encourage families to think of pools less like amenities and more like lifestyle accelerators. Rather than focus on a black-and-white return on their investment, “the best approach is to have a strategy for improving the quality of their life,” Kolacki explains.
Not all pools should be treated as financial losses, however. In the right circumstances, real estate publications have found that pools can increase the value of a home upwards of 7%. Here are two significant factors to consider if you are determined to treat your pool as a long-term investment.
Listing Price of Home
You now know that pools can require thousands of dollars in annual maintenance costs. It should not come as a surprise that the current value of a home can serve as an indicator of whether people will want to absorb those costs as part of a new home.
While pools may have a major impact on the price of luxury homes, one study by real estate brokerage Redfin noted that pools could be a liability for homes priced at $200,000 or below. If someone is in the market for a starter home or affordable rental property, maintenance costs may be a hard sell for their current budget. They may elect to save their money and go with a
Strength of the Real Estate Market
The value a pool adds to your home is also highly dependent on the housing market as a whole. Pools will have more value in states like Arizona or Florida than they do in moderate climates. Plus, a more competitive market will often lead to more competitive returns.
Given the sustained growth of the Texas real estate market, Kolacki has watched many homeowners pay top dollar for access to a backyard pool. “Right now, most of the realtors I work with say if you find a house on the market that has a swimming pool, you better show up with a check in your hand,” Kolacki explains.
This observation is supported by the data. In the Redfin study mentioned above, three Texas cities were listed among the Top 20 markets for backyard pools:
- In Austin, pools added an average value of $52,228.18 to a home.
- In Houston, pools added an average value of $35,736.25 to a home.
- In San Antonio, pools added an average value of $18,540.88 to a home.
Having an inground swimming pool in your home can create memories that last a lifetime. As you begin your research, it’s essential to find a pool installer or contractor who will help you answer these common questions and any others you may have. “It’s incumbent upon our industry to prompt people with questions or things that they may overlook,” Kolacki concludes. “There’s a fair amount of good counsel and experience that can be thrown in.”