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Backyard Pool - Asset or Liability?

Backyard Pool - Asset or Liability?, by Carrie Benuska

One of the joys of living in the Southern California is our incredible weather. There is no doubt that our balmy temperatures also contribute to our robust Pasadena real estate market. When much of the country is dealing with winter snow, our weather stays within a comfortable radius throughout the four seasons. Maybe a bit boring but pretty fantastic, right?!  Our favorable climate is also the reason that so many Greater Pasadena homes have backyard pools. All one has to do is view an aerial shot of many Greater Pasadena neighborhoods to see how poplular they are. Even with their local prevalence, though, many people ask the question backyard pool:  asset or liability.

For those homeowners who are either considering putting in a pool or renovating an existing pool, I thought that I would address some frequently asked questions:

Is the existence of a backyard pool an asset for a home?

Nothing is more beautiful than looking out onto a beautifully landscaped backyard with a bright and glimmering pool. A backyard pool can be the cornerstone of good landscape design and serve as a tremendous selling point for a property. Even if potential buyers don’t swim, a pool can give a yard unique beauty and tranquility. The key is to make sure that it is well-placed, is in proportion to the size of the yard, and still allows for a nice open area of grass and patio. In an affluent market, such as San Marino, many home buyers expect that a home will come equipped with a pool, especially if the home sits on a large lot and is in a higher price category.

Will money spent on a pool lead to an equal increase in sales price?

As with all home improvements, it is important to resist the urge to over-improve a pool area. When adding a pool or improving an existing one, home owners should carefully consider the cost and benefit of each feature added. High-end buyers are sophisticated and really respond to well-designed, attractive, and tasteful pool design, but it is unnecessary to replicate a pool which might be found at the Ritz-Carlton in Maui. Most important is to make sure that the plaster, tile and hardscape are in good repair and that all of the equipment is in good working order. The addition of a spa is a great added benefit for many buyers, as well.

Is there ever a time when a pool is a liability during the sales process?

A home that features a backyard completely filled with pool and hardscape can be a complete turn-off for many buyers. If the buyers have young children, the lack of any grass for play could easily eliminate the home from their list of possible purchases. In these circumstances, it might be wise for the home owner to fill in the pool and start over with a new overall landscape design. Pool safety is of primary importance to young families, so the existence of a pool right up against the house can be a deal-breaker, too. Most people prefer a pool toward the back of the property, so that they can use it when they want but it does not dominate their yard.

To learn more about increasing the value of your yard, go to Making the Shift to Drought Tolerant Gardens and Landscape Design Ideas: Gates and Fences

Discover Greater Pasadena Communities

 Carrie BenuskaJohn Aaroe Group, 42 S. Pasadena Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105



Pasadena Neighborhood Spotlight - Washington Square

Pasadena Neighborhood Spotlight - Washington Square, by Carrie Benuska

I love that Pasadena CA is full of unique neighborhoods, each with their own vibe, price point, and architecture. As a buyer searches for Pasadena real estate, they could have their choice of several unique properties that are completely different but all have the potential to meet their needs. The neighborhood variety gives room for personal preference and allows buyers to find someplace to live that really feels like “home!”

Landscape Design Ideas : Gates and Fences

Landscape Design Ideas : Gates and Fences, by Carrie Benuska

I recently took a trip up to Marin County, north of San Francisco, and loved the opportunity to drive the adorable residential streets. The cities of Ross, Larkspur, and Kentfield are extremely attractive and are packed with lots of older character homes, similar to Pasadena real estate. Many homeowners have done extensive renovations, and I got lots of great landscape design ideas.  Many have embraced the idea of drought tolerant gardens while also incorporating interesting hardscape.

Pasadena Homes For Sale: 1139 North Hudson

Pasadena Homes For Sale: 1139 North Hudson, by Carrie Benuska

There are a lot of home buyers out there on the hunt for a great starter home with tons of curb appeal and overall charm. Good, well-priced Pasadena homes for sale are receiving multiple offers and selling over the asking price. There is no time for indecision or caution. Buyers have to act quickly and aggressively to win the prize of being the accepted offer.

San Marino Unified School District Scores Big!

San Marino Unified School District Scores Big!, by Carrie Benuska

On Wednesday, August 24th the State of California released the 2016 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (“CAASPP”) scores. The list is replete with excellent school districts in strong communities across the state, yet our own San Marino Unified School District ranked #1 in the State out of over 400 unified school districts.  San Marino has been top of the heap for years, which is impressive, but the good news does not end there. Greater Pasadena school districts make up 1/3 of the 12 unified districts mentioned. After San Marino's top ranking, La Canada Unified School District ranked #3, South Pasadena Unified School District ranked #5, and Arcadia Unified School District was in a 4-way tie for #9. This is incredible!

Is Smart Home Technology a Good Investment?

Is Smart Home Technology a Good Investment?, by Carrie Benuska

We live in an increasingly technology-driven society. There seems to be a never-ending list of cool gadgets available to consumers, promising to help them simplify and automate every area of their lives. Smart home technology, focused on automating a variety of household systems, is big business these days and is an attraction for technology-savvy home buyers.

Buyers Love Pasadena View Homes

Buyers Love Pasadena View Homes, by Carrie Benuska

My recent listing at 1390 Cresthaven Drive in Pasadena CA has given me a completely new perspective about Pasadena view homes. The house sits on a large sloped lot with limited flat sections. Although you can’t physically make use of the sloped portion, this part of the property is what provides the privacy, serenity, and breathtaking views of Pasadena and beyond. Holding this property open and interacting with lots of viewers taught me that many buyers swoon for Pasadena view homes.

San Marino Real Estate Market In a Nutshell

San Marino Real Estate Market In a Nutshell, by Carrie Benuska

The San Marino real estate market has been a bit of a conundrum over the past year. As a listing agent, the market has clearly experienced a shift, but the financial effects of the adjusment have not always been readily apparent when viewing home sale statistics. A quick look at the data below leads you to believe that 2015 was a record high for the city and that 2016 has just been a leveling off from that high. Although this is true, more has been going on in the middle of this data.

North Arroyo Experiences Large Gains in Median Sales Price

North Arroyo Experiences Large Gains in Median Sales Price, by Carrie Benuska


The Arroyo Seco (aka The Arroyo), meaning "dry stream" in Spanish, is a highlight of the Pasadena CA landscape. Not only does this thin valley house the Rose Bowl Stadium, one of Pasadena’s most famous landmarks, it also provides interesting views for some of our best Pasadena real estate. The neighborhoods of Pasadena with streets that abut the Arroyo fetch a premium when they come up for sale.

Pasadena Unified School District's Impressive Class of 2016!

Pasadena Unified School District's Impressive Class of 2016!, by Carrie Benuska

The City of Pasadena CA is an iconic location with world-wide recognition for the yearly Rose Parade and Rose Bowl football game, fine museums, and great shopping and dining. Pasadena real estate features impressive homes from famous architects like Wallace Neff, Greene and Greene, and Buff & Hensman. Although Pasadena is an idyllic place to live in so many respects, many residents with school-aged children choose not to utilize the Pasadena Unified School District. There is a decade’s old perception for many that Pasadena schools are not a viable option.

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Recent Posts

Backyard Pool - Asset or Liability?
Landscape Design Ideas : Gates and Fences
Pasadena Homes For Sale: 1139 North Hudson
San Marino Unified School District Scores Big!

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