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.