Installing a Pool? The Ultimate Homeowner’s Checklist

The decision to install an in-ground pool should never be taken lightly. Take the time to review this checklist before calling up the nearest pool installer.

The decision to install an in-ground pool should never be taken lightly. While this iconic amenity adds a level of beauty and recreation to the property, it also imparts significant real estate considerations. Without careful forethought and planning, unexpected roadblocks may put the pool to a grinding halt. Take the time to review this checklist before calling up the nearest pool installer.


Local Laws, Permits, and Municipal Codes

Check with the local jurisdiction to find out what is required. The pool contractor should be well-versed in the codes, permits, and fees necessary to begin. However, the responsibility lies with the homeowner. Some areas have restrictions on size and type of pool, setback, and safety features.


Homeowner’s Association Restrictions

Some homeowner’s associations may forbid the installation of pools altogether, while others have specific restrictions. They may prohibit excessively large pools or require additional safety measures not required by the city. Consult with them prior to investing in a pool or they may put a stop to it.


Utility Easements

Known easement issues should be dealt with prior to installing a pool. Utility service easements and other access issues can make the prime location of the pool far less inviting. Natural obstructions such as sinkholes, rocky terrain, and trees can increase the difficulty further.


Space Requirements

A pool will also take up more area than most people are expecting. Account for plenty of excess space for ease of movement, garden area, and play areas for children. Have a contractor assist in plotting out the available space, and making note of any questionable areas.


Property Taxes Versus Property Value

Typically, expect a new pool installation to qualify as new construction on the property. This will subject it to higher property taxes, which will vary based on locale. However, the amount of the investment is not often reflected by an equivalent increase in property values. Consider a new pool an indulgence rather than an investment.

04.18.17 Home Improvement - Considering Installing a Pool body

Climate and Neighborhood

Warmer climates are perfect locations for pools; so much so that they are essential property features, not luxuries. Even homes close to coastal regions still require pools, to maintain the health of the real estate market and to sell quickly. Homes in colder climates are more likely to add a pool as a novelty, only available for use in the warmer spring and summer months. Likewise, take a look at the other homes in the neighborhood, for indications on how desirable a pool is, and what styles are preferred in this market.


Patio, Landscaping, and Amenities

Consider how the in-ground pool fits in with current and future outdoor amenities. A patio is a natural pairing, but proper landscaping will prevent the pool from looking staggeringly out of place. Lighting, fire pits, and cooking areas can all be incorporated into a comprehensive outdoor entertainment area, increasing property values and market desirability.


Financing with Home Equity, Second Mortgage, or Unsecured Loan

Choosing the right financing should be done prior to putting a deposit down with a pool contractor. A qualified lender can explain the available options and assist in deciding what is best at the time. Many people turn to home equity loans immediately, but they are not always available on a newer home purchase or during a slow market. A second mortgage is another popular choice, but may not be a sound investment if a quick sale is expected. Unsecured loans are less popular, but are good when a large deposit is already available.


Resale Value and Attractiveness to the Market

A new pool is no guarantee of increased property values. In unfavorable markets, some buyers may not desire an in-ground pool at all, and it may end up buried in the future. Proper research will indicate what kind of market the property is located in. Often, a pool remains a luxury investment that is not easily recouped in the future.


The decision to install a pool is complex, but need not be overwhelming. By covering these areas prior to beginning, it will be easy to determine if a pool will be a reality or a pipe dream. 

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Sam is the Content and Multimedia Specialist for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. He is Jersey born and bred, and currently resides in Weehawken, NJ. He is an avid reader, loves Games of Thrones and is a New York Yankees die-hard.

You can follow him on Twitter @World_Shalom

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  1. Howard Roberts
    April 18, 2017

    As a designer and builder of pools and landscapes for the past (40) years, this checklist bring a great deal of insight and value. Apply these essential thoughts!

    Before you buy, consult with a professional of our expertise. We can provide the information you will require in order to make educated and financially sound decisions.

    Not only indicate what is required for local zoning compliance and the vision of how the pool and landscape can come together.

    Things like, budget/costs, timeline, proper sequence, possible engineering requirements, etc. Especially, with unique properties that are waterfront, limited access, high water table, bedrock/enherited site conditions, impacted by state/federal requirements (FEMA or CAFRA), etc.

    Buying a property with an existing pool also brings other questions, understanding and expertise.

    Always happy to help agents and their buyers, investors or sellers!!

    Thank you,

    Howard Roberts

  2. John
    June 14, 2017

    I didn’t realize that a new pool usually constitutes an increase in property taxes. This is definitely good to know though since I’ve been looking at getting a custom pool installed this summer. Is there any way to get an estimate as to how much taxes I’ll be needing to pay based off the size of pool I have installed?

  3. Joan Martin
    July 19, 2017

    Yes, building a pool in the backyard is an ultimate dream of every homeowner. Generally, in-ground pool is considered as more sophisticated than the above-ground one. To convert your dream into reality, you have to first hire a pool installer and must confirm it the style and size of the pool you want to have. Also, you have to aware of the local laws and permits as the provincial laws in the US vary from one to other. Considering the security concerns, the local government bodies impose few security measures.

  4. TRa Dao Quan
    September 18, 2017

    That is a really good tip particularly to those fresh to
    the blogosphere. Brief but very precise information… Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read post!


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