House with a swimming pool – everything you need to know
Are you looking for a house with a swimming pool? Before you decide, here’s everything you need to know about making the right choice, plus some advice about how much value a swimming pool can really add to your property.
A swimming pool can be many things – a status symbol, a place to cool off, a garden landmark, a talking point, a perfect party venue and a focus of family fun and precious memories – but when buying (or selling) a property it pays to take a practical look at the realities of pool ownership.
There’s no doubt a pool has much to offer as you cool off, chill out with your feet in the water or party poolside as the sun goes down. With a pool you can create a social hub for family and friends or simply look out across your garden and enjoy the tranquil view of the cool blue water and ever-changing reflections.
Houses with pools: different types you can find in Spain
Many Spanish properties offer a pool, thanks to a fantastic warm climate that positively inspires fun in the sun. Amongst houses with pools, outdoor pools are the norm, but you’ll also find houses with an indoor pool or even both. An indoor pool can be a very tempting addition to a home gym or spa.
There are several types of outdoor pool, the most common variety. These range from the more permanent and versatile gunite (cement and sand) through the built-in but more affordable fibreglass shell or vinyl liner to the familiar, temporary above-ground versions.
- Outdoor, including gunite (permanent, cement and sand) and fibreglass shell or vinyl liner (built-in but more affordable)
- Above-ground (temporary)
We’re talking about the first two options – the permanent fixtures that are part of the property and can range from the sleek infinity pools of modern apartments or hillside villas to the grand pools and outbuildings set into manicured lawns and surrounded by palm trees.
Within these categories you might find fresh or saltwater pools or even the latest and very stylish natural pools, which are initially expensive but use natural processes and plants to keep the water fresh and perfect. These often resemble impressive ponds and can offer the best of both worlds – a beautiful, natural water feature with a unique swimming experience.
Of course, if you are looking for a truly bespoke experience and the budget can handle it, then you might prefer to find a property with the space for a pool and create your own perfect vision.
The pool can be just the beginning
Like houses (and buyers) no two pools are the same. Size plays a part in desirability of course, but so do the distance from the main house, proximity to terraces and orientation, which affects the amount of sun a pool enjoys throughout the day. There may be a pool house with changing rooms and showers, or even a spa or a Jacuzzi incorporated into a dedicated ‘pool area’.
The sky is the limit when it comes to cost, depending on how enthusiastic the designer and owner has been. Some common enhancements might include waterfalls, slides and diving boards, lighting and sound systems, specialist heating, cleaning and filtration systems and even specialist flow technology to assist in fitness training.
What are the costs of operating and maintaining a pool?
The costs of maintaining a pool are of course something to bear in mind. However glamorous or expensive your pool, it’s impossible to avoid the need for day-to-day maintenance and monitoring to keep your pride and joy clear, (probably) blue and inviting.
Gunite is hard-wearing, but doesn’t last forever, while fibreglass and vinyl liners are more prone to damage and can need replacing every 10 years or so. Many buyers will ask for this to be done pre-sale, so remember that you might be in this position when you sell.
Heating and filtration can be costly, although systems have become significantly more efficient in recent years, with more sophisticated timings and speed settings, as well as programming to exploit times of cheaper electricity.
Pool cover design has also embraced technology and covers are much easier to use and can hold in much of that precious heat. Automatic covers are a talking point and make life easier, but remember that they come with associated power and maintenance costs.
Keeping a pool clean can also be technology-based, with the various automatic pool robots that potter around keeping the floor, walls and even the surface clear of debris and growth. Be aware that if your pool is surrounded by trees, farmland or lawns that the levels of leaves and grass and even animals might be too much for your robot to handle.
The human touch is always an option with the many pool servicing companies that can happily provide a regular cleaning and maintenance routine, and also keep tabs on the chemical composition of the water, checking pH levels and ensuring that your salt, fresh or even natural water is in pristine condition.
Obviously costs will depend on size, environment and condition, but here are some average operating and maintenance costs:
- Overall upkeep, cleaning and repairs (€1,000 – €4,000 per year)
- General cleaning and maintenance service (€100 – €200 per month)
- First cleaning (€100 – €300)
- Vacuum (up to €500)
- Consumables – chlorine, acid, testing kits, filters, salt, sand etc (various)
- Electricity (€250 per year)
- Replacement pump (€200 – €300)
- Heater repair (€350)
- Replacement heater (€2,500)
- Vinyl patching or repair (€20 kit – €250 professional)
- Fibreglass patching or repair (€250)
- Gunite draining and repair (€800 – €1500)
- Closing and wintering/opening for the season (€200 – €250)
Does a pool add value to a home?
It’s difficult to put a Euro value on quality of life, but the general rule tells us that as well as enhancing Spain’s famous Mediterranean lifestyle, having a pool can add around 7% of actual financial value of your property.
Positive financial effects can be maximised if the pool is in good condition, set in a garden without dominating the space and is a feature of a house located in a neighbourhood where pools are popular and even expected.
Extras such as pool houses, decking and Jacuzzis can add appeal, but also potential expense, and that leads us back to the question of lifestyle value and individual buyer taste.
A slide might be a huge selling point for one buyer but others might consider it an eyesore. Trees around the pool might suggest shade and added character to some, while others might see them as potential leaf-dropping annoyances and sunbathing obstructions.
When it comes to the financial benefits of having a pool, it really depends on finding the right buyer, and three key types are often identified:
- people who want a pool – they are just looking for the right one (and might pay a premium when they find it)
- people who aren’t sure – they may be open to a pool if it’s attached to the right property, or be persuaded when they see ‘their’ perfect pool (and might even pay a premium if they decide a pool is a great idea)
- people who don’t want a pool – they may have a young family and associated safety concerns, don’t want to incur any unknown costs, have had a bad experience or simply don’t like the idea. If the property is truly irresistible they might even buy it anyway and fill the pool in.
Is buying a property with a pool a good idea?
In many ways, having a pool is like having a tennis court, a dedicated barbecue area, a gym, a home cinema or a helipad – or an extra bedroom, rose garden or roof terrace. If the buyer is looking for that particular feature then they might be happy to pay more. This is particularly true if it’s rare or special or unique in some way.
You only need to find one buyer in the end, and if two or more are keen to buy then your pool might be worth even more to them. But as a rule, while a pool can be a valuable asset to any property – and 7-10% is a reasonable estimate – this will depend on all of the features above.
It will also depend on that unquantifiable slice of lifestyle magic, that perfect feeling of cool water on your toes or the sound of a happy family passing perfect afternoons in a garden or on a terrace. For some, life really isn’t the same without your very own pool.
Villas for sale in Spain with a private pool
Superb modern villa for sale in Barcelona’s prestigious Pedralbes area, with lovely gardens, decked areas, a fantastic swimming pool and panoramic city and sea views
Beautiful 6-bedroom villa for sale in Sa Tuna on the Costa Brava with an infinity pool and spectacular sea views
Beautifully restored 14th Century farmhouse for sale, set in 9.8 hectares of private land in the Baix Empordà with a saltwater pool and magnificent, far-reaching views
Renovated 5-bedroom house for sale in Alella, Maresme, with a tourist licence, sea views and a beautiful saltwater pool
Stunning country estate for sale near Sitges, set in 70 hectares of parkland with a fabulous infinity pool
Price: On request
Large detached 6-bedroom house with private gardens and a swimming pool in the exclusive gated community of Monteclaro
Magnificent 6-bedroom villa for sale in a peaceful residential complex in Bétera, with one semi-circular pool and another in the form of a lake surrounded by artificial rocks
Price: On request
Beautiful Ibiceno-style villa for sale in Benimussa, Ibiza, with fantastic outside space, a wonderful solar-heated infinity pool and panoramic sea and sunset views
Contemporary villa for sale in La Quinta, Benahavís, with a spectacular infinity pool and stunning sea and golf views