Pools when selling… should they stay or should they go?

Sorry about the title, I have been doing a bit of Wii Rockband singing lately. Anyway, one of the bigger questions in real estate is about pools. Do they add or subtract value? In my experience, for single family mid range homes in a family type/professional neighborhood a pool causes any of the following thought processes to occur with buyers:

1) Typically, younger families do NOT want a pool and will either discount their offer to so they can fill it in OR often not even look at your property. Please note as with everything, there are exceptions (I have a buyer right now with young children who want a pool!). The risk of child drowning is too great for many parents (and grandparents). Pool report.

2) It depends on the location of the pool- If the pool takes up the whole yard or if you walk out the back door and have some grass and some place to entertain/play and then see a pool off in the distance (that can be gated). Young families are a bit more likely to buy if the pool is positioned away from the house and even better if it is gated (note: covers and netting are not as valued by buyers and can translate into the offer price).

3) How are the fences around the yard? Many buyers are concerned about the liability of neighbor kids coming into their yard and getting hurt at their pool because of a faulty fence, they could be liable. Fences are often thousands of dollars to replace and can also play into the offer price.

I have had two clients buy homes with pools and fill them in over the last 2 years. The cost was between $7,000 and $10,000 with permits to remove the pool. Any landscaping is an additional cost. If you have a home with a pool, I recommend getting a quote for filling it in (your realtor can do this for you). This way you have that information handy if you get an offer and the buyer wants to negotiate about the pool.

A smaller pool has less concerns as it is less expensive to fill in, easier to maintain and gate.