Swimming Pools: A Portland Liability in 2020

portland swimming pool home value

In warmer parts of the country, a pool is often a feature that buyers are willing to pay more for. Here in the Portland real estate market an outdoor pool will typically decrease your value or at best leave it the same (not increase it). Before installing an outdoor in-ground swimming pool, keep in mind that it’s going to make it a little more difficult to sell your home when the time comes, depending on the current real estate market conditions as well as the condition of the outdoor pool.

Here are some of the reasons that Portland home buyers – not all, but definitely most – dislike swimming pools:

  • They’re a liability. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 360 children drown in swimming pools every year. Even empty swimming pools pose a liability. Although most states – including Oregon – require a 4-foot fence around the pool, accidents still happen. 
  • They come with ongoing maintenance costs. To use a pool, home buyers can expect to spend up to $1,800/year on average for maintenance. However, there are new modern options like phin.co that make maintenance easier and less expensive.
  • Decommissioning is expensive. In Portland, decommissioning and filling in an in-ground swimming pool will cost in the range of $10,000-$20,000 and in some cases more.
  • Heating a pool in winter? You guessed it, expensive! With an increased focus on energy efficiency in Portland, most home buyers will not even consider shelling out an additional few hundred dollars in the winter to heat their pool.

Selling a Home With a Swimming Pool

Okay, we’ve established that installing an in-ground swimming pool is not a great homeowner investment, but of course, some homes have them anyway. A home is your castle and it is okay to customize it the way you want, even if it makes selling a little harder. So what’s the best way to sell a home with a swimming pool?

  • List in the spring or summer. Time your home sale so that buyers are looking at the home during the hottest part of the Portland real estate market – March through June. And in your case, maybe wait until at least April for hotter weather. Buyers are much more likely to be enticed by a clean, sparkling pool of cold water when it’s hot.
  • Clean the pool area thoroughly. If buyers see dingy grout, a peeling deck and cobwebby fence around your pool, they’re going to assume that the pool itself hasn’t been maintained. 
  • Repair cracks in the deck. You might even consider painting or pressure washing it if it needs a fresh look. 
  • Trim trees. Before you attack the water with the skimmer, look around for the source of debris. Trim branches back that will send pine needles or leaves into the water on breezy days. 
  • Pay special attention to chemistry. If you’ve been using the pool, you know that one missed treatment can throw off the pH and cause algae to grow. If you’ve never been great at getting the balance right, hire a pool maintenance company to take care of it while your home is on the market. 
  • Have all maintenance and service records available. Complete records will go a long way toward helping buyers purchase with confidence. 
  • Stage the pool area. Get rid of old, faded lounge chairs – it’s always better to go furniture-free if these outdoor items are not in tip-top shape. Store toys and rafts away, and pay attention to the surrounding landscaping. Green grass and freshly mulched beds will add to the “outdoor paradise” look.

Ready to list your Portland home today? Our Top 1% Portland sales team will put the extra work in to help you get top dollar for your home. 

March 9, 2020

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

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