Swimming Pools Make Portland Homes Sell for 14% Less, 2022 Report

Who doesn’t get excited at the thought of having a pool nearby? Most people envision the relaxation, cooling off during the summer, and throwing memorable pool parties! But when faced with actually owning one or looking into what it really means to own and maintain a pool, the glamor of the poolside lifestyle is oftentimes dashed.

It makes sense to want and have this water feature in warmer parts of the country. But here in Oregon, the amount of time a pool can be best used is very short-lived throughout the cycle of one year.

What will the cost be to you, the home owner? And in what ways? Will a Portland swimming pool increase or decrease your home value?

Before you dive into the deep end and get strapped with a pool, keep reading for our research, based on selling homes in the area for almost 20 years. We also offer some tips if you have a pool and are thinking of selling.

Portland Homes Sold in 2022 Under 1 Million

Without a Pool Under 1 Million: So far in the first three months of 2022, 1,699 detached homes sold in Portland for under 1 million without a pool. These homes took an average of 29 days to sell and sold at an average sq. ft. amount of $307.

With a Pool Under 1 Million: In the first three months of 2022, 12 homes sold with an outdoor pool for under 1 million. These homes sold in an average of 52 days and for an average sales price of $265 per sq. ft.

Summary: This means that homes with a pool in Portland under 1 million sold for 14% less per sq. ft. and took 45% longer to sell on the real estate market.

Portland Homes Sold in 2022 Over 1 Million

Without a Pool Over 1 Million: So far in the first three months of 2022, 148 homes sold for over 1 million in Portland without a pool. These homes sold in an average of 50 days and sold at an average of $376 per sq. ft.

With a Pool Over 1 Million: In the first three months of 2022, 13 homes sold with a pool in Portland over 1 million. They sold in an average of 78 days with an average price per sq. ft. of $463.

Summary: Homes sold over 1 million with a pool took 36% longer to sell, but sold for 19% more per sq. ft.

If you’re not selling a luxury home, a Portland pool is likely to decrease your home value. If you are selling a luxury home with a pool, it can increase your value, but might take longer to sell.

This makes sense, right? Many lower and middle income homes do not want the added expense of maintaining a pool they can only use for part of the year. Even higher income households may think twice about incurring the expense (longer days on market). But in the Portland luxury real estate market, a pool ultimately is an asset and will increase overall property value, for that home buyer tends to have a greater focus on amenities both inside and outside the home and the price of maintenance may be less of a deterrent.

Swimming Pools in Portland Can be a Real Estate Liability

It can be hard to look past the glamorized ideas many of us have about owning a pool. Pools come with a fair amount of responsibilities, though. Here are a few to consider.

Swimming Pools can be a Financial Liability

  • The ongoing maintenance costs alone are enough to stop many in their tracks. Simple, low-end maintenance—like skimming and adding chemicals—can cost around $1,800/year on average. Repairs and replacements on broken parts or the process to get a pool ready for seasonal use drive up maintenance costs even more.
  • Decommissioning is expensive. In Portland, decommissioning and filling an in-ground swimming pool will cost in the range of $5,000 (for a partial demolition) to $15,000 or $20,000+, depending on variables, like pool size, where it sits in relation to the home, address, and whether or not other items need to be removed (fencing, heaters, etc.).
  • Like the idea of heating your pool in the winter? Guess what? Expensive! With Portland’s increased focus on energy efficiency, most home buyers won’t consider even a few additional hundred dollars in the winter to heat a pool.

Swimming Pools are a Legal Liability

  • You are responsible for what goes on in your pool, no matter what. Even if interlopers sneak onto your property for a moonlight dip. If they’re injured, you could be legally liable.
  • Worst yet, according to U.S. News, child drownings in swimming pools have risen in recent years. About 400 of the reported pool/spa deaths by drowning were among children 15 years and younger from 2016 through 2018 (based on CPSC data). U.S. News says that three-quarters of those deaths were children younger than 5, with 83% occurring in residential pools. In children 1-4 years, the leading cause of unintentional deaths are residential pools.
  • Even empty swimming pools pose a legal liability. Most states—including Oregon—require a 4-foot fence around pools (and other safety regulations), but even with these, accidents still happen. 

Read about Portland’s permitting and other requirements for pools and hot tubs.

Portland Guide to Selling a Home With a Pool

If you bought a home with a pool and the time has come to sell it, you’ll want to make sure you take the time to properly stage the pool. With many people not seeking out pools in this area, taking every step you can to present it in the best light possible could make a difference between a sale or no sale.

Here are some tips to help:

  • Make sure it’s clean and that you’ve taken care of basic maintenance (same goes for your hot tub if you have one). The liner is expensive, but if it needs to be replaced – do it.
  • Hire a professional pool cleaner to scrub the pool surface and drains and add the appropriate chemicals.
  • Repair any fencing around your pool area so its aesthetically pleasing (no peeling paint, holes, or hanging wires). Ensure all current safety regulations are being met.
  • Replace the cover if your current one is showing wear and tear.
  • Clear deck and patio areas and the perimeter of your pool of toys or anything else that make it look cluttered. Keep distractions to a minimum.
  • Weather permitting, remove all outdoor furniture covers.

Portland Guide to Buying a Home With a Pool

If you want a home with a pool, it’s cheaper to buy one with a pool than to install one yourself. While most Portland home buyers don’t set out to find a home with a pool, when you’re shopping around and come across one, be prepared. These are our best real estate agent tips when you find a home you love and it has a pool.

  • If you decide you like the idea of having a pool in your back yard, ask for maintenance records from the seller. Also, get a pool inspector to do an inspection, in addition to your regular home inspection.
  • Do you research. Check out the costs and labor involved in owning a pool. We recommend you visit a local pool supply and maintenance shop and get clear about their service costs.

We have the full list of all Portland homes currently for sale with a pool.

Ready to Dip Your Toe into the Portland Real Estate Market?

Whether you want a pool or not, you can count on us to guide you through your real estate buying or selling journey. After almost 20 years of experience in the Portland metro area, we can answer your questions. Why not get in touch with our top 1% buyers team or our top 1% seller’s team and see what we have to offer? Call us at 503-714-1111 or chat with the bot on our site. You’ll be happy you did.

April 1, 2022

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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