Sam Dunn: 'Are we wasting money by installing a large swimming pool?'

House Doctor


Question: We live in a large three-bed semi-detached town house with plenty of garden space, and are thinking about investing in an outdoor swimming pool in our large back garden. It will be for our own enjoyment but mainly because, when we sell in two years' time, it will boost the sale price. However, my partner is worried that it is foolish to spend money if it won't make much of a financial difference. Who's right: are we in danger of wasting money?
WA, Boston, Lincs



Answer: Installing a swimming pool usually makes a big splash with family, friends and neighbours; after all, what better way to cool off when the sun shines, hold a barbecue party and bag free exercise to boot?

You would be in good company too: roughly 205,000 swimming pools in private homes (including indoor installations) are dotted across Britain, a figure estimated to be rising by as many as 2,000 a year, at least until the recession started hitting sales last year.

"Prices can range from as little as £1,400 – excluding heating – for a 15ft diameter, circular above-ground pool, to £40,000 or more for a larger, heated and fully-tiled sunken pool," says a spokesman for the Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association.

However, when it comes to selling a home, investing in a swimming pool won't always be the attraction it appears. In fact, estate agents warn that, in the wrong property, a pool can sink your chances of getting a good sale price.

"A swimming pool adds real value if you already have a five-bedroom, half-acre pile in the countryside – people expect it as a feature," says James Brooks at Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward estate agent.

"But if you've a nice, normal four-bed semi or detached house, it won't add value and will end up putting people off."

This is thanks to a trio of well-established worries.

"First, a swimming pool probably won't leave you with much green garden space, depending of course on how much you have got to start with," says Brooks.

Second, he adds, there is the safety issue. Young families, who are often the typical buyers of three-bed semis, worry about their children near water, even if it is in their own backyard.

And finally, he warns, there are the ancillary costs of pools: "Most people are fearful of the cost of the inevitable maintenance and repairs." These can run anywhere from £100 to £140 per month in summertime.

While a pool can add as much as 5 per cent to a property's value if done carefully, it will add nothing if done badly – and prove too much to bear for many homebuyers in the future.

Homebuyers looking for a semi won't have any expectation of having a pool – and so they won't pay for it.

"If you are getting a pool for yourselves, then great," says Brooks. "But if you are doing it for a resale in the future, don't. People won't buy the house because of it."

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
News
Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us