With the Georgia heat steadily climbing, one of the most popular places to be in Atlanta this time of year is poolside. Maybe you’ve been considering the potential fun and convenience of having a personal watering hole right in your own backyard. Before you start to having those Chevy Chase “Christmas Vacation” fantasies, consider the realities of owning a pool from every angle. And then, if you decide to go forward, be prepared to make even more choices. A hole filled with water isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Covenants and Community Restrictions
Before you do anything else, it’s crucial to research whether or not you’ll even be permitted to construct a pool. Newer developments almost always have HOAs, while historic designations often place restrictions on what can and can’t be done in older neighborhoods. Beyond that, you’ll also want to look into the regulations put forth by your city or township regarding pools, particularly the kind of fencing required.
Pools and Resale
The first thing that may come to your mind concerning a pool is its potential impact come time to sell. In most cases, a pool will not add value to your home, and you shouldn’t expect to recoup your money. Rather, you should look at it as an investment in your own happiness. You may be less than happy, though, when you find that potential buyers are completely turned off by the water feature. First and foremost, most people are concerned about the safety issue; even it it’s solidly fenced, they may have real fears about their own little ones. The next common complaint is the maintenance commitment that comes with owning a pool. Especially if the neighborhood already has swimming facilities, buyers often don’t have the time or desire for such a large undertaking. If all this has left you undaunted, read on.
Above Ground vs. In-ground
The two major categories of pools are above ground and in-ground. Deciding between the two should be influenced by a few important factors. First off, above ground pools are generally less expensive than in-ground pools. Beside leveling off the pool’s site, there’s little earth moving that needs to be done. But, those cost savings come with an aesthetic price: no matter how advanced above ground pools have become, they still pale in comparison to an in-ground in the looks department. Another advantage of in-grounds is that the depth can be customized, giving you room to wade or dive. Even though the temperature can be harder to regulate with an above ground, in some locations they have a more beneficial tax situation than a pool that’s built in. The greatest advantage of an above ground pool come back to the resale issue; it’s basically temporary, so it can be carted away when the for sale sign goes in the yard.
Saltwater vs. Chlorinated
This debate is somewhat mislabeled, since even saltwater pools create chlorine naturally. Again, the greatest influencer in this decision will most likely come down to dollars. Saltwater pools are generally more expensive upfront. However, over the life of the pool, the costs begin to even out. This is because saltwater pools ultimately require less regular maintenance and additional chemicals than do chlorine pools. People usually find saltwater pools gentler on their skin, and they’re a little easier to navigate for someone who has dyed hair; also, they don’t have that familiar chlorine smell. Beside the extra cost, saltwater pools have another potential downside: the wrong amounts of salt can become very corrosive to anything metal near the pool.
Of course, these should only be the preliminary considerations of pool ownership. The hairier questions come into play when the in-laws invite themselves over...