When most people say “money pit,” they're talking about a house that continuously needs fixing. But there's another, more insidious money pit sucking the money out of the bank accounts of millions of homeowners. And it could be right in your backyard.
A lot of people rationalize the cost of new swimming pool on the grounds that it improves the resale value of their home. This is true enough in the Southwest, where backyard swimming pools are par for the course. But in many other cases, getting a swimming pool is a losing proposition.
First consider the initial price tag on a swimming pool. For an inground average pool, you will pay somewhere on the order of $ 30,000, give or take 10 grand. Unfortunately, there are a lot more ways to find yourself on the upper end of the spectrum than the lower end.
Let's start with how you can lower the price. If you're a do-it-yourself type, you can do some of the work yourself. Even if you're not particularly handy, you might be able to save on labor costs by doing some of the digging. Just make sure your pool contractor is okay with the idea – some will roll their ideas at the idea of working with an amateur.
That concludes the list of how to save money on pool installation. To kick off the list of how to raise your cost, let's start with materials. If you want a concrete or fiberglass pool, you'll have to pay more significantly. To save money, you can always line your pool with vinyl. However, you will have to replace the lining every 8-10 years, and it's more likely you'll have to shell out for repairs, too.
Then there are the “extras.” They're called “extras” solely because they're not included in the quotes you get from most contractors. However, as you will quickly find out if you do your homework, many of these extras are actually necessities.
Do not have a fence? You will need one, with a secure door and lock to protect you from liability. Need a diving board? Depending on the model, it could cost you hundreds extra – and if you have to increase the depth of the pool to accommodate your diving, that's even more. What about lighting? Spa? Kiddie playground? You get the idea.
If you're thinking about financing any of this, you need to add your monthly payments to the other ongoing costs of owning a pool. Keeping your pool heated and stocked with chemicals will cost you over a hundred dollars a month, maybe a lot more. If you do not want to deal with fishing leaves out of your pool, you'll probably hire a pool service, at a – say it with me – additional expense .
Scared yet? If not, you might be the type of person who should actually get a pool. In truth, owning your own swimming pool can be a lot of fun – if you actually use it. Just make sure you understand all the costs before diving in.