Selling a house with a pool

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Toby Welch

No matter what their age, buyers fall into one of three groups: those who won’t consider homes without a pool, those who won’t consider homes with a pool and those who have never considered buying a house with a pool.

Jim Chen, a representative with Re/Max Masters Realty in Vancouver, says, “It is interesting that there are people who construct a new pool after many years living in a house that never had a pool in it. There are also people trying to cover the pool or fill it with sand and putting a floor or a cover on the top. It is indeed more challenging when selling to a person who doesn’t want a pool.”

Young parents typically don’t see a backyard pool as a positive. They look at the body of water and see a death trap for their precious babies. Seniors, in general, see a pool as money-sucking expense that will eat away at their investment.

When selling a house with a pool, target the buyers between those two age groups.

When the buyers haven’t thought about purchasing a home with a backyard pool, point out the positives to them:
  • The lifestyle – especially during our hot Canadian summers, lounging by the pool is hard to beat.
  • Kids love them and can spend hours a day splashing in the water.
  • They are a great hub for rockin’ parties.
  • They can add resale value to your home.
  • They are a convenient way to add fitness to your life; the health benefits are potentially high.
  • They offer a handy way to cool down on hot days.

Bryan Alan Masse, an agent with Royal LePage Prime Real Estate in Winnipeg, sold a home with a pool recently. He offers a suggestion on how to market such a home: “Host a pool party open house with a tropical theme on a hot weekend. Incorporate music, drinks, leis, fresh fruit, fake palm trees and Tiki torches. People will not only remember the home, they’ll remember you as the Realtor, and it will give them an idea of what it will be like when they host parties in their backyard once they purchase the home.”

Masse offers more marketing ideas:  “Sell the pool lifestyle. Rather than just saying ‘massive pool’ in ads, you can write something like, ‘Live like you’re in a beer commercial,’ or ‘Your own tropical oasis,’ or ‘Who needs to go to Mexico when it’s in your own backyard?’ or ‘Avoid long drives to the lake or beach.’ I try and focus more on the experience you’re going to have when enjoying your pool rather than the pool itself.”

Chen offers these four tips for selling a house with a pool:
  1. Do any needed pool maintenance before you list the house.
  2. Sell the home as a package or separately. Know your client really well. If he likes the pool, it is a bonus. Demonstrate that it is harmony to have the pool with the house. On the other hand, if the buyer doesn’t like it, tell them the swimming pool is free with the purchase.
  3. Advise or assist a buyer to hire professionals that are able to inspect the pool fully before purchasing.
  4. Know the true value of the swimming pool. It is important to gain knowledge about your clients and demonstrate the right lifestyles with pools.

Stage the pool and the surrounding landscaping before taking pictures. Give the entire space a thorough scrub-down if necessary. Tuck away all the pool clutter such as float toys and noodles. If the owner of the home is a guy who only wears thong swim trunks, get him out of the pool before taking the photos!

If a house with a pool isn’t moving at all, collect a couple of quotes on the cost of removing it and consider offering that as a condition if a buyer loves everything but the pool.

“To some foreign home buyers, it is a very strong selling point that the swimming pool makes the feng shui better,” says Chen. “Better feng shui means better energy in the house, and many home buyers are willing to pay for that premium.”

Ultimately it’s all about how a buyer views the pool. The pool itself may not affect the value of a home; the value is in how the buyers perceive the massive tub in the backyard.

Quick facts about backyard pools in Canada:
  • The biggest market is middle-aged buyers who have teenage children.
  • For homeowners who install a backyard pool, when it comes time to sell the house, they typically recoup between 40 and 50 per cent of their initial investment.
  • Above-ground pools add no value to a home. If they are in poor condition, they can decrease a home’s value.
  • If there is a community pool in the neighbourhood, having a backyard pool can be a tougher sell.
  • The greater percentage of the backyard that the pool takes up, the harder it can be to sell the home.
  • Quebec has over 300,000 backyard pools, more than anywhere else in North America per capita (including California!) Most of those pools are in average working-class suburban yards.
  • According to Pool and Spa Marketing, Montreal and surrounding area add an average of 3,500 backyard pools per year. Toronto and surrounding area add an average of 840 backyard pools per year.

© 2015 REM Real Estate Magazine


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