Friday, April 11, 2008

To Pool or Not to Pool

I grew up on the Central Coast of California, in a relatively small farming town. No one I know had a pool in their backyard. Back East, many middle class neighborhoods had a community pool. But here in Sacramento, seems private pools are very common in the suburbs. (or perhaps I’ve just developed a warped sense of perception from looking at houses in Folsom and El Dorado Hills).

Is it me, or does Sacramento actually have one of the nation’s highest number pools per capaita? I can’t tell if the recent proliferation of pools is a response to increasing wealth, germaphobia and anti-socialization or just a natural response to the hot summer days.

Around here, people seem to take their pools very seriously; there are waterfalls, slides, and even a pecking order. For instance, it seems above ground pools, get almost no respect. I have seen quite a few listings that feature the pool much more prominently than the house. (As if the house just happened to come with the pool you were purchasing.)

As for our preference, I have mixed emotions about the whole thing. Some pros and cons.

Pro: They provide endless hours of summer entertainment once kids are a bit older (and looking for something to do to while away the summer months).

Cons: First it seems like an awful lot of money to spend on something you don’t only use in the summer. Pools can be a serious liability (and with young kids, it will be a source of stress till they are old enough to swim well). They also require a lot of care and maintenance. The cost to heat the pool is rather prohibitive, which means you have to have some thick skin as well. Not to mention we also have a beautiful lake and river not too far away (and a nice looking aquatic center in Folsom…..having other kids to play always makes things much more fun).


Deflationary Jane said...

I grew up in OC where everyone and their brother had a pool. They are seriously overrated. They cost to heat and maintain, jack up your homeowners ins, repairs, and then are a drag on your personal time. If you need a toy for the summer, buy a discounted boat or off-road vehicle. When you get bored with it, they can be resold. How do you resell an unused inground pool?

Patient Renter said...

I don't know how things are nowadays, but back in the day, lots of families used the pool at the CSD during the summer. That was probably before EDH became a yuppie mecca though, so I don't know if that's a "no no" nowadays.

Jacob said...

A pool is nice to have. But you can get an inflatable one which serves pretty much the same purpose.

I do notice that listings do have several pics of different angles of thier pool, but don't have pictures of all the rooms in the house. lol.

Home much does home owners insurance cost with a pool? Also you would want to make sure to have umbrella coverage in case someone trespasses and drowns in your pool...

mbc said...

A pool would be a deal-breaker for me, for all of the reasons you mentioned. I don't think I would ever buy a house that had a permanent in-ground pool. I always thought it was better to have friends who have a pool, or a boat.

sacramentia said...

My unscientific survey from looking out the airplane window is that Phoenix has the most pools per capita in the West.

sacramentia said...

Pool was a deal breaker for me when looking. Been there, done that.

Here in EDH, I figure the sports club membership is the same cost as the electric/chemicals on a pool ($150/mo). And that doesn't even count trying to keep it warm all year.

When we did have a pool, I found that before I could go swimming I had to skim the pool, hose of the deck, check the chemicals, and by that time I didn't really feel like swimming anymore.

I agree with Jane on the boat -- so much more fun -- and pulling in the kids around in a couple tubes is like Disneyland for them.

If I had unlimited money I would have a nice pool in my yard and a staff to keep it perfect, but that isn't my world, so the club works well.

Buying Time said...

Ha ha...I figured I must be missing something because my pro list was so short....and hoped someone would enlighten me!

Instead....its sounds like we all agree that public pools are the way to go (our gym, California Fitness in Folsom has a really nice pool if I could just get my daughter to put her face in the water without freaking out!).

alba said...

Oh but kids love pools in the backyard! And you can have kid parties surrounding pool activities. And when the kids crash, you can go for a dip and cool off before going to bed. The noise of the waterfalls are so ralaxing, and a beautiful centerpoint of a fun backyard. Its a great status symbol, with some investment benefits. Then after a few years, you're pissed that you promised the kids a pool, which they hardly use anymore...even in Scottsdale. By far, there are more pools per capita in Scottsdale than any city in CA. Neighborhood pools are great. So are club pools, especially if mom, or maybe even dad, would rather go work out.

Cmyst said...

I grew up in the Midwest and no one had an inground pool. When we moved here, it was amazing to me that even houses in working class neighborhoods had pools.
We rented a house with a pool once, and I think I got in it about 6 times in a year. When I owned the condo, the pool was right outside my front deck. I got in it about 6 times in 3 years. (But then again, I'm no bathing beauty. I tend to run to the pool wrapped in something and try to fling it off and jump in the pool simultaneously.)
Sig and I looked at a house before we gave up and rented, that had the entire back yard as a wrap-around L shaped pool. We thought it was stupid, and even though the house itself had a nice layout we marked it off our list. I could deal with a pool on a large lot, but not a pool that fills the entire back yard.
Also, when we were renting the place with the pool, the neighborhood kids kept knocking and wanting to swim in it. We always told them no, and then lied and said the landlord told us we could not let anyone use the pool except us. It always worried me, because the last thing you want is to get on the bad side of the neighborhood kids.

Husmanen said...

Well, I am in the minority again and this could be a good thing this time. I have convinced my wife to move the pool from the 'want to' have to the 'must to' have list.

Primarily, this is because of the cost to put on in yourself and the return on investment which as you can see from the posts above is a definitive negative.

I love to swim and might have thick skin, but so do my children. My parents have a pool, but only after their children had children and it is securily defended behind layers of fencing and gates. We visit them often just to swim in the summer and I installed a solar system to extend the swimming days.

A pool is additional maintenance, but the joy we would get out of it is worth the extra work. I am sure I will be the one doing the work, just one less hour of TV/blogging. Plus I am a little selfish, I want to swim whenever I want, even a dip in the cold California winter.

Pools are still on our list and we hope the demand is as stated in the posts above.

Jacob said...

Having a pool or not having one would not be a deal breaker eaither way.

Having a pool that takes up over 50% of the yard would kill it for me though.

Having a solar system to heat it is smart. I will definitely be looking in to putting up solar panel to help with the electriciy bill as well.