Evaluating Your Summer Pool Options

kid swimming in pool

The warmth of summer leads to the desire to spend time in a swimming pool. A swimming pool can be a source of fun and entertainment for household members of all ages. Additionally, many people swim laps as a form of exercise, which has numerous benefits. We’re here to help you assess your swimming pool options and make the best choice for your needs.

Some of the pool choices are similar for both homeowners and for renters. When assessing pool options, there are main types of pool options. These options are…

  • Community pools
  • Private membership facility pools
  • Have your own pool, either through buying a single-family home with an existing pool or installing your own

These options all have advantages and disadvantages. There are even differences within these 3 main categories.

Community Pools

Community pools are shared by a variety of individuals living in a common area. The definition of common area varies. There are two main types of community pools.

  • Residential complex pools
  • Municipal pools

Residential complex pools are visited by a smaller subset of individuals than pools operated by a municipality. Pools in residential complexes are mainly used by the residents of that specific complex. Those who rent in apartment complexes are quite familiar with this type of pool, but a certain type of homeowner may experience this type of pool. Those who own condominiums will often have access to a condominium complex pool.

Convenience and cost are the two major advantages of this residential complex pool. This type of pool offers the benefits of a swimming pool in your backyard with lower costs associated with that privilege. Community pools in a condominium complex can offer a lower price point into pool ownership than buying a single-family residence with a pool or installing your own pool. When you own a condominium, the condo association absorbs the cost of the pool if your condominium complex has a pool. They also deal with pool maintenance and the cost of maintenance is spread around the condo owners. In apartment complexes, it is similar as renters have the pool costs factored into their rent. Renters often have no idea how much the community pool contributes to the cost of their rent, whereas condo owners will often know what their condo association fees are.

One key disadvantage of residential complex pools involves a lack of privacy and control. You can’t control what your neighbors will do with the pool. You don’t know if you’ll be able to access the pool at times when other people aren’t present and disrupting your plans for your pool time.  You don’t know if your neighbors will have massive pool parties with unruly, intoxicated adults or misbehaved children. The second key disadvantage with this type of pool is the sizing of it. Not all residential complex pools are adequate for lap swimming, so serious swimmers may not be able to get what they need out of a residential complex pool.

Municipal pools often offer pool access at low or no cost and without formalized, private access. The municipal pool is often a lower cost option and municipal pool often offer both lap swimming times and recreational times. That flexibility can be helpful. Municipal pool access is often less costly than condo association fees. Shared access with other leads to many of the same disadvantages mentioned in the residential complex pools section. It’s entirely possible not to like sharing a pool with other people.

Private Membership Pools

Private membership pools are shared pools that are operated by some private business entity. While some private membership pools are upscale and can come with a hefty price tag, this is not always the case.

Many gym chains offer pools as a part of their membership dues. If you are a homeowner and don’t have your own pool or access to a condo pool, this can be a great option. Swimming pools at gyms chains are often designed solely for lap swimming. In addition to a swimming pool, a gym chain offers someone access to both strength training and cardiovascular exercise equipment. Many gym chains offer group fitness classes as well. This can represent a great value because you get multiple exercise options within one membership. This one membership isn’t always expensive either. 24 Hour Fitness and LA Fitness (two larger U.S. gym chains) have many locations with lap pools available and those two gym chains do not have an expensive reputation.

The major downside with gym chain pools is that they are not friendly for entertaining friends and family. Additionally, gym chain pools tend to be primarily indoor pools and some people prefer having access to an outdoor pool. Indoor pools are advantageous in the sense that they allow for year-round lap swimming.

As you go up in price, racquet clubs and country clubs often offer a swimming pool to their members. Pools at racquet and country clubs are more often outdoors than indoors. They are similar to municipal pools in the sense that they often offer times for both lap swimming and more recreational/less organized swimming.

Racquet and country clubs can offer a wide range of amenities in addition to a swimming pool. Many of these clubs offer gyms with higher end personal and group training options. Golf and tennis are likely included alongside the pool and/or gym. That’s a great advantage for those who partake in one or both of those sports. Racquet and country clubs can be family friendly as well, offering summer camps for children, swim lessons, or possibly tennis lessons. There are also social and business advantages that can be a part of racquet or country club membership.

The major disadvantages of racquet and country clubs are cost and access. Membership dues for a facility with golf or tennis, a high-end gym, and a pool is going to cost a decent amount of money. Additionally, some country clubs have membership that is so exclusive that it is by invitation only. For those types of clubs, money can’t automatically buy your way into the invitation only clubs.  

Your Own Backyard Pool

Having your own pool at home is a possibility that can be achieved in a few ways.

When you are in the market for a new home, you can buy a home that already has a pool. By doing this, you avoid the initial installation costs of a pool, which are estimated at $30,000 – $70,000 for an in-ground pool or $4,000 - $12,000 for an above ground pool. If you are to buy a home with an existing pool, you are likely paying some premium for buying a home with a pool. If the pool is in-ground, that seller can capture a 5 to 8 percent price premium from you, which might get in the range of the initial installation costs. You will avoid having to do a home renovation project, which could provide some non-monetary value in the form of a lack of stress and aggravation.

When you have your own pool at home, you are solely responsible for all pool maintenance costs. The annual cost to maintain a pool is estimated at $3,000 - $5,000 per year.

When you have your own home pool, you are able to share the pool with people of your choosing. There’s some value in being able to entertain friends and family members at home. In doing home entertaining, food and beverage costs would likely be lower than buying food and beverages at certain private membership type pools. If you enjoy swimming laps for exercise, you can do it privately as compared to swimming adjacent to others at municipal pools or private membership pools. Lap swimming time at your own home pool may be more convenient for you as compared to hours of availability for lap swimming elsewhere.

Whichever choice you make for pool access, we hope that you enjoy the time that you spend near and in a swimming pool this summer!

For more information on how to find your dream home, with or without a swimming pool, contact a Guardian Mortgage professional.