Home Selling in Arlington>Question Details

Marcus Lam, Home Seller in Arlington, TX

Any negative effects of filling in a pool?

Asked by Marcus Lam, Arlington, TX Mon Sep 22, 2008

I am considering filling in my pool. Before I do that, I was just wondering if that would hurt the chances of selling the house. Another option is to have the pool removed, but that is a much more expensive route and I would like to avoid it if possible. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

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29
If you are selling a house with a pool, you are probably missing 50% of the possible buyers market. Yes, some people will like having a pool, but many do not. He is the REAL question... does the pool need any work.... any work or repair at all. Broken or missing tiles, broken filter or pool heater, pulled out liner, cracked concrete, leaking, defunct.... ANYTHING. This is where we come in.... Pool Demolition and removal. If there is anything at all wrong with the pool, it is by far the best idea to demo or get rid of it.

WHY?

Well, it is very simple. Pool repair is very very expensive. Pool Demo is usually far less than the repair. So, when the buyer makes an offer, he or she will be asking for a seller concession of lets say $10,000, $20,000 or even $30,000.... because they will go to the most popular, expensive pool company and get an estimate for the most expensive repair. The average pool demolition is in the range of $8,000 to $12,000. That is far less. PLUS........... now your buyers market it far larger! Instead of the 50%-60% of people who would even entertain looking at a house with a pool, now your opening the buyer market up to 100%.

Why would you want 50% more perspective buyers? Spend far less money, because if it is a seller concession for demo or repair, it will ultimately come out of your pocket.

Generally a home will sell much faster if a pool needing repair is demolished. Demolishing a pool never hurts a property, unless the pool is in perfect, updated condition. If it's 5 or more years old, and needing any repair at all, get rid of it. We have 20 years of experience in Pool Demolition. We have many realtor customers and house flippers... they all say the same thing, get rid of it, the house will sell faster, easier, and at a higher price.

Please email us if anyone has ANY questions about pool demolition or removals. We are located in PA, and also licensed in Delaware, but we will gladly answer your question no matter what state you live in. Most states have very similar codes and laws when it come to pool demo and fill-in.

Thanks! 360 Pool Demolition http://www.360excavating.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 13, 2012
are the buyers obligated to let us know about a defective pool
Flag Thu Aug 20, 2015
Now everyone knows why real estate agents are difficult to deal with, they like to talk more than listen. Read all of the answers from agents and you'll quickly see that none of them answered the question. The person simply asked about filling in the pool and then came all the answers about servicing repairing and so on. The person specifically asked about either filling it in or removing it, not fixing it. In fact, not a single agent answering has any idea if the problem was with the pool or the person just didn't want it anymore.

The agent who said a pool adds 15k to the value? On what planet?

If I want a pool, I'll put one in I like. Few other people I know would add $5 for a pool. Pools are liability problems. Maybe the owner simply wanted to use the space for something else, who knows? Real estate agents don't buy the houses, buyers do and most could care less about a pool.

The number 1 reason people get frustrated with real estate agents? They don't listen or take the time to understand what the buyer, seller or owner wants. Perfect examples right here.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 23, 2012
Have the pool thoroughly inspected before you make a decision to fill it. We've owned a house with a gunite pool for 10 years now, so we've had some experience with repairs.

We've had pool leaks, but the leaks have not been due to a failing of the gunite. The gunite is a super heavy-duty and dense cement about a foot or so thick. Over the gunite is a thin layer of finishing material. In our case, the finish is plaster. Our pool had been in place for at least 15 years when we purchased the house, so the chemicals have had lots of time to make the plaster coating crumbly. When we first saw a spot in the deep end getting bigger, we thought it was the hole developing in the pool. The pool guys got a laugh out of that and reassured us that it was a sign that refinishing was needed and not a major repair.

We've also had some of the tiles around the lip of the pool come loose. This is also normal wear and tear. They can be reattached with mortar and grout, but I've been toying with the idea of replacing the ceramic tiles with a more updated version.

Neither of these maintenance issues was a source of leakage though. The leaks we have had were do to the need to reseal joints in the skimmers and the intake and in cracks in above ground PVC pipes.

We have a DE filter system. Over the last ten years, we've replaced the filter pump, the filter switch, and added automated in-line chlorinator. All of those required reconfiguration of the piping. We do not have a heater, but have considered installing a solar heating system.

I've checked out the cost of replastering which is only about $3000 for our 30,000 gallon pool. There are several newer finishes including Pebbletek and into competitors that are very popular. They cost considerably more, but they also have a lot of ascethic appeal and have a 20 to 30 year warranty whereas a standard replastering will have only a 10 to 15 year warranty.

My husband was all hot to repaint the pool "and we can do it ourselves". (If you've ever emptied and refilled your pool, you know that it's a lot bigger empty than you thought it was full.) Every pool technician we have ever had out to work on our pool system or to maintain the chemicals has told me not to waste the time and money ... including the guys from Leslie's. It takes a lot of both to repaint and it only lasts a year or two. The better approach is to replaster with a tint.

My advice is to get an inspection and get an estimate from a pool remodeling company on a refurbishment. You might not have as big a problem as you think, and you may actually increase your property value by investing what you would spend filling it in and a couple more thousand into a pool update. One very popular and relatively inexpensive update is to install a salt water filtration system.

In addition to that pool inspector, consult with a realtor about home values in your area both with and without pools. You would not want to overimprove your property if you update the pool.

As a gardener, I wouldn't see a filled in pool as a very good landscaping or gardening opportunity. The fill dirt is going to be nutrient poor and need lots of supplementation. The fill will compact over time and need topping off. That huge gunite shell is still going to be lurking under the surface to be rediscovered when you excavate to put in the first tree. Even if you or the next homeowner manage to plant without interference from the concrete, you still have in actuality a huge planting container in your backyard with will inhibit root growth at some point and leave the owner with an unstable and top heavy tree. If your idea of landscaping in more along the lines of laying St. Augustine sod down, you're not going to have the same issues.

We have toyed with the idea of turning the pool into a big cement pond complete with fish and plants and other critters, but that was basically laziness because we didn't want to clean it or maintain the chemicals. That option would probably work very well is you have one of the smaller and shallower pools.

We moved here from somewhere where pools were not practical. In Texas, they are and the one thing our 14 year old (at the time) wanted was a pool (even though she would swim in every friend's apartment pool for the first two years until she finally got over our making her move away from her friends).

Pools are very expensive backyard toys. They cost money to maintain the chemicals (even if you monitor and maintain them yourself). Our electric bill is way more than our neighbor's because of the energy needed to operate the filter in season, but I grew up in the 60's and in the northeast where no one had a pool and it was just way cool to have one. My cousins on the west coast had a pool in almost every house they lived in.

We enjoy our pool in season and now that we're welcoming grandchildren, we're enjoying it more.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 23, 2008
Marcus

I am little bit concerned about you filling in the pool for two reasons:

Lending-For lenders this is becoming a problem as once a pool is filled in it can affect the ability of the lender to sell the loan to servicing companies. I can't say that all lenders care about this however I have had personal experience with a client of mine that ran into some difficulty. Its always better to be safe than sorry

Buying-Many sellers may be concerned with the pool being in the back yard regardless of it being filled in or not. Cosmetically it may be hard to conceal the pool and equipment well enough to make the yard family friendly and if the buyer ever wanted to put in a sprinkler system or some other landscape item this would become a problem as well.

I have talked to many pool companies that refinish pools and their pricing was better then expected. With the cost of fuel today it might be a better deal for you to refinish the pool rather than have truck loads of fill dirt brought in.

Hope this was helpful.

Steve Ferguson
http://www.GetMortgageAnswers.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 22, 2008
"MEETING YOUR NEEDS AND EXCEEDING YOUR DREAMS!"

Like anything else by taking away from your current property you could potentially hurt the resale value. A pool will typically add 10k - 12k to your overall value if it is an inground pool. I suggest if you want to get rid of it in order to have one less thing that requires maintenance drain the pool and cap it off especially if you see yourself selling your exsisting estate within the next few years.

Keller Williams Realty
Joseph Fernandez
cell: 817-975-7258
off: 81-635-1157
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 20, 2012
Not so. Not so at all as in our selling area..NJ NW. A pool is a problem. Can't rent the home without closing the pool as it is a potential hazard. Sales are limited to only those who ay want a pool. Costs are becoming prohibitive in owning a pool, as filtering costs money - electrical consumption cost - make it expensive if you don't use the pool, as we are retired and have a summer home, so circumstances must always dictate the advice, especially when its free advice, right?
Flag Fri Sep 26, 2014
PS.... I just read a posting in this thread saying a pool demo will create a mud situation....

This is absolutely WRONG. Thats why there are rules, codes and laws... if it is done to code, the bottom is completely broken up into small pieces, and the top 3 feet of the sides are also broken up into small pieces.

THIS HELPS WITH WATER PROBLEMS! How?.... after the pool is demolished, it is now what is called a dry basin. All the small pieces of concrete subgrade give the ground water a place to go. Our company does a lot of drainage as well, and a basin of this size is generally 7 to 8 thousand dollars, so your actually getting a basin for free. The ground water will go into this basin, fill up when there is a heavy rain event, then dissipate over the next week or so. We have helped many customers who have wet yards, wet basements, etc, by demolishing their pool, we have even run gutters and downspouts into the pool area (now a dry basin after demo process).

I just wanted to clarify, so people are educated when considering removing their pool. Again, if anyone has any questions, we will be glad to help, just email us at 360excavating@comcast.net or check us out at our award winning web site at 360excavating.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 13, 2012
Hello, I was reading your comment regarding filling up a pool. I have filled up mine and I feel that it may not had been done correctly. Since all this rain in the past couple of weeks I have a mess in my back yard. I would like to send you some pictures and get some advice on what I should probably do to fix my situation. I am really feeling I made the wrong decision. Are you willing to see my situation. Your help would be greatly appreciated. My email address is arreguin762@gmail.com if your interested.
Flag Fri Dec 4, 2015
Like anything else by taking away from your current property you could potentially hurt the resale value. A pool will typically add 10k - 12k to your overall value if it is an inground pool. I suggest if you want to get rid of it in order to have one less thing that requires maintenance drain the pool and cap it off especially if you see yourself selling your exsisting estate within the next few years.

Keller Williams Realty
Joseph Fernandez
cell: 817-975-7258
off: 81-635-1157
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2012
Yup 4 year old post and real estate agents trying to drum up business. Pools are liabilities and for a majority of buyers, add nothing to the value but do add headaches as this owner found out.
Flag Tue Nov 20, 2012
I'm chiming in on an old message but want to help. Previously there is a suggestion to invest in a salt water filtration system. I think she means a salt water conversion system. Be sure you plumbing is PVC and not metal. I am having to return a Hayward Aqua Rite Pro system, with a 20% restocking fee, because the system is designed for PVC and my plumbing is copper. There are several "fixes" from Hayward and Pool Tool (using a zinc anode). But, I'm strongly suggested not to do them. I live on a hillside with a 29,000 gallon pool and if the underground plumbing leaks, due to copper deterioration from salt, it will be an unrecoverable liability for my family and I. I have a neighbor on the down-hill side of me, which adds additional liability. Do lots of research with people who have owned salt system for many years and who services salt systems. Remember, there is no PVC in you heater, if you have one. Chlorine is expensive. But, land erosion is more expensive... considerably more!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 29, 2012
Hog wash,

Anyone here in Phoenix, AZ knows an apprasiar will give no more than 5K for added value to a home. Does not matter if it is an Olympic pool or a play pool. BANKS DO NOT MAKE A BUSINESS IN LENDING MON EY ON A POOL WHEN YOU BUY THE HOME. They do not have tables to value pools when lending on the home whether it has 2 diving boards, marble tile etc. They look at the home as what they are lending on, not the pool, the shed etc. That's why the 5K rule. Period! And as far as muck, well the pools I have seen filled in have never had problems. Maybe because we are in a desert? Also about value. So the best you can generally get is 5K for a 30k+ pool.
Investors generally 99% of the time will not buy homes with pools. because of 1) maintenance costs, 2) Liability and 3) If they plan to rent they most likely will have to get a service to maintain it since renters tend not to water plants/grass and definitely will tire of spending money on pool chemicals and dramatically increasing their water bill to maintain the water level from evaporation here in the desert..What is worse, if they let the water evaporate and let the pool dry out, the plaster will crack and then the investor will be in big bucks refinishing the pool. With all the regulations of a fence around pools now in Phoenix, and the numerous child drownings, many parents I have sold too would rather buy a small inflatable play pool or one of those above ground raised ones. Then they have the option to make it go away someday.
Actually I have seen people leave the cool deck and make a garden or grass area(park like) where once a pool was. And really looks nice. And I have yet in 15 years sold a home to someone who owned a pool before wanting a pool again. Do not get me wrong, I love to swim and I like pools. As long as it is someone elses.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 17, 2010
Wow, a honest agent! If I lived in your area I would def. give you my business.
Flag Thu Mar 17, 2016
You are correct. Banks do only lend a certain amount and value the pool for a smaller amount, but what about the perceived value of a pool during a sale? You limit your buyers from ones who may "want a pool" as an option, are "looking from a home with a pool" to only those who are interested in homes without pools (which, as many know, a house that someone likes that may be able to live without a pool will still consider the home even though it has a pool). Additionally, you have an associated cost of eliminating the pool, permitting and inspections that have to take place when cancelling a pool. That cost is combined with the $5K or so that has been mentioned of the banks lending for the pool option. You have a negative swing of about 10-12K.

Just an opinion, but I am a pool guy, what would I know
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 13, 2010
Marcus,
Im also wanting to fill my pool. Not only is it an inground gunnite but its also an indoor pool. I live on approx .25 acre lot and the pool takes up most of the yard. Yes it does increase value to your home, depending on the condition. My pool will cost alot of capital to get back up and running. And the cost of filling even more. But I want the yard and in the future possible dividing of the property to make a flag home. I don't plan on living at the house Im at forever so Im not worried about keeping the pool. Here lies my problem.
the idea of dividing the lot in the future for possible construction. so it is very important that the pool is properly filled. Depending on the regulations of your state, there are certain requirements that need to be met. For example, in Portland OR if I am to use the concrete in the pool for fill it can not be larger than 6" dia with out re-bar. then the rest needs to be filled with engineered gravel and packed. An inspection needs to be done during the fill to document the process. This is basically to cover my a**. Being that I anticipate future construction. Now if you don't plan on constructing in the future and you see yourself living there till your old and grey then fill with whatever you can put into it. but you want to break up the concrete and anotate it on your deed, so if you do sell your a** is covered. Cause if you sell and don't document and someone buys and builds, and the foundation causes the structure to fail your still liable even though you no longer own the property. So if you fill with whatever and are not concerned about building on top then I would break the first few feet off and around the top, break up the bottom for drainage. Depending what you plan on doing on top of the filled pool will determine what you use to fill it. If you plan on trees then look into fill dirt, if just grass look into river rock (least settling) if you can afford it. because if you use fill dirt over time it will settle and you'll continue filling for a bit, so hold off on spending too much on your flower beds. I hope that tid-bit helped you out some.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 16, 2010
I'm about to deal with a situation where we know the previous owner filled the pool. We have no clue what demo they did before filling it. Apparently it sat only 8 feet from the back of the house. We notice there are some water problems on that side of the basement and we suspect that it has to do with the pool they filled in. The second issue is that we will be building a screen porch and deck in that area and now don't know what we will find as footings are dug. We may have to excavate the entire area and end up removing what they left in the ground especially since we are also planning to put a pool in. When prior owners just fill they don't consider whomever is coming behind them and the challenges and extremes in cost to remedy what essentially is their buried garbage. The other thing these prior homeowners did was to surface scrap a 90' by 30' area at the back of the yard in order to fill their pool without paying for and bringing in fill dirt. Shame on them. We also have to dig out the plumbing for the pool that they ran into the garage and left sticking out of the ground in there.

If you are going to sell than I am firmly going to tell you to demo the pool entirely and remove it. If you are up to the elbow grease it is a DIY job with the right tools and a dumpster.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 24, 2015
Our insurance will totally replace our entire 15 x 30 above ground pool or give us the cash. We are seniors and hope to get a condo within 5 years. Should we replace the pool or take the cash?
Is it an asset for selling or not.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 25, 2015
Depends on what type of buyers buy in your neighborhood. If most buyers who buy in your neighborhood want a pool, then removing the pool will hurt resale. If most buyers in your neighborhood do NOT want a pool, then removing the pool actually HELPS resale.

Although I am an agent, I have to somewhat agree with one of the people down there who said some agents don't listen. I get my info from listening to the visitors who come through my open houses.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2015
Contact Accent Pools at 817-226-7665
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 11, 2014
I think if there is anything broken with the pool then take care of it or demolish the pool. If there isn't I would be asking why are you getting rid of it? I think that a pool would be a nice thing to have especially where you are at. http://pebblestonecoatings.com/residential/pool-decks
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 18, 2014
The answer to your question depends mainly on your area. If you live in a place that's generally warm, it would be easy to sell a house that has a pool. If the pool needs any work, I would get that taken care of before selling. http://heritagepoolplasteringnv.com/Services/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 29, 2014
I honestly think that you should just keep your pool and make sure that it is in good condition. I think that buyers like finding that homes have pools, and it will make the value go up. If you are wanting to fill it because it isn't working well, then I would suggest getting it fixed up until it looks better. You could even just get the deck resurfaced which would make it look nicer overall. http://pebblestonecoatings.com/residential/pool-decks
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 1, 2014
Hog wash,

Anyone here in Phoenix, AZ knows an apprasiar will give no more than 5K for added value to a home. Does not matter if it is an Olympic pool or a play pool. BANKS DO NOT MAKE A BUSINESS IN LENDING MON EY ON A POOL WHEN YOU BUY THE HOME. They do not have tables to value pools when lending on the home whether it has 2 diving boards, marble tile etc. They look at the home as what they are lending on, not the pool, the shed etc. That's why the 5K rule. Period! And as far as muck, well the pools I have seen filled in have never had problems. Maybe because we are in a desert? Also about value. So the best you can generally get is 5K for a 30k+ pool.
Investors generally 99% of the time will not buy homes with pools. because of 1) maintenance costs, 2) Liability and 3) If they plan to rent they most likely will have to get a service to maintain it since renters tend not to water plants/grass and definitely will tire of spending money on pool chemicals and dramatically increasing their water bill to maintain the water level from evaporation here in the desert..What is worse, if they let the water evaporate and let the pool dry out, the plaster will crack and then the investor will be in big bucks refinishing the pool. With all the regulations of a fence around pools now in Phoenix, and the numerous child drownings, many parents I have sold too would rather buy a small inflatable play pool or one of those above ground raised ones. Then they have the option to make it go away someday.
Actually I have seen people leave the cool deck and make a garden or grass area(park like) where once a pool was. And really looks nice. And I have yet in 15 years sold a home to someone who owned a pool before wanting a pool again. Do not get me wrong, I love to swim and I like pools. As long as it is someone elses.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 13, 2010
I'm a real estate broker with 40+ years experience and also a home owner with a pool. I have my home up for sale and a recent prospective buyer ask me if I'd ever had an estimate on filling in the the pool with dirt, I hadn't but I have dang sure thought about it. People who think a pool is a selling feature have been sold that one by the guy who sold them the pool, you never get your money back you invest in a pool. Granted some people love them but I find there are perhaps more buyers who do not want a pool, my wife and I are downsizing and we will not even look at a home with a pool. After the kids are gone or in many cases before you quickly realize a pool is a hole in the ground where you throw money and get very little satisfaction from it. Yep it's nice to jump in the pool when it's 100+ in a Texas summer but so is just staying inside where it's air conditioned. Pools are simply "entertainment" not an asset.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 1, 2010
A filled in pool will be a problem for you and the buyer. The pool prevents drainage of the soil retained by it and therefore, you will have a mud pool in the yard during the rainy seasons. It will cause extreme moisture problems, and anything structural placed over the pool area will be prone to movement and settling. In fact, the pool in place renders that area unacceptable for any type of structure to be built, therefore limiting the future use of that area.

Repair the pool, remove it, or disclose it as a pool in need of repairs. Don't fill it in under any circumstances.

Some people break up the bottom of the pool before filling it in to provide drainage, but the remaining walls of the pool still limit construction possiblities for the future, and also prevent planting trees in those locations. The cost of breaking up the bottom of the pool is not justified. You might as well spend the money on the repairs, or spend a little more to remove the whole thing. If you do break up the bottom, keep receipts and pictures to document it.

Yes, its a lot of money, and the buyer does not want to spend it to do the job after its been filled in.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 5, 2009
All I can say is DON'T! Pools add a cetain value to the property and make the perceived value of the home more appealing during a sale.
Here is a simple formula I use to show the value of a pool to someone considering filling the pool in.

Cost of Fill in + the negative difference of property value = TOTAL DEPENDING ON AREA NEGATIVE (LOSS+LOSS)

VS.

Property Value - Repair/Remodel Cost (est 5-8K) = Recovery of remodel cost at time of sale (EQUITY-COST)

If it makes sense, keep it. If not, get rid of it!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 5, 2009
All,

First off, thanks to everyone for their responses. I had a pool company come out to inspect the pool. Long story short, the cost of repair (pool and deck) is at least $12,000. After reading the responses, it has become clear that I should consult a local realtor since there are quite a few factors to consider before deciding the fate of the pool. Once again, thanks for everyone's help!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 24, 2008
I think that you have 2 options:

If you have the cash, fix the pool and keep it. It would still be a plus to have a pool from a resale standpoint.

If you don't have the cash, fill the pool and make sure that the yard is levelled and sodded etc... because if if you keep it the way it is, then it would be an eyesore and would hurt you when it's time to sell.

Naima
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 22, 2008
Marcus, Why do you want to fill in the pool? If you elect to do it, make sure to disclose it on the Seller Disclosure. Without the reason it is hard to give a good answer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 22, 2008
Marcus
You need the advice of a Realtor that knows three things:
1. Your property
2. Your personal situation
3. Your market trends and values.

I do not believe we are in a position to advise you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 22, 2008
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
MVP'08
Contact
Lending issues for one, and property value decreasing for 2. Don't fill!

Fill your pockets by using the pool as a selling tool! Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 22, 2008
Naima,

Thanks for the quick response. The pool actually takes up the majority of the yard, so by filling it, it would free up a lot of space for landscaping. The condition of the pool is pretty bad. In addition to the repairs you mentioned, it has a couple of major leaks and some minors ones. And yes, it's an inground gunite pool.

Is a filled in pool a big turn-off for homebuyers? I'm assuming that this is something that needs to be disclosed during the sale of a house.

Once again, thanks for your help!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 22, 2008
Hi Marcus, I too live in Arl and am considering the same things with probably the exact same circumstances. Did you fill your pool in? If so are you happy and whar company did it?
Thx
Troy
Flag Tue Jun 4, 2013
It depends on the size of the yard too. If the pool doesn't take up the entire yard then I think it would hurt you in the long run when it comes to selling. So many people want to have a pool in Texas. Also, depending on the condition of the pool, does it need to be replastered? painted? if it needs too much work, then you are better off filling it up.

I am also assuming that you are talking about an inground gunite right?

Naima
214-289-8555
naima@sumner-realty.com
Web Reference: http://www.sumnerrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 22, 2008
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