Are buyers deterred by pools in Monta Vista?

Asked by jsambowen, 95014 Sun Nov 17, 2013

We will be selling in the next couple of years. Should we remodel the pool or fill it? Are buyers in Monta Vista looking for homes with pools or not?

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Sam Shueh’s answer
Sam Shueh, , San Jose, CA
Sun Apr 6, 2014
Most buyers prefer to use public pool. The high cost of maintenance a pool negates the brief uses. Suggest a quotation on filling the pool. If your pump or pool is at end of life. Go for a fill and conversion of a garden.

Sam Shueh
Keller Williams Cupertino Realty
0 votes
Stu Carson, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sun Nov 17, 2013

Yes. Some Buyers are not interested in buying a home with a pool. Based upon my experience they call into three "camps". Couples with small children that believe pools are a drowning risk and would rather eliminate all risk. The others are the elderly for which a pool is a physical or financial hardship to maintain, Lastly there is a certain percentage of the population that can afford to maintain a pool &/or could physically maintain it themselves, but for a variety of personal reasons don't really want a pool, so having one is adds complexity or cost without any personal value to them. They also might simply prefer to have less pool and more yard for entertaining or recreational activities like volleyball, gardens, etc...

By the way there are some Buyers that make it a priority to find a home that has a pool or one that can have a pool installed. That's fairly rare but it does happen.

What does that practically mean? I'd say a home with a pool will get 15 to 20% less showings because Buyers already know they do not want one.

So what should you do? Depends upon the cost to repair vs destroy and fill. One would think destroying & filling a pool would be cheap, but it's not. There are county or municipal standards to which filling a pool must conform because of potential safety, health & other issues that arise from jus dumping some fill in a pool and covering it with grass. Costs vary depending upon variables like size of the pool, depth, material, surrounding soil, difficulty or ease of access to the pool area for large earth moving equipment, dump trucks, etc... Therefore, I've seen cost estimates from $7,000 to over $20,000 to fill a pool to required codes. I suspect that's going to be somewhat similar to the cost to repair-refurbish the pool bottom, walls, etc...

If repairing is $15 to $20k less than "filling" it might be advisable to simply repair. But that's a dangerous statement to make having not seen the big picture. It would be FAR better for me to see the property, the lay out and location of pool, the size of the remaining yard, the condition & inherent beauty of the pool, etc....

So let's assume that the cost for one versus the other is within $10,000 of each other. Which way do you go? My instincts tell me that normally it's better to get 20% more Buyers through and have a bigger yard to "sell". However, that again is a dangerous assumption to make having not seen the pool, the yard, etc.... It doesn't cost you a cent to have me come out and assess your specific situation. I am willing to invest the time if you in fact 80-90% likely to sell your home in the next couple years.

Let' talk more about the implications of the above information and what it might imply relative to your situation. Call or email me about a date and time that work for you.

Hire the Best! The right Realtor can make all the difference.

Stu Carson
"Luxury and Country" Team Leader
Keller Williams Realty
3 votes
Erica Glessi…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sun Apr 6, 2014
I believe that you should lose the pool.

A home will do better for Monte Vista buyers without pools. I've shown home after home in Cupertino to school-focused buyers, and rarely do the busy parents I have served wish for a pool. The #1 concern is safety for the children; #2 is upkeep (many buyers are very busy with strong careers); and then having said that, you can have an exception of course.

I would say this is true for all of the good school communities not just Monte Vista -- that buyers with small children or school-age children are more likely not to want a pool. Now, some people ONLY want a pool! The funny thing is a pool adds $$ to an appraisal so on paper, it looks OK.

So look at the fact that competition bids up prices. More people won't offer on a pool than will (this is fully opinion based only on working in Cupertino for 8 years).

It starts like this: how many will view the home? More will view a home without a pool.

Then, how many will offer of those who have seen it? 25 offers = more $ than 5 offers.

Because schools are one of your major selling points, I recommend you place the home on the market in early January because Cupertino school "packets" come out mid- to late January. Those wanting to get into your schools will do best to be in their home by early February. If you miss January then I recommend April-May (this time of year) as many people who are moving into the "right" high school will want to close escrow around mid-June so their child can finish up wherever they are.

I recommend that you come up with a very simple, very low maintenance garden and landscape plan. Something very easy to maintain for the busy parents and career folks who are seeking to place their children in the top of the line schools your home feeds into. The less work with the greatest amount of elegance, the better. Think about a back yard where parents can let kids play with an "easy" feeling about it.

Good luck!

0 votes
Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Sat Mar 22, 2014
Hi Bowen

If you are asking the question, you understand there is an issue.

Right, you are going to loose about 40% of the home buyers.
Some home buyers have home search setup to exclude a home with
a "pool". Those who view the homes virtual tour will realize a pool
and pass.

More buyers and viewers going through your property result in a higher price.…

Best regards
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0 votes
Bryan Sweeley, Agent, Los Altos, CA
Wed Jan 8, 2014
Save your money.

I agree that for most buyers a pool is not a big plus. Either they worry about young kids or the maintenance or prefer a yard for the kids to play.

Would I spend a lot of money to update or remove? No. Let the new Buyer make the choice. You won't be able to second guess them, so incorporate the issue in your list price.

A freebie - get an estimate from local contract for both the remodel and to fill with landscaping. First, you will be able to contain the issue during price negotiation. Second, it helps the buyer to "see" that it is not a big issue, just a matter of money. Fixing the backyard does not hender the Buyers ability to move-in and live in the house. It is just a few weeks of a crew working in the backyard.

Lastly, in today's market, this will not slow anything down. You would probably get multiple offers pushing the price over list. My worry is if you wait more than a year or two, the market will most likely shift away from a Seller's market and your question will become more of a sales objection.
0 votes
Kyle Kovats, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Thu Nov 21, 2013
Sometimes having a pool is an absolute must for a buyer, sometimes you'll have buyers that won't even look at a home if it has a pool, it all depends on the client.
0 votes
Michelle Car…, Agent, Coppertino, AL
Thu Nov 21, 2013
Juliana gave you some great information and statistics.

The first question is: do YOU like a pool? I grew up with a pool and from my personal experience it was fabulous. People always want to visit you to swim and it makes it easy to entertain (especially if you have a bath they can enter to directly from the back yard/swim area).

Yes, you have maintenance expenses and some people fear it is a liability.

If you feel you would enjoy it, I would say try it for a year and see. If you don't use it or feel a better use could be made with the space, then fill it in.
0 votes
Juliana Lee, Agent, Palo Alto, CA
Wed Nov 20, 2013
A quick search shows that 117 of 607 3+ bedroom homes sold in Cupertino since Jan 1, 2012 reported that they had a pool. Looking at what sellers have done implies that on average they do not feel compelled to fill in a pool.

Each home is different though. Tastes change with time. If a public pool is available, people who enjoy swimming may enjoy the public pool more than having their own pool (people often like to be around other people for exercise).

I would recommend that you use your own judgment as to whether you want the pool. If you were going to be there three or four years would you keep the pool or would you prefer it wasn't there? You are more familiar with your home and neighborhood than anyone. Does the pool have enough value for you to keep it?

I've had sellers who have filled in their pool and I agreed with their choice. I wouldn't make a all encompassing statement that a pool should be filled in.

Home values in zip 95014 can be viewed at

Juliana Lee
Top 2 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty, the nations largest
Cell 650.857.1000

Over 20 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County
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0 votes
Ricky Ablaza, Agent, Milpitas, CA
Tue Nov 19, 2013
Hi Jsambowen,

Most buyers who have children in elementary, middle and high school age do not want a pool. Most buyers in Cupertino purchase for the chance of their children going to Cupertino schools. Unless you have a buyer who no longer have children of high school or younger age, chances are they will prefer no pool.

It is easy to have your pool filled. Cost will probably be around $2500 - $4500 depending on the size of your pool.

Let me know if you want your pool dirt filled. Call (408-316-0793) or email ( I have cost effective workers.

Hope this helps.
0 votes
Grace Hanamo…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Mon Nov 18, 2013
Hi Jsam:

Thanks for your post. Stu did an excellent job in describing the potential buyers view of pools in the Monte Vista area. What I would add, however, is that seldom are there older buyers who want to live here. In most cases, the buyers who look to purchase in the Monte Vista area are, in fact, families with small children or families with school aged children looking to enter into Monte Vista High. As a result, for many, the cost of maintenance and the inherent danger associated with pools is something that they would prefer not to inherit in purchasing a home.

Now, I am also going to balance this with the other aspect of schooling as the main "draw" for this area. Because most buyers are looking to enter the school system in this area, having a pool is not necessarily going to deter a buyer from purchasing your home. In most cases, my buyers will simply say "okay, so I have to factor the cost of pool removal into the desirability of this home." If next year is the same as this year (with little inventory to sell), a pool is unlikely to be a factor in future home sales in this area.

So feel free to enjoy your pool for as long as you live in your home. Replastering the surface will ensure a leak proof pool, and if you choose to remove it, just make certain that you do it correctly and remove it according to the prevailing codes and requirements of Cupertino.

Good luck!
Grace Morioka
Allison James Estates & Homes
Rebates to Buyers up to 50 Percent of Commission and Low Cost (1%) Commission for Listing Agent
0 votes
Nila Patel, Agent, Sunnyvale, CA
Mon Nov 18, 2013
Hello Jasam Bowen,

The pools used to be a highlight of a home and buyers were excited to see one. Nowadays, most buyers do not want to have pools as it is harder to maintain on top of cost to maintain it. There are some buyers who are still interested in buying homes with pools.

Depending on which method you use to fill up the pool. . .it won't cost you an arm and a leg.. Having a good specialized contractor is the key to successfully convert the swimming pool in to a good lawn area or a planting area.

Good Luck :)
0 votes
Nina Daruwal…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Sun Nov 17, 2013
Hello Jsambowen,

Buyers in Monta Vista will by a "shack" for the Location! :) Some will want a pool, others not! What would you like to do?? My suggestion, and I live and work a stones throw from you, in the neighborhood.......If it isn't already in Spiffy shape, Remodel the HOME, make it Spiffy! Make it classy, clean neutral lines and colors.....Kitchen Bathrooms, etc etc top to will get your money back! Do it now and enjoy it for the next couple of years till you decide to Sell :) then you wont feel "oh it looks so great and we have to sell".........Get a Pool Inspection done, repair whatever is needed, get it in tip-top shape, let the Buyer/s decide to keep it or get rig of it........buyers in the MV area, are financially capable of doing so if they don't want it....
Live and work, In the City of Cupertino, serving the Community for Real Estate, and as a Public Safety Commissioner!
Be well and Safe and all the Best, Let me know if I can help in Any way!
Nina Daruwalla
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Elena Talis, Broker, Palo Alto, CA
Sun Nov 17, 2013
It depends on a lot of factors including your lot size, condition of the pool, house size and many others. Generally pools have negative impact on the property values.
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Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Sun Nov 17, 2013
Stu covered the types of buyers. And I agree most buyers do not want a pool and there are those that do. Trying to predict which buyer is interested in your house with a pool would be impossible.

Us selling agents are great resources for you as we can look at your home and give you suggestions on how to best maximize your cost to prepare your home for sale. You may want to set that money aside and offer it as an option to a buyer if that if they prefer it to be filled in they can have it done and know that it was done according to local requirements and standards.
0 votes
Realtor Ranj…, , Sunnyvale, CA
Sun Nov 17, 2013
I went over sales of homes in the area over the last 6 months as officially recorded on MLS, and going over these, given the demand in the Monta Vista area, a home sale did not get impacted by the presence or absence of a pool, and did not appear to act as a factor in the ultimate sale price of the home. The demand far outstrips supply in the area and buyers are willing to adjust to certain conditions that may not present a perfect home of their preferences, but still help them move in.

As long as this holds true in your area, and the condition of the home and pool do not present additional deterrents in terms of maintenance, I would suggest you save your money and do minor updates inside the home to make it move-in ready. I will be happy to take a look at your home and help you understand updates that could yield great results in addition to providing any and all assistance with respect to selling your home.

Ranjana Shreedhar
Coldwell Banker, Cupertino
(408) 861-8026
0 votes
Igor Reznikov, Agent, Campbell, CA
Sun Nov 17, 2013
Here are some stats from my experience ...

33% of buyers don't want a pool and tend to skip homes with pools.

10% are specifically looking for a home with a pool.

33% are completely indifferent

Remaining 24% are indifferent but don't see the pool as a positive.

So to answer your question ...

Should you remodel it - Most likely not.
Should you fill it - It depends. It depends on how it looks and on the size of your back yard in relation to the pool as well as the positioning of the pool.

I would be happy to take a quick look and let you know what I think.


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