The choice came down to two houses for Jack and Carrie Evans. Both were in the same lovely suburban Atlanta neighborhood where their children could actually walk to an excellent elementary school. The houses were similar in size and amenities. "One," Jack said, "had a larger master bedroom and a slightly bigger kitchen." "And a sexier bathroom," Carol adds.
"But the other had a pool," Jack said. "We went with the pool."
We've all seen the ads in the local paper's real estate section: 4BR, 3BA, walk to schools, huge MBR w/fireplace, fabulous landscaped yard, pool! Must see!
As with the Evans family, the pool is what stands out. A pool does make a house look more attractive to buyers. A recent study published by the National Association of Realtors backs that up.
G. Stacy Sirmans, Ph.D, a real estate professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee, conducted the study with colleague David A. Macpherson, Ph.D. They took a close and detailed look -- based on the selling data from more than 28,000 homes -- to see exactly what attributes contribute to the overall value of a home.
A house, of course, holds many different characteristics, all of which affect its value. A swimming pool, the study held, is an often-included characteristic in assessing a home's value. What's more, the authors write, "it is generally positive and significant."
Consistently, across the country, pools proved to be positives. In fact, the study found, in-ground pools can increase the value of a residential property from 8 percent to as much as 15 percent.
Here's how the study breaks it down across the United States:
* In the Northeast, a pool adds 4 percent to 6 percent to a home's value.
* In the Southeast, the effect ranges from 5 percent to 10 percent.
* The Midwest is similar to the Northeast, with the average effect on value being about 6 percent.
* A pool seems to weigh in the most in the Southwest, where studies show the effect on a home's value to be between 8 percent and 13 percent.
* A pool also is important in the West, but the effect on value -- while still positive -- is less consistent than in other areas. In the West, the average effect on value ranges from 5 percent to 13 percent.
Go outside and pools rank right up there with garages, decks and porches among the external features most frequently used in explaining selling prices. "A swimming pool," the authors of the study conclude, "never has a negative effect on selling price although it has been not significant in some studies."
What is significant is how homebuyers actually react to pools.
"Really, I haven't run into any obstacles," says Babs Simpson, a realtor with Boothby Realty Inc., in Birmingham, Ala. In fact, she loves showing homes with pools. "It's fun to surprise (the buyers). You'll be going through the house and all of a sudden they look out and say, 'Ooohhhh.'"
A beautiful pool just invites homebuyers to imagine themselves having fun. A pool definitely is an asset, says Michelle Rogers, who for years sold real estate in Florida. "People can see themselves there. They picture themselves enjoying the pool. They might not see themselves right away in the seller's pink bedroom, but they can picture themselves in the seller's pool."
Courtesy of ARA Content