Swimming pools at home: asset or money pit?

Once considered a valuable asset and status symbol in Australian real estate, pools seem to have lost some of their appeal and worth when it comes to selling a home and can even put buyers off a property.

In a market place where low maintenance living is king, nowadays many home buyers view pools as an expensive and impractical hassle, especially in cooler locations like Melbourne where you can only use it five or six days out of the year if you’re lucky.

Some home buyers regard home pools as an eyesore because of the strict safety fencing requirements that are in place or when a pool has been poorly positioned and dominates the backyard leaving little room for much else.

Consequently, property valuers report they’re often now discounting a property’s price if it has a pool as it can put off a lot of buyers.

A growing number of homeowners are opting to have their swimming pool dug up and filled in to rid themselves and future buyers of the expensive time consuming hassle of maintaining a pool, which can cost upwards of $2000 a year.

For over 25 years Peter Burns and his son Tom of Reverse Pools in Hampton have been making a living removing unwanted swimming pools in Melbourne and rejuvenating suburban backyard spaces. Peter is happy that we’re seeing a trend away from home swimming pools, as it means there’s more business for him and his team!

Reverse Pools are filling between 80 and 100 residential swimming pools a year for all kinds of different reasons. ‘We’ve filled pools in for a lot of older people who are tired of pool maintenance, for couples with young kids that don’t want the trouble and the perceived danger of a pool in their backyard and for young professionals who simply feel the pool takes up too much room and time to keep clean’, Peter says.

  Before (Image:  Reverse Pools )

Before (Image: Reverse Pools)

  After  (Image:  Reverse Pools )

After (Image: Reverse Pools)

How much?

Depending on the size and materials the pool is made from, Peter says ‘for between $6,000 to $10,000 we can get rid of a pool and replace it with something really useful and aesthetically pleasing’.

You could convert your old swimming pool into:

  • A wine cellar
  • A trampoline pit
  • A lawn or veggie patch
  • A pergola/ BBQ area
  • A fish pond
  • A decked alfresco area

How does it work?

The removal of a home pool takes about four to five days. Starting with the initial demolition of the pool itself, where the concrete shell is broken down and removed. Next the hole is filled with rubble, covered with topsoil and levelled. Then a geotextile filter (a woven fabric that allows water through) is put between the topsoil to help prevent subsidence.

If you’re sick of the maintenance costs of your home swimming pool or you’re considering selling up, filling in your pool to create a more practical low maintenance outdoor space may be worthwhile to appeal to more buyers.

Before taking steps to fill in your pool we do recommend seeking out your local real estate agent to gauge the level of interest in residential pools in your area and whether or not a pool will add value to your property or put off buyers. Contact and read reviews of agents in your area on Agent Finder.


Happy house hunting!

From the Homely Team


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