As Realtors, we often are asked this question during this time of year: “Will a pool increase the value of my home?”

I know in South Mississippi the vision of your back yard being transformed into a tropical oasis is quite appealing, especially when temperatures begin to climb. The thought of a refreshing dip just steps from your backdoor is quite alluring for many homeowners. Unfortunately, there are many reasons to at least be cautious before pulling the trigger on such a sizable investment.

One of the first considerations is resale value. Although you may see your pool as a great asset and luxury, many homebuyers view a pool as a liability. Some buyers do not want the added burden and expense of upkeep that is required with a pool. Other buyers consider pools to be a safety hazard for their young children, visitors and sometimes even pets. There is a subset of people who may want a pool, but only a gunite pool and they become skeptical or wary of pools with liners — especially older ones.

It is interesting in polling potential buyers that they all seem to have a very definite attitude that is pre-established concerning pools. Buyers either love them or hate them, and there is rarely any neutral ground. If you are in a move-up home or if you know you may be relocating in the future, then this may be something to at least consider before adding a pool.

With regards to value, many pool owners think that because they may have just spent $50,000 adding a lovely new salt-water pool and surrounding flagstone patio area, that an appraiser will certainly see this and add value to their home accordingly when they get ready to resale. Wrong. I have never seen an appraiser give a pool adjustment anywhere remotely close to the cost of the pool. The value added by an appraiser is determined by age, condition and many other factors including the value of the home.

Here is an example: I recently sold a 10-year-old home with an in-ground chlorine pool that had a liner in good condition. The pool was built when the house was built. The appraiser added $6,000 for the value of the pool. The home was valued at $250,000. This was quite the surprise for the seller who said he spent more than $40,000 to install the pool.

Before you add a pool, you will also want to consider the related costs in addition to the initial construction costs. These may include such items as maintenance, additional fencing, increased electrical bills, landscaping, lighting and increased liability coverage needed on your homeowner’s insurance policy.

So in summary, do not add a pool if you are only concerned about your return on investment or your resale potential. There are other home improvement projects you could do that would more likely increase the value of your home.

However, if your heart is set on adding a pool, look at it as an investment in your lifestyle, which cannot be valued with just a price tag. The intrinsic value of a pool for homeowners may be the sound of splashing water, relaxing views and enjoying a pool for exercise and play. Your family may have countless hours of enjoyment making lasting memories that count. Just make sure you are prepared for the ongoing costs to maintain it. If you already have a pool, this Realtor says: Enjoy it!