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"If I remove my pool, what is the effect on the value of my home?"

Posted by Ryan Crownholm on Fri, Aug 16, 2013 @ 11:39 AM

Swimming Pool DemolitionThis is one of the most common questions I get from clients that are undecided on whether or not to remove their pool. I am by no means a real estate professional but I have read several articles on this topic and have seen the effects that removing a pool can have on selling a property first hand. Here is my attempt to answer that question... Most people would like to have a definitive answer regarding this question. Unfortunately, like many other factors in real estate, it depends. Below are some of the issues I have seen that affected property value in relation to swimming pools.

This is a list of factors that may have a flat or negative effect on your home's value.

  1. If the pool takes up 30% or more of the backyard.
  2. If the pool is over 30 years old and is in need of repair
  3. If the pool does not have a safety gate around it.
  4. If the pool is made from a vinyl liner.
  5. If the geographic area the pool is in has less than 3 months of "swimming weather"
  6. If the pool is the only one in the neighborhood.
  7. If your area is currently experiencing a drought

This is a list of factors that may have a positive effect on your homes value.

  1. The pool is less than 15 years old.
  2. The pool takes up less than 10% of your backyard.
  3. Most of your neighbors have pools.
  4. The pool equipment is relatively new and energy efficient.
  5. The geographic area the pool is in has more than 6 months of "swimming weather"
  6. The pool is completely enclosed by a safety gate.
  7. If your home is considered a "luxury home"

Supply and Demand:
The current economic downturn has reduced the pool of buyers substatially over the past couple of years. According to real estate professionals the best way to get offers on your home is to appeal to as many possible buyers as possible. In general, most families that do not want a swimming pool are less likely to look at a home that has one due to the cost of removal. Whereas, a family that does want a swimming pool will likely look at homes that have existing swimming pools or enough space to install one. Another factor to keep in mind is that if you have a swimming pool and are selling your house, it may benefit you to sell during the summer time when swimming pools are the most attractive to buyers.

Repair or Removal:
If your pool is in need of repair and you are selling your house these are some suggestions that may be helpful.

  1. Talk to your real estate agent and ask their professional opinion on the effect of having a swimming pool on your property.
  2. Review the above list of positives and negatives and see which you fall into.
  3. Get 3 estimates on repairing your pool.
  4. Get 3 estimates on removing your pool.
  5. Compare the middle 2 estimates of removing compared to repairing and figure the difference.

Example where repair would be the appropriate action:
Base home value: $500,000 Value added for pool: 3%= $15,000
Cost of Removal: $10,000
Cost of Repair: $12,000
If Repaired the total value would be $503,000 (500,000+15,000-12,000)
If Removed the total value would be $490,000 (500,000-10,000)

Example where removal would be the appropriate action.
Base home value: $500,000 Value added for pool: -2%= (-$10,000)
Cost of Removal: $9,000
Cost of Repair: $7,000
If repaired the total value would be $483,000 (500,000-10,000-7,000)
If removed the total value would be $491,000 (500,000-9,000)

Other factors such as landscaping and time factors such as maintenance and mortgage should also be taken into account.

Personal Experience
A large portion of pools that I have removed are related to real estate transactions. Here are a couple of examples that I have experienced after removing swimming pools.

  1. A home in Moraga was on the market for 6 months, prospective buyers generally felt the same about the pool, that it was poorly placed and undesireable. I removed the pool and the house was in escrow within 2 weeks.
  2. A home in Walnut Creek where the owners needed to move for work purposes was unable to sell their house because of the decreased value due to the real estate slump. In order to rent the home the insurance company wanted to increase the premium drastically and install a gate that was going to cost $3,500. In addition, several renters expressed hesitation due to the pool and the homeowners would be responsible for maintenance and repair. They decided the best course of action was to remove the pool. The homeowners had far more interest from potential renters once the pool was removed. The majority of the applicants had children and wanted to be in the Walnut Creek school district but didn't want the hazards or liability of a pool.
  3. An elderly couple in Danville had lived in their home for 40 years. They enjoyed their swimming pool for years but the cost had gotten so high for maintenance that they were considering selling their house and buying one without a pool. The equipment was over 30 years old and very inefficient and they had to pay a maintenance company $120/month to clean it. The total cost monthly was $250. They had never even considered removing the pool until their real estate agent introduced me to them. I removed their pool and they were able to stay in the home that they loved so much.

If you ever have any real estate questions relating to you swimming pool please call me. I would be happy to refer you to a professional real estate agent in your area. The above article is based on my practical experience in the industry and I hope you find it helpful.

Ryan Crownholm
Dig & Demo
General Engineering Contractor

Tags: Swimming pool effect on value of home, swimming pool removal vs. repair

What Equipment is Best for a Safe and Effective Swimming Pool Demolition?

Posted by Ryan Crownholm on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 @ 5:16 PM

OK, so you know that we remove LOTS of swimming pools by now. But do you know how we do it? With our many years of experience we have acquired a fleet of equipment that is designed with your swimming pool demolition in mind.

The Breaking:
breakerSwimming pools that are made out of concrete or gunnite are often 12" thick and reinforced with rebar. In order to safely and efficiently break this concrete we use and excavator with a Jack Hammer (breaker) attachment. An excavator is ideal because you can
place it in a stationary position and then spin the turret around as you work which places the operator at least 10 feet away from breaking. Some people will try to use a Skid Steer (Bobcat) with a breaker attachment. A warning to do it yourselfers and
inexperienced contractors
. This is very dangerous for the operator because the skid steer is not designed to work with a load over head while moving the machine and can cause it to tip over. Also, because the operator is working directly under the work he is in
danger of being hit by falling concrete or rebar. We do not advise using a skid steer for the demolition portion of the project.

Moving the concrete out and the dirt in:dirt
This is where the skid steer comes in. In order to safely move the concrete out of the swimming we send in a bobcat with a grapple attachment to "grab" the material and transport it to the trucks. In order to move the soil into the swimming pool cavity we use the
same skid steer but we switch the bucket out to a smooth bucket which allows us to evenly spread the material. Evenly spreading the material is very important because the compactor needs a perfectly level surface in order to achieve uniformity. This machine
also allows us to set the final grade to the customer specifications

The trucks:
trucksBecause our soils come from our own sources rather than unknown excavations delivered by other contractors we need a fleet of trucks to handle very large volumes. Our fleet consists of 10 wheel dump trucks and transfers. A transfer is like a 10 wheeler but has
a trailer that carries a second load of soil or up to 22 yards of soil. The average swimming pool requires 130 cubic yards of soil to fill and compact. With our fleet we can easily transport the needed soil in 1-2 days.

In order to compact soil to 90-95% density it is best to use what is called a padded drum roller or "sheep foot" roller. The machine has a large vibrating drum with "knobs" covering the drum. The purpose of these "knobs" are to essentially knead the soil much like
you would with bread dough to bind the dirt. In rare occasions where we do not have access we use what is called a plate compactor. The plate compactor can be used in much smaller lifts and still be effective to achieve proper density but can take much more
time and requires a great deal of experience.

describe the imageOther misc tools of the pros:
Grinder or cut-off saw to cut the rebar
Transit or Level to set your finish grade
Geotextile filter fabric to prevent soils migration
Storm water run-off protection such as silt sifting bags for EPA compliance
Pressure washer to clean up your property when we are all done.
describe the image
When it comes to a task as specialized as swimming pool removal it is important to use the proper equipment. The companies that truly "specialize" in swimming pool removal know how important each piece of equipment is to operations. Not only do these
pieces of equipment allow for a safe and proper job but also speed the job along so that we can give your yard back as soon as possible. Most of our projects are completed in 3-5 days.

Take a look here at our process in action!

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Removing Your Pool Is Good for the Environment

Posted by Ryan Crownholm on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 @ 4:30 PM

If you’re an environmentally-minded person who’s been debating the removal of your pool, consider this: owning a pool impacts the environment in many negative ways. Some of these ways are probably pretty obvious if you think about them for a second, but other you may not have even considered.
water conserve
Excessive water use. How many areas around the country are either in the middle of a water shortage now or have experienced one in the last few years? Quite a few. With more than 7 million private swimming pools in the U.S., they put a major dent in water conservation. In a place like Arizona, a typical pool can lose up to 6 feet of water each year just from evaporation! Think about all the water it takes to refill that pool and then multiply your numbers to account for the whole country.

Chlorine and other dangerous chemicals. Pools need to be kept clean, but many of the chemicals we use to maintain their cleanliness kill important bacteria and can even harm tiny organisms in the soil near the pool. And unfortunately, water isn’t the only thing evaporating from your pool. These chemicals also get released into the air when the heat evaporates them, annotoxicchemicalsd this contributes to greenhouse gas production. It’s even been found that when chlorine is released into the environment, it can cause deformities in living creatures and reproductive damage.

Energy for heating. If you’ve thought of this one, it’s probably because of all that extra money it costs you to keep a pool heated, but it’s also wasteful at a time when large parts of the country are struggling to cover our basic energy needs. Heating 7 million pools puts a lot of pressure on the system, when that energy might be better used elsewhere.

Erosion. This is one very few people even know about, but swimming pools can cause the land to erode. Why? Because they’re so heavy. In fact, some areas close to coastlines have banned people from installing any more private pools because all of that extra weight has caused the land to sink and water levels to rise. It seems insane to think about, but your pool could actually be causing the coastline to erode at a faster rate.

People have comSwimming Pool Removal Estimatee up with “solutions” for some of these problems, but there’s nothing that solves everything. Using different, safer chemicals to clean their pool, for example, can help. As can heating the pool with solar covers. But those things don’t offset the damage that can be done by pools, and some “fixes” just cause other problems. For example, saltwater pools have become more popular in recent years as an environmentally-safe alternative to traditional pools, but many people don’t realize that backwash from pools that are treated with salt water pool generators can actually kill their plants and sterilize the soil, which will stop future plants from growing.

The best way to protect the environment – and your wallet – is to have your old pool removed altogether. After the one-time cost of removal, you’ll get your yard back, regain financial freedom, and be able to relax knowing that you’ve done your part to help make your neighborhood cleaner and safer.


If you have any questions regarding the swimming pool removal process.

Feel free to contact me.

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How to Tell If It's Time to Remove Your Pool

Posted by Ryan Crownholm on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 @ 8:00 PM

Did you know that keeping and maintaining a pool might be costing you $2,000 to $3,000 a year for an average-size model? Thousands of dollars a year for the rest of your life that might be better spent on traveling, remodeling, or kids’ college expenses. And that’s not even counting any repairs that you’ve had to do over the years.

You’ve been thinking about getting your pool removed, but how do you know if it’s really time? While there’s no one-size-fits-all definitive reason to get rid of an old pool, lots of factors can affect your decision.

The kids are gone. Maybe you bought your pool when your children were little and it seemed worth the investment rather than joining a swimming club or going to the water park all the time, but now they’ve grown up. What’s the point of keeping an expensive pool when you and your spouse barely use it, and the kids only visit once in a while?

You want to sell. If you’re thinking about selling your home, you might be surprised to learn that having an expensive pool to maintain may actually hurting the value rather than helping it. Especially if the pool is older and hasn’t been maintained in pristine condition. Consult with your realtor to see if they believe they can get you a better offer if the pool is removed.

You have to repair it. Normal maintenance isn’t the only expense involved in keeping a pool. If you ever have to pay for repairs, you might find yourself out thousands. In fact, many people discover that it’s actually less expensive to simply remove the pool than to fix something they’re not getting a lot of us out of.

You want your yard back. Having a pool always seems like a great idea at the time, but after the novelty wears off, many people discover that they simply have an expensive hole in the ground taking up their yard. It’s only usable a few months out of the year, so the rest of the time the pool is just a reminder of the nice yard they used to have.

You want to buy. Not everyone wants a pool, but if you truly love a house with one already built in, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on it. The cost of pool removal is something that will even out within 2 to 3 years when you consider how much it takes to maintain a pool. Some buyers even negotiate the price down to cover the cost of pool removal.

You want to free up money for your future. The cost of pool removal isn’t insignificant, but it’s a one-time expense and then it’s done. Keeping a pool is like a car payment that never ends. Without a pool to pay for, all that money can go towards allowing you to live the life you want.

Whatever the reason, every year thousands of people come to the decision that keeping and maintaining their pool just isn’t worth it, but they don’t know how to get rid of it. A professional pool removal service can help by making the endeavor fast and easy. All you have to do is sit back and watch while everything is handled – from the demolition, to the backfill, and through the final grade. In as little as a week, you can have your yard back the way you want it and stop worrying about the continuing costs of keeping a pool.

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