COVID-19 has altered many things about our lives, but it has most certainly had an impact on real estate – from creating a pandemic-fueled freehold housing market and inciting the profound shift from working-in-office to working-from-home, to escalating desired modifications in our physical home designs (I cover off all of these topics and more in my COVID-19 and Toronto Real Estate Series.)
One thing that we’ve learned over the last year or so is the tremendous value of having an outdoor ‘oasis’ at home. Whether that is outfitting a space for a full-on staycation, or simply creating an at-home escape in which to enjoy your morning coffee, there is nowhere quite as lovely (or convenient) as your own backyard!
Especially when you’ve got resort-like amenities, like a hot tub and a pool!
If you’ve got the space and the budget (think: a smart investment!), these are both great additions to your property, and will doubtlessly be coveted by future buyers.
However, given the huge popularity of home projects thanks to COVID-19 and the approach of summer (homeowners are focusing on blinging out their backyards en masse), you will most definitely be faced with long waiting lists if you are hoping to add these amenities. We are hearing stories of people booking pool projects now… only to be told they’ll have to wait into 2022!
So – if a splash at home is on your wish list, there is definite merit in seeking a home that already has a pool and/or a hot tub in place! Here are some tips to get along swimmingly.
Opening your pool in the spring and then closing it down for the season in the fall is actually pretty simple. Even the most amateur DIY homeowner can easily add this chore to the to-do list. If you’d rather outsource this, there are plenty of pool companies that would be happy to help- and it’s not usually a very expensive job.
Get a programmable pool pump. Although it is ideal to run a pump 24-7, it isn’t absolutely necessary. It’s expensive to keep it running all the time. Program it to run only during off-peak energy hours, and then switch off for a few hours a day. There should be sufficient circulation.
Having a heater will definitely extend the length of your pool season, but remember that running heat will also run up your bill. There are ways to keep heat in your pool without turning up the heater.
During the warmer months, you can probably get away with keeping the heat off and using a solar blanket to keep heat from escaping overnight. A good solar blanket that can be stored on a reel (depending on the shape of your pool) is a good investment.
You’ll want to vacuum the pool often, removing debris, especially if you live in a leafy backyard. Too much plant matter in the pool can set your chemical balance off, and you can end up with an algae problem.
Test your pool water regularly to ensure that chemical levels are in balance. You can either do this yourself with a home test kit, or take a sample to your local pool supply store where you buy your chemicals. Keeping things in balance is not only better for your hair and skin, it will help to prolong things like your filters, liners and other components. It also helps to keep problems like algae blooms and cloudy water at bay.
Hot Tub Heaven
Hot tubs were among the most sought-after pandemic products and are only growing in popularity. With high demand and repeated shutdowns impacting parts and more in the supply chain, people are waiting extended periods of time before delivery on their hot tub orders. If a hot tub is an item you’d love to own, buying a home with a hot tub already installed is a wise move.
Don’t forget if you were buying one yourself, you would have to hire an electrician to do hardwiring. You would also have to create space for the hot tub, whether it is creating a platform, building it into the deck or re-enforcing a deck to be strong enough to manage a full tub.
One of the best things about hot tubs is that you can use them year-round (sitting in a steamy tub with snowflakes falling around is quite magical).
Hot tubs require a little more cleaning than your pool, because the hot temps create the possibility for mildew and mold growth. A good spa brush to wipe down the stairs is a must. You should drain your tub at least a few times a year (every four months if you use it year-round), scrub it down and change the water.
Their chemistry balance maintenance is much the same as for your pool. You can run into cloudy or sudsy water, exacerbated by the bubbles if things get out of whack, so getting regular testing and adding chemicals as needed is a good idea.
The Value Of Outdoor Space
I’ve written in the past about the psychological need that real estate fulfils, in Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs And Toronto Real Estate For Sellers and Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs And Toronto Real Estate For Buyers. From both points of view, you can certainly understand how the presence of outdoor living space plays a role. For Buyers, whether it is access to the light and the air (many people are impacted mentally and emotionally with lack of sunlight) or the more pragmatic wish of being able to unwind and entertain outdoors, yard space is a factor in the purchase decision.
After all, it’s one thing to step out onto a sliver of a balcony at a condo where you’re greeted with high winds and vertigo, and quite another if you can lay down on a chaise with a glass of wine while a partner grills fresh vegetables grown in your outdoor containers. Grass and open space are highly desirable right now – particularly with a recent trend toward hipsteading among urban dwellers!
And when you purchase a home with standout amenities like these, that sublime outdoor yard space – pool included – will help you gain top dollar when it comes time to sell!
Wouldn’t it be dreamy to have resort-like amenities at home? Well keep looking, because this property is SOLD!
Have questions? Want to book a private tour? Contact James Ormston – email@example.com!
Are you considering downsizing, but not sure where to start? We can help you prepare your current home for sale, find a lovely smaller home that suits you, while providing you with tips and support on how to transition most easily.
My team and I are here to help!
With decades of experience navigating the ever-changing Toronto real estate market, a commitment to promote the sale of properties like yours with interesting and relevant information, and the ability to guide Buyers with credible insights and well-informed guidance, we are here to help without pressure or hassle.
Thanks for reading!
-The Urbaneer Team
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-800
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***Pool photos from 15 Acland Crescent Summer 2016 – used with permission.