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by Kevin Cain

Often being a homeowner throws up certain dilemmas. Sometimes it has to do with the upkeep of your property, with general wear and tear affecting the structure and furnishings. But occasionally either through the good fortune of a windfall or just to add value to your estate, the question of home improvement arises.

One of the most dramatic external improvements you can make is the addition of a swimming pool. But before you go headlong into construction and dive in at the deep end there are certain factors you must take into consideration.

Swimming pools are the perfect way for the whole family to get exercise and keep fit without even having to leave the house. You can either do a rigid planned lap campaign or just relax splashing about. Pool parties are also a great way to entertain friends anytime day or night and as we head towards the hottest months of the year there is no better way to cool down than jump in a pool !

However the cons of owning a pool are that they can be dangerous for children and pets alike. Make sure you have the correct security to protect your little ones or your furry friends.

Also be aware of the ongoing financial commitment you make once you take on the cost of having your own swimming pool. Swimming pools do not come cheap and are a costly investment. Buying a home that already has a pool will prove to be considerably cheaper than adding one at a later date. That said there are many companies on the market today competing for your business and you should consider when they are bidding for your business.

The benefit of having a pool apart from the enjoyment it gives you whilst you are living in your property is how it improves the appeal of your home to potential future buyers as and when you decide to sell. However, when selling your home do not expect the full value and build cost to be met by your buyer. Remember any permanent home improvements are only valued at what the current market demands are in your vicinity and this will not always mean a guaranteed return on the money you have laid out.

Other costs you should investigate and be aware of before you commit to such an improvement is that of the running and maintenance costs a swimming pool can add to your monthly outgoings. Many homeowners are not aware of the type of care a pool requires on a continuing basis.

Firstly you should consider using a professional pool care company, they will be aware of chemical levels and frequency and if you live on a village or have neighbours with pools it might be a good idea to get recommendations from them as whoever they use will already be visiting your area and they can advise on the approximate cost in relation to what they are currently paying However as a rough guideline, an average cost here in Pattaya is around 2,500 baht per month which generally includes up to 3 visits per week by your designated pool man and all the necessary chemicals and tools he needs for cleaning your swimming pool.

If you neglect your maintenance then serious health issues may occur. The PH levels of the water in your pool has to be constantly checked otherwise an imbalance can lead to sickness and skin problems for everybody using the pool. The lovely blue colour of your water may turn green as the surface grows a film of algae and dust and leaves can blow into the pool leading to the formation of bacteria in the water.

An electric filtration system will also be advisable a stagnant water provides a breeding ground for mosquitos to lay their eggs. Infact a neglected pool can produce thousands of mosquitos in just a few weeks (read our article in the Trader section page 36 on the rise of Dengue and Zika Virus if you need further convincing).

So consider things carefully before you take the plunge and decide to have a pool as an addition to your home. Stop, pause and think why you are actually installing a swimming pool. Is it for the family? Perhaps as an investment? Or is it just to add the Wow factor to your home?

Answering these questions may lead you down the right path of designing the ideal pool for your wants and needs. For instance a pool for kids may include a splash slide and a large shallow area, it probably does not have to be an infinity pool with fancy high-end finishing.

Plan a budget and try to stick to it as this will help the builder with choice of materials. Also try to include everything that you might want in the future. Retrofitting a swimming pool is the same as any other major project - expensive !.

Once you have designed and costed out your dream pool then you must also add the cost of remodelling the surrounding area into your budget. A luxury designer pool will lose its effect if the rest of the garden or patio area is a rubbish tip. Think about the flora and trees that would grace and enhance the mosaics or tiling you have chosen. Things like decking and borders can really make a pool stand out.

Consider lighting, both inside the pool to give that dramatic moody look, and also around the outside, perhaps hidden in the new shrubs and plants that you have selected. This will definitely complete and complement a well designed swimming pool and highlight the surrounding area.

Finally invest in some plastic crockery and drinking utensils - nobody wants their day at the pool ruined by a cut on the foot !

Then having taken all this on board the main thing to remember is that a swimming pool is for having fun, splashing around and enjoying life al fresco while you cool off in the heat !.