Our kids will be starting school this fall. We hope they’ll make new friends. In anticipation, we want to finish our basement with an extra bedroom and maybe install a pool. We’re not really committed to our current school zone and are trying to figure out if this plan makes sense. – LOOKING AHEAD
DEAR LOOKING: When a client asks me if they should spend the money to install a pool in the backyard, I typically ask them how often they’ll use it, and how long they plan to stay in the house. Given your thoughts about the school zone, you have a lot to consider in the next few months. If you felt you were in the perfect home, in the perfect neighbourhood, in the perfect school zone already, my advice might be a little different.
From what I understand, the cost and wait time for pool installation has grown considerably since the start of the pandemic. Supply and demand are part of the equation, as homes with pools only account for about eight percent of sales. As we return to some level of post-pandemic normalcy, I expect the backlog and enthusiasm for pool installation to ease up a bit, especially given how expensive it is.
Before you do anything, run the numbers. Get a few quotes and approximate time frames for finishing the basement, installing a pool, and completing the associated landscaping, but don’t book contractors or apply for building permits yet.
You need to figure out if this is the house to renovate, based on your long-term vision for your family. Give serious thought to your school zone before your kids start their academic journey. See if a home in your preferred school zone would align with your budget, using renovation estimates for context. Also consider how a renovation would suit your family. A downstairs bedroom is often not ideal for young children as it puts them far away from mom and dad’s sensitive ears, though tweens and teens might love it.
At the end of the day, it may be more practical and less expensive to buy a larger home with an existing pool, rather than re-imagining your current house. If you haven’t saved the money you need to renovate, it might be easier to amortize the cost of additional living space and a pool into a 25-year mortgage, rather than funding it upfront. Think of it like buying a gently used car: you can’t pick the colour, but there’s plenty of value built in.
PRO TIP: A little research goes a long way. It might make more sense to relocate than renovate, especially if your current house has other shortcomings, like a small kitchen or lack of garage. Talk to a professional, run the numbers, and lay out a monthly budget for a reno versus a move. Having information at your fingertips will help you make the best decision. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator
David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.