When done properly, properties for sale with a swimming pool will always see a good return on investment and a ‘statement’ pool can really help you achieve a premium. If you are planning to rent out the property or offer B&B or gîte accommodation, installing a pool instantly makes it more attractive to potential clients, and can definitely give an edge in a crowded market. Whether thinking about resale or rental, if you’ve got a great pool, just the photos alone will make your property stand out from the competition.
There’s not many people that get to embark on a project as fun as designing their own perfect swimming pool, so, what are the main considerations to think about when deciding when, where and how to install a swimming pool:
Some properties may have a very obvious spot for a pool, but if not, things you may want to consider:
Proximity to the house - would you prefer a short walk from the kitchen to the poolside lounging area or would you prefer it to be further away so that you are not disturbed by guests? You might also want to consider where the safest place might be if you anticipate young children being around.
You will need a storage area for equipment such as the filters, heating system, nets, chemicals, not to mention the inflatables and pool games. Are there any outbuildings that would be suitable? Or will you need to build something?
Is there enough space around the pool for eating, drinking and general lounging?
Consider access for the installation process. Whilst you can install a pool almost anywhere, if it’s a spot with difficult access, the installation costs will increase significantly.
Swimming Pool Planning Permission Guidelines in France
Before you start work on the pool installation, you will need to get planning approval from the local Mairie. Pools under 100m2 need a déclaration préalable de travaux and those over 100m2 need the full permis de construire. If you are using a professional and reputable installer, they will usually sort out the permits on your behalf.
If you are interested in buying a property that does not currently have a pool but you plan to install one, the type of things that might mean planning is delayed or refused would be things like
- if the area was prone to flooding.
- if the property is close to a historic monument, protected site or national park
If in doubt, you can always the Mairie and they should be able to give a good indication on whether planning would be granted at a particular property. The Mairie will also offer guidance on what materials and colours would be acceptable. You should usually expect a response to the application within 2 months, but it can take longer at busy times of year.
How to decide type of swimming pool to install?
To work this one out, the key question is, how do you envisage using the pool?
Do you just need a place to cool-off in the heat of the day?
Are you a serious swimmer and want to use the pool for exercise?
Will small children need a shallow area where they can play and learn to swim?
And of course, as with everything, what is your budget?
The answer to these, and any other considerations that are important to you, will help steer you
Types of Swimming Pool Systems Available
There are three main types of pool that are commonly used. Fibreglass shell, block and liner. Which one is best for you will depend very much on your the size, the design and the budget you have to spend. It’s well worth investing some time exploring your options and looking for inspiration online as well as visiting local swimming pool installers in your area.
Another worthwhile avenue to investigate at this stage might be to find a local pool engineer that you like and trust, particularly if your home is a second home as you will need someone local to check on the pool once a week in your absence. As well as making the connection early on so you know who to call if there is a problem, their local knowledge and experience can be invaluable and they will be able to give you top tips on things to consider when choosing which pool system to go for.
Above Ground Pools
In order to achieve the same level of desirability as an in-ground pool, above-ground pools have to be extremely cleverly done. Although significantly cheaper to install and without the tax implications, above ground pools do not have the same impact on the value of the property and, if the pool looks rather more like a big paddling pool they can actually be viewed negatively by potential buyers.
Rules and Regulations for Swimming Pools in France
The laws in place in France that relate to swimming pools may seem strict, but it's important to remember that they have been designed and implemented specifically to reduce the risk of small children drowning. All swimming pools must have one of the following four options:
- a security fence
- a pool alarm
- a cover
- a pool shelter
The pool alarm is the cheapest system to install, but it may not provide the same level of reassurance for parents and grandparents that a fence or solid cover might. The pool shelter has the added bonus of extending the swimming season
Installing an in-ground swimming-pool will tend to add around €300p.a. to your taxe fonciere and you have 90 days from finishing the work to declare the work to the tax authorities, although you do have a 24month exoneration period before the extra tax is added. Above-ground pools are not liable for the additional tax.
The Day to Day - How to Maintain a swimming pool?
It’s important to understand the practicalities involved in making sure the water stays clear and your pool is azure blue and inviting. A healthy swimming pool needs a regular cleaning regime and programme of water testing - if you’ve already identified a reliable pool engineer or pool installer, they will be able to teach you the ropes. Maintaining a pool isn’t hard, but it does require careful attention.
The pH of the water must be kept stable in order to prevent any bacteria taking up residence in the water. Salt, bromine, chlorine and ionisation (or a combination of these) are some of the options. The pump and filtration system. should be powerful enough to circulate all the water in the pool within 8 hours. If you have a spot where you can install showers to rinse dirty feet and excess suncream, this will help keep the filters cleaner for longer - filters clean mean you will have a clean pool
If you do not live at the pool full time, you’ll need someone to look after the pool in your absence. In autumn, the pool will need to be prepared for the winter to prevent frost damage in the pipes and filters, and then, come Spring, the pool will need to be ‘woken-up’ again.
Properties with Swimming Pools
So, while there is work associated with maintaining a beautiful blue swimming pool - we all know, there’s nothing quite like cooling off with a quick dip and seeing children and grand-children turn into water-babies. What is it that is so unbeatably calming about reclining poolside with a book and a glass of Rosé? It is the quintessential ‘dream’.
If you’re looking for a little swimming pool inspiration, or for a property for sale in France with a swimming pool that's ready to dive into - here’s a bit of food for thought: