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Sink or Swim

Are you avoiding looking at homes with a pool? Keep your eyes open and dive on in, the water's just fine.

About 8 or 9 years ago, I was starting to feel that we were outgrowing our first home. The kids were starting school, the toys were seemingly breeding overnight and the garage was filled to the gills with “stuff."

My husband and I went on a 2 year on and off search for the perfect house. I was my own worst client, indecisive on just about everything! Well except for one thing that is, a pool. I was drop dead certain I would NEVER live in a house with a pool. The words that came to mind were: maintenance, cleaning, safety and liability. My husband had grown up with a pool so he was on the other side of the fence when it came to this issue and of course thought I was being soooo over reactionary. Of course you already know where this is going. I ended up with a house that has a pool.

Looking back I can’t believe how many homes I actually overlooked because they had one. Now I know that this was a mistake. First of all, the cleaning part is actually quite easy and I find it therapeutic in the morning to vacuum while drinking a cup of coffee. It takes about 15-20 minutes and once a week is adequate with the help of a little robot vacuum that consistently picks up the bottom.

Maintenance is mostly about chemicals and quite honestly it is also an easy task to undertake. Every couple of weeks I bring a water sample down to  Central Pools on Route 30 and they tell me if and what I need. I buy what I need and dump it in the pool and 1 hour later it is  good to go.

Safety was really my main concern. At the time, my kids did not swim and I thought there would never be a day where my kids could use the swing set without my being present for fear they would fall in the pool. Well first of all, you can fence the pool separately from the rest of your yard and you can purchase a mesh safety fence if your entire yard is already fenced. There are multiple pool alarms etc... that can also be purchased.

I found the best defense here was swim lessons, who’d have thunk lol. I even had group swim lessons in the pool and friends did it with us. We had weekly get togethers and the pool thing really started to be fun.

Liability of course is always an issue, not just with pools for all home owners in general. Attorney Richard Vetsteins advice is “talk to your agent about an umbrella policy. A good policy should give one to two million dollars worth of personal liability coverage, which is suggested. In addition be sure that you keep the pool and decking in good condition to avoid safety hazards. No broken diving boards and posting No Diving signs in the shallow end show that you are taking the right precautions.”

Attorney Vetstein also recommends “parents abstain from drinking alcohol while kids are in the pool, wait until the kids are done and then have a glass of wine.”

At my home, I sometimes hire a lifeguard when I have lots of kids over for a pool party. It costs around $150 and helps to give a little extra peace of mind.

In the end, I am so glad that I have a pool. The kids are now 12 and 13 and have friends over all the time and we all really enjoy it. If you are really that opposed to a house with a pool, you may want to rethink that idea. The water is just fine from where I am swimming.

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