Orange County residents love to stay active, enjoy the sunshine, relax, and entertain friends. So, being great venues for all these activities (and more), a pool is one home feature that fits in perfectly with the Southern California lifestyle. In many Orange County neighborhoods, a pool is considered a must-have feature. Browse some of Irvine, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach's best pool homes below, or keep reading about pools in Southern California below.

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Pools In Orange County, California

In many places, pools are considered an exclusive luxury feature. However, in Orange County and Southern California, they're the norm, with many residents enjoying their own private pools and spas, as well as common pools exclusive to their community, and the public pools provided by the city. 

The Benefits Of A Pool

For the home, a pool has many benefits and uses, like providing relief from the summer heat, a source of exercise, a beautiful garden centerpiece, a place for fun, and socializing.

Pools also add value to the property they're on. Depending on the pool and the property, they can add 5-10% to the value of a home. Keeping a well-maintained pool can mean more money when it comes time to sell. 

Downsides To Pool Ownership

Although a great lifestyle and real estate feature, pools are not without their downsides. Maintenance costs, extra work, insurance premiums, and possible replacement costs all need to be considered. 

As such, it's important to know the kinds of pools available, their pros and cons, and the legal obligations that come with them.

Buying A Pool Home

If you think you may want a pool, it is often better to buy a home with an existing pool, rather than having one built later. This is because an existing pool would have depreciated somewhat, lowering the cost. Furthermore, building a pool today comes with added regulations and codes to adhere to, which can extend the cost and time required to build one beyond where it would otherwise be cost-effective.

Types Of Pool Construction

Pools come in three main types: Concrete, vinyl, and fiberglass.

Concrete Pools

Concrete (or more specifically, shotcrete or gunite) pools are a staple, well-suited to making hardy, custom designs that last if maintained properly. However, concrete pools have many downsides, including higher cost, longer installation times, and more maintenance.

Concrete pools are more prone to algae and tend to interfere with the Ph of the pool water, requiring chemicals and maintenance work to correct. They're also harder to integrate with a salt-water treatment system.

The upside of concrete pool construction is that they're easier to customize to fit a specific yard layout, and can more easily integrate rock features, garden beds, water features, and other idiosyncratic components. 

Vinyl-Liner Pools

Vinyl-liner pools are quite cost-effective and relatively quick to install. They also have a smooth finish that's easier to clean and maintain day-to-day. However, they do also require replacing more often and can suffer damage more readily. 

Fiberglass Pools

These are usually purchased as standard patterns, which are then installed into the buyer's yard. As such, fiberglass pools have limited customizability. They are, however, relatively low maintenance and quite durable. 

Pool Features

As mentioned, pools can come with many extra features, either as part of the pool itself or integrated with the pool in the overall layout of the area.

For example, luxury properties in Irvine, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, and Laguna Beach often have pools that integrate sunken sitting-areas with firepits, bars, slides, spas, decorative tile and mosaic work, and the iconic "infinity edge".

Sometimes called a "vanishing edge" or "negative edge", these pools give the illusion of water extending off to the horizon, perfect for hilltop homes with views. 

For more practical uses, many community and public pools include swimming lanes. With enough space, you can have something similar at your home. However, space constraints (and building constraints in the case of fiberglass pools) usually make these impractical, and not as aesthetically pleasing. 

Another increasingly popular, if less glamorous feature is salt-water treatment. This reduces the irritation of using chlorine directly, reduces cost and maintenance time, and many prefer the softer feeling it gives the water as well.  

Pool Safety Laws In California 

As of 2018, pool owners in California are required to have two pool-safety features installed. These two are selected from a list of seven pre-approved options, including things like fencing, pool covers, and gate alarms. 

Furthermore, home inspectors are required to record the compliance of properties they inspect. 

While home sellers are not required to upgrade their pool safety, home buyers do have grounds for asking that such upgrades be made as conditions of sale. 

According to this law, a "pool" is defined as "any structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing that contains water over 18 inches deep". This definition includes hot tubs, spas, and above-ground pools.

Jacqueline Thompson

Jacqueline Thompson is your Luxury Real Estate Expert.

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