If you’re thinking about buying a house with a pool, there are some important things you need to know—before closing the deal. At America’s Finest Home Inspection our team of Phoenix Certified Pool Inspectors are here to help you in making a sound and well informed decision. Just as a good home inspection informs you about the condition of the home you are interested in purchasing, a good pool inspection informs you about the condition of the pool. They inspect every component of the pool/spa from the heater, filter and pool pump to the hardware, pool light, deck and deck drains. They will also perform pressure tests to check for any leaks in the system, and they will also do a thorough inspection of the fence and gate.
A swimming pool is one of the most valuable assets in a home, especially here in Arizona, and it can be the place your family and friends share some of the best times of their lives. Or it can be a headache that just won’t go away if it’s not taken care of properly.
Here are five things to consider in buying a home with an in-ground swimming pool:
- Does it add value to the home?
There are many factors that go into determining whether or not a pool adds value to a home or not. Here in Arizona, where almost everyone has a pool, it can definitely help add some value but by how much all depends on what type of pool it is and what condition it is in. Some other factors to determine whether it adds some value to the home is:
- If you live in a higher-end neighborhood and most of your neighbors have pools. In fact, not having a pool might make your home harder to sell.
- If you live in a warm climate, such as Florida, Hawaii or the Southwestern states like Arizona.
- Your lot is big enough to accommodate a pool and still have some yard left over for play or gardening.
Still, that’s no guarantee you’ll get a return on your investment. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the three most popular states for pool homes are California, Arizona and Florida. The National Association of Realtors says an in-ground pool adds about 7.7% more in value to the home’s market value. However, in colder climates, such as Minnesota, a pool may add no value at all.
- What will the upkeep cost be each month?
The upkeep and regular maintenance of a pool is the most important factor to take into consideration in making a decision to purchase a home with an in-ground pool. Automatic devices and a competent pool service company can cut the time commitments for home owners. In addition, home owners may find that salt water systems require less maintenance—as well as cause less damage to hair color, skin, and plantings—than chlorinated ones. There is some invaluable information available on HomeAdvisor.com that breaks down all of the costs associated with owning and maintaining a pool. You can plan on spending an average of $50 to $75 a month for upkeep.
Another monthly cost that is often overlooked is insurance, but it’s an important to factor this into your decision. Depending on where you live, having a pool may add between $50 and $75 per month to your insurance premium. The Insurance Information Institute suggests pool owners boost their liability coverage to between $300,000 and $500,000. The amount of insurance you want to carry will depend on where you live and the type of pool you are considering (i.e. play pool vs. diving pool, in-ground vs. above ground, etc.). Check with your homeowners insurance, or visit web sites such as Insurance Information Institute or Insuramatch.com to do some research before you buy.
There are some other costs that one needs to consider. There is the cost of the water itself when the pool needs to be drained and refilled; cost of heating the pool/spa (if applicable); cost of a fence; eventual resurfacing of the pool; regularly changing the water-filtration devices; the potential costs of replacing the heater or pump as they wear out; and liability insurance (as we discussed above). These are good for you to take into account.
- Have the pool thoroughly inspected by a Certified Pool and Spa Inspector.
If you make an offer on the house, you want to buy it with your eyes wide open. Unless you are a pool expert yourself, you would be wise to employ our Phoenix Certified Pool Inspectors to conduct a thorough an in-depth inspection of the entire pool system. Beyond the actual pool, the pumps, heaters and filters need to be checked for proper operation. The electrical equipment needs to be inspected, as does the plumbing. Decking surfaces, safety covers and the hardware that secures them should be evaluated for condition and longevity. During a thorough inspection, the overall operating condition of the pool and equipment is evaluated by turning the systems on to see if they run. Typically this is a visual inspection.
- It’s critical that the pool is in compliance with the Arizona Pool and Spa Barrier Codes.
The pool must have a fence that is at least four feet high. It also must surround the pool and/or spa on all sides and should not be climbable for children. The water should only be accessible through a self-closing, self-latching gate. If you have small children and you decide to purchase a home with a pool, it would be advisable to install a door alarm from the house to the pool area, and install pool and spa covers.
Some codes require that the fencing run only along the perimeter of the property, others require that the fencing be close to the pool itself. To learn about the codes in the city(s) in which you are considering purchasing a home, visit the Arizona Pool and Spa Barrier Codes.
- What if you really like the house but you don’t want the pool?
Let’s say that you’ve narrowed your search down to the perfect house. It has everything that you could ever want and it’s ideal for your family, with one big exception…there’s a pool out back and you don’t want it! So you’re wondering how much it will cost to fill the pool in to give you a larger backyard for entertaining or for the kids to play in.
According to the Hometown Demolition Contractors, the cost of demolishing an in-ground pool can vary significantly based upon various factors. Some of these factors include size, type of material and accessibility to the site. The nationwide median cost to remove an in-ground swimming pool is $6,000. They state that there are many factors that go into the cost, such as location, ease of access to the work site, type of pool, size of pool and more. And then there is the type of removal: complete (total) demolition and partial demolition (break and fill).
Once you have demolished the pool, you can get creative with the landscaping. There are a host of companies out there to assist you with creating a beautiful backyard that you will enjoy for many years to come. Our Phoenix Certified Pool Inspectors are happy to give you great resources in the Phoenix metropolitan area who you can check out. You can just put in dirt, cover with grass, or get creative and cover it with something fun!
We are committed to your satisfaction. Our Phoenix Certified Pool Inspectors at America’s Finest Home Inspection look forward to helping you along in your journey as you select the home of your dreams!