A lot of people are reluctant to buy a home with an inground swimming pool – and well they should be. Pool ownership isn’t something to take lightly. Before making an offer on a house with a pool, it’s important to think long and hard about whether you’re willing to pay for the chemicals, heating, cleaning, repairs, and other ongoing costs that come with the deal. On top of all that, there are safety and liability issues to think about.
Even if you decide you want a swimming pool, there’s reason for caution when considering a home that already has one installed. It’s a lot like buying a used car, in that there could be underlying problems that aren’t obvious at first glance. Of course, a used car doesn’t cost thousands of dollars to get rid of. In other words, the stakes are a lot higher with a pool.
That said, buying a home with a pool does offer some nice advantages. The key is to find a home/pool combo that fits your lifestyle, and then do your homework to make sure everything works as good as it looks.
Advantages of Buying a Home with a Pool
Obviously the number one advantage of buying a house with a pool is… you get to have a pool! But then, you can always buy a house without a pool and then have one built yourself. So why go for the package deal? Here are a few reasons.
It’s often cheaper. A pool owner can’t count on getting the full value of their pool when they sell their house. That’s because many home buyers don’t see a swimming pool as adding a lot of value, and may even view it as a negative. For those who really want a pool, this is a great opportunity to get one at a discount.
There’s less hassle. Building a pool is hard work. From deciding what you want, to finding a dependable contractor, to keeping on top of things as installation proceeds, the process can be overwhelming. Sure, some people enjoy this “journey.” For everyone else, there’s something to be said for skipping to the end product.
You can start swimming now. Pool construction takes time, and if your contractor of choice has a full schedule, you may even miss a swimming season. Moving into a house that already has a pool allows you to start swimming on day one.
Again, the main disadvantage of buying a home with a swimming pool is that you have to take care of it. But assuming you’ve decided you’re ready for the commitment, here are a few reasons you might want to think twice about going this route.
You’re buying used. The pool may not be in tiptop condition, especially if it was installed years ago. You may be facing some expensive repairs now or in the near future. The worst part is that you may not even realize what needs to be replaced until it actually breaks down.
You didn’t design it. When you have a pool built, you get to choose all the features – shape, size, liner, lighting, heating systems, and everything else. It’s very unlikely that you’re going to find the pool of your dreams “in the wild.” You can always remodel, but major changes could cost as much as a brand new pool.
It might be more costly and less convenient to maintain. An older pool might not have a variable speed pump or other energy saving features. You may also be missing out on newer high tech equipment that makes maintaining your pool easier.
Some Final Words of Advice
If you’re considering buying a home with a pool, the best advice is to find out as much as you can about the pool and protect yourself in case things go awry. Here are some specific things to try:
Ask about everything. When was the pool built? Who was the builder? Which components have been repaired or replaced? How much does it cost to maintain on a monthly basis? What’s the impact on my homeowners insurance? These are the sorts of things you need to know in order to make an informed decision.
Talk to the builder. If possible, talk to the company that installed the pool. Have them confirm basic information, and ask specifically about the construction to find out if there’s anything unusual you should be aware of.
Have the pool inspected by a professional. Knowing the history of the pool is useful, but knowing it’s current condition is the real key. Therefore, it’s worth it to pay a professional to inspect the pool and report back on any issues.
Have your pool covered by a homeowner’s warranty. Homeowner’s warranties are often included with home purchases to pay for any repairs that come up in the first few years. Swimming pools may also be included, usually for an additional fee. You may even be able to get this paid for by the seller. Just make sure you read the fine print so you know what is and isn’t covered.