Thinking about buying a home with an existing swimming pool can be a nerve-wracking experience. There are any number of things that could be wrong with it, and none of them is inexpensive to fix. Moreover, finding a qualified pool inspector who can check things out before your home closes can be hit or miss, as well.
Before you dismiss the option altogether, know that there are some very simple things you can look for on your own that can help rule out any major issues. If you’re in a time crunch or there are other offers on the table, checking these things can help put your mind at ease until you can have its condition inspected by a pro.
- How’s the water level? If it’s down more than a foot from its actual capacity, it’s a red flag. It could just mean it’s not been filled lately, or it could mean that there are structural issues that will cost you time and money to repair.
- Check the drains. The intakes need to be covered with federally-approved anti-entrapment coverings to be both safe and in compliance with the law. Make sure they’re in good shape, and that they function.
- Turn on the equipment. Pools have some complex machinery that keep them clean and safe. Make sure your realtor or home owner turns on the pump for you while you’re there, and lets it run for at least an hour to ensure there’s no strange noises or obviously broken parts.
- Visually check the pool surface if you can. If the pool is covered, make sure to check the cover itself for signs of wear, as well as checking the pool’s interior structure visually. You want to avoid any obvious signs of cracks or abuse. If the pool hasn’t been cleaned, asking your seller to have it cleaned for purpose of inspection is a reasonable request.
- Check for debris. Even if the seller refuses to remove the cover completely, peel back a corner and drag a pool rake along the bottom. How much debris is there? If the answer is more than “none”, insist on seeing the condition before continuing. Neglect by the sellers can mean big bucks for you later on.
A home with a pool is a dream come true for many people. With just a little attention to detail, you can safely have your dream, too.