You’ve made a checklist as you begin the search for your growing family’s new home. You have done your due diligence, including: meeting with a real estate agent to discuss school districts, convenience to work and shopping, as well as the other intangibles you’re looking for. Finally, your discussion comes to an element that will instantly eliminate many potential homes on your list, a swimming pool. Nationally, only about 10% of homes have swimming pools, and that is accurate for the Baton Rouge market as well.
While it would be nice to take a dip at the new home and occupy the kids during the summer, it is very important to consider a few things when buying a home with a swimming pool.
What Is The Value Of The Pool?
When buying your new home, how much of the purchase price goes toward the swimming pool? According to Baton Rouge Real Estate Agent Pat Wattam with ReMAX First, “An appraiser will allow approximately half of the value of the construction cost of the pool when doing the appraisal”. In-ground pool costs can vary widely, from a basic hole in the ground that can cost less than $20,000 to an elaborate glass tiled masterpiece with colored fountain jets, water slide and grotto rock waterfalls that can run exponentially more. You must consider the pool’s value when negotiating the sale price of the home.
Are There Safety Features Around The Pool?
The biggest concern for your pool, particularly if children will be swimming, is safety. When buying a home from adults without kids, the pool may not have the necessary pool safety accessories. But you can child-proof a pool. Pools can be made safe for small children with safety products like fencing and pool covers so the pool cannot be entered without an adult. In many states, including Louisiana, proper fencing is a requirement. The Louisiana Barrier Law states that any pool deeper than 2.9 feet must be enclosed. Pool and door alarms can also be helpful.
What Condition Is The Pool In?
Before taking the plunge, look closely at the pool for warning signs. Are there any large cracks in the pool, tile or deck surfaces? Are the walls and top rail in good shape? You should also check the condition of the pool’s equipment and accessories like filters, pumps and ladders. Inspect the plumbing and valves for signs of leaking. How about the pool lights? If the pool surface is gunite, is it time to resurface it? Have your REALTOR® ask for the pool’s maintenance history. Ask who built the pool and in what year. If you are ready to purchase the home, you should get a pool inspection from a pool company. Home inspectors focus on the house and might miss possible issues with the pool. Pool specialists like Lucas Firmin Pools can test for aspects of the pool that may be a challenge for a general home inspector. If the pool does have problems, California real estate agent Craig Knizek with The Agency adds that, “Typically buyers ask the sellers to repair any structural issues in the terms of the sale”.
How Will You Service & Maintain The Pool?
You’ve bought the house. So, who is going to clean and maintain the pool? Pools bring much enjoyment, but they are also a lot of work. You must also consider the costs. According to financial guru Dave Ramsey, these ongoing costs include increased utility bills, chemicals, miscellaneous do-it-yourself maintenance, and increasing your homeowner’s liability insurance coverage. Cleaning the pool yourself will save you money over paying a cleaning service, but it is time consuming and can be difficult for first time pool owners. You also need to find a pool company that does water testing to get the correct chemicals. Many people are finding it easier to maintain a saltwater pool as opposed to traditional chlorine. There are also cleaning tools to consider such as pool sweeps and skimmers. Pool maintenance is not the fun part of pool ownership, but it is crucial to the enjoyment and longevity of your pool.