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Thread: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

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    Puffin's Avatar
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    Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    I might have mentioned in an earlier thread, that my family and I are looking to buy a house. We'd like to get one with a pool. Having never owned one, I'm not sure what to look for and what to look out for. Whats a big deal and what isn't.

    Your advice would be appreciated.
    19,600 gal, Vinyl, Grecian L, StaRite Dura-Glas 1 HP pump, 3/4hp booster, Pentair Clean and Clear 420 Cartridge filter
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    Pump, filter etc., generally anything that's external to the pool isn't a huge deal. You can look at it and tell what it's going to take to fix it.

    Pool shell/liner or underground plumbing are the worrisome things. Replastering can easily hit $10,000, and if there is any kind of shifting of the structure, look out. Deck heaving or dropping on any inground would worry me.

    Pay a pro to take a look at anything that concerns you.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    I'd require a pressure test by a pool company on the undergound lines. Like John said, the above ground stuff is easy to take care of. It might require some repair or replacement, but it's easy to spot by an inspector if they know what they are looking for. It's the underground stuff you really need to watch. A pressure test will let you know if you have a potential underground leak to have the present owner take deal with or credit back.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    Get it inspected, just as you would a house. Even an operating pool may hide something only a trained eye will notice.

    Avoid foreclosures unless you are willing to put money towards significant repairs as a result of neglect. New equipment, liners, renovation work, all are expensive.

    Review the Visual Encyclopedia in the Pool School section to help you get familiar with some of the things you will see.

    Best of luck hunting for your dream house!

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Puffin's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    Thanks for the advice so far. When you say get it inspected, who do I contact for that? A pool builder/supplier? Any idea how much that normally runs?
    19,600 gal, Vinyl, Grecian L, StaRite Dura-Glas 1 HP pump, 3/4hp booster, Pentair Clean and Clear 420 Cartridge filter
    The Pool Cleaner 4x, PoolSkim

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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    I would highly recommend a home warranty with pool coverage for the first year. I used mine twice in the first year. Well worth it.
    12,000 Peanut Pool
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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    I just went thought this with my new home. I second the home warranty however mine only covers the very basic stuff. They don't cover automation stuff, extra pumps for waterfalls and such. Read the home warranty contract carefully to know what is and isn't covered. I would still recommend it as I have already used it to have them fix some leaking pipes and check valve. Use a good pool inspector. My house sat empty for 1.5 years so the pool was semi maintained but not used. When we had it inspected the lights all worked with the exception of the pool light. However since moving in every single other light has started short circuiting. When I opened the fiber optic box it was full of dirt from an old ant hill and the parts were all corroded and also soon stopped working. All in all the repairs have cost me about 1200 dollars out of pocket in 2 months we lived here doing the work myself with the exception of the plumbing. Good luck on finding a new home.
    Approx 11K Gal. 10'X30' Semi free-form IG - 6 ' raised spa w/6 jets - 10' circle sun shelf with 1 bubbler - Waterfall - 3 / 1.5 HP pumps - Polaris 280 Cleaner - 3 Pentair Color LED Intellibrite Lights - Pentair 400K Master Temp - 2 Valve Actuators - 5 Fiberstar Mini Laminars - 1 Fiberstars 2004 Illuminator - 2 Skimmers - 6 Returns - Caribbean Blue Pebble Tech - 600+ sq ft kool decK - Auto Fill - 2 Boston Acoustics VOYA RK5 Outdoor Rock Speakers - 2 TIC Corporation TFS5CN 6.5-Inch 150-Watt Terra-Forms Rock Speakers - Apple Airport Express - 1 Awesome View.

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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    Many home warranties exclude or cap coverage on expensive stuff like heater or controller. Also mine excludes anything underground as "inaccessible".
    IG 24k plaster with overflow spa. Goldline PS-8 SWG. Tristar 0.75 HP filter pump, Polaris 280, large cartridge filter, 400k BTU NG Max-E-Therm HD, SR Smith Turbo Twister, Life Saver pool fence, ORP managed.

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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    Best of luck! We just bought a home with a pool 6 months ago and are loving it! I concur with the suggestion to get it inspected and do the home warranty. Sure, it doesn't cover everything, but it's sure saved our bacon in the learning curve and already paid for itself. This is DEFINITELY a great place to be when you do become a pool owner. I have learned so much being here and am very grateful for the great people on this forum.
    15,000 gallons, Cartridge Filters, IG,

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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    Test the water! Definitely as part of an inspection if not before you make an offer. If you don't have a good test kit - read pool school for examples of good test kits - then get a water sample bottle from a local pool store. Try to avoid leslies but if they're the only game around bite the bullet. Post your results here and the experts can tell you what's really going on. I wish I had tested my water before we bought our house - our water was totally out of whack and showed some serious issues if only I had known ... thankfully I found Bruce and Sal who fixed my water!

    I second the pool warranty rider for the home warranty - but make sure you read the fine print.
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    Look for a pool company that does repairs/remodels and research them on the internet. Do not go with a company that will give you a "free" inspection. Odds are they will hard sell their services to you. If you have friends in the area with a pool ask them for recommendations.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    Have them have it running when you're looking around.

    Ours happened to be going when we first visited the house. At least I knew the pump worked and there were no funny noises coming from it. And the filter wasn't squirting any water. In fact, the whole equipment pad was dry, which was a good first impression. I figure if the pool looks like a carp pond and nothing's been turned on in who-knows-how-long, you can be sure it's going to cost a lot to get it going.

    If it passes that first test, then pay for a professional inspection.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    Here's what I wrote a few years ago after buying a house with a pool and what I learned:

    If you’ve never had a pool and are planning to buy a house with a one, here is what I learned these past couple of months. I hope it helps some people out there.

    1. Have the equipment checked by a pool service technician. A home inspector who also checks pools IS NOT the same and will probably miss some items.

    If it has a solar heater, have that checked preferably by the company that installed the system.

    Do this before you close escrow. If any problems are found, you can specify that the owner fixes them out of their pocket rather than yours after the fact. These inspections will probably cost you between $100-200 each, but will be worth it if any problems are found. Pool repairs are not cheap!

    The solar system for my pool had a leak and a panel needed replacement. This cost me $800 out of my own pocket. Home owners warranty doesn’t cover pools/spa and their equipment unless you add them on for a price. Solar is not usually covered under any circumstance.

    2. Sounds obvious but talk with the previous owner and learn everything you can from them and how they maintained the pool. Here is a small list of what you should ask for:

    a. Have them show you how to run the automatic controller
    b. How to hookup and run the vacuum
    c. what chemicals do they use (BBB, pucks, etc.)
    d. Get the manuals for all the equipment if you can. They should leave them for you, but mine didn’t.

    Write notes as they are showing you the equipment and take pictures as well. And when you get home review your notes and pictures ASAP while it is still fresh in your mind.

    Get at least an email address for the previous owner so that if you have any questions, you can ask them later if anything comes up.
    30K gal. IG Free form
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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    Have them have it running when you're looking around.

    Ours happened to be going when we first visited the house. At least I knew the pump worked and there were no funny noises coming from it. And the filter wasn't squirting any water. In fact, the whole equipment pad was dry, which was a good first impression. I figure if the pool looks like a carp pond and nothing's been turned on in who-knows-how-long, you can be sure it's going to cost a lot to get it going.

    If it passes that first test, then pay for a professional inspection.
    To add to what Richard said, once you've seen that everything
    runs, turn the system off to be able to see the pool with no
    water movement. Had I known to do this, I would have been able to
    see the paint peeling off and the plaster failing!

    Lana
    23,600 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 2 hp variable speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    Re: Advice for Looking at Houses with Pools

    Quote Originally Posted by CRG_80cc
    1. Have the equipment checked by a pool service technician. A home inspector who also checks pools IS NOT the same and will probably miss some items.
    Just to expand on this, all "inspectors" are not equal. I had my pool inspected by a "pool inspector" recommended by the realtor I was working with. It was a weird experience. He nitpicked certain things while totally missing the mark on others. If I had to do it over again I would look for a respected pool technician to come out and give an honest appraisal of the pool, including the pressure test.
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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