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.
I'm sure there are other advice people can add to this, so please do to help future TFP members.