Buying a house with a pool, what to look for on inspection

solincia

Member
May 28, 2012
21
NE Ohio
Hello everyone.

I'm new to the forum, but I've been doing a lot of reading here for the last two weeks. We are currently in negotiations on a house with an in-ground pool. It's a short-sale being handled by a bank that hasn't been occupied in two years. I know the pool is vinyl, and it's been shut off and covered for the last two years. The pool also has a brick coping with a concrete deck that looks a little worse for wear, but all around not too bad.

I don't want to jinx myself, but if we get the deal done, I'll be a pool owner!

Big question: For inspection, what should we look for? I grew up with an 16x32 above ground kayak pool, so I "somewhat" know what I'm looking at, but I have zero experience with in-ground pools.

The safety cover will need removed to inspect it, and the pump (I believe) runs into the shed in the back. The shed is currently locked and we haven't been able to step inside it, but there is an exhaust pipe/fan thing running out of the top of it and a pvc pipe that runs from the ground into it.

Some suggestions on things to do, and what to look for during inspection?

Thanks for the help! This site is really awesome!!
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
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LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
Re: Buying a house with a pool, what to look for on inspecti

Welcome to TFP!

This very much depends on how trusting you are and how much work you want to do. Really checking a closed pool takes a fair bit of work and full access to the equipment.

At a minimum you should fold back a corner of the cover and examine the water level and the condition of the parts of the structure you can see. If you are being through you want to remove the cover and do a close inspection of the coping and visible surface all the way around, dip a leaf rake in and see how much debris there is at the bottom of the deep end and so on.

You want to turn on the pump for just a moment to make sure it starts up and examine all of the equipment. Ideally you really want to do a full opening, which is the only practical way to check the plumbing for leaks.

Also check for a GFCI breaker protecting all electrical circuits in the pool area, look for a bonding wire running from the bonding lug on the pump, which should lead into the ground somewhere nearby. Check for the presence of any removable ladders or steps to match locations on the pool with mounting holes. And so on.
 

solincia

Member
May 28, 2012
21
NE Ohio
Re: Buying a house with a pool, what to look for on inspecti

Thank you Jason for the quick reply!

Assuming that all the parts are where they should be in the shed (let's hope!) should I remove all of the winter plugs and fittings and prime the pump before starting it up? The initial pictures taken of the house two years ago were done in May, so I assume that they never re-opened the pool after the winter. If we do that, would it do harm to the pool to not run it after checking that the pump is working properly, and not do a full opening for possibly 3 weeks (which would give me time to order a new pool test kit anyway!)?

Thank you again for your help!
 

gkruske

Well-known member
Aug 7, 2009
220
Re: Buying a house with a pool, what to look for on inspecti

I used to do pool inspections as part of the home inspection itself. Jason is right on the money. If you're paying someone to inspect the pool, the only proper way to fully inspect the pool is to have it up and running. In a foreclosure/short-sale situation, getting that will be very difficult, as you're probably buying the home as-is.

If you're doing the inspection yourself, Jason again, is right on the money. Peel back the corner, or all four if you can, and check for winterizing plugs. Find the skimmer, stick your hand in to feel signs for winterization there. Squashed up antifreeze jug, gizmo, etc. Just some signs that the pool was put to bed properly.

I was in the same situation.....my pool was untouched for 2 years, and I had the local pool store walk me through for what to look for. However, it was early spring, and had no way to run the equipment, etc.

Good luck!
 

solincia

Member
May 28, 2012
21
NE Ohio
Re: Buying a house with a pool, what to look for on inspecti

Thanks!

I have one other question that maybe someone could answer, it's just something I found odd.

The concrete decking around the pool on three sides is about 3-4 feet wide, and slightly sloped. It appears this was done intentionally, but it's kinda weird to see, as usually it should be flat.

Do you think they did this intentionally or should I be worried about anything? Should I be worried that it's not level with the yard??

Here's a side shot of the pool, I think you can see it in the pic:



 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
Re: Buying a house with a pool, what to look for on inspecti

The photos show a fairly flat yard, the concrete sloping away from the pool may have been done to prevent rainwater from getting into the pool.

Ike
 

solincia

Member
May 28, 2012
21
NE Ohio
Re: Buying a house with a pool, what to look for on inspecti

After looking at the pictures again, I think I'm wrong... I'm really going to have to take the cover off. I think this might be a concrete pool. The stairs are what has me thinking this:



Hopefully we'll hear something tomorrow, and then we'll know if we get the house or not... nothing short about a short-sale!!!
 

solincia

Member
May 28, 2012
21
NE Ohio
Re: Buying a house with a pool, what to look for on inspecti

I went to the house yesterday and had my husband reach under the cover to feel the tile and confirmed this is indeed a concrete pool. I lifted off the skimmer cover and oh man is the water green and full of bugs... I'm just itching to buy a good test kit and turn this from a swamp into a sparkling oasis!!

Haven't heard back yet on the short-sale.... this is so stressful. I think I want the pool more than the house!!
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
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Jun 22, 2009
23,625
SouthWest Alabama
Re: Buying a house with a pool, what to look for on inspecti

Good luck, I hope it goes your way. I'd be tempted to go ahead and order the kit so you'd be armed when the time came.