Under contract to purchase house with pool, what to look for?

Jul 26, 2016
17
Baltimore, MD
We are under contract to purchase our dream/forever home and it has an in-ground heated saltwater pool that was built in 2011. What should we be checking as part of our inspection? I have a 18x33ft above ground pool at my parents house 20 years ago when I was a teenager and I maintained it/winterized/dewinterized it so I'm somewhat familiar with the basics, but it's been over 20 years and I've never dealt with an inground saltwater pool. Here are pics of the pool:
 

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Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
1,335
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Welcome, see if you can get any water test results from the past (assuming it’s closed right now). Would be worth getting pictures of all the equipment as well as the plaster finish, inspecting for cracks or damage. A pool inspection from a pool service might help identify obvious problems, but don’t expect a super thorough job unless they are diving the pool.

Might also ask for water usage/bills over the past 6 months if they’ll provide them. Could give you an idea of how much water is being used to find evidence of an obviously huge leak, which is unlikely.
 
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Jul 26, 2016
17
Baltimore, MD
I'd expect to have to replace the pump with a VS pump, the salt cell, and maybe the filter.
Is 10 years the average lifespan of pumps, salt cell, and filter? Sorry, I'm not following why I would need to replace the existing pump with a VS (variable speed?) pump? For clarity, it is a 10 year old heated saltwater pool so I'm not going to have to retrofit saltwater equipment to a non-saltwater pool.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
25,120
Bedford, TX
B,

Pumps last 10 to 15 years, but VS pump use about 80% less AC power.

Salt cells last 4 to 7 years on average.

None of my suggestions have anything to do with the fact that the pool is a Saltwater pool.. I have three of them, and love saltwater pools.

I forgot about the heater.. How old is it? If over 7 years old I'd count on replacing it also.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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RebelBob

Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
84
Virginia
Pool Size
49000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Agree about value of an inspection, especially now with pool closed. When we bought 4 years ago the one thing the inspector did that we would not have thought about was he walked the circumference tapping surface of the edge tiles with a pipe (think it may have been a Meyco cover release tool) looking for any hollow sounds. There weren't any which is good.

I would at least pull back a few sections of the cover and take a look. If it was open I would also want to see pump running to see if it shows any signs of air in the system. Clearly can't do that now. You could also ask if they used a pool service company and get their name to follow up.

Another strategy, is to see if seller would be willing to setup an escrow of $Xk with title agent held until x days after some date you agree upon that allows you to open the pool and see what is going on. If nothing else may cause him to consider lowering price instead. With market like It is, however, waterfront in Maryland is going to be tough!
 
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wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
3,680
Spring Valley, NY
If the pool is closed which I assume by now it would of have to you don't stand a chance of de-winterizing it for an inspection. You can also assume some of the equipment was either recently changed or will need it shortly. Your biggest issue is the plaster and leakage and for that you can ask for the pool to be uncovered and have a diver do a thorough under water inspection for obvious cracks and plaster delamination. A full years water bill as mentioned is in order to see if the pool was constantly refilling summer time and lots of pictures of equipment pad maybe with model and serial #s.
 
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Taylor1584

LifeTime Supporter
May 13, 2011
282
Houston, Texas
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I just posted and asked the same question, you can search on my name. Above and beyond a home inspection, I had a pool inspection, separate leak detection company do an inspection, and separate HVAC and plumbing inspections. The pool inspection was fairly basic. The sellers in NW Arkansas were very accommodating and while they had already closed the pool and pool cabana and winterized, they had the pool opened and operating, including the heater. The pool inspector operated all the equipment, noting what was either out of date, single speed pump, and at end of life but still "working" heater. I asked about removing, replacing some equipment, adding SWG, and inspector noted that there was room, plumbing needed cleaning up a bit, lots of 90s. I asked about a check valve prior heater, not existing but could be added. I also asked about bonding, grounding, GFCIs, dedicated circuit breakers. The most valuable thing I did was take pictures of the equipment pad layout and detail shots of all the equipment labels. TFP members stepped up with telling what each piece did, directional arrows, and lots of advice on what to look for, what to update with and replace. The leak detection company was very thorough. He dived and was in the pool more than an house. They area is a sellers market. I had this done so I knew what I was getting into $ wise when I took over. One thing, if they tell you something, make sure they put in a written report, especially if you think you want to use it for credit on the price of the purchase.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
3,680
Spring Valley, NY
To me the main inspection for now should be tha actual pool. The equipment is all external so up or down a few bills for changing out a piece of equipment and I wouldn't worry. When you spend x amount on the purchase the one or two items that need replacement are a drop in the bucket. It's the big stuff you need to concentrate on.
 
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Jul 26, 2016
17
Baltimore, MD
Hey all, this is the follow up from a few weeks ago.

I spoke to the person who has been servicing this pool since it was built 11 years ago and he said the plaster/coping/tile and the pool in general is in good condition, and that the next major replacement item would be the cover. Here are the pictures I was able to take of the equipment and the coping/tile/plaster. I would love to hear what your thoughts are on the current equipment and what you can see from the condition of the pool itself. I have a vague understanding of what most of this does, but would love a more detailed explanation and I'm totally clueless as to the general operation, running costs, and what to expect from the heater as far as performance.

I have full resolution images of all these pictures if anyone needs more detail. We are beyond excited!!!
 

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Last edited:
Jul 26, 2016
17
Baltimore, MD
Additional pics #2
 

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Chuckiechan

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2014
535
Roseville, CA
To me the main inspection for now should be tha actual pool. The equipment is all external so up or down a few bills for changing out a piece of equipment and I wouldn't worry. When you spend x amount on the purchase the one or two items that need replacement are a drop in the bucket. It's the big stuff you need to concentrate on.
How much of the value of the house purchase is attributable to the pool? IOW, can you get comps of similar houses without pools?
Your pool may be worth less than you think.
 
Jul 26, 2016
17
Baltimore, MD
I'm thinking it bumps the value at least 50k. In our area it's is almost impossible to put in a pool on the waterfront side of the house due to the required 100' critical zone restrictions. Consequently, there have only been a handful of waterfront houses with waterfront pools that have sold in the last 2 years, let alone newer construction >4700sqft homes with a deepwater pier
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
25,120
Bedford, TX
B,

Thanks for the pics..

I stick by my previous comments.. I'd budget for replacing the pump, the SWCG, and the filter.. None of which I would keep if I were buying the house.

I've bought several houses with older pools and learned very quickly that replacing the older equipment saved me frustration and time. I learned that after not doing it for two years on the first one. :mrgreen:

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
3,680
Spring Valley, NY
I'm thinking it bumps the value at least 50k. In our area it's is almost impossible to put in a pool on the waterfront side of the house due to the required 100' critical zone restrictions. Consequently, there have only been a handful of waterfront houses with waterfront pools that have sold in the last 2 years, let alone newer construction >4700sqft homes with a deepwater pier
I'm in agreement here as waterfront properties with pools are few and far in-between so maybe the property value goes up due to that. In other areas sometimes a pool is a downside to buyers that aren't interested, so in those cases pools carry no weight. Then you also have the flip side when a neighborhood has many pools a perspective buyer may be swayed to the property if it includes a pool. I know of a home just sold in this past summer in my area and the sellers didn't have interest for a pool in the last 20 years but before putting it on the market they went to contract for a pool. When the house was sold shortly there after the pool was almost done. Some people want a pool but don't want to deal with pb's.
 

Chuckiechan

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2014
535
Roseville, CA
I'm thinking it bumps the value at least 50k. In our area it's is almost impossible to put in a pool on the waterfront side of the house due to the required 100' critical zone restrictions. Consequently, there have only been a handful of waterfront houses with waterfront pools that have sold in the last 2 years, let alone newer construction >4700sqft homes with a deepwater pier
That is good to know. So it is definitely worth spending serious money on.
 
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