Buying A House With A Pool? 3 Things To Keep In Mind

residential home with swimming pool

Buying a house with a pool can be an exciting milestone in the lives of new homeowners, or it can turn into a money pit of regret that puts strain on your finances and family. That’s why a pool safety inspection is so important when considering a property with a pool. By taking the time to look for potential issues before buying the property, you have the opportunity to request they be fixed by the seller, understand your potential remediation costs if the seller refuses to fix the issues, and have the chance to make an informed decision to walk away from the deal if the costs would be too high. Your own swimming pool can easily be a selling point for a property, offering you a peaceful oasis to relax, exercise, or entertain in, but you need to make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for when it comes to the premium a property with a pool often includes.

Staying Focused On Safety

When you finally find your dream home, the anticipation of enjoying the fruits of your labor can be overwhelming. You’ve worked, saved, sacrificed, and built credit responsibly to put yourself in the position to give your family a home to grow in with the backyard swimming pool they’ve always wanted, unseen under a closed swimming pool safety cover. What you don’t want to do is put them at risk with a pool that’s unsafe or with finances that are suddenly overburdened by a swimming pool that isn’t even usable yet. That’s why it’s so important to temper your excitement and focus on your due diligence when buying a house with a pool. In a lot of ways, being a responsible pool owner starts before you’ve even purchased your property. Here’s what you need to know to make sure you’re protected.

Don’t Skip The Pool Inspection

A comprehensive pool inspection is one of the best ways to protect yourself when buying a house with a pool already installed. If possible, you should get the pool inspected by a professional. While most home inspectors will have the experience to give a detailed report on the pool’s surroundings, including the electrical system, deck, and lighting, they may not have the experience needed to address the pool itself. Try to find a pool company in the area or an inspector who has experience working with pool safety inspections on a regular basis. You should familiarize yourself with some of the most common items from a pool inspection checklist so that you can better understand the inspector’s report or if no inspector with adequate expertise is available, you can look for issues on your own. This includes:

  • Signs of inadequate deck drainage or coping damage – Pool decks should not direct water toward the pool, as this can be a sign of shifting under the surface that may lead to or indicate pool or home damage. The coping that creates the transition between the deck and pool should be free of unrepaired cracks as well. This could also indicate existing leaks and damage lurking under the surface.
  • Drastic changes in level, missing tiles, ripped liners, or cracked plaster – The ground can naturally settle and shift over time. Professionally installed and maintained pools are made to withstand this. A pool that is several inches higher at one end or the other, however, could indicate improper installation or deteriorating conditions in the land under the pool. Missing and unrepaired tiles may show a lack of proper maintenance that turns out to go far deeper than surface damage. If any of these red flags are seen when buying a house with a pool, they definitely should be professionally repaired before the sale goes any farther.
  • Check all drains and pumping equipment for anti-entrapment features – Modern pools should already comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker (VGB) Pool and Spa Safety Act, but you still want to make sure the safety devices are in place, appear functional, or in the case of older pools, that safety covers are installed to help protect any children, pets, or adults who may use your pool. These devices are designed to prevent hair or jewelry from being sucked into the drain, trapping swimmers. Safety drain covers also help prevent a suction seal from building against body parts placed against the drain.

While a professional inspector will have a far more comprehensive checklist, this covers some of the high points that even the untrained eye can look for when buying a house with a pool and notify the seller or their representative about to make sure the problems are fixed.

Make Sure Surrounding Structures, Features, And Accessories Are In Good Repair

mountainside home with a backyard pool
Mountainside home with a backyard pool

While a pool that requires surprise repairs after a home sale may be the most expensive risk you’re trying to avoid with your pool safety inspection, it’s not the only area you want to take a look at. After you’ve ensured the pool is in good condition, it’s time to take a look at the immediate area around the pool. While often cheaper to fix, there can be some considerable expenses lurking, but more importantly, there can be some significant safety concerns you should get the seller to address.

  • Decks in disarray – Wooden decks, pergolas, railings, and features need to be examined closely for signs of rot, wear, and the need for replacement. While a few loose deck boards probably aren’t a concern, widespread cracking, rusting hardware, and bowing are signs that entire structures may need to be replaced.
  • Ladders, boards, and slides in shambles – When buying a house with a pool, there will likely be pool-use features in place from the previous owner. They may be as simple as a few ladders and a diving board at the deep end, or there may be slides, sprayers, and other fun installations. If they’re rusted, cracked, or in disrepair, however, they may cost you more headaches to remove or replace after the sale than having it taken care of as a result of your pool safety inspection.
  • Failing filters and broken pumps – You’ll want to look for any signs that any powered systems the pool relies on for normal, healthy operation are functional. It’s best if the power is on and the pool is still set up for use so you can verify they’re working, but failing that, inspect the machinery and housing for signs of nonuse: rusted out parts, a build-up of detritus, or commonly used access points, like covers and access doors, that seem stuck closed from not being used frequently.

Make Sure Safety Installations Are in Good Repair And Make A Safety Plan to Upgrade Them If Needed

backyard with swimming pool surrounded by a safety fence
Backyard with swimming pool surrounded by a safety fence

Pool safety should be the number one responsibility of any pool owner. That means before buying a house with a pool, you need to consider if its existing safety features are adequate or if you need to consider upgrading or adding to them. This goes beyond responsible use, however, as many jurisdictions, insurance carriers, or homeowners associations will have standards that must be met in your new home. In some cases, previous owners may have been exempt or “grandfathered in” with previous acceptable safety installations.

  • Pool fences work – The National Drowning Prevention Alliance states that the majority of accidental drownings occur when no barriers are present and that the lack of barriers is a contributing factor in these incidents. A modern removable mesh swimming pool safety fence is a cost-effective, durable way to give your new pool a reliable safety barrier or expand the coverage of your existing pool fencing to eliminate trouble areas. Featuring a rip, weather, and UV-resistant mesh material stretched between strong poles anchored into the ground, it prevents climbing by offering no hand or footholds for children or pets to get a purchase on. The fencing can be anchored to existing structures to accommodate a wide variety of pool layouts, and when professionally installed with a self-closing, self-latching gate, it’s one of the safest pool fences on the market.
  • Safety covers save lives – Another form of swimming pool safety barrier, mesh covers, are anchored to your deck and designed to support the weight of a full-grown adult. This makes them a great way to prevent unsupervised access to the pool by children or pets while also keeping leaves, dirt, and debris from reaching your water’s surface. Both manual and automatic models are available, leaving you with a range of custom price points and convenience features. You can open or close your pool with the touch of a button while resting easily, knowing your family is protected.
  • Safety nets can protect even unique pool areas – Similar to swimming pool safety covers in that swimming pool safety nets are meant to keep potential drowning victims up and out of the water when the pool isn’t open and being actively supervised. Nets feature strong cord and twine tensioned by springs and anchored to your deck or surrounding pool area. Nets work well when a pool’s shape, poolside features, or other conditions make a taut safety cover impractical. 

All three of these safety installations offer you plenty of flexibility to open your pool up in a matter of minutes and close it securely when not in use, preventing curious pets, kids, or anyone with compromised judgment from having unfettered, unsupervised access. For a powerful one-two safety punch, both nets and safety covers can be installed to support your pool fence as an additional layer of protection.

Lower Your Risk And Enjoy Your New Pool

Your local All-Safe Pool installer is ready to help you get the most from buying a property with a pool by designing a custom safety plan that fits your new property and your protection needs. They’ll take measurements, inspect your pool area, and offer a tailored estimate that shows you how budget-friendly safety can be. There’s no cost to get started. Schedule your free estimate with a pool safety professional from All-Safe Pool today.

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