With the hot real estate market we’ve had lately, many of us in the swimming pool industry are often faced with a question: Is it a good idea to purchase a house with an existing swimming pool?
The answer is: It really depends on several factors.
First, you should determine if a swimming pool would be a good fit for your situation. If so, here’s some information to help you determine whether to purchase a house with a pool.
What type of pool is it?
There are three different kinds of in-ground swimming pools in the Denton area:
Vinyl-lined pools: These are typically a less expensive alternative to the concrete pool. Although vinyl-lined pools are fairly durable, the vinyl liner won’t last forever — it will typically need to be replaced every five to 10 years, depending on several variables.
As the least expensive type of in-ground pool, vinyl-lined pools were very common in the Denton area in the 1970s and 1980s, with the majority of them installed by Blue Dolphin Pools and Pools Plus.
Fiberglass pools: These tend to fall between vinyl-lined and concrete pools in terms of price. These pools are prefabricated and then delivered to the site. Fiberglass pools are somewhat limited in size and shape. Historically, they have not been very popular in the Denton area, but some do exist.
Concrete pools: This is by far the most popular type of swimming pool in the Denton area. The advantages of a concrete (pneumatically applied, called gunite) pool are permanence, durability and flexibility in terms of design. Concrete is typically the most expensive type of pool.
Is it the right pool for you?
Swimming pool designs have changed dramatically over the past 20 years, and your perception of what you want your pool to be might not fit what the existing pool is.
Does the size and depth of the pool fit your needs? Is the style what you had in mind? For example, you might want a very natural, lagoon-type pool, but the existing pool is rectangular.
There are many things that can be done to an existing pool and to a backyard environment to make changes that you desire — such as landscaping, concrete or wood decking, cooking area, furniture, lighting, a sound system, a putting green, children’s play area, etc.
What condition is it in?
This is the most important part of the process of determining whether purchasing an existing house with a swimming pool is right for you.
The most important determination to make is whether or not the pool is leaking. Pools will typically lose no more than a 1/2 inch of water in 24 hours due to evaporation, so I would suggest checking this initially. Pool leaks can be fixed, but it is important that they be repaired.
A few other things that you can check visually while making your decision:
Tile and coping: Do they appear to be in good shape? Is any grout missing?
Interior finish: Are there any spots where the gunite shows through the interior finish? Any cracking?
Caulking around the pool (between the coping and pool deck): Does it appear to be in good shape?
Concrete decking around pool: Does it have large cracks in it? Does it show signs of stress or movement?
Deck equipment: Is the diving board, slide, ladder, etc. in good shape?
Mechanical equipment (pump, filter, heater, timer): Are there any leaks at the pool equipment area?
Operation: Does it operate? How about the pool light? Does the pool heater come on?
Fence: Is the fence in good shape? Most municipalities — as well as insurance companies — require that fences and operating gates be in working order.
Most real estate inspectors do a good job of checking the pool. It is important to know that, similar to houses, most pools have some type of flaw or repair that needs to be made, so don’t get discouraged if the pool is not perfect.
In most situations, you can save money by purchasing a house with a pool rather than having a pool installed, and as long as you do your homework and understand what you’re getting, you can have a pool that can provide enjoyment for many years.
MATT GOHLKE owns Gohlke Pools, which has earned national awards, certifications and recognition in the pool industry. He can be reached at 940-387-7521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.