Buying Your First House with a Pool

Is it better to have a pool or to have a really good friend with a pool? That's the question just about every homeowner is asking themselves on a hot summer's day. But when you're buying your first house and it already has a pool, you better be ready to answer that question right away. Here are some things you'll want to consider. 

Safety

When you're a homeowner, pool safety goes far beyond not running on the pool deck. It's about making sure your pool is secure even when you're not using it. This goes double if you have kids or pets. A curious pooch can often find his way into the pool, but getting out might be a little more difficult and you can never be too careful with kids. That means you're going to want to consider:

  • a fence
  • a pool cover
  • a pool alarm 

Safety isn't just about securing your pool either. If you're going to own a pool, it's a good idea to get lifeguard certified so you can handle any emergency situation that comes up. If you have small children, you'll also want to make sure they have some survival swimming skills just in case they happen to fall into the pool. 

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Insurance

Your insurance will likely be more affordable if you have all the right safety precautions in place, but it will still be higher than if you didn't have a pool at all. Check with your insurance agent to see the difference in your monthly payments with and without the pool. 

Maintaining your first home with a pool

When you go from being a renter to a home owner there are a lot of additional maintenance tasks that you'll need to do each month. Add a pool to that list and it can get quite long because pool maintenance is going to be an ongoing concern as long as your pool is open. If you ever lifeguarded during the summers, you probably have some idea of the chemical applications you do to do in order to keep your pool swimable. That includes both knowledge, tools, and chemicals including:

pH Testing

You'll need both a pH increaser and decreaser on hand to help keep your pool at a nice, neutral reading no matter you or nature throws at it. 

Chlorine

Or a chlorine alternative like biguanide. It kills the bacteria that we bring into the pool on our bodies and algae that would normally grow on an open body of water in the summer

Pool Shock

Chlorine dissipates over time and that process can be helped along by the sun. Shocking your pool will help bring the chlorine levels up to their normal levels quickly allowing you to get into your pool faster. 

Vacuuming, filtering, and cleaning the deck

Between algae, pollen, bugs, and leaves pools can get a little dirty. That's why you need to keep the filter up, vacuum and skim regularly and be sure the deck is clean. Beyond the equipment, this task won't cost you much more than your time, but it's still something you'll need to add to your list of to-dos. 

What to ask the previous owner

You wouldn't buy a home without asking about it's history and buying one with a pool is no different. Be sure you ask these questions of the current homeowner. 

What kind of pool is it? You'll need to know whether it's a saltwater or chlorine pool and what the surface is made of. Both of these questions will give you a better idea what kind of maintenance and upkeep you'll need to invest in the pool if you decide to keep it. 

If it's concrete when was the last time it was resurfaced? Concrete pools need to be resurfaced about every 15 years. That's because the concrete can crack and chip over time, especially if you live in a colder climate. Those cracks and chips leave room for algae to grow, causing even more wear and tear on your pool. 

Who maintains your pool? This will help you decide if you want to use a pool service, or take care of it yourself. If the current owners use a surface, you can get a better idea as to how much it costs to maintain each month. If they take care of it themselves, be sure to ask how much work goes into it and what their daily, monthly, and yearly tasks look like. 

Should you fill it in?

If you've given it some thought and decided owning a pool just isn't for you, you still have options. You can absolutely negotiate with the seller for them to either fill the pool in or to reduce the sale price of the home to offset the cost of you filling the pool in after you've bought it. 

Don't let the heat of summer influence your decision to keep the pool. Remember, it's going to get cold eventually, so is the use you'll get out of the pool worth the upkeep?