After the real estate bubble burst in 2008 millions of homeowners lost their homes to foreclosure. Many of these homes have been sitting on the market ever since waiting for a buyer to come along and get them back in shape. One of the unique challenges home buyers and investors struggle with is when the home has a swimming pool in the backyard. There are many questions that are not readily available to most people.
The good news is that the information is there if you only know where to look. I have owned and operated a real estate corporation in the late 1990’s and for the past seven years I have owned and operated a swimming pool company in Atlanta. I have also “flipped” several houses successfully and so I believe my opinions on swimming pool renovations and swimming pool restoration projects will be helpful to most home buyers regardless of the reason for purchasing the home.
Avoid the following 3 pitfalls of pool renovations projects and you will be well on your way to an appropriate purchase decision.
1) Filling The Pool In May Not Be a Good Option.
I have met with several investors over the past year who have purchased a home with a swimming pool assuming they would just fill in the pool and plant grass over it. There are several reasons why this is a risky assumption to make. First, filling in a pool is usually a lot more expensive than a full swimming pool renovation would cost. I have always charged in the ballpark of five to eight thousand dollars depending on the size of the pool and access. Second, there are many municipalities with ordinances against filling in pools or with code requirements for filling the pool in with specific material (like gravel) which can push the cost of filling the pool in even higher. I have seen many pool contractors fill in swimming pools without compacting the earth as they go or using the concrete deck as fill which causes big gaps underground and future sinkholes. Know your numbers before you buy!
2) Don’t Be Afraid of Horrible Looking Pools.
A horrible looking pool will cause most investors and buyers to walk away from a property. A great looking pool will sell a home fast. I know this has been debated over the past fifteen years or so. Because of the study by the NAR shortly after 2000 a lot of people believe that a swimming pool actually hurts the value of a home because it reduces the amount of active buyers who are willing to buy the home. I have seen both sides of the coin and I can tell you that a swimming pool absolutely sells homes faster. My company currently renovates many pools for banks all over North Georgia and we have noticed that once we get the pool looking really good the home sells within a couple of months! Many of these horrible looking pools may not cost as much as you think to restore. I recently restored a vinyl pool with fully mature trees growing out of it for less than $6000 and that included a new pump! The smart buyer and investor will have a great pool contractor in mind who can tell them a ballpark figure quickly. I have real
estate investors who text pictures to my cellphone of a pool and equipment and I can tell them very accurately what it would cost to make the pool beautiful again. There is a pool contractor in your area that can do the same.
3) Don’t Choose the Lowest Bidder.
This may seem like a no brainer but I have witnessed many problems with low bidder syndrome. The problem is that so many people from so many different walks of life think they can renovate a pool. Roofers, siding, and flooring professionals have all given it a shot in my town and they have failed as miserably as I would if I tried to do roofing, siding, or flooring. I estimate that you need to renovate somewhere around 120 pools in order to be trusted to take on a project yourself. Not many people have that type of experience in this industry and the ones that do will not be the lowest bidder. Do your due diligence and make sure you are getting an experienced well respected pool expert.
Restoring your old pool doesn’t have to be a headache. Common sense and due diligence will take you far.
For more information on swimming pool renovation and restoration please visit our website at www.lazydaypools.com.