Maybe it’s the 8 bags of shock I’ve been exposed to over the last two days that’s “inspired” me to right this post, but either way, I know I’m not the only one with the looming feeling investors might face this time of year. “Should I buy a house that has a pool?”
In places like Arizona, we might look at things a little differently, (ie, any relief from the scorching desert is a plus!) If you’re in the midwest, having a pool might mean different costs and value. But, let’s look at the pros and cons of purchasing a rental or flip that has a pool.
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How Bad is It?
I’ve seen my share of distressed properties, and I guess after awhile, I feel like a Ghostbuster walking through freshly-minted foreclosures. (“I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!!”) This comes with the exception of pools, though. A dark green pool may be hiding years of neglect, bad siding, algae, and who knows what else.
It can be difficult to estimate what pool repairs may be needed, and if you have say, 20 minutes to do a full inspection of the house, the “ifs” of a range of $50-$5,000 can swing your margins in the red quickly. If the home is a short sale, the pool may be sitting for months longer and cost more than you initially estimated, as well.
If you have longer to get an inspection, and a pool person is able to give you an estimate on getting the pool back in working condition, then the initial costs may be worth the investment. However, there’s further things to consider.
- Who will be responsible for maintaining the pool?
- Does your state laws require fencing, depending on who’s purchasing/renting the house from you? If so, who’s responsible for paying for that?
- If you allow the renters (if you rent the property out) to take care of the pool, how are you assured they are actually checking and keeping the PH levels balanced and maintaining the cleaning?
- Are you willing to accept the maintenance down the road for redoing decking/siding? Lost or stolen equipment?
- What extra liability might you face if little Suzy’s friends come over and heaven forbid, are left unattended and something fatal should happen?
Much of this might be negated if you’re flipping the property. Similar to a fireplace in a warm-weather state building in more value (go figure!), a pool may add extra attraction to your property as well. It’s advisable not to ever add the pool yourself, since dollar for dollar you will never re-coop even your costs.
However, if there are matching houses and one has a pool, the one with the extra amenity may help you procure a buyer that much faster, therefore decreasing your holding time and/or increasing your sales price.
I know many investors out there wouldn’t touch a pool with a 6′ pole (or a skimmer, I suppose!), but others find it to be a draw as a rental or a flip.
What do you think? Is it worth the risk and added cost or do you stay far away from homes with a liquid headache in the backyard?