selling house with a nightmare pool

NChomegirlJune 17, 2014

All, my family and I are in a house built in 1988 and has various maintenance issues as it was purchased as a foreclosure in 2009. In addition to a new pool liner when we first bought the house, we have done various cosmetic interior renovations (kit/bath) but including the pool the house is just too much to keep up with now we have a toddler. The pool has a leak over the last few summers that no one can seem to locate and it is likely in the pipes under the concrete deck. I have had leak detection folks several times out and i just refuse to put any more money or effort into this nightmare pool. We are currently building a new house (without a pool) and will be placing this house on the market in the next few months. What would you do? Just disclose the leak and price low to get attention? If i had to stay in this house i honestly would break up the concrete and fill in the pool.

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If you live in an area where pools are a common amenity, like FL, AZ. TX etc and a must have item for many buyers, then I'd disclose the issue and price it accordingly. I'm a buyer who would not want a pool at all for many reasons (maintenance, chemicals, environment...) but if I fell in love with a house that had one, I'd be figuring out a way to fill it in. With that in mind, it might not be a bad idea to check into that, see what your local ordinances require and get a baseline cost so you have that information for a buyer - just in case.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:54AM
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It really depends how desirable pools are in your area. If they add to the value of your house, I would try to fix it. Otherwise you get the double wammy of paying to remove it and decreasing your homes value.

I live in the north east and pools do not add to the sale price. They just limit your buyers. We filled a pool in and it cost $5,500. For that amount of money, you could probably find and fix the leak. Sorry for your troubles, our pool was a nightmare too and I am so glad it is gone. BTW are you positive it has a leak? Pools lose a lot of water to evaporation.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:14AM
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Thanks for the comments. We are in NC so its not a place where everyone has a pool. I'm sure it is a polarizing issue for many. The pool definitely has a leak as you can see water trickling out from under the concrete pool deck at times when the pump is running. Its a mystery because sometimes it leaks others not. I'm guessing it is something small that gets obscured by roots at various times through the summer. For sure not evaporation. I wish!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 1:14PM
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Pools, in most of the country, are best fixed by application of a backhoe. It only takes an hour or so to make them go away. It's one of the few home improvement projects with an immediate cash return on investment at the time of sale, both improving the value of your property and increasing the number of people willing to buy your property.

How's that for polarizing! ;-)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 1:49PM
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Duh - Obviously I did not look at your name when I read your post NChomegirl !!! Oddly, we're looking to relocate to WNC and have been house/land hunting for quite a while. When we run across a house with a pool, we look on unless there's something else really calling us.

I agree with you rwiegand that removing a pool will often increase marketability but in lots of places you can't just fill them in - can't tell how much of that was humor or if you really meant it!! In my city, the structure has to be removed - dug out - and gross fill is inspected prior to final fill and grading.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:30PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Have you contacted one of the companies that can send a scope down through the pipes and find the compromised area? They now can reline the pipes from the inside so there is no digging up and replacing pipe involved. It can be done to home plumbing also.
Much cheaper than digging it up or demolishing it.
Pipe relining can be done in a few different ways. Research it.
this is a youtube video of one of the various types of re lining technologies.
Trenchless Sewer Pipe Lining & Drain Repair

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 3:11PM
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If you don't want a pool it is a detriment to a sale. I won't look at a house with a pool.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 5:50PM
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If you destroy and landfill over the pool (with proper permits) that likely also has to be disclosed - in the event the buyers want to put one in. Consult your local agent/attorneys. There's also a chance a new pool could never be put in there - or at least cost much much more to accomplish on top of a demolished pool...

We got screwed with a fancy spa tub and matching decking on a lanai disclosed as "doesn't work" thinking it might cost $500 to fix. It ended up being $2000 to fix, so we had it removed instead and cost us $500 just to remove and restore the area to usable patio space.

It was disclosed up front, and we got a deal on the house, but it was a huge loser for us and took a long time to rectify.

This post was edited by karyn on Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 22:27

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 8:37AM
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I'd tend more to the "fill it in" side of things than the "disclose and price low" side just because it's an unknown for buyers that might scare them off. Sure, you could knock money off the price, but they still don't know exactly how much it would cost to deal with. I live in an area where everyone has a pool, but since you're not from a year 'round swimming state, you'd need to find a buyer who a) actually wants a pool; and b) will accept the risk. A few too many conditions in my mind.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 4:36PM
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As was pointed out, the fill in also needs to be disclosed, especially if the walls remain and it's literally just filled in. It would be a problem if the new owners would want to build an addition.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 12:03AM
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I would not fill it in. It is an asset, even if it has a defect (which can be fixed) and even if it scares off some buyers. Proactively filling it in is like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Given the majority negative feedback on the forum, it would appear that the pool business is not viable.

This is obviously not the case, therefore there must be buyers out there who want a house with a pool.

I, for example, would view it as a plus (but not a must) and for another example, friends of mine were in the market for a house and they did not consider houses without a pool.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 3:35PM
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All I know is that putting in a new pool these days is extremely EXPENSIVE so I would just put it on the market as is and go from there. If the new buyer doesn't want it then they can fill it in or whatever. It may be that the companies you've called to find the leak are just a bunch of hacks which seems to be the case with a lot of businesses these days! A handy(er)man may buy the house and fix the leak with little effort. I would not fill in a $40,000 pool! Which is about what it costs to put one in these days OR MORE!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 3:46PM
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I agree with arkansas girl. Don't say a word. Just put the house on the market. We sold a house with a pool, nothing was wrong as far as we knew, but the buyers never got the pool inspected.

Their inspector just checked the pump. Turned it on and off. That's it. Never checked for leaks or anything else.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:37AM
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Good way to set yourself up for a large lawsuit there, Jane.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 6:42AM
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Thanks all for the comments. The pool is literally a nightmare. Oh she exagerates you say? I had a pool service since i knew this was our last summer in the house and after a few services they declined to keep me on as a client since the pool was a liability. How's that? I think they really didn't want the hassle of keeping up with it (like i don't ) since it is difficult to keep the water balanced and water level where it should be. Just get me to the new mantra.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 1:26PM
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I had to sell a house in NJ with a pool that had not been opened in years. I contacted a pool demo company and got an estimate it was close to eleven thousand dollars. There are EPA, state and local laws about filling in a pool. Be sure to do your homework. The concrete fill had to be a certain size etc. Rebar needed to be recycled for a certain fee. Yikes.

The prospective buyers had a pool inspector examine the pool. I gave that report to a pool repair company. They said the repairs could run near two thousand dollars. I gave my estimates to the buyer and I offered to take off eleven thousand from the asking price.

The buyer accepted and I no longer had the worry of what else they would find underground. I did not have to worry about having a truck with tons of concrete driving near my house's foundation and potentially cracking it. The heavy equipment and dumpsters can crack driveways too.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 2:08PM
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A cracked pipe is not the end of the world. It will save you money and heartache to repair it now for "X" amount than to wait for the buyers to determine what the cost is worth to them.
Keeping pool water balanced is very easy to do. But, you have to understand the few basic points. is a great resource in this department. Remember, adjust your alkalinity level first, always, and then adjust all other parameters, like pH, Chlorine, calcium,...

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:00PM
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