Sink or Swim? Using a VA Loan to Purchase a Home With a Pool

It’s summertime, and what’s a more iconic symbol of summertime than crisp blue pool water. Many families enjoy the pool at a neighborhood park. Others prefer the privacy and convenience of a backyard pool.

Not much can beat a dip in the pool on a hot summer day.

Not much can beat a dip in the pool on a hot summer day.

There’s a few different options for background pools.  For VA loans, the type of pool can make a difference in how you proceed with searching for and structuring a contract on a property. Here’s a few tips for the home search.

Above-ground Pools

If a pool is affixed to the property permanently, it’s considered part of the real estate. Since most above-ground pools are free-standing and removable they are dealt with like other types of personal property in a real estate transaction. If a buyer wishes to purchase a home and would like the above-ground pool to stay you’ll need to negotiate and make specific provisions for it in the real estate contract.

If your buyer is using their VA loan, you’ll need the contract to assign a specific monetary value to the pool and list it on the contract as personal property being conveyed with the real estate. Your buyer will then need to provide evidence or documentation regarding the fair market value of the pool to the underwriters reviewing their file.

In-ground Pools

In-ground pools are permanent additions to the property treated as part of the real estate transaction. The VA’s minimum property requirements don’t specifically address pools, but you can safely assume that any property with a pool will have to meet the MPR’s overarching guidelines that a property be safe, structurally sound and sanitary.

In-ground pools are considered part of the real estate.

In-ground pools are automatically part of the real estate transaction.

If your VA buyer is interested in purchasing a home with an in-ground pool ensure the pool and all equipment is in good working order. An empty pool tells an appraiser that it may not function properly. If a pool is empty, the seller will likely be required to fill it and demonstrate that all equipment functions properly before the home is approved by the VA. Also be on the lookout for health hazards such as algae or cloudy water. They can be red flags for an appraiser or VA underwriter.

Additional Considerations

The MPR’s don’t specifically require that all pools have a fence or other types of safety equipment. But that doesn’t mean your job is done. Be familiar with state and local codes, rules and regulations. The VA requires that all properties must be up to code and meet all applicable rules and regulations for the locality. If your state or community requires the pool to have a fence encircling it, you can be sure the VA will require one before your buyer receives the clear to close on the home.

 

Photo courtesy of flickr users:  Julien Haler and Sam Howzit