Is a Swimming Pool Going to Swan Dive Your FHA Loan?

Swimming pools:  You either love them or you hate them and usually there is no in between.  One family dreams of sun filled days splashing around in the pool where another sees daily chores of cleaning, making sure the Ph is at the correct level, or covering the pool for the winter.

So if a home you are considering to purchase includes a swimming pooland you plan to finance with the FHA home loan program, below are some items toconsider.  FHA appraisers are required to confirm that all systems, electrical, plumbing, etc. are in functioning order before your loan will be allowed to close.

Swimming pools & FHA mortgage requirements

Is a swimming pool considered in the appraised value?

If the swimming pool is in working order, in order to count value in an appraisal, there must be comparable sales that have a pool as well.  Without proof that there is a market for homes with swimming pools, no value or at least very little value can be given to a swimming pool.  No comparable sales with a pool means that it is too unique and lenders shy away from unique.  In addition, if a pool is not in working order, it cannot be considered and included in appraised value.  It is also important to make sure the pool meets FHA health regulations and standards as well as all, local city and/or county ordinances.

Is perimeter fencing required?

It is important to comply and obey all local ordinances, such as fencing, covers, etc. associated with swimming pools, even if empty and non-functioning.  Also, an important noteis that the cover must be sturdy enough to hold sufficient weigh and prevent aperson from falling in the pool.  Even if a buyer is paying cash for a home, there are insurance requirements for this area and even the liability of someone wandering into your pool and getting hurt or drowned.

What about pools that have not been properly maintained?

The appraiser must be able to view the bottom of the pool.  If the equipment is operational but has been off for a period of time, it must be restarted.  The pool must be properly cleaned, so it will pass re-inspection before loan closing.

Are empty pools required to be filled in to avoid health and safety problems?

For many years it was required that empty pools be filled in with dirt but recently FHA announced some additional guidance to appraisers and underwriters.  If the pool is deemed tohave unstable sides, then itâs required that it be repaired or filled in.  If the sides are stable, a sturdy cover can be used but must support the weight of a person to avoid a person falling in.

What about Above-Ground Pools?

Above ground pools are not affixed directly to the property or land and arenot part of the sales contract.  For this reason, FHA excludes the above ground pool from the appraisal inspection.  Therefore, above ground pools neither adds nor subtracts value from the home appraisal.

Read the ACTUAL FHA guideline that refers to pools:  Inspections & Certifications: How should an empty or non-functioning in-ground swimming pool be treated? Does a swimming pool require perimeter fencing? Go to page 14 of this FHA FAQ link

FHA has these guideline requirements in place to protect the home buyer and their family.  Many times people believe these rules are excessive but are necessary for the protection of the borrowers and all parties involved in the home purchase.

Learn about pools and USDA requirements here.

If you have questions about qualifying for an FHA loan and/or purchasing a home with a pool, contact us at Team Move today!

Need a pool inspection or pool repair?  A great company within a 1 hour distance from Fayetteville / Lumberton, NC area is Parnell Pool & Spa.  They have top of the line pools as well as technicians and equipment to maintain and repair the pool system.  Learn more about Parnell Pool & Spas here

Posted by Dietchi Thomas on


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