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

What does the Department of Veterans Affairs say about homes with pools? For veteran homebuyers and their agents, having a pool is an additional consideration when purchasing a home with a VA loan.

There are a few different options for backyard 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 are a few tips to keep in mind when searching for a home with a backyard pool.

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 (MPR's) 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.

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 it’s important to 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.

If you’re unsure how to proceed with the VA loan process, contact a Veterans United Home Loans specialist anytime at 855-524-7279 or spend some time familiarizing yourself with the homebuying process with our free, online Homefront Academy.