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Old 05-30-2003, 10:00 PM
GroundSwell GroundSwell is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
State: California
Professional Status: Certified General Appraiser
Posts: 80


Had a request for a cookie-cutter home the other day, but when I went in the backyard I noticed that their pool was empty. I know that some lenders will not lend on the property unless the pool has been filled.

How do you all handle this? I was thinking to either make the appraisal subject-to the pool being filled, or just add a comment in the addendum and letting the UW deal with it.

A follow-up question would be - if the lender requests that the pool be filled and the ask me to go back out there to verify this... should I charge for this? If so, how much do you think is fair?

Thanks for any help.

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Old 05-30-2003, 10:13 PM
Ghost Rider Ghost Rider is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
State: Connecticut
Professional Status: Banking/Mortgage Industry
Posts: 1,719

If it really bothers you that it's not filled, then by all means comment on it. Personally, I don't think you have to at all. It's not your job to say if the pool is filled or not.....does having water in the pool affect the value of the property?? If not, then don't comment, I would take a picture of it, put it in the report as an additional photgraph addendum. Let the lender figure out if they want it filled or not. If they want you to verify that it has been filled, then by all means charge them. It's extra work, and you have to pay for your time and effort to go out there. Fees for Final Inspections run from $75-$100, if you want to charge more, go for it!!!!!
Old 05-30-2003, 10:15 PM
Larry Lyke Larry Lyke is offline
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Twin Cities, MN

Posts: 1,551

RJ ~

Write in your report, "Swimming Pool has no water in it."

Then, make the appraisal report "As Is."

If the UW wants the pool to have water in it, she will order it done.

Then, if this UW hires you to go out and look for water in the pool, you can send send a extra invoice. I sugest you charge your regular re-inspection fee.

Easy, huh?

And, no hassle.

Best o'luck.
Old 05-30-2003, 10:31 PM
Rich Hahn Rich Hahn is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Lucy's New and Improved Trailor Park, first, second and last months rent please.
State: Colorado
Professional Status: General Public
Posts: 1,254

A friend of mine just ran onto this.

I pool is full of water, or dirt, it is SAFER then if empty.
Empty pool is a hazard.
A 8' fece around pool is another solution.

Perhaps more of a risk then lead based paint or espestose(sp).
If it were my future at stake Id make the reispection on this one.
Old 05-30-2003, 11:25 PM
Mountain Man Mountain Man is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: GA
State: Georgia
Professional Status: Certified General Appraiser
Posts: 15,459

I agree with Rich, safety hazard!!!!
If the pool is in really, really bad state of disrepair, and would not contribute much to the value if it were operational, then the appraisal would be subject to being filled in with dirt.
But, I have had owners indicate that they intend to fix the pool, <_< okay...... fine. Then it's subject to being repaired and operational.

If the lender requires an "as is" value, get your mentors help!!!!
If the lender want's the "subject to" cleared, you gotta do a final inspection. What you charge is up to you and your mentor. That is a business decision.
Highest and Best Use... it is more than just a check box on a form. Look it up, learn it, use it.
Old 05-31-2003, 06:26 AM
Hal Pollock Hal Pollock is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: West Haven Connecticut
State: Connecticut
Professional Status: Certified General Appraiser
Posts: 1,463

First, everything on the site makes a contribution to value --------- Positive or negative. If your location (not stated) is Alaska, then if the pool was filled or not really would not have much of an impact. If you are in New Mexico a filled pool would most likely make a significant contribution to value. If you are in New Mexico and it is unfilled I would assume that it is unfilled for some reason, leaking is my best guess.

Since you are the eyes and ears of the lender on site, I would report it as being empty, and I would make a value judgement of the pool based upon my location, Alaska/New Mexico ect, and submit my report "as is".

As far as a reinspection goes, I would try to avoid it. I am not a pool expert. Yes I can see if there is water there, but I dont know when they turned off the fill water, I don't know about filters, pumps etc. A pool is a functioning system, not just a hole in the ground with water in it. I would suggest if they want a final inspection to let a pool specialist do it.

Just my $0.02
Old 05-31-2003, 06:42 AM
jeff samolinski jeff samolinski is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Daytona Beach

Posts: 1,642

I agree with Hal. We are not pool experts so let a pool contractor inspect to determine if it functions properly. I like to apply HUD'S standards to as much as possible on these items which is report what is readily observable and if it looks like there may be a problem call for an inspectio by someone qualified.
Old 05-31-2003, 06:56 AM
Ghost Rider Ghost Rider is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
State: Connecticut
Professional Status: Banking/Mortgage Industry
Posts: 1,719

I have no problem mentioning it one way or the other, but calling out something that is a safety hazard.......Unless we are talking about an FHA loan, where we are required by HUD to pretend that we are building inspectors, we are not there to inform the lender of a safety hazard UNLESS it will affect the marketability of the subject property.

For me, seeing an unfilled pool is the same as seeing a furnace in the middle of the summer when it's 95 degrees out. I note it in the report, and move on!!!! I don't turn on the furnace to make sure it is working, that is not my job. I note the improvements, and the visible condition of them thereon, and no more. Why in the hell would you open yourself up to more liability than we already have by claiming a health and safety hazard??

I could be wrong, but I have read the URAR form thousands of times, and I don't see anything there asking to list any potential heath and safety hazards. The only part of it that is close is "adverse envrionmental conditions", where unless I see green bubbling ooooze coming from the back yard, I don't make a comment as I am NOT QUALIFIED!!!!!!! Just my $.02.
Old 05-31-2003, 11:02 AM
Restrain Restrain is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Port Charlotte, FL
State: Florida
Professional Status: Certified General Appraiser
Posts: 10,550

I would ask the homeowner why the pool was empty, and comment appropriately. It could have been repaired and allowing the gunite/concrete/etc to set properly before filling. However, I would comment. In some areas, I have seen the water table pop a pool out of the ground during wet times, just like a boat on top of the water. Turns the pool into a planter.

Old 05-31-2003, 12:05 PM
Pamela Crowley (Florida)'s Avatar
Pamela Crowley (Florida) Pamela Crowley (Florida) is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Wherever We Are Parked
State: Florida
Professional Status: Retired Appraiser
Posts: 25,254

Ask the HO about it, comment in the appraisal about it and what they said. If they say the pool is just fine or just repaired, base your appraisal on that Assumption and state it as such. If they say there is a problem with it, state what they've said and base your appraisal on the assumption that what they have told you is correct and that pool professional would be needed to estimate the cost to cure, then give it no value in your appraisal or even a negative value.

The answer to your question is another 'it depends'.
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