When is a pool a bonus, and when is it a burden?
Around 8% of all residential property listings in New Zealand reportedly come with a pool, but one realtor advised buyers and sellers to view pools with their eyes wide open.
“New pools can be a big asset, but old pools can be a liability,” said Tim Kearins, owner of Century 21 New Zealand. “In fact, in some cases, it’s better to remove them before a sale. We encourage people to talk to their agent about whether an old pool is a plus or a minus, because they can cause grief during the sales process.”
A lot of pools were installed across the country during the COVID-19 outbreak and the lockdowns, Kearins said. And over the past five years, more than 6,000 new pools have been registered with Auckland Council.
But these pools didn’t come cheap, with one costing $100,000 or more when you factor in landscaping, fencing, and the consent process.
“Pools can be a lot of work, but new or well-maintained ones can add considerable value to a property and families in particular will be drawn to them,” he said. “In a softer real estate market, they could make all the difference in achieving a good sale.”
With “pool” a popular search term on listing websites, the Century 21 boss suggested that sellers promote them prominently in their marketing material and use great photos.
“When it comes to pools, for both parties, it’s buyer and seller beware and both need to do their due diligence,” Kearins said. “The Building Act requires pool barriers and fences to be inspected at least once every three years. As a vendor, find the last council inspection report and have it available to buyers to show it’s compliant and when the next inspection is due.”
He said some pools might need a building consent depending on its type, so it would be best to check it out via the council before listing a property and provide any consent documentation for buyers’ information.
“If your pool or spa pool is close to a boundary, you or previous owners may have required written consent from your neighbours,” Kearins said. “Again, if so, provide it as part of your property documentation. Likewise, buyers need to make sure they ask questions about potential consents and permissions.”
Sellers could also write down instructions, or even offer a lesson in person to the incoming owner, on how to maintain the pool. Or if they’ve been using a pool services company, they could pass on their information and costs to the next homeowner to consider.
“A good pool can be a great entertainer for families,” Kearins said. “You just need to do your homework to make sure they’re a bonus, not a burden.”
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