FHA Mortgage, Appraisal, and Swimming Pools

And Spa.

Am doing my damnedest to please an appraiser who objected to the 1" thick algae on the horizontal surfaces of the swimming pool. The water was sparkling clear.

I can’t swim - I put the thing together (replaced pump and filter, dis-connected old gas heater) and then shut it down.

Part of the shut down involved spreading mineral oil to prevent mosquitoes. It worked.

I have nuked the chlorine level, but the amount of algae is proving a bitch to eliminate.


I can demonstrate that the pumps (circulation and booster) and filter work. I can show a sparkling clean spa. I can demonstrate that the algae is gone.

Can the appraiser still call the pool a ‘fail’ because the water is milky? Yes, I have dumped over a quart of flocculant (“Clarifier”) and have gone through 2 sets of filter cartridges.

I cannot clean the silly carts - when new, they show 20 psi. At 30 psi, I clean with garden hose, and re-install. New pressure - yep - 30 psi. I’m guessing the oil.

If he can’t write it up because the equipment works, there is another issue:

Underwater lights.
The pumps are on 220 with the old electo-mechanical clockwork timers for main and booster. The only 110 circuit is to two switches - turning either ‘on’ immediately trips the 110 circuit breaker. I know they must be for the old (mid-80’s, I suspect), original niche lights - one in pool, another in spa.
Can these be written up as a defect?

What if I dis-connect the 110 circuit entirely?

The presence or absence of a light is hardly a health issue.
One last thing - the old heater - I cut and capped the water lines, so it is not ‘Installed’ in any rational use of the term, BUT: the gas line is still there - an exterior valve is clearly in the ‘Off’ position, but I did not disconnect the line (I don’t like playing with gas).
Can this be ‘dinged’.

If someone could provide a link to the FHA Appraisal section for in-ground pool/spas, I will be forever grateful.

Against all odds, I am hoping for a factual answer as to the rules.
I fear it will become IMHO, but please give facts a chance.
Thank you.

All I can say that is that when I was house shopping a pool was considered a negative to the homes value due to maintenance cost and liability. I don’t really see why having a dirty pool would enter into the equation because you could have a frog pond that naturally has lily pads and algae growing and it would deduct from your homes value as well.

Please tell me that one INCH of algae is a typo, and you meant 1mm (millimeter) instead.

Are you FSBO or using a selling agent? If you’re using an agent, what did they say?

I’d challenge him on this. Is there a state or local standard on turbidity levels for swimming pools in your area?

If there is, how did he measure it?

If not, he’s making a subjective observation. Try to nail him down to an objective standard.

Did you ask the appraiser about these questions? He is the one who will be making the acceptable/not acceptable decision, not any of us.

Bottom line is, you’re going to have to make the appraiser happy in order for your loan to be approved. There are no repair requirements that can be waived. For something more specific on the condition requirements, try googling “FHA appraisal guidelines.”

But it’s better to ask the appraiser himself what he’ll be looking for. Otherwise find a contractor who does FHA appraisal repairs and offer to pay him a small fee for a consult. I don’t know of any appraisers on this board. And, even if there are, they most likely wouldn’t be able to comment on your specific situation due to liability/licensing.

I’m not trying to be rude or snarky, but none of us can tell you what the appraiser is going to say or how he is going to react. Only the appraiser can tell you what he is looking for. Sorry if that comes across rude - I don’t intend it that way.

And I would challenge him on the milky pool water as well, but that’s just me. Ask the appraiser. It sounds like there’s more involved here than just milky pool water, though.

This sounds like an electrical short, which the appraiser will most likely consider to be a safety issue. If that’s what it is, that would in and of itself probably cause him to “fail” the pool with a shorted light underwater. It’s not the presence of the light, it’s the electrical short in the light circuit. (Disclaimer: I am not an electrician.) :slight_smile:

If you’re unsure about this, ask the appraiser or consult a contractor who does FHA appraisal repairs.

Here’s the FHA guidelines:

f. Swimming Pools (09/14/15)
Effective for case numbers assigned on or after September 14, 2015

The Appraiser must report readily observable defects in a non-covered pool that would render the pool inoperable or unusable. If the pool water contains algae and is aesthetically unappealing, but the Appraiser has no evidence that the pool is otherwise contaminated, no cleaning is required. Swimming pools must be operational to provide full Contributory Value.
The Appraiser must condition the appraisal report for pools with unstable sides or structural issues to be repaired or permanently filled in accordance with local guidelines, and the surrounding land re-graded if necessary.

If the swimming pool has been winterized, or the Appraiser cannot determine if the pool is in working order, the Appraiser must complete the appraisal with the extraordinary assumption that the pool and its equipment can be restored to full operating condition at normal costs.

yea, I saw the part about ‘aesthetically unappealing’ and ‘uncovered’.
This had a ‘solar’ (floating, heavy bubble wrap styff) cover - he saw the algae on extended swim-outs.

Since he did not see the pool light and said nothing re the spa (then drained) - but light was clearly visible.
Can he bitch about a new topic or just review the bitch list from the original appraisal?

I don’t want to email him about things he hasn’t noticed on his own - I have enough troubles already.

And yes - 1 INCH - this stuff forms a mat - i once drained it and started sweeping the mat - it rolled up.As I got to the drain, the roll turned sliver - it had grown onto the crushed rock that had gotten into the pool, and was lifting the stone as it rolled up.

This is nasty crap.

And it ate 40 ppm chlorine within a week.

The bitch is, since the water was clear and the only problem was ‘ewww, algae’ it should NOT have been written up.
Now that the stuff is very, very slowly going away, the water is almost opaque. Which CAn be written up.

Life’s a bitch.

I have the filter sitting with a Simple Green solution - will that clean the mineral oil?

Any ideas for a cleaner solution?