Swimming Pools and USDA loans

If you are purchasing a home using USDA financing, and the property has a swimming pool, there a specific guidelines that must be followed by the appraiser with regards to how the final appraised value is determined.

USDA will finance properties with pools, but they distinguish between above ground and in-ground pools.  If a pool or jacuzzi is above ground, there is no issue.  However, if the pool is an in-ground pool, then the underwriter will deduct the value of the pool from the final appraised value.

For example, if a property has a sales price of $200,000, and has an in-gound pool, the appraiser must find other comparable sales with swimming pools like the subject property.  If he or she determines the value of the pool is $10,000, then this amount will be deducted from the final appraised value of the property.  If the appraiser determines the value of the property is $210,000, then the USDA underwriter will reduce the value by the amount of the pool ($10,000) and the final value used for loan purposes will be $200,000.  If the appraiser determines the final value is at sales price, or $200,000 in this example, then the USDA underwriter will reduce the appraisal down to $190,000, and this is the value that will determine the final loan amount available to the borrower.

So as you can see, if the property appraises high enough, the deduction for the pool wont be an issue, as the appraisal will still be at or above the sales price.  However, if the property appraises at or near the sales price, the buyer could have an issue with a “low appraisal” after the value of the pool is deducted, even though the actual appraised value came in at or around the sales price.

When getting a USDA loan on a property with an in-ground pool, make sure the lender, agents and appraiser are aware of this guideline going in so they can try to address any potential issues surrounding the USDA guideline.

Baxter Scruggs is a mortgage banker specializing in USDA loans in California, NMLS #156370. He can be reached at bscruggs@guildmortgage.net, or at 760-497-7705, or toll-free at 877-347-0004, ext. 226. Licensed by the California Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act.  The blog postings on this site represent the positions, strategies or opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the positions, strategies or opinions of Guild Mortgage Company or its affiliates. Terms and conditions apply, all loans subject to underwriter approval. Subject to change without notice. Guild Mortgage Company NMLS #3274

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2 Responses to Swimming Pools and USDA loans

  1. Joel Dietz says:

    Is this for USDA Guaranteed loans only or can this apply to USDA Direct loans?

    • usdahomeloan says:

      thanks for the note. since I only deal with the Guaranteed program I dont really know if the guidliens are any different for the direct program. Given it is a property issue I would assume pools are handled the same way on the direct loan. You would probably want to contact the USDA directly with that questions.

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