Buying A Used Pool: Be A Smart Buyer

One of the nice features of an above ground pool is that they retain their value and if you go to any local classified ad site like kijiji you’ll find an add something like “18 ft above ground pool, top quality gear, everything working when disassembled, ready to go!  Paid $10,000.  Asking only $2,000 firm.  Great Deal!”

It could in fact be a great deal, but be a smart shopper and don’t get caught up in the difference between what they paid and what theyare asking.  Instead, focus on ‘What will it really cost me?”

Here’s some numbers and ideas to consider:

  • It is almost guaranteed the liner will not be serviceable. Once water is removed, they shrink and we see customers every year looking to buy a new liner when they didn’t think they had too.  A liner, depending on size and patterns, for that pool would be $400-$800 dollars.
  • It is impossible to test a pump without having something to pump. If by chance you can inspect the pump before it is disassembled, check if the motor is hot (motor going), and look for lots of air in the pump well (impellor or seals), and check the pump strainer (age and chemicals).  A new pump for such a pool is $235-$275.
  • As a minimum you will need new sand or cartridges.  Make sure the filter is not so corroded as to make changing the filter media impossible without breaking the filter unit.  Newer units are better than older units.   New media will cost between $80 to $200 depending upon the system.  A whole new filter unit would be $275-$325
  • Check the condition of the steel walls and the lower tracks. Look for corrosion and impact damage.  Bad walls should be a “walk away” decision for pure economics.  Bad tracks can be replaced assuming you know the type of pool.
  • Finally, all the accessories that come with a pool are deceptively expensive (cleaners, nets, covers etc). Check their condition and get a price to see what you might also have to buy now or in the near future.

So should you buy new or used?   Well, that’s up to you.   Remember that $10k price in the ad?  That probably included the install cost for the original owner.  A rough rull of thumb is that the installed costs is about twice the cost of a pool kit.  Since you’re not buyin and installed pool…..that add should say “Used $5000 pool kit in parts and I’m only asking $2000 but expect to spend at least another $2000 and then install it”.  Perhaps that great deal isn’t so great.

So before you go looking at that great deal, check with your local pool store.  You may find that new pool kit, complete with warranty, is actually CHEAPER than a “Great Deal”.

Whichever way you go, go informed and be a smart buyer.

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