An infusion of investment capital has breathed new life into pools
at several Arizona apartment complexes and multifamily
Investors are buying up these properties with greater frequency of
late, pouring tens of thousands of dollars into major renovations
and all types of repair work, including cracked paint and leaking
“A lot of the old owners had essentially given up on these
properties,” said Brian Morris, owner of We Fix Ugly
Pools in Phoenix, “but these new firms clearly have a
vested interest in raising their value.”
Arizona’s major metropolitan areas saw a big boom in
construction throughout the early 2000s. But some of those newer
structures fell into disrepair or foreclosure during the economic
This year, however, individual investors and private equity firms
alike have been buying up an increasing number of properties in
cities such as Phoenix and Tucson; even out-of-state firms have
stepped up investment in the region.
“I’m getting more and more calls for renovation jobs on
these sites,” Morris said. “When I ask where these
clients are from, a lot of them say California and
While real estate agents cite various causes for this influx of
investment capital, private-sector job growth and bottomed-out
pricing are the most influential factors.
And it isn’t just multifamily sites that are attracting
investor attention. Experts agree that Phoenix’s market for
single-family homes and retail properties has also become
increasingly competitive over the past 12 months.
“A couple of years ago I was telling people,
‘Now’s the time to buy,’ but hardly anyone seemed
to be listening,” said Donna Irby, a real estate agent at
HomeSmart International in Phoenix.
“All of a sudden, though, it’s like the word’s
gotten out,” she added. “Properties are getting three
or more offers in the first month.”
Meanwhile, many apartment complexes and multifamily facilities are
undergoing beautification projects such as repainting and
landscaping; rundown pools also are being transformed into
attractive leisure areas.
In fact, the renewed activity has resulted in a sharp uptick in
renovation revenue over the past several months, according to
several Arizona pool construction firms.
“Some of them are tearing up the whole pool and starting from
scratch,” said Michael Love, owner of Love Pool Care
in Phoenix. “But others are just trying to restore the
property to its original look.”
Even so, pool professionals note that some investors seem
unprepared for the expense of bringing a commercial pool up to code
— for instance, installing an unblockable main drain in
accordance with the federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa
“So some of them have just ignored the code and failed to do
anything to bring the pool into compliance,” Love said.
“For others, though, we’ve scaled back our bid to
incorporate just the bare-bones upgrades they need in order to