Swimming Pool Installation: Costs and Financing Options

By Kim Franke-Folstad · December 21, 2023 · 9 minute read

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Swimming Pool Installation: Costs and Financing Options

Putting in a pool can turn your backyard into an oasis for parties, playtime for kids, and weekend relaxation. Unfortunately, installing an in-ground swimming pool costs over $55,000 on average, which can leave many homeowners wondering how to cover the cost of installing a swimming pool.

What are your options if you don’t have enough cash? Can you get swimming pool financing? Fortunately, yes. You actually have several options for financing a pool, including a cash-out refinance, a home equity loan or credit line, and a personal loan. Read on for a closer look at different types of pool financing and their pros and cons.

How to Finance a Swimming Pool

If you don’t have enough money saved to pay upfront for a pool — or even if you do — you might be wondering what types of loans or other options are appropriate for this type of backyard remodel.

There are several pool financing choices available to homeowners — including credit cards, pool company financing, cash-out refinancing, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, and home improvement loans.

Before you take the plunge into financing a pool, it’s a good idea to consider the pros and cons of each type, including the overall costs of borrowing and whether you might qualify for a particular type of loan. What follows is a guide to four of the most popular pool financing options.

Using a Cash-Out Refinance to Pay for a Pool

If you have significant equity built up in your home, you may want to consider a cash-out refinance. Equity refers to the amount of your home’s value that you’ve actually paid off. Put another way, it’s the difference between your mortgage balance and your home’s current value.

With a cash-out refinance, you replace your existing mortgage with a new mortgage for a larger amount. You receive the overage as cash back, which you can then use to cover virtually any expense, including the installation of a swimming pool.

Pros of a Cash-Out Refinance

A cash-out refinance comes with a number of potential benefits:

•   Access to large loans You may be able to borrow up to 80% of your home’s equity, which could be enough to cover the cost of putting in a pool — and maybe even some extras, like a new barbecue or lounge chairs.

•   A lower rate Borrowers with good or improved credit, or those who bought their home when interest rates were higher, may be able to refinance to a lower interest rate.

•   Potential tax deductions A mortgage interest tax deduction may be available on a cash-out refinance if the money is used for capital improvements on your property. (Consult with a tax professional for more details on how this applies to your situation.)

Cons of a Cash-Out Refinance

There are also some downsides to going the cash refi route, including:

•   Involved application process Borrowers must go through the mortgage application process all over again to get a new loan, which usually means submitting updated information, getting an appraisal, and waiting for approval.

•   Closing costs You may have to pay closing costs, generally from 2% to 6% of the total loan amount. (That’s the old loan plus the lump sum that’s being added.)

•   Foreclosure risk Your mortgage is a secured loan, which means if you can’t make your payments, you could risk foreclosure.

Using a Home Equity Line of Credit to Finance a Pool

Another way you can use your home’s equity to finance a pool is to take out a home equity line of credit (HELOC).

A HELOC is a revolving line of credit that uses your home as collateral. It works much like a credit card in that:

•   The lender gives you a credit limit to draw from, and you only repay what you borrow, plus interest.

•   As you pay back the money you owe, those funds become available to you again for a predetermined “draw” period (usually five to 10 years).

Pros of a HELOC

Here’s why a HELOC can be a popular way to pay for home improvements like adding a pool:

•   Flexibility Instead of borrowing money in one lump sum, a HELOC allows you to tap into the line only as needed. Plus, you only pay interest based on the amount you actually borrow, not the entire amount for which you were approved, as you would with a regular loan.

•   Low rates The interest rates are generally lower than credit cards and unsecured personal loans.

•   Potential tax deductions The interest on HELOC payments might be tax deductible if the funds were were to buy, build, or substantially improve your home, and you itemize your deductions.

Cons of a HELOC

HELOC also have a few potential drawbacks, which include:

•   Variable interest rates HELOCs generally come with a variable interest rate, which means when interest rates increase, the monthly payments could go up. Although there may be a cap on how much the rate can increase, some borrowers might find it difficult to plan around those fluctuating payments.

•   HELOCs are easy to use — and overuse Some of the same things that can make a HELOC appealing (easy access to cash, lower interest rates, and tax-deductible interest) could lead to overspending if borrowers aren’t disciplined.

•   Foreclosure risk A HELOC is secured by an asset (your house). If you stop making the payments on the HELOC, you could lose your home.

Recommended: The Different Types Of Home Equity Loans

Using a Home Equity Loan for Pool Financing

A home equity loan is yet another way to tap into the money you’ve already put into your home. But unlike a HELOC, borrowers receive a lump sum of money.

Pros of a Home Equity Loan

Home equity loans have several benefits that make them worth considering for financing a swimming pool:

•   Predictable payments Unlike HELOCs, which typically come with a variable interest rate, home equity loans usually have a fixed interest rate. The borrower can expect a reliable repayment schedule for the duration of the loan.

•   Low rates Because it’s a secured loan, lenders usually consider a home equity loan lower risk and, therefore, offer lower rates. Secured loans also tend to be easier to qualify for than unsecured loans.

•   Potential tax deductions And, once again, there is a potential tax break. If the loan is used for capital improvements to the home, and you itemize your deductions, the interest may be deductible.

Cons of a Home Equity Loan

There are also some downsides to a home equity loan:

•   Rates may be higher than HELOCs Because a home equity loan’s interest rate won’t fluctuate with the market, the rate for a home equity loan is typically higher.

•   Closing costs As with most loans involving real estate, you’ll likely have to pay closing costs. These costs can range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount.

•   Foreclosure risk You may put your home at risk for foreclosure if you can’t make your loan payments.

Using a Personal Loan

You don’t necessarily have to tap into your home’s equity to finance a swimming pool. Many banks, credit unions, and online lenders offer unsecured personal loans that can be used for home improvements, including the installation of a swimming pool.

If you haven’t owned your home for long, or if your home hasn’t gone up much in value while you’ve owned it, a personal loan may be worth considering.

Pros of a Personal Loan for Pool Financing

Here’s a look at some of the advantages of using a personal loan for a home renovation like a pool:

•   Simple application process Applying for an unsecured personal loan is typically quicker and simpler than applying for a secured loan. With a personal loan, you don’t have to wait for a home appraisal or wade through the other paperwork necessary for a loan that’s tied to your home’s equity.

•   Fast access to funds Personal loan application processing and funding speeds vary, but many lenders offer same- or next-day funding.

•   Lower risk Because your home isn’t being used as collateral, the lender can’t foreclose if you don’t make payments. (That doesn’t mean the lender won’t look for other ways to collect, however.)

Cons of a Personal Loan for Pool Financing

Personal loans also come with some disadvantages. Here are some to keep in mind:

•   Higher interest rates Personal loans are unsecured, which means they generally come with a higher interest rate than secured loans that use your property as collateral. (However, borrowers who have good credit and don’t appear to be a risk to lenders still may be able to obtain loan terms that work for their needs.)

•   Origination fees Many (though not all) personal loan lenders charge an origination fee of between 1% and 6%, adding costs you might not have anticipated.

•   Less borrowing power Personal loan amounts range from $1,000 to $100,000 but how much you can borrow will depend on the lender and your qualifications as a borrower. With a home equity loan or credit line, you may be able to access more — up to 80% of your home’s value, minus your outstanding mortgage.

Should You Finance a Pool?

Installing a pool is an expensive home improvement, so you may need to borrow some money to pay for all or part of the project. Even if you have enough cash saved to pay upfront for a pool, you may still want to consider financing some or most of the project if you want to keep cash accessible for emergencies and other needs.

Financing with a low-interest loan (provided you can afford the payments) can make paying for a pool manageable. But before you borrow a large sum, you may want to consider how long you plan to live in your current home, how much pool maintenance might cost each month, if you’ll actually use the pool enough to make it a worthwhile purchase, and if the value added to your home is worth the investment.

The Takeaway

Due to the high initial investment required for installing a new pool, many homeowners opt to borrow money for the project and pay it off over time. Fortunately, you have a few different options for pool financing.

If you have significant home equity and are looking for fixed monthly payments, you might consider using a home equity loan to finance your pool. If you have significant home equity but want flexibility in your payments, you might prefer a HELOC.

If, on the other hand, you have good credit but not a lot of equity in your home — or you’d prefer not to put your home on the line — it may be worth looking at a personal loan for pool financing.

Ready to dive into your pool project? Consider a SoFi Personal Loan. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.


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