The decision to buy a pool is not one that should be taken lightly. While they can mean loads of fun for you, your friends, and your family, they come with a large price tag— and an even bigger responsibility. If you’re considering building your own personal swimming hole right in your backyard, there are a few things you should consider first.
Things to Know Before Getting a Pool
Before you start digging a hole in your backyard or applying for pool financing, ask yourself the following questions.
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1. Does your HOA or city have rules about building a pool?
Does your neighborhood have a homeowner’s association? If so, there may be rules regarding whether or not you can install an inground pool and what that pool can look like. You’ll also want to be sure to familiarize yourself with municipal rules for residential pools and water usage.
Every place is subject to its own rules, so don’t rely on what your friend did in their neighborhood. Be sure to check with your city and HOA handbook and get the necessary approvals before you enter the design phase of your pool construction.
2. How will a pool affect your homeowner’s insurance?
Consider how adding a pool will affect your monthly premium for homeowner’s insurance or the coverages that you are required to get.
While extra insurance coverage might not be required, it is recommended by many insurance carriers because of the increased risk of slips, falls, and injuries on your property. Consider pushing up your liability coverage as well as your property coverage. You’ll feel more secure knowing that unexpected accidents will be covered by your carrier.
3. How will a pool affect your property tax bill?
Every municipality is different, but it is likely the pool will add to the assessed value of your home and, with that, your property tax bill. As property taxes continue to rise in Austin and other Texas cities, this may be a bigger concern than ever before.
4. How difficult (and expensive) will the installation be?
Are there any obstructions in your yard that will require extra work to make way for the pool like sprinkler systems and large trees? Is the subsurface rocky? Will you need to demolish and remove existing structures in the backyard? Are there utility lines that will need to be moved?
All of these can significantly add to the cost of your project. Know your surroundings before committing to the project— and know what you want your surroundings to look like after.
One thing homeowners often forget is that once the pool is installed, the yard must be landscaped again. This could include re-sodding, a new irrigation system, installation of trees and shrubs, and any other extras you may want. Don’t forget to factor these items into your cost assessment.
5. Are you building the pool to add value?
Some people think that adding a pool to their home is a great investment that will provide a solid return in the future. Unfortunately, this often isn’t the case. While a pool can certainly be a great investment in fun and entertainment, homeowners usually don’t make their money back when it comes time to sell. In some cases, a pool might actually lower a home's value!
6. Are you prepared to take on pool maintenance?
No matter what kind of pool you install, it will require maintenance to keep it up and running. Be prepared to pay for things like pool chemicals, filters, cleaning supplies, and occasional repairs. Much like owning a home, having a pool is a long-term commitment.
7. What safety measures will you need to put into place?
The United States Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends a “completely fenced-in pool…(with) self-closing and self-latching devices on gates.”
This is especially important in homes where children under the age of five live or visit. Their data shows that a pool surrounded by fencing on all four sides provides superior protection from accidental drownings. They recommend a fence of no less than four feet in height, a fence five feet or higher is preferable.
The CPSC suggests pool covers as another line of defense for child safety. The CPSC provides excellent, detailed instructions regarding fence and pool cover installation. While considering pool safety, also think about taking these additional precautions:
- Keep life jackets and or pool floats nearby for inexperienced swimmers
- Create or purchase a first-aid kit
- Get CPR certified
- Choose non-slip, safe surfaces for the area around your pool
These things can reduce the risk of a serious accident or equip you with the tools and knowledge to save a loved one's life.
8. What benefits are you looking forward to?
A new pool can bring some serious benefits. From exercise to beating the summer heat, almost everyone loves a good swim!
Think about how you might use the space. If you’re already taking your kids to a local pool or swimming lessons, a backyard pool might make summer vacation that much more enjoyable. Maybe you’re looking for exercise that’s gentler on your joints, or a new way to relax at home. Whatever the reasons you imagine, if the positive impact on your daily life is significant, it may be time to seriously consider a pool.
9. What extras will you add on?
Does it make sense to have an adjoining hot tub installed at the same time? After all, there is already going to be a work crew in the yard digging holes and laying pipes.
Would a small pool house really tie the project together? Have you dreamed of having a natural-look pool with a waterfall and rock treatments? What about underwater lighting or a heated pool? Your imagination is only limited by your budget!
10. How will you pay for the swimming pool?
If you have the savings or “fun fund” to install the pool, great! But don’t let a lack of funds stop you from moving forward— there are multiple ways to finance the purchase. Some of the most popular ways to finance a swimming pool include:
- Home equity loan: A home equity loan lets you tap into your home’s equity to secure financing with a rate typically much lower than a personal loan.
- Home equity line of credit: Like a home equity loan, a HELOC taps into the equity you’ve built in your home as collateral. However, instead of taking out money in a lump sum, a HELOC allows you to withdraw funds for the project as you need them.
- Homeowner Express Loan: No home equity, no problem. Available through Amplify, a Homeowner Express loan is a flexible, fixed-rate personal loan available to homeowners who are also Amplify Credit Union members. With lower rates than personal loans and a limit of up to $40,000, a Homeowner Express loan might be the right solution for you.
Anytime you finance a purchase, it’s important to carefully consider the pros and cons of taking out a loan. Be sure to do a little more in-depth research to understand whether or not these loan products may be right for you.
Ready to dive in and buy a pool?
After weighing the answers to these questions, you may be more ready than ever! At Amplify, we’re always ready to help make our members’ pool dreams come true.