Before moving forward on that beautiful swimming pool you’ve fantasized about installing for ages, it’s imperative to meet with and obtain quotes from several pool builders.

Otherwise, you may not be getting the best deal (which doesn’t necessarily mean the lowest cost — be sure to think through quality of craftsmanship, design expertise, warranties, customer service, etc.). And in order to know if you’re receiving the best value, you’ll need a full understanding of the price tag — including what is and is not covered. Be sure to look for the same items across the board, as you meet with prospective pool builders, to ensure you’re comparing apples to apples. While many companies are above board and truly want you to understand the contract you’re signing, others may try to gloss over charges or downplay fees in an effort to win your business.

Dirt Hauling

Obviously, a large hole will need to be dug out in your backyard to make room for your new pool — but where does all that dirt go? Your options include spreading some or all of it around your yard and/or hauling it off your property to be disposed of. Make sure you discuss which option works best for your situation and that it’s accounted for clearly in your proposal.

Retaining Walls

Your new pool or deck may require the structural support and yard drainage retaining walls can provide. A quick way to assess: If your yard slopes, it most likely needs them; if your yard is reasonably flat, it may still need them. And retaining walls can be very pricey. Make sure your pool builder understands the landscape and includes this cost in the estimate — if you don’t end up needing it, you’ll recoup some money, which is better than not including it and finding out it later.

Electrical

Pumps, lighting, additional outlets, salt chlorine generators, hot tubs, automatic covers and heat pumps — what do these all have in common? Sure, they all make owning and maintaining a pool so much more convenient, but they also run on electricity. Some pool builders will include electrical work in their bid, and others invoice it separately because the work involved varies greatly from one project to the next. While either approach is fine, it’s important to pay attention to those details when comparing bids.

Fencing

Whether or not you have young children isn’t the only consideration for deciding to install or forego a fence — it may be required by your city or state and/or your insurance company. Your pool builder should be familiar with local legislation and guide you toward the appropriate solution, including any associated costs in their quote.

Paving Materials

If you’re building a pool, chances are you’d also like a nice patio area on which to place your lounge chairs, patio furniture and grill. If that’s the case, it’s imperative to discuss your options ahead of time, including whether it will require additional concrete or materials such as tile or travertine. Either way, make sure your pool builder includes your preference in their bid.

Landscaping

It’s likely that this construction project could damage and even ruin a portion of your current landscaping, including grass, flower beds, and sprinkler heads. Also, if your main entrance to and from the construction site is your driveway, the sheer weight of the bulldozers and other heavy equipment could crack or damage it. Be prepared for this chaos and anticipate extra costs to seed or replace grass and repair or replace your driveway. You may also want to consider investing in more extensive landscaping such as decorative plants and rocks around your deck and pool to further enhance your new space.

Nobody likes financial surprises midway through a construction project. Once you know to look for or inquire about the aforementioned items on the proposals from your list of prospective pool builders, it will be much easier to envision your true cost for the project and plan your budget accordingly.

While you may impulsively purchase a new bathing suit or a pair of sunglasses, you likely aren’t going to build a new swimming pool on a whim. It’s a major investment and that means doing your homework before diving into the deep end. Follow these six tips for decisions you want to be clear on before you hire a pool company.

1. Your Motivation

Why, exactly, do you want this pool? Is it to swim laps in? To host pool parties and entertain guests? To take a quick dip in when you’re done lounging the sun? For the kids to splash around in? Any or all of the above answers are good ones — you just want to be clear on the purpose this pool will serve so you can pick the proper type to correspond with your intended lifestyle. This could mean the difference between a plunge pool, a play pool, diver, and a lap pool, which are far different projects.

2. Amenities and Atmosphere

Once you’re clear on how your pool will be used, it’s time to think through its design and features. Perhaps your vision of a swimming pool won’t be complete without a slide or a diving board. Or maybe you’re looking for something more romantic, like a grotto hidden behind a waterfall. A spa with fountains and fire features is a great idea for evening entertaining. But it’s also easy to get carried away with your wish list of custom features before you’ve established a budget. Be clear on your must-haves and nice-to-haves before you meet with a pool company.

3. Budget and Funding

It’s important to have a good sense of what budget you have to work with, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have that amount available in cash. There are many ways to pay for a pool, including a home equity line, second mortgage, unsecured loan, or credit card.  Ask your pool company about their financing options to see what the best option is for your situation. A quality pool builder will have lending sources available for you.

4. The Right Timing

Building a pool takes time, so it’s important to have realistic expectations about when you can expect to take your first deep in that sparkling blue water. If you want a pool ready for early summer, you’ll need to plan ahead. And while some pool companies offer promotions at various times a year, most of the time you’ll find pricing pretty consistent. Costs such as labor, materials and overhead remain level throughout the course of any year, meaning there’s no “ideal” time to buy a pool. The best time is whenever you are ready.


5. The Number of Quotes

It’s easy to get analysis paralysis when comparing quotes from multiple pool companies. They may each present you with a different option and explain why their way is the best. They may use different terminology to talk about the same things, making it tricky to do an apples-to-apples comparison. And they may structure their pricing differently, further complicating your evaluation. It’s best to get three to four quotes from reputable pool companies and then make your decision.

 

6. Insurance

Call your home insurance company and inquire about how a swimming pool installation might affect your policy rate. Because pools can be a safety risk, you may be required to do certain things for coverage, such as installing a fence or door alarms to protect children from drowning. It’s better to know this cost prior to moving forward with your pool-building project.

 

Once your firm on your decisions for the above items, it’s time to ask friends, family and colleagues for recommendations of pool companies and formally begin the pool-buying process. Also online resources like BBB, Yelp, and the local contractor licensing board are great resources when considering a pool builder.

A backyard swimming pool can transform any house into an enjoyable home if chosen correctly.

A backyard swimming pool can transform any house into an enjoyable home if chosen correctly. However, many homeowners have never explored the possibility, believing that they cannot afford this luxurious amenity. Instead of falling into this group, explore your financing options and make your pool ownership dreams a reality.

 

If you have selected a well-reputed and experienced pool building company to construct your new pool, they will likely have financing options available. Their relationship with the financial institutions in your community will assist you in obtaining a loan for your new pool.

 

Homeowners in the process of purchasing a piece of property might be able to have the pool incorporated into the mortgage. In this case, you will not require separate financing. Likewise, cash and credit card customers will not need funding through the pool company.

 

However, utilizing the financing services through the pool company is frequently the best option. The interest rates and length of repayment will depend on multiple factors, including your current credit score.

 

A secure second mortgage loan will allow you to use the equity in your home for your new swimming pool. These are generally available for 10, 15 and 20 years. In addition to meeting credit score minimums and having an acceptable debt to income ratio, the lender might have other requirements related to property ownership.

 

If you have significant equity in your home, this option will allow you to create the backyard oasis you desire. Design the perfect outdoor living environment with a pool, outdoor kitchen and perfectly landscaped yard. The investment will pay off with increased home value and fun.

 

On the other hand, an unsecured loan is ideal for those with insufficient equity in the home to obtain a second mortgage. You will need a solid credit score and the ability to pay the loan more quickly. These are essentially personal loans that are generally offered for a seven-year period to twelve-year period.

 

Speak with a representative of your chosen pool installation company about your financing options. Before you begin the design process, you should know the maximum loan value you can obtain. While you might not use it all, this will help you when choosing materials and amenities.

 

When you work with a trusted and reputable pool installation company for your backyard transformation, you are making the best choice for obtaining affordable financing. Whether you pay it off in less than a decade through an unsecured loan or take advantage of the equity in your home to finance it for 20 years, you and your household are sure to appreciate it!

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