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Swimming Pool Financing: How Can I Get a Pool Loan in 2012?


Paying for a pool....Ok, so you've decided to get a pool. Obviously, I think that's a great idea. Notwithstanding, you're still going to have to pay for it somehow (in case you'd forgotten about that little part of it;-). But seriously, pool financing is an important point of discussion if you're getting ready to make such a purchase, and this article is meant to help you understand the task of pool financing and how it typically works for most homeowners.

After having installed a little over 600 pools, our customers have paid for their swimming pools in a variety of manners. Some of the routes typically taken are:

  • Home Equity Line
  • Second Mortgage
  • Unsecured Loan
  • Out of Pocket(cash)
  • Credit Card

2nd Mortgages/ Equity Lines

Of all listed, the most popular method has been 2nd mortgages and equity lines. As we all know too well, with the inflated housing numbers of the 2000s it was easy to get a mortgage for many years. In fact, I've seen many people get a 2nd mortgage literally days after buying their house. But for better or for worse, those days are over.

The housing market dropped drastically in 2008 and 2009, causing many people to lose quite a bit of equity in their home. This drop in home values has affected pool financing in a variety of ways. To give you an example, I had multiple pool shoppers give me a deposit in 2009 only to later find out that there wasn't enough equity in their home to get the loan. For this reason, we now have most of our 2nd mortgage customers apply for a loan immediately after our first telephone conversation. This way, no one wastes time trying to decide on a pool and a pool contractor only to find out they do not have the necessary funds. A general rule of thumb for anyone considering a 2nd mortgage is that unless you've been in your house for more than 6 years, or unless you've established quite a bit of home equity in a short amount of time, it's highly unlikely you'll qualify for this type of loan (in other words, you won't have enough equity).

Unsecured Loans

For those persons that cannot get a 2nd mortgage or home-equity line, there is still hope. Unsecured loans do not require you to have equity built up in your home but you will need solid credit and you'll also pay a much higher loan rate than if it was a 2nd mortgage. For example, most mortgages right now have a loan rate of 4-7%, whereas most unsecured loans have rates in the 14-18% neighborhood. Also, most unsecured lenders will not lend more than $30,000, which means that many pool shoppers may need to come up with additional cash to afford their swimming pool. When searching for an unsecured loan, I suggest you follow this pattern:

  • 1. Check with your local credit union.
  • 2. Check with your local bank, preferably one you have a relationship with.
  • 3. Check with a national company. For example, we at River Pools use a company called Lyon Financial.

Here are some other common questions I receive regarding pool financing:

Q:           Does your company offer in-house financing?

A:            Pool companies do not offer true ‘in-house' financing. If they say they do, they're likely referring to an outside company that they work with.

Q:           Are second mortgages/home equity lines a tax write-off?

A:            In most cases, Yes.

Q:           What are the max terms for a 2nd mortgage?

A:            We've seen many companies go as high as 30 years fixed.

Q:           How long do loan approvals take when dealing with pool financing?

A:            Most banks and financial institutions are able to do pre approvals almost immediately, but when it comes to 2nd mortgages, home appraisals can take up to a few weeks.

So there you  have it folks. Hopefully, we will see more flexibility from the banks in 2012 compared to what we saw from 2009-2011. But if you're serious about financing a swimming pool purchase, start the process now and be sure to check all your options. Good luck!


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Questions? Comments? As always, we love to hear from our readers.

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I'm thinking of building a new modular home with an indoor pool. This is still at the early stages of plannning, and I don't know how much financing I would be able to get, but I was wondering if you can include the pool cost in the original construction loan. As I'm thinking of a modular home, the building company would be the primary receiver of the funds, I don't know if you can split the money. The company says they can make any customizing you can think of, but if it is that company that buys the pool, and then charges me for it as an upgrade, what is my security as the pool owner, if something goes wrong with it? 
Also after reading a lot about them I would prefer a fiberglass pool, but I'm still a little confused about them. Are they custom fiberglass pools or custom molded fiberglass pools? If the pool company doesn't have the size and shape that I want do they make a custom mold? I want a big pool with some (freeform) shape to it, but a lot of the big fiberglass models I have seen "waste" about the half of the pool as shallow kiddie pool. I am looking to build a pool to be able to "kayak" in it, practise rolling etc. and would prefer to have a constant depth flat bottom throughout, and plenty of room. The project would be in North Dakota, so an outdoor pool would only get about 3-4 months of good use in a year. 
I've also read that fiberglass pools can suffer from freeze/thaw cycles, and you would definitely have those in ND. As it would be an indoor pool, the pool construction should I guess be a part of the process when doing the foundation. If I didn't end up having the money for the actual pool initially, should I have a ready-to-go place for it? I'm thinking doing a concrete pit for it in the foundation, and later putting in the pool and filling the gaps between it and the concrete with dirt. Would that type of construction help with the freezing and thawing? 
Or should I just go with a conrete pool? How much extra would incorporating a pool in to the foundation be? I mean the crew is already there pouring concrete. And how much in addition to that would it take to make a concrete pool look pretty? 
I am also interested in the swim spa type current machines. Currently I guess only Endless Pools sells individual machines without having to buy their pool (which just aren't big enough). Only thing is, their motors aren't the most powerful in the market. There are other companies that have pools that come with more powerful motors. Any idea how much of an actual difference in strength of the current there is between 6 HP and 7.5 HP current machines? How effective are they in big pools anyway (up to about 20ft x 30ft)? 
I'm also curious about wave machines, I haven't seen anybody selling them? 
Obiviously I'm completely green in these things, so any comments would be much appreciated. 
Posted @ Wednesday, February 03, 2010 10:33 AM by Nina Kafferlin
Hi Nina, and thanks so much for asking these questions. You have a very unique situation, that is for sure. I doubt you'll be able to do a modular unit around the pool. This is because you will need special ventilation, room conditions, etc. If I were you, I'd build the house, then the pool, then do an addition. Now whether or not you can get all that financed is a big question, so you'll need to talk to the lender, but that is absolutely the right order of operations....I would not worry about the freeze thaw cycle. Most of that is a myth. I've written about it on this blog under fiberglass pool myths....I've also written an extensive article on lap pools on here as well, which you really should check out. Best of luck to you!
Posted @ Thursday, February 04, 2010 2:01 PM by Marcus Sheridan
Marcus, you've brought up a point which many don't like to discuss, yet it is very necessary - the payment of a new pool. By your listing all the payment options available, people can do their payment/financing research in addition to planning their pool installation.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 04, 2012 2:41 PM by Arizona Pool & Spa
Good article about Swimming pool loan
Posted @ Monday, April 29, 2013 6:12 AM by swimming pool loan
thanks for taking the time to publish this intel Marcus
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Can you recommend a reputable pool finance company?
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I'd like some information about pool financing.
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Posted @ Friday, June 13, 2014 8:00 AM by alley
Can you recommend a reputable pool finance company?
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