Many or all companies we feature compensate us. Compensation and editorial research influence how products appear on a page. Personal Loans Swimming Pool Loans: Compare Your Financing Options Updated Dec 06, 2023   |   13-min read Written by Taylor Milam-Samuel Written by Taylor Milam-Samuel Expertise: Student loans, credit cards, debt, budgeting Taylor Milam-Samuel is a personal finance writer and credentialed educator who is passionate about helping people take control of their finances and create a life they love. When she's not researching financial terms and conditions, she can be found in the classroom teaching. Learn more about Taylor Milam-Samuel Reviewed by Jim McCarthy, CFP® Reviewed by Jim McCarthy, CFP® Expertise: Education planning, retirement planning, investment management, insurance planning Jim McCarthy, CFP®, ChFC®, is the owner of Directional Wealth Management, an independent financial planning and investment advisory firm in New Jersey. Jim advises families, professionals, executives, and business owners on how they can build better financial futures. Learn more about Jim McCarthy, CFP® Swimming pools can turn your backyard into a summer oasis, but there’s a hefty price tag. Homeowners can expect to spend between $23,468 and $55,641, with an average cost of $38,779. The good news is that pools typically add value to homes, especially in certain locations. If you want to maximize the financial impact of a pool installation, opt for an in-ground pool, which is more expensive but adds more value. Once you’re ready to take the plunge and install a pool, consider your financing options. Personal loans are among the most popular choices. You might also consider a home equity loan, HELOC, credit card, or using your savings. Here’s everything you need to know about swimming pool loans. Table of Contents Skip to Section Best swimming pool loansPros and cons of a personal loan for a swimming poolHow to choose a loan for your swimming poolHow to apply for a swimming pool loan Alternatives to personal loans to finance a swimming poolSwimming pool loan FAQ Best swimming pool loans Personal loans are one of the top options for funding home renovations, including swimming pools. The loans are unsecured, which means you can use the funds for any expense and don’t need to provide collateral. You can take advantage of fixed interest rates and consistent monthly payments, which make it easier to budget. “Discuss how to pay for your swimming pool with a financial advisor beforehand. Determine what items in your current budget you will forgo to allow for the financing cost.” Jim McCarthy CFP® Your credit score can help determine your top lenders. Depending on your score, one lender might be a better fit than the others. FICO ScoreRatingWhat it means< 580ThinYou might have a harder time finding a lender with reasonable rates.580 – 699FairMany lenders will provide loans, but it might make sense to work with one that specializes in fair credit.740 – 799GoodLenders consider this an above-average score. The higher your score in this range, the more likely you are to secure competitive rates.800+ExcellentYou can secure the most competitive rates and terms for loans and other products. Tip You can get your credit report for free from all three credit reporting bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com. The reports don’t contain your score, however. You can obtain that from the credit reporting bureaus, but you must pay a fee. The following lenders provide some of the best options for swimming pool loans for each credit rating. Personal loan lenderBest forEditorial ratingSoFiGood credit5 out of 5UpgradeFair credit4.9 out of 5UpstartThin credit4.8 out of 5LightStreamExcellent credit4.8 out of 5 SoFi: Best for good credit View Rates Powered by Credible Highest rated at 5 out of 5 starsUnemployment protection Does not charge any fees SoFi is a top option for personal loans. The company offers unique perks that you can’t find with other lenders. You can use unemployment protection and put your loan in forbearance for up to 12 months if you’re unemployed during your repayment term. SoFi also offers access to discounted financial planners, which is especially useful when budgeting for home improvements. You can also expect no fees, fast funding, and competitive rates. Swimming pool renovations are expensive, and the less you pay toward fees and interest, the more you can put toward your project. Plus, SoFi offers loans for up to $100,000, which is more than enough to cover the average cost of a pool. Soft credit pull to check rates? YesDeposit time: Same-day fundingOrigination fee: NoLate fee: NoRepayment terms: 24 – 84 monthsLoan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000APRs: 8.99% – 25.81% Upgrade: Best for fair credit View Rates Excellent rating of 4.9 out of 5Multiple rate discountsBorrow up to $50,000 Upgrade is a solid option if you have fair credit and need funds for a swimming pool renovation. Repayment terms range from two to seven years, providing additional flexibility for budgeting. The maximum APR from Upgrade is higher than that from other lenders. Still, it might be worth it for borrowers with fair credit and somewhat limited options. Plus, you can qualify for rate discounts, which can help offset the higher cost. However, Upgrade has a hefty origination fee that ranges from 1.85% to 9.99%. The cost is deducted from your loan balance when you receive the funds, so you don’t have to pay upfront. If your swimming pool renovation exceeds $50,000, Upgrade might not be the best option. But if you have fair credit and need a loan for less than $50,000, it’s worth considering. Soft credit pull to check rates? YesDeposit time: 4 daysOrigination fee: 1.85% – 9.99%Late fee: $10Repayment terms: 24 – 84 monthsLoan amounts: $1,000 – $50,000APRs: 8.49% – 35.99% Upstart: Best for thin credit View Rates 4.8 out of 5 starsUnique scoring modelQuick application and funding If your credit score falls between 300 and 580, you have thin credit and might have difficulty finding a lender. However, that’s not necessarily true with Upstart. Upstart uses a different scoring model than other lenders. The company considers additional factors like education and employment history, which can make it easier for some borrowers to get approved. Upstart is an excellent option for borrowers with thin credit who need a personal loan for swimming pool renovations. Funding is fast, and once you’re approved, you can receive funds within one business day, which is helpful if you’re on a tight timeline with your renovation. Plus, you can check your rate with a soft credit check, making it easier to compare offers. Soft credit pull to check rates? YesDeposit time: 1 business dayOrigination fee: 0% to 12%Late fee: 5% of unpaid amount or $15, whichever is greaterRepayment terms: 3 or 5 yearsLoan amounts: $1,000 – $50,000APRs: 5.2% – 35.99% LightStream: Best for excellent credit View Rates Solid rating of 4.8 out of 5Rate Beat programNo fees and low rates If you have excellent credit, LightStream is a solid option. The company offers everything you expect from a top lender—no fees, same-day funding, competitive rates, and flexible repayment terms. If you’re approved for a better rate elsewhere, LightStream will beat it by 0.10%. You can also access up to $100,000, which is higher than many lenders offer. The higher limit is beneficial if your swimming pool renovation exceeds the average costs. The lack of fees also ensures that you can maximize the money you put toward your swimming pool. However, LightStream does not offer pre-approval with a soft credit check. You must complete the application and undergo a hard credit check to review potential terms. Soft credit pull to check rates? NoDeposit time: Same-day fundingOrigination fee: NoneLate fee: NoneRepayment terms: 24 – 144 monthsLoan amounts: $5,000 – $100,000APRs: 7.99% – 25.49% with autopay Pros and cons of a personal loan for a swimming pool Personal loans can be a great way to fund swimming pool renovations. However, there are potential drawbacks to consider as well. Pros More flexibility You can use the funds for almost any expense, which is helpful during a swimming pool renovation if you decide to add features. Competitive rates Personal loans offer rates that are usually much lower than credit cards. Lower rates mean that you pay less to borrow the money, which can save you thousands of dollars. No collateral You do not need to provide collateral for a personal loan. Instead, you need to meet the eligibility criteria. Defaulting on the loan can still lead to collections and hurt your credit score, but catching up on payments can be less stressful when it’s not tied to your home. Cons Higher monthly payments Compared to other financing options like home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), personal loans typically have shorter repayment terms. Because of that, you might have higher monthly payments, which can have a more significant impact on your budget. Fees and penalties Depending on your lender, you might have to pay an origination or monthly maintenance fee. Many lenders also charge late fees if you miss a payment. The costs can add up and make personal loans more expensive than other financing options. Lower loan amounts Many personal loan lenders only offer loans for up to $50,000 or $100,000. For many projects, those funds are sufficient. However, pool renovations are expensive. In-ground pools cost an average of $55,000 and can exceed $100,000. Because of that, you might not have enough to fund the renovation. How to choose a loan for your swimming pool As you decide whether a personal loan is the best option for your swimming pool renovation, it’s essential to compare offers from multiple lenders. Most lenders allow borrowers to prequalify with a soft credit check, which won’t impact your credit score. When you compare multiple offers, it’s easier to determine which lender has the most competitive terms. Lenders use your credit score, income, and other factors to determine your loan offer, which means the best lender for you might not be the best for someone else. Here’s what to evaluate as you review offers from multiple lenders. Repayment terms: Your repayment term is how long you pay for the loan. More extended terms usually equate to lower monthly payments. However, you will likely pay more toward interest throughout the loan. APR: The annual percentage rate (APR) is the cost of the loan, expressed as a percentage. Higher APRs mean that you pay more toward interest fees. It’s usually in your best interest to secure as low a rate as possible. Loan amount: The loan amount is the size of the loan. The more you borrow, the more you have to repay. It usually makes sense only to borrow what you need. Fees and penalties: Some personal loan lenders charge fees and penalties, which can range from 1% to 12% of the total loan. The costs can add up. Read the terms and conditions to check for fees before you finalize the loan. How to apply for a swimming pool loan Before you apply for a loan, it’s helpful to estimate the renovation costs. A contractor or pool specialist can give you an idea of how much money you will need for your swimming pool renovation. After that, you’re ready to start the application process. Gather documentation: Most lenders can complete the application and funding quickly—often within a few days or less. To speed up the process, gather the necessary documents and paperwork before you apply. You typically need proof of identity, usually a government-issued ID card. You also need proof of income in the form of paystubs, tax returns, or bank statements. Complete the application: Once you have the documentation, you can complete the online application. The applications are typically quick and only take a few minutes. You’ll answer questions that include where you live and your income. Finalize the process: After you apply, the lender reviews it. This part of the process can take up to a few days. Some lenders use artificial intelligence to offer instant decisions. Still, most lenders manually review the applications, which takes longer. Once you’re approved, you can check the offer and read the terms to make sure it’s a good fit. Receive funds: The final step is receiving your funds. During the application, you’ll state where you want the lender to deposit the money. After you’re approved, some lenders provide funds as soon as the same day. Alternatives to personal loans to finance a swimming pool If you decide against using a personal loan for your pool renovation, you have other options. Homeowners use home equity loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), credit cards, and their savings for pool renovations. Here’s what to consider to determine which option is best for you. Home equity loan Home equity loans allow you to borrow against the equity you have in your home. Your home is the collateral, and in exchange, you can access a loan with competitive interest rates and fixed repayment terms. These loans are popular, especially for home renovations that increase the property’s value. Repayment terms for home equity loans are usually around 10 to 20 years, much longer than you can find for personal loans. Because of that, the monthly payments are lower. However, longer repayment terms mean that you will pay more toward interest, which can dramatically increase the loan cost. HELOC Home equity lines of credit are another way to access the equity in your home. HELOCs usually have variable interest rates and extended repayment terms. You can spend as much or as little of the credit as you want, and you only need to repay what you use. Because of that, HELOCs are an excellent option for swimming pool renovations, especially if you don’t know the exact cost. Like home equity loans, HELOCs are secured loans, and your house is the collateral. Since swimming pools are home renovations and can increase property value, it often makes sense to use a HELOC to cover the costs. Credit card Even though you can use a credit card to fund your swimming pool renovation, there might be better options. Compared to other funding options like HELOCs and personal loans, credit cards usually have much higher interest rates. Because of that, the cost of your swimming pool can increase by thousands of dollars. Depending on your credit score, it might also be challenging to find a credit card with a high enough limit to cover the cost of renovations. However, suppose your loan amount is slightly too low. In that case, you might be able to use a credit card to cover the final costs of renovations. But if you do so, prioritize repayment to minimize interest charges. Savings Paying for a swimming pool renovation with cash is often the cheapest and easiest way to fund the project. You don’t have to worry about interest rates, fees, or applications. Instead, you can self-fund the project and access your savings as needed. However, you must have enough savings to cover the renovation cost. With average renovation costs between $23,468 and $55,641, it might be challenging to pay the total amount in cash. You also want to ensure that you have enough money left over to cover unexpected emergencies or expenses unrelated to the renovation. Ask the expert Jim McCarthy CFP® The goal should be to keep the total cost of the pool to the lowest possible amount. If cash is available, that is the best choice to finance it because it doesn’t involve additional interest costs. The next best is a HELOC—the interest rate will be lower than a personal loan, and the interest will be tax deductible. If you don’t have adequate equity in the home for a HELOC, then consider a personal loan. Swimming pool loan FAQ Can I use a swimming pool loan for pool maintenance or repairs? You can use a personal loan for almost any expense, including pool maintenance or repairs. Swimming pool loans offer maximum flexibility in how you can use the funds. You can use the money to install a pool or repair an existing one. Do lenders require pool contractor quotes before approving a loan? You do not need a quote from a pool contractor to get a personal loan. Depending on the lender, you might need to state how you intend to use the funds. But you do not need to provide a quote from a contractor or any other professional. Can I include landscaping costs in my swimming pool loan? You can include landscaping costs in your swimming pool loan. If you plan to use a personal loan to pay for a swimming pool, it’s a good idea to apply for the total amount you need, including landscaping. Once approved, you can use the funds as you see fit. What are the best options for unsecured swimming pool loans? Personal loans are usually the best option for unsecured swimming pool loans. Depending on your credit score, income, and other factors, one lender might be better. For example, LightStream is a great option if you have excellent credit. But Upgrade might be a better fit if you have fair credit. Is it possible to get a swimming pool loan with bad credit? It’s possible to get a swimming pool with bad credit. Some lenders, like Upstart, work with borrowers with thin credit. Most borrowers can find a lender for a personal loan. However, it might be more expensive to borrow money due to higher interest rates and additional fees. What’s the average time from loan approval to pool completion? Most pool installations take between two and four months. The timeline depends on the type of pool you’re installing and your contractor’s availability. Once approved, you typically receive funds within a few days, so funding should not impact the installation timeline. Are above-ground pools easier to finance than in-ground pools? Above-ground pools might be easier to finance than in-ground pools because they are usually cheaper to install. It can be more difficult to qualify for higher loan amounts, making it harder to fund a more expensive in-ground pool. However, many lenders offer personal loans for up to $100,000, so you can access high amounts as long as you qualify.