If you have space in your yard, installing a pool can provide years of enjoyment and keep you cool during the summer months. Depending on your location, adding a pool can also modestly increase your home’s value. According to HouseLogic by REALTORS®, homeowners can boost their home valuation by as much as 7% by installing a pool.
However, pool installations aren’t cheap. A new inground pool typically costs between $28,000 and $55,000 but can cost much more if you add features like heaters, waterfalls, or a custom design. Few people can afford to pay that amount upfront, so you may need help financing your installation.
When it comes to installing a new pool, your main financing options are personal loans, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOC), and cash-out refinance mortgages. To help you find the best lender for your needs, we evaluated 15 different pool loan providers. From that list, we selected six top companies based on their loan options, interest rates, and repayment terms.
The 6 Best Pool Loans for 2020
LightStream: Best Overall
LightStream was the clear choice as the best overall pool loan provider based on its interest rates and loan terms. With LightStream, you can borrow up to $100,000 to finance your pool and have up to 12 years to repay it, the longest period for an unsecured loan.
Same-day loan funding available
No collateral is needed
LightStream guarantees it has the lowest interest rates
Only borrowers with good to excellent credit will qualify
There is no loan prequalification tool
There are restrictions on how funds can be used
LightStream is the online lending division of SunTrust Bank, now known as Truist. LightStream specializes in loans for people with good to excellent credit—meaning scores of 660 and above—and several years of established credit history.
With LightStream, you can borrow $5,000 to $100,000 without using any property or valuables as collateral; the loans are unsecured. The lender offers very competitive interest rates—the lowest listed of all unsecured lenders we looked at. Interest rates range from 3.99% to 16.99%. If you sign up for automatic payments, you can reduce your interest rate by 0.50%.
It also has the Rate Beat Program so you can have confidence that you’re getting the best deal. If you are approved for a loan from another lender with a lower interest rate than LightStream offers you, LightStream will give you a rate that is 0.10 percentage points lower than its competitor.
LightStream only accepts applications online and does not have a prequalification tool. The only way to find out if you’re approved and what rates you’d get is to submit a full application.
If approved, it will fund your loan quickly. Depending on when your loan is processed, you could have your money as soon as the day you apply. When you take out a loan, you can select a loan term between two and 12 years in length.
However, there is a drawback to keep in mind. While other lenders don’t restrict how you use the money, LightStream’s loan agreement specifies that the money you borrow must be used for the listed purpose, so you can only use your loan for your pool installation.
LightStream is our top choice as the best overall pool loan provider because of its low interest rates and multiple repayment options.
Discover: Best Home Equity Loan
If you want to borrow against your home’s equity to pay for your new pool, Discover is our choice for best home equity lender. While other lenders have strict credit requirements, Discover approves candidates with fair or good credit and offers repayment terms as long as 30 years.
Discover lends to people with fair to good credit
It has repayment terms as long as 30 years
No application or appraisal fees, and no cash is required at closing
The minimum loan amount is $35,000
The approval and disbursement process can be lengthy
Your home serves as collateral
While Discover is well-known for its credit cards, it also offers a number of other financial products, including personal loans, student loans, and home loans.
With Discover’s home equity loan, you can leverage your home’s equity to finance home improvements like pool installations. Because home equity loans are secured by your house, they typically have lower interest rates than other forms of debt. And, you can have up to 30 years to repay the loan.
Discover has competitive interest rates, with fixed rates ranging from 3.99% to 11.99%, and you can borrow up to $200,000. However, its minimum loan amount is $35,000, which may be more than you need if you’re installing a small pool.
Discover doesn’t charge application or origination fees. It also doesn’t charge an appraisal fee for home equity loans, and no cash is required at loan closing.
You can apply for a home equity loan from Discover online or over the phone. Home equity loans have more involved review processes than personal loans, so it can take several weeks before your loan is approved. To qualify, you must have a credit score of at least 620.
Because you can borrow up to $200,000 with no cash required at closing, Discover is the best choice for a home equity loan of all the lenders we reviewed.
SunTrust: Best HELOC
A HELOC is a revolving line of credit you can tap into when you need it. With SunTrust, our choice for best HELOC, you can get access to up to $500,000 and have a 10-year draw period and a 20-year repayment term.
You can borrow $10,000 to $500,000
You have 20 years to repay the loan after your draw period
There are no closing costs
You’ll pay a higher rate if you’re not a SunTrust customer
There is no loan prequalification tool
The turnaround time is generally 30 to 35 days
SunTrust recently merged with BB&T to form Truist. SunTrust is a comprehensive financial services company, offering customers checking and savings accounts, credit cards, investing options, and home mortgages.
With a HELOC from SunTrust, you borrow against your home’s equity and get access to a revolving line of credit. SunTrust allows you to draw against the line of credit for 10 years. After that, your repayment period begins, and you have up to 20 years to repay the amount of money you used.
You can borrow between $10,000 and $500,000, depending on your home’s equity. SunTrust offers competitive rates that are variable and range from 3.75% to 4.64%. However, the lowest advertised rates are reserved for SunTrust customers. If you make payments from a SunTrust checking or savings account, you can get a 0.25% interest rate discount.
To qualify for a loan, you must have good to excellent credit. There is no prequalification tool, so you have to submit a loan application online and undergo a hard credit inquiry to see what rates you can get.
If approved, it can take a while to get your money compared to personal loans. On average, the time between applying and closing on your loan is 30 to 35 days.
SunTrust was the top HELOC lender because of its low interest rates. Because it doesn’t charge closing costs to take out your loan, you can take out a loan without worrying about coming up with thousands for closing.
Alliant Credit Union: Best Cash-Out Refinance
With a cash-out refinance loan, you take out a larger mortgage than you currently owe and get a cash payout for the difference to use for home improvements or other projects. Alliant Credit Union allows you to take out low-interest cash-out refinance loans and have up to 30 years to repay.
You can apply for cash-out refinancing online
Alliant offers low interest rates
You can access large amounts of cash
You must be an Alliant Credit Union member to qualify for a loan
You have to undergo a full mortgage approval process
You’ll have to pay closing costs
Alliant is a non-profit credit union that offers bank accounts, credit cards, auto loans, personal loans, and home loans, and we chose Alliant as best for cash-out refinance. You can take a cash-out refinance loan from Alliant to pay for your pool installation at rates as low as 2.50% and get access to larger amounts of cash than you may be able to get with unsecured loans.
For example, say your home is worth $400,000 and you currently owe $200,000 on your mortgage. If you need $100,000 to pay for a luxurious new pool with customized lighting and a waterfall, you could take a cash-out refinance to get a $300,000 mortgage and get the $100,000 you need to finance your pool.
Alliant allows you to check rates based on your credit score and loan amount online, and you can submit your application online, too.
To qualify for a loan, you generally need good to excellent credit and you must be a member of Alliant Credit Union. Anyone can join as long as you make a donation to its partner charity, Foster Care to Success.
While a cash-out refinance can give you access to a large amount of money in the form of a lump sum, there are some drawbacks to keep in mind. A cash-out refinance is a form of a home loan, so you have to go through a full mortgage approval process that can take weeks or even months. And, you’ll have to pay closing costs, which can amount to thousands of dollars.
When it comes to cash-out refinance loans, Alliant edged out the competition with its low interest rates and its simple online application. You can apply for a loan quickly and easily, helping you get the money you need for your new swimming pool.
SoFi: Best Personal Loan
If you don’t want to use your home as collateral, SoFi is our choice as the best personal loan lender for pool loans. You can borrow up to $100,000, and SoFi has benefits like unemployment protection.
SoFi offers unemployment protection
You can borrow up to $100,000 without collateral
There are no late fees
SoFi’s longest loan term is just seven years
You won’t qualify for a loan if you have fair or poor credit
It can take several days before your loan is funded
SoFi is primarily known for its student loans and student loan refinancing products, but it also offers unsecured personal loans and home loans.
With SoFi, you can borrow $5,000 to $100,000 without any collateral. SoFi doesn’t charge any fees, including application, origination, or late fees. Its interest rates range from 5.99% to 18.28% with its autopay discount.
A unique benefit is its unemployment protection program. If you lose your job, SoFi will temporarily postpone your loan payments for three months at a time, for up to a maximum of 12 months over the life of your loan. The lender will even help you find another job with its career advisory group.
SoFi has shorter loan terms than some other personal loan lenders. The maximum loan term is just seven years, so you’ll have a higher monthly payment than if you took out a loan from a lender that offers 10-year or 12-year terms.
You check your rates online without affecting your credit score, but you’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for a loan.
While other personal loan lenders offer same-day or next-day funding, SoFi’s process can take longer. It may be several days before you receive the money you need for your pool.
Despite SoFi’s drawbacks, it’s our pick for the best personal loan lender for swimming pools because of its loan amounts, interest rates, and unemployment protection program. It gives borrowers added peace of mind and stands out from other lenders.
LendingClub: Best Bad Credit Loan
If you have less-than-stellar credit, qualifying for a personal loan can be challenging. LendingClub is our top choice for borrowers with bad credit since it has lower credit requirements than other lenders, and you can add a cosigner to your loan application to increase your chances of qualifying for a loan.
LendingClub has lower credit score requirements than other lenders
You can add a cosigner to your loan application
You can borrow up to $40,000 without collateral
LendingClub charges origination fees
It typically takes four days before your loan is disbursed
The maximum loan term is just five years
LendingClub specializes in lending to customers with less-than-perfect credit who traditionally struggle to get approved for loans from major lenders. Besides personal loans, it also offers small business loans, medical financing, and auto loans.
LendingClub has lower credit score requirements than other lenders, so you can qualify for a loan even if your credit score is fairly low. And, you can add a cosigner to your personal loan application to increase your chances of qualifying for a loan and securing a competitive interest rate.
With LendingClub, you can borrow up to $40,000 without collateral. However, its maximum loan term is just five years, so make sure you have a plan for repaying the loan on time. LendingClub does charge origination fees. Depending on your location, the fee can be 2% to 6% of your loan amount, which can add hundreds or even thousands to your loan cost.
Interest rates range from 10.68% to 35.89%, and you can check your rate and loan eligibility without affecting your credit score. If approved, it can take four days or more before your loan is disbursed.
If you have bad credit, LendingClub is the best personal loan lender because of its credit requirements and the ability to add a cosigner to your application. It makes it possible for people with less-than-perfect credit to get the money they need for home improvements.
What Types of Loans Can Be Used to Get a Pool?
When it comes to financing a new pool, there are four main types of loans:
- Home equity loan: A home equity loan, also known as a second mortgage, allows you to borrow against the equity you’ve built in your home. The loan amount is based on the difference between your home’s current value and what you owe on your existing mortgage.
- HELOC: Like home equity loans, HELOCs enable you to tap into your home’s equity to finance your swimming pool installation. But rather than getting your money in a lump sum, HELOCs are a revolving line of credit, so you can use the line of credit again and again during the draw period.
- Cash-out refinance: With a cash-out refinance loan, you replace your existing mortgage with a new one with a larger amount than you owed, getting the difference in a lump sum.
- Personal loan: Unlike the other three options, personal loans are unsecured, so you don’t have to use any property as collateral. Personal loans tend to have higher interest rates than other types of financing, but you can get the money you need quickly without risking your home.
How Long Can Pool Loans Last?
Your pool loan’s repayment term is dependent on the type of loan you have but ranges from two to 30 years.
- Home equity loans: If you take out a home equity loan, you can choose a loan term ranging from five to 30 years, depending on which lender you select.
- HELOCs: With a HELOC, you have a draw period followed by the repayment period. The repayment period can range from 10 to 20 years in length.
- Cash-out refinance: With cash-out refinance, you usually have 15 to 30 years to repay the loan.
- Personal loans: Personal loans tend to have shorter repayment terms since they’re unsecured. Typically, you’ll have two to 12 years to repay your loan.
Are Pools Worth the Cost?
Whether a pool is worth the expense is dependent on a number of factors, including your location, the size and type of pool you install, annual maintenance costs, and how much you plan on using the pool.
Above ground pools are cheaper to install than inground pools, typically costing between $1,850 and $4,977. However, they are not as long-lasting as inground pools and can even hurt your home values since they can damage your lawn.
By contrast, inground pools cost between $28,000 and $55,000 on average. They may add up to 7% to your home’s value, but they are also more costly to maintain.
How We Chose the Best Pool Loans
We chose the top pool loan lenders listed above after reviewing 15 different financing companies. We evaluated each lender on its available loan amounts, interest rates, repayment terms, funding speed, and credit requirements. To be included, companies had to allow customers to borrow at least $35,000—the average cost to install an inground swimming pool. Companies with lower loan limits were eliminated from the list.
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HouseLogic.com. "Do Swimming Pools Add Value to Homes?" Accessed October 1, 2020.
HomeGuide.com. "How Much Does an Inground Pool Cost?" Accessed October 1, 2020.
Experian. "What Is a Good Credit Score?" Accessed October 1, 2020.
HomeGuide.com. "How Much Does an Above Ground Pool Cost to Install?" Accessed October 2, 2020.