Best Pool Loans of 2023
A swimming pool loan can help you finance your backyard's new centerpiece. Compare unsecured loans with other options.
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A pool can turn your backyard into a summertime sanctuary. But adding an above-ground or in-ground pool can be expensive, so you may need to finance the project.
One option is a pool loan, which doesn’t require home equity and can have low interest rates for qualified borrowers.
Compare unsecured personal loans to finance your new pool. Plus, learn which features to look for when shopping for a pool loan.
» MORE: How to finance a swimming pool
Best Pool Loans
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Swimming pool loans
What is a pool loan?
A pool loan is a personal loan you receive in a lump sum and repay, with interest, in fixed monthly installments.
The pool isn’t collateral for this type of loan because it’s unsecured, meaning there is no collateral necessary. Instead, a lender uses information about you such as your credit, income and other debts to decide whether you qualify for a loan and what annual percentage rate to offer you.
Pool loan amounts can be $1,000 to $100,000, and they’re usually repaid over two to seven years. You can expect a rate from 6% to 36% on this loan, but the lowest rates often go to borrowers with good or excellent credit (scores of 690 or higher).
How much do pools cost?
The cost of a pool can vary significantly depending on what materials you use, whether it’s in- or above-ground, and additional features.
An in-ground pool can cost $20,000 to $65,000, according to HomeAdvisor, a website that connects homeowners with contractors. An above-ground pool can cost $3,500 to $15,000.
Pool loan rates
How's your credit?
Source: Average rates are based on aggregate, anonymized offer data from users who pre-qualified in NerdWallet’s lender marketplace from July 1, 2022, to Oct. 31, 2022. Rates are estimates only and not specific to any lender. The lowest credit scores — usually below a 500 credit score — are unlikely to qualify. Information in this table applies only to lenders with APRs below 36%.
Pool loan example
A $60,000 pool loan repaid over five years at a 12% APR would require monthly payments of $1,335. You’d pay $20,080 in total interest on that loan.
Where to get a pool loan
Banks, credit unions and online lenders offer pool loans, but each lender has its own borrower criteria and loan features.
Banks: Existing bank customers can sometimes qualify for lower rates, larger loans or special discounts. In general, banks prefer borrowers with good credit and strong income.
Credit unions: Borrowers with fair or bad credit (689 or lower scores) may be more likely to qualify for a credit union loan. These not-for-profit organizations may look beyond a low credit score and review your membership history to qualify you.
Online lenders: Online lenders vary in their qualification requirements and loan features. Some bad-credit lenders tailor their loans to borrowers with low scores or thin credit histories, for example. Others offer special features to well-qualified borrowers.
How to get a pool loan
The process to get a personal loan generally involves four steps:
Get a pool estimate. Work with a contractor to agree on a cost estimate for the project before you start loan shopping. Once you know how much you need, you can choose a lender that offers that amount. Unlike with credit cards and credit lines, you can’t borrow more once you get the loan.
Pre-qualify. Online lenders and some banks and credit unions allow you to pre-qualify for a personal loan and see potential loan offers, including rates and monthly payments, without affecting your credit score.
Compare lenders. If you get similar pool loan offers, compare not only rates and terms, but also other loan features. Some lenders can fund a loan within a day or two, while others offer extended repayment terms for larger home improvement projects.
Gather documents and apply. Collect documents most lenders require on an application — like W-2s, bank statements and a government-issued ID — to move the process along faster. Most lenders can make an approval decision within a day or two and fund a loan within a week.
How to compare pool loans
Borrower requirements: Compare lenders’ minimum credit score, income and debt-to-income ratio requirements to find one you may qualify with. Some lenders include borrowing requirements in the FAQ or blog section of their websites.
Loan amount: Depending on the type of pool you choose, you may need to find a lender that offers large personal loans. Many lenders cap loan amounts at $50,000, but some offer loans up to $100,000. Borrowers typically need strong credit and incomes to qualify for the largest pool loans.
Affordability: Use the APR to compare the cost of multiple loan offers and other financing options. The option with the lowest APR is the least expensive and usually the best offer. Also, check the monthly payments against your budget to be sure you can afford them.
Repayment term options: The repayment term helps determine the size of the monthly payment. Pool loans with longer terms have lower monthly payments, but they cost more in total interest. Some lenders only offer three- or five-year repayment terms, but others are more flexible.
Joint loan option: If you share the home where you’re putting the pool in, you may be able to get a joint loan. Adding a co-borrower can improve your chances of qualifying, getting a larger loan or receiving a lower rate. A co-borrower is equally responsible for payments and has equal access to the funds.
» MORE: Personal loans with a co-signer
Pool loan pros and cons
No collateral. Unsecured pool loans don’t require collateral, meaning the lender can’t take your possessions if you fail to repay. Instead, your credit score will drop.
Fast funding. Some lenders send loan funds the same or next day once you’re approved. Others can fund a loan within a couple of business days.
Wide range of repayment terms. Repayment terms on pool loans are usually between two and seven years. Some lenders, like LightStream and Navy Federal, offer longer repayment terms for home improvement projects.
Rates can be high. Compared with home equity loans and lines of credit, which often have single-digit APRs, personal loans can have high rates.
Large monthly payments. Because you usually have less than 10 years to repay a personal loan, the monthly payments are often higher than a longer-term financing option, like a home equity line of credit.
No tax benefits. If you finance a home improvement project with equity, you can usually deduct the interest from your taxes. There are no tax deductions with a personal loan.
Other types of pool loans
Financing a pool can be a years-long commitment. Compare personal loans with other financing options to find the one that fits best with your plans.
Home equity loans
A home equity loan is a second mortgage that’s structured similarly to a personal loan. APRs and monthly payments are fixed. If you’re comfortable using your home as collateral for the loan, home equity loans can be a low-rate financing option.
Here’s what you can expect if you use a home equity loan to pay for a pool:
Maximum loan amount: 85% of your home’s value, minus what you owe on the mortgage.
Repayment term: Up to 15 years.
APRs: Start around 8%.
» MORE: Compare home equity loans
Home equity lines of credit
A HELOC is an open credit line that you can draw on as you need to, making it ideal for projects that last a long time or have surprise costs. HELOCs have variable interest rates, so your monthly payments could fluctuate. Like home equity loans, starting rates are often in the single digits, so it may be a low-cost way to add a pool.
Here’s what you can expect if you use a HELOC to pay for a pool:
Maximum loan amount: 85% of your home’s value, minus what you owe on the mortgage.
Repayment term: A 10-year draw period followed by a 20-year repayment period is common.
APRs: Start around 8%.
» MORE: Compare HELOCs
A cash-out refinance replaces your current mortgage with a new, larger loan. You “cash out” the difference between your new loan and the amount owed, and use it to pay for the pool. Because it’s a brand-new mortgage, you’ll have to have your home appraised and pay closing costs, and the loan will have new terms. This is worth considering only if current rates are lower than what you’re paying.
Here’s what you can expect if you use a cash-out refinance to pay for a pool:
Loan amount: 80% to 90% of your home’s value, minus what you owe on the mortgage.
Repayment term: 15 years and 30 years are common mortgage repayment terms.
APRs: Start around 7%.
Your contractor may offer you an in-house financing option, usually through a third-party lender. Because this offer is specific to a new pool, loan amounts may be larger than a personal loan and repayment terms may be longer.
Compare this offer with other financing options to be sure you’re getting a good deal.
Loan amounts, repayment terms and rates can vary by company, but here’s what to expect if you finance through a contractor:
Loan amount: Maximums are often more than $100,000.
Repayment term: Up to 20 years.
APRs: Start between 5% and 8%.
Last updated on May 1, 2023
NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.
Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.
This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.
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Frequently asked questions
- What are typical terms on a pool loan?
The typical repayment term on an unsecured pool loan is between two and seven years. Other pool financing, like home equity loans and lines of credit, can have repayment terms up to 15 or 20 years. If you finance your pool through a contractor, you could get a repayment term up to 20 years.
- What credit score is needed for a pool loan?
You usually need a credit score around 600 or higher to qualify for a pool loan. Some lenders accept lower credit scores, but you may receive a higher rate. The largest loan amounts typically go to those with good and excellent credit scores (690 or higher).
- What’s the best place to finance a pool?
Here are the best lenders for pool loans: