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How to get a pool loan with bad credit

By Nooreen B
Modified on February 26, 2024
pool loan with bad credit

A pool can be a fun addition to your backyard and add value to your home. Think about every home you have visited that has a pool. It was likely the central feature you remember with the visit–especially if you got to take a swim in it. Thinking of getting a pool installed in your own backyard? A pool loan can help finance the purchase. Getting a pool loan can be tricky if you have bad credit, but it is not impossible! Continue reading to learn about your pool loan options with bad credit and more information on these types of loans in general. 

What Exactly Are Pool Loans?

Pool loans are usually unsecured loans that will cover costs between a few thousand dollars up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The average cost is $35,000 for a basic pool; any additions will raise that price. In general, pool loans are essentially installment loans until the loan is repaid in full. Like any other personal loan, your interest rate and eligibility depend primarily on your credit score and income. 

Where Can I Find Pool Loans?

Not sure where you can begin with swimming pool financing options? You can find pool loans at the following financial institutions:

Banks

Banks are some of the most commonly used financial institutions out there. You can turn to a bank if you have good or excellent credit and a high income. However, you will likely not qualify for a pool loan from a bank with bad credit. These strict qualifications for a minimum credit score will also be in place for existing bank customers. 

Credit Unions

Another place to find a pool loan is with a credit union. Credit unions are non for profit institutions that can mean several perks for members. However, if you aren’t already part of a credit union, it may be challenging to find one to get into. Additionally, just like bank pool loans, you will need a good credit score with a credit union.  

Private/Online Lenders

There are all kinds of private lenders out there, in-person and online. They will be the best place to start if you don’t have the best credit. You’ll likely find more variety and flexibility with private lenders. However, you will probably pay more interest for that flexibility, as the lower your credit score, the more interest a loan will generally come with. Even with high interest, if you need to finance your pool, then one of these can make it possible. One thing to remember is that personal loan scams are prevalent online, so knowing some red flags for online loan scams will be helpful before you begin your search. 

Increasing Your Chances of Approval With Bad Credit

Finding a large enough loan to cover a pool may be difficult if you have bad credit. And although you may be able to get multiple loans to pay for your pool, that isn’t always the best choice. The good news is that there are things you can do to increase your chances of getting approved for a swimming pool loan. Here are some tips: 

Get a Cosigner

A cosigner is a qualifying third party you can add to your loan to increase your chances of approval if you have a low credit score or poor credit history. This option can work well for an unsecured loan such as a swimming pool loan. Your cosigner will guarantee that the loan will be repaid by them if you cannot. Remember that every monthly payment you make or miss will impact their credit score as well. If you are confident you can make your monthly payments on time, then adding a cosigner may be a good idea. 

Add a Co-borrower to Your Loan Application

Most people don’t own a home on their own, and any improvements on that home don’t have to be done alone, either. If you share your home, adding a co-borrower to your loan may be a good idea. A co-borrower will be equally responsible for making monthly payments. Depending on their income and credit history, they may be able to help you get approved for a pool loan. 

Ensure To Show All Your Income

When working with a bad credit score, your income will be a massive factor for approval with unsecured swimming pool loans. And so, it will be in your best interest to show your potential lender all avenues of income, big or small. 

Consider Saving Overtime and Apply for Less Funding

One thing you can do to increase your chances of approval for a loan with bad credit is to apply for less funding. To still afford the pool you want, you can save for it over time. Whether that means budgeting for that goal or getting a second job to save, it can take time and patience, but it can be doable! 

The Process of Getting a Pool Loan

A pool loan comes with a few extra steps that a standard personal loan or something similar may not. Here is the process involved with getting a pool loan: 

Get an Estimate for Your Pool

You will first need to call a pool contractor/builder and ask them to come out to your property and get an estimate for your pool construction project. You can tell them how large you want your pool, the material you wish to use, and any additional features you may want to add. The convenient thing is that estimates usually don’t cost too much, are added to the cost of building your pool (if you end up going with the same contractor), or are sometimes free. 

Look at Prequalification

Once you have an estimated amount for your pool, you can begin searching for lenders. The best route with this is to pick a handful and apply for pre-approval. From here, you’ll get a clear picture of what your options are. The great thing about pre-approval is that there are no hard credit checks, which means no impact on your credit scores. 

Compare Your Loan Options

Once you know who you may qualify with, it is time to compare loan options. The best pool loans will have competitive interest rates, high enough loan amounts, and a loan term that will be manageable. You can also look into specific loan terms for things like the ability to pay the loan early. Once you compare these terms, you can rank your lenders from your first pick to your last choice. 

Secure Funding

The last step is to start with your first choice and move forward with an official loan application. At this point in the process, you will need to okay a hard credit check and send in all the necessary documentation that your lender will need. Once sent and processed, you will know the exact loan amount, interest rates, and repayment terms. If everything looks good, you can sign the contract and get your funding. You can finally find the contractor/pool builder you want to work with! 

Alternatives to Swimming Pool Loans

Although pool loans may seem like the only choice to finance your swimming pool, that is not the case! There are plenty of other options that can work; here are some of them: 

Home Equity Loans

Home equity loans let you borrow from the equity of your home. Many people use them for renovations, one reason why these loans are sometimes referred to as home improvement loans. The great thing about these loans is that you don’t need to have excellent credit since these loans are secured with the value of your home. 

Home Equity Lines of Credit or HELOC

A home equity line of credit or HELOC is similar to a home equity loan in that it allows you to borrow from your home’s equity. It differs from a home equity loan because it offers a line of credit that will enable you to borrow as your project persists. This can be extremely helpful for something like a pool build, as costs can change as the project moves forward. 

Cash Out Refinance

A cash out refinance can be done by refinancing your current mortgage for a loan amount larger than your existing mortgage. That difference can then be “cashed out” to pay for your new pool. Keep in mind that refinancing a mortgage can come with a lot of different costs. On top of that, refinancing is only worthwhile if you get a better interest rate. The last thing you will want to do is end up paying significantly more on your monthly mortgage because you want a pool. 

Pool Dealer Financing

There are all kinds of companies and builders that offer in-house financing for their pools. Whether you are considering an above-ground or underground pool, chances are you will find a pool company that provides financing. Sometimes this financing may be done through a third party, while other times, it is all kept in-house. Keep in mind that your credit score may play a role in qualification. 

Ways to Save on a Pool

There are definitely things you can do to save as much money as possible on your pool build; here are some tips: 

Go for an Above Ground Option

An above-ground option can save you thousands of dollars and be just as functional as an in-ground swimming pool. And so, if you are looking to cut costs drastically, consider an above-ground option; the wait time for installation will also be significantly less. 

Use Vinyl Material

When choosing the material that makes up a pool, you can choose between concrete, fiberglass, and vinyl. Vinyl is the cheaper and easier option to work with for your builder. With vinyl as your primary material, you could save between $20,000 to $100,000, depending on the alternative! 

Keep Things as Simple as Possible

When thinking of your dream pool, you may have several additions in mind, a hot tub, a fountain, a slide, etc. However, if you are on a budget, it will be best to stick with the basics. Even if you don’t get those things right away, you can always wait a few months or years to eventually add on! In the meantime, you’ll be saving thousands of dollars!  

Wait to Landscape 

Many people may want to factor in landscaping with their pool project, and you may want to as well. However, for the most cost-effective option, it will be best to do that project separately. 

Wait to Purchase Certain Equipment

Depending on the season you are building in, you may be able to wait on certain equipment. For example, you may not need a safety cover, heater, or pool chemicals immediately if you aren’t using the pool for a few seasons. 

Install During the Winter Time

Pool installations tend to be cheaper during the winter months than in the summer. Of course, this may not impact you if you live in a yearly warm climate, but for those who live with seasonal weather changes, consider a wintertime construction job, even if it means not being able to use your pool for a few months. 

References:
Best Pool Loans of 2022 | Forbes
8 Ways To Save Money On Pool Installation | Bud’s Spa

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