By Luanne Kadlub
School’s out! And that means legions of kiddos (and adults!) are heading in droves to neighborhood pools — or if they’re really lucky — to their own backyards.
With more than 10.4 million residential pools and 309,000 public pools, it should come as no surprise that swimming is the fourth most popular recreational activity in the United States.
My family took the plunge last year (way past the time the kids would have benefited, but oh well) and purchased a used above-ground pool thinking that if we didn’t like it, no big deal. Turns out we enjoyed it — a lot. The only hassle — and not much of one — is putting it up, taking it down and finding a place to store it over winter.
Many families instead opt for permanence and install in-ground pools, some of which rival those found at luxury resorts.
Once you get the bug for a pool of your own, you’ll start seeing all kinds of “great offers” for pools that should in reality be considered red flags.
For example, salespeople might tell you advertised pools are not worth having and instead try to upsell you to one costing more and/or they might pressure you into signing a contract without having time to think it over. Remember: No reputable builder and no authorized representative of a reputable builder will rush you into signing any agreement or contract at any time.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and install an in-ground pool, here are a few things to consider:
• Talk to your insurance agent to find about about additional coverage that may be required for the new pool. If you’re putting in a permanent pool, check into possible property tax assessment increases.
• Some swimming pools are considered a good property investment by many banks, and prospective buyers would do well to ask about financing arrangements. Many pool builders offer financing, but it is wise to shop carefully because interest rates can vary.
• Keep in mind that you may one day want to sell your property, and a swimming pool suitable for all ages can be a favorable selling factor — but not always. Remember that very young children and many older people are not able to use ladders to enter and leave a pool. Walk-out steps in the shallow end are helpful. And you’ll definitely want to install a child-proof fence around the pool.
• Get names of prospective pool builders from neighbors and friends who have swimming pools and find a list of BBB Accredited pool builders in your area atbbb.org. Make sure your builder is properly licensed and can make any necessary site and soil evaluations of your property. The builder also should know about existing zoning, building and grading requirements. Be sure to ask the builder about any liability and compensation insurance he may carry to protect you in the event of an accident during construction of the pool.
• Before signing the contract, read it thoroughly to ensure it includes materials for the pool, start/finish dates, total cost and financing arrangements. Make sure all oral agreements are written into the contract.
Luanne Kadlub is communications editor for BBB Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming. For more consumer information, visit BBB at wynco.bbb.org or call (800) 564-0371.