Purchase a Pool With a VA Loan | Requirements 2024

Thomas Short
Military VA Loan contributor

The warm summer weather can make homeowners’ imaginations run wild. Who wouldn’t want to step outside to relax by the pool or fire pit, enjoying their new patio or outdoor kitchen?

Many renovations or additions can also increase the value of your home and make it more desirable if you ever decide to sell. Other renovations and additions can end up being costly, and you may even come to regret it. So how do you know which?

We’ll break down some of the top summer renovation ideas and tell you whether they’re worth your money and explore your options for financing them.

Click to check today's VA refinance rates (Jul 15th, 2024)

Summertime Home Improvement

Inground Swimming Pool

Plenty of homeowners would take an inground pool. During the summer, the thought of having friends and family over to hand out by the pool is pretty tempting. In some areas, you can even use the pool year-round, which would make this a better investment.

Unfortunately, the total return on an inground pool is pretty low. You’ll likely spend around $10,000 minimum just to get the pool installed (the cost of the pool, the labor, the concrete, etc.) – not to mention ongoing monthly and annual pool costs for maintenance. Also, you’ll need to heat the pool, and your insurance might require you to install a fence to minimize the chance of an accident.

The total value added to your home from an inground pool will depend on the area you live in; however, it’s safe to assume that you’ll only see about a 7% return when you go to sell your home. Some home buyers might even be deterred since they won’t want to deal with the hassle of owning a pool.

All this being said, if your dream is to have a home with an inground pool, then the value it adds to your home may as well be negligible. Just be prepared for the costs of owning a pool.

Above-Ground Pool

If you’re dying to have a new swimming pool but don’t want the financial burden of owning an in-ground pool, above-ground pools are a safe bet. This type of pool is cheaper than inground pools, and they’re significantly easier to install.

Above-ground pools do still require the same maintenance as an inground pool, but the overall average cost of installing – and potentially removing – one is significantly lower. No, they don’t look as nice as inground pools, but they can be a smarter financial option.

New HVAC System

In some areas, it can be difficult to make it through summer without air conditioning. Replacing or adding a new HVAC system is a smart decision, both for your comfort and for your home value.

HVAC systems vary in price, but you can expect to recoup roughly half of what you put in when you sell your home. Also, new HVAC systems are a good selling point, and it can attract more buyers.

Check today's refinance rates (Jul 15th, 2024)


Landscaping is always a good idea, especially if the front of your house isn’t looking very fresh. It also can be relatively inexpensive, depending on the size of your project.

Not only does new landscaping look nice, but it’s a project that you can accomplish on your own as well. New plants, ripping out sod and planting new trees are all DIY tasks, and you can save money this way. Not all landscaping can be done on your own, but you can do enough to save money and spend some time outside enjoying the summer weather.

There’s no way to tell exactly how much new landscaping can add to your home value. Some homes will see a modest increase in value while others can more than recoup the entire cost of the project. Landscaping is aesthetic, and tastes will range from buyer to buyer. The good news is that there is probably a home buyer out there who is willing to pay extra just for whatever landscaping you went with.

Fire Pit

If you’ve ever wanted a fire pit, you aren’t alone. Fire pits are very desirable by home shoppers, so you can expect to recoup plenty of the cost of adding one to your backyard.

According to HomeAdvisor, the average fire pit installation costs just over $3,000. However, plenty of homeowners can install a fire pit for less. It all depends on what you’re looking for.

Backyard deck/patio

The ultimate centerpiece of the backyard is the deck/patio. This is where you entertain, cook and relax, all while enjoying the summer weather.

Decks and patios tend to add a lot of value to your home – roughly 80% of the cost of installation. They’re also not horribly expensive, ranging around $2,000-3,000 on average. If you’re looking to add something to your home that adds value, a patio might be the best way to go.

Getting a home improvement loan

There are a number of financing options available to you for summertime home renovations.

Cash-out refinance

The VA offers a refinance loan known as a cash-out refinance that allows you to convert as much as 100% of your home’s value (equity) to cash.

Because these are available through the VA, they’re likely to have lower interest rates than your other loan options.

Home equity loan

A home equity loan is a second mortgage that allows you to borrow anywhere from 80% to 100% of the current value of your home, minus what remains of your mortgage balance. You’ll receive the loan amount as a lump sum of cash.

The VA doesn’t offer a home equity loan but you can still borrow from an independent lender, while keeping your VA home loan as your first mortgage.

Home equity line of credit (HELOC)

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) operates as a revolving line of credit, accessible on an as-needed basis rather like a credit card.

As with home equity loans, you can get one if you have a VA loan but there is no official VA HELOC.

Personal loans or “pool loans”

A pool loan is a personal loan — an unsecured loan that allows you to finance a swimming pool for your home. Since these are unsecured personal loans, not home loans, these aren’t available through the VA.

Click to check today's VA rates (Jul 15th, 2024)