Rule 1. The Acid Test
If you don't have the cash available, our acid test will help you determine if you should save up or finance the renovation.
The test: If the job cost rises quicker than your interest rate you are better off financing. You can also consider the tax benefits of financing as well.
Get an estimate. Don't just get a ball park over the phone. You want the person giving you an estimate to let you know how much worse the issue may get if you wait. He can be alot more acurate if he sees it in person. If this exceeds 10% annually you are probably better off financing today. You will need to do the math to get an exact fit as interest rates vary, but you should be paying less than 10% with 3-5.25% being ideal.
Rule 2. Low Interest Rate. Look Into Government Programs.
If you can qualify for any government program the interest rates are often significantly lower than what you would get from a credit union or a bank.
This is going to be obvious for anyone who is decent with personal finance, but be sure to check into government programs if possible.
The Title One Property Improvement Loan Program will finance certain home improvements under $7,500. In general swimming pools are excluded from financing as they are considered a luxury item. However, I know quite a few people who have swimming pools for medicinal reasons. I have met clients who use their swimming pools for medically necessary physical therapy. If your pool can be deemed medically necessary you may be able to get financing through the program.
If you don't want to take out equity on your home you can also look into a personal loan.
Rule 3. Once You See Damage Get an Estimate Quickly.
Things like cracks can spread making total failure a possibility. I have some clients, had they come to my firm quicker they could have saved a lot of money.
Get a professional to let you know how likely the damage is to spread. Sometimes small issues can get much worse..... like a crack in a windshield.