If you didn’t have a swimming pool as a kid, you likely knew someone who did. And chances are, that house was the party capital of the neighborhood. A pool is a huge asset for summer entertaining and relaxation, and having one is a dream for many a homeowner.

Budget pool-in-a-box options are easily available from your favorite department store, but if you want something more permanent you’ll need to invest. And like any major investment, it pays to be prepared.

Building an Above-Ground Pool

Above ground pools are surprisingly affordable, with a basic 19-foot model running around $6,000. Those concerned about aesthetics need not have the pool stand alone; a skilled DIY-er can easily build a handsome deck around it, perfect for some lounge chairs and a grill. There will be some additional costs: ladders, filters, pumps and the like.

The one difficulty for above-ground may be site prep. You need very level land to build one, which could incur landscaping costs. You also need to provide some sort of electrical access.

Building an In-Ground Pool

A proper in-ground pool is what most people really want. But most people probably won’t pay for it: proper installation requires professional equipment and starts around $25,000. Costs are usually defined by your choice of liner, with fiberglass running in the $30s and upper-end materials like gunite hitting the $50s. No small undertaking, to be sure.

Another thing: most local regulations require fencing or some sort of patio around the pool. Be prepared to fork over more cash for that.

Upkeep and Running Costs

Pool maintenance costs can be easily overlooked. The easiest option is to outsource pool maintenance, but that can get expensive quick. According to Time, basic cleaning runs around $85 a month. And that’s just cleaning: you’re looking at close to $2,000 a year for vacuum and filter maintenance, and $500 to open and close the pool if your state has any semblance of winter.

Of course it’s cheapest to do it yourself, and basic tasks like skimming and emptying a vacuum are well within the reach of most homeowners. But even then you’ll still need to consider electricity bills, which can be about $100 a month.

If you’re determined and financially prepared, a pool can be a unique and valuable addition to your home. Do your research and due diligence, and you’ll be rewarded with an oasis to call your own.

You can check out an awesome pool built by Bold Construction HERE