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Having a pool can be one of the most enjoyable things about being a homeowner. It offers exercise for the family, a great place for entertaining and added value to your property.

But be prepared to open your wallet, as the average cost of building an in-ground pool is around $40,000. Before you get ready to hire a contractor and build, consider these tips from industry experts to help ensure you get exactly what you want and save a few bucks in the process:

Think about timing. The desire to build a pool may hit you when the weather is hot, but you’ll save big if you start construction at the end of the season when builders are looking for work. You’ll get a better price, and maybe a better-built pool, because the builder is much less busy.

Get several bids. Get referrals from friends and neighbors, and at least three bids from competing companies—even if they are referrals—before deciding who’s going to build your pool.

Think long-term. Experience shows that concrete or gunite pools are about the same in cost as fiberglass pools. But about a decade after installation, the concrete or gunite may need to be re-shot, and salt chlorinators may hasten that need as they are more abrasive than regular chlorine. If you do choose concrete, spending a little more upfront for a Pebble Tech surface may be more cost-efficient in the long run.

Stay with a simple design. The more curves, steps, shelves and other design add-ons you choose, the higher the cost will be—and that’s before you add the cost of glamorous options such as a spa, a waterfall or an infinity edge. The same is true for exotic tiles and finishes, as well as upscale decking materials. The more you add, the higher your final bill will be.

Wait on the heater. Some experts advise not putting in a pool heater until a year after construction. Your first season as a pool owner will let you know what your pool’s average temperature will be, and whether or not you need a heater at all.

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