The biggest decision you’ll ever make about your pool is the safety barrier you place around it. You have a lot to protect; your children, your pets, your neighbors and your privacy. The barrier is needed and often required by law, but it has to look good and work well with your home, gardens, and pets.

A wooden fence will probably give you the most privacy for your new pool and back yard retreat. Remember though, do you want to be blocked off from the outside world or do you want some privacy without isolating yourself? You can partner fencing with landscape design and masonry to create the perfect barrier and safety zone for your loved ones.

Lattice is a popular fence option as it works well with plants, privacy and style. Lattice creates a very unique barrier in addition to acting as a fence. It also will allow you to block any items that you don’t want to see or are not using, such as the pool filter system, the chemicals, floatation devices or extra pool furniture.

There are several choices when shopping for fences and entry gates to pool areas. Latches, alarms, and various safety features are also in abundance and a very important decision to make when you are doing your fence research. The number one decision making feature is safety. What works best with your family and your water environment should be the decision making factor. Once the fence is in, have fun and be safe!

Owning a home is a must for some people. To some adults, a house represents family, tradition and the best form of equity. For others, having money to travel is a priority. If you’re trying to decide whether home buying or renting is best for you, consider how long you expect to live in a house.

Renting and home buying pros and cons
You could move to a different house every two to three years. But, each move would require you to negotiate closing costs, cover realtor fees and pay for necessary repairs or upgrades so that a buyer pays you the full value of your home.

The amount of disposable income that you want and how frequently you plan to move aren’t the only factors to consider. You need to find out if you can afford home buying over the long term, not just for the next three to four years. After all, even if you only plan to stay in a house for a few years, unless you make a hefty down payment or sell the house quickly, you’ll generally be responsible for a mortgage for at least 12 years, 30 years for a longer mortgage.

Therefore, consider your savings. Are you currently living paycheck to paycheck or do you have $10,000 or more saved? Some lenders offer loan calculators that you can use for free. Consider taking advantage of these options. Seeing how much you would pay each month for a house (and for how long) is a great reality check.

Your current choices aren’t set in stone
Also, think about your personality. Home buying might be a better fit for you if you don’t want to live close to your neighbors. Space to engage in hobbies like wood working or classic car collecting, host large social events, own large dogs and grow a garden are other reasons why buying a house may be best.

If you don’t know the first thing about home repairs and want access to an in-ground swimming pool, gym and community fellowship area, renting might be the way to go. Living in an apartment or renting a home could keep you from feeling alone if you’re single. You also won’t have to worry about property taxes.

But, you’ll never have equity in the home or apartment that you rent. You also won’t be able to take advantage of home ownership tax breaks. And you can’t leave a home or apartment that you rent to your children the way that you could if you buy a house.

The good news is that if you’re renting right now, you could start searching for a house to own as soon as you’re ready. Equally, if you currently own a house and decide to rent for a few years, you could start taking steps to go the renter’s route as well.

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