The process of purchasing a houseboat or a floating home is very different from buying a conventional home or a condominium. The main points of differences are found in the following areas.
Types of houseboats: Seattle has many different flavors of houseboats. While they might look similar, there are important differences between Floating Homes, Floating on Water Residences (FOWRs), House Barges, & Vessels with Dwelling Units (VDUs). These differences have an impact on not only the purchase and sale process and inspections, but also long term maintenance and taxation. We are here to explain the differences and/or guide you to local resources.
Communities: Choosing a community where you will feel at home is important. A dock’s location, ownership structure, availability of parking and storage, rules regarding pets and remodeling/rebuilding may be important considerations. We will listen carefully to you and will be able to direct you to the communities that are likely the best fit you.
Financing: Many houseboats are considered personal property. For this reason there are only a handful of lenders who specialize in mortgages for Seattle’s houseboats. If you are looking to finance, interest rates, down payments, loan terms, and loan types will be slightly different for houseboats than homes on land. We will gladly connect you with lenders who will be able to assist you purchasing the property you are interested in.
Inspections: Houseboats inspections are unique and most often require specialized professionals. Some will involve a home inspector, a marine surveyor, a diver, a marine or geotechnical engineer or a combination of these. We are here to guide you to the appropriate resources for the property you are in the process of buying.
Price: Pricing a houseboat is a complex affair. Fair market value will vary based on whether a slip is condominium owned, co-op (Coorperative) owned or leased. When leased, the lease terms can have an influence of value. Location, views, orientation, decks, boat moorage and common areas have a drastic impact on price as well. For this reason we think it is important to work with a broker who is familiar not only with the home you are looking at and also knows how to compare it to other recent sales in the community.
Off-market houseboats: The houseboat of your dreams may not be currently for sale, but as we constantly are active inside the community, we hear when owners are considering selling. When we know what you hope to find, we maybe able to connect you will a seller before a home is listed or before it comes to market.
We are here to answer any of your questions. How do houseboats perform as an investment? How do taxes work? How do utilities work? How does title work? Who do we contact for insurance? When is the best time of the year to buy a houseboat? Please feel free to contact us with any question that come up for you and/or to schedule a tour through the houseboat community.