There is something magical about living on a houseboat…. And buying a houseboat is a much different process from buying a home on land.
What the heck is a houseboat?
Houseboat is the term used to describe any vessel that floats and is used primarily as a home. Houseboats are commonly confused with floating homes, and you can read all about the differences between the two here.
How is buying a houseboat different from buying a land-locked home?
My designated brokers wrote a fantastic blog about the many aspects of buying a houseboat. If you want all the dirty details, read that blog. Here are a few of the things that make buying a houseboat different than most home sales:
- When you buy a houseboat, you have to pay sales tax on the purchase price (traditional homes pay property tax, houseboats do not).
- In order to get a slip for your houseboat, you need to have insurance. In order to get insurance, you have to have a survey (the marine version of a home inspection). It is VERY important that you have a survey completed on your new houseboat BEFORE you buy it.
- Financing for houseboats can be challenging. Most houseboats are purchased with cash. Seattle has one lender that is willing to loan on houseboats, but the terms are not as favorable as a 30 year fixed mortgage on a traditional home.
- Finding a slip (the place you park your houseboat) that will allow you to live aboard can be challenging. The best way to approach this challenge is to buy a houseboat that is currently in a liveaboard slip that will allow you to assume the slip and continue to live there.
- You have to register your boat and pay annual registration fees (just like you would for your car).
The liveaboard lifestyle is amazing! If you are prepared for the unique challenges that come with buying a houseboat and you work with an agent that knows the ins and outs of the process, buying a houseboat can be a breeze!