Seattle Houseboats and Floating Homes
What are the differences in living on a Seattle houseboat as opposed to on land?
Floating homes usually have the same conveniences you experience in your home. Electricity, water, and sewer services are either permanently attached or available. Some liveaboards require sewer pump-out. Most houseboat dwellers use only cell-phones and wireless internet for communication. Some moorages will have gas and propane available to the home owners. Most tv coverage will come from a satellite dish, although some moorages do have cable.
Do Seattle houseboats move around a lot on the water?
Floating homes do move when wind and waves get heavy. However, the vast majority of the time they are very calm. These are fairly large structures on the water. In Portage Bay and Lake Union, boat speeds are heavily regulated, so the only problems you'll have with high speed boat wake are the police and the 4th of July revelers.
How do I inspect a Seattle houseboat?
Houseboats and floating homes require a specific, experienced inspector. Their job is inspecting the float, or the structure that keeps your home above the water. This can be a hollow shell, foam-filled floats, or even just a bunch of logs tied together in the most crude floating homes. Expect to pay about $400-$500 for an inspection. Some homeowners will have the home lifted out of the water for inspection, others will require a dive. You should also get an interior inspection, which can cost another $300-$400.
Is it hard to finance / get a mortgage on Seattle houseboats?
Lending is somewhat more difficult on floating homes and houseboats. Larger down payments are required, and loan terms are usually between 15 and 25 years. We have specialty lenders in Seattle who do the bulk of lending on floating homes.
Are there other costs when living on the water?
You'll pay monthly fees to your moorage management company. Moorage can be rented or owned, in which case you might have an HOA that manages the maintenance of the docks. These fees would include your sewer, garbage, and water. Also, it's a boat - they have more maintenance requirements than a land-locked home. Homeowner's insurance will be somewhat more expensive than a traditional home insurance policy.
What else should I know when considering buying Seattle houseboats?
This is a whole new lifestyle. Sell off your 2nd patio set, guest room futon, and 4 piece executive desk. Most floating homes are comfortable, but not exactly spacious. You'll need to plan for a parking area on land, which may be a garage or just street parking. Hauling the groceries home requires taking a wagon load down the docks. Inviting guests over might include security gates, etc.
However, once you're in and your friends are visiting, or you're just relaxing by yourself in the sun, there's nothing like living on the water.