Real Estate News

Four Things to Consider Before Buying a Houseboat

It is important to know the difference between a houseboat and a floating home.


If you have ever been to the Sausalito neighborhood of San Francisco, you know how romantic it can be to live on a houseboat. Houseboats and floating homes are an awesome idea from someone who wants to live in a nontraditional place, but there are little known differences between houseboats and floating homes that are important to know if you are thinking about buying.

A floating home is technically like a condominium on the water. It is permanently connected to land via sewer, water, and electrical, and maintained through HOA fees like a typical home.

Houseboats have features that allow it to be quickly disconnected and moved, as they were built for a more mobile lifestyle.

READ MORE: Live in a Floating Man Cave in Seattle

There are some important issue to consider when buying a houseboat however, such as:

Taxes. Traditional homes, as well as floating homes have typical mortgages and closing costs that include taxes. The taxes for a houseboat have sales tax due at point of sale.

Storm preparation. Since houseboats are just like typical boats, you have to make sure everything is bolted down or moved during inclement weather, or you risk a lot of damage to your home.

Home inspections. Since a houseboat exists on the water, home inspections require a diver to go underneath and inspect the structural integrity of the hull. The good news is that houseboats have more relaxed construction guidelines than floating homes.

Weight balance. Houseboats are build to be on the water and move, so they are relatively stable regarding weight. Floating homes on the other hand normally balance on anywhere between 30 and 100 barrels and floats, and uneven weight distribution could cause them to become unmoored.

If you are planning to live the water, houseboats are probably preferable over floating homes because of lax guidelines and the ability to move.

Regardless of what you choose however, as with any big purchase it is important to go in with as much information as possible.

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Gary Adrian Randall


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