Houseboat FAQ's

  • What's the difference between a houseboat and a floating home?
    In Seattle's South Lake Union area, the term houseboat and floating home are interchangable terms, they both mean a permanantly moored home that floats. However, outside of Lake Union, houseboats are defined as powered, moveable boats in which individuals or families can live in and enjoy an efficiently designed residence. A floating home on the other hand are usually permanantly moored and resemble regular houses.

  • How do houseboat inspections differ from those on land?
    Houseboat inspections require a dive or float survey. What this involves is a diver going under the home and checking the condition of the logs, stringers, shims, pins, floation and chaining to the mooring slip. All lenders will require this diver survey. The cost is around $350-$550.

    Besides the diver survey, it's always recommended to get an above water inspection as you would do with a home on land. This survey usually costs around $275-$420.

  • What are some of the costs associated with living in a houseboat?
    Aside from the initial inspection costs you will need to have insurance for the home at a slightly higher rate than a home on land as well as mooring slip costs. Home insurance is dependant on how much coverage you'd like to have and can range from 550$ to $1800 depending on coverage. If you purchase or own your mooring slip, you will still need to pay a Homeowner's Association fee which typically ranges from $210 to $350 per month. This includes your water, garbage, and sewer service as well as maintenance for common walkways, parking lot, landscaping, and an entry gate if available. If you do not own your mooring slip the moorage fees wil be higher, usually $400 to $700 per month (all services included).

  • What's a mooring slip?
    A mooring slip is the space alotted to you in a marina or dock to moor your houseboat.

  • What's the usual required downpayment for a houseboat?
    The normal downpayment for a houseboat, dependant on your credit history, is 20% down. With the balance at approximately at 7.5% to 8% interest over 20 to 25 years.

  • What are the risks of owning a houseboat?
    When you buy a houseboat there is some risk involved. This is especially true with used houseboats. A leak in a defunct houseboat can be a serious issue and possibly cause damage to you or your belongings. This can be avoided by having a professional assessment or inspection of the houseboat.

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