Tips for Buying a Houseboat

Have you always longed to live a life at sea – or, perhaps more realistically – on the water? Do you have the habit of referring to people that live in normal houses as “landlubbers?” Is your favorite letter of the alphabet “R”? If your answer to any of the above is “Argh!”, then you may find yourself looking to purchase a floating home. Here are some tips for purchasing your first houseboat.

Tips for Buying a Houseboat

Houseboats go by many names: house barge, water vessel, floating home – but no matter what you call them, at the end of the day, a houseboat is a legitimate house that you and your family can live in year round and not just for a week or two at a time. And while there are some definite differences between land dwelling and water dwelling, the basic concept is the same: bedrooms, bathrooms, living quarters and a kitchen area.

While the concept may be the same, the buying process can be a little different, as you might suspect. Below are some tips for purchasing a houseboat or floating home.

Houseboat Loans

Interestingly enough, even though your houseboat may be your primary residence, securing finance for it is not the same as receiving a mortgage for a regular house. Because floating homes typically float (or better yet move), they can be considered an RV or recreational vehicle, and as such, require an RV loan. You may also be granted a floating-home loan, depending upon the type of structure you are interested in purchasing.

Expect your houseboat interest rate and houseboat down payment to be higher than your average home, making it slightly more difficult for some homeowners to purchase one (you can have up to a 35% down payment requirement for example).

Houseboat Fees

First-time houseboat owners can find themselves confused about floating home fees. For instance, how do property taxes work, since, technically, you probably won’t be owning any land. Are there equivalent fees to say, a lot rent for a mobile home or Homeowner Association (HOA) fees?

Normally, the marina where you dock your houseboat will cover any property taxes. However, you will be responsible for any marina fees (including docking and slip rentals), as well as homeowner insurance. In addition, houseboats have a yearly license cost.

Houseboat Inspections

Just like with a regular land dwelling, houseboats should always be inspected before a purchase. This inspection is commonly referred to as a marine survey. During the inspection process, an inspector will inspect every aspect of the boat, including the inside, outside, and the hull.

Houseboat Remodeling

Finally, floating homes sometimes need a little TLC by way of home improvement. When purchasing a house barge or marine dwelling, always budget for any houseboat remodeling or houseboat renovation that you may need to undertake.

Houseboat Remodeling North Georgia

Are you the owner of a floating home and looking to undertake a houseboat remodel in the North Georgia area? If so, give Tracy Tesmer Design/Remodel a call and see how we can help turn your (floating) house into a (floating) home!