Alternative housing options have been gaining a lot of popularity recently. Nowadays, you can find people living in a variety of different housing options. One of these alternative housing options that have been gaining popularity in recent years is a houseboat.
What is a Houseboat?
A houseboat is a broad term, which covers many different styles of boats. Houseboats range from tiny boats with a mattress stuffed in the hull to huge yachts that outsize two-story homes. The most common style of houseboat, however, is a floating barge with a moderately sized engine. These boats have an outward façade that looks like any land-bound home. They typically cover approximately 600 square feet and usually have two stories.
Houseboats are usually docked in a marina slip for the summer and then moved into storage for the winter. Houseboats located in warmer or milder climates may stay docked in the slip year-round.
Buying a Houseboat
When considering buying a houseboat, contact a marine lender to see if you qualify for any types of loans specific to houseboat financing. Usually, when purchasing a houseboat, you will have to make a down payment between 20 and 35 percent of the home.
You must have your houseboat inspected in order to get a loan. The inspection includes inspection of the hull, the body of the boat, and the interior. The buyer pays for the inspection, so make sure your inspector is experienced. The inspection can take as long as twenty days to complete, so keep that in mind when considering financing.
The houseboat’s marina usually takes care of the property taxes. However, a buyer may be billed for homeowner’s association fees. The HOA fees usually cover water, garbage, and landscaping of the property. They may also include sewage. You will have to pay an annual relicensing fee as well. The cost of this fee depends on the size and the value of your houseboat.
Any houseboat will need maintenance. All houseboats have holes in the hull that let outside water into inside systems, such as the toilets, showers, and sinks. Make sure to check these holes regularly as any leaks can lead to the interior flooding and lots of damages. Additionally, black water will need to be pumped out intermittently and sewage will need another outlet other than the body of water you are on.
A houseboat needs similar inspections as a car would. Make sure to check for oil changes, the ignition, the propellers, the roof, and other such areas on the boat. You may be able to do a portion of these maintenance needs yourself, however, you should leave the harder jobs to the professionals.