The soothing slap of water against the shore calms us. Scientists encourage us to value the good feelings that come from being around water so we’ll protect our oceans, lakes and rivers from demise. Recording artists have made numerous CDs bearing only the sounds of water to put us to sleep. Water offers so many benefits; people savor living near a beach or even on a lake.
If you’d like that comfort day and night, consider purchasing a houseboat either as a vacation home or a permanent residence. When shopping for a houseboat, remember the process is quite different from buying a landlocked home. You’ll have less living space, different fees and atypical maintenance. For simplicity sake, this post only discusses floating homes that don’t propel themselves, which may also be referred to as houseboats. We’ve gathered a list of what to consider before taking this plunge.
1. Getting a Loan: Contact a marine lender for houseboat financing and to see if you qualify for this type of mortgage. Each floating house is appraised on its own merits. Be ready to make a down payment of between 20 and 35 percent of the cost of the home.
2. Request an Inspection: A marine survey, which includes an inspection of the hull and the interior, is required to get a loan. The buyer pays for this survey so engage only an experienced vessel surveyor. Plan on this phase taking as long as 20 days to complete.
3. Think About the Fees: Instead of paying property taxes, which the marina, where the houseboat is moored takes care of, you may be billed for homeowner’s association fees. These fees usually cover water, garbage, sewage (sometimes) and landscaping of the entire property. Expect to pay an annual relicensing fee. The cost of that fee depends on the value and size of the houseboat.
4. Budget Dollars for Maintenance: Black water needs to be pumped out intermittently. That sewage needs an outlet, other than the lake. Instead of homeowners secure insurance from a vessel insurance company and those rates run slightly higher than the same insurance for a residence on land. Depending on the marina, you may also have to pay a live-aboard fee.
5. Don’t Rush Your Decision: Buying a houseboat ranks as a major decision so you need to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages. A real estate agent who specializes in this market will help you along every step of the way and explain whatever you don’t understand.
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