Living on Water – Houseboats for sale

Houseboat living is becoming a common way of life in many parts of the world, especially around the UK canal system and Amsterdam. There are a lot of reasons why people are switching to houseboats; affordability, convenience and luxury being some of them.

Buying a houseboat can be a difficult decision to make, so here is a buying guide to help you with it:

What are Houseboats?

Houseboats are just like other water vessels, only designed especially for permanent residency. While they have all the features you can find on an actual boat; steering, engines and navigation etc., they have a more house-like appearance and more livable amenities.

Houseboats are often confused with floating homes but both of these are poles apart. Floating homes are non-navigable and simply stand on their anchored spot in water, just like your house on land.

A houseboat, on the other hand, is like a house that you can take anywhere with you.

List of Offers

Features Categories
Onavis Offers
Price : 1.500.000,00
Location: Bermuda
Status: new
Web Search Results Offers
2 HOUSEBOAT (or cabin) wanted (London)
Price : 0,00
Location: UK
Cabin boat
Price : 65.000,00
Location: France
4 Houseboat to rent from November 2013
Price : 1.052,13
Location: UK
Canal Barge
5 70ft canal/ houseboat
Price : 70.135,99
Location: UK
Canal Barge

The Good and Bad about Living on a Houseboat

If you like living on water, the advantages of houseboat living far outweigh the drawbacks.

You can buy a spacious houseboat with two bedrooms, two baths and all necessary amenities at a relatively lower price than what you’d pay for something similar on land. Even though you will have to pay for mooring and maintenance, it will still be less than the property taxes, bills and a lot of other expenses you pay on land.

The upfront cost of purchase is also lower compared to the purchase price of a house. The convenience of relocating and moving around, and the perfect water view are also some other advantages of living on houseboats.

The major drawback of a houseboat is the premium space it offers for storage and decoration. If you are used to living in large open spaces, houseboat living might not be right for you. You will also have to switch to low-voltage appliances and will be using a lot of propane for cooking etc. which means making regular trips to a docking station. Maintenance and disposal of toilet waste are also some things you might not like about life on water.

Rent or Buy – Which Is the Better Option?

There are factors like motion sickness and feeling uncomfortable due to the constant rocking of the boat that can make this lifestyle unsuitable for some. Therefore, if you have never tried living on a houseboat, try renting one for a few months to understand what kind of lifestyle changes you need to make. Also, if you are confused about the type of boat you like, you can try renting one first to reach a better decision.

However, if you have decided that this is the kind of lifestyle you can enjoy, buying is the best option for you in the long-run. Not only is it much more economical, but it also offers more choices of customizing the houseboat you are purchasing. Since you would be living in it for an extended period, you will be able to make changes in order to make the houseboat more comfortable and suitable for you. Between buying and renting a houseboat, the choice you’d have to make is similar to buying or renting a home on land.

Types of Houseboats Available

There are five types of houseboats that are usually available for sale in the market. These types include:

  • Pontoon – These houseboats are safe, stable, easy to operate and practical. Made from marine grade aluminum in most cases and occasionally from wood, plastic, fiberglass or steel, these houseboats require little maintenance and are reasonably priced. Smaller Pontoons range between 20 and 30 feet, and are ideal for exploring.

  • Catamaran – With narrow hulls, catamarans are highly fuel efficient and have a low displacement level. Due to the twin engines and their width, these houseboats are comfortable, safe and stable for cruising, offering easy handling and maneuverability.

  • Full Hull – If you plan to explore rough waters, this type of houseboat is perfect for you. Its full hull design offers a higher, drier ride and increased buoyancy that improves its performance and stability during rough rides. A big bilge below the floor in these boats provide larger storage space on these houseboats.

  • Trailerable – If you are planning to cruise narrow river systems, these long and narrow boats are ideal. These boats are typically made from steel or wood and their light payload allows you to tow them easily with vehicles like a small truck.

  • Barge – These types of houseboats can either be permanently moored or are movable. These boats are slightly wider than the typical narrow boats, providing larger accommodation space onboard. However, their width means they can be moored on rivers only and not canals.

Financing Options for Buying a Houseboat for Sale

Just like with a house purchase, financing options are available for purchasing a houseboat. You can either get a 20-year amortized loan or a 30-year amortized loan with a 10-year cash out clause that can be settled through refinancing.

Marine lenders can provide you with these loans after they have assessed your income, checked your credit score and inspected the vessel you are planning to purchase. Inspections are an essential process and are carried out by an official marine expert. You will have to pay between 25% and 35% as down payment when buying a houseboat. However, paying cash is still a better option when purchasing houseboats.

How Much Will It All Cost?

The price you will have to pay for houseboats depend on four factors; size of vessels, condition, location and mooring options available. Typically, you can buy a 45-ft cruiser for as low as $30,000. However, mooring lease for a year can be expensive, depending on where you are located. Other than that, there will be other maintenance and customization costs that will be incurred if you want to make the boat more functional and comfortable for your use.