Over 500 residents live in a houseboat. It may seem like a small number, but it is the largest population in the country and, after Asia, the largest in the world. The houseboat population has been increasing especially with movies like ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ showcasing it. If you are thinking about owning a houseboat in Seattle, first consider the layout, costs, and other aspects of flat-bottomed boats. Note that there are houseboats, house barges, and floating homes in Seattle, all of which have different nuances and classifications.
Houseboat Property Costs
Living on a houseboat has a significant advantage: lower costs. A smaller houseboat, around 30 to 40 feet, can run approximately $100,000. You then pay for the marina space the boat sits in. No matter what size houseboat you choose, you do not need to pay for Seattle real-estate taxes, trash collection, or landscaping costs. It should be noted, floating homes can run well over a million dollars for those wanting luxury. There are waterfront properties available for everyone’s budget, needs, and wants.
Houseboat Maintenance Costs
The maintenance of the houseboat is where it gets tricky because costs are often higher than a traditional home. Boats require a good bit of upkeep, but not necessarily more than if you tended your yard in a regular home. If you are a talented DIY-er, this may not be a problem. Otherwise, you may want a list of reputable professionals on hand.
Due to a number of issues that come with age, it is sometimes recommended to not purchase a houseboat over 25 years old. Along with potential structural issues, it is hard to find someone to finance it if you cannot pay out of pocket.
Finding a Dock Space
The popularity of Seattle houseboats is significantly increasing, leading some marinas to ban them. Some feel that the houseboats can contribute to waterfront pollution, schools systems, and other public needs without paying taxes toward these. The inner marinas, however, such as Lake Union are full of houseboats with personality. Dependent on the marina and amenities you choose, a dock space can rent for as little as $300 per month to over $1,500.
Though you can find a houseboat in Seattle for less than $100,000 by itself, the average cost will be much closer to a few hundred thousand. It gives you a larger living space, high quality finishes, and lets you live on the water while enjoying the views.