Preparing to Buy a Houseboat

December 2019 Multimedia By Kevin Devoto Web Exclusive

If you love the open water or enjoy the gentle lull of waves and water, living on a houseboat during the summer months or all-year-round could be the life you dream of having.  There are many types and sizes of houseboats, from smaller vessels that are perfect for a retired couple or a two-story palace that floats around the world. The freedom of living and traveling in your own private water mansion could be jeopardized if you fail to do some research before purchasing your dream home. Whether you purchase something out of your price range or you aren’t capable of the maintenance requirements, your dream could turn into a nightmare without the proper planning. Here are several things to keep in mind before you purchase you take to the open water.

1. Determine Your Usage

The size and type of your boat generally depend on how you intend to use it. If you are only planning on weekend trips of holiday cruises, you probably won’t need a massive, opulent home. Couples or single residents won’t need as much space as an individual or couple that will find enjoyment in planning parties for family or friends while out on the water. Things you should consider before you purchase include the desired speed of the boat, the need for a part-time or full-time residence, a preference for a pontoon-style or full-hull houseboat, the range you prefer for your excursions.

2. Used or New

If you want to save some money, purchasing your houseboat used could be the way to go. You may need to be more mechanically included in order to replace some parts or perform some maintenance, but the trade-off with regard to price may be worth it. If you don’t have the time, experience, or tools to do some work on a used boat, buying new is for you. This purchase would be turnkey ready, making it easier to load and go.

3. Consider Your Budget

In keeping with the idea of a new or idea houseboat, one of the biggest concerns you should have is your budget for your new living quarters. Although a new boat will be more expensive, repairs to a used boat could negate any savings you could have when choosing between the two. Also, the long-term maintenance costs will need to be factored in, and marine mechanic rates can range upwards to $100 an hour. Fees that also accompany houseboat purchases include dockage, insurance, and potentially storage. You will need to factor your yearly budget expenses in with your initial houseboat purchase.

4. Contemplate Financing Options

If you aren’t able to purchase your houseboat in cash, you will need to secure financing. If you don’t have a strong credit report, prior to searching for the right houseboat, you may want to look at what credit repair companies can do for you. This way your credit score will high enough to secure a good lending rate and affordable terms. Houseboats will have similar loan structures to standard home purchases, although the length of repayment will vary according to the purchase price. A new boat purchase will generally offer extended financing plans with terms of up to 25 years. The interest rate that you pay for your living arrangements may be tax-deductible, provided you meet the IRS qualifications for living full-time on the boat. This is similar to the deduction for mortgage interest for a home on land.

5. Transport Costs

Given your location, you may have to purchase your houseboat from some other state and have it relocated to your home. This can be a costly investment, with some prices as high as $30,000 for transport. Give this idea thought before settling on a dealer or seller.

Houseboat living can be an enjoyable way of life if you love the water and the fresh breeze always in your hair. Taking the time to do your homework on options and best-matches for your lifestyle will keep you from making an expensive mistake.

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