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Floating Home? Life on the Water with no Boat

Once you consider dwelling in Seattle, you most likely consider the Area Needle, Pike Place Market, infinite espresso outlets, and homes overlooking the water and even on the water. However the houseboats circa “Sleepless in Seattle” aren’t really houseboats – they’re floating houses. So what makes a floating home completely different from a houseboat? And in the event you’re contemplating life on the water, is a floating house best for you? Right here’s what to know.

What’s a floating home?

A floating home is a house situated on a floating basis and related to utilities. Though used interchangeably, it’s not the identical factor as a houseboat. A houseboat is a vessel with a motor that isn’t completely docked in a single space. This implies a houseboat proprietor can transfer freely from one lake or river to the subsequent. A floating house stays placed on the dock the place it’s moored at.

Historical past of floating houses

Floating houses rose in recognition through the early twentieth century. Earlier than completely mooring houses on a dock, homes had been anchored to the shore. They had been a less expensive various to proudly owning a standard house. Through the Nineteen Thirties and Forties, floating houses turned notably well-liked resulting from their constructing affordability and skill to offer low-cost housing choices.

Floating homes are most notably related to Seattle, WA‘s Lake Union, Portland, OR‘s Hayden Island, and Sausalito, CA. You can even discover floating houses internationally in areas like Denmark, Australia, and Germany. In densely populated areas, these house kinds have risen in recognition to fight rising inhabitants development in cities. They’re additionally rising as a extra sustainable various that simply adapts to flooding.

floating homes on lake union in seattle with boats docked next to a building

Floating house traits

Floating houses can vary in measurement from the sq. footage of a tiny house to a number of tales. You may usually discover them on a lake, bay, or river.

Exterior structure

The primary commonality of a floating house’s exterior is that they’re grounded to a floating basis additionally known as a moorage. They’re usually extra rectangular, with a flatter roof and lots of home windows. In any other case, floating houses range in design. The outside structure can vary from up to date model to a country look. Many floating houses have balconies, a rooftop deck, or dock-side patios to embrace the waterfront views.

Inside design

The inside of a floating home isn’t a lot completely different from a standard-looking house. They are often modern and trendy with floor-to-ceiling home windows or embrace a extra cozy cabin look with wood-paneling and a fire. Some floating homes have a number of tales, or they could be quaint single-story cottages.

aerial view of lake union where there are modern floating homes

What to anticipate when shopping for a floating home

Shopping for a floating home is a bit completely different from shopping for a house. In reality, it’s extra like shopping for a rental. If you happen to’re constructing a floating home from scratch, you’ll want to search out moorage for hire or buy. Nonetheless, many current floating houses are already secured to a moorage. In some instances, the earlier proprietor could have owned the moorage. You could possibly buy the moorage along with the home.

In different instances, solely the house’s construction could also be on the market, which means you’ll possible pay hire for the moorage, just like HOA charges. And you might also should pay HOA charges as in the event you had been buying a rental. Relying on the moorage, there could also be guidelines like an HOA, akin to not permitting brief or long-term leases.

How a lot do floating homes value?

Floating houses vary in worth – wherever from $30,000 to upwards of $1 million. The preliminary worth largely will depend on the home’s measurement, location, and options. If you happen to’re buying the mooring house individually, that is one other value to think about.

If you happen to’re renting the mooring spot, it is a long-term value to issue into your price range. One other long-term value to think about is the HOA charges ought to your floating house be a part of a group that requires HOA dues.

All houses require upkeep, however floating homes have particular issues. For instance, the extra furnishings you add to the house, or in the event you’re enterprise a renovation undertaking, you’ll possible want extra flotation items added to the underside of the moorage. It will assist preserve your property on the proper water stage. You’ll additionally want to concentrate to your property’s siding as it could turn into broken from extra moisture.

Financing a floating home

Once you purchase a house, you’ll almost certainly have a mortgage – until you bought the house with money. Securing a mortgage may be trickier in the event you’re contemplating shopping for a floating house. You’ll should discover a mortgage lender prepared to concern a mortgage for a house that isn’t on a everlasting basis. And in the event you’re contemplating a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage or a Division of Veterans Affairs (VA) mortgage, know that government-backed loans gained’t finance a floating house.

Some lenders could require you to have a 20% minimal downpayment or the next rate of interest to give you a mortgage. Ensure that to weigh all of your choices earlier than deciding which mortgage lender to work with and which mortgage matches your wants.

Is a floating house the fitting monetary possibility?

Floating houses are a really distinctive model of house and could also be tougher to promote in the long term. Not everyone seems to be seeking to purchase a floating home, so in the event you’re not planning on dwelling within the house for very lengthy, it will not be the fitting possibility. Sometimes, floating houses are inexpensive than conventional houses, so you will have extra flexibility for different monetary targets.

In some states, floating houses aren’t thought of “actual property,” which means you could not should pay property taxes. They could be categorised as “private property,” so you will have to pay private property tax as an alternative. Nonetheless, tax legal guidelines change on a regular basis, so it’s necessary to talk with a tax skilled to find out about your state, county, and metropolis tax legal guidelines.

homes on a lake with boats on the dock next to the homes

Execs and cons of floating houses

Floating house possession isn’t for everybody, however in the event you’re setting your sights on a sea-level house, there are a couple of professionals and cons to think about earlier than taking the plunge.

Execs of a floating house

Group based mostly: Much like tiny house communities, dwelling in a floating house group you could discover different owners with comparable pursuits.

Higher suited to flooding: At first, it sounds counterintuitive, however floating homes can rise with water ranges which means they will fend off flooding higher. So when a storm is available in, you will have higher safety than in the event you had been situated on beachfront property.

Location and views: Simply one of many largest professionals of a floating home are the water views and placement. You may’t get a lot nearer to the water than dwelling on it.

Cheaper than beachfront properties: Houses situated on the waterfront or in sure seashore communities are sometimes costlier than a floating home. You’ll have comparable water views however for a inexpensive worth.

Cons of a floating home

HOA charges: One downside is the continued prices of HOA charges and moorage hire every month. Whereas houses could also be inexpensive, you’ll should issue these prices into your month-to-month price range.

Property harm: If a giant storm threatens your property, you will have extra expensive repairs. Relying on the roughness of the waters, it could be considerably rocky on board, resulting in broken dishes, glassware, or different gadgets.

Mortgage difficulties: If you happen to’re shopping for a small floating house, it could be tougher to discover a lender for the reason that home just isn’t value as a lot. Nonetheless, this will not be an issue if the house worth is extra like a standard house worth.

Web service: Whereas houses are related to public utilities like water and electrical energy, you will have unstable web or cell service. Nonetheless, that is largely depending on whether or not your property is in a distant space.

More durable to search out: Floating houses are sometimes tougher to search out in sure areas. And in some locations, like Seattle’s Lake Union neighborhood, new building floating houses should not permitted, so that you’re restricted to the prevailing stock.

Tips on how to discover a floating house in your space

If you happen to’ve determined that life on the water is best for you, Redfin might help you discover a floating house in your space. 

1. Go to and kind into the Search Bar both the town’s title or the zip code (for instance, Seattle, WA) the place you’d like to start on the lookout for a home. Press enter. 

find homes in seattle washington

2. Close to the highest of the subsequent web page, on the fitting aspect, you will note “All filters.” Click on on that and scroll to the “Key phrases” field close to the underside of the web page.

seattle homes for sale

3. Sort the phrase “float,” “waterfront,” or “floating” into the Key phrases field and press Apply Filters. That’s it. Houses inside the metropolis title or zip code you entered will populate the web page, and also you’ll be capable to start your search.

amenities in homes for sale in seattlefloating homes in seattle

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