About Floating Homes
Floating homes are a unique kind of real estate. Most brokers, even in Portland, have never bought or sold one. The purchase and sale of floating homes are more complex due to limitated financing alternatives, inspections involved, the particulars of moorages, geographic dispersion, etc. The market for floating homes is definitely one in which you want your agent to have some expertise. We have seen everything, from agents marketing a floating house with a "solid float" (which it was later discovered needed $50,000 worth of work, for crying out loud into a windstorm!!!) and agents marketing properties stating that the home was fully financeable with an FHA or VA loan. FHA and VA loans cannot be used to buy a floating house. We can help you through the financing process as you buy a floating house. Contact us to find out which lenders will lend for the purchase of floating homes. There are just too many nuances to buying and selling floating homes to trust it to someone who has little to no experience, no matter how great the broker might be otherwise.
Floating Homes For Sale
Floating home owners in the Portland area are almost like the six degrees from Kevon Bacon game; almost everyone knows someone who knows someone who lives in, or has lived in, a floating home. With Portland rents skyrocketing and house prices rising, many people are looking toward Portland’s “Next Frontier” where there is still affordable housing and people can live a more adventurous life. Retiring Baby Boomers are looking to be closer to their boats. Gen X-ers are tired of home maintenance and yard work. There are better things to do during the weekend than mowing the grass and pulling weeds. Millennials are looking for the next adventure where they can come home every day to ‘a vacation.” Floating homes meet many of these lifestyle goals.
A floating home is exactly what is sounds like. It’s a normal home that sits on top of a float – typically constructed of logs or concrete. Depending on your location, you will rent or own the slip which your home is moored to. If you own the slip, you will pay a monthly fee to the Home Owners Association (HOA) for typical upkeep of the ground and services. HOA fees also typically cover water, sewer, and garbage which you would normally pay directly to the utility companies if you had a home on land. Every moorage has its own set of rules and you must agree to them as part of your lease whether you rent the slip or, as a condition of your membership in the HOA, you own the slip.
Steps to Owning a floating home:
Prepare to buy a floating home
- Interested in a floating home but have so many questions? – Call The Portland Team. We are always happy to talk with you about floating houses, and houses on land for that matter.
- Contract with an experienced floating home realtor – Even if you do not choose to work with The Portland Team, PLEASE select a realtor who has bought or sold at least 5 floating homes…do NOT use your sister-in-law or BFF if they have NEVER sold a floating home.
- Secure financing, if necessary – The Portland Team can refer you to the few lenders who will loan on a floating home. Most require 20% down and offer 15- to 30-year terms.
Look at floating homes, find one, make an offer
- Find the home of your dreams – The Portland Team can help you – more than any other broker, we have great deal of inside information about each house listed and also what is coming on the market soon.
- Negotiate – The Portland Team knows floating homes. We understand the market and also what it takes to repair things on floating homes. With our expertise and deep background in negotiations, we can help you navigate that path towards floating home ownership as effortlessly as it can be.
Evaluate, inspect, and finish negotiations for your floating home
- After we help you arrive at a mutually-accepted offer, if you are a buyer, you will need to complete the rest of the process. We will help you navigate the rules, bylaws, HOA documents, board minutes, residency application, inspection process, interaction with the title company, background and credit checks… all of it. Do not make the mistake of assuming Fido can come with you to your floating home; some moorages allow dogs while others don’t. Floating home moorages are similar to condominiums in that the owners want to ensure the safety of all residents by properly vetting you to make sure you aren’t on the next episode of America’s Most Wanted.
- Depending on the results of the inspections, yes, plural, we’ll negotiate on your behalf…again.
- Hurry up and wait. This is the part of the process that can be eerily quiet as we wait for documents to be processed and loan underwriters to cross Ts, dot Is, sometimes cross Is and dot Ts, and whatever else they do as you prepare for the successful closing of your transaction. It’s the time for you to daydream about what adventures wait in store for you.
Closing the deal – Woo hoo! You can now sell your lawn mower and spend your days boating, fishing, kayaking, and spotting sea lions from your front deck.
Call us anytime. We would be happy to help you. John 503.858.7643. Broker licensed in Oregon with Premiere Property Group, LLC.