Top 15 things to consider when buying a floating home:

by jmcpherson

There are several key things to be aware of before buying a floating home:  

Financing a Floating Home

  1. When buying a floating home, keep in mind that approximately 30% of the floating homes listed for sale are CASH ONLY purchases.  If the home is listed under $150,000, it likely does not qualify for a home loan.
  2. There are only 2 floating home lenders.  You cannot purchase a floating home with an FHA or VA loan.
  3. The lenders require at least a 20% down payment.
  4. Loan terms available for floating homes are limited to 25 years and shorter.
  5. Floating home loan interest rates tend to be slightly higher than for loans for houses on land.  Higher payments  reduce your purchasing power.

Renting or owning the slip, becoming a resident

  1. Floating home owners pay either a monthly HOA fee, typically around $300 to $350 per month, or they rent the slip, which usually costs around $600 to $800 or more.  This will further reduce your purchasing power if you are obtaining financing.
  2. There are things about buying and owning a floating home that differ from the process of buying a house on land which are not obvious.  You don’t know them, unless you know them…  Only use a real estate broker with demonstrated floating home expertise who has handled at least a dozen floating home transactions.  Do not make the mistake of trying to go solo.
  3. Regardless of whether you rent or purchase your slip, you will be required to apply for tenancy at the moorage.  A background and credit check are typically included in the application process.  If you have some things in your past or a poor credit history, you may be denied tenancy.
  4. True waterfront living is amazing, but there are some lifestyle considerations that are very different from buying a home on land.  Much like condos, some moorages have no pet or no sub-lease policies. Be certain that your lifestyle fits within the rules of the moorage before you buy.
  5. Initial costs can be lower if you rent instead of buying a slip.  Most rental moorages, however, charge a move-in fee upfront.  Also, the monthly rate is hundreds of dollars higher than HOA payments are for owned slips.
  6. When you buy a floating home in a rental moorage, you enter into a landlord-tenant relationship.  You could be evicted if you do not follow the moorage rules.
  7. The moorage owner can raise the rent in a rental slip moorage.

Other considerations when buying a floating home

  1. When you own a floating home, eventually you might want to sell it.  Selling floating homes tend to take longer to sell than traditional homes on land.
  2. New construction.  Building a floating home is an option, however, slip space to move a new floating home into is costly and extremely limited.  From the first meeting with a builder to completion of a new floating home, it might take a year or more.
  3. Moving a floating home.  Floating homes can be relocated to a different moorage, however, this is rarely done due to cost and availability of slips.
Feel free to call or text me anytime at (503)858-7643.  I deal in floating houses in and around Portland daily and can help you through the process of buying a floating home, or a home on land.  Click here to search for floating homes for sale in Portland.
If you like the idea of buying a floating home, but now aren’t so sure it will meet your needs, call me to discuss waterfront alternatives.  I am familiar with many waterfront condo properties that will provide riverfront living, but can be more easily obtained using traditional financing such as conventional, VA, or FHA loans.

Published on 2017-08-27 14:24:28