There are several key things to be aware of before buying a floating home:
Financing a Floating Home
- 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.
- There are only 2 floating home lenders. You cannot purchase a floating home with an FHA or VA loan.
- The lenders require at least a 20% down payment.
- Loan terms available for floating homes are limited to 25 years and shorter.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The moorage owner can raise the rent in a rental slip moorage.
Other considerations when buying a floating home
- 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.
- 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.
- 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