Living in a houseboat isn’t the same thing as living in a house.

It can be just as good (in some cases better), but a houseboat should never be an impulse buy. If the reason you want to live in a houseboat is because you’ve heard it is cheaper than living in an apartment, you aren’t necessarily wrong.

But there are a lot of other expenses and maintenance you might not be aware of.

So let’s take a look at everything you need to know before you buy a houseboat.

Do You Really Want to Live on a Boat?

Before you can do anything else, you need to take a few moments and think through this question.

Are you the type of person that will be comfortable living on a boat?

Most boathouses are pretty tight, so you won’t have a lot of space to move around or store a bunch of stuff. If you’re used to living in small apartments, this probably won’t be much of a problem. But if you’re downgrading from a real house, you may want to think about how much space you’ll really have.

Depending on the boat, you may have to pump your toilet or deal with low water pressure. Some boats may not even have warm water at all. If taking hot, 30-minute showers in the evening is your thing, you may not like living on a boat.

It’s the small things like that you really have to think about before you go out and buy a houseboat.

Maybe you’ve always dreamed of living right on top of the water, but if you can’t deal with houseboat conditions, that life may not be for you.

Life on a Houseboat is Quite Nice

All that to say, living on a houseboat can be the best experience of your life if water pressure and space aren’t big problems for you.

After all, your house is literally on a boat, meaning your entire house can sail. You can go on vacation with the family and not have to pack one thing.

A lot of houseboats have a kitchen that includes a stove and sometimes even a full sized refrigerator. So you can eat as comfortably as if you were still living on land.

Not to mention…

Houseboats are a Huge Tourist Experience

There are a lot of people out there who choose to spend their vacations in a boathouse. They book their own at places like Nice Alleppey Houseboats and stay there for weeks at a time.

You will own the vacation so many people dream of, and a living situation doesn’t get much better than that.

So How Do I Buy a Houseboat?

In some ways, when you buy a houseboat, it isn’t too different from buying a house. In some ways, when you buy a houseboat, it is nothing like buying a house.

But that doesn’t really help, so let’s go through what to expect when buying a houseboat.

Where to Find a Houseboat

You can usually find a houseboat through a marine lender. If you’re working with a real estate agent, they may be able to find a few options for you.

Houseboat Loans

You can get a loan for a houseboat, just like you can get a loan to help pay for your house. A houseboat loan will usually look something like this: a 20-year amortization or a 30-year amortization with a 10-year cash-out.

These loans will also require a 20% to 35% down payment.

Houseboat Mortgage

Just like a normal house, you will also have to pay a mortgage.

The difference is the mortgage interest rates for a houseboat are higher than interest rates for standard homes. You may have to pay up to 3 percentage points more for your houseboat than a standard home.

Houseboat Inspection

You will also need to get your houseboat inspected before finalizing your purchase. This inspection will look a little different than your typical house inspection though.

Your houseboat will need a haul-out inspection of the hull as well as an inspection of the inside.

As the buyer, you will pay for the survey. The price depends on the size of the boat, but most lenders will have experienced inspectors you can use.

Property Tax?

Because the houseboat isn’t on the land, you actually won’t have to pay any property tax. Those fees are paid by the marina you’re docking in.

That said, you will have to pay to rent the dock you’ll be staying at.


A home that floats on water requires more maintenance than a home that sits solidly on the ground. When you’re living in a houseboat, it’s important to set aside a budget every year to save for repairs.

For example, some houseboats have through-hulls. These are intentional holes in the hull that allows ocean water into systems like the bathroom. Things like these need to be checked for leaks often and repaired right away if one is found.

You may also have to wash and wax the outside of the boat and hire a diver to clean the bottom.

Stop Dreaming About Living in a Houseboat and Do It

If you’ve always dreamed of living in a houseboat, now is the time to stop dreaming and take some action. Start looking for a houseboat you like or put your budget in order so you can buy one in the future.

Living in a houseboat definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you like the sound of being rocked to sleep every night by the waves, find a houseboat the works for you and get prepared to live on the water.

Need to make some repairs to your land home before you leave it behind? Take a look at this article and find some great home repair services.