NWMLS Changes How Some Houseboats Are Treated So We Won’t Have Any More Boats

In recent years all houseboats have been listed in the NWMLS whether they were floating homes, vessels, or barges.  This opened the door for a broader definition of houseboat and in some cases we saw vessels in the MLS that were practically ski boats being listed by real estate agents.  I am exaggerating of course,  but you get my point.

The MLS has recently ruled that they will not allow any houseboats that are or have ever been registered as vessels in the MLS.  This caused many listings in the last week or so to be deleted without warning even though I personally think they should have been grandfathered in and allowed until expiration.  Never the less, they were deleted.  Seattle houseboat

Molly and I deal mostly in floating homes, but we are SeattleAfloat.com so we have sold all types of houseboats.  In addition to the Seattle floating homes we have listed right now, we also have a house barge.  Until today we also had a vessel houseboat listed in the MLS.  Our client is actually lucky because they happen to have a houseboat AND an owned moorage slip in Gas Works Park Marina.  As Realtors in the MLS we are allowed to list moorage slips so the slip is listed now and the “houseboat is included for the buyer’s convenience”.

Seattle floating homes owners:  What does this mean to you?

  • If you are a Seattle floating home, you are allowed to be in the MLS – whether your moorage is owned or leased.
  • If you are a legal housebarge owner and your houseboat is in your owned slip, then you are good to go and can be listed no problem as of this date.  No guarantees from the MLS on when this will change, but for now you are allowed to be in the MLS as a houseboat.
  • If you are not one of the grandfathered in legal house barges of Seattle, you are not even allowed to be on the lake as a live aboard as far as I know and definitely not allowed in the MLS.
  • If you are a Vessel type houseboat and in a leased or otherwise unowned slip, you are left to your own devices to sell outside of the MLS.  I personally suggest Craigslist.  This includes most marinas around Lake Union and most importantly Seattle Marina which has the largest concentration of vessel type houseboats.  Nothing in Seattle Marina can be listed in the MLS as of last week.
  • If you are a Vessel type houseboat and you are in your owned moorage slip, you are allowed to be in the MLS, but under moorage, not as a houseboat. We can still market your houseboat along with your slip because it is included in the slip purchase.

If you are confused, you are not alone.  However, this is what we are here for.  Let me know if you have questions or need details on how to sell your Seattle houseboat.  courtney@cooperjacobs.com

Are Houseboats Drifting Away?

2143 North Northlake Way #18

2143 North Northlake Way

Are Seattle Houseboats Drifting Away?

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about Seattle houseboats in the news lately.  And if you receive your news from just one source, it might sound like Seattle houseboats are drifting away.

So what’s really going on? What is the dispute over?  One could argue it’s really about should private people be taking over public space.

In broad terms, the dispute is about freeing up the shorelines on parts of Lake Union.  According to the state law, water dependent (vs water oriented) businesses and industries, shoreline restoration and public access are all given priority.  With this in mind, some city council members say shorelines should be preserved for recreational and water-dependent uses (aka not houseboats).  Yet other city committee representatives say they want to protect the Seattle lifestyle of houseboats.  Yep, definitely confusing.  But one thing is crystal clear:  current houseboat owners and liveaboards say they’re tired of battling for their chosen lifestyle, investment, and freedom to live and just want to be left alone after years of this with the city.

Big agencies like The Planning Land Use and Sustainability Committee, State Department of Ecology, Coast Guard, and Lake Union Liveaboard Association are all trying to come to an agreement about what defines a houseboat.  The due date of January 14th is fast approaching to make this distinction and it’s complex to say the least.  By current standards, a houseboat is treated as a water oriented vessel.  Most should have propulsion, safety equipment, steering and navigational lights, and all already have a black water holding tank, also title and registration. One must beg the question: How is this standard different than say a sailboat, yacht or ferry which are all legal and not up for debate.

Some LULU members (Lake Union Liveaboard Association) remind city officials that houseboats have been around Seattle waters even before it was a city.  Naturally, anger and resentment have come to an all time high for the liveaboards, houseboat builders, marina owners, local vendors and businesses.

I want to be clear there is a difference between houseboats and floating homes in Seattle.  The 500 floating homes in Lake Union and Portage Bay are completely void of these litigation’s.  Floating homes, unlike houseboats, are floating structures usually consisting of logs or concrete which are connected to city water/sewer and are considered “real property” and remain in place by a very heavy moorage arm and do not move from their location.

I understand with the growing population and the fascination of such an intriguing lifestyle, the state/city would want certain regulations intact.  There are essentially two arguments going on simultaneously:  preserving the shoreline for recreational and “water-dependent” use and the defining a houseboat.  The houseboat community is no stranger to reinforcing their lifestyle to the city.  These are folks who care deeply about their lake and go to great lengths to pacify others in order to remain there.  This will not change and it will not change without a fight.

If you’d like more information about houseboats or floating homes please feel free to contact me via email at molly@cooperjacobs.com

 

 

 

Seattle Floating Homes: Why You Need The Security Of OWNED Moorage Vs. A Rented Slip

Why You Need The Security Of OWNED Moorage Vs. A Rented Slip

Don’t buy a floating home in a rented slip when there are Seattle floating homes for sale with the security of an owned slip!!!  Why on Earth would you want your investment to not be secure?  The city of Seattle has been dwindling down the Seattle floating community for a hundred years with regular new ordinances and it is more important now than ever to make sure that you are purchasing a floating home that is either on a fee simple dock, a condominium dock, or a co-op dock.  Leased slips are not secure and when you go to sell it, you will have trouble finding buyers who can obtain financing.  The few lenders who lend on Seattle floating homes don’t like to do it on leased docks unless there is a long term lease in place.  
 
Can the seller obtain owned moorage from their landlord?  Ask them!  
 

Here is an example of a Seattle floating home for sale that is in its secure OWNED slip: (UPDATE: THIS SEATTLE HOUSEBOAT IS NOT FOR SALE ANYMORE)

Enjoy life afloat in Seattle in one of the most private spots along Westlake: Large kitchen & wonderful sleeping loft, plus a great office. Newer roof and deck – Great access to Downtown, Queen Anne & Fremont, walking/cycling trails (including the Cheshiahud Loop) w/ all the perks of living on Lake Union!  If you are looking for Amazon Housing or other Housing near South Lake Union, then this is a GREAT Choice!

2764 Westlake Ave N Houseboat # D

seattle floating homesOffered at just $255,000

  •   (Co-op owned moorage is a very secure way to own the land that your  is in) Owned Lake Union Moorage Seattle floating home
  • LOW Taxes and dues (you will be shocked at the affordability compared to the warnings some might give you as to the affordability of a Seattle floating home)
  • LOW Mortgage Interest rates available (ask me for referrals for your Seattle Houseboat financing needs because it is different than a traditional mortgage in requirements and terms)
  • Sleeping loft with room to go up below city height restrictions.
  • extra room for office or second sleeping room
  • large bathroom can accomodate a full laundry suite
  • ridiculously large entertaining kitchen
  • Very friendly dock from my experiences there
  • Westlake Cove is quite protected from rougher waters in parts of Lake Union

This is a great Seattle floating home for sale – you can compare it to other Seattle houseboats for sale right now and see that this one is a GREAT BUY!  It is the most affordable Seattle floating home on the market with owned moorage.

Seattle Houseboats Market: Lake Union End Of The Dock Houseboat For Sale

Seattle houseboats

Lake Union Houseboats For Sale – At End Of The Dock. (UPDATE THIS SEATTLE HOUSEBOAT IS SOLD)

There’s still time to buy this one and close the deal before July 4th!!!!

Views that will knock your socks off! Truly a front row slip to Lake Union’s energy and activity. Tons of light will fill this one of a kind 1988 Barhop Seattle House barge in active

Westlake Marina. Recently hauled out and in excellent condition. New paint in and out, propane stove, new carpet, flooring and more! Roomie second story. Your kayak awaits right outside your bedroom door. Lives like a 2 bedroom or use large upstairs room as a living room with Lake Union view deck outside French doors.

A Grandfathered Seattle Housebarge (no sales tax!) measures 40.2×14 and is home to a much coveted liveaboard slip.

$199,000

This is a great end of the dock front row Seattle houseboat – you can compare it to other Seattle houseboats for sale right now and see that this one is a GREAT BUY!   Seattle houseboats and slips for sale

Seattle Houseboats Brokers at Cooper Jacobs Real Estate™

Email:  molly@cooperjacobs.com or courtney@cooperjacobs.com

Call or Text: 206-841-6800/206.850.8841  for more info or your own private showing of this or other Seattle houseboats

Seattle Afloat ®

seattle houseboats

Lake Union: Seattle Houseboat For Sale –

Looking at Seattle houseboats for sale?   Okay, so it’s technically a Seattle house barge.  What’s the difference you ask?

Seattle houseboatsThere are three types of floating methods of living on Lake Union Afloat in Seattle™Seattle House Barges, Seattle HouseBoats, and Seattle Floating Homes.  I get asked “what’s the difference with all these Seattle houseboats?” all the time.  And there is a big difference!  But because the NWMLS only has one option for us to input the type of structure, they’re all bundled under style 24 “houseboat”.

A Seattle House Barge was constructed as a home that floats and is moveable but has no motor or sales tax.  I say “was” constructed because there are only 34 registered or grandfathered house barges in Seattle.  This is unlike a HouseBoat…which has a motor and is constructed as a vessel and are still being built to this day.  And since it’s a vessel, you will be paying sales tax because it’s considered personal property, not “real” property.

 This handsome Seattle housebarge sits proudly in a very active Westlake Marina slip.   It’s #7 of 34 registered housebarges in Seattle King County.

Seattle houseboats The 600 square foot barge has recently been hauled out for a complete and successful survey.  You’ll enjoy one nice size bedroom, a clean as a whistle .75 bath (shower, no tub), take the spiral staircase to the top story just full of possibilities and the views are worth a million bucks!
Lake Union AfloatNew paint inside and out, new flooring and carpet, tankless water heater and a sturdy double pontoon fiberglass over plywood hull.

This Seattle houseboat is special – please call us for a private showing.

Seattle Afloat ®

We are available to talk now.