Seattle Houseboats 2020 Top Questions Answered

Aside From Our Listing Inquiries, These Are The Top Questions About Seattle Houseboats From 2020

We kept track this year and aside from appointments and questions about the incredible Seattle floating home listings and sales we had this year, these are the top other Seattle houseboats questions we received from online inquiries.

What is the difference between a houseboat and a floating home?

My original explanation is that “houseboats” is the umbrella term which covers floating homes, liveaboard vessels, and barges (and now FOWRs). I still argue that this is historically correct because even the Seattle Floating Homes Association has called our floating home tour a Houseboat Tour in days gone by.

***Small disclaimer.  I live on a floating home.*** 

Some of the historical Lake Union buffs and “old timers” like me still call “floating homes” “houseboats” from time to time.  I personally consider them interchangeable, except that the modern definition of a houseboat and a floating home are two different things now. Both get to enjoy the lake lifestyle, though….

Enter The FOWR System

The city came up with a plaque system and now we have and official category: Floating On Water Residence (FOWR). So I am still personally arguing that houseboats is the umbrella term which covers everyone on the lake including floating homes, FOWRs, and barges.   I am usually outvoted by Molly on this point, but I will probably always call my floating home a houseboat regardless.  In any case, Molly is correct. An actual houseboat by today’s standards in Seattle is a FOWR and I live in a floating home. The simplest explanation is that a houseboat is more “boaty”.  It is built on a hull and  has boat systems in place for water and waste in most cases. There are some incredible houseboat options lately that are actually connected to the sewer, too.  A floating home is built on a floating foundation, is mostly permanently moored and always connected to the city’s sewer, water, and electrical.  My apologies. If I have confused you, call me and I will try and explain again.  Or call Molly and get the technically correct explanation.

A couple examples of a floating homes and a FOWR which we happen to have listed currently: Here is a Floating home and here is FOWR

Westlake floating home

How much does a houseboat cost in Seattle? How much do floating homes cost?  

That is a good question. This year we saw overall houseboats sales range from $90,000 to $4,500,000 for for all types of houseboats including floating homes. Two floating home sales hit the four million dollars and over mark for the first time. There are 56 sales in the MLS as of this moment and we know there are two additional ones closing and also at least a few that sold off market completely out of the mls.  This is why it is so very important to tell us what you are looking for. We are highly networked into this amazing community and we can help you secure your Lake Union home!

Where are the houseboats in Seattle?  Where is the best place to live on a houseboat? 

Anywhere.  There is a saying that basically says if you are lucky enough to live on a houseboat then you are lucky enough. This is so true.  This lifestyle is like none other.  Whether you are on a floating home or a houseboat, you are living a similar lake life. Living on Lake Union is like nothing else.  It is an incredible contrast of urban and natural settings married together perfectly. The people that live on the lake are all interesting and life is never dull. This map needs to be updated to include larger houseboat collections.. 

Can you rent a houseboat in Seattle? 

Yes and no.  We get so many calls about nightly rental inquiries.  In short, it isn’t allowed. http://www.seattleafloat.com/seattle-floating-homes-airbnb-resource/

Can you live on a boat in Seattle?  Yes… but a houseboat is more convenient.

Seattle Houseboats Realtors and Your Advocates:

seattle houseboats realtors
Courtney Cooper & Molly Cartwright are SeattleAfloat.com Waterfront and Houseboats Brokers. 206-841-6800

Let us tour you through this beautiful floating home! Molly and Courtney are Seattle Floating homes experts and here to be your absolute advocates when it comes to houseboats living. We can help you from start to finish and beyond and welcome you to our beloved neighborhood. Have questions? 206-841-6800/206-850-8841 houseboats@coopercartwright.com

Seattle Houseboats: Floating Homes Market Report

Seattle Afloat’s Molly & Courtney sold three of the FOUR floating homes in the two months.

We are deep into the 2019 holiday season now and Molly and I are so thankful for the fabulous year that we have had. We love this community so much and appreciate that you think of us first when it comes to buying or selling your Seattle floating home. We look forward to 2020 and serving the Seattle floating homes community well into the future.

Let’s catch up on the Seattle floating homes market over the last couple of months! There are five floating homes for sale in Seattle currently. They range in price from $550,000 for a two bedroom with a long term lease in Portage Bay to $3,200,000 for a brand new construction luxury floating home with a basement in Portage Bay. Three of these Seattle floating homes are in Portage Bay, one is in Fremont, and one is in Eastlake. The average list price is $1,710,000 and the average dollar per square foot is $1061.82 with a range from $672.37 to $1,315.79.

Looking at closed sales in the last sixty days, there have been four Seattle floating homes for sale that have sold through the MLS that range in price from $500,000 to $2,700,000 with a median sales price of $882,500 and an average days on market of 54 days. Three of these were in Portage Bay and one was in Westlake. The average sales price to list price for these floating homes was 95.67%. Molly and I sold three out of four of these! We definitely know the market and are happy to help you if you want an evaluation. We have specialized in Seattle Houseboats for over a decade and can offer you a wealth of experience and knowledge. Living in, working in, and giving back to this community is what we do. We also have a FOWR Seattle houseboats specialist on our team now to serve the many Seattle houseboats that are not floating homes. Reach out and we can introduce you to one of our houseboats agents Susan so you can learn about this special segment of the Seattle houseboats lake market, too. There’s lots of real estate on the lake in Seattle and we are here to help you with all of it.

Want more information? We at Seattle Afloat are Seattle Houseboats Experts and the only team working on the lake today that has been successfully representing clients together for almost two decades.

Courtney Cooper & Molly Cartwright 206-850-8841/206-841-6800 houseboats@cooperjacobs.com

seattle houseboats

Seattle Houseboats History Resource

Curious about Seattle houseboats and their history on Lake Union?seattle houseboats

You have to go back over a hundred years and look beyond Lake Union to see the roots of Seattle houseboats.  Beth Means and Bill Keasler  wrote a great piece about Seattle houseboats history on The Seattle Floating Homes Association website.  Seattle Floating homes have played a significant part in shaping the city’s history and landscape.  We at Seattle Afloat have a whole category on this site dedicated to it: Seattle houseboats history on Seattle Afloat.

There is also a great spot to see amazing pictures and get more information on HistoryLink where the site describes various houseboats around Seattle and their origins:

“Some of these communities — especially those off the Madison Park and Leschi neighborhoods on Lake Washington —  were formed by the well-to-do who enjoyed summering aboard their fancy abodes. Others — along the Elliott Bay waterfront, the Duwamish River, Harbor Island, Salmon Bay, Lake Union, Portage Bay, and Union Bay — were mainly inhabited by workers struggling to stay financially afloat.. “

Howard Droker wrote the fascinating book Seattle’s Unsinkable Houseboats in 1977 and there is a great video about Seattle houseboats featuring him on the http://www.lakeunionhistory.org/ website.  I have embedded it here because it is worth a watch:


Vannessa Ho at the Seattle PI wrote an interesting piece about Seattle houseboats  – it was a cool slide show of houseboats then and now.  Here is a link to that slideshow: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/slideshow/Seattle-houseboats-Then-and-now-64448.php

seattle houseboatsIf you are curious about Seattle houseboats and interested in purchasing a Seattle floating home, then please let us know.  These are special homes and the ultimate in Seattle waterfront living.  You should work with real estate agents who understand the ins and outs of Seattle houseboats.  Molly and I understand all of the unique intricacies of the Seattle floating home world and we are happy to help you.  We can also help you with the various FSBO floating homes available across the lake.

You can reach Molly at 206-841-6800 or Molly@CooperJacobs.com or me at 206-850-8841 or Courtney@cooperjacobs.com

Cooper Jacobs Real Estate for all your realty needs – we have brokers who specialize in all Seattle neighborhoods and suburbs.

Brand New Seattle Houseboats Listing!

Welcome to Life Afloat on Lake Union!

Seattle houseboats for saleThe Seattle Floating Homes Market In General: If you have been watching the Seattle houseboats market at all, then you know that there have not been a lot to choose from as of late.  Seattle floating homes have trickled onto the market very slowly and many have sold off market as demand increases. It is our pleasure to introduce this gem into the mix as it is a great spot to call home in Seattle!

2025 Fairview Ave E #H

Rare second from the end South facing Lake Union floating home in Eastlake with incredible features. Great interior spaces, French Doors to the back deck which opens up to a large channel and easy Lake action.

Enjoy relaxing in your “backyard” on your grandfathered in accessory float, plus there is space to put your own small boat alongside. Coveted Co-Op Owned Lake Union Moorage Slip and a well maintained floating home all on one of the most well run docks in the city.  This is truly an opportunity and it isnt often that these come up so close to the end of the dock. $725,000

Some of the basics on this Seattle floating home for sale:

  • 1 Bedroom
  • 1 Bath
  • 900 Square Feet
  • Large decks and storage areas
  • Owned Moorage
  • Accessory Float is “grandfathered in”
  • Room for a boat along side
  • Room for expansion

Although it is almost always more expensive dollar per square foot to purchase a Seattle houseboat, the low dues and low taxes make this home more affordable than a land home overall. They are quite a unique way to live in the city and Molly or I would be happy to tell you about it. Let us know, please, if you are interested in seeing this Seattle floating home or other Seattle houseboats for sale. We are happy to show you our favorites and walk you through the steps of purchasing one.

Courtney Cooper 206-850-8841 Courtney@CooperJacobs.com

Molly Cartwright 206-841-6800 Molly@CooperJacobs.com


OK – So Basically You Have Three Choices…

Seattle Houseboats market staying afloat…

We know of a few Seattle floating homes that have sold recently off market including a front row Roanoke Reef floating home …  Molly and I also know of at least two others about to hit the market so stay tuned, but if you are interested in looking at Seattle houseboats right now, you have three choices.

Seattle houseboats

Molly and I recommend this 950 square foot Seattle floating home with a rooftop deck.  It is listed for $499,950.  Here are the remarks from the MLS listing for this Eastlake houseboat:

This is a great opportunity to live life afloat and own your own moorage and great well run co-op dock! Extremely stylish floating home has a beautiful owner’s suite perched on the second floor. Nice open floor plan, kitchen with stainless steel appliances opening up to a casual great room. Fun decks and spaces, plus a roof top deck!

The other two choices are within the same Log Foundation co-op dock.  There is an adorable one on the same dock listed at $449,000 and then a couple docks South but still within the Log Foundation is an end of dock Seattle floating home still located in the Log Foundation and listed for $2,888,000.  It is on the most southern Seattle floating home dock in Eastlake so imagine the Seattle skyline views you have from there! It is supreme.

There is one other “on market” option and that is the very last homesite available at Wards’s Cove.  Ward’s Cove is the newest Seattle floating home dock and 11 out of the 12 slips have sold. It was listed for $630,000, but is currently under $600,000.  Ward’s Cove offers many amenities and some well designed floating home plan options, PLUS it is fee simple ownership.  This is RARE.  Another rare perk?  Parking!

Please let myself or Molly know if you are interested in any of these or if you would like to see something else we may have upcoming…  206.850.8841 or 206.841.6800 courtney@cooperjacobs.com or molly@cooperjacobs.com

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