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 [email protected]

seattle houseboats slip for sale

Investor Alert: Seattle Floating Home Moorage Site For Sale

seattle houseboats slip for saleBuy a piece of the Lake in Seattle!

Not ready to jump all the way into Seattle floating home living, but still want to get your feet into the Seattle floating home water living real estate market?  This is a great opportunity to purchase a piece of Lake Union. Located in the eastern arm of Lake Union in Portage Bay, this Seattle houseboats slip currently leases to a tenant floating home, but the possibilities are endless. It’s a great investment on a wonderful co-op dock with a parking spot included!  You can purchase the slip as an investment, collect rental income, and own a coveted parking spot all while enjoying the investment benefits of Seattle real estate appreciation.

Portage Bay is a fabulous part of Lake Union!  You are surrounded by the tranquility of calmer waters, but never very far from anything you need.  Just down the block from the acclaimed and much celebrated grocery and eatery Little Lago, and surrounded by parks and beauty, this dock is on the Portage Bay Loop which is only slightly longer in length than Green Lake. Walk to Eastlake, University District, and more plus a quick commute to Amazon, University of Washington, and Children’s Hospital. Surrounded by multi million dollar properties and great spot between Lake Washington and the Puget Sound.  $435,000

Call/Text Molly Cartwright or Courtney Cooper for more information 206-841-6800/206-850-8841 We are excited to share with you this wonderful Seattle waterfront lifestyle and all the perks of living Life Afloat In Seattle [email protected]

Seattle Floating Homes For Sale: Open House Is Hopping!

2207 fairview ave eSeattle Houseboats For Sale on Lake Union

Still Afloat In Seattle: Just listed this week!

UPDATE: THIS SEATTLE FLOATING HOME IS SOLD

This Seattle floating home has been remodeled from the studs out with thoughtful finishes throughout. Soaring ceilings and lots of windows invite the summer days in and keep it light and bright during the dull grey season.

Enjoy the security of living in one of the floating homes with coveted owned moorage plus space to tie your own boat up to. It’s a well run dock on Lake Union in the heart of Seattle.

You can find out more about this Seattle floating home and this houseboat dock here:

2207 Fairview Ave E

Listed at $849,000

If you are interested in all Seattle floating homes for sale, you can see them from all realtors and all real estate companies on our corporate floating homes page where we showcase all Seattle floating homes listings:

Seattle floating homes for sale

  • 2 bedrooms
  • A lovely remodeled bath
  • Large loft
  • Large deck
  • Moorage for your boat
  • Great dock

You can also contact me if you have questions about the lifestyle in general or need more information about this very specialized corner of real estate. [email protected]

 

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 Open House: The Lake Union View

The View From My Seattle Houseboat  Open House On Lake Union today was quite extraordinary.  Life Afloat In Seattle ™ is extraordinary.

No wind, calm water, a few kayakers, one brave paddle-boarded, and lots of boats gliding past me as I had  The Ark open house today at Seattle Marina in North Lake Union.

Lake Union houseboats

Crew on Lake Union

Water has a wonderous way of relaxing you and Lake Union is no exception.  Seattle houseboats often have high traffic for the open houses. With a busy open house, I had to remember to not get too relaxed!  From my location, I managed to snap a great pic of  the Lake Union Moorage available right now at Ward’s Cove across the water in the Eastlake neighborhood.  Interesting enough, Ward’s Cove is a privately held Seattle based company encompassing fish processing in Alaska since the late 1920’s.  Salmon was a big business for Ward’s Cove back in the day but since they haulted this, they looked for another way to make a profit while still providing greatest and best use out of their prime Eastlake location.  So they decided to turn it into a mixed use space and welcome one more Seattle floating home community.

This is probably the last Seattle floating homes dock permitted since the lake can only hold so many of them.  With four Lake Union moorage slips sold at last check and eight more to go, these new construction floating homes sites are selling at a premium and a chance to build your dream home on the water’s edge.  As you can see here, the preparations have begun for one lucky floating home owner!

Wards Cove Lake Union

Ward’s Cove in Lake Union

Can You Move A Floating Home?

The Big Move: Moving A Seattle Dilapidated Houseboat And Bringing In A New One…

The old Houseboat # O on the 2017 Dock

Seattle floating homes are moored “permanently” to the docks they are on, but from time to time, it is necessary to move out dilapidated houseboats and bring in new ones or a recycled one in this case.  This is an amazing set of pictures from an event that doesn’t happen very often.

The Tug boat doing all the moving

Jann McFarland wrote a great article in the Floating Homes Association Spring 2010 Newsletter about this particular move and one of the floating homes owner on the dock was kind enough to share her photos and give me permission to publish them here (Thank you Carole!).  Both Carole and I thought it was a nice piece of houseboat history and worth sharing.

This particular houseboat move took place on 2017 Fairview Ave E on one of the Log Foundation co-op docks. It was in October of 2009 and according to Jann’s article it took almost two years to get the proper permits in place to make this feat happen.

Houseboat O’s Lake Union moorage slip is not at the end of the dock or even near the end of the dock.  In addition, the channel between that dock and the next dock over isn’t wide enough to bring an entire houseboat in or out so how do they do it?

Moving the houseboats out to the lake

Very carefully with lots of planning and cooperation from many involved.

Tugboat pushing in the replacement houseboat

Last one to be moved out before Houseboat O

It is more than just moving the floating homes in or out.  There are permits, contracts, utilities, insurance, and more, plus you have to get all of the owners on board on the same day for the move.

One by one, the floating homes on the dock are moved out to make a wide channel to bring the old home out and the new one in.  It was an all day event and involved many people coordinating their efforts.

The tug boat moved each of the floating homes on the North side of the 2017 dock out to the lake and rafted them together while the replacement houseboat was brought in.  The dock got a recycled Portage Bay floating home and brought it in place of the older houseboat being taken out.

The newer houseboat O was brought in and fixed up and it sold in less than a month for full price at $475,000 – quite a bargain actually for the size, condition, and location.  The Log Foundation Co-op is a group of Seattle floating homes owners that cooperatively own the three South most docks on Fairview Ave E in Eastlake.  It is a great houseboat community  and worth a look if you are interested in living on a Seattle houseboat.  Currently there are three Seattle houseboats for sale on the Log Foundation docks – they range in price from $495,000 to $749,000.

*Thanks to Carole Nielson for the photographs and permission to use.

More Out in the Lake

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