Cost Of Living On A Houseboat Year Round

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With the rising costs of apartments and houses, more people are switching to living on a houseboat.Making the switch from a traditional home to a houseboat does not have to be hard or a daunting task either.

And the best part is you can live on a houseboat year round for a fraction of the cost you would spend with a traditional home.  

How much does it cost to live on a houseboat? The average cost to live on a houseboat year round is $11,460 which works out at $955 per month on average. This price will vary from country to country and from city to city.  

These living costs include Moorings/Repair Bills/ Electricity/Heating/ etc. and the actual cost can vary dramatically from place  to place.  

Whether you want to live on a houseboat in the UK,the USA, or anywhere in the world,  we'll dive into some of the costs associated with the various options you have available.  

Here's what we'll discuss:

  • Houseboat Cost To Buy (New & Used)
  • Cost Of Living On A Houseboat Year Round
  • A Detailed Cost Breakdown
  • Houseboat Costs Price Template
  • Home/Apartment vs Houseboat Cost Comparison
  • Other Useful Information

Houseboats Cost To Buy

First things first, you'll obviously need to buy a houseboat. You can go down the route of buying a brand new houseboat or finding a cheaper used houseboat alternative.  

Pro tip: Before you buy any houseboat, you should rent one out first to see if you like it. There are many places offering houseboats to rent so finding one shouldn't be an issue.

You can check out some houseboats in Texas, Seattle or Florida if it's something of interest.

A brand new custom built houseboat can start at $299,000. The benefits with a brand new houseboat is you can have it designed to your own specifications.  

The obvious drawback is it's obviously more expensive so it may not be for everyone.  With customization options, there is nearly an unlimited amount of possibilities with what you can do.

If budget is no option, you can get houseboats built in the millions of dollars range.

WHERE CAN YOU BUY BRAND NEW HOUSEBOATS?

A simple google search for "brand new houseboats for sale" should suffice but if you want some guidance, you can get your own custom houseboats build at websites like trifectahouseboats.com

Here's a look at some of the houseboats they built over the years.

cost of living on a houseboat

houseboats brand new
living on a houseboat

Now obviously you'll pay top dollar for those houseboats but aren't they amazing looking?  

The interior looks better than most traditional houses!

COSTS OF USED HOUSEBOATS

The majority of people reading this would prefer to find a less expensive houseboat. The good news is there are lots of these options.  

You can find used houseboats for as little as $20,000.... not a bad price to pay for your very own home.  

Now obviously price will vary massively and the larger the houseboat, the more expensive it is (generally speaking) with the vast majority between $20k & $500k    

You can find lots of used houseboats on boats.com. Here's a look a some of the listings on their site:

used houseboats cost of living


COST OF HOUSEBOATS SUMMARY

Please note that these prices are averages and actual prices vary based on houseboat specs etc.

HOUSEBOAT SIZE

Useful Tip: When you are buying a houseboat, you should ask the current owner (if buying it used) what the cost is to run the boat per month.

Please however keep in mind that most people will give you a great cheap price in the hopes of selling it so it's probably best to add 20% to whatever price they give you.  

Alternatively, if purchasing a new houseboat, you can ask the manufacturer what kind of costs there are. (you will get a more tailored price per month this way)

Cost Of Living On A Houseboat Year Round

What exactly are all the costs associated with living on a boat? Below is  a list of what you will need to calculate for yourself.

We have put in the average cost for each (again this will vary from person to person)


Mooring Related Fees


This is essential the cost to have the houseboat parked in a marina or particular area.  This price will vary on location etc. but here are some averages:  

Liveaboard Fees : $150 average
Doc/ Mooring Fees Per Ft. : $11 - $17 This generally includes garbage disposal, water, 30w power, wifi.
Pump out Fees (Waste removal): $50

As an example, let's assume you have a 25ft houseboat:

Total Mooring related fees per month: $625 per month

Insurance
Houseboat insurance varies per location and circumstances but averages $150 per month

Heating Costs
Typically a diesel powered heater is what is most commonly used.  Prices to run it averages $80 per month.

Cooking Costs
Cooking with Propane on a houseboat costs about $30 per month.

Maintenance & Repair
This is something that will vary dramatically from one boat owner to the next.

Obviously when you buy your houseboat, things can/will go wrong from time to time (similar to a house)  

This will also depend on the condition of the houseboat you purchase. An average cost of a relatively good houseboat should range around  $100 per month to maintain/repair.  

Again, this cost is the one variable that differs the most from person to person so please keep that in mind.

Total Costs

The average cost to live on a houseboat is $955 per month.

Again, a lot of the costs are variable from person to person. But this average cost is much better than the average household bill.

WHAT ABOUT THE WINTER MONTHS?

The prices include a year round living expenses. The heating fee is averaged out monthly but the majority of the heating costs will obviously be during the winter months

houseboat at winter

Most marinas/docks will have electricity supply (as part of the mooring fees) and the price has been included for the harsher winter climates.  

One thing worth mentioning is that you can always move the boat to warmer climates in the winter, an enviable bonus that houseboat owners have over traditional house owners.  

Imagine being able to pick up your house and move it somewhere warmer in the winter?

WHAT ABOUT SALES/PROPERTY TAX WHEN LIVING ON A HOUSEBOAT?

This again varies from country to country & city to city but do inquire with your local accountant/legal professional.  

You may have the bonus of being exempt from sales tax (in some instances)  

It is an important step to find out the tax structure in your local area as it can save a lot of money. e.g. Minnesota, US do not pay sales tax on houseboats. (this may change)

COST OF LIVING ON A HOUSEBOAT PRICE TEMPLATE

Below is a houseboat price template. We recommend you use something similar or swipe the one here.  

Before you ever consider living on a houseboat, try to be as accurate as possible on your own costs (based on where you want to live etc.)

Do not be too hard on yourself as you won't get it exactly the same as what you will end up paying but it will most certainly give you a head start and will assure you do not get any nasty surprises.

We definitely encourage you to fill out your own and include any costs you can think of.  Fees like mooring can include heating, electricity etc. so you would simply leave the heating costs blank and just simply put the cost in the moorings section.

cost of living on a houseboat price template

HOUSEBOAT V S APARTMENT/HOME COSTS

The costs of renting or buying a home have increased massively over the years in most countries.  This has become a pain for people wanting to live near a city but don't want the expense associated with it.  

But let's just examine the average rental cost per month in a typical US city. The average one bedroom rental in 15 of the major cities is $1216

Now, that cost is just rent. It doesn't include electricity, heating etc. Oh and not to mention, it's a one bedroom apartment!  

So you can live on a houseboat for a fraction of the cost. And let's not forget a famous person who lived on a houseboat, Sir. Richard Branson

The stigma that surrounded living on these boats is well and truly over so it really has never been a better time to consider moving into one of these.

WHAT OTHER "COSTS" TO CONSIDER ABOUT HOUSEBOAT LIVING

While these aren't financial costs, they are worth considering.  Below are some important things to keep in mind:  

  • Prone to being sea sick
  • Easily get sun burned (not a huge problem but still something to consider)
  • Suffer from dizziness
  • Have extreme health issues which mean you need medical facilities at home. (you can always install these on a houseboat, but it's best to consult a professional on this one)
  • You don't enjoy peace and quiet. (no this isn't sarcasm, some people prefer the city sounds & the majority of houseboat communities are in their own little bubble)

OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION (GROUPS/FORUMS)

Another really good way to get a more specific idea of the costs for your unique situation is to join Facebook groups and simply ask in there.

It's best to find group boards for your specific area  A simple search in Facebook like "houseboats + location" might find you a relevant community. (however, you will not always be lucky that one exists)

Still no harm in having a quick look.Here's how to do it in Facebook:

houseboat communities

CONCLUSION

You now have the knowledge of the average cost of living on a houseboat.

Incase you forget, copy the price template above and use it to fill out your own costs so you don't have any nasty surprises along the way.

Also, as mentioned above, it is best to rent one of these boats out for a weekend or even a week or two to get an idea what life would be like on-board.

It's better to lose $1,000 renting one out to realize you don't like it than spending $30k+ (minimum) on a houseboat only to discover you absolutely hate it.  (yes, we have had someone mention this to us before) so learn from their mistakes.  

Either way, if you are content on getting your first houseboat, we wish you the best of luck on your new journey and you can always share experiences/images etc with us through our contact us page


Paul L

I enjoy blogging, business & sailing.

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