Houseboat mortgage is the term given to a mortgage specially tailored to suit the purchase of a liveaboard floating home. There is a wide range of boats available that are suitable for permanent residence, with the main division being between static boats and cruisers.
Basically, you need to decide, do you want to stay in one place, perhaps because of work ties or would you prefer to move around on the many waterways and enjoy the sights, sounds and the ever changing view from your home.
Houseboats are usually static, purpose built homes set on floating barges or pontoons, these are specially designed platforms that require a residential mooring, but many other vessels, such as barges and narrowboats, are also suitable for full time living aboard.
Unless you are buying a boat that comes complete with a mooring, it is essential that you find a mooring first, as these are much harder to come by. In fact, many popular locations have waiting lists of up to three years, so do make sure that you register your interest sooner rather than later.
Houseboat Mortgage and Living Afloat
You won’t be able to get a traditional mortgage in order to fund your houseboat purchase. This is simply because banks and building societies are reluctant to lend on anything that could literally sail away never to be seen again, especially if the mortgagee (that’s you) are in it!
As a result, you will either have to approach a specialist in marine finance, or raise a personal loan. Both of these options will have a far higher monthly repayment than a conventional mortgage, namely because the term of the loan is so much shorter. You will also often be required to put down a 20 per cent deposit.
If your houseboat is sea faring craft, then you may find that your only option is to put your existing property down as security, again, this is due to the increased flight (sail off into the sunset) risk.
You must insure your houseboat with a Third Party policy to a minimum value of £1,000,000 by law. Fear not, however, as houseboat insurance is usually cheaper than car insurance. A range of specialist insurers provide this service, as well as a range of comprehensive policies.
The majority of residential moorings today come complete with access to services such as gas and electricity. Many other facilities, however, are dependent on your particular mooring, some will even have a landline telephone connection for example.
A few purpose built marinas offer additional services ranging from an onsite laundry to a common room where residents are encouraged to socialise. As a result, these moorings are unlikely to come cheap.
If you are planning on renting a houseboat, ensure that the lease comes with a residential mooring. Many moorings forbid houseboats to be rented out, so it’s imperative that the landlord has permission in order to let it to you, otherwise you could find yourself being evicted.
Every houseboat must have a valid Boat Safety Certificate. In order to receive the Certificate, you must have your houseboat checked out by an examiner, and then send the endorsed pass to the relevant navigation authority, along with the completed licence application paperwork.
Once issued, each Certificate is valid for four years, and you will need to produce it in order to get insurance. The inspection process can be expensive for older boats.