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Do Houseboats Hold Their Value?

Do Houseboats Hold Their Value?

Unlike what you see with the real estate market, houses will increase in value over the years, but, boats decrease in value.

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The greatest part of the devaluation process occurs in the first couple of years and then gradually decreases as the years go on. Depending on where you live, there may be state or regional taxes on your used boat purchase as well.

Floating homes are one exception to that rule. They actually increase for the first few years. Self-propelled houseboats (the type built on pontoons and have a motor to move on the water), fall to the regular boating devaluation rule, unfortunately.

Often, floating homes are purchased with a bit of land as well; or at least moorage to go along with the floating home.

Depending on where your floating home is moored, these places may even be worth more than the houseboat itself.

The devaluation of mobile houseboats follows the same type and rate as the devaluation of a vehicle. However, floating homes (which are also considered houseboats) increase in value.

If you’re looking to buy a houseboat as an investment, consider buying a floating home.

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But, if you’re looking to live on a houseboat for the joy of being on a mobile houseboat, just know of the average devaluation before you buy one.

That number can be a difficult pill to swallow if you’re not aware of it. However, the market is constantly changing, and the prices of houseboats vary depending on its quality, size, and other factors (depending on the houseboat).

How Much Does it Cost to Live on a Boat

The answer is, “not much.”


Boat prices vary. There are boats in need of renovation offered for free, and there are brand new custom-built penthouse boats for over $400,000. Realistically, a search shows a number of boats between $20-80,000. The $20,000 boats have a tendency to tilt towards the look of floating trailer homes, while the $80,000 boats can resemble impressive yachts just outside their glory days.

When you add the costs for slip fee, water and electricity, maintenance, all in all, total costs of living on a houseboat: about $6,000 per year, check the costs of living on a sailboat.

Tips to increase the resale value on houseboats

Everything will eventually decrease in value and devaluate.

However, you can slow down the process (and maybe even increase its value) with some practical maintenance and upkeep.

    • Make sure you’re regularly maintaining the exterior paint on your boat.

Houseboats are always in the water. Because of that, the exterior of your boat is susceptible to things like mold, algae, rust, and is constantly in contact with impurities.

Performing some maintenance on that exterior paint about once a season is a good way to avoid corrosion. This is a task that will help improve the integrity of your houseboat and will also help it’s outward appearance.

    • Refurnish and remodel the interior of your boat with classic and quality pieces.

When you furnish the interior of your houseboat, or if you are planning on mixing things up and refurnishing (or remodeling), consider sticking to classic pieces. Choose clean, classic pieces made with high-quality wood or leather upholstery. If you stick with a few definitive pieces that aren’t overly trendy. This will keep you from having to keep upgrading your interior when the trends change.

    • Consider hiring a professional cleaner every once in a while.

Of course, you can always clean your own houseboat but, every now and then, consider hiring a professional property cleaner to give your houseboat a much-needed sprucing up. There are always corners, nooks, and crannies that get overlooked. Professionals know how to get into hard-to-reach places.

    • Check for repairs that need to be done before you get your houseboat appraised.

Make sure you double-check your entire boat before you invite your agent over to appraise your property. Look into any creaky floors, chip away old paint and repaint what needs to be repainted. Look for signs of leaks or flooding, and take care of those before anything else. Do all of your repairs in advance before your agent comes over. This will make sure that you get the higher price you want.

    • Have some high-quality upgrades which won’t break the bank.

Not every single upgrade to your houseboat is going to cost you an arm and a leg. There are some great inexpensive options that you can add to your boat each month or season. If you are fond of working with your hands, doing these small upgrades yourself will also save money. Otherwise, hire a professional to do the installation for you.

    • Think like an interior decorator.

Consulting an interior decorator or designer is a great way to find out what your ideal style is, in order to create a sense of cohesion in your houseboat. Often, we will find random pieces of furniture at the store and bring it all aboard.

Finding an interior decorator or designer will help you find the perfect solutions for your space. They can even help with storage and with finding deals in your area, for certain supplies and fixtures.

    • Don’t skimp on or forget houseboat insurance.

Make sure your houseboat is covered by a plan in case there is a disaster in your area. If you are looking to sell sometime soon, this will also give your potential buyers assurance that the houseboat is fully covered and that damages will potentially be minimal if something catastrophic happens. Believe it or not, insurance actually adds to the value of your boat.

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