Waterfront, Houseboat, Housebarge, Floating Home, Liveaboard
Confused about the terms used to describe the various water living arrangements? Here’s some definitions to help you out.
This one you know. This is a Home or a Condo that borders the water. Careful though, some waterfront condos do not have a view of the water.
Houseboats are home style boats. They are navigable and have the features required of an actual boat – Running lights, steering, engines, etc. If you want to live on a houseboat, you will typically also pay a monthly moorage fee or will have purchased a deeded condo space however there are exceptions to this. For all practicle purposes, a houseboat is simply a liveabord boat. The term “Houseboat” generally means that the boat was designed to be lived aboard on a permanent or semi-permanent basis.
These are unusual! A house barge is a vessel that is both:
- designed and used for navigation but lacks a means of self-propulsion and steering equipment or capability (for example, it is designed and used for navigation by towing); and
- designed or used as a place of residence.
NOTE: These can no longer be built in Seattle. There are approximately 34 Housebarges and only those that have been occupied for residential purposes since June of 1990 are permitted on the lake.
A floating home is a single-family dwelling constructed on a float that is moored, anchored, or otherwise secured in waters. Floating homes are required to be located in approved “floating home moorages” and have direct connections to sewer and water utilities. They do not have motors. The dock space is usually owned by the owner of the floating home and financed as a residential mortgage. Lenders will require an appraisal and a dive inspection. If the dock space is leased a lender will require the lease be the life of the loan. There may be additional design and location restrictions.
Liveaboards are boats that people live on. They may be Houseboats, or simply a boat that a person lives on (permanently, or semi-permanently). Liveaboards come in all shapes and sizes. Many marinas permit a limited number of liveaboards and frequently there is a waiting list for liveaboard slips. Excercise caution when purchasing a boat in a marina to use as a liveaboard. If the boat was not previously permitted as a liveaboard, you may not be able to live aboard at its current location.