I Want to Buy a Houseboat:

A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Houseboat


You’ve been spending the last few months or even years thinking about buying your first houseboat. Your problem is you have no idea where to start or what’s included in the process. The thought of making the jump and going from regular land home to boat may be daunting but, well worth the change. There are many advantages to moving into a houseboat. Whether you plan to remain docked at a marina or want to cruise, each houseboat has its own unique features. The most important things to know are that moving to a houseboat is good for the environment, amazing for cost savings and a worthwhile venture. 

What Does a Houseboat Cost?


When thinking of a houseboat, the first thing that comes to mind is cost. A luxury houseboat can cost you five hundred thousand all the way to well over a million dollars. A midrange houseboat can cost you anywhere from $20,000.00 to $200,000.00. Keep in mind this is with none of the options and is the base model for each boat. This really depends on whether you’re buying new or used. For the sake of this blog, we will assume you’re buying new. 

A new luxurious houseboat from a manufacture like Bravada. Their highest-end yachts have helicopter pads and 7500 sq feet of room on their latest fleet of yachts. This high-end luxury brand has a starting cost of $49,999.99 for their lowest end yacht. If you add any options, you could be looking at $1,000,000.00 as your price tag for your new home. 

A new midrange houseboat from Twin Anchors which is a midrange houseboat company can cost you anywhere from $50,000.00 to $400,000.00. Their houseboats have less of a modern yacht look to them but are great for a family that often has guests. Their fleet of houseboats are a cruising boat for any party. 

Should I Buy Used or New?


Whether you want to buy used or design a brand-new houseboat, they both have their advantages and disadvantage. Deciding on what will suit yourself and your family is the first thing to do. If you want custom design, a new houseboat may be what you’re after, and if you want something that is ready to set sail immediately than maybe a used boat is what you desire. 

Buying a brand-new houseboat has some big advantages. Getting to customize your boat from the water up is a big appeal to new houseboaters. Having complete control over what goes into their new home right down to the type of motor gives new owners the feeling of pride when they set sail. When you buy a new boat, you are sure that everything is in working condition and that the boat comes with a warranty on any parts. Keep in mind buying new comes with a heftier price tag than a used houseboat.

If buying a used boat has been on your radar, there are some big advantages to this as well. Once a boat is purchased—like a car—it loses value immediately. Therefore, if someone buys a boat and after one year changes their mind you can pick up a used boat for a much cheaper price than the original owner that purchased it. One of the biggest issues with buying used is you don’t always know how well the engine was taken care of or if there are huge underlying problems with the boat that are hidden at the time of the sale. Make sure when going in to buy a new boat that you bring someone with lots of knowledge on houseboats to come and help you out. 

Can I Buy a Houseboat Kit and Do It Myself?


Finding a DIY kit for a houseboat is challenging. Unless you have mastered design skills, with knowledge of house boats, I would suggest looking into companies that really take you along with them to build the boat with you. Some houseboat builders will work with you right down to the square footage to help you build your dream home. 

Can I Live on My Houseboat for four Seasons?


Depending where you live, achieving a houseboat lifestyle may be difficult. If you are living in the southern or northern states. If you live in Florida, this will be much easier to do than if you live in New York. 

Living in Florida, you will have no problem making the houseboat your full-time home. Keep in mind if you are living on the ocean in the southern states you do have a chance to run into hurricanes and will have to remove your boat from the marina to avoid damage. If your marina is damaged due to weather, you may have to move marinas. Although with all of this in mind living on your houseboat full time is doable and most enjoyable. Remember that if there are floods in your area due to weather you won’t have to worry about flooding while on a boat. 

If you plan to live in your houseboat full time in a northern state full-time—like New York—you may find the winters a bit of a challenge. This is because a lot of marinas do not allow for you to live full-time in the marina during the winter months. Due to the weather being so unpredictable like the snow and the temperature, it may be in your best interest to invest in living on your houseboat for six months of the year. May through October. 

What Are the Costs of Living at the Marina or Cruising Full-time?


Costs of living at a marina depend on which marina you plan to stay at. If you plan to keep your boat, there year-round or if you plan to just keep your boat there 6 months of the year. Maybe you plan to spend most of your time cruising so you will only need a weekly or even nightly stay at a marina. Cost depends completely on how you plan to enjoy your houseboat. 

If you plan to live at the marina full time, you will be able to purchase a yearly dockage at the marina. Typically, this includes your electricity, or they offer it as an option to add on. You can work with your marina and always opt to purchase a generator for your use of electricity. If you don’t need electricity all day and only need it a few hours a day this may be a cost-effective way to avoid the added charge by the marina. The average cost for a yearly docking at a marina is $12 per foot per month. 

If you plan to cruise and only dock for a night here and there you may be looking at a bit more of a cost as you have to think about fuel and maybe even a crew to keep things afloat for you full-time. Depending on what your boat consumes in gas, you could be looking at a bill of up to $2000 a month in gas alone. You will also have to take into account that if you’re using your generator all day you will be fueling it with gas often as well. Although you will get to see some amazing views, test out marinas and not have to pay a yearly dockage fees, cruising full time will be more costly. 

Which Brands of Houseboat Are the Best


I am going to give you the top two best brands for luxury houseboats and also 2 best brands for midrange boats. It is important to see the range and base your choice off of the best brands for your family. 



Adonia has been in the business of mastering luxurious boats for the last 20 years. Some of their yachts are known for having a fire pit and movie theatre on board. Some of their yachts even have three floors. They are known for making 100% customized boats that will fit any lifestyle. 




Bravada is a leader in the luxury houseboat/yacht industry. They are known for their incredible fleet of luxurious houseboats. In spring of 2017, they went under new ownership and have hired people that fall into every category of building your new home. This is why they’re known for their brilliant craftmanship and attention to details. 



Twin Anchors 


Twin Anchors has been crafting midrange houseboats since the early ’70s. They are known for their reliability and their offer to rent you a boat prior to buying. Even if you just want the experience, Twin Anchors will help you on your journey. 



Stardust Houseboats

Stardust is the oldest company for the creation of houseboats. They have built well over 1500 custom houseboats. Their new fleet consists of only fiberglass and aluminum paneling. They made one of the first ever yacht styled houseboat. This is why they are one of the best boats for your first new water home. 



Now you’ll be able to make an informed decision on how to best approach your purchase of a houseboat. Living on a houseboat can be a rewarding change of pace and is one of the most relaxing ways to live the rest of your days. If you are looking for a community of people that share your love for the great open sea, owning a houseboat is for you. Be careful when purchasing used and don’t forget living on a houseboat in the middle of New York winter isn’t for everyone! Good luck with your first purchase of a houseboat.  

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