Floating Homes vs Houseboats in Seattle…

Seattle Floating Homes vs Seattle Houseboats: A Cost Comparison Report During a Hot Real Estate Market

seattle houseboats

Let’s start with the terms…  Intro by Courtney Cooper   Call/Text 206-850-8841 courtney@cooperjacobs.com

I call all of them Seattle houseboats.  That’s my choice and also one of many of the old timers on the lake.  I live on a 100 plus year old Seattle floating home in Portage Bay.  Long before the more recently added  categorization of Floating On Water Residences came into being to add liveaboards to our MLS database, they were all houseboats.   Houseboats was an umbrella term and still is for some like myself. It’s a lifestyle and I will continue to call floating homes “houseboats”, too.  I use the terms interchangeably, actually.   Molly, my business partner tends to go a different direction on terms.  She breaks them out into EITHER floating homes, houseboats (what I consider the vessel type), and barges.  See below if you need a visual on our views.  Neither is correct or wrong, but Molly wrote most of this post so I am clarifying….

Courtney’s way:


“Houseboats”  are any of the following:

  • Floating homes
  • Liveaboard Barges
  • Liveaboard Vessels

Molly’s way: 


Specific terms for each (although I have also heard her use my way on occasion…..):

  • Floating homes
  • Houseboats
  • Barges

And now… Back to the originally scheduled program.

Seattle Floating Homes vs Seattle HouseboatsSeattle floating homes

by Molly Cartwright call/text 206-841-6800  molly@cooperjacobs.com

We’d like to give a little insight for those who are looking to purchase (or have purchased) an iconic floating home or houseboat in Seattle.   Do they appreciate the same as land Seattle homes? We get this question quite a bit.  What do I look for in these types of properties?  We get this one a lot too.  We’d love to hear from you to better answer your questions on an individual basis.  

But above all the questions, this is the number one most asked question:

“Do I buy a floating home or a houseboat?”  We know it can be confusing!  So hopefully with this break down and after talking to a Floating Home Lender, we can help answer that question.

Since January 1, 2016 until TODAY August 10, 2017.  Here’s the breakdown:

Of Seattle Floating Homes, there have been a grand total of 31 sales.  This DOES NOT including Private Sales which we know of at least four on the lake between the $1M and $2M price tag.  

Sold Floating Homes                   31

Median Price                               $1,209,676

Average Square Foot                  1,172

Average Price Per Square Foot  $1,147

Average Days On Market            38

 

Of Seattle Houseboats, here is the break down:

Sold Houseboats                         22

Median Price                               $354,148

Average Square Foot                  564

Average Price Per Square Foot  $651.00

Average Days On Market            37          

Please call me if you are curious about getting more information. I am happy to talk to you about buying or selling Seattle real estate.  Seattle floating homes are the ultimate in Seattle waterfront living and we are happy to show you these or other Seattle waterfront homes. I look forward to showing you this lifestyle.  – Molly  206-841-6800

Seattle Floating Homes: The Shelby Dock Located at 1213 E Shelby St

Welcome to The Shelby Dock In Seattle’s Portage Bay!The Shelby Dock

1213 E Shelby St,

Seattle, WA 98102

The Shelby Dock is well appointed at the end of Shelby Street on the North side of Capitol Hill in Portage Bay. There are nineteen Seattle floating homes on The Shelby Dock and it is a great place to live if you would like to belong to a wonderful community with a well run co-op and friendly neighbors.

Some of the cool features about the Shelby Dock in Portage Bay:

Beautiful waterfront private garden at the head of the dock

Handy dock carts

Three parking spots for loading and unloading

Prime Capitol Hill waterfront property

Easy access to both Lake Washington and Lake Union

Moorage for your companion boat is available on the dock – at your home or in one of the dock community moorage slips

Thoughtful, but not overly restrictive rules regarding remodeling, etc. so that the entire dock can enjoy the ongoing charm of the dock

Storage on land building for each home, plus gardening tools

Recent Seattle Floating Homes Sales On The Shelby Dock:1213 e shelby st

#6 –  1 BR/1 Bath 777 sq feet $700,000 – outer slip  July 2016

#12 – 1 BR/1 Bth 840 sq ft $725,000  – outer slip  June 2016

#7 – 1 BR/1Bth  $675,000 – inside slip  July 2016

 What’s for sale now on this charming Portage Bay floating home dock?

1213 E Shelby St #2  $925,000   1215 Sq FT  2 BR/2 Bth (SOLD)

1213 E Shelby St #13  $945,000 1250 Sq Ft 2 BR/1.75 Bth m(SOLD)

Please let us know if you would like to learn more about The Shelby Dock or if you would like to see available Seattle floating homes for sale on the dock.  Molly and I are happy to show you!  206-841-6800 / 206-850-8841  houseboats@cooperjacobs.com

Seattle Houseboats Market Update

Seattle Houseboats Market Update April 2015:

Actives: There are five Seattle houseboats for sale in the “floating homes” category currently. List prices of these active Seattle houseboats range from $510,000 to $1,750,000.  There are Eastlake floating homes, Portage Bay floating homes, and a gorgeous Westlake floating home on the 2420 Westlake dock that we put on last week.

Here is some more on that one since we obviously feel it is the best of the Seattle houseboats on the market right now:

2420 Westlake Ave N   (SOLD)Seattle houseboats

  • 2 bedrooms
  • 1.5 baths
  • amazing rooftop deck
  • ownership in income generating private marina
  • built in 1929, but 2008 remodel is more accurate of its presentation
  • 1065 square feet
  • $500/month dues
  • float size is 42 feet by 24 feet
  • annual taxes are only $1831
  • next dock over from the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat
  • $985,000

Pending Seattle houseboats: Currently there are four Seattle floating homes that are pending in the MLS.  In addition to these Seattle floating homes there is a house barge which is also pending inspection.  List price of these pending Seattle houseboats is $695,000 to $1,690,000.  One of them is on a leased dock, one is on a fee simple dock and two are on co-op docks.

In addition to these pending Seattle houseboats, there are two more which we have helped facilitate and  which are pending in Eastlake – priced at $575,000 and $920,000.

SOLD! Seattle floating homes sold in the last 30 days – Just one has closed according to the MLS.  2351 Fairview Ave E #K  was listed for $1,050,000 and sold for $1,000,000.  It has a garage and is on a condominium dock so the dues are lower and the taxes are higher.

Before I go on, let me clarify what a Seattle houseboat is since there is a lot of bad information out there:

In short, “Seattle Houseboats” is the general umbrella overall term which encompasses ALL of the following:

  1. Seattle floating homes – no motor and more permanently connected to sewer, electric, docks, etc.
  2. Vessel Seattle houseboats – navigable and move of their own propulsion but also act as livaboards.
  3. Seattle House Barges – not self propelled, city has grandfathered a number of them in, some hooked up to utilities.

A little about Seattle houseboats from Wikipedia:

Seattle is home to a relatively large collection of houseboats (capable of moving under their own power) or “floating homes” (houses built on floats) neighborhoods, particularly in Lake Union and Portage Bay. The earliest houseboats in Seattle were recorded in 1905, and peaked with over 2,000 houseboats in the 1930s. There are currently approximately 500 houseboats in Seattle. Most houseboats are designed and built for inland lakes and waterways only.

*Molly Cartwright and I are Seattle houseboats REALTORS not just real estate agents who sell Seattle houseboats.  As actual paying members of the National Association of Realtors, we are able to able to ethically sell homes.  Realtors abide by a strong code of ethics which non-Realtors are not required to.  Make sure that when you are buying Seattle houseboat that your broker is also an actual Realtor – not just a real estate agent. It makes a difference in how they are perceived by industry professionals and you want someone representing you who has a good reputation and who you know will act honestly and ethically in a transaction.

If you are purchasing a vessel type Seattle houseboat then make sure that you are using a licensed vessel broker not just a real estate agent.  Vessels are indeed boats so proper licensing should be in place to sell them.  Molly and I also have our vessel license through our SeattleAfloat.com Seattle houseboats division. You have a choice when it comes to who represents you.

More pictures of our gorgeous Westlake floating home listing:

Please call or text Molly if you would like more info or a private showing: 206-841-6800

Westlake, $985,000 - Image 14


 

Seattle Real Estate: Interest Rates, Affordability, And What’s Next

Looking At Seattle Homes For Sale, Interest rates, and Affordability – Should You Buy Now?  Or Wait?

The fact is that interest rates on 30-year, 20-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages are some of the lowest in history.  We don’t know how they will increase over the next two years.

In discussions with friends about their plans to purchase a home I often hear them say that they would like to purchase in a year or two.  This is great news for everyone.  However, I usually try to educate them on the current advantages of low mortgage interest rates. – Cooper Jacobs Real Estate

Taking advantage of a 4% or lower loan rate can save prospective homebuyers thousands, if not over $100,000 in the amount of interest paid on the life of a loan.[1] Currently, interest rates on a 30-year fixed loan are setting at 4.02%.  That is the lowest since June 2013.[2] With the economy on track for a solid 3.5% annual growth and inflation rising, investors are beginning to dump bonds for stocks.[3] This, in turn forces financial institutions to raise the interest rates on loan products to keep a profit.

Seattle homes

The economy is no doubt on an upward trajectory.  Baring another economic disaster, the economy will continually improve and force interest rates up.  Can we predict whether interest rates will be significantly higher in 2016?  The answer is no.  However, we can say with confidence that they will be higher and when it comes to your money every dollar matters.

Current homeowners are taking advantage of these low interest rates by refinancing.  They understand the significant savings to be had by leaving their 30-year fixed rate mortgage for a new 20-year or 15-year fixed loan instead.  In fact, 44% of people who refinanced in the third quarter “ditched their existing 30-year fixed rate loan in favor of a shorter-termed 15-year or 20-year loan.  It’s the second quickest exodus from the 30-year fixed rate mortgage in recorded history…”[4]

So, instead of putting off the home buying process for another year or more, people should begin to get their feet wet.

  • Build a relationship with a local Seattle Realtor
  • Ask your Realtor for their trusted resources such as a referral for a lender.
  • Find out what kind of loan options you can qualify for and what is available.

By taking advantage of these resources you can be prepared to pull the trigger when you find a home that you love.  It should also be noted that using a Realtor that is from your neighborhood is a service that will cost you, as a potential home buyer, nothing out of pocket.  So, let a professional help you do the searching and narrow down the choices for you.  In the end, it is all about making things smooth and easy while saving money.


[1] Lisa Ward, “The Steep Cost of Not Refinancing,” The Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2014.

[2] Average 30 Year Fixed Mortgage rates, http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/data/30-year-mortgage-rates.aspx

[3] The Detroit News, “U.S. 30-Year Mortgage Rate up to 4.02%,” http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/personal-finance/2014/11/10/mortgage-rates-rise/18779027/

[4] Dan Green, Today’s Low Mortgage Rates Push Borrowers Away From 30- Year Loans, http://themortgagereports.com/16858/freddie-mac-refinance-report-transition-15-year-30-year-mortgage-loan

Cooper Jacobs Real Estate  realestate@cooperjacobs.com

 

 

Seattle Houseboats Inventory Trickling In……

The Seattle Houseboats market:  Finally starting to get some listings trickling in….

There are still more buyers than sellers. Inventory is low!  This is similar to other Seattle neighborhoods where inventory is difficult to come by. We do know of a few Seattle houseboats on the horizon as far as market inventory, so stay tuned and we will keep you posted, but in the mean time, I wanted to get a Seattle Houseboats floating homes market update online. Seattle houseboats for sale

Seattle Houseboats Market Update for floating homes on Lake Union and Portage Bay:

Currently there are four Seattle houseboats listings which are Seattle floating homes. Interestingly enough, these Seattle houseboats are priced across the board.  There are two Seattle houseboats that are one bedrooms and listed at $449,000 and the new listing priced at $525,000.  These are both in Eastlake and are wonderful choices and happen to be on the same dock.  The dock these two are on is one of the most well run Seattle floating homes co-ops on Lake Union.  It consists of three docks belonging to “The Log Foundation” and is known for its great reputation.  The three docks in The Log Foundation are the most Southern Eastlake docks that there are so they are a great choice for views and also if you happen to be commuting to South Lake Union (Amazon).  Cats are ok and small lap dogs, too, but you still have to get them approved by the board.

seattle houseboats

2025 Fairview Ave E #R is the newest one listed of these four.  It is a one bedroom/one bath home with the awesome roof top deck everyone wants when they think Seattle houseboats. It is 950 square feet and has a great spot to have your boat alongside.  This home is part of the larger cooperative (The Log Foundation) and they own the moorage slips,  so it is a secure way to own a Seattle floating home.  Let myself or Molly know if you want to see this one or any of them.

There is a great Portage Bay houseboat for sale right now and also another end of dock Eastlake home.  These are priced at $750,000 and $2,888,000.  Personally, I think the Portage Bay floating home is a great buy. Molly and I have sold end of dock Seattle houseboats and look forward to seeing some great ones come on the market as we have a few buyers ready and willing and eager to purchase an end of dock home.  After all, this is Seattle waterfront living at its best!

OH!  Almost forgot!  If you are interested in Seattle New Construction floating homes, then there is one more slip available in the MLS for the newest Seattle houseboats dock, Ward’s Cove.  This is floating homes – not vessels or barges and the new floating home does have to meet certain building requirements and specifications.

We are happy to walk you through any of this. Have a great day! (OH! If you want to list your Seattle floating home or Seattle Houseboat, let us know, please – we would be happy to also just evaluate it for free. no strings attached…)

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All The Single Ladies: Female Homebuyers The New Norm

As a broker for the past eight years, and as a woman with quite a few female friends who are single into their 30s and 40s, I have noticed a growing phenomenon. The Single Female Buyer.

With women more employed than ever, and with the average couple marrying later and bringing their own assets and properties to the relationship, women are not waiting until marriage to buy their first home.

According to the State of the Nations Housing: 2009 report, compiled by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, “social and economic trends have given women a more powerful presence in housing markets. Between 1980 and 2000, the number of households headed by unmarried women increased by almost 10 million.” The same study, however, also states that, “because women still earn less on average than men do, they are more likely to face housing problems than either married-couple households or households headed by unmarried men.”

Statistics on Women and Homeownership

  • Interestingly, single female buyers accounted for nearly twice as large a share as single male buyers for both first-time buyers (23 and 15 percent) and repeat buyers (17 and 9 percent).
  • Twenty percent of recent home buyers were single females, and 10 percent were single males.
  • More women (15.5 million) than men (11.8 million) lived alone. Among these, women were more likely than men to own their homes (56% vs. 47%).
  • About one-quarter of the nation’s nearly eight million single mothers spend more than half of their incomes on housing, compared with one-tenth of households headed by single fathers.
  • Over the time period of 1994-2002, the number of unmarried females owning homes climbed from 13.9 million to 17.5 million.

Below is a slew of articles chronicling this rapidly growing phenomenon and suggesting to you, the Single Female Buyer, what you ought to do in terms of real estate investment. My advice is from the heart: buy a home. If you can find a way to do it, especially now that we have gotten through the slump and are in a healthier economic climate, do it.  Nobody can evict you, raise your monthly housing cost, tell you not to paint the kitchen yellow, restrict your pets, etc. Because land ownership has not historically been a woman’s place, it was hard for me to find a great quote by a woman pertaining to this. But as a wise man once said, “Buy dirt, they aren’t making any more of it”. Ownership of one’s home is powerful, both financially and personally. There is nothing I love more than seeing someone become more empowered. Unless that person is trying to take my parking spot.

Sources: 2011 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, (Chicago, IL: National Association of REALTORS®, 2010) and The State of the Nation’s Housing: 2012, (Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, 2012).

Single, female and shopping for a home, (MSN Real Estate, Jan. 29, 2013).

Guess Who’s Driving the Demand for Rental Apartments?, (CNBC, Jan. 29, 2013).

Here’s Some Advice For All The Single Ladies Flooding The Housing Market, (Business Insider, May 16, 2012)

Singles dive into the real estate market, (MSNBC, July 12, 2011).

What Women Home Buyers Want, (Builder, Jan. 14, 2011).

Women Home Buyers, a Major Economic Force in the Industry, Have a Language All Their Own, (NAHB, Aug. 23, 2010).

Single Women Home Buyers: Key to the Housing Recovery?, (AOL Real Estate, May 14, 2010).

Wanted: Single Women Home Buyers, (SmartMoney, Apr. 9, 2010).

Singles, especially women, a growing share of homebuyers, (Chicago Tribune, Feb. 28, 2010).

Women make up their mind faster when buying a home, (Inside Tucson Business, Sept. 11, 2009).

Gender differences abound in the home-buying process, (RISMedia, Sept. 1, 2009).

Single women skilled in house buying, (Washington Times, July 11, 2008).

Women homebuyers growing in number, (Ventura County Star, Jan. 27, 2008).

They’re buying solo, (Newsday.com, Mar. 15, 2007).

Singles taking stride in the home buying market, (The Hammond Times,Feb. 17, 2007).

As the Nation Changes, So Do Home Buyers, (RISMedia.com, Feb. 13, 2007).

How To Buy When You Already Own

How To Buy When You Already Own
Do you own your home or condo but want to sell it and buy something with more space, a different location, or perhaps a view?

One option is to take out a HELOC. A Home Equity Line of Credit (ask me for a lender with great programs of these right now) lets you take out a certain percentage of your home’s equity to use as a downpayment on your new home. To find out how much equity you have, contact a Realtor, like myself, to research the value of your home (it changes ALL the time). If you have a certain percentage of equity, you can qualify for a new loan. And if you’re preapproved for your new home loan, I can get the home you want to sell prepped for the market pronto!

Another option is a bridge loan. A bridge loan has some ramifications though. They generally tend to have higher interest rates and need to be paid back in a specified amount of time. It’s like a short term loan on your current property to buy a different property. It’s all about timing with a bridge loan. You can find out more about bridge loans HERE.

You can always make an offer contingent on your home selling. This is perhaps the option offering the least amount of risk. Of course with our current market today, properties are moving fast and a contingent offer isn’t as clean as an offer with a definitive close date, for example. But if are you a homeowner considering the contingent offer option, consider the right list price and a home in tip-top shape, it won’t take long to sell.

molly a. cartwright | seattle realtor
cooper jacobs real estate, llc
206.841.6800
“Serving home buyers and sellers in Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods”

Seattle Floating Home Sales of 2012

Seattle Floating Homes Current Market Report: How Will Your Seattle Houseboat Fare In Today’s Real Estate Market If You Put It On Now?

You already know what Seattle houseboats for sale are on the market right now, but let’s look at the Seattle floating homes that have sold this year so far:

  • 3146 Portage Bay Place E #L, Seattle 98102: 1 bedroom/1 bath 850 square feet Seattle floating home on Portage Bay. It has one parking space attached which is a rare commodity for houseboats.  Listed for $399,000 and Sold for $350,000: Built in 1940 and on the market for 30 days.  Here are the public remarks from the MLS:

Floating Home at end of dock w/condo owned moorage. Irresistible price with assigned parking space & storage locker. Value in end dock location. Large sturdy log float, approx 42’x31′ Possibilites to do a Re-build to 2 story 18′ height. New roof (2+/- yrs) newer treated stringers… last 10 yrs. Cozy cottage style liveable but you will want to do major remodel. Small boat possibility. Community yard & friendly neighbors. Owner of 40 years is ready to move and is making an effort to de-clutter.

  • 3146 Portage Bay Place E #M:  1 bedroom/ 1 bath Portage Bay floating home for sale.  Listed at $389,000 and sold in a bidding war for $400,000 .  This was a bank owned Seattle floating home.  Bank owned Seattle floating homes for sale (REO properties) are few and far between so this was an interesting house.  It had been on the market before and was pending but due to the DNR lease renewal pending, the buyers decided to walk allowing a new set of buyers to get a chance at this end of dock floating home.  Because of the sale falling through, the market time was increased at 339 days.   This one had some very Vegas-like touches and was definitely going to need some work, but what a great price for the end of the dock!  Here are the public remarks from the NWMLS listing:

Portage Bay houseboat located at prime ind of dock location. 180 degree views! Relax outdoors on the dock or retreat indoor to the spacious great room with high vaulted ceilings. Cooks kitchen w/ concrete counter-top, gas range and Sub-Zero refrigerator. Master bedroom suite w/ large walk in closet, stone tiled shower with steam feature. Great opportunity to own a prime waterfront home at a reasonable price!

  • 3310 Fuhrman Ave E, Seattle 98102: 2+ bedroom/2 bath, Seattle floating home with lots of extras – took a while to sell as it was nestled right between the University Bridge and the Ship Canal Bridge, but had  some amazing views from its end of dock position.  It was listed for $715,000 and sold for $600,000 in 316 days.  Here are the marketing remarks:

No Dues & Own Your Moorage For This Floating Home! Fabulous fee simple Lake Union oasis! Mixed use between residential & C140 Commercial waterfront property: live on the lake & run your biz here, too! 34+ feet of Lake Union End of dock (because it is the dock!!!) waterfrontage with a remodeled 2 bedroom floating home with companion float for kayaks, etc., an additional lakeside cottage, boat slip (+/- 35 feet), and an unheard of 2 off street parking spaces -PLUS a yard! Opportunity knocks!

  • 2600 Fairview Av Ct E #HB13, Seattle 98122: Mallard Cove! If you know about Mallard Cove then you know how coveted Mallard Cove houseboats for sale are!   Built in 1978, this 3/ bedrooms/ 2.25 baths, 1900 square feet, with a market time of 58 days floating home was listed for $995,000 and sold for $950,000. Extras include a fireplace, roof top deck, and the almighty parking.   Here are the public remarks for this beautiful Seattle floating home:
Imagine stepping off your living-room deck for a morning kayak adventure or evening boat cruise – this stunning 3bd, 2.75ba Mallard Cove floating home brings the waterfront to you with moorage included and rare, secured parking for 2 cars. Tie up every toy from yacht to paddle-board and step into the ultimate NW lifestyle. Beautifully remodeled in 2010 with new kitchen, baths, electrical, and plumbing. Three sun decks plus an enormous roof-top entertainment deck with 180° lake & mountain views.

Do you want to sell your Seattle Floating Home? Courtney@cooperjacobs.com 206-850-8841