Living On A Boat

How much would it cost to be living on a boat in the Netherlands? I had no real clue, but expect it to be rather pricy. After we looked at our housing history last week, I found myself on Funda once again (a “house for sale” site). Here a found a “creative living option” that looked rather promising (and quite pretty). So I got out the good old calculator, opened up my internet browser and started having fun. Please tell me I’m not the only one doing this 😉

Living On A Boat

What caught my eye? Well this beauty! Almost 22 meters of old Dutch design (built 1902). Pretty cool, eh?

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The price for the “floating house” is now €75.000. That is still a lot of money, and you can certainly buy a house or apartment for this. But I doubt the views and character will match. For those interested, you can download the sales brochure here (just in case the ad disappears from Funda in the future ):

Living on a boat – bolhaven 10 Zeewolde

Purchase:

The vessel is for sale for a price of €75.000. Based on the notes in the brochure, there are no transfer taxes applicable (for a house this would be 2% around here). No sales taxes either. You would want to inspect the vessel, that would probably set you back €300-400 (unless you want to take it out of the water). Then there are the notary costs at about €600-800. In short, you should bring a total of about €76.000.

You cannot finance this vessel with a regular mortgage, apparently (see brochure). The ING bank stopped these special “floating house” mortgages in 2016. Only the Rabobank still does them apparently, but not for this boat it seems.  So you would have to get creative! It will be either cash, or crowd fund, take out a personal loan, family loan, or ….(and any combination of the mentioned).

Expenses

What expenses are to be expected for living on a boat. Most will be very “similar” to those for a house, but some will be typical for a boat obviously. From the advertisement/brochure and from browsing around the web, I got to the following monthly expenses:

  • Slip fees (“havengeld”): €275
  • Heating & Electrics: €225
  • Financing (€75.000 @ 4%): €250
  • insurance: €75 (could not get a quote quickly, so I assume it’s much more expensive then a house)
  • Internet/phone connection: €25
  • Maintenance: €500 (costs and reservations)

The total monthly expenses will likely hoover around €1.350 (or about €16.000 per year). That is all-in! Not too bad actually, especially not considering your house is mobile, spacious and you are living on the water.

Some notes:

  • No garbage or property tax apply according to the brochure (likely partially included in slip fees)
  • Water use is assumed covered by the slip fees
  • The maintenance is a rough estimate as I don’t know for sure how well the boat is maintained. Nor do I know all the costs associated with getting it out of the water for maintenance. I do know it won’t be cheap! You will need to paint something on this boat about every year. You will also need to  pull it our of the water to clean, paint and repair the underside every 5-10 6 years (costs are about €3.500-4.000 + repairs). Also the diesel systems need to run and be maintained regularly.
  • Not sure how the gas stove works? Did not see costs for gas use anywhere.

Practical?

Living on a boat is often not very practical, but this is a fairly large boat and the layout seems rather good.

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It might not be ideal for tall people, but I can see this being a very nice place to live. The location where the boat is currently moored is close to the town of Zeewolde in the province of Flevoland. So even groceries, medical care, etc. should not be a problem. Heck, you might have these guys as your “neighbors” (blog in Dutch).

Investment?

Financially savvy as we are, we also need to look at this in terms of it being an investment. Let’s assume that we just buy the boat in cash. Let’s assume the monthly expense noted above are the same (minus the interest). In short, operating expense are around €11.000 per year, excluding cleaning.

Based on some browsing around for other vessel/house boats that are rented out, we found that €100-150 per night is nothing out of the ordinary. We will take €125 per night as average (sleeps 5 max). Let’s assume no one wants to say here during the three winter months. The fall and spring will have 60% vacancy and the summer only 20%. This is a yearly utilization of 40% (144 nights) as a base case. This should provide you with €18.000 gross income.

Now let’s say we have cleaning expenses of €30/cycle. The assumption is 144 days of utilization, with an assumed average stay of 3 days = 48 stays. That is €1.440 in cleaning expenses. This leaves you a net operating income of €16.560 – €11.000 = €5.560/year. On €76.000 that is a yield of 7.3% (before taxes). Not bad! We might just need to get ourselves a boat 🙂

 

 

Have you ever lived or stayed on a boat?

 

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22 Comments

  1. This would be so cool. Never lived on a boat but stayed overnight on a friend’s uncles yacht. It was awesome. I would certainly want to get it inspected thoroughly though – lest it add a whole new meaning to the phrase “sinking investment” 🙂

  2. Ha I worked with someone who did that. SF real-estate prices were insane, and he figured he could save more money by buying a boat and living in it.

  3. A boat is fine if you know about electricity, maintenance of a diesel engine, know how to steer it to the wharf for it’s five year maintenance check and if you like painting. Lot’s and lot’s of painting … Also no straight lines anywhere which means every job is a custom job
    It’s a never ending maintenance job. But could be a nice way to spend your time once you are fire …
    Some people have out buildings, others buy a boat ..

    1. You are bang on with that comment, a boat is a floating maintenance disaster! You really have to love painting and it does help to be handy with tools. But it’s also so much fun!

  4. Definitely not for me these houses.
    But my colleague rented via Airbnb a room to sleep on a boat, 2 persons, 100 euro per night (in a weekend) in the port of Amsterdam. I don’t know how expensive is to “park” a boat in such a central area like Amsterdam, but the numbers are amazing for an investment:
    -buy for 76 .000 euro
    -rent with 100 euro per night
    -rent for a half of the year (150 days x 100 euro= 15.000)
    -pay the utilities (let’s say 2.500 but could go up)
    ROI is ….around …… 15% .

    1. To moor a boat is not particularly cheap, if even possible in Amsterdam for longer periods of time! Your ROI is rather optimistic, as maintenance of a boat is far from cheap and will cut that ROI down in a heart beat. I even think the 7.3% I calculated might be too optimistic.

  5. A friend on my cycling team did it for a while. His main comment is that you have to be a “boat type of person” to be happy doing it. He teaches sailing so it’s natural for him. I’d consider doing it for an experiment but don’t know if it’d be my thing forever. BTW that boat looks really nice!

    1. I agree that it would be a pretty cool experiment! Your stash should be big enough, fancy an investment? 😉
      Problem with us is that I probably would love it, Mrs CF not so much. And then there is the height issues with many boats, if you are well over 6’4″, most boats are not very practical.

  6. We actually stayed in one recently, through AirBnB. It was about 400€/night and there was room for 10 people. The Owner Said that he was expanding to 10 boats, since the four he had were booked solid! So from an investing point of view, it makes sense!

  7. I would definitely not live on a boat myself, but it’s a rather interesting investment opportunity…
    Definitely do give an update once you signed the contract 🙂 🙂

    1. Haha, we actually did look if we could moor is close to where we live (which would be required if we would run as an AirBnB), there were actually a few options! But we have visited a property last Friday that I’m more keen on getting my hands on.

    1. Ha, I doubt it, rather expect some of these boats to depreciated to a degree. However, if you have a solid house boat with a fixed mooring location (!), then yes, it could appreciate over time.

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