Living close to a body of water has its share of real estate perks — water views, waterfront properties, private beaches, and personal boat launches are a few top-of-mind examples. One type of real estate that ultimately takes advantage of water, however, is the floating home.
Perhaps the most popular floating home was the one used in the hit movie, "Sleepless in Seattle," starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Not to be confused with a house boat -- which is mobile and can move around -- a floating home is permanently attached to a dock, is connected to a sewer system and does not have its own means of propulsion. But, like a house boat, it has incredible water views.
Ranging in size from small (800 sq ft) to large (5,000 sq ft), floating homes aren't for individuals who are claustrophobic, or easily irritated by disturbances from otters, rowers, and people who poke and nose around in their kayaks. But space isn't the selling point.
Miner estimates there are less than 500 floating homes in Seattle and "less than 20 a year go on the market each year."
Seattle has an abundance of floating homes, as do other locations along the West Coast, such as select areas of California and Oregon.
See Floating Homes for Sale in U.S.:
For Sale: $3,450,000
While mortgages and home insurance differ with these floating homes, price tiers exist just like the standard land-based single-family homes. Depending on the size and location, floating homes range in price from $150,000 to several million. This modern, 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom, 3-story home (pictured above) represents the luxury category of floating homes. This "floating penthouse" is priced at $3.45 million and offers 850-sq ft of terraces, a rooftop deck, boat lift and deed parking.
2764 Westlake Ave N, Apt G, Seattle, WA 98109 (above)
For Sale: $825,000
A downside to floating communities is the fact that the homes don't come with a driveway or garage close to your house. However, shops, grocery stores, and restaurants are usually a short walk away as is the case for this 1-bedroom floating home (pictured above) for sale on Seattle's Westlake real estate market.
For Sale: $549,000
Another one of the joys of living on the water is the opportunity to take your own boat to waterfront restaurants, an option for the new homeowners of this 2-bedroom home (pictured above), which is located on Lake Union, in the heart of Seattle. Like most floating home communities, this home has close neighbors and close proximity to city destinations.
2394 Mariner Square Dr, B-12, Alameda, CA 94501 (above)
For Sale: $485,000
Some are even close to public transportation, as is noted in the property listing for a floating home on the Alameda real estate market for $485,000 (pictured above). The 1,000-sq ft home is right across from Jack London Square with 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, and spacious upper deck.
For Sale: $169,000
Located in Hayden Island near Portland, OR, this 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom home (pictured above) was built in 2007 and features hardwood and radiant-heat floors, surround sound, walk-in closets and a den all for $169,000. In price and structure, this is a rare find on both the Hayden Island real estate and Portland real estate markets.
For Sale: $433,000
This 3,000-sq ft Portland home on Hayden Island (above) has a gas fireplace in the living room, a slip for a 50-foot boat, sweeping river views and an upper master suite that offers 735 sq ft of space, including a sunroom.
For Sale: $895,000
Who says floating homes are small? The listing description for this humongous, 4,200-sq ft floating home on Portland's Columbia River claims it is "completely still, no movement" since it is built on a concrete slab that can "hold up 2 million pounds." Containing 5 bedrooms and 4.5 baths, this floating home also has a 17-foot swim spa off the master deck.
For Sale: $599,900
Gorgeous, modern floating home with green features, including Energy Star appliances. Smartly designed with three levels of decks to enjoy the Columbia River. The home features hardwood floors, has 2,436 sq ft, with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Home comes with ownership of both sides of the dock and has room (12'x40') for a boat.
For Sale: $520,000
As previously mentioned, mortgage loans and home insurance for floating homes are different than your standard Fannie Mae-type mortgages. Floating home communities, especially those of a "higher-end" nature — like this home on the Alameda real estate market for $520,000 — "are going to require people to have 20 percent down minimum," Miner explained.
But, many floating home owners -- like Miner -- believe the different insurance and mortgage requirements to buy a floating home are worth it.
"Once you have it [a floating home], you many never leave it," Miner said.
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