How to Finance a Floating Home

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Floating homes offer an intriguing combination of a house and a houseboat. Like a house, the home features common living areas, a kitchen and bedrooms. Like a houseboat, a floating home is sited on a platform in the water. However, the home has no propulsion, and floats in a permanent berth in a privately owned marina. Floating home owners enjoy hookups for utilities, water, cable and sewage; the homes are also subject to property taxes. There are several creative ways to finance a floating home.

Things You'll Need

  • Real estate agent experienced in floating home sales
  • List of floating home associations
  • List of floating home manufacturers
  • Financial data for the financing application
  • Contact information for your bank or credit union
  • Contact information for your financial adviser

Get financing referrals from a real estate specialist. Jane Betts-Stover is an Oregon-based real estate broker who specializes in finding floating homes for her clients. Her experience has shown that floating home fixed financing rates are approximately 1 to 1-1/2 points higher than rates for conventional homes.

Depending on the lender, 15 percent to 20 percent down payments are required for a 20- to 30-year loan. Variable rate loans may also be available. Like a home purchase, there will be an inspection and an appraisal before the loan is finalized.

Finance through a floating homes owners’ association. The Floating Homes Association (FHA) is based in California’s San Francisco Bay region. The FHA consists of floating home owners and others interested in the floating home lifestyle.

Floating Homes Association members enjoy several benefits, one of which is floating home financing through FHA affiliate Financial Benefits Credit Union. Loans are only available to Bay area residents; however, the Credit Union may provide referrals to other similar financing sources.

Other floating home associations are located in British Columbia, Canada and Seattle, Washington: http://www.floatinghomes.com/associations.htm.

Finance through the floating home manufacturer. International Marine Floating Systems (IMFS) of Vancouver, Canada, is a builder of floating homes and floating home communities: http://floatinghomes.com/links.htm. Contact this manufacturer about financing programs for floating homes: http://floatinghomes.com/contact.htm.

Finance through your community bank or credit union. If the bank isn’t familiar with floating home loans, you may have to educate your banker before she seriously considers your proposal. However, a personal relationship with a neighborhood bank may work to your benefit.

Obtain a secured loan. Talk to your financial adviser about a secured loan, using investments or other assets as collateral. Each institution’s loan rates and provisions may vary. Because this is not a traditional mortgage loan, make sure you understand all the loan provisions before making a commitment.

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