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Old 02-04-2009, 13:58   #1
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Buy House or Sailboat?

This is a tough one. My wife and I have been debating whether to buy our first home, or to buy a sailboat. My son is now 7 and I'm afraid if I buy the house, I won't be able to get him well-taught on a boat until he's older.

At the same time, the housing market is pretty good for buyers right now. On the other hand, I'm renting about 30 minutes away from the nearest marina at the moment, where I would be able to buy a house is about 1:30 away from the marina

We've also considered the liveboard, and I've learned enough on how to pull that one off.

We'll see. The "correct" way of doing things would be to buy the house instead of the boat. But, I don't usually tend to take the wider road. I'm happy about that.
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Old 02-04-2009, 14:30   #2
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We'll see. The "correct" way of doing things would be to buy the house instead of the boat. .
I think you are right- you can buy a very small boat for your son to learn on now-and a house
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Old 02-04-2009, 15:20   #3
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keep renting .. save your money and buy a small sailboat for you and your son. maybe even one that can be stored on a trailer. have fun.
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Old 02-04-2009, 15:47   #4
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Well, if I keep renting, I don't have to buy that small of a boat. Obviously, we might have different opinions as to what is small. I still would like it to be a family boat. Say 25 feet average.
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Old 02-04-2009, 15:53   #5
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I'm renting about 30 minutes away from the nearest marina at the moment, where I would be able to buy a house is about 1:30 away from the marina
Real estate is about location. Good sailing is about a short trip to get to the boat. Going into deep debt to live in a place far away from everything you want is a location problem that complicates the sailing problem.

Living aboard works but living aboard a small boat in the city with a family isn't the best way to live. You fill the boat with shore crap and then you can't ever go sailing even as you are sitting on the boat. I have friends living aboard in Norfolk that have not been sailing in 2 years. They used to sail more though. In the end which ever way maximizes the sailing is maybe the place to start from. The small boat close to home that you can use a lot makes the better deal if the money works.
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Old 02-04-2009, 16:15   #6
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Maybe the sky might not fall much further...

Let me see. "I would be able to buy a house is about 1:30 away from the marina...".

I take it that is one hour and thirty minutes.

Houses may not fall much further. The sharemarket is starting to show signs of life.

The reality of yacht ownership is that usage runs to about one day a month. This means that even a cheap boat is expensive on a per day of use basis.

My suggestions: Buy a house as close as practicable to where you work, preferably with space to park a boat beside it. If it can be a 45' boat so much the better.
Join one of those clubs that have races for small boats on the weekend, preferably one that uses a type of boat normally crewed by a father and son. Enjoy sailing with your son for next to nothing. You get to pay off your house quick while he gets technical and social skills and an introduction to an excellent social network.
Not to mention that some of those places have excellent lunches.

If you must spend time with an old boat buy a nice project, park it by your house and have the best of both worlds.
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Old 02-04-2009, 16:47   #7
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My personal opinion would be to see if EVERYONE in the family is on board with the idea then you should seriously consider moving aboard. It might not be the best economic decision, but for me it has been by far the most enjoyable decision. There are a ton of people that don't ever take their boats sailing, but there are far more that do. I'm on a trawler so it is a bit easier for me. We make it a rule to at least take a short spin at least every other week. It is so relaxing to come home after work on Friday and you're at the marina. No packing weekend bags and driving to the marina. You're just driving home. When everyone else is packing up to go home on Sunday, you're sailing or fishing or kicking back reading a book.

Work some theoretical budgets for each scenario. For us, it is a good bit cheaper to live aboard. We're on a cheap boat in a rather cheap marina. It gives us the opportunity to sock away money and finish getting out of debt faster than living in a house would.
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Old 02-04-2009, 16:55   #8
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Paul, I think you are right on the money on this one. If I liveaboard I would need storage and a studio for my music work. So at least, in that respect, I'll keep a lot of the junk off the boat. And hour and a half away from the marina might be far, but It would be only 45 minutes away from the office. And in the summer here, dusk is around 9PM. So weekdays are still and option.

Boracay: I appreciate your suggestions. I want a sailboat with a fixed keel. Trailering may not be an option. Additionally, here in San Diego, most houses are very close together and many, many neighborhoods have HOA that won't allow boats parked there anyway. I'll be lucky if I can find a house in a neighborhood that will allow me to keep a boat there.
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Old 02-04-2009, 17:02   #9
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There is no doubt about that decision from the standpoint of your financial future. I have made more money on real estate (personal houses) than any other investment by far. If you are not currently invested in real estate, now is the time. It's an opportunity right now that might not come along for quite a while . I am not a real estate broker , nor have I ever been. I have 50% to 100% increased my value on three personal houses over the years..... with the longest investment 3+ years. The buyers market right now is better than those markets were. It's a sad fact that many people cant afford to get on this bandwagon in normal times, but right now more of them can..... if you can get financed! It sounds like you have plenty of time to do the boating thing.
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Old 02-04-2009, 17:12   #10
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ask the members of the "Home Depot" message board and majority will say buy the house.... asking these people here will result in just the opposite for the most part. Me...? Well, I wish now that I had bought that first boat and stayed at the marina for awhile working up in El Segundo at TRW, but i didn't and now I've collected so much crap that a liveaboard is still a few months away, after 20 years of planning on it collecting land based crap, and now selling off that crap for considerable less money, but tru the statement that I have equity in my house after 30 years! Not quite enough to be considered rich but i can manage i think.
Remember the decision between house and boat isn't hinged on your son liking it or not, kids like what kids like at that age, they don't know any different. It's about you and your wife, can you home school your kid, does your job allow you to work wireless? these are the qustions that try mens souls. Make the decision for you, not the people around you.
25' is NOT a family boat, unless you plan on staying tied up at the marina. IMHO. If you went boat, instead of renting or buying a house, that rent payment would go to the marina for slip fees BUT, you'd have more money available to make an equal payment on a bigger boat that would fit your plans, say a 42'.

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Old 02-04-2009, 17:25   #11
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Oh, and remember the "Leverage factor". Let's say you buy a house for $100k and put $20k down on it. Let's say the value of the house doubles in 5 years. In simplistic form, you have now made $100k or 500% percent on your money. I wont go into the costs... they are there also... so lets call it 400%!
If you are 50 and running out of time... buy a big boat and go. If you are 30 and havent established yourself yet.... hard to beat this moment in time....
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Old 02-04-2009, 17:50   #12
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My wife and I both agree. I like to juggle a few ideas at once for just about everything I do. It makes things more complicated, but it offers me the ability to decide on the best option for any given situation. But, if we do decide on the liveaboard, we would both be in agreement. My kid is young, and although I will definitely run it by him, he still doesn't know what the heck is going on for the most part.

I do see that if we go the liveaboard route, we'd be spending our money on something that depreciates, and even if it's a cheaper boat, you are still paying "rent" for the marina. But, life is all about experiences. The more time I can spend with my family in the quality time you get out of a boat, the better. Additionally, in my music endeavors, my wife joins me. So in that sense, we are together as well.

This was originally, not intended to be a liveaboard thread. It was intended to be more general... But I do like where this is going.
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Old 02-04-2009, 18:03   #13
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Oh, and remember the "Leverage factor". Let's say you buy a house for $100k and put $20k down on it. Let's say the value of the house doubles in 5 years. In simplistic form, you have now made $100k or 500% percent on your money. I wont go into the costs... they are there also... so lets call it 400%!
If you are 50 and running out of time... buy a big boat and go. If you are 30 and havent established yourself yet.... hard to beat this moment in time....
I'm 30... I see what you mean. Also, I've done the numbers, and I can get financed. This is a Cruisers Forum, and you are telling me to buy a house. That's good. No point in thinking that simply because we are watermen, we are all biased! Haha! We are slightly for sure though. At least a bit.

I'll keep gathering information and planning on making a decision soon. No matter which way you put it, there are pros and cons.

I can see the market is starting to go back up here in California. Some people waited a bit too long to buy and now are scrambling to buy, and therefore raising prices.

Cheers, Danny
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Old 02-04-2009, 18:21   #14
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You "Endevour" sounds like when I came home from Nam and the world was all free style living. As I have experienced life a bit more, and maybe have more wisdom. I would (in your case) work a little longer, have enough money for my sons education. Although the education of a live aboard is wonderful, you might want to think about his wants. You and your wife would have plenty of time and if you bought a house now, would have a few bucks to buy a boat after you sold the house to do "your" thing. As it was stated befor, "your son doesn't know now what he wants" so he would go along with anything now. I feel children need a structrued life and a good education, and a good home life as well. I am not saying that living aboard is not a good life. It just might not be "his" thing later...........just a thought........
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Old 02-04-2009, 19:09   #15
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Youre 30 buy the boat, if you get the house you are done. Life will over take you and 20 years from now youll be looking at a boat and have been no where. Every year you stay ashore and become settled is going to make it harder to go. What happens when that second kid comes along?

Every one here is putting "value" on a house. The best value is going to the life you are going to miss if you stay put.

If any thing thing is going to happen in your life its gonna be out there. Out there is where you need to be.
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