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Old 22-02-2019, 01:55   #1
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Is living aboard affordable?

I am in the Tarpon Springs, FL area and have come to a dilemma in my life that affordable housing is just getting to stinking expensive. About a year ago my house burned down due to a neighbors fun time with a propane grill caught the side of his house on fire, I was not home at the time and by the time someone realized the house was on fire and called 911, the winds carried the fire onto my house which leads to totally burning my house down to a level considered not-repairable, but the neighbors house suffered minor fire damage due to the direction of the winds and him using water on his own house to control the fire.

Anyways I bought that house in 2008 when housing was very very affordable and paid 58k for the 3 bed/ 2 bath/ 2 car garage house with taxes only in the $400s annually due to homestead. Long story short, the house is totally washed and deemed to structurally gone to rebuild, so i received a payout for the replacement value, because after wanting to rebuild the house through insurance i was told due to new county laws, permitting, and building code the house would have to be built much more narrow and because the structure of the plans drastically changes, the insurance company denied rebuilding and just cut me a check without giving me the option to choose ultimately. The sad part is this, Insurance only pays your "replacement value", which is the price for them to duplicate your old house, but with the recent crazy housing prices, the market value of the houses in the area are much higher than replacement value, which I've been dealing with a lawyer over to go after the neighbors insurance.

Anyways, Ive been house shopping and just looking at houses priced at the amount i was payed for replacement cost has just been depressing, to buy again in the same neighborhood is just joke requiring me to come out of pocket another 75-100k over what i have to drop on a house. Then god bless the amount of taxes on housing now is just gotten out of control, cant find a 2 car garage house in tarpon springs, fl without ending up with a 2500+/yr tax bill, so i have been thinking of boats, when i was younger my father was huge into sailing and we had a smaller 27 ft sail boat we would go out on weekend trips as a family and i really enjoyed that back then, so looking into the affordability of living on a boat, because im seeing some decently nice boats in the price i have in cash to pay... my question is on the cost of slip fees (Living fees)...

I know my father lived on a Bayliner 4788 before he passed away, he used that boat to do the great loop.
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Old 22-02-2019, 04:16   #2
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Re: Is living aboard affordable?

There's a nice houseboat in Key West for $75k. Private mooring so no rent no property taxes.
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Old 22-02-2019, 05:30   #3
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Re: Is living aboard affordable?

Don't let anyone tell you that this is an inexpensive hobby. As housing costs have risen in Florida along with the taxes, insurance, upkeep, etc. the boating industry has followed suit.
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Old 22-02-2019, 05:44   #4
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Re: Is living aboard affordable?

I'm not a cruiser, but my impression is boats are pretty expensive as just a place to live, but a pretty cheap way to see the world, get to enjoy sailing, have the flexibility to move from place to place, etc.

So if your goal is a place to live... not cheap!

If your goal is to have lots of fun for minimal cost and you're not tied to one location... pretty cheap compared to other ways to achieve that goal.
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Old 22-02-2019, 05:50   #5
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Re: Is living aboard affordable?

It's very dependent on municipality, and a bit of luck. Florida in particular is trying to get rid of live aboards. In general it is cheaper than a house, if you have an up to date boat that just needs regular maintenance, and you can find a marina in your area that will allow you to live aboard.

There are trade offs in a variety of ways though. Liability insurance is cheaper than home insurance, but doesn't cover your stuff. Full coverage is higher than home insurance. Repairs are more expensive, but there's no property taxes.

Don't expect any huge savings in any trade off though. Marina prices and slip values increase with the market they're in. So yeah, there's really cheap marina's out there, but they're also no where near a job. Just like there are cheap houses out there, in places you wouldn't want to live. Finding that sweet spot of affordable and good location is a careful hunt, regardless if it's a house or a boat. I wouldn't go with a boat unless you want to live on a boat for the sake of living on a boat. Just doing it for the money will end up causing a lot of unhappiness.
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Old 22-02-2019, 06:29   #6
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Re: Is living aboard affordable?

The reason i brought up the boating thing is in the fire i pretty much lost 70% of my stuff to it, and the 30% was pretty much ruined from the sheer amounts of water used to put the fire out..

So i am basically starting out from nothing, i can basically store everything i own right now in my car outside of my bicycle. So the idea of living aboard on a boat was an idea.

Currently im renting a bedroom in someone's house, because the insurance stopped paying my hotel once they decided to cut me a check for the fire claim on the house while i searched for houses to possibly buy, but just not been happy with the houses ive looked at, the ones that are remotely in the price range i want to pay are in terrible neighborhoods or long distance from my work.

The 2nd reason i was thinking the boating idea is i currently work at a hospital i can see the ocean from, so its pretty close and there are plenty of hospitals i could work at along the coast that are within a 10 minute ride of the shoreline.

I have been reading investing books the last few weeks also to decide what to do with the settlement money i received and in the millionaire mindset book it went into great details how the average millionaire does not own a large expensive home, typically they buy just small enough to meet their family needs and in a location that makes them HAPPY to live there, stressing the happy part. Because in the book it talked about how many people in the recent years with the tiny homes are diving into them and finding they are forced to live out in the woods, far distances from their work and friends to legally live in the tiny home, so they are living minimally, but are mostly unhappy and typically only last 2-3 years before selling the tiny house idea. boating when i was little was a large part of my life and it was always welcoming falling asleep to the ocean and the slight movement of the boat. Just always was different sleeping on a boat vs a house when i growing up with my dad and his boats.
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Old 22-02-2019, 06:39   #7
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pirate Re: Is living aboard affordable?

Before you start looking for a boat to live on I would suggest you find where you can keep it as a live aboard.
Would somewhere like Suntex Marina on Harbour Island suit.. is it affordable.. I know there are some live aboards there and its in a gated community.. nice place.
Thats your priority else you have a boat and nowhere to keep it.
Then the decision is sail or motor..
Good luck.
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Old 22-02-2019, 06:46   #8
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Re: Is living aboard affordable?

When I lived in Jacksonville FL my marina fees where $400 - $500 less than the 1 bedroom apt I was living in.

I'm in the mooring field in Key West now and I easily save $1000 a month vs if I lived in an apt on land.

But you are correct in that you have to (at the very least) be ok with the limitations of living in this manner. I never really liked living in a house (but raising kids it was where we chose to live) and enjoy the atmosphere of living away from people/off the beaten path.

There is extra effort to get to work everyday.
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Old 22-02-2019, 07:40   #9
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Re: Is living aboard affordable?

It very much depends. Living on a boat, in itself, can certainly be cheaper than living on land. But this very much depends on the boat, the level of maintenance you are able to do yourself, and where you keep it.

If you are tied to land via a job, then it probably means you’re also tied to a dock. From all I read about Florida, this will be an expensive dock. You’d have to compare it to similar rentable housing to know if it's a good financial deal. I suspect it will be hard to make it work financially.

Boatie’s advice sounds wise. Scope out the possible locations first. Or move somewhere else — somewhere where it is more easily possible.
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Old 22-02-2019, 08:52   #10
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Re: Is living aboard affordable?

As a full time cruiser (try to eschew the term liveaboard) on a series of boats, my answer is that boating/cruising is a very expensive hobby but can be a reasonable lifestyle. We can comfortably maintain a 60' ketch and either cruise her or live aboard in marinas, for much less than housing in the areas we often cruise. We do mostly our own maintenance, which helps, and are comfortable anchored out for extended periods when not in areas with affordable marinas. Regardless, it isn't "cheap" by any measure, just comparatively reasonable.
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Old 22-02-2019, 09:20   #11
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Re: Is living aboard affordable?

I have been a liveaboard for years now and I still love it. I live on a Catalina 34 now and I am very comfortable. You just have to get used to living slighty more Spartan than previously. The rule is that if you haven't used it in the last 30 days, get rid of it.

Boat life is excellent, especially if you get in a marina where there are other liveaboards. Where I live we have about 60 boats that are liveaboards. There are children. dogs, and a vibrant life. We grill and have other social aspects. There is a nice restaurant and numerous other amenities. My monthly outlay with my liveaboard fee is about $550, Of course my boat is paid for, so you will have to figure that in if you are financing.

Just make sure you have a good marina. Ask around locally and I assure you, if it is good they will tell you, and if it is bad, they damn sure will tell you.

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Old 22-02-2019, 09:28   #12
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Re: Is living aboard affordable?

As an aside...$2500 for annual property taxes is relatively inexpensive...we have a modest 1500 sq ft house that's 50 yrs old and annual taxes are between $6-7000 yearly...but then again CT has some of the highest tax rates in the country...sorry to hear of the house fire, not of your doing. Good luck in your search...thnks dave
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Old 22-02-2019, 09:39   #13
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Re: Is living aboard affordable?

I've lived on boats for most of my adult life and I'm coming up 80 now. I live on a boat because I just love the marine environment and the lovely friends that you make. Living in a house or an apartment you may never get to know or see your neighbours.
It is generally not cheaper to live afloat, but it is certainly better.
You always need to start with a mooring and then see what boat might it fit. Many marinas will not take liveaboards officially but will turn a blind eye to those who have a clean, tidy and well-kept boat. Liveaboards help to keep the other boats secure too. Watching out for thieves and the occasional potential sinking or other emergency.
Living on a Bayliner 4788 for just 2 people would be an ideal scenario as the living space is enough and the mobility that such a vessel offers is great for weekend trips with friends.
Onboard showers, toilets with holding tanks or the earth ones, generating electricity with a bunch of solar panels etc. You can be innovative and create your own utilities.
It helps to be a practical person as you can save a lot of money on maintenance, but it is a lifestyle that you can either love or hate.
Go for if it is your thing.
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Old 22-02-2019, 09:46   #14
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Re: Is living aboard affordable?

and here is why there is less and less affordable housing throughout the nation and growing homelessness:

"due to new county laws, permitting, and building code the house would have to be built much more narrow and because the structure of the plans drastically changes"

To your question (and I have not read the other responses yet) I'll say yes it can be affordable but still tricky. Marinas are getting tighter and tighter regarding liveaboards and living on the hook is a whole other experience.

That being said sure makes life interesting!

Sorry about your loss. I would think the neighbors hold some liability for your situation.
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Old 22-02-2019, 09:57   #15
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Re: Is living aboard affordable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tellie View Post
Don't let anyone tell you that this is an inexpensive hobby. As housing costs have risen in Florida along with the taxes, insurance, upkeep, etc. the boating industry has followed suit.

My impression is not that living aboard need be expensive, but that living aboard in Florida very much is, because the locals are restricting the supply and are coining it on the demand. So if you're not prepared to move, I would do the math.
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