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Old 14-07-2013, 11:11   #46
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Re: Buy a House or Liveaboard?

Originally Posted by sww914 View Post
You can't cruise without any income.
Sure, however, you don't need a house to have an income and you can't cruise without the boat. Nothing prevents people on boats from having incomes. Although we've been cruising fulltime retired for the last eleven years, we always managed a couple months of crusing each year for the first thirty years we were living aboard with incomes.
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Old 14-07-2013, 11:25   #47
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Re: Buy a House or Liveaboard?

I saved for a couple years and bought a very nice older 27' boat for $30,000. Have put another $10,000 into it since. Cheap house that's not going to appreciate or devalue significantly either way. Just turned 30. Work from the boat doing web dev. If you're 22 and move to a boat, I'm guessing you'll probably be able to figure out the work angle. There are some opportunities out there. I had no background in computer technology but it just kinda made sense for me. It will be harder to find a career that fits your lifestyle if you buy a house and 15 years later decide you want to do the boat thing...unless you are able to save.

It makes no sense to me to buy a house and start paying it off in order to cruise later. The "mort" prefix in 'mortgage' = "death" in the latin!!

I can get a bit lonely at times. The vast majority of cruisers are older. But just because no one else is doing it is not a reason not to yourself. And there are some young people. Agreed that the community at large is more social and inclusive than land-based equivalents.
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Old 14-07-2013, 11:38   #48
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Re: Buy a House or Liveaboard?

I agree, at 22 if you have the income and a downpayment to get a mtg, is to buy a house in the city or college town and rent the other rooms out.
Very social situation. You can do this at 22 and single. One can always get a trailered boat to sail, or find others to sail on their boats.

Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
Depends on the house, depends on the boat, depends on the job, depends on the lifestyle.

One of my big regrets is that, at the age of 22, having a respectable income I did not buy one of the bigger inner city houses that were going for a couple of songs at the time and share it.
The two males who I know did it had the time of their lives. Sharing their houses with young male and female friends, rent money coming out of their ears, continual parties. As a young male fresh out of uni life just did not get any better.

At 22 it would have been a great lifestyle and I would have been financially set for life. I have a sneaking suspicion the the ones who did it ruined it all by getting married (house not held by trust...), but that's another story.

What has not been said is that the live aboard life can be a lonely one. Best suited to single handers and couples. Even in a marina it's not that social.

Financially speaking boat maintenance, depreciation, marina and live aboard fees and the 1001 expenses associated with boat ownership would keep you perpetually poor.
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Old 20-07-2013, 00:48   #49
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Re: Buy a House or Liveaboard?

Here in San Diego, a townhouse/condo goes for around 300k, so living aboard has been constant thoughts of mine! For 60-80k, there's decent 40' or so boats..which should provide enough space.
At 44, divorced, 1 child, owned had to short sale, now renting...again; living aboard is the only way I'll "own" a residence in San Diego! And with few complaints.... S.D. has more crappy housing areas than waterfront living!
Here's a few thoughts from my whacked mind... of course I say this lounging on my couch watching my 42" flat screen, things I probably wouldn't be doing living on a boat but:
your young, enjoy it... you could probably buy a big enough boat to live on, which you could pay off faster than a home. At which time, when you'll be "more apt to settle down", the boat's paid off, you'll have collateral... then buy a home.
AND.. in the mean time, well ... who knows, maybe you'll find "Mrs Right", and... you'll have a co-buyer for the house ... but the boat will be yours
What's holding me back? LIFE !!! Life... over 40 !! My son is 16, once he's out of H.S. and this boat loan is paid and I'm debt free, this could become more realistic for me.
At 22, I'd say... your on the right track... ASK, ASK, ASK... investigate, research... ... then go for it!
However as mentioned; homes appreciate... boats... well, you can enjoy them! although, they depreciate. At 22, you could almost go either way, making good reasons to do so.
Buy the house now, marry later... hopefully "she'll" enjoy boating... who knows, maybe you'll get to enjoy boating together... OR... well, who knows?
Buy the boat now, make a sound purchase you take care of, you'll always have a boat; nothing tests the temperament of a relationship than setting sail with a female. You find one who makes a good crew-woman; everything will fall into place!
Think it through, research... think it through again.... pull the trigger and live!
"Fate Awaits"
Cheers... and good luck!
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Old 20-07-2013, 03:27   #50
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Originally Posted by ArtyB View Post


So true. Buy the house. In 5 years sell the house. Buy a boat
Not true at all. If you bought your house in the last 10 years you have very likely decreased in value.

A house is an anchor. It will keep you tied to an ordinary life as a typical American consumer. Strive for a life less ordinary. If boats get your passion, buy a cheap one and start fixing it up to go cruising. Buy Capt. Fatty's book "Buy, Outfit, & Sail". If its not boating then find something you are passionate about. Don't just buy a house because you think it might be a good investment or its the next step or any of the other foolish pressures society might put on you.

Fair winds,

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Old 20-07-2013, 14:52   #51
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Re: Buy a House or Liveaboard?

Hi Eric, I am 69 years old and have lived on a boat since 2000. I own the boat outright and also a fairly large house with my wife. My wife does not like living on boats and I dread the thought of rotting in front of a TV whilst waiting to die.

You are at the other end of your life and appear to be facing the choice of whether to become enslaved with the house, car and family in the suburbs thing or whether to become a seafaring vagabond for a while.

One of my few regrets in life is that I spent to much on houses and not enough on boats. At 22 you don't have this problem yet and at your age you don't really have to make a decision for a decade or so yet anyway.

From a female companionship viewpoint there may not be so many of them about but the ones that are tend to be much more interesting companions anyway. You'll be swapping quantity for quality.

Yeah, boats and the sea can be lonely places but so can an apartment in the city or a house in the suburbs and I can recall no experience onshore as close and comforting as a meal with friends around the saloon table. I have never experienced anything but good cheer and friendliness at a blow in beach barbeque with other yachties. As an oil driller all over the world I have a vast experience of bars and other social venues including some pretty nasty ones. Since taking up boating I have experienced numerous yacht clubs as social venues and on the whole they are generally the most civilized of places and I have not had a bad experience in one yet.

Jump in and do the Nike thing and just go for it.
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Old 20-07-2013, 19:31   #52
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Re: Buy a House or Liveaboard?

Without knowing anything about your work situation or connection to current place, these are some thoughts that come to mind...

Are you looking for adventure, like full time voyaging? If so, then buy a boat and go see the world. My personal opinion on buying a boat to live aboard in a marina? Nah. I'm not crazy about a lot of marinas. Sailing for me is all about the boat moving from place to place and anchoring nearly all the time. I realize other people use their boats as convenient or cheap alternatives to other housing, or simply like living aboard a boat and go cruising from time to time, and if that's you, then go for it. There are a lot of boats that never leave the dock with live aboard owners, and no judgement here, I just don't see the appeal. But I also live on 1200 rural acres, and have to remind myself not hang out in the cockpit in my boxers sometimes. I caught myself doing that in the Annapolis mooring field last summer Most anchorages I love, it hardly matters. I see my boat as a really nice backpacking tent... I'm done sleeping on roots and lumpy ground now...

Buying a house allows you to build equity,establish credit and despite recent disasters, a smart buy in the right place, plus some money and time invested, can be good in the long run. I don't know your area, but this can be a good time to buy, with low rates and reasonably priced properties. Other people have pointed out the flexibility you could have if you are savvy and the right housing conditions exist, such as renting it out. Then having something to come home to should you need a break from voyaging, have health or money issues, whatever.

From reading your post, you don't really go into specifics as to what you really want. If you're bright and motivated and have a good stream of income, you can pretty much do what you want if you want it enough. I personally would find the right house and buy it, and also find a boat and buy it when you are ready. As long as you are in a place where there is a strong rental market, you can have your property managed and go cruising whenever it suits you.

Take some time to really reflect on where (metaphorically) you want to be when you turn 30. It will be here soon enough, and forty shortly after....

If there's something you really want - go get it. If you don't really know where you're headed, then might be a perfect time to go voyaging and see what comes up for you.

I'm 40, wife 39, oldest starts college next year and youngest high school. I farm, wife nurse and it is amazes me I pull off the Pacific Seacraft 34 that lies 400 miles away at the coast with all I am responsible for. Many factors play a role in making it work for me, none of them involve inherited $, and by in large I'm a firm believer in making a solid plan and then doing it. I struggle to relate to any other approach, and perhaps that's my own limitation.
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Old 20-07-2013, 21:04   #53
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Re: Buy a House or Liveaboard?

There are people here with a lot of life experience and wisdom, you should take their advice. On the same token, you should note their age and life circumstances at the moment, they are likely to be very different than yours. I do not say this to discredit them, but to offer an opposing perspective.

I am 30 now, but I bought my first house 4 years ago when I was 26. I was living inland at the time and had a steady job, was about to get married, etc. I bought the house because everyone over the age of 35 told me "you need to buy a house". My income could support it easily and so I followed through. At the time, we had settled in that area and had no intentions of moving, but life doesn't work that way. It is now 4 years later, I'm out $60k cash between taxes, losses on mortgage vs rent, and am mid-short sale because I can no longer continue to sustain the house while living in a different state. My credit is in the dumpster and I'm out a lot of cash. The house was the biggest financial mistake I made.

You are young, you will have time to buy a house and settle down, I would be financially prudent, but not waste your early years saving up for what everyone else tells you that you should do. You won't be 22 forever, I'd enjoy it, buy a cheap boat, work on it, live on it, have fun, then when life starts to slow and settle down, buy a house. There is too much that can change so early on in life and if you don't plan on being in a house for 5+ years, you lose money.
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Old 20-07-2013, 21:54   #54
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Re: Buy a House or Liveaboard?

I want to thank everyone thus far for the great input. I chose to make the original post very vague to not weigh the outcome. There seems to be a lot of correlation between career path and living aboard. I am a high performance marine diesel technician mostly 40-65ft vessels my family owns the company. so my location may change but I will always be on the water for work. where I live there are not many people living aboard however I think it would be great to live and work on boats not to mention a little discount off retail on parts
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Old 20-07-2013, 22:09   #55
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Re: Buy a House or Liveaboard?

Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
There is too much that can change so early on in life and if you don't plan on being in a house for 5+ years, you lose money.
Very true. People often forget sales tax/stamp duty/agent commission and all the other crap that comes with buying and selling a house. When people calculate the money they made on a house (rare these days anyway) they conveniently forget the 20% (or whatever percentage where you live) they lost....

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Old 19-11-2014, 21:54   #56
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Re: Buy a House or Liveaboard?

old post however just wanted to keep everyone updated who had something to say sometime ago.I decided to move aboard and on 9/1/2014 we finished closing on my 1985 43' Californian. she is currently on the hill and I am finishing up what I am calling phase 1 repairs. she will be splashed before the new year and soon after I will be moved aboard. it has been an incredible and exciting experience thus far. thanks to everyone who spent the time to reply originally. if anyone is interested in seeing pictures <iframe width="480" height="360" src=""></iframe>
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Old 25-11-2014, 12:42   #57
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Re: Buy a House or Liveaboard?

Congratulations Erick! I can't get the photobucket pics to come up but I am sure she is pretty, being a diesel mechanic is a perfect occupation to live aboard.

Even though I have my situation squared away, I enjoyed reading this thread and I think there were lots of great points brought out for potential liveaboards (young or old.)

You are doing great! You are going to have to try hard to drive that bus off the road!!

My advice for others to be able to live on a boat when and where they desire, based on many conversations with patients and my own battle scars:

-don't get married when you are young, you will change dramatically between age 22 and 35
-realize that if you have children you will rarely retire until they are at least out of college
-don't be one of the 1 out of 3 heavy drinkers (men 15 drinks per week, women 8 per week)
-don't wait to have your adventures until you retire
-it is really difficult to hold down a job while anchoring out, a marina makes a big difference, and you can anchor out for short periods when desired
-don't buy a house unless you are almost certain you will stay put for five years or you will lose money vs renting with few exceptions
-read Michael Bluejay's Rent vs Buy calculator, it will give you the real story about renting and buying and show you the exceptions above
-learn to be happy with a minimalist lifestyle and you will find financial freedom
-find a career that you are passionate about and then find a way to get paid for it as a secondary matter
-get a boat now you can buy with cash and learn to work on it

There simply isn't any way to live more frugally than applying the last point. Over the last 100 years, residential homes in the US have appreciated at almost exactly the same rate as inflation ie 3.5% (someone got a Nobel prize for realizing this.) There are also booms and busts to deal with. My GF just bought a home for $30K less than the prior owners paid for it in 2009, essentially the bottom of the market crash which finally rebounded 10% in 2013. But since you have to have somewhere to live, buying is almost always a better deal than renting in terms of total dollars spent- that is the investment aspect. Try putting home values (or even the cost of a cheap apartment) into the calculator mentioned vs buying an older $20,000 boat and renting or buying a boat slip, very enlightening!

Living on a boat is far different than living on land, even if you aren't cruising. It is a completely different mindset, more in tune with nature and requiring giving up most of the luxuries that many people consider essential- such as unlimited hot showers.
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Old 04-12-2014, 20:28   #58
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Re: Buy a House or Liveaboard?

Someone earlier mentioned that houses appreciate and boats depreciate. I would point out that this is only an important factor if you expect to sell. We've lived on our sailboats for 43 years and on our current boat for 30 years. If you are able to comsume the value of your boat over a long span then depriciation becomes meaningless. The purchase cost of my vessel thirty years ago is about one third of what I would have paid in property taxes for a very modest home over thirty years. There is a great freedom in non-ownership!
Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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