Waterside property specialists

buying a houseboat

buying a houseboat

riverhomes offers a wide variety of houseboats to suit different lifestyles and budgets. We know that securing a mooring on the Thames is often more difficult than finding your dream houseboat, so all our houseboats are sold with an accompanying mooring.

View all houseboats offered for sale by riverhomes.

When viewing a houseboat, here are some factors you should consider:

Which type of houseboat?

The market can be crudely divided into two parts: working boats and floating homes.

Houseboats / Working boats are purpose-built boats, and usually have an engine.

Here are some some of the most popular types of houseboat:

  • Narrowboats must be less than 7 feet wide - which enables them to navigate through the Thames’ canal lock systems.
  • Dutch barges are similar to narrowboats, but wider. Their extra width means they must be moored on rivers rather than canals.
  • River cruisers are constructed from fibreglass and
  • Yachts are opulent and beautiful - and they command a premium accordingly.

Floating homes are structures that are built onto a “Thames lighter” (a type of flat-bottomed barge), or built totally from scratch. They often look more like sleek, Manhattan-style loft apartments than boats. Many have been designed to the owners’ bespoke requirements - and many possess an interesting history.

Costs

The price of a houseboat is determined by its size, condition, location and mooring. Our houseboats range in price from about £100,000 to over £1 million.

There are other costs to consider when buying and owning a houseboat, such as:

  • Getting an independent survey completed. Even though we will be able to provide you with all the relevant documentation regarding the boat’s usage, maintenance history and surveys, we would still always recommend that you get an independent survey too - to ensure everything is working as it should be.
  • Boat finance. Almost all of the houseboats and floating homes that we sell are to cash buyers.  It is much more challenging to obtain a mortgage on a boat than a house or flat, but there are some specialist boat finance companies such as RoyScot Larch and Collidge and Partners who may be able to assist. Bear in mind that these firms only lend on the value of the boat itself - even though the mooring rights are often more valuable.
  • A British Waterways Licence (from about £400 per year for a small boat) and BSS certificate (starting at £100), which must be renewed every four years.
  • Fees for your residential moorings (rates are often detemined per foot of length per week, although this depends on the location, facilities available, and type of boat you own.)
  • Domestic bills - including water, electric, gas or diesel.
  • Running costs for fuel, engine oil, toilets and pumps.
  • Council tax.
  • Insurance 
  • Yearly Maintenance (e.g. getting the hull checked and painted). We recommend setting aside funds each year to cover ongoing maintenance costs.

View all houseboats for sale by riverhomes.