Re: How much maintenance and repair, really?
My take on this is that if something breaks on the house, you can turn it off, or do without, until you get around to fixing it. A leaky faucet, or broken power line isn't the end of the world. You make some calls, or grab your tools, and get it taken care of when it is convenient. On a boat, if a through hull gives out, or if the engine dies, you could be in serious trouble, depending on where you are at the time.
The Admiral and I downsized from a 4 BR, 2K sqft home with a pool (and a mortgage) on ˝ an acre of land to a 2BR condo with no mortgage. Our monthly living expenses have been cut in half.
I believe in proactive maintenance, and I have strived to keep the boat SIMPLE. No racing, no wind instruments, no autopilot, no genset, two (new) batteries, new injectors, new canvas, new alternator and mounting bracket, tons of replaced/improved wiring, two new fans, new through hulls, and G10 backing plates, new bilge pumps and hoses, spare raw water pump, all new plumbing (except the water pressure pump - works like a champ), the sails have been sent out to the loft for cleaning, inspection and repair. I had the bottom soda blasted, barrier coated, and painted with 3 coats of ablative paint two years ago. I removed the teak handrails, and replaced them with stainless steel. I, just tonight, ordered a new heat exchanger. The keel was dropped, the bolts replaced, and the keel rebedded by the PO after my first survey. I believe that the boat is in better shape now, than when I bought her.
The stuff on the boat didn't break, per se, the systems simply got to a point where I was uncomfortable relying on them, or I felt that they needed replacement, spares, or upgrading.
Overall, in the three years that I have owned her, I have spent as much on maintenance and improvement as the boat cost. And, that does not count the cost of marinas, storage, insurance, or taxes... To address the OP's question, the costs are less than the cost of keeping the house, but much higher than the maintenance fee on the condo.
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USCG Licensed OUPV Captain, ASA 101/103/104/105/106/118 Certified Instructor - Also certified in Recreational Marine Electrical Systems