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Old 09-03-2011
chrisncate's Avatar
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We bought and sold a slip recently here in MD (in the last couple of years), and we found slip ownership wasn't worth it at all. Property taxes, condo slip "HOA" fees, and liveaboard fees (if you live aboard of course) made the whole thing a huge waste of time and money for our particular needs and wants. We bought ours outright without financing, so if you're thinking of financing, add those costs in as well.

Our HOA fees equaled half the cost of what a slip rental would be when figured out on a monthly basis, and the liveaboard fee brought the cost up to equal that with renting. There was no value in the short term (short term being measured on the "decade" scale), as we were paying the same thing renters pay, but with a large chunk of cash tied up in the slip that we couldn't access without mortgaging the slip. Long term value in slip ownership? Maybe, I dunno.

Another thing to consider is that, unlike a home you own, you typically aren't free to rent out your slip on your own. The marina typically enjoys the say on renters, installing hardware (cleats, bumpers...) etc.

Lastly, we encountered the same old BS we encounter with home ownership: HOA power trippers, rules and regs doled out inconsistently based on your status, bad renters with no stake in anything who don't care about your investment... and worst of all, we were very expected to continue spending moderate coin in the marina (since we were rich slip owners after all...).

This was our experience, fwiw. Slips in MD are a dime a dozen, and I hear the PNW is different...
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Old 09-03-2011
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We just bought a condo slip in Gig Harbor a couple months ago. We had been renting a slip at this marina for about a year and really like it here. With the currently economy, both real estate and yachts have gone down in value and there are plenty of distressed sales. Well, a condo slip is a little bit of both and the values have really dropped.

There was a 50 foot slip here that had been for sale for about a year. The owner had the ill grace to drown in a diving accident, leaving his widow underwater herself on a number of properties. Without his high income, she couldn't keep the properties and put everything up for sale.

It was a short sale as she owed more on the slip than what she was going to be able to get for it. By the time we looked at it, the asking price had come down 20% from here initial asking price and 15% lower than what they bought it for a few years ago. We made an offer about 25% lower than her current asking price. We came up with that figure because it happened to be the amount of cash that I could scrape together.

Turns out the bank was desperate enough that they figured a low-ball all cash offer was better than nothing so they took it.

Sure, I think that the value of the slip will go up over the years. There is a finite number of slips available in Gig Harbor and this is a prime boating location in the Puget Sound. However, I think that a condo slip as an investment isn't a great one. Far better to stick your cash into a 401k if you are looking strictly at ROI. Even so, we now know that we will always have a great spot for our boat.

Our HOA fees are about 1/4 of what it cost to rent the slip. So, even if we have almost no appreciation on the slip over 10 years, the ROI is going to be about 3%.

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