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GrampianCT 07-23-2009 12:58 PM

I have a line on a dockominium where I want to be long term. Aside from purchase price, taxes, and association dues, what else do I need to consider.

Its a 45' dock 'finger attached to a bulkhead.' I'll be looking at it before Sunday...

How do you insure a vertical column of water? What are the pitfalls of ownership? How hard is it to live aboard in one of these before the association decides I can't use my property that way....not a short term goal, but long term long will it take to fill a 45 foot slip during the inevitable upgrade path from a 26 foot boat.. :)


JimMcGee 07-23-2009 01:19 PM

Assessments can be a killer, just like living in a condo. Talk to the marina manager, other slip holders, and the maintenance guy. Are there any planned upgrades or major maintenance projects in the near future?

Are association dues paid monthly or quarterly? Do you get a discount for paying the year in advance? Have the dues been pretty steady or have they gone up every year?

Talk to other slip holders about the association. Are they OK or are they a real PITA. Dealing with a self important dock nazi can make you miserable.

Insurance will be different in every state. I would also have a title search done on the slip. Make sure their are no liens.


svHyLyte 07-23-2009 02:15 PM

Obtain and review carefully the CC&R's and Rules of the Association as to the prevailing requirements of slip owners; and, as to how such rules and particularly fee assessments could be changed in the future (with or without your agreement). Look also, carefully, at fee assessments and what reserves are. A number of "dockominiums" in Florida are now having difficulty because owners have fallen into arrears of their fee payments and other owner/occupants are having to make up the shortage to ensure the basic services are available--water, electricity, trash disposal etc.

Further, look carefully at restrictions on use, occupancy and leasing. For example you might find that the association has the right to rent your slip to transient boats in your absence (and to keep the rental proceeds). You may also find that cannot lease/rent the slip to another when you are not occupying the slip yourself--such as when you are between boats. Look also for restrictions on things such as working on your boat, which may be prohibited; and/or, restrictions on tradesmen working on the boat for you--mechanics, divers et al--without the prior approval of the Association, Insurance etc. Look also for restrictions on how long you may stay aboard you boat at a time, within a month; and, per annum. Many dockominiums do not want defacto "live aboards" and have restrictions that make doing so impossible. CHeck also for parking and storage allowances. Taking a 5 day cruise can be difficult if your parking allowance is only 72 hours continuous.

There are other considerations but the foregoing will get you started.


GrampianCT 07-23-2009 02:28 PM

I appreciate all the tips so far. My wife has a real estate attorney in mind, but can a regular dirt and tar lawyer understand the idea of owning a 450 sqft mudpile under the sea?

hellosailor 07-23-2009 02:31 PM

Title search, search on state laws regarding -ominium associations, USACE to see who owns the bulkhead and if it can be repaired should it need to be in the future. And, if there are 100 members in the Docko Association? Congratulations, 100 of your new best friends are going to try to tell you how to run your life. Get all the records and documents that you can on the association and see how it has been going. Get an attorney to look it over for pitfalls.
If you decide they're all nuts and you want to sell, can "the board" meet in secret and reject your buyers? Forever? For specified reasons? Or, are they required to buy it from you at the same price as the folks that they just rejected?

JimMcGee 07-23-2009 04:21 PM

I would take a cup of coffee and stroll the dock on Saturday morning and just talk to people. You'll learn a lot about the "local politics" that way. You'll also learn a lot about the personality of the dock (mellow, hard party or somewhere in between).

I would do it a couple of times before buying. Another option is a lease-purchase agreement if the seller is open to the idea. It gives you a chance to try before you buy.

I did both and am glad I did. Another thing is winter storage. Is there a yard nearby where you can haul out for the winter?


speciald 07-23-2009 04:48 PM

Question I have -Will a bank finnce a hole in the water?

JimMcGee 07-24-2009 08:56 AM

I was told it's against banking regs in NJ, so it may vary state to state. Here you have to either take an equity loan against your house, or a loan against your boat - assuming it's worth more than the slip.


GrampianCT 07-24-2009 07:12 PM

"Use of the Dock Prior to Dock / Ramp Replacement: Upon purchase of the dock, Buyer shall be able to use his portion of the dock for the remainder of the 2009 boating season until the new replacement dock / ramp is installed, subject to the following:

• Buyer shall provide (marina) with proof of liability insurance covering the dock; and

• Buyer / Seller (subject to the approval of --marina--) shall install a temporary ramp that Buyer can use to access his dock until the new replacement ramp is constructed.

If this was an active association, which it is presently not, each owner would get a vote equal to what they own(I believe). --The Marina-- always has the largest interest and voting rights (see condo docs)."

How scary does that sound to you? I'm not sure being the only condo owner in a marina is a smart move if so much power is on that side of the equation...physical repairs are in the 40k range half ostensibly payable by the marina 'when they decide to.' I am taking my coffee cup tour tomorrow..

I'm losing my gusto, but I will be reducing the offer by 1/2 of the estimate for rebuilding the dock...

sailingdog 07-24-2009 07:22 PM

I doubt a Grampian 26 is worth enough to use as collateral for a loan on the Dockominium.

Originally Posted by JimMcGee (Post 508121)
I was told it's against banking regs in NJ, so it may vary state to state. Here you have to either take an equity loan against your house, or a loan against your boat - assuming it's worth more than the slip.


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