House or Boat? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 37 Old 05-14-2010
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Creedence,

My husband and I are asking myself very similar questions. We are close to your age, are fresh out of graduate school, have good incomes, and are asking ourselves: What now? I have far more questions at this point than wisdom, but here's something I've been mulling over --

1. In most areas, you won't save money by buying or living on a boat over buying and living in a house. At least not if you plan to keep the boat in good repair and want a solid boat. So when you consider house vs. boat in terms of investment, they break even or the house wins.

However:

2. If you compare the cost of owning and living a house, plus owning a boat -- because let's face it, you love the boat -- to the cost of owning and living on just the boat, then the boat is far cheaper. You can cut out the entire cost of owning the house!

In view of number 2, I have been seriously considering the wisdom of getting a boat and taking all the money I would have sunk into the house and investing it ... historically, stocks have pawned property as investments.

In your case, you own a boat already. If you could live on it, you could always start there (no big outlay in cash for the 2010) and see how it goes.

Just a thought -- no doubt, in my own idealism and partial ignorance, I've passed over an important point.
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post #12 of 37 Old 05-14-2010
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You can sleep on a boat, you can't sail a house.
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post #13 of 37 Old 05-14-2010
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If you have the cash, live on your old or an old boat, buy a house and rent it and consider it a long term savings acct. A home is the best thing to have in my opinion, even if you don't live in it.

I would NOT suggest buying a new boat as a
has been stated above, unless you have more money than sense......they lose %50 in 5 years or some sick figure like that.....

I love to sail, don't get me wrong but the chances of a house sinking are pretty slim.

I love to sail, coming from a Swordboat capt's loin one would think I'd of caught the bug long before now! Oh well, this ones for you Bisque...(My Father may he RIP)

Now If I could only stay away from working on the damn things I could sail more!
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post #14 of 37 Old 05-14-2010
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As a wizened old codger, here's my take.
1.Creedence, you may very well own a house at some point in your life. Frankly, now probably ain't the time if you are asking the "house vs. boat" question.
2. Before you shell out the money for anything, house, boat, even a pet that might live longer than a year, you and your wife need to do a gut check as a couple. Ask yourselves three questions and write down the answers.
1. Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
2. Where do you see yourselves in 10 years?
3. Will a broken condom change anything?

3. If you are going to live on a boat, the time to do it is NOW.

4. Something to think about is where you plan to live. If you plan to live in Florida, it may never be a better time to invest in real estate. Buy a condo for 50% of it's build cost, and rent it out. Now you have income and equity.

5. Buying a brand new production boat IS a BAD investment. But, buying an old production boat at the bottom of it's depreciation curve is a GOOD investment.
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post #15 of 37 Old 05-14-2010 Thread Starter
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I think the idea of us living aboard is gaining more traction. I've owned a boat (for better or worse) for the last 8 years, and we experimented with living aboard back in Hawaii for a few months. So I know we CAN live aboard, I also know that I WANT to live aboard; and I can see what many of you are saying that, if done correctly, it is possible live aboard without negatively impacting my retirement plans. I will have to look at investing a little more aggressively, but it certainly seems workable. In fact, degreeoff, your idea of sticking with the current boat and buying to rent isn't a bad idea.

As for the boat itself; the idea for buying new came after a dealer made an offer on our boat as a trade-in that is hard to refuse. I could basically be in a 2010 boat for what the 2004s of the same model are being offered on yacht world. I currently have a Catalina 36 so whether we go the trade in route or not, I guess we could be doing a lot worse in terms of layout.

Last edited by creedence623; 05-14-2010 at 08:26 AM.
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post #16 of 37 Old 05-14-2010
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Creedence, I envy you.

I hope you have an inkling how lucky you are to marry a woman who's too free-spirited to only want to keep up with the joneses, what's more, she likes boats apparently, and even more than that, she apparently thinks this is a good idea. This is like a Bonnie and Clyde level connection, as far as shared interests go. It would be a waste not to pursue this.

I live alone on a 30, I'd never live with a woman on such a small boat no matter how enthusiastic she is, but even with an annapolis-priced slip, you better believe I am saving money vs a solo apartment. I can't imagine saving money buying a new boat, but wouldn't mind living on one!!!

If you gotta invest in dirt, do yourself a favor and invest in a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) (reet). It's a big landholding company where professionals handle upkeep and you get the dividends. It's so much gosh darn work to make property pay off when you're the poor sap that has to worry about it. This way you can also diversify a bit, not just betting your life on one huuuuuuuge investment that requires a 30 year mortgage to pull the arm on a slot machine.

Living aboard, the big problems are space, refrigeration, waste disposal, lack of privacy, getting a quiet slip in a good looking place, gale force winds, emergency repairs.

Benefits are peace, no lawn, no dogs barking, no car horns, usually less gunfire, people around the marina are generally in a good mood, you can take your house on adventures, IRS counts it as a home, wildlife.

So long story short, you've got great gifts and great opportunity and I hope you're ready to acknowledge it, treasure it, and make it pay off.
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post #17 of 37 Old 05-14-2010
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I am in the same boat, so to speak. I currently live aboard my sailboat-first, house-second, '78 Catalina 27 and am also lucky enough to have a little something for a good down payment on a home. The idea I'm hoping to materialize is to buy a rental property locally and make a large enough down payment that the rental income more than pays for the mortgage and upkeep, thereby providing something of an income, albeit small.

Meanwhile I'll continue to live on the cheap and simple, possibly upgrading to an older seaworthy 30 footer for a little extra space while still keeping the amount of systems to maintain to a manageable level.

I don't want to live in a house, nor do I really want to own one. Way too much materials getting in the way for my tastes. The live aboard life is definitely for me. However, I can't pass up the option, should it even exist, to have a steady small income and some equity should I decided to finally set sail for distant shores.

Has anyone done this? Seems like, if ever, the time to buy is now.
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post #18 of 37 Old 05-15-2010
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Live on the boat

Do you love sailing ? Go find out if you love living aboard. I finally got to try it out for 8 months and that's it for me, won't go back to being a dirt dweller
So I say, Go for living on the boat. Get a good slip in the best marina you can afford ~ not too far from the showers and bathrooms, well maintained and CLEAN. Laundry on premises or close by. Hang around and talk to folks at the marina ~ see how you'll like them as neighbors. Visit the marina at different times of the day and night.
Have storage as close as possible to the marina.. ideally at the marina. When it's too cold, or too hot, or too close for 2, rent a room at a nice hotel for a treat.
I raised kids so the house seemed necessary. But in hindsight, it was because the hubby wanted a house.
After buying and selling homes (7). I believe as an investment, buying a home today, whether you stay in it forever or sell, it's a collossal myth, that it's a good investment. And to buy and act as landlord, it's a tremendous pain.
Now to buy a home because you want to do with it what you will is another story. But when folks calculate the profit of selling a home, they never count
all the costs, they forget the carrying costs, the interest costs of mortgage.. etc. etc. etc..... (If you do get a mortgage, make 13 payments a year, instead of 12 ~ you'll save a lot of money and be done with being partners with the bank many years sooner. But owning a home is tough these days, with property taxes escalating more and more.)
Be responsible to yourself ~ feed your heart and what you love and resist the traditional path. Just give it a shot. You can always change your mind.

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post #19 of 37 Old 05-15-2010
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I know a family in coastal Alaska that bought 4 acres of water-front land just a couple miles by water from a small town. The land was amidst the mountains and also had great soil for growing garden veggies.

The first thing they did was build a dock....no small chore when you have 20 foot tides!! The land was in a small protected, deep-water cove, so they built a floating dock that rose and settled with the tide. The largest expense with the dock was the pile-driving crew. The wood was milled in a local sawmill using some trees the family had downed to make room for the garden and some open land on their property.

The second thing they did was build a four-season storage shed to clear out lots of the stuff aboard their boat and make more room for their family.

The third thing they did was plot a garden, and also build a spring greenhouse for starting shoots early before planting.

There is a fast-moving stream very close-by for freshwater, they filter all drinking water.

The boat is a 65 foot on deck steel-hull staysail schooner, very full keel. Lots of grids up in alaska for doing routine bottom work...travel lifts are few and far between. Kodiak, Homer; Seward, Cordova. Almost no private marinas up in Ak (maybe Juneau)...most are floating city-docks. You share your space with crabbers and trollers and draggers....always with different "tall tales"! Quite a different world than the lower 48.

Anyway, they have LOTS of room aboard the boat for their three kids. Each kid has a separate stateroom. In the winter, they have diesel and woodstove heat aboard the boat. The cove is normally fairly ice-free. 2 of the kids are home-schooled...the older kid has now started skiffing in the two miles to the local small k-12 school. The other two kids, even though they are home-schooled, take part in many after-school activities.

They grow their own vegetables, smoke their own moose-meat and salmon, grow plenty of sprouts aboard the boat, listen to a GREAT local NPR station, their kids have learned to build skiffs, and live fairly self-sufficiently.

What's more, on weekends when the wind is right, they often toss their lines and take their home sailing...even in winter. During summer months, they often leave for extended alaska coastal cruising, at which time they have to weigh their garden maintenance with the pleasure of sailing, but usually expect the garden will be totally overgrown upon their return, and in need of a few solid days of tending. Next summer, they are planning on sailing the Aleutian Chain, as far as Adak.

They truly have the best of both worlds....to be able to "homestead" and grow their own crops in Alaska and smoke their own meat and salmon, to having a wonderful schooner as their home, one which they can take anywhere in the world. Whenever they sail, they'll always have their homestead and one of the greatest little Alaskan villages to return to.

Granted, they're not your average "live-aboards" and I am so glad they're not. They are probably one of the most adventurous and close-knit famillies that I know. And they're not really isolated, either, for most times when I visit, there is always a skiff or two tied up to the dock that belong to kids from neighboring 'homesteads' and from the village. They just drive skiffs instead of ride bikes back and forth.

"...and a star to steer her by."

Last edited by SoulVoyage; 05-15-2010 at 01:18 PM.
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post #20 of 37 Old 05-15-2010
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To be the contrarian, I think real estate is as good an investment as anything else. And right now is quite possibly the absolute best time in any of our lives we'll ever see to buy it. One of the biggest housing price corrections in history, and rates in the 4% range? It's a buyer's dream market.
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