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Living on a Houseboat vs Living in a Regular House

Have you ever wondered what the difference between a houseboat and a regular house is?

If so, then this blog is for you.

While most people would usually head out to the waters for holidays, seasonal fun and enjoyment, some people prefer to make life on the waterways a lifestyle.

If you’re one of those who dream of making the waterways your permanent place of residence anytime soon, you’ll probably want to know the most important lifestyle changes you should anticipate.

Owning a houseboat and living on a houseboat full time presents very many advantages.

Likewise, it also comes with a few challenges.

Before you take the plunge to embrace this thrilling adventure of a somewhat different life on the waters, let’s find answers to some of the most common questions most people usually have when deciding whether or not to buy a houseboat to start this new life that will bring them closer to nature.

How is a houseboat different from other houses?

First off, the term houseboat, boathouse or liveaboard may have different meanings depending upon the country. For example, a houseboat in Australia is quite different from a houseboat in Hong Kong.

Also, the differences between continents also exist. A houseboat in the USA can be very different from a houseboat in Europe. Lake houseboats can also be quite different from marina houseboats and seafaring houseboats or liveaboards.

A houseboat is a floating structure that can be moved from place to place. It's kind of like an apartment or condo, except it's out on the water instead of in the city.

Houses that float are called houseboats because they're just like regular houses—they have windows, doors, walls, roofs, etc.—but they float instead of being anchored to the ground.

A houseboat easily doubles as a house on which people can permanently reside.

They are usually not designed to be seaworthy but able to travel short distances occasionally for repair or maintenance needs.

Liveaboard boats are usually movable, unlike regular houses that are permanently situated in one location. They are designed to be seaworthy and they perfectly balance the boat and home aspects with little to no compromise.

Because they are meant to be situated on the water, these boats usually come with proper waste disposal systems to ensure living on the water still has maximum convenience.

Access to utilities like water and electricity may be provided by the marina or better still, you may install self-owned and renewable systems.

While most of what has been discussed above have to do with basic differences between a houseboat and a regular house, there will also be various significant differences in what life is like in each of these two residential abodes.

It will open you to a new world of adventures but this also comes at a price.

Purchase cost and ongoing expenses

While the average houseboat may be cheaper than a regular brick and concrete house, houseboats still need ongoing expenses in a number of ways.

You’ll have to pay the marina to keep your houseboat moored.

You’ll have to also pay for several other expenses ranging from the slip to waste disposal among others. Now, for most enthusiasts who fantasize about a residential life on the waterways, all of these challenges still are no match to the thrill and fun of a serene and adventurous life on the sea.

Houseboat and liveaboard boat differences

The term ‘houseboat’ is often used interchangeably with ‘liveaboard’ although there are distinct differences between both.

Both are designed to be used as permanent residences, but the way they're used is different.

A houseboat is usually moored to a dock or dry land and a liveaboard can be moored anywhere that provides access to fresh water and power. In general, a houseboat is more like a house on the water and a liveaboard boat is more like an apartment on the water.

Houseboats are equipped with the basic things you’ll normally need in a residential abode. In manufacturing a houseboat, manufacturers would often use a combination of different materials ranging from steel to timber, and fiberglass, at times.

How is daily life in a houseboat different from in a regular house?

Living on a houseboat full time surely comes with a lot of thrills as well as a few challenges.

There are certainly a lot of ways in which life on water will differ from that in a regular house. All of these differences would usually define your daily life and would be the highlights of your best memories and also the less memorable ones.

In what way then is daily life on a houseboat different from in a regular house?

Let’s see!

  • Incredible and scenic waterfront views every day all-day

Forget the fact that a houseboat is still called a boat.

These houseboats are more of a house than they are boats and owning one of these buoyant houses comes with a lot of responsibilities.

So, you’re the homeowner, the captain of this incredibly beautiful boat, let’s see what your daily life in here would basically look like. Every time you wake up in the morning, you wake up to scenic and incredible waterfront views.

Because your boat will also be docked here at the marina, you can always have much of everything the bay or lake has to offer as far as fun and recreational activities go.


  • Every day is a holiday when you’re living on a houseboat fulltime

Imagine sailing along the coast in your own private haven. A family dance party on your deck. Peace and quiet in the morning with fresh bird calls from the waterfront. It's easy, eco-friendly, and cheaper than buying a house and having a mortgage.

While a lot of folks only get to enjoy fishing, boating, and tubing on their vacations, these may become a regular afternoon or evening routine for you.

While people in their brick and concrete houses would have to mow their lawns and tend to the garden, you won’t have to worry about any yard maintenance.

Depending on where you choose to live too, you shouldn’t have to pay property taxes unlike what is usually the case with landed properties.

  • Getting food, water, and electricity

As some of the basic needs of life, these will also be a part of your daily life on a houseboat.

While you can always cook your meals on board, you should be sure there are restaurants around if you’ll be occasionally going out to eat.

Access to water and electricity are also sometimes provided by the marina for a fee although you can also generate your own power by yourself.

You’ll also have to pay for waste disposal every week to dispose of sewage. Also, you’ll have to pay for routine maintenance and expenses that come with living on the water.


If I move from an apartment into a houseboat, what life changes should I expect?

If you choose to embrace the promising life of living in a houseboat fulltime, there is a lot of changes that will come with your new life.

First off, you’ll most likely have to join a marina club or association.

Most marinas where you can reside fulltime in a houseboat requires boat owners to become a member whose marina rules you’ll have to adhere to.

Additionally, there are a few extra expenses that may come with this.

Aside from what you pay for the boat, you’ll have to pay mooring fees, rental for the slip you’re using, sewage disposal, and routine maintenance.

You should also know that a houseboat usually has less space and less extravagant compared to land-built homes.

Other than that, you’ll want to appreciate this less space by making do with only the really important things.

Life on a houseboat is generally peaceful, serene, adventurous and interesting.

Summers are especially beautiful as you can easily engage in most activities that would have been otherwise possible on vacations alone. Although there will be expenses here and there, living in a houseboat fulltime still makes an excellent opportunity to experience the awesomeness and beauty of life in a way that brings you very much closer to nature.

This experience definitely comes with a lot of thrills and benefits.

In the end, we want to say that living in a houseboat is a good lifestyle for anyone who is willing. However, it's not for everyone. You need to be an open-minded person and love the water.

The biggest reward of living on a houseboat is being able to spend every night sleeping under the stars and every sunrise taking a cold shower to wake you up!

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