Special Agents Realty
Seattle Floating Homes

Seattle Houseboat Update

December 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Houseboat Regulations Update

KevLin-2010---SketchFloating On Water Residences, House Barges

& Vessels With Dwelling Units

For the last 4 years, houseboat owners have been struggling to stay afloat in Seattle. Not much news has been published since last summer, so we wanted to provide an update and offer some new information. Please note that the information provided here is NOT official, but rather is representative of our understanding of the current and proposed regulations. We have previously published updates on Seattle-Houseboat.com and SpecialAgentsRealty.com.

Seattle’s Shoreline Master Plan Update is NOT Final

Seattle has been working to complete the Shoreline Master Plan (SMP) for a long time and has indicated that they expect this to be completed by March of 2015. Until that time, Seattle’s existing SMP (Adopted in 1987) remains in force. How does this relate to houseboats?

1987 SMP is in Effect

The 1987 rules do not specifically call out “houseboats.” Those rules instead refer to Vessels, having steering and propulsion, that are used as dwelling units and to Housebarges, vessels capable of navigation by being towed. The ambiguity of this rule led to numerous Notice Of Violations being issued by Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD – previously known as DCLU) primarily against houseboats. DPD began developing the drafts for the new SMP in 2007, it became apparent that Houseboats were in danger of being eliminated entirely in Seattle Waters. As a result, we (Kevin & Linda Bagley)  formed Lake Union Liveaboard Association (LULA) and began organizing to protect the houseboat community.

SB 6450 Went in Effect June 2014

Over a 5 year period, representatives of LULA participated in City Council meetings, DPD Meetings, and met with Mayors, Legislators, and Senators to try to develop a solution. In June of 2014, Senate Bill 6450 went into effect, protecting “Floating On Water Residences” (FOWR).

A floating on-water residence legally established prior to July 1, 2014, must be considered a conforming use and accommodated through reasonable shoreline master program regulations, permit conditions, or mitigation that will not effectively preclude maintenance, repair, replacement, and remodeling of existing floating on-water residences and their moorages by rendering these actions impracticable.

  • Floating On Water Residences (State Definition) effective July 1, 2014
    • Other than Floating Homes
    • Designed or used primarily as a residence
    • Has detachable utilities
    • Owner/occupant held ownership interest or lease or sublease to use space in a marina since a date prior to July 1, 2014
  • Floating On Water Residences (Seattle Definition) effective SMP Implementation Date
    • Affects any floating dwelling unit (houseboats, housebarge) regardless of steering or propulsion
  • Vessels with Dwelling Units (Seattle Definition) placed in moorage between July 1, 2014 and SMP Implementation Date
    • affects “houseboats” with steering and propulsion
    • Owner/occupant held ownership interest or lease or sublease to use space in a marina since a date ON OR AFTER July 1, 2014 and BEFORE SMP Implementation Date
  • Housebarges Vessels without steering and propulsion, capable of navigation by being towed.
    • Pre SMP Implementation Date, continue to be regulated under 1987 SMP
    • post SMP Implementation Date, may continue to be house barges, or may become FOWRs. Owner’s choice.

What is a Floating On Water Residence (FOWR)?

In June of 2014, the State of Washington adopted SB 6450 into law, creating a state definition for a Floating On Water Residence (FOWR).

“floating on-water residence” means any floating structure other than a floating home, as defined under subsection (5) of this section, that: (i) Is designed or used primarily as a residence on the water and has detachable utilities; and (ii) whose owner or primary occupant has held an ownership interest in space in a marina, or has held a lease or sublease to use space in a marina, since a date prior to July 1, 2014.

The City of Seattle has created proposed rules to regulate FOWR’s in Seattle that are expected to go in effect sometime around March of 2015.

The following update is based on communications with the Director of Compliance for DPD , Faith Lumsden;

  • Based on the fact that the new law is NOT yet in effect, the current, existing law is still valid until the new law takes effect (probably around March, 2015). A “Vessel having steering and propulsion” can be brought in under the existing (circa 1990) law and would continue to be legal to be used as a live-aboard vessel. The City is calling these “Vessels With Dwelling Units” The city is proposing to offer a Plaque for these types of vessels.
  • Under the new law, only those “Floating On Water Residences” (FOWR) that have been in Seattle – with a moorage agreement or ownership interest, at a marina, PRIOR to July 1, 2014, would be eligible for the City of Seattle DPD Floating On Water Residence Plaque.
  • A FOWR would NOT be allowed to be brought in after the implementation of the SMP because the new law prohibits its use as a live-aboard vessel.

I know it is confusing, but there are 5 ways of living on the water in Seattle, four of which will be eligible to apply to receive a City of Seattle Plaque. For the purposes of clarification, I have created 4 Seattle Specific Definitions. These definitions apply to vessels moored in Seattle waters.  The 5th classification will NOT receive, nor be eligible for a plaque, but is allowed to be used as a liveaboard in Seattle Waters.

NOTE: If your Floating On Water Residence is NOT located within the city of Seattle, you are still a Floating On Water Residence, however, you are not eligible for a Seattle plaque, and will not be allowed in Seattle as a liveaboard vessel after the implementation of the Seattle Shoreline Master Plan (SMP) expected sometime in March, 2015.

Seattle Specific Definitions (See Chart Below):

  1. Floating On Water Residence (FOWR) - A vessel (with or without propulsion) that was designed primarily as a residence and was legally moored in a marina in Seattle waters PRIOR to July 1, 2014.
  2. Vessel with Dwelling Unit - Vessels that have steering and propulsion, which may be designed primarily as a residence, but are navigable, and obtained legal moorage in Seattle waters BETWEEN July 1, 2014 and the SMP Implementation Date (Estimated March of 2015).
  3. House Barge – Vessels primarily designed as residences, lacking steering and propulsion, but capable of navigation by being towed.
  4. Floating Home –  a single-family dwelling (NOT A VESSEL) constructed on a float that is moored, anchored, or otherwise secured in waters. Floating homes are required to be located in approved “floating home moorages”
  5. Liveaboard Recreational Vessels - Vessels, designed primarily as Recreational Vessels (Excluding Houseboats) as described in the new SMP regulations (Estimated March of 2015).

 

 Floating-On-Water-Residence-Plaque-2  Vessel-With-Dwelling-Unit-Plaque-2  House-Barge-Plaque-2  Floating-Home-Plaque-2
Seattle Floating On Water Residence (FOWR) Vessel with Dwelling Unit House Barge Floating Home
Moored legally in Seattle prior to July 1, 2014. Moored legally in Seattle between July 1, 2014 and date of SMP implementation. Was not in Seattle prior to July 1, 2014. Has been continuously moored and used for residential purposes within the City of Seattle since June 1990. A single-family dwelling constructed on a float that is moored, anchored, or otherwise secured in Seattle waters.
Designed primarily as a residence. May or may not have steering and propulsion. May be designed primarily as a residence, however must have steering and propulsion. Designed and used for navigation but lacks a means of self-propulsion and steering equipment or capability (for example, it is designed and used for navigation by towing) Floating homes are required to be located in approved “floating home moorages”
Includes houseboats Includes houseboats with steering and propulsion. After SMP Implementation, may be converted to a Floating On Water Residence, at owner’s option.. Must have direct connections to sewer and water utilities.
No new Floating On Water Residences allowed in Seattle after July 1, 2014. No new Vessels with Dwelling Units in Seattle Waters AFTER SMP implementation date. No new house barges are permitted. Subject to building codes and other specific restrictions
Meets CITY and STATE definition of Floating On Water Residence. May be legal outside of Seattle Waters, depending on local SMP regulations. There are currently 34 authorized house barges in Seattle Waters.
May be replaced. Has remodeling restrictions – Height, footprint, and square footage. May not be replaced after SMP implementation Can be expanded. Has the same restrictions as a FOWR.

NO PLAQUE

Post-SMP Implementation
RECREATIONAL VESSEL
Is legally moored in Seattle
Designed primarily as a recreational vessel.
Excludes houseboats.
Allowed both before and after July 1, 2014 and after SMP Implementation
Does not meet CITY or STATE definition of Floating On Water Residence. These are Recreational Vessels.
No Replacement or Remodeling restrictions.

Houseboats on the Multiple Listing Update

While Floating Homes and Moorage are able to be listed on the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), Houseboats listings were removed from the NWMLS in March of 2013. Although houseboats had been listed on the NWMLS for decades, they were removed because most houseboats are vessels and selling a vessel requires a Vessel Dealer License. Most Real Estate Brokers are not licensed Vessel Dealers. For some time, Special Agents Houseboats has been the only licensed Vessel Dealer specializing in Houseboat sales and has listed houseboats for sale on Seattle-Houseboat.com, SpecialAgentsRealty.com, and on LakeUnionLiving.com. We understand that this limits the market for the sale of a Houseboat and makes it difficult for people not familiar with our company to locate houseboats for sale.

 We have been working with the Department of Licensing to allow Floating On Water Residences to be sold by licensed Real Estate Brokers, which would then allow them to once again be listed on the NWMLS. To do this, the Real Estate and Vessel Dealer Licensing laws must be changed. The Real Estate Commission formed a task group comprised of interested stakeholders and commission members and crafted a draft of the proposed law changes. Bob Mitchell, Executive Projects Director for the Government Affairs committee of the Washington Realtors Association has taken the reigns to get this submitted to the legislature for the coming session. With little or no opposition, we expect this to be passed easily and to have bipartisan support.

Send us your questions and we will respond! (Kevin@Seattle-Houseboat.com)

Floating On Water Residences: Q&A

Q: Does my Floating On Water Residence require a plaque?
A: After the SMP Implementation, you will have a period of time to apply for and obtain your FOWR plaque. You will be required to have a plaque or be a Recreational Vessel as described in the new SMP regulations.

Q: Can I bring in a new Floating On Water Residence?
A: Until the new SMP has been implemented, Vessels, having steering and propulsion with Dwelling Units may be brought into Seattle Waters after July 1, 2014 and BEFORE the new SMP Implementation. These vessels will be categorized as Vessels with Dwelling Units. The process for applying for a Vessel with Dwelling Unit is not yet known.

Q: What value to me is the plaque?
A: The plaque provides security, assuring your FOWR can be maintained, remodeled, and replaced. FOWR’s are protected from NEW regulations which might preclude these rights.

Q: Can I sell my plaque?
A: No. You can sell your houseboat and your plaque will go with it, or you can remove your houseboat from the Seattle SMP area and replace the existing foot print with a new structure

Q: Can I expand my FOWR?
A: Yes.  Seattle FOWR’s may be expanded up to 120 square feet (with height and footprint constraints) without any new requirements. Expansion beyond 120 square feet require containment and disposal of gray water.

Q: When are the new regulations effective?
A: Although the regulations may not take effect until after July 1, 2014, your FLOWR must have been “legally established prior to July 1, 2014”

Q: Does my FLOWR need to have engines?
A: No, Engines are NOT required. This proposal by DPD has been eliminated.

Q: I heard proposals requiring Sail Area to Length Ratios, Freeboard Requirements, Symmetrical mooring cleats, fore and aft boarding stations, visibility requirements. Do these still apply?
A: No. These proposals by DPD have been eliminated.

Q: I heard I would be required to drive my vessel on a 1 mile round trip, hire a naval architect, and have my vessel certified. Does this still apply?
A: No. These proposals by DPD have been eliminated. No performance test is required.

Q: Can I repair, remodel, or replace my FLOWR?
A: Yes, with some restrictions. Repair is allowed, but there are some restrictions as to what can be done in a marina (max 25% of vessel at a time). An expansion of up to 120 sq. ft. is allowed provided it does not exceed the height restrictions. You can add Deck railings (36” max) and stairs. If expansion over the life of the vessel exceeds 120 sq. ft., gray water containment and disposal are required.

Q: Can I expand the size of my footprint?
A: No, with the single exception of a one time changes for stability as certified by a naval architect. NOTE: If you utilize the stability expansion, you cannot expand in any direction after the stability expansion.

Q: What are the height restrictions?
A: If your current height is 18 ft. or less, you cannot increase the height above 18 ft. If your current height is between 18 and 21 you cannot increase your height. If your height is 21 ft or more, you cannot create an expansion exceeding 21 ft.

Q: Does my FLOWR have to be USED as a place of residence prior to July 1, 2014
A: The regulations indicate that ”For the purpose of this chapter, a structure will be considered designed or used primarily as a residence if it contains a dwelling unit.” Per this statement, if your FLOWR contains a dwelling unit, it will meet the requirement of being USED as a place of residence.

Q: How do I register my FLOWR?
A: The exact process and fee amount has not yet been established. We anticipate that you will have to submit dimensions of your vessel, pictures, and some evidence that you were moored in Seattle waters, held a lease or ownership in a marina, were designed or used as a dwelling unit prior to July 1, 2014, and have detachable utilities.

Q: After I apply and pay my fee, will I receive something that indicates compliance?
A: Yes. After DPD verifies your FLOWR, you will receive a numbered plaque that is to be displayed on your FLOWR on the pier or landward side or side most used for access.

Q: I’m not sure if my vessel is a FLOWR. Should I submit for verification?
A: We are recommending that you submit for verification if you are unsure. Once verified, your FLOWR will then be secure and protected.

Q: If I get my FLOWR plaque, can the city make new regulations that will jeopardize my houseboat?
A: No. Once you have your plaque, you are officially verified as a “Floating On Water Residence” which is governed by Washington State Senate Bill SB-6450.

Q: Can I keep my FOWR on private property?
A: No, the regulation requires that the owner or primary occupant has held an ownership interest in space in a marina, or has held a lease or sublease to use space in a marina.

 

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Seattle Floating Homes

‘Nick of Time’ Seattle Houseboat $259,000 (SOLD!!)

October 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

(SOLD!!!)

‘Nick of Time’ Houseboat – $259,000

Nick-Of-TimeOutstanding craftsmanship is featured in this spacious, one level houseboat with steel hull. Beautiful arched beams and high ceiling throughout the entire houseboat give a feeling of openness. Wrap-around windows in the large living area bring in light and let you enjoy the houseboat views. The spacious kitchen features lots of cabinetry and brushed stainless steel countertops. Walk in closet in the master stateroom and beautiful corner shower and vanity.
Live the life you’ve always dreamed of in this fabulous Seattle Houseboat.


Nick of Time Flyer
CLICK HERE for more information.


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‘Oh What A Day’ Seattle Houseboat (SOLD!!)

September 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

‘Oh What A Day’ Seattle Houseboat (SOLD)

Oh What A DayOutstanding Craftsmanship and upscale design make this a unique, classy Seattle Houseboat. On the outside, you will appreciate the modern metal and shingle exterior, 3 spacious decks (massive rooftop deck), exterior sound speakers and outdoor shower. Inside, you’ll love the beautiful bamboo hardwood flooring, designer colors, spacious kitchen with stainless appliances, adorable main 3/4 bath with large tile shower and nicely designed cabinetry. Upstairs, the master suite is very spacious with sitting area, en-suite half bath and a nice deck off the master.

Oh What A Day - Living

This amazing houseboat features a very ‘open’ feel with each floor featuring a ‘great room’ design, making entertaining and living convenient and comfortable. Tall ceilings and comfortable stairs makes this houseboat feel more like a home, while still providing ‘Waterfront you can put your toes in!”

Live the Dream in this beautiful upscale Seattle Houseboat

 



Oh What A Day Flyer

CLICK HERE to request more information.

 

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Seattle Floating Homes

End of Dock Floating Home Rental – $5,000 / mo (RENTED)

September 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

End of Dock! Floating Home Rental (RENTED)

Dining-Room-with-ViewFor Rent $5,000 per month, end of dock fully furnished Floating Home, unobstructed city views, lake & beautiful sunsets. Deck on waters edge, moorage for 20′- 24′ boat. Master bedroom on upper level has a king sized bed and private deck with stunning views. Upper level has additional room for guests/den & on main level is an additional bedroom, large family/living room, dining area & eating area off kitchen, with pantry and laundry room.

Minimum 6 month rental, first/$1,000 deposit, all utilities included with $200 cap (electricity & cable). No pets, no smoking.

View-out-dock-with-flowersEnjoy the fabulous Lake Union Floating Home lifestyle in this rare end of dock location. Sometimes referred to as “Houseboats”, this floating home features direct access to the water and a place to moor a small boat! This is truly Waterfront you can put your toes in.. Each day brings new sights and fabulous scenery in a dynamic urban lake setting. Watch the kayakers and Stand up Paddlers. See the sea planes land and take off. With stunning views of the Aurora bridge and the Seattle Skyline, nighttime brings a magical enchantment like no other place.

If you’ve ever dreamed of living on the water, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss. This is your chance to be ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ but you may want to stay awake for all the excitement!

“Waterfront you can put your toes in.”

 

CLICK HERE to request More Information.

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Seattle Floating Homes

Executive Floating Home (Temp. off Market)

June 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Executive Floating Home – Roanoke Reef – $1,890,000

Roanoke Reef 12Stunning architecturally inspired floating home with 1562 square feet, multiple levels and large full walls of windows to take in the amazing lake views and enjoy lake living in style. This outstanding location is serene yet provides rooftop views of the city, Gas Works Park, and beautiful sunsets. Enjoy morning & afternoon sun, largest floating dock in Roanoke Reef, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and a place to park your boat. Pet friendly + parking garage + storage! Live the life you’ve always dreamed of in this fabulous Seattle Floating Home.


 

Waterfront you can put your toes in.

 

Roanoke 12 LivingSleepless In Seattle would be envious of this fabulous contemporary Floating Home, designed for living on the water. This special home creates spaces for enjoying the water, relaxing, and living the dream. Step out your door and hop in your runabout to enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants accessible by boat on Lake Union. Spend the evening with friends or family enjoying the spacious accessory floating dock. Launch your Kayak and explore the floating home communities on Lake Union. This home is serene, yet close to Seattle life. The lagoon creates a peaceful setting for relaxation, while views from the top deck allow you to enjoy a vibrant urban lake. Truly, the best of all worlds.

Download Executive Floating Home Flyer

CLICK HERE to request More Information.

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“Circus Dog” Houseboat ($169,000) (SOLD!!)

May 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Seattle Houseboat – Loaded with Charm & Character!

Circus Dog HouseboatAVAILABLE NOW – Come home to the lake aboard an amazingly well maintained 1991 Classic built 36’x12’ houseboat vessel with incredible charm. The obvious love and care that has gone into the adorable home on the water is such a delight. A spacious and cozy, houseboat with two entrance doors to dock on either side. Easy access to the interior cargo (hull) for storage, marine hardware on windows and doors, recently painted exterior, ample storage areas in bedroom, large galley w/ 1957 classic antique 4 burner gas range/oven. Walls of windows add bright interior spaces (12 windows all that open).

Click Here to download Circus Dog Flyer
CLICK HERE for more information.

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Houseboat Vessel “Pacena” (SOLD!!)

June 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

 

Don’t miss this adorable 2 bedroom houseboat called “Pacena”!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACome aboard “Pacena” an absolutely charming houseboat 40′ x 12′ vessel located in sought after Nickerson Marina houseboat gated community. Room for small sailboat along side. Two bedrooms, 3/4 bath, Webasto radiant heated wood flooring, chef designed kitchen, Webasto constant hotwater. Lot’s of gardening space and a wonderful upper deck for entertaining. Laundry and additional showers on site, slip fees $449. per month, $150 per month liveaboard and $8.00 PM garbage. Black water pump out additional. Financing possible, call vessel broker or email for questions.
 
 

NOTE: HOUSEBOAT VESSELS ARE NOT POSTED ON THE NWMLS AND ONLY LEGALLY SOLD BY VESSEL DEALERS.
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Flagship Seattle Houseboat-Vessel (SOLD!!)

June 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

 

SOLD!

Check out this fabulous, fun, funky, Seattle houseboat!

American Dream ReduxImagine waterfront you can put your toes in!  Picture owning this one of a kind flagship!  The spirit of Seattle shines through in this fanciful, charming houseboat loaded with character and flavor. Nicely equipped with a 3/4 bath, charming kitchen with nautical cabinetry, and wood ceilings accented with nautical style beams.  Complete with elevated pilot station and wooden ship’s wheel, this vessel has all the right stuff.  Located at Seattle Marina in an over-sized slip, there is room for your run-about behind the houseboat-vessel, or we can move it to a smaller slip.

Special Agents, Inc has submitted application for our vessel brokers license and will be your houseboat vessel go to broker. Coming soon Seattle-Houseboat.com.

Check out the VIDEO here!

Check out the VIRTUAL TOUR here!

 

 

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Seattle Floating Homes

National Realtors Open House Event

April 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

National Realtors Open House Event April 20th and 21st

Thinking of listing your home?  You have time to get your home ready to make the best first impression for new buyer’s and I have prepared a list of to do’s so you are ready.

  1. Do a pre-inspection on your home to help you avoid dealing with unforeseen issues during the negotiations. Think of this as your handyman to-do list and hire professionals as needed. Save your receipts for all your work, you may need these receipts for the potential buyer and possibly for your taxes (check with your CPA).
  2. Meet with your Real Estate Broker who will provide a Comparative Market Analysis for your home, discuss listing price and may have suggestions on what you may be able to do to get the best value for prospective buyer’s.  Your Realtor may also recommend previewing active listings in your market area. This will be your competition. In addition you will want to discuss with your Realtor buying a home and ask for a lender referral. This will be a good time to meet with Lender you trust and discuss with them what you need to do to get pre-approved for buying a home. Getting your pre-approval before you list your home may save a lot of headaches when you get an offer on your home. You need to be ready to buy.
  3. This is Spring and “Curb Appeal” is very important. To get buyer’s in the door you need an inviting entry, so power-wash moss, paint and freshen up with flowers and new bark. Hire a yard service if you need the help, because this will pay off in the price you get for the home.
  4. Minimize! De-personalize and organize your home and get rid of the clutter. That doesn’t mean cramming it in the closets and garage, it means consider getting rid of things never or rarely used. Buyer’s need to see that the home is not over crowed and there will be room for their things. If it is cluttered, it will be difficult for buyer’s to see beyond your belongings. I recommend placing things you are not using in storage tubs. It can be less daunting to pack them later if you have them already packed in easy to move storage containers. Consider renting a storage unit for a few months while the home is listed.
  5. Change out all the light bulbs to brighter bulbs and clean all the light fixtures while your at it. Replace any broken or outdated light fixtures, but try to stay with period fixtures.
  6. Clean the windows inside and out. I recommend using hot-water with a very small amount of dish soap. Always show your home with all the lights on and window coverings open to let in the light.
  7. If you need to paint consider lighter neutral colors.  Get a designer if you need help choosing colors, but stay neutral.
  8. If something is broken replace it or fix it. Buyer’s want to know you have taken care of your home.
  9. Clean, clean, clean! Whether you hire deep cleaning house cleaner or you do it your self, it is very important to clean the home, including the carpets.
  10. Consider getting your home staged. Partial staging will go a long way when selling a home and statistically a lightly staged home will sell first. Even if it is not the better home.
  11. List your home for sale and plan for many showings in your first week or two. Your Realtor will work with you on the best showing times and Open House times.

Click here to email Linda Bagley and I will help you through the process.

 

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Houseboats off the NWMLS

March 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Seattle Houseboats, barges and Floating homes — OH MY!

Have you heard the latest news on Seattle Houseboats (or, perhaps the most accurate news, that is)???

For a summary of the definitions of Houseboats, House Barges, and Floating Homes PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Did you notice Houseboats are no longer listed on the NWMLS (Northwest Multiple Listing Service), or did you think there are no houseboats for sale?

Houseboat CollageOn the contrary, there are Seattle Houseboats for sale but they are no longer on the NWMLS nor are they to be sold by Real Estate Brokers! For decades Houseboats were listed on the NWMLS and Real Estate Brokers sold them. Recently, the NWMLS concluded that a Houseboat is a licensed vessel, a boat, and is not property that Real Estate Brokers (agents) are licensed to sell. The new Rules were posted November 1st 2012 but remained on the NWMLS until this month (March 2013). Seattle Houseboat vessels (boats) are typically closed through Maritime Title Services, registered as a vessel with the Department of Licensing and the buyer pays Sales Tax. In 2006, we discovered our houseboat, a dual stern paddle wheeler on the NWMLS, and we purchased it and have lived there since 2007. It fascinated me that we could actually list and sell houseboats on the MLS because they are boats and we became the specialists in buying and selling houseboats and barges.

Part of the reason for this error is the nomenclature used by the NWMLS has been incorrect, leading to the wrong type of “On Water Residences” being listing on the NWMLS. Through our conversations with the NWMLS, we pointed out that they were incorrectly referring to Floating Homes as Houseboats. As a result of these conversations, the style code is being changed and the previous style code of Houseboats will now be Floating Homes. I am very excited about this, as it will help eliminate the problem of listing houseboats, when only Floating Homes are allowed.

The Jury is out whether Seattle House Barges can be listed on the NWMLS and if real estate brokers can list and sell them. Seattle House Barges are vessels that do not require a means of propulsion and are found both in rented slips and in owned slips.  There are 34 Seattle barge vessels approved by the City of Seattle.

In addition, Department of Planning and Development published a Client Assistance Memo (updated in 2004) that clarified the definitions of the 3 types of “On Water Properties” (Floating Homes, House Barges, and Vessels)
In this CAM-229 it defines House Barges:  
The SSMP defines a house barge as a vessel that is both:
1. designed and used for navigation but lacks a
means of self-propulsion and steering equipment
or capability (for example, it is designed and used
for navigation by towing); and
2. designed or used as a place of residence.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf importance for Houseboat buyer’s, it is imperative that you are knowledgeable about the Seattle City Houseboat and Barge Regulations. We (Kevin and Linda Bagley) are the founders of LULA (Lake Union Liveaboard Association) and are very active with the issues and politics surrounding Houseboats and Barges.  Kevin is a Seattle Council appointed Stake Holder negotiating for the rights of existing Seattle Houseboats on Lake Union and keenly aware of the current issues surrounding Houseboats in the Seattle Shoreline Master Plan. If you have any questions or concerns and want ACCURATE information about Seattle Houseboats or Barges you need to contact Kevin Bagley or Linda Bagley.

There are excellent books on Amazon.com “Seattle’s Unsinkable Houseboats” and “Seattle’s Floating Homes”, which give some of the Seattle history.

While the NWMLS and Real Estate Brokers sort out what can and cannot be sold, we at Special Agents, Inc. have taken the necessary steps (legally licensed) to sell Floating Homes, Houseboats or housebarges. We soon will have a new website afloat for ALL listings. Stay tuned!!

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