Houseboats Back on the MLS!

Houseboats Back on the MLS!

We are VERY excited and proud to announce that Houseboats will be back on the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) as of July 24th, 2015. It is hard to believe that just over a year ago, we, Kevin & Linda Bagley began this endeavor on June 4th, 2014 by meeting with Jerry McDonald, Administrator of Real Estate Programs for Washington State, and Lewis Denny, Manager of Dealer Services for Washington State. The goal was to get Houseboats back on the Multiple Listing Service.


For decades, Houseboats were listed and sold on the Multiple Listing Service by licensed Real Estate Brokers. In 2013, it was brought to the attention of the Multiple Listing Service that houseboats, although primarily designed as a residence, are technically vessels and in order to broker a vessel transaction, you must be licensed as a Washington State Vessel dealer.

This meant that representation for houseboats was typically limited to Vessel Dealers (aka Yacht dealers), and marketing confined to the listing broker’s websites, Craigslist ads, and flyers. At Special Agents Houseboats, we worked hard to promote houseboats and protect their values through unique and exceptional marketing efforts. We knew, however, that to assure the best representation and overall marketing, getting houseboats back on the MLS was imperative.

With the help of some great people, we were able to get House Bill 1309 crafted, submitted and passed unanimously through both houses.

We would like to extend our special thanks to:

  • Jerry McDonald, Administrator of Real Estate Programs, who helped craft the wording for House Bill 1309 and who helped with guidance and direction throughout the process.
  • Lewis Dennie, who assisted from the Vessel Dealer side and provided excellent suggestions for success.
  • Bob Mitchell, Director of Executive Projects at Washington REALTORS who shepherded House Bill 1309 through the House and Senate and represented our position with skill and expertise.
  • The Real Estate Commission for creating the task force and providing a platform for launching this effort.
  • Brandon Vick, Washington State Representative, 18th District who sponsored and championed House Bill 1309
  • Bill Clarke, Washington Realtors Policy Director
  • Nathan Gorton, Washington Realtors Government Affairs Director
  • Sam DeBord, Managing Broker Seattle Homes Group
  • Justin Haag, Attorney for NWMLS who correctly integrated the new law into NWMLS policy.


The NWMLS Announcement:

Floating Home Notice


You are receiving this e-mail because you have either recently listed or sold a floating home or have brokers in your firm that you supervise that have recently listed or sold a floating home.

As you probably know, effective July 24th, RCW 18.85 will be revised to allow real estate brokers to list and sell a “floating on-water residence, as defined in RCW 90.58.270.”  In addition, RCW 88.02 will be revised to allow real estate brokers to list and sell floating on-water residences without being licensed as a vessel dealer.

RCW 90.58.270(6)(d) defines a floating on-water residence as “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.”

On July 24th, NWMLS will revise Style Code 24 from “Floating Home” to “Floating Home/On-Water RES.” The revision will automatically update the style code on floating home listings and doesn’t require any action from the listing broker.

Like with other listings, NWMLS will rely upon the listing firm to determine if a certain property is eligible to be listed.  We will address questions/complaints with listings on a case-by-case basis.

The City of Seattle has a verification process for floating on-water residences.  You can note in the listing that property has been verified by the City as a floating on-water residence or upload the verification as an attached document to the listing.  You may want to do this so that other brokers know that the property has been verified by the City, however, the verification is not required by NWMLS.

Please contact the NWMLS Listing Input Department with any questions.

Thank you,
Northwest Multiple Listing Service



As specialists in Floating On-Water Residences and Floating Homes, founders of Lake Union Liveaboard Association, and key players in the protection of Houseboats in Washington State, we are a great choice for your next purchase or sale of a houseboat, house barge, or floating home. These properties are much more complex than standard residential properties and having the best agents who have specialized in these unique properties for over 9 years is in your best interest. Go to to see more and schedule an appointment.

Looking for land based property?

We do that too! Visit

Here are some examples of the types of exciting properties you can expect to see coming on the NWMLS…


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