Published On: October 1, 2017 4:56 pm
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Advice For Choosing Houseboats for Sale on Isle of Wight

Bembridge Harbour is the activity hive of houseboats for sale on IOW. We take you through a few pointers for making your next investment.


Downsizing your family home? Or are you perhaps looking for an easier point of entry to the property market? Do you have a plan to become a private landlord for tenants wanting a quirky propertyTake a look at our houseboats for sale on Isle of Wight.

Houseboats are by no means generic. Each carries it’s own character as derived from it’s history. Many have illustrious backgrounds such as having been awarded military medals for honourable national service. This makes them a really colourful choice for property investment.

On the Isle of Wight, the marina which accommodates houseboats most famously is Bembridge Harbour. The Authority (Bembridge Harbour Authority) is in charge for allocation of berthing to moor houseboats.

The situation of this marina for a houseboat makes for an attractive property investment. Nestled in the north east coast of the island among the resident marine life headquarters of The Wight, Bembridge is host to boatyards, stores and a chandlers, all for serving the avid boating community.

Where should you begin in buying a houseboat?

Moorings are the key. Where most begin with selecting their ideal property, where it is berthed is technically the clincher.

Being held to the terms and conditions of a leasehold arrangement under the governance of a freehold owner, you will want to ensure that your intended usage is all above board.

Sinking in a heftily invested capital sum without careful consideration can lead to you acquiring a leasehold which can legally be rendered unfit for purpose. Leases are now offered at Bembridge Harbour on a 99 year leasehold basis.

When purchasing a leasehold houseboat, after the transfer, as soon as 7 days post sale, the previous owner will be held to disclose the buyer’s ID to the moorings authorities. It’s also a matter of prudence to formally introduce yourself as the new owner to the harbour authority as to avoid any uncertainties.

Harbour managers will often run background checks on new tenants as a customary measure of due diligence.

There are currently 25 moorings present at Bembridge Harbour. They date back to the Second World War when decommissioned war vessels docked up and were re-purposed as cheap alternatives to brick and mortar housing for families.

Finally what kind of houseboat will suit your investment decision?

Houseboats come in various shapes and sizes. Their overall structure is based on their origin. Many have a commercial or military guises which are renovated over successive years of domestic use to make them a comfortable weekend home or even liveaboard.

Here are a few examples of houseboat by definition and design:

  1. Barge
    • …used traditionally in times gone by for hauling building and trade materials into inner cities by canal networks during the industrial revolution, these water-borne relics are ideal for remaking modern homes for the modest and unfussy dweller.
  2. Static
    • …more contemporary in feel, but can be made out of a cruiser which over successive tweaks and improvements has become permanently anchored/pitched at the moorings, no longer able to set afloat.
  3. Tug
    • …characteristic of the typical design you’d commonly find among a child’s bath toys (…you know, the type with a row of rubber tyre fenders around the bow!) this small, but powerful towing boat, has in recent times become an ample houseboat.
  4. Cruiser
    • …cabin cruisers are the kind that many buy for weekend getaways upon the waterways of regions like The Lake District for example. These can be re-defined to host it’s owner and perhaps family for longer periods with a few thoughtful touches to make the experience more accommodating.
  5. Dutch
    • …authentic dutch barges – manufactured in the Netherlands. Full of personality. Case closed.
  6. Keel
    • …shallow, narrow and originally built as barges for transportation along canals – carrying cargo etc. But now found in increasing numbers adapted as modern houseboats.
  7. Coaster
    • …coastal sailing barges, which were made as hardy vessels carrying industrial machinery, crews & materials to enter into small ports – able to withstand extreme weather conditions. Versatile all-rounder. Not a bad reason for choosing this as your new houseboat, although marina tides should never come close to challenging such a boat.
  8. Yacht
    • …classic sailboat. Some can make this work as a liveaboard.
  9. Pontoon
    • …flat-based buoyancy flotation device for carrying broad, long loads…like water-based homes for example! Catamaran or trimaran presentation, can create a raft like base for an instantly recognisable shape.
  10. Trawler
    • …the original fishing vessel offering great utility and use of space for a crew out on a catch, or a small family living on a tight budget.

Most popularly now is a purpose-built houseboat. Built from scratch with accommodating a family in mind as a primary residence. Design sensibility from the off is more homely than a reconditioned boat. On one hand, this is more acceptable at first impression given the intended use, but on the other hand lacks the character of transformed boats.

Prices for houseboats for sale around the UK range from £6,000 for unfinished, formerly dilapidated renovation projects, to £250,000 for top of the range, luxury homes on water.

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