Do You Have a Question About Floating Homes?

Wait what?!? A floating home??? I wonder what it’s like to live there…


It’s not hard to remember back to when we saw our first floating home and thought about how amazing it would be to live in one. We were not wrong.  The floating home lifestyle is full of rewards.  Some of the benefits of living in a floating home were obvious to us the first time we walked through one.  We imagined parking our boat next door (no more hour long drives in rush-hour just to enjoy the sails), hopping from the deck to a kayak, sipping cocktails with friends who love to come visit you.

What we have learned is that floating home living is all that and more.  In no particular order and with no added commentary about whether these things are pros or cons for you and your set of needs, here are some ways in which living in a floating home is different than living in a house on land:

  1. There is no time spent on yard work and no need for garden tools.
  2. You can park your boat really nearby (sometimes, even in your front yard!).
  3. Getting the canoes or kayaks in the water takes a few seconds.
  4. You can come home from work and go from your deck to your paddle board.
  5. Easy access to watersports – wave runners, kite surfing, wake boarding, waterskiing, kayaking, rowing skulls, etc.
  6. The world is your oyster – you can sail away from your front yard in a boat and end up in Japan.
  7. You can fish for king salmon from your deck.
  8. You get to know the local wildlife, you will even begin to recognize the ducks and give them names.
  9. During certain times of the year, sea lions will visit you and it never gets old!
  10. Looking out the window is a constantly changing and entertaining view – it never ceases to surprise us what comes up and down the river.
  11. We don’t need studies to tell us that living near the water reduces stress, increases your sense of calm, inspires creativity and leads to happier, healthier living.
  12. Living in a floating home feels like you are on vacation every day…a “permastaycation”.
  13. You enjoy all the perks of living on the water at, typically, a fraction of the cost of a waterfront property with land.
  14. You are more in tune with celestial events – we notice the sunrises, enjoy the variety of sunsets and the way the way they reflect off the water (no two are the same), and we pause to watch the moon rise almost every clear evening.
  15. You may suddenly find yourself with more friends than you knew you had when they begin wondering what your weekend plans are and it’s only Monday.
  16. Because there is only one shared dock leading to and from the homes, you see and interact with your neighbors far more often than a home on land where you pull into the driveway, park in the garage and are isolated from your neighbors.  You become very close to your neighbors because they are typically about 8-10 feet away from your house.
  17. Because everything you purchase must be carted from the parking lot to your home, you begin to adopt a more minimalist mindset about how much stuff you acquire.
  18. You may let your Costco membership expire because, without a garage, basement or attic, there is really not enough space for 30 rolls of paper towels and a 50lb bag of potatoes.
  19. Unlike homes on land where high square footage can be viewed as impressive by the Joneses as a proof of stature, the amount of square footage in a floating home is NOT as important to the floating home lifestyle as is the efficiency of the design or the layout of the home’s square footage.  It is far more important how usable floating home square footage is than having space for the sake of space.
  20. Making major changes that shift weight inside the house, such as adding a big set of exercise equipment, can cause you to need to hire a diver to adjust the flotation under your home.
  21. Sometimes, when it’s raining or snowing, it can seem like a long way to walk in order to take your dog to the uplands for a biobreak…especially in the middle of the night.
  22. On most days, your house is pretty stable floating on the water, but some things can cause your house to sway (strong winds, strong currents, certain boats and boaters who ignore the Oregon State no wake rules around marinas).  If you suffer from vertigo, living in a home that rocks and sways could be problematic.
  23. Docks and ramps are not particularly forgiving of those walking them in high-heel shoes.
  24. If you have mobility challenges, consider that every floating home requires going up and down a ramp, as well as traveling along wooden docks in rainy, snowy and icy conditions often while carrying or carting bags of groceries.
  25. Internet upload and download speeds vary from marina to marina – from 768KB upload to 10MB (fastest available).  On the low-end, internet connectivity speeds at certain moorages is similar to land-based DSL from 10 years ago.  While this may be fine for listening to streaming music or watching a movie online, if you are a gamer or a work-from-home animator, photographer, or videographer, be prepared for possibly long upload and download times.  Make sure internet speeds at the moorage you have interest in support your activities online.
  26. Cell coverage can be spotty in certain moorages along the rivers.  Floating home marinas are built at water level (the lowest point) and can be some of the hardest areas to get a strong cell signal from. Depending on your marina, you may need to switch your cell service provider or you may just get used to dropped calls every once in a while.
  27. Some marinas have paved parking lots and some do not.  If you have a job that requires you to keep the exterior of your car clean for clients or your work-issued vehicle presentable, look for a floating home marina with paved parking.
  28. If you are a smoker, be aware that your neighbors live about 10 feet away from you and will be subject to second hand cigarette smoke.  This can be a source of tension with your neighbors (and possibly your HOA or Landlord) which must be worked through.  Additionally, the biggest risk to a floating home is fire.  Most marinas have firm rules prohibiting smoking on the common docks.  Docks have been known to go up in flames after a contractor put his cigarette out on a dock, so don’t expect your neighbors to tolerate you or your guests ignoring the “no smoking on the docks” rules.
  29. Trash bins are typically located at the parking lot.  Taking out the trash could take a few minutes depending on how far away your house is from the bins.
  30. Depending on where your home is located at the moorage, the trip from the parking lot to your home could take a few minutes, in rain, sunshine, heatwaves, or in the snow.
  31. Some moorages have natural gas service from NW Natural.  Some don’t but pipe propane to the houses.  Some have neither.  If you like to cook using a gas range, take that into consideration.
  32. Every moorage has a different set-up regarding mail and package delivery.  If you run an Etsy store from home or rely on frequent deliveries or shipments, it helps to know if your local UPS or FedEx offers to-your-door service or if you will have to drive to a UPS/FedEx store or pick up at the marina offices.
  33. Depending on where you live, breezes can be strong on the water.  This is much-appreciated on a warm summer days.  Keep in mind, though, that if you live in a marina on the Columbia, near Gresham, the stronger winter winds can lead to some pretty brisk conditions.
  34. When the moorage or a floating home experiences a power outage, this typically means that the home will be without not just electricity but also plumbing because the fresh water coming into your house and the grey water leaving it are operated by pumps which rely on electricity.
  35. Water levels rise and fall and the steepness of the ramp to your dock is dependent on the water level.  Sometimes, your walk from the parking lot to your dock may be flat and at other times, it could be a workout.

Now that you have a good idea about how the floating home lifestyle differs from living on land, if you are anything like we were, then we bet you are REALLY curious to learn more about what it takes to maintain a floating home, the role moorages play in your floating home purchase decision, and if it is possible for you to purchase a floating home. We have compiled answers to the most frequent questions we get about floating homes and answered them for you in our Guide: Floating Homes 101.

Contact us today!