Dreaming About Floating Homes?

Yes, living in a floating house really is that great!  Here are a handful of the ways in which it’s so much better than living on land:

  • Wildlife – You are never very far away from a sea lion swimming by, a starling chasing an eagle, or a sandhill crane flying overhead.
  • Outdoor Water Adventure – When you get home from work, it’s so easy to jump in your sailboat, grab your paddle boards and your dog, or fish for dinner right from your deck.
  • Community – You and your neighbors are all brought together by one thing – the love of the river. With everyone outside enjoying the river together, it makes for a wonderful and unique community which shares lasting bonds.
  • Nature and Views – Being aware of the daily sunrises, sunsets, and moonrises will leave you appreciative and in awe every day.
  • Calming Effects of the Water – Watching the light change across the water reduces stress and makes you feel like you are on vacation every day.

For more ways that living in a floating home is different than living in a home on land, check out our Guide: Floating Home Living which explains everything you need to know about the floating home lifestyle.

This is NOT a sales gimmick.


Floating home has tipped to the left due to inadequate care and stacking construction materials inside the house.

Whether it’s your first time purchasing property or your tenth, the process of buying a floating home is different than buying home on land.  Without an expert floating home real estate broker to represent you and your interests, you can end up under water.  Unfortunately, we have worked on the river long enough to have met many of the people who hired real estate brokers that knew little to nothing about floating homes, just because the realtor is their brother, their best friend or came recommended highly by their dog groomer.  There are many stories of under- and unrepresented floating home buyers who have lost tens of thousands of dollars because they did not seek the experience and expertise of a real estate broker who specializes in floating homes.

In some areas of residential real estate, local market knowledge and expertise are “nice-to-have” but, in floating homes, this expertise is essential. This is NOT a sales gimmick. Specialized first-hand knowledge of floating home inspections, contractors, builders, permitting, renovation and financing are ESSENTIAL in protecting buyers.  For more in-depth reasons to use an Expert Floating Home Broker, click here.

The Portland Floating Homes team has helped clients buy or sell floating homes in nearly all 60 moorages in the Portland Metro Area.

You can’t get much more expert than that.

For buyers, we provide a one-stop place to learn everything you can about becoming a part of the amazing floating home community.  Our Guides will provide you with a solid understanding of what you need to know. We answer everything from “what is a floating home?” and “how does buying one differ from buying a home on land?” to guiding you though the process of deciding “which moorage is right for you?” to help you determine if the floating home lifestyle is a good fit for you and your financial circumstances.

For more about the services we provide to buyers or our unique approach to working with you as a buyer, check out our Buyer Services section below the guides and fun stuff.

When we work with a buyer, we guide you and protect your interests throughout your search and purchase of the floating home of your dreams so that you can walk through your front door for the first time with confidence and immediately start enjoying this incredible way of life on the water!

Contact us anytime.

Take a Tour of the Floating Home Communities of the Portland Metro Area along the Willamette River, Columbia River and the Multnomah Channel

We have local knowledge of all the moorages and their surrounding neighborhoods, from Sellwood to Jantzen Beach/Hayden Island and from the far NE side of Portland to St. Helens.

Explore Our Buyer Guides for Floating Homes

These guides are for daydreamers, wannabe pirates, paddling misfits, kayak adventurers, and explorers of the world.

For potential buyers, we recommend reviewing these guides in the following order to maximize your understanding of the floating home buying process.

  1. Floating Home Living – explains the lifestyle and how it’s different than living on land
  2. Floating Home 101 – explains floating home structure, rental vs ownership moorages, and major requirements of owning a floating home
  3. Floating Home Financing – explains the ways in which floating home loans differ from a typical mortgage for a home on land
  4. Choosing a Moorage – explains key considerations for each home owner to think through when choosing a floating home neighborhood

The Top Floating Home Real Estate Team Serving The Portland Metro Area


We help clients with homes on land and water.

Our clients appreciate that we have the expertise to help them with floating homes, and also help them sell their home on land as well.  Single-Point-Of-Contact service for both transactions streamlines the process and means less time our clients spend communicating with various stakeholders and less room for miscommunication or missed deadlines.

Our Clients Say

“Thank you for all of the professionalism you and John showed throughout a difficult transaction. Your diligence in keeping the transaction moving forward, in spite of a difficult buyer, was much appreciated.”


“Bob and I want to thank you and Graham for selling our house so quickly.  The pictures of our home were beautiful.  We appreciated all the information you gave us, and guiding us through the actual sales process.  We will and have recommend you to others.”


“Fuzz was incredibly helpful in my home buying process. I got into the floating home market knowing very little. He made time to get to know me and made time to help me understand my options.  It took me a few months, but he stuck with me and found me an awesome spot, in a great community on the channel. I feel very lucky to have him as a realtor, neighbor and friend. If it ever comes time to sell my place, Fuzz would be my first choice in agents.”


“We want to express our thanks to the team of Graham Marden and John McPherson for their expertise in selling our floating home.  They answered all our concerns, helped set the right price, and have allowed us to move on to the next chapter of our lives.  There were some late night phone calls and text exchanges, but they were always there to answer our questions.  This team knows the Portland floating home market and were very glad we chose them as our agents.”


Our role is to guide you through the unique process of buying a floating home that meets your needs.

Most agents are only interested in closing the deal and try to give you the hard sell on a home.  We are different.

We promise we will never “sell you” on a home. We are too honest to be salesmen.

When you work with us, it’s all about YOU and YOUR goals.

Our approach is that we will listen to your story, assess where you are financially, what your real estate goals are, and we will use our experience to advise you along the way, help you to learn what to look out for, protect your interests, reduce your risks, and caution you when things don’t seem quite right.  Our financial background allows us to evaluate the market and your position, and guide you through every step toward finding the home of your dreams while keeping the most money possible in your pocket.

There is a reason we are the top floating home brokers year after year.

John McPherson lives in a floating home, and has experience with everything a floating home owner can experience.  His background in finance and business is unparalleled in the residential real estate industry.  John uses these skills as a real estate broker specializing in selling homes on land and water.

John deals in floating homes every day.

John has helped clients buy and sell floating homes at nearly all 60 moorages in the Portland Metro Area!  We have seen everything and know all the key players and service providers onto river.  We are part of the community.

John knows floating homes first-hand.

John’s qualifications which set him above other brokers who specialize in floating homes lie in his first-hand experience of the following which has given him a breath and depth of expertise that no other broker on the river can offer.  John has personally experienced all of the following:

  • Searching for floating home to purchase
  • Obtaining financing for a floating home
  • Float inspections and floating home inspections
  • Purchasing a floating home
  • Selling a floating tender house
  • Having the float of his house replaced
  • Working with an architect and engineer to design an addition to the floating home
  • Working with contractors to build an addition to a floating home
  • Working with the City of Portland building permitting services
  • Knowledge and understanding of Title 28 building codes for floating structures
  • Building a Deck
  • Renting a floating home
  • Marina Board registration
  • Property taxes for floating homes

John understands what it is like to be someone curious about buying a floating home and has gained valuable expertise from his experiences which can benefit you.

We are on the river 365 days a year.

John McPherson lives in a floating home and deals in floating homes every day – we are on the river 365 days a year.

We are the only team on the river with two expert floating home brokers working for you.  We can achieve more for you and with quicker response times than single brokers working alone.  It is because we are both floating home experts and we are part of the largest brokerage in the PNW, that we can provide you with service and value that other single brokers working by themselves from smaller brokerages cannot.

Our clients appreciate that we have the expertise to help them with floating homes, but also help them buy or sell their homes on land as well.  Single-Point-Of-Contact service for both transactions means less time our clients spend communicating with various stakeholders and less room for miscommunication or missed deadlines. Our expertise works for you.

We work and live on the river and are a part of this vibrant community.

We have relationships with service providers that you will need to interact with in order to purchase your floating home.  Floating home lenders, float inspectors, licensed float repair contractors, and floating home appraisers. It is a small community and, when we call, we get responses from them.  From our experience, we know which float inspector not to use and which float contractors need a water-tight contract.  Let us use our knowledge to help you protect your investment.

You are going to love our Single-Point-of-Contact Service.

So you have found a floating home you love but have a home on land to sell first.  Or, you thought you wanted to buy a floating home, but nothing meet your needs and you see a home on land you are interested in.

We can help you with your house purchase or listing on land. You will get access to the same Portland Floating Homes team, but we will list your house under The Portland Team marketing system.

Our clients appreciate that we have the expertise to help them with floating homes, but also help them buy or sell their homes on land as well.  Our Single-Point-Of-Contact service for both transactions greatly reduces the time you spend communicating with various parties (title companies, brokers, lenders, contractors, etc.) and reduces the risk of miscommunication or missed deadlines when you choose to centralize the sale and purchase of your homes with us.

Our expertise works for you on land or water.

Avoid these mistakes when buying a floating home:

  1. Do NOT hire a real estate broker who has no floating home experience to represent you in a floating home transaction just because they are your friend or your family member.  Do choose a real estate broker who specializes in floating homes.  We’ve said it again and again, and we will say it some more. Choose a broker who understands the process of buying and selling floating homes.  There are only a handful of expert floating home brokers.  There are many more who claim to have expertise but can get you in trouble.  When hiring a broker to help you purchase your floating home, we completely understand that you may not want to work with us.  And that is ok (although we’d really love to represent you).  But, please, choose a broker who specializes in floating homes.  You can help determine who is an expert and who isn’t by asking the following questions:
    • How long have you lived in Portland? Their answer will help you determine if they have enough familiarity with the area and its waterways.
    • Do you live in a floating home? Their answer will help you determine what kind of experience they have with the process.
      • If you do live in a floating home, did you have any float work done? Their answer will help you determine if they understand float construction, repairs and most importantly, who are the best and trusted licensed float contractors.
    • How many floating home transactions have you represented?  Any answer less than a dozen should inspire you to call the next person on your list.
  2. Do NOT buy a floating home from directly from a seller without representation.  Craigslist always has a handful of floating homes listed and, perhaps, you are renting a floating home and, boy, does your landlord have a deal for you…buying directly from a seller is a very good way to lose money.  We’ve seen it happen several times…it even happens to smart people who think they know how to look out for themselves.  Again, floating homes and the process of purchasing them are different.  One client we talked with purchased their home under contract directly from the seller on Craigslist and paid $260,000.  She was ready to sell and, given market conditions, she planned to list it with us at $325,000, only to find out that not only was the float shot, but the entire structure had issues that had been there for years but she had never bothered to have it inspected by a licensed inspector when she purchased it.  If you find a great house on Craigslist or want to buy the house from your landlord, and the seller said they won’t deal with a real estate broker, then chances are that seller is trying to make sure you don’t find out something worth knowing about the house.
  3. DO contact one of the two floating home lenders BEFORE you start looking at floating homes.  Floating Home financing is trickier than financing a home on land.  Check out our Guide: Floating Home Financing to consider whether or not a floating home is in your budget.
  4. Do NOT ignore our explanations of how the process if different than buying a  home on land and do NOT sign paperwork you haven’t read.  Surprisingly, many people think they know how to buy a floating house because they have bought plenty of houses on land.  Floating homes are not considered Real Property like houses on land are.  The paperwork is different, the process is different, the requirements are different.  When we review the process and the purchase paperwork with you, pay attention.  So often, we have represented buyers who can’t be bothered to take the time to understand the differences with floating homes even as we are explaining it to them.  It’s ok to say you don’t understand.  It’s ok to say you don’t know something.  We will guide you through it.  You must take the time to understand the process and the documents you are signing.
  5. Do NOT purchase a fixer-upper floating home to renovate on the cheap because you know (or are related to) a contractor and can do a lot of the work yourself. Most cheap floating homes are cheap because their float (their foundation) is shot.  Your best friend or husband, sister or daughter may be the best contractor in the world, but float replacements start at $50,000, and can cost much more than this, for a reason.  The materials are not items which can be bought at your big box hardware store.  You will need specialized equipment – semi trucks, travel-lifts, barges and diving equipment to name just a few.  If you attempt to repair or rebuild a float yourself, or worse, renovate the home on top of the float without addressing the shoddy float underneath, when you get ready to sell it, the float will be inspected and you will not be able to sell it without a solid float…which, again, costs around $50,000 to replace. There is almost never such a thing as a cosmetic renovation of a dilapidated floating house.

Our Approach to Real Estate is Different

Most real estate agents come from a sales background. Their goal is to complete a transaction quickly so they can move onto the next deal. We see the relationship between the buyer and their agent as something more than a means to a paycheck. Using a well-informed, consultative, communicative approach, we maximize the value we bring to you, not by luring you in with chats about your favorite sports teams, but by listening to your wants, needs, and goals, educating you about the process and pitfalls to avoid and collaborating with you to develop a strategy to achieve your goals by relying on our guidance, expertise and deep negotiation experience to fight for you and you alone. We consider the deal successful only when you have closed the best deal that could be made to get what you want. We believe that it isn’t just about putting you in the house of your dreams…it’s about getting you there with the most money left in your pocket and with the least amount of risk.

Our Network

Portland Floating Homes is a part of The Portland Team, a real estate team with Premiere Property Group, LLC. The Portland Team partner network serves the Portland metropolitan area including Portland, Lake Oswego, West Linn, Sherwood, Tigard, Beaverton, Aloha, Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Cornelius, Gresham, Scappoose, Warren, St. Helens, Columbia City, and Deer Island.  Premiere Property Group, LLC is the largest real estate brokerage in Oregon and SW Washington with over 1,000 agents, eleven offices, and over 2 billion dollars in local real estate sales annually.

Contact us today!

Call or contact us here.  We’d like to hear from you.