Are Houseboats Hard To Sell?

When you are done using your houseboat or are just wanting to buy a different one, the question will come up of how hard will it be to sell the houseboat you currently own. 

This question unfortunately depends on a ton of variables such as:

  • Your asking price
  • The economy
  • Where you live
  • The size of the houseboat
  • The condition of the boat
  • The current market
  • Where you advertise your boat 
  • Who you sell to

These and many other smaller things will all have an effect on how hard it is to sell your boat. 


The biggest variable that will have the most effect on the length of time it takes is the PRICE! 

If the current market price for your houseboat is $50,000 and you are trying to sell it at $75,000 then it will take you much longer to sell. If you try and sell your boat at $30,000 when it’s value is $50,000 you will be able to sell it in a few days since it is such a deal. 

Finding the right balance for a price is incredibly difficult on a boat as the market price can vary greatly by location and even time of the year that you are selling it. That difficulty in valuing a boat will affect you in buying and selling a houseboat so if you are able to buy it at a low enough price then selling it won’t be as hard or take as long.

The Economy 

The current state of the economy is a big factor in the time that it takes to sell your boat as well. If the state or country you are in is having an economic slump selling recreational items like a boat will take much longer. 

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Often when an economy is in a downturn people will try to stop spending money on anything possible so not only will that mean that there will be less people buying boats but there will most likely be a higher number of boats for sale since many people will want to unload any extra expenses. 

So not only will less people be buying boats but more people will be selling them. That is a recipe for taking much longer to sell, having to significantly lower your price, or both! 

Your Location 

Where you are trying to sell the boat can make a big difference in how long it takes to sell it. If you live in the desert and have to drive 5 hours to the nearest body of water then selling your boat will be much harder than if you live right by a large lake and everyone owns a boat. 

Most people will fall somewhere between those two extremes but knowing how likely people in your area are to buy boats will help you determine how hard it will be to sell it and how long it will take. 

The Size of the Houseboat

How large or small your houseboat is can have a smaller effect on the length of time it takes to sell your houseboat. A boat length that varies by 5-10 feet probably won’t make much of a difference in the sale time but when comparing a 65’ houseboat and a 25’ houseboat there will be quite a difference in the difficulty to sell the two. 

In most areas a smaller houseboat that can be put on a trailer will be easier to sell than a giant one that has to stay on the water year around. That isn’t always true as in areas that are warm year around it might not be as big of an issue but having to keep the boat on one specific lake or river can make it less desirable. 

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The Boat’s Condition

If your boat has recently been updated with current or timeless styling your boat will be far easier to sell than if it hasn’t been updated since the 70’s. An updated houseboat with no issues will sell far faster than one that is run down, not updated and is having engine trouble. 

Keep your houseboat up to date and in tip top shape to ensure that if you ever have to sell your boat it will sell faster. 

The Current Market

If there are a large number of boats on the market and few buyers your boat will sit for sale for much longer than if your houseboat is the only one for sale. Supply and demand will always affect the time it takes to sell anything so knowing the current market conditions will help you know how hard or easy it will be to sell your vessel. 

Where You Advertise

If you only put a sign in the window of your boat when it is docked it will certainly take longer to sell than if you put it in the classifieds, on all the internet for sale sites, etc. You do have to balance the cost of each advertisement versus how much you will sell the boat for. 

It is always a good idea to do all the free places so Facebook for sale groups as well as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are great places to start. After that I would list it in the local classifieds in the newspaper or if you have a paper that is solely classifieds that is a good place as well (Uncle Henry’s, Penny Saver, etc) 

Once you have had it on those places for a while if you don’t see any interest then you can post it on the bigger boat classified websites. I would always try and sell locally before going nationwide with something large like a houseboat but the more places your boat is listed the easier it will be to sell. 

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Who You Sell To

The last variable that I will mention is selling to a dealer or person to person. If you sell your houseboat to a dealer the process will be far easier. You can literally just take your boat to them or they might even come check it out and give you a price on the stop. Of course the ease of sales comes at a price… namely the much lower price you will receive. 

Just like with a car, when you sell to a dealer you will be accepting a much lower price than what you could get to an individual but you don’t have the hassle of trying to sell it yourself.

 If you have to sell your houseboat in an emergency situation then a boat seller or dealer will often be your best option for a fast sale. If you are looking to get around the market value for your boat then you will need to take some time and sell the boat yourself. 

I hope this article has been of some help to you in answering some questions about selling your boat. If you have any other questions feel free to comment and I will try to answer them. 

As Always

Happy Boating

Matthew Robbs

I love the outdoors and especially spending time with my family. Whether on a boat or at the beach, my happy place is near the water.

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