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Inspired by others and with at least some experience from many holidays afloat, we have decided to sell up, take the plunge in our retirement and live full time on a narrow-boat.

 

Lots to consider and a fair bit of homework to do, but from the sale of our modest home we should be able to buy a near as damn it new boat specific to requirements, along with some rainy day money in the bank. So from those who have done it, first thoughts on emptying out a home of so many treasured and memorable possessions from over the years (which normally would be disposed off by the children after we have gone) but what we are now going to have to do ourselves.

 

It's going to be a wrench with giveaways, selling, and 'passing down the line' in order to drastically downsize.... but someones gotta do it! 🙂

 

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I'd advise against it. My approach would be to rent out the property for a year, buy a small boat and see how you enjoy it. Smaller boats are easier to keep warm, cheaper, and more nimble, a good second hand boat should hold its value and be easier to sell.

You will inevitably get older, the joys of day to day upkeep can become a drudge, dishwashers and all the modern conveniences of current house become difficulties.

PS you have to generate electricity, and collect your own effluent!

PPS renting a marina berth will be something twixt £1800 and ££3500, but it will be the way to go in the future.

PPPS one thing not often emphasised here is that you are in the hands of a "charitable organisation" 

PPPPS capital in the bank might generate 2% interest, while house values generate 5 to 15%, per annum, give or take

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by LadyG
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I agree with Nick, selling up and putting everything in to a boat that will be a depreciating asset may not leave you with sufficient funds to return to land in the future so make sure you have considered this situation.

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Thanks guys, and to be honest my advice might well be the same but at the end of the day a house is only bricks and mortar and if the DWP don't get there first should (Gods forbid) we need to go into care, the kids will inherit what's left. The boat will value and we'll still have a bit of dosh in the bank so...

We've been in what was meant (after a lot of restoration) to be our forever home for some ten since early retirement and all we are doing now apart from twiddling our thumbs is stagnating until the end.

Daft if we do, daft if we don't. 🤠

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16 minutes ago, Bubblebuster said:

Thanks guys, and to be honest my advice might well be the same but at the end of the day a house is only bricks and mortar and if the DWP don't get there first should (Gods forbid) we need to go into care, the kids will inherit what's left. The boat will value and we'll still have a bit of dosh in the bank so...

We've been in what was meant (after a lot of restoration) to be our forever home for some ten since early retirement and all we are doing now apart from twiddling our thumbs is stagnating until the end.

Daft if we do, daft if we don't. 🤠

You need an absorbing hobby rather than a change of abode imho. Unless of course you sell up and take on another restoration, if you really enjoyed it first time around.

I can understand that your experiences of boating holidays may have given you a glimpse of beautiful waterside cruises, but winter is just the same as in a house, long dark nights, and lots of muddy footpaths if you venture into the countryside.

A lot of people escape to Portugal for the winter, other countries are available. 

Just trying to throw a few ideas in to the melting pot. :)

 

Edited by LadyG
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We're on the same road as you so good luck and I'll be really interested to see how you get on. I think the advice that people usually give in this situation is certainly worth considering, but (I suspect) like you - we're of the view that life is short and should be enjoyed. One thing we have almost definitely decided on is to get an older boat first - partly so that we can work out if it's something we want to do long term, partly so we can see what we really want in a boat and partly so that we can keep losses due to depreciation to a minimum. We'll then either improve the boat we have or try to trade up for something better after a while. 

 

Our plans are due to kick in in a few years but we have already started clearing out possessions, it's surprisingly liberating once you get started - there's actually very little that we feel we 'need' to keep. 

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Go do it whilst you can.

Do not spend a load on a near new boat, buy an old one in good order for less and let the house out for a while. It is a wonderful time to have the income from a property. You can get 8% to 12% return, an agent will look after it and sort the tenants out for a small fee.  Sell it when you are sure of what you want in the next boat.

That gives you a bolt hole if you find you can't cope on a boat.

Worry not about when you can no longer go boating. By then you will be incapable of living in a house without support anyway so you may as well  be in a care home or better still in Thailand being looked after far better for far less. Or even dead. Cheaper still!

House emptying can be fun. Sell all you can, give away what you can, Skip the rest, no one wants brown furniture, or all the tat that we collect in our lives.

You can get an 18 cubic metre skip for around £100, problem solved.

 

Welcome to the wonderful life away from neighbours, councils, door knockers, traffic, council tax, tiles falling of roofs, overgrown gardens etc etc etc.

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After several years of hiring for the odd week we considered this as an option, or at least spending 6 months full time crusing the canals when retired, but after due consideration we decided to join a syndicate boat instead to see how we would get on with more frequent / longer cruises. (Prior to this we had only hired a boat for a week at a time but we wanted to experience spending longer on a boat).

 

We really enjoyed the opportunity to have "longer" cruises, but after a few 2 week long  cruises we realised that was probably the most time we would want to spend on a boat in one go and shelved any thoughts we had about "longer term" cruising.

 

If it's something you really want to do then go for it, but initially I would suggest trying out a longer period of boating before commiting to the "full time" option?

Edited by Donkey
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15 minutes ago, LadyG said:

You need an absorbing hobby rather than a change of abode imho. Unless of course you sell up and take on another restoration, if you really enjoyed it first time around.

Having done two serious restorations on boats since retirement and cruised around most of Western Europe I recommend you find a cheap fixer upper and not sell your house. If you enjoy projects then working on a restoration is good fun and gives you an all year round activity. Enjoyment of the waterways seems to me to be inversely proportional to the cost of the boat and as a leisure boater you can choose when and where and if you want to go boating. It can be fun to source things cheaply and make it just how you like it. Although I could easily afford a new boat part of the fun of boating has always been messing around in boats. So much nicer and less stressful than living on one! Of course choose one that is not a basket case or that could be frustrating.

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My opinion is just be a little careful exactly which way you play it. IMHO you should have done it whilst younger and fit. We spent thirty plus years living aboard with the intention of never having ever again to live in a boring bloody house. However, health has taken over and we have moved off and bought a house. We kept some money back from our last house sale some years ago and with the boat selling instantly bought another house so alls well. Is living in a house as good as living on a boat? not on your life, its a big downgrade, but sometimes needs must. To end, of course you cant do it when you are dead, and its better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

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There are plenty of people in the UK that do not own a house, approx 1/3 of households, you'll be no worse off than they are.

But, if there's any way you can have a boat and a house, that's the way forward IMO. At the moment, you won't loose anything on a second hand boat, it might even keep up with inflation.

 

Edited by Slow and Steady
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56 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

 

 

Welcome to the wonderful life away from neighbours, councils, door knockers, traffic, council tax, tiles falling of roofs, overgrown gardens etc etc etc.

and welcome to the world of adjacent smokey exhausts or noisy generators, inconsiderate cruisers that rock you to sleep, infrastructure failures that hinder your progress, little Hitler CRT wardens who hassle you if they think you are overstaying, mechanical failures that are costly and inconvenient to repair, overgrown towpaths that stop you seeing where you are treading etc, etc, etc,. 

You won't leave all the annoying features of land life behind, but will face new problems. As others have said, failing health issues are likely to be one of the biggest drawbacks. Personally, I'd keep the house and buy something that will give you comfortable extended breaks that you enjoy in the better weather but still have the safe retreat.

 

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In the damb-squib camp I'm afraid. It has been a pretty much life-long dream to live aboard for me - never got round to it but the rising property market has left me fairly comfortable and (largely) grateful that I didn't

 

How about selling up, using part of the proceeds for a second-hand boat, sticking part in the best interest account you can find as a slush-fund, and using part of it to fund a buy-to-let property with a commercial mortgage? No idea what your house is worth, but guessing at least in the £150-200k bracket if you're considering "a custom built boat with some left over" - £40-50k should get you a nice boat with £50k in the slush fund, and £100k still in the housing market. If you want to move back on land in 5-10 years, it should still be do-able, plus you'd get a bit of income to supplement the pensions (invest that wisely and you could pay off the BTL mortgage in ten years?)

 

ETA - or just downsize and spend six months of the year on a proper cruise, and hole up in the little house for the winter...)

Edited by Bacchus
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..one of the things that put us off was what to do on the Winter. For most people hiring/short term cruising is done in the nicer seasons and you are active most days, but then we have had the odd "no cruise" day due to excess rain and wind at that made us think about what you would be doing over Winter when you could be spending weeks couped up?   OK, each to their own, but as a potential newbie to this lifestyle it is something to think about?....far better to try and get a boat for a long spell aboard and see how you get on before making the ultimate commitment of selling up your bricks and mortar?

 

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Never ever go the equity release route.

 

I used to do 3 months abroad in the sun over the UK winter. It was nice to return to the boat after that time. Getting home in spring is wonderful. And with a bit of income from the house let it is affordable if you go somewhere that is not massively touristy and more reasonably priced.

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1 minute ago, Tracy D'arth said:

I used to do 3 months abroad in the sun over the UK winter. It was nice to return to the boat after that time. Getting home in spring is wonderful. And with a bit of income from the house let it is affordable if you go somewhere that is not massively touristy and more reasonably priced.

this is our plan too, although we plan to do at least one winter cruising. I suspect as we get a bit older, the winter sun will get ever more appealing. 

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Thanks for all of the above guys, and all taken on board.

Not new to baby boomer adventure having sold up once before and moved to France for a few years. Restored an old fermette, travelled around most of the country as work allowed and then returned to blighty on the back of that recession a few years back. 

Aware of confirmation bias with this as well but, gonna give it a go I reckon... along with steady she goes. 

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Selling the house also releases equity but equity release leaves you with a bricks & mortar alternative rather than eventually expecting others to pay for your housing.  There are costs associated with both options.

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2 minutes ago, Lady C said:

Selling the house also releases equity but equity release leaves you with a bricks & mortar alternative rather than eventually expecting others to pay for your housing.  There are costs associated with both options.

Its the worst financial decision that you could ever make.  If you consider all the TV and magazine advertising that these companies do and what that costs, ask your self where they find the money.

Answer, they give you the worst possible deal.

Better to sell up and downsize, or rent the house out and live on a boat or sell the house, buy a buy to let outright and a boat.

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Equity release? Not in this lifetime - it's akin to giving half the value of your house away!

Terrible idea and only for the desperate.

Renting our house out also not on the cards as we've experienced too many horror stories to go down that road. 

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