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How much should I be looking to spend on a narrowboat?


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What's your 'base price' when it comes to buying boats in the current market? By 'base price' I mean the lowest price you would expect to pay while still getting a decent boat. Like how you shouldn't buy shoes for anything less than £40. I know the prices are constantly changing, but I don't yet know what issues to look for in boats the same way I do when renting a flat, so I wanted to get an idea of general price I should look for. And any advice on what boat-specific issues I should look for would also help! 

 

Also, I'm not asking for the lowest price as a way of spending as little money as possible, I plan to save up a decent amount of money by living with my mum for a few years. 

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I think it is less about price and far more about the condition of the boat and its fitout. A London white refurb on an old hull may look fine but be a money pit while for a simmilar price a boat that has not been refrbed could be very reliable with agood hull.

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11 minutes ago, Heather22 said:

What's your 'base price' when it comes to buying boats in the current market? By 'base price' I mean the lowest price you would expect to pay while still getting a decent boat. Like how you shouldn't buy shoes for anything less than £40. I know the prices are constantly changing, but I don't yet know what issues to look for in boats the same way I do when renting a flat, so I wanted to get an idea of general price I should look for. And any advice on what boat-specific issues I should look for would also help! 

 

Also, I'm not asking for the lowest price as a way of spending as little money as possible, I plan to save up a decent amount of money by living with my mum for a few years. 

better start buying shoes less then £40 then

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The lowest price I'd expect to pay for a 30 foot boat will be much less than a 60 foot boat

The lowest price I'd expect to pay for a 40 year old boat will be much less than a 2 year old boat

The lowest price I'd expect to pay for a 'weekend leisure' boat will be much less than a properly eqipped liveaboard boat

 

You need to define the search parameters before you can get any sensible replies

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Just now, Heather22 said:

Sorry, I'm looking at boats at 50ft long give or take. 

 

In that case, I'd say £35,000 upwards give or take. However at this price you see a lot of boats with owner refurbed interiors in London white so you might want to spend a bit more. Anything less than £30k in this size is generally a project boat in some way or another.

 

At my local marina a perfectly nice 50ft 1997 boat with good interior fitout sold recently for £43,750. 

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We get asked this question loads from gongoozelers. I always used to say that if you know what you are doing, and with some luck, that £20,000 might just do, but that £30,000 would be a more realistic minimum.  I would also say £120,000 upwards for a bespoke new boat.  Seeing that a bespoke new boat can now be £240,000 I fear my figures need revising upwards. 

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I'd say it depends where you are buying. 

 

If in London, base price to get a decent 50ft boat is £60k

In midlands, say Daventry, £50k

In the Frozen North, £40k

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I'd suggest that any boat under £40k will (probably) need £5k - £10 spending on it within the 1st year, and depending on where you intend to live, your mooring costs will be between £2,000 and £15,000 per year.

 

Ongoing costs (licencing, insurance, maintenance etc etc) will average another £4k- £5k  per annum, (some years will be £2k, some years will be £8k)

 

Living in a boat is no cheaper than living in a house - it is just a different way of living and spending your money

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It is a boat.  Regardless of what you pay for it it will cost more money.  Lots more money. The less you pay or larger it is the bigger the more money pile is.

 

BOAT is an acronym- Bring Out Another Thousand.

 

N

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There is a lot to do before buying a boat. I hope you have experience of living on a boat. Spend the time when you are saving to research boat maintenance and moorings. If you are already experienced I apologize and wish you good luck

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22 minutes ago, BEngo said:

It is a boat.  Regardless of what you pay for it it will cost more money.  Lots more money. The less you pay or larger it is the bigger the more money pile is.

 

BOAT is an acronym- Bring Out Another Thousand.

 

N

I'm assuming you mean maintenance when you mention paying loads more money, how much would you say I should expect to pay per year on maintenance on average?

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3 minutes ago, Heather22 said:

I'm assuming you mean maintenance when you mention paying loads more money, how much would you say I should expect to pay per year on maintenance on average?

 

From a few post ago ::

 

Ongoing costs (licencing, insurance, maintenance etc etc) will average another £4k- £5k  per annum, (some years will be £2k, some years will be £8k)

 

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1 minute ago, sueb said:

There is a lot to do before buying a boat. I hope you have experience of living on a boat. Spend the time when you are saving to research boat maintenance and moorings. If you are already experienced I apologize and wish you good luck

I've been looking into narrowboats for a few months, I'm planning on moving back home, saving money and while I'm saving money, doing a boating course if thats a thing, and just generally figuring out logistics. I know generally what I'm getting into, but definitely more research needs to be done before diving in and thats what I'll do while I'm saving money. I'm expecting it to cost at least as much as living in a flat, but I'm interested in the independence of it, and being closer to nature. I plan to stay in a narrowboat for a week or so by renting one out first, to see how I feel about it before making any serious decisions. 

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22 minutes ago, Heather22 said:

I'm assuming you mean maintenance when you mention paying loads more money, how much would you say I should expect to pay per year on maintenance on average?

I have a good boat, bought up north, cosmetically I had to spend a thousand in the first year, that meant spending pretty much three months tarting it up. Paint, a lot of paint, not essential maintenance if you like drab!  Same year, a thousand on maintenance, new batteries and so on, this was essential.

Year two there was some unplanned maintenance, a thousand plus planned maintenance another thousand.

This year, year three, treated myself to some furniture type things, minor bits and pieces, non essentials, a thousand.

If you don't want to do any DIY either find a partner who does, or buy a boat which has been fitted out to a high standard, bite the bullet, pay the premium.

If you want to see boat living costing there is a new one on YouTube, it came out at £3500 per annum.

First year will be worst, hopefully, as you need a survey, which will be another thousand, maybe a bit less.

 

Edited by LadyG
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If you have a really hard budget limit, then definitely set aside a couple of thousand of that (at least) for spending in the first year aboard. 

The batteries might be knackered, or the engine might need some major work, or it might be the water pump that goes, as it was on the my boat (at five years old).

Or you might want to buy a full set of cordless tools for the various external jobs you can do yourself, like paint stripping or sanding. There seem to be a hundred items that you suddenly want to get as a liveaboard.

If you're CCing, you might ditch the car which means a bike will come in really handy, so you'll need a rack, panniers, and a good bike lock. 

There seem to be loads of simple, silly things that are not individually expensive, but which can quickly add up to a lot of money.

E.g. A 'brolley-mate' to hold a clothes dyer in place on the stern, plus a clothes airer. You'll definitely need a hose if the previous owner took it with him/her, and then there are things like spare ropes (most of my ropes were just about knackered when I got my boat), mooring pins, mallet, nappy pins, some kind of wifi/phone signal setup, decent wellies or boots for cruising in winter, a good waterproof set, a sun hat, a bucket or two, a hand pump in case you have a leak somewhere, half a dozen torches (head torches are really handy doing jobs in poorly lit spaces), it just goes on and on. 

Perhaps a low power kettle and microwave if your batteries and electrics are up to it, and probably suitable bedding (its 4ft wide in most narrowboats). 

There will be a few aspects of the interior or the electrics that you'll probably want to change, and as a liveaboard you'll want to fit plenty of solar panels- its one of the few electrical jobs you can do yourself to save a few quid, with advice from the folks here. 

Those are just a few examples of the sorts of items you might suddenly realise you want, so allow for some significant spending in the first year.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Heather22 said:

Sorry, I'm looking at boats at 50ft long give or take. Also it would be to live on full-time. 

 

Sorry I might have missed this but do you have a mooring? Or if you're thinking of not having a mooring and continuous cruising can you comply with the licence terms & conditions, ie. not staying in the same area all the time? 

Edited by blackrose
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36 minutes ago, blackrose said:

 

Sorry I might have missed this but do you have a mooring? Or if you're thinking of not having a mooring and continuous cruising can you comply with the licence terms & conditions, ie. not staying in the same area all the time? 

This would also make a huge difference with respect to your degree of determination aka love of boats. Living in a marina with ad lib electricity, water on tap, Elsan on site, is a different proposition to trying to cc in London, or anywhere else!

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10 hours ago, Heather22 said:

I've been looking into narrowboats for a few months, I'm planning on moving back home, saving money and while I'm saving money, doing a boating course if thats a thing, and just generally figuring out logistics. I know generally what I'm getting into, but definitely more research needs to be done before diving in and thats what I'll do while I'm saving money. I'm expecting it to cost at least as much as living in a flat, but I'm interested in the independence of it, and being closer to nature. I plan to stay in a narrowboat for a week or so by renting one out first, to see how I feel about it before making any serious decisions. 

This is a good plan, it can be quite expensive and a bit daunting on your own, so best take a friend.

You could hire a small dayboat locally, this will give you the basics of boat handling, I understand you would like to have a formal training course, two days could be enough, but take advice from the company

It is doubly difficult doing locks singlehanded, so if you are going solo, make sure you find a hire base that is suitable, I think you would be better to get more experience before single handing a lock.

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Difficult to know, 50` boat - maybe 40k, a cheapskate like me would be looking for a bit of a project for 30k. The other end of the equation is how much you will lise when you sell it.  Spend 150k, lose 50k in depreciation, spend 100k, lose 30k, spend 50k, lose maybe 5k, spend 40k, maybe make 5k. VERY approximate figuresand not to be relied on!  A good looking boat from a decent builder is a better bet than a boxy, shapeless tub from a run of the mill builder, good boats are harder to find than ordinary boats but they do turn up, a bit faded and tired but a better bet than a tarted up boring boat. Good luck, take your time and remember, at least half the advice you get is utter nonsense.

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12 hours ago, Heather22 said:

I've been looking into narrowboats for a few months, I'm planning on moving back home, saving money and while I'm saving money, doing a boating course if thats a thing, and just generally figuring out logistics. I know generally what I'm getting into, but definitely more research needs to be done before diving in and thats what I'll do while I'm saving money. I'm expecting it to cost at least as much as living in a flat, but I'm interested in the independence of it, and being closer to nature. I plan to stay in a narrowboat for a week or so by renting one out first, to see how I feel about it before making any serious decisions. 

When you do your try out rental, ensure its in january or february.

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I am going to comment on LadyG's post where she said "I have bought a good boat".

 

If you read through her trials and tribulations all detailed in various topics you will get a good idea about why some would never describe the boat she purchased like that, although it may be a good one now. It stands as a good example of what an  experienced offshore  boater faces when coming inland, let alone someone with no boat experience.

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42 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

I am going to comment on LadyG's post where she said "I have bought a good boat".

 

If you read through her trials and tribulations all detailed in various topics you will get a good idea about why some would never describe the boat she purchased like that, although it may be a good one now. It stands as a good example of what an  experienced offshore  boater faces when coming inland, let alone someone with no boat experience.

I have had lots of little  problems,  related to upgrading rather than the basic boat construct, agreed most of the difficult problems have been due to my lack of experience of electrics and narrowboat electrics are always going to be unique! 

 

I bought the boat at market value, and most of the upgrades should have added value, I've had to pay for some work, which is expensive, but I knew this when I bought the boat. 

 

However, before I purchased the boat I determined which boat builders had a good reputation, and that is why I have persevered, and the boat does have a rather nice look about it! 

 

I have used this forum to get valuable info, the devil is in the detail. This is the biggest lesson.  I'm afraid to say that some individual workmen have a tendency to do a quick fix, not so keen on discussion. In one way it is understandable, they want you to tell them what to do, they then get on with the job and get paid.

Getting technical advice and different viewpoints from the forum has been great. Obviously I don't put every idea in to action, but I usually get there in the end.

 

It's very difficult to advise someone on boat purchase, and whether anyone will like the life, it's like no other!

Living in a swish marina on a swish modern widebeam is not a big change from living on land, imho.

 

I think I could handle a fifty two foot boat more easily, but I'd still want Webasto/Ebespacher, and a solid fuel stove.

I'd prefer a swish modern walkthrough shower and bathroom, and a D shaped galley,  but I think I've spent enough!

 

 

Edited by LadyG
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