If You Want To Buy A Houseboat, This Is NOT How You Do It!

21 Jan

I love a bargain.  Especially when it involves property.

And so wanting to follow my own advice of last week (investing in property locally) I decided to do some sniffing around on the net and see what I could find for less nearby.

I didn’t get very far before I spotted a one bed for just £29,995 in Broxbourne, EN10.  Broxbourne is a pleasant town in Hertfordshire and is just down the road from me.  It’s not an area I know so well, but it’s pretty close to the Easy Buy To Let Property and so it fits geographically.  Critically (for me and my buying criteria) Broxbourne has a regular train service to London (Liverpool Street) with a journey time of just 32 minutes.

Of course, there was a catch.

The property was a houseboat.

houseboat for sale hertfordshire

Although I thought it was a very funky looking houseboat called “Summerwine” which being an 80s teenager gave me rosy reminiscences about the TV programme I used to watch about three old alcoholic men – which back then (I think) was funny.  And involved a character called Nora Batty who always used to have wrinkled stockings – like all crinkled around her ankles.  I’m pretty sure they were American Tan.

Anyway I digress – here’s the interior funkiness:

houseboat for sale hertfordshire houseboat for sale hertfordshire

And here’s the view you’d get if you lived on board:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA houseboat for sale hertfordshire

And while it may have only been 10.30 in the morning I could just hear the chink of my wine glass and the tinkle of my laugh at the happiness I would feel on board this boat admiring the view and my bank balance because of my houseboat bargain.

Of course, I know NOTHING about houseboats or the buying of them.

Admittedly, last year I did go to the Cavalcade at Little Venice and was enthralled with them there – but I don’t think a short tour on-board marks me out as a houseboat buying expert!

Anyway, it’s never too late to start learning and given the sunshine was out in full glory, what better way to start learning about houseboats than to get started now.

Of course, the first thing you need to remember when trying to locate a boat for sale is that it will most likely be in the river.  This means sat navs, cars and roads are not really the best tools to try and find a boat…

So I dumped the car and set off on foot to try and track down “Summerwine”.

houseboat for sale hertfordshire

The first thing to note about walking next to the river is the mud.  And the wetness.  Which I wasn’t fully prepared for.  You really need wellies.  Towpaths are slippy, messy places which are not good for heels.

houseboat for sale hertfordshire

The serenity and the quiet still of the water really cannot be captured well in my rubbish photography, but you will have to trust me.  There’s something magical about the place which quietens your soul, puts you at ease and makes you want to chuck your mobile in the river so nobody can ever interrupt the quietness ever again.

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Until that is, the train to London went whooshing past.  But, of course – that is the beauty of this commuter heaven – on the water and in the city within just moments.

houseboat for sale hertfordshire

“Boy” I thought to myself “this really is a find”.  Although I had yet to actually find “Summerwine”.

So, having been followed down the river by an inquisitive looking male, I stopped to call the estate agents and find out the exact location of this boat.  (Although on a serious note – I do question the idyllic-ness of these wooded towpaths in the dark, late at night when you’re a single female walking on your own…and especially if you’ve had a cocktail or two in town.  As I say – these paths are slippy!)

houseboat for sale hertfordshire

And it was while on the phone to the estate agents I learned the mooring for the boat was just £40 per week, which I thought was great value.  Until that is, I learned you cannot sleep on the boat.  It may be a houseboat, but with this mooring all you can do is drink wine and look at the view.  There’s no sleeping, no living aboard and no doing any of what I thought I would be doing aboard the houseboat in that location.

Because just like in the bricks and mortar world – location is everything.  And I had screwed up the first rule of how to buy a houseboat – which is (I have now learned): find a mooring first!

And so this really is a blog post about How not to buy a houseboat! 

No. Seriously it is.

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