Many people in Toronto are surprised to learn there’s a floating home community right here in their own city. It’s not just a lifestyle for Vancouver or Seattle (but who could forget Tom Hanks’ floating home in “Sleepless in Seattle”?). Here are five things you may not know about floating homes in Toronto.

There are Floating Homes and there are Houseboats

In Bluffer’s Park Marina, floating homes live right alongside houseboats. While they’re both technically residences that float on water, there are key differences. First of all, houseboats are typically designed to move, with engines and navigation systems. They can connect and disconnect their sewer, water and electrical systems quickly from a marina and move on to the next. On the other hand, floating homes aren’t going anywhere. They’re regular homes that sit on concrete barges and float. They have no engine or navigation system and are typically permanently moored in the same marina throughout their lifespan. It may be hard to spot the difference from the outside, but ask the owner and you’ll get a passionate response!

It can be hard to buy a Floating Home in Toronto

Sure, supply is limited to 25. But even if you stumbled upon a floating home for sale, you’d still have several hurdles to jump. First of all, financing is a challenge. Because floating homes aren’t considered property, it can be difficult to get a traditional mortgage. Buyers often turn to private lenders, lines of credit, or, where possible, cash, in order to secure their house. But financing is the number one reason why agreements of purchase and sale on floating homes in Toronto fall through.

The second challenge is insurance. While floating homes in Vancouver have more options to choose from, in Toronto, there is currently only one company that will insure floating homes. The kicker – they say they’re at capacity for value, meaning they can’t insure any one else. If you want to buy a floating home in Toronto, make sure you include an insurance condition unless you want to take the risk.

Your diver will become your new best friend

Want to perform a float home inspection? Or increase the amount of floatation under your home? Or level your home out? These are all jobs for a diver. Unlike buying a traditional home, divers play a key role in both assessing and safeguarding your home both before your purchase and during your stay. In Toronto, there is one diver who most float home owners use. We’ll give you his contacts!

Sliding barn doors are everything

Space is at a premium in floating homes. There is only so much house you can add on top of your concrete barge, and storage on the land side is limited. That’s why sliding barn doors are essential. They let you maximize space inside while looking stylish to boot. Just make sure that you install a latch to keep it open or shut. On windy days, it could slide open or closed at an inopportune time!

You’re not just buying a floating home. You’re stepping into a community

The floating homes in Toronto are a tight knit community. They have to be – they regularly rely on each other for things like tightening the ropes that keep them tied to the dock. The homes themselves are also so close to each other that you can jump from one deck to the next – and people often do if they need to reach something. Sure, you can keep to yourself, but you’d be missing out on what makes this floating village so special.

Is a floating home right for you? We’re happy to answer any other questions you have to help make your decision. Contact us today.