definitely seen a stagnation in sales from
individuals there,” he says. “There isn’t a lot
of movement in slip sales right now.” That’s
exacerbated by the fact that getting a loan
to buy anything is difficult. “There were two
ways people were traditionally buying slips.
One was with specialty loans, which have all
but gone away after the banking crisis, and
the other was using home equity, which has
been seriously eroded. A lot of dock owners
have ceased selling and are looking to lease,
where there’s some stability.”
SO, NOW LET’S DO THE MATH
BEFORE YOU CONSIDER BUYING A DOCKOMINIUM, look hard at the comparative cost of renting a slip, where you have mobility and financial flexibility, against the cost of a full-on purchase, where you’ll have the benefit of permanently securing your boat in a prime dock location, but your money will be locked up in a still-shaky
economy. Let’s take a look at how much it would cost to rent a 40-foot slip versus purchasing that slip as a dockominium. (Figures estimated for dockage at The Harborage
At Ashley Marina, Charleston, South Carolina.)
Rent $18 per foot (call-in special)
$720 per month
$100 per month
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
BEFORE YOU BUY
How long are you planning to hold onto the
slip? A dockominium is effectively property.
You’ll have to pay real-estate taxes, closing
fees, most likely need a mortgage with a substantially higher interest rate, and monthly
dues for services (similar to a homeowners
association). You’ll also be responsible for
assessments for capital expenses. If you
only want the slip for a couple of years, it’s
probably not worth it. How will you finance?
It’s gotten more and more difficult in recent
years so be sure you’ve got approval before
you set your heart on the dock of your
A $47,200 mortgage on a 40-foot dock 8%
(represents 20% down on a dock price of $59,000, the cheapest listed)
Owner’s fee, $485 per quarter
Real-estate taxes $900 (estimate)
$421 per month
$161 per month
$75 per month
Note, the prices above do not factor in mortgage closing costs, title search, and so on.
dreams. How much are the “condo” fees?
Can they be raised at any time?
IS IT A GOOD TIME TO BUY?
“If you’re going to be in boating for the long
haul and want a secure slip, it could be a
very good time,” says Marshall. “If you’re
looking at it from an investment point of
view, and hoping the market will come back
like it was, there’s no telling.” Wet slips have
fared better than their dry-slip cousins, also
known as rackominiums,” says Marshall.
“They’re more stable because they tend to
cater to larger boats that you can’t put on a
trailer so easily.” Boat owners paying fees to
dry-store on racks have the option of leaving