washington state real estate excise tax changes shoreline code san juan county wally gudgell group windermere

Dear Clients and Friends,

Hope everyone is having a good summer season!  There are two things I wanted to bring your attention to ( please see attachment ). 


1) The first attachment is in regard to the new residential Washington State Real Estate Excise Tax (SB 5998) which is a significant increase for more expensive homes, particularly when you get to $2M and above.  This does not apply to commercial properties.  Whether it applies to apartment houses and similar structures is still unknown at this time as some of the finer issues are evidently still in flux and it sounds like there may be some last-minute changes.  Regardless, this isn’t effective until January 1, 2020, but if you are thinking of selling, you might want to consider trying to make it happen this year.


2) Second are San Juan County maps for various shoreline areas of Orcas.  Please note if you are in an area that has a dark blue shoreline stripe you are precluded from having transient accommodations, nightly rentals, on your property. We have found that many people are unaware of this.  The revised shoreline code was adopted last year and some of the shoreline zoning boundaries have changed as well.  Transient rentals have proven very popular here and can be more profitable than year-round rentals.  Some people who want to retire here in several years are purchasing homes hoping to generate some cash flow to help with their mortgage payments until they can retire on Orcas in the future.


In general, market conditions are good but not great, with inventory extremely low.  Please let us know if you have any questions regarding real estate on Orcas or in San Juan County.  We pride ourselves in being your go to real estate information resource in the county.


My Best,



Posted on August 7, 2019 at 11:20 am
Wally Gudgell | Posted in Living in the San Juan Islands, News |

Western Washington Real Estate Market Q2 2019 Update

matthew gardner economist windermere real estate q2 market report wally gudgell group



Dear Clients and Friends,
Please find below Matthew Gardner’s Full Report for the Western Washington Real Estate Market Q2 2019 which indicates buyers this summer will find 19% more options than they did in the summer 2018. With more inventory paired with the lower mortgage rates this summer buyers who have been on the fence may find their home-buying inspiration.

Reviewing the report, home prices were higher in all Washington counties with the exception of King, most likely due to the significant cost of homes in that area. This migration from King County’s market along with the growing trend of remote workers should be a real benefit to many bedroom communities surrounding King. Should you have questions about how these figures impact your real estate portfolio, our growing island economy, how your portfolio measures up or if you need a Realtor, feel free to call, I’d love to discuss your real estate goals.


Posted on July 31, 2019 at 3:09 pm
Wally Gudgell | Posted in Living in the San Juan Islands, News |




World Orca Day is a great time to think about celebrating our magnificent neighbors and spread awareness about their plight in the wild.

As you may know Orcas face many challenges. These days, orcas—also known as killer whales, blackfish and seawolves— are threatened by diminishing food sources, pollution, oil spills, and more.  Here are a few ways you can celebrate and show your support for orcas.

1.  Adopt an orca. By symbolically “adopting” a wild orca, you’ll be supporting initiatives for clean, healthy oceans where orcas can thrive. Plus, you can get an adorable plush orca and a cookie cutter as a thanks for your donation. https://whalemuseum.org/collections/adopt-an-orca  jpod whale museum adopt orca whale san juan islands salish sea friday harbor windermere real estate orcas island wally gudgell group










2.  Make orca cookies. What else would you do with the above cookie cutter?  https://www.amazon.com/Orca-Killer-Whale-Cookie-Cutter/dp/B00Y3KO28Y  

amazon orca whale cookie cutter san juan islands salish sea friday harbor windermere real estate orcas island wally gudgell group










3 Watch orcas in action. Whether they’re making a paddle boarder giggle, giving themselves massages, or battling sharks, orcas in the wild never fail to entertain.  You’ll find fantastic tours available daily throughout the San Juan Islands; be it by land, sea or air VisitSanJuans.com can help find the right fit. https://www.visitsanjuans.com/what-to-do/all-san-juan-islands/whale-watching


4.  Learn more about orcas, know the difference between resident, transient, and offshore orcas? Brushing up with NOAA on your basic orca knowledge can help spread the word.  https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/killer-whale



5.  Get a tattoo. For the super dedicated orca lovers out there, what better way to show your dedication than to get a permanent tribute of the whales on your skin? (Though you can also be less committal with a temporary tattoo.) https://www.etsy.com/market/orca_tattoo









6.  Blog and share on social media platforms about the orcas. Sharing fun facts about orcas helps to educate your followers; and sharing your whale watching photos and videos helps your followers get excited about their unique lives.  Saving the orcas won’t happen unless more people care.  https://www.whaleresearch.com/blog


7.  Get yourself or friends and family orca swag showing your support for the stewardship of orca whales.   https://whalemuseum.org/collections/merchandise



Posted on July 12, 2019 at 2:24 pm
Wally Gudgell | Posted in Living in the San Juan Islands, News |

Orcas Island Buyer Snapshot June 2019

home buyer insights orcas island real estate san juan islands windermere wally gudgell group

Posted on June 27, 2019 at 10:14 am
Wally Gudgell | Posted in Living in the San Juan Islands, News |


Dear Clients and Friends,

Just wanted to make sure that you knew that the Washington State Legislature passed an additional real estate excise tax as well as relaxed condominium law so that construction defect insurance is not so onerous. Washington state real estate tax has long been 1.28 %.  The new rate went down for sales under $500K to 1.1% but went up substantially to 2.75% for sales $1.5M – $3M.  Furthermore, for sales over $3M, excise tax went up to 3%, all other sales remain at 1.28%. These new rates take effect first of next year.



For More How the New Tax Will Affect Your Taxes Please Read KREM’s Article Below:


Posted on June 10, 2019 at 1:01 pm
Wally Gudgell | Posted in Living in the San Juan Islands, News |

Western Washington Real Estate Market Q1 2019 Update

Dear Clients and Friends,

Please find below Matthew Gardner’s Full Report for the Western Washington Real Estate Market Q1 2019 including some compelling information regarding our hyper-local market and what we may expect as we move into the summer season.

Reviewing the report, as expected our slow season placed San Juan County with the lowest number of home sales, however, in the same breath we lead Western Washington with a 34% increase in home sale prices which should encourage many sellers to list, perhaps significantly adding to inventory and impacting our Q2. Should you have questions about how these figures impact your real estate portfolio, how it measures up or if you need a realtor, feel free to call, I’d love to discuss your real estate goals.



Posted on May 23, 2019 at 11:40 am
Wally Gudgell | Posted in Living in the San Juan Islands, News |


Dear Clients and Friends,

Many of you have or will have property tax questions on your Real Estate here in SJC. Click below to view the most comprehensive booklet I have seen yet. It’s worth a read. Assessing value to your property is another matter and it directly effects your property tax and this booklet explains how.

I think property values will continue to go up for the foreseeable future. Please let me know or better yet the assessors office know if you have any questions, we have nearly the same phone number, mine 360 376 2172, theirs is 378 instead of 376!



Posted on May 6, 2019 at 10:07 am
Wally Gudgell | Posted in Living in the San Juan Islands, News |


Dear Clients and Friends,

I hope you’ll find the attached Gardner Report interesting.  I think even more interesting is the data on San Juan County.  We are such an anomaly!  We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state and are one of the highest self-employment areas in the state, twice that of our nearest competitor Island County.  Our labor force is very seasonal. We have higher per person unearned income than other counties and one of the lowest average annual wages in the state.  Business income has been growing in San Juan County for the last 8 years.  At my monthly bank board meetings we watch our core deposits, typically for the last 35 years they drop in the winter.  In the last few years our core deposits have not declined in the winter months which means our retail sales businesses are doing better as indicated by the Aggregate Gross Business Income graph attached.  Also you will note that we are obtaining more income from professional, science, and technology; this is obviously because of RockIsland. I love to keep track of this stuff and hope you find it interesting as well. Here’s to a great new year and please remember me if you need a realtor.

Feel free to call and discuss with me.

Happy 2019!


Posted on February 6, 2019 at 11:28 am
Wally Gudgell | Posted in Living in the San Juan Islands, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Cover Painting by Marshall Johnson windermere real estate orcas island wally gudgell group real estate book of the san juan islandsEVERYONE DESERVES A SPECIAL PLACE TO LIVE –
2018 Windermere Real Estate Orcas and Lopez Island Real Estate Book

To us this signifies space and opportunity to enjoy a life rich in experience; a place for fearless self-expression, unleashed with vigor and gusto; it’s space to find one’s purpose and embody it in daily practice; it’s the comforting, secure environment from which we offer ourselves in service to others.

When we ask “what’s your island dream?” we pay attention to be the answer. We apply the Golden Rule. We know what’s at stake, because we understand what our Island Dream means to each of us.

As Windermere brokers, we are students of the ever-evolving real estate market. There is no room for complacency. We are tactically proficient, using the latest industry tools to achieve outstanding results. But, we are also alive to the art and nuance of our profession. It requires patience, humor, intuition, persistence, and field experience, to become a partner and guide to our clients.

We are committed to the growth of our Island Communities that are energized, resilient, and peaceful. Our belief is that strong communities cultivate the core values of tolerance, equality, respect, collaboration, and good will. Our actions demonstrate the highest regard for these values. By investing ourselves in the San Juan’s tapestry of distinctive, community-minded islanders, we seek to build a vibrant, diverse, and interesting landscape – a community which nurtures and sustains everyone.

Our Mission at Windermere Real Estate is to enhance every person’s capacity for success, well-being, creativity, and joy. As Realtors, we accomplish this by finding homes where individuals and families take root and flourish.

-Mariah, John & Annie

Mariah and John Dunning, Windermere Real Estate Orcas Island
& Annie Albritton, Windermere Real Estate Lopez Island

Posted on January 9, 2019 at 11:16 am
Wally Gudgell | Posted in Living in the San Juan Islands, News | Tagged , , , , , , ,




Yes, It Really Is That Much Better on The Sunny Pristine West Side of Orcas Island

Beautiful and Magical may be two of the most over used words in real estate along with their cousin Unique.  Yet no three words are better suited when describing the Village of Deer Harbor and life on Orcas Island’s West Side.

Glacially gouged 12,000 years ago Orcas Island’s sunset-facing west side nestled beneath a snow-capped Olympic Mountain Range canvas offers the empyrean Pacific Northwest Life. Getting to and from your island home could not be easier.  The Orcas Island Ferry Terminal is a mere 15-minute drive from Deer Harbor Village, the fixed wing airport of Eastsound only 20 minutes and for direct access to your Orcas Island west side home by private or chartered marine vessel, and even the commercial seaplane flights of Kenmore Air, Deer Harbor Marina, the largest and oldest on Orcas accommodates for vessels up to 120ft with a first-class modern facility.

Deer Harbor Marina Orcas Island Salish Sea


Once here you will find a gem.  Deer Harbor and the west side of Orcas Island offer some of the best and unique lodging, shops, restaurants, activities and services the San Juan Islands have to offer.  Whether you are looking for adventure or a mellow island vibe Orcas Island’s west side provides.  Beautiful scenery abounds, pleasing both your eye and soul as well as setting the tone for a life, magical even for Orcas Island.

We’re guessing you’re on the edge of your seat and ready to start living your best life on the west side of Orcas Island.   This is where Wally and the Gudgell Group come in.  Our team has several outstanding listings to answer your call, as well as insight to the entire listed inventory and many opportunities only ‘known’ to locals.


We’re Here When You’re Ready –
The Gudgell Group




1912 Channel Rd Orcas Island san juan islands washington waterfront estate 98243 windermere wally gudgell group


san juan islands salish sea Visit San Juans map

Posted on July 5, 2018 at 11:51 am
Wally Gudgell | Posted in Living in the San Juan Islands, News | Tagged , , ,