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 | Category: 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 | Category: 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 | Category: 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 | Category: 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 | Category: 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 | Category: Living in the San Juan Islands, News | Tagged , , ,


Reminder: Entries close at Midnight,
Monday, June 4th

Submissions for the 2018 Salish Sea in Focus contest, with Over $6,000 in Cash Prizes is still open until June 4th, 2018. The Salish Sea in Focus Photography Competition highlights the Beauty and Biodiversity of the Inland Sea Encompassing Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands and Waters off Vancouver British Columbia.



Posted on May 23, 2018 at 12:09 pm
Wally Gudgell | Category: Living in the San Juan Islands, News

ADVENTURES IN CINEMATIC STORYTELLING a.k.a. Orcas Island Film Festival 2017

Strait_of Georgia from Orcas Island gudgell group

5 Reasons You Will Add OIFF To Your Fall Calendar

Those ‘In the Know’ know why the 4th Annual Orcas Island Film Festival (OIFF) October 6-9, 2017 is a Big Deal.  For those just discovering the magic we are excited to share five reasons you will add the OIFF to your fall calendar.

ORCAS ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL 2017 san juan islands gudgell group

Orcas Island, referred to by locals as “the gem of the San Juans” offers attendees fifty-seven square miles of dreamy forests, stunning waterfronts, breathtaking mountain views, an occasional nod to a turn of the century life and charming hamlets.

The festival hosted in the enchanting village of Eastsound, named “The Dreamiest Town in The West” by Sunset Magazine promises to bring all the excitement and thrills of the film festivals of Park City or Sundance sprinkled with the charm of a Nantucket like village nestled into a Norwegian fjord.


For those craving a laid-back weekend in the San Juan Islands Orcas is known for a Come as You Are ethos, but don’t be surprised to find the OIFF a star-studded event.  Attendees rub shoulders unpretentiously with an amazing talent pool of resident and visiting film makers, directors, actors, producers and writers.

Known for some of the finest Northwest and International culinary delights as well as eclectic to traditional shopping only found on beautiful Orcas Island, Eastsound welcomes all with film loving enthusiasm.  You are sure to enjoy the luxury of film venues conveniently tucked into the village of Eastsound all within walking distance to each other and surrounded by the famed eateries, watering holes and boutique shopping of Orcas Island. ­­­­


To quote the OIFF, “Orcas Island Film Festival features narrative and documentary films, showcasing the best new works from around the world. A revelatory collection of the cinematic art from master and first-time directors with original stories that make the OIFF a must for film buffs and professional filmmakers alike.”
darkest hour INDIEWIRE photo credit
According to Carl Spence, OIFF organizer “The Orcas Island Film Festival (Oct 6-9) has 30 of the most exciting awards buzz films direct from their debut at the world’s top Festivals including: DARKEST HOUR (Joe Wright); SPOOR (Agniezka Holland); BREATHE (Andy Serkis); LET THE SUNSHINE IN (Claire Denis); LAST FLAG FLYING (Richard Linklater); THE SQUARE (Ruben Östlund); Borg/McEnroe (Janus Metz) amongst many others.”

2017 ORCAS ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL LINE UP offers a fresh narrative, casting light on beauty, challenge, relationships, forgiveness, dreams and diversity in eye-opening documentaries, American comedies, and amazing foreign language films including Academy Award Oscar Submissions for Best Foreign Language Film from POLAND, FRANCE, BELGIUM, NORWAY, SWEDEN, GERMANY.

THE DARKEST HOUR, Joe Wright with Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill
LAST FLAG FLYING, Richard Linklater staring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carrell and Laurence Fishburne
• LAST FLAG FLYING, Richard Linklater staring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carrell and Laurence Fishburne imgur photo credit    LET THE SUNSHINE IN, Claire Denis with Juliette Binoche
BREATH, Andy Serkis (Golem) directorial debut staring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy (The Crown)
WONDERSTRUCK, Todd Haynes staring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams
INFINITY BABY, Starring Kieran Culkin, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally
WINNIE, Pascale Lamche spotlighting Winnie Mandela’s Controversial Life• WONDERSTRUCK, Todd Haynes staring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams photo credit
    CHASING CORAL, Jeff Orlowski’s latest chronicle of climate-based danger
HUMAN FLOW, Ai Weiwei’s epic portrait of the ongoing refugee crisis
FACES PLACES, Agnès Varda, 2017 Cannes Palme de Whiskers winner
JANE, Cho Hyun-hoon a South Korean drama


The film minded folks behind the scene, keeping the festival aesthetic ‘100’ include Jared Lovejoy, Donna Laslo, Carl Spence, Jeanne Beck, Mieka Neenan, Paul Huber, Sara Donnelly, Galen Forrest, Cheryl Kummer and the many volunteers, community members and sponsors.  Together they create a masterpiece welcoming film enthusiasts for one unforgettable weekend filled with fine film, creativity and adventure.

killer whale 1945421 skeeze photo credit 5 – OIFF IS FUN

As with any great film festival fun can always be found and the OIFF is no exception.  Beyond the award-winning films, nosh-worthy eateries and outstanding island offerings attendees will find numerous festival events such as gala parties and panels that are sure to amuse.

In Close – “A note of thanks to all who make the OIFF possible and cheers to meeting new friends at this year’s event!”    

 -Wally  /  360-507-5443 mobile





Posted on September 28, 2017 at 2:41 pm
Wally Gudgell | Category: Living in the San Juan Islands, News


loving life in the san juan islands on orcas island wow what a lifestyleA Five Point Psychology of Happiness On Orcas Island Time

Happiness does just seem to happen on Orcas Island.  It’s a lifestyle found far and wide on our Island home, yet answering the question what exactly makes Orcas Islanders so happy is not an easy answer.  With help from a few locals and a dip into the Interweb, I am excited to share some local insight into why we are such a grateful family of our amazing Orcas Island life, neighbors and neighborhood.

I was delighted to find while researching why we’re such a happy bunch many keys and habits to happiness used to elevate positive emotions, focus folks in the moment and raise happiness baselines in our everyday ebb and flow.

“Pat and I came to Orcas to visit friends in 1977. Bought waterfront property for 18,000. and never looked back. We built 4 houses over the years, lived aboard a boat, established careers and have hiked most every trail on the island. Scenery and good friends are the best mental health medicine around.  Living the dream as they say.”  –  Lisa B. Retired Banker, Ambassador at Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce and Treasurer Orcas Island Garden Club

orcas island is a very special place and an amazing place to live and work

Photo Credit Lisa Boyd


An island filled with natural beauty surrounded by waters showcasing mountains and beautiful sun rises and sets with a bounty of culinary experiences is optimal for releasing dopamine anticipating something wonderful around the corner.  We are rewarded just thinking about our incredible surrounds.


Orcas with an astonishing number of nonprofits, one for every 45 residents according to the Islands Sounder frames a unique culture of giving, kindness and vested interest for a better world that is simply contagious.

the amazing pace of life on orcas island in the san juan islands“As a relative newcomer to Orcas Island, I have been struck by the incredible sense of community here. There is always someone to offer guidance, a recommendation, or a helping hand.  What a change from the city where I barely knew my neighbors’ names!  I’m also fortunate to work at Rosario Resort & Spa where every day I am filled with awe and gratitude for the incredible beauty of this special place.”  – Holly S. Rosario Resort & Spa


San Juan County and Orcas Island are renowned for our inspiring environment.  We are a national monument with more shoreline than any other county in the country featuring orcas, marine life and abundant wildlife tucked into the Salish Sea along with being considered an “Arts Hot Spot’ by the Washington State Arts Commission.  One would think the definition of Inspiring Environment is the San Juan Islands.Sara Donnelly Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce and Treasurer Orcas Island Film Festival lifestyle san juan islands

“I love Orcas because it fosters the artist within all of us. There is a large community of creative people here. I think the energy of the island draws those yearning to live their passion. We feel it in our hearts. The Orcas Island Film Festival is a great example of this. Our amazing core group on the production team, as well as our many wonderful volunteers all come together because of our love for the art of cinematic story telling. A good film is in the eye of the beholder, which is the same for any art form. Imagery, sound and dialogue all come together to create a journey for the senses. It can leave you with emotions and thoughts that last for days, even weeks. That is the Orcas Island Film Festival at its best. Our community takes that journey with us, and we love it!”   – Sara D. Orcas Island Film Fest



Ranked number one in the state for quality of life, physical and mental according to recent national studies as a community we take health seriously.  Pair our organic healthy minds with an inspiring environment and it’s challenging to avoid the opportunity for even a short walk to improve your mental and physical health.  I challenge you to not enjoy even a walk from the post office to The Loft at Madrona along our amazing Eastsound waterfront boardwalk – It can’t be done.


Warning, before reading on please know the happiness on Orcas Island is infectious.  The contagious positive emotions and mindsets of Orcas Islanders spreads throughout our island community and beyond.  Please don’t solely take my word for it, let me quote a few locals who also find our amazing life on Orcas Island contagious!

“I love the pace of life on this slice of heaven. The community is unique, crazy, loving, and truly one-of-a-kind. It’s amazing to watch residence of Orcas (and all the San Juan Islands) come together to create such an incredible quality of life. I have a special glimpse into the community working with the Farmers Market, and this land is full of creative, supportive and just down-right cool folks. The picturesque valleys full of happy sheep, goats and cows (and people!) never cease to amaze me. The sea-salty air replenishes the soul. I love Orcas Island.”    – Mandy G. Market Manager Orcas Island Farmer’s Market

beautiful organic farmers market on orcas island in the san juan islands is a must see


In Close –

“Thank you Lisa, Mandy and Holly for helping showcase just a few of the reasons we LOVE calling Orcas Island Home and cannot see ourselves anywhere else!  If you would like to share your reason or reasons, please shoot us a message.  I never tire talking about LOVE for Orcas and the San Juan Islands.”  – Wally





Posted on June 23, 2017 at 2:38 pm
Wally Gudgell | Category: Living in the San Juan Islands, News


Only a Month Into 2017 and More Change Is On Your To Do List?

On the heels of the presidential inauguration with economics across the county being directly impacted by this new political chapter I thought I would take the opportunity to apprise you of some local and reginal real estate news.

STATE OF OUR UNION – Basically, Orcas Island inventory is extremely low and demand is high, pushing finally some appreciation on improved properties and vacant land appreciation likely to follow suit soon.orcas island real estate market 2017

As for tourism, the major driving force behind our economy we have seen an increase even during what was once the ‘off season’.  The impact locally are local venders seeing better revenue, an increase of 40% in lodging tax revenues, a growing demand for properties with short-term and long-term rental potential.  Additionally, as a co-founder of Islander’s Bank some 35 years ago and current board member for the first time in memory overall county deposits increased over the 2015 and 2016 winters.  Results that we believe can be attributed to all the great work of the Chambers of Commerce, San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau, SJC Economic Development Council and the rising trend of additional tourism housing and accolades in numerous travel periodicals.

orcas island san juan county map

THE CRITICAL AREAS ORDINANCE (CAO) – Working with formal changes to the Shoreline Master Plan we ae on schedule for an adoption of the CAO soon.  Please let me know if you have any questions about San Juan County or in general.  For a quick review of the impending new ordinance and other county business the official county site SANJUANCO.COM is a wealth of information.

western washington area code overlay changes san juan islands

HE 564 CHANGE ON THE HORIZON – Growth dictates need for additional area codes and following Chinese New Year 2017 a new area code will be worked into our Western Washington scenery.

So how will this impact you?  The cliff notes; 564 will be an ‘overlay’ area code and will be issued throughout the region when current numbers run out, predicted by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator to happen by early 2018.

To implement the 564 a mandatory 10 DIGIT DIALING SYSTEM for all Western Washington area codes will be in effect BY FALL 2017.  This will require callers dial all 10 Digits, including area code when making even local calls.


In Close –

“This winter we are seeing many more inquiries than in years past, and we are hopeful the market will continue to improve as spring is right around the corner.  We welcome your questions, comments or concerns – Our Door Is Always Open!”  


 -Wally  /  360-507-5443 mobile

Posted on February 1, 2017 at 12:10 pm
Wally Gudgell | Category: Living in the San Juan Islands