Living in the San Juan Islands August 7, 2019


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,