Never has a year brought such a surge of new homeowners to the San Juan Islands as 2020. Recognized by NORTHWEST PUBLIC BROADCASTING as a ‘Zoom Town,’ our wired-for-remote-work communities, natural beauty and mellow island lifestyle were strong appeals for people looking to relocate from work-from-home, school-from-home, or stuck-at-home lives.
As we adjusted to pandemic life, historic low interest rates pushed record-setting sales. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), San Juan County wrapped 2020 with a 54% jump in the number of closed sales year over year, closed sale dollar value was up over 66%, and inventory was down by over 67%. The number of closed sales in the Orcas District was even higher with a 66% increase.
For people who’ve contemplated selling, the predicted continuation of low interest rates and a seller’s market should make 2021 another advantageous year for marketing a home. You may want to start your year by outlining daily, weekly and monthly activities on a calendar dedicated to tracking the tasks involved. Here are five resolutions to get the ball rolling.
- MEET NEW PEOPLE: interview several brokers to find the best fit for you and your needs. Finding the right team is key in making your experience as smooth as possible. Hiring a qualified home inspector for a pre-inspection can also be beneficial. This enables you to identify and address any issues that may be concerning for potential buyers.
- LEARN SOMETHING NEW: watch your market, taking note of comparable homes and trends to help you present your home at its best. Suggestions for staging from your broker or other professional can help you accent your home’s finest features.
- STOP PROCRASTINATING: the biggest challenge in achieving goals is procrastination. Hiring a broker and/or broker’s team can keep you moving forward to meet critical deadlines for preparing, marketing, showing, and ultimately selling your home.
- GET IN SHAPE: just like our physical and mental health, getting our home and financials in shape can be immensely rewarding. Organizing, decluttering, and depersonalizing enhance showings and make transitions easier when it’s time to move. Contact your lender to review your payoff and identify your budget needs for your next home.
- KEEP A JOURNAL: preparing for and selling your home can be intense. Journaling is an
effective exercise for alleviating anxiety as well as documenting your journey.
If COVID derailed plans to sell your home last year perhaps 2021 is the time for a fresh start.
Please find a New Year’s Resolution worksheet below.
Happy New Year!
CLICK HERE FOR A 2021 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION WORKSHEET
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.
WEST SIDE IS THE BEST SIDE
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.
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
Why LOCAL Is The Right Choice For The San Juan Islands
‘Buy Local’, ‘Island Grown’ and ‘Eat Local’ are phrases heard from many an islander and seen throughout the islands and on our transportation. We experience the benefits of these ideals to our island sphere in something as small as purchasing dog treats from Jeff at Pawki’s for Pets or in more important investments such as hiring local firms like Madrona Point Insurance to protect our island lifestyles.
You may ask in regards to one of the largest purchases made in our lives, real estate, will buying or selling with a local real estate expert translate into better representation? To answer your question, undoubtedly yes. You will enjoy a more distinctive and personal experience along with the benefits below:
1 :: Local Knowledge Is Power
When buying or selling in The San Juan Islands an advocate with extensive understanding of our remarkable island market and lifestyle significantly increases your insider knowhow easing your real estate voyage. An island grown and trained agent arms you with knowledge of the myriad of idiosyncrasies of island real estate, including and not limited to shoreline regulations, archeology, septic systems, wells, community water systems, building regulations and local financing options which in real time equate to saved money when either selling or buying in The San Juan Islands.
Local Island Knowledge, a negotiation tool that can be offered only by local brokers is developed while immersed in our unique market over time paired with interactions within our island communities. This local insight atop a solid understanding of real estate can be a dynamic advantage offered by local brokers who have spent their career studying, working and living in the San Juan Islands.
2 :: Readily Available Boots On The Ground –
As many know, our market is smaller than that of our mainland neighbors and as such can require the reflexes of a cat to seize an opportunity. The opportunity to show property NOW, Not now, but right now, around ferry schedules or around the less predictable Orca Whales. Having a set of boots on island has also helped uncover on the ‘street’ the ideal, one-of-a-kind perfect opportunity sometimes weeks before Mainland America brokers discover the property through online tools such as the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, NWMLS.
Your real estate expert on the ground, in the Orcas community allows buyers and sellers the advantage of time, an increasingly more significant element in the real estate equation.
3 :: The Ultimate Social Networking Channel –
With over 85% of Mainland America real estate transactions starting online, island brokers have capitalized on web marketing channels while continuing to thrive in the traditional. True to our island roots, our community is firmly rooted in traditional face-to-face while embracing the ever-growing online networking channels to build one amazing blend of community.
Local brokers are connected in the island community. We network at community events, volunteer at our many non-profits and still talk real estate over lunch with friends. Enlisting a local broker with strong community ties and values along with a significant regional, national and worldwide network can offer buyers and sellers a micro and macro networking advantage that has a huge impact.
4 :: Trickle Down Community –
Shaping our island’s character and vitality may be the most important of all the reasons to “Shop Local”, “Eat Local”, purchase “Island Grown” products and to enlist a local team for your real estate needs. Island businesses and ardent residents give rise in our community to its distinct personality. Local community-serving businesses and residents build our community; we create jobs and opportunities that expand the landscape for local entrepreneurs ultimately promoting the prosperity of local organizations, residents and our real estate market.
“Hiring local talent does not mean limiting exposure or professionalism – It Means nurturing local businesses, our island community and prosperity, creating jobs, supporting local non-profits, And All While signing up for more attentive personal service and a deeper understanding of our unique island real estate market. I’m here, call me let’s do lunch and talk real estate in The San Juan Islands – One of my favorite subjects.”
-Wally (360) 507-5443 mobile
It’s difficult to think anyone who has seen The San Juan Islands and Orcas Island specifically would need even one more reason to call Orcas home, or at the very least, their home away from the millisecond pace of a Mainland America Home. And, without further ado for those in need I present a few reasons to get on the next ferry to change your zip code and call Orcas Island Home!
I will go deeper into each reason on my top five over my next blog posts, but for now a few notes to mull over while stuck in traffic.
#1 – COMMUNITY
Orcas Island is a community like no other. Reminiscent of the Mayberry friendliness of the Midwest paired with culture rivaling the sophistication of many micro-neighborhoods of metropolitan cities. Think SoHo, Silver Lake, the Mission District or Wicker Park surrounded by the Pacific Northwest’s finest troposphere, organic farms, the crystal clear Salish Sea all at a pace that tops out at 45 mph on island thoroughfares. Savoring the flavor of life, its bounty and beauty is at the top of any good Islander’s to do list.
#2 – REAL ESTATE OPPORTUNITY
The opportunities and nuances of Orcas Island Real Estate is something as a second-generation island realtor I know a bit about. Our market is as unique as they come. Buyers can choose from waterfront cabins poised on breathtaking shorelines for as little as $400,000, majestic cottages or homes tucked into our beautiful island starting at $150k or if you’re in the market for luxury, choose from one of our exquisite multi-million or million dollar island retreats bringing to mind the finest art or architecture and comforts with one thing in common: Excellence.
#3 – QUALITY OF LIFE
For those who dream of slowing life to an organic 45mph pace with nature from concrete cookie cutter surroundings there is no better oasis than Orcas Island to indulge this call. Lapped by the iridescent Salish Sea and views of the snowcapped peaks of Mt Baker, Rainer and the Olympic Mountain Range and shaped of tranquil pastures, organic farmlands and mountaintops boasting marine and mountain views painted in fir, pine, madrona, ash and birch with ferns and moss accents finished with natural ponds and springs to frame. Orcas Island is the most diverse topographies in the San Juan Islands with truly something for every taste.
#4 – EDUCATION
Education is important to families, retirees as well as young or young at heart adults alike and Orcas Island offers one of the finest educational solutions in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to an award winning public school system grades Pre-K through 12, Orcas has a wide variety of private options. From an eclectic array of retreats, seminars, workshops and independent higher-education offerings, aspirations and educational passions are limited only by time. Many find there is simply not enough time to explore all the fascinating subjects available made possible through the amazing population of famous authors, Oscar winning directors, master gardeners and chefs, world-renowned artists and spiritual guides that call Orcas Island home and keep us happy, active, healthy and fulfilled.
#5 – EMPLOYMENT
Working on island time has many advantages that cannot be found in the Mainland America workforce. Beyond the most enjoyable commute time imaginable, many who call Orcas home come to retire, but still fill their internal need to keep busy and contribute by volunteering with one of our many nonprofits to create the island and world they wish to live. Others still, continue in their chosen fields downgrading their workweek to a part-time schedule or sharing their wisdom as community mentors or in local government.
Having a wealth of exceptionally talented industry leaders and creatives as your community gives rise to exceptional opportunities to build a resume. Folks normally overlooked in a sea of applicants often find the small community experience a chance to intern, learn or work with amazing mentors. We get to know each other at the post office, the grocery or hiking the beaches – We learn of each other’s dreams, goals as well as character. An opportunity you rarely enjoy racing through big box stores. Though I will add, we do run into fellow islanders at those Mainland big box stores, where we wish each other a quick “Hello, yes I made the trip over today… me too, cant wait to get home and I will see you on the ferry.”
As I said it’s truly difficult to imagine anyone after seeing photos of beautiful Orcas Island would need another reason to call Orcas home and it has been my pleasure to provide a quick overview of my top five reasons I call Orcas home. As promised over the next few blogs I will explore deeper the top reasons I feel Orcas is an optimal place to live and I look forward to helping you indulge your inner voice telling you Orcas Island is your new zip code.
Please also know I am here to directly answer any questions you have about life on Orcas, buying, selling or upgrading an Orcas Island home.
(360) 376-2172 mobile