Real Estate January 11, 2021

5 Real Estate Resolutions for 2021

 

 

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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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!

–  Wally

 

 

CLICK HERE FOR A 2021 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION WORKSHEET

Living in the San Juan IslandsReal Estate November 25, 2020

ORGANIZING YOUR HOME SOLD

5-Step Plan for Dazzling First Impressionswally gudgell group blog organize your home sold - tips
& Organizing Your Home Sold

Even in the San Juan Islands, our island lives can be hectic at times, leaving our homes a little jumbled. We look past the mountain of footwear in the corner of our mudroom, an exquisite collection of beach finds adorning window, or the magnificent compost along our driveway, but buyers will not.

According to Psychological Science, the Princeton psychologists found “it takes a tenth of a second to form an impression,” and from Science Of People, “our first impressions of people are 75% accurate.” Houses are not people, but house hunting can feel a little like dating. Instead of seeing a well-designed open floor plan and spacious 2-car garage with storage for both cars and kayaks, disorder and unfinished projects leave buyers feeling cramped, uncomfortable, and blocked from seeing their best life in your home.

The good news, with a little work, you can make your home’s first impression more appealing, give your home an edge over the competition and make any buyer say “YES.”

 

1. PREVIEW PHOTO INVENTORY
To understand your home’s current first impression, and to discover where a little attention is needed, take a preview inventory with photos of your home inside and out. Then ask yourself, friends, and family, “what do you see?” Tips to getting the best preview photos of your home include taking lots of pictures, maximize natural light shooting on a sunny day, remove outside screens for the photoshoot (saved out of sight for the new owners) and turn off your flash. For more tips on the best photos of your home, visit houzz.com/ideabooks/How-to-Photograph-Your-House on Houzz.com.

2. CURB APPEAL – SETS EXPECTATIONS
Your home’s exterior and landscaping speak volumes as to what buyers may find inside. Keeping your yard clipped or trimmed, looking its best with weeded beds, a tidy driveway, clean and pressure wash siding, decking, and windows with all equipment organized and tucked away can result in impressive ROI.

3. DECLUTTER, ORGANIZE & DEPERSONALIZE
Disorganization and clutter obstruct buyers from seeing the true beauty and possibilities of your home. Additionally, a house with too much personalization acts as a barrier to buyers envisioning themselves coming home every day. Spend a day or two of deep cleaning, reorganization, and depersonalizing before your first showing; possibly a few more days for some of us. Any time spent creating the feeling of space and a neutral canvas throughout your home is time well spent and ensures a buyer’s first impression is positive, allowing them to appreciate your home’s true potential and their life in it.  View Realtor.com/advice/sell/make-fantastic-first-impression-selling-home/ for more tips on decluttering for dazzling first impressions at Realtor.com®.

4. UNFINISHED and NEEDED REPAIRS
We all have a to-do list of minor unfinished projects and repairs. Before you put your home on the market, optimize sale proceeds and your home’s first impression with buyers by checking off that list. Patch holes, repaint and refinish if needed, check and repair loose door handles or cabinet hinges, as well as touch up the caulking around tubs and sinks.

5. SET THE MOOD
Don’t forget to check all your lighting and replace any burnt bulbs. Then use lighting, soft neutral music and deodorize, neutralize and freshen with natural aromas to say, “This Home Is The One!”  For more strategies on setting the mood for sold, visit Homelight.com/blog/tips-for-showing-your-house/ at Homelight.com®.

 

First impressions are no more important on a first date than they are when selling your home. Should you have questions about the value of your home, our market, or what steps you should take for the best return on your investment, please shoot us a call. We are here to help!

Cheers to Sold – Wally

 

Living in the San Juan Islands November 13, 2020

COVID-ERA REAL ESTATE

 

Eastsound in Fall Copyright MaryRoseDenton8 Orcas Island Realty Gudgell Group Covid-Era Real Estate BlogCOVID-ERA REAL ESTATE:
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?

 

What strange times we’re in… it’s hard enough to keep track of what day it is, let alone the economic state of affairs. In 40+ years of selling real estate, I’ve never seen the market so intense in our neck of the woods.

Our homes are our havens, maybe now more than ever. We’re approaching eight months of communal anxiety: virus fears, civil unrest, neighbors in crisis, political unease, and loss and illness for many. In large part, the desire for a ‘safe haven’ is driving the local market. Second-home owners are coming to stay long-term, and new buyers from urban areas are seeking safety and tranquility. The result is a shortage of properties for sale. Low inventory along with historically low interest rates has caused what is known as a ‘seller’s market.’ For those who’ve considered selling, there’s likely never been a better opportunity to gain maximum return on investment. This is the time to consider a valuation on your property to inform decisions about what to do next.

The NW Multiple Listing Service home sales for Orcas Island over the last six months has seen 92 closed sales, a median sold price of $683,500, and an average time on the market of 64 days. The largest increase was in the 30 days prior to November 1st.  In that most recent window, our median sold price increased over $100,000 to $792,000, with an average of 118 days on the market. There are currently 22 pending sales and only 34 active listings; historically, the number of active homes is four times this number.*

Vacant land property sales have also seen a surge. Our six month average price was $246,500 with 85 days on the market.  During the most recent 30 day window the average price jumped to $265,000, and days on the market shortened to 70. 48 vacant land properties sold in the last six months, with an additional 21 pending, leaving only 31 listed properties remaining. Typically, there would be five times that many.*

October often marks a winding down of the selling season, but the Covid-19 swell in real estate sales will be with us for months to come. Interestingly, we’re seeing far fewer people purchasing property for vacationing or as rentals. Nearly all of our recent clients work remotely to some degree, and say they are moving
here permanently. This means we will have an influx of new members in our island community. With the weight of many worries on our shoulders,
it’s more important than ever to engage and encourage connections among us, and especially with those who may not yet know many people here.
In a time of relative social isolation, it will be up to us to find ways to welcome them as ‘islanders.’

 

Warm regards,

Wally

 

*Figures may have changed since the drafting of this column.

 

 

Living in the San Juan Islands March 28, 2020

WHAT TO DO . . .

what to do when there's nothing to do in coronavirus quarantine and shelter in place

 

WHAT TO DO . . .
WHEN THERE’S NOTHING TO DO

As we all have started to adjust to our new, hopefully, temporary 2020 Coronavirus routines, many of us, including The Wally Gudgell Group, have begun to find isolation, shelter in place, and social distancing a little monotonous.

Like you, we too in these first weeks of isolation, have discovered a real pressure in the question WHAT TO DO WHEN THERE’S NOTHING TO DO. The simple abundance of extra, or downtime has left us surfing and longing for the fun seen on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or featured on our national and local news.

You may be asking, “What can we do with all this time at home? What family-friendly fun can we have sheltered in place to celebrate Spring’s arrival?” Whether you’re tucked away on Orcas in the beautiful San Juan Islands, poolside in Florida with a quickly dwindling wine cellar, or in a posh high-rise condominium atop Capitol Hill; we enthusiastically offer nine ideas to stay busy and sane while practicing Covid-19 isolation.

Please know you can reach our team by email or phone to help answer any real estate questions you may have regarding Idea #1, DREAMING OF AN ISLAND HOME. Whether you’re buying or selling land, residential homes, or businesses, we are here! We can also help with several other ideas from determining the optimal DIY project for home renovation projects, to merely chatting about our fantastic island lifestyle in the San Juan Islands.

Happiness and Health – The Wally Gudgell Group

Living in the San Juan Islands February 20, 2020

THE GARDNER REPORT Q4 2019

matthew gardner economist windermere real estate wally gudgell group market report western washington Q4 2019

 

Dear Clients and Friends,

Please find a link below to Matthew Gardner’s Full Report for the Western Washington Real Estate Market Q4 2019 including some compelling reasons now is again a great time for sellers in the San Juan Islands.

Reviewing Matthew’s Q4 2019 Report, as expected our seasonal slow paired with continued inventory shortages place San Juan County with the lowest number of home sales.  In the same breath San Juan County LEADS Western Washington for Q4 2019 with a spike in home price growth to a 12% increase over the third quarter of 2019.  This increase in home sale prices and inventory shortage should encourage many sellers to list this spring, adding to inventory to positively impact our Q1 for 2020.  Should you have questions 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.

~Wally

 

CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT >

 

Living in the San Juan Islands February 6, 2019

STATE OF SAN JUAN COUNTY ADDRESS

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!

~Wally

Living in the San Juan Islands October 24, 2016

LOCALIZE IT – Top Reasons to Hire Local Talent

Why LOCAL Is The Right Choice For The San Juan Islands

orcas island in the san juan islands amazing views

‘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.

Wally Gudgell Showing Property with Clients

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.

Orcas Island Community ParadeIn Close –

“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

Living in the San Juan Islands August 30, 2016

NEED A REASON TO CALL ORCAS HOME – How About Five?

Orcas Island CommuteIt’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.

orcas island sunset in san juan islands

#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.

•    Wally

(360) 376-2172 mobile

https://gudgellgroup.com