Home Sellers February 20, 2024

Benefits of a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

Thinking of selling your home? One of the first steps in the home-selling journey will be identifying a local real estate expert. Once you have selected an agent, they will jump-start the process by conducting a Comparative Market Analysis.

What is a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)?

A Comparative Market Analysis (or CMA) is a detailed report used to estimate your home’s value. This is done by comparing your property with others that have recently sold in the area. A real estate professional will come to your home to tour it and discuss its current market value. They will identify how much your property is worth based on factors such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, the home’s condition, and regional market trends.

The report will evaluate other homes in the area that have sold in the past three to six months to help determine the best price point for your property. Also, you will learn what nearby homes have recently sold for and how long they were on the market. Ultimately, your real estate expert will present a low, median, and high selling price for your property based on the comparable homes (or ‘comps’) from the CMA.

Why do I need a CMA, and what are the benefits?

Homes that are correctly priced attract buyers. In fact, a CMA can help a home sell faster and for more. By considering other comparable homes in your local real estate market, you can ensure you are attracting the best buyers. A CMA can also help you make informed decisions and set realistic expectations about the home-selling process.

What if the CMA values my home lower than I wanted?

If the value of your home comes in lower than hoped for, you can increase your home’s value by making certain repairs and upgrades that have a high return on investment. A CMA can be used as a tool to identify which home upgrades would make the most sense. With your real estate agent, you can discuss if home upgrades or remodeling projects like replacing your garage door or painting your home’s exterior would make financial sense based on other comparable homes.

If you decide to invest more in your property before putting it on the market, consider the Windermere Ready Program. This program offers local expertise and a loan of up to $100,000 in strategic home repairs and upgrades to prepare your home for the market.

 

How is a CMA different than a pre-listing inspection?

Both a CMA and a pre-listing inspection are done at the beginning of the home-selling journey. However, a pre-listing inspection is conducted to give sellers and homebuyers more information about the property. A licensed home inspector will come to your home and identify potential repairs to be addressed. While a pre-listing inspection is also done before listing a home, it is less of a pricing tool. Instead, it is more of an evaluation of the home’s condition. Using information from a CMA and a pre-listing inspection, a seller can identify what upgrades or repairs would be most valuable.

How is a CMA different than an appraisal?

An appraisal is done further along in the home-buying process. If a buyer is financing the purchase of a home, their lending institution will require an appraisal. This ensures the bank does not lend more money than is necessary for the home. A licensed or certified appraiser will come to your home to ensure the home’s value is correct.

I’m ready to sell my home. Where do I get my CMA?

To get started, connect with one of our highly rated, local real estate agents from Windermere Bainbridge Island. Our experts know the local market and can provide a detailed CMA. They can guide you through the home-selling process as your trusted advocate, providing all the support and information you need.

Community January 23, 2024

New to the PNW? Tips & Resources from Local Experts

Are you new to the Pacific Northwest? The PNW encompasses Washington, Oregon and parts of Idaho and northern California. It’s loosely defined as the area between the Pacific Coast and the Rocky Mountains.

If you’ve moved to this area from other parts of the country, you’ll probably notice how unique the Olympic Peninsula, Kitsap Peninsula, and Bainbridge Island are. Since we love Bainbridge Island and the surrounding area, that’s what we’re going to focus on in this article. Located in the northern portion of Washington state and west of Seattle, this is an incredible place to live. Here are some tips and resources to help you get connected.

Get Out When the Sun is Out

The PNW is generally known for rainy weather. Many locals understand the importance of going outside whenever the sun peeks its head out. In the winter months, some refer to this as chasing the sun. After a snowfall or long stretch of rain, sidewalks come alive with walkers soaking in Vitamin D.

We highly recommend investing in a great waterproof jacket and shoes. With waterproof gear, you can still go on hikes even when it’s raining. Many outdoor enthusiasts say, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.” Proper clothing, soaking in the sun when you can, and having a sense of adventure will help you enjoy each day.

Savor the Natural Beauty

Thanks to our higher precipitation levels, we have a lush environment with rivers, lakes, rainforests, and fern-covered hiking trails to explore. Our area is also known for fun water sports and activities like kayaking, boating, and scuba diving.

Kelsie Thurrott, Windermere Bainbridge Broker from Team 98110, says, “We love to share the Bainbridge Trails Map, which clearly marks more than 42 miles of public trails. There is an online version, and hard copies of these maps are available at the Bainbridge Island Recreation Center. Or, you can just stop by the Windermere Bainbridge Office and ask for Team 98110!”

In addition, the Olympic National Park is a natural playground for many in the area. It encompasses nearly a million acres and even includes an old-growth temperate rainforest. Winter sports such as sledding, snowshoeing, and skiing are popular. Hurricane Ridge is a great destination for alpine activities.

Puget Sound is a vast series of interconnected waterways throughout the region. Locals do everything from crabbing and fishing to paddleboarding. Check out the Cascadia Marine Trail for information on more than 66 campsites and 160 day-use sites accessible by water. While you’re out, you might spot amazing sea life, and if you’re lucky, even a whale!

Ferries, Museums, and More

While communities in our corner of the Pacific Northwest are much smaller than Seattle, it’s easy to access the Emerald City by ferry. You can drive, bike or walk onto the WA State Ferries. Additionally, there are Fast Ferries via Kitsap Transit, which are smaller passenger-only vessels that quickly get you across Puget Sound. Both in Seattle and on the Kitsap Peninsula, you’ll find opportunities to enjoy the arts, live music, delicious restaurants, and more. Check out these fascinating museums throughout the region. There are also relaxing retreats when you’re looking to recharge.

Enjoy Local Breweries and Wineries

In the Pacific Northwest, craft breweries abound. Indian Pale Ales (IPAs) are a popular variety of beer often on tap, and microbreweries can be found throughout the region. If wine is more your style, there are also many must-visit wineries. We have some wonderful local wineries on Bainbridge Island and larger wineries across WA state.

Visit Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island is a popular tourist destination and has been highlighted by Sunset Magazine, The New York Times, and The Seattle Times. Our island has award-winning restaurants, a strong community, and a thriving art scene. One example is Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network or BARN.

“I am a big fan of BARN,” says Windermere Bainbridge Managing Broker Susan Grosten. “It was built by community funds and has “maker” studios for so many creative adventures from jewelry, fabric arts, kitchen arts, 3-D printing, metal work, and an amazing woodworking studio. I have served on a committee for connections and inclusion for BARN and sponsored a table for their fundraiser in 2023. I had clients searching for a home on Bainbridge Island and one partner really wanted space for a woodworking shop. We struggled to find a combination of the right home and location, as well as a shop space. I suggested they tour BARN and they were hooked! We found the perfect house and I gave them a membership to BARN as a closing gift.”

If Bainbridge Island is of particular interest, reach out to any of our agents at Windermere Bainbridge Island. Many of them grew up on the island, and our local experts are well-connected with helpful insider tips.

For example, Windermere Bainbridge Broker Julie Miller has insider tips about local sales. “Don’t miss Town and Country Market’s Gift Card Sale, where you can purchase up to $400 in gift cards for only $300. It’s online only and on the Monday after Thanksgiving.” Julie Miller also offers an insider tip for Bainbridge’s local bookstore: “Eagle Harbor Books has a wonderful Gift Card Sale between Thanksgiving and Christmas where you can enjoy substantial savings when you purchase a gift card.”

To learn more about our community, check out our Guide to Bainbridge Island. It has helpful information about our neighborhoods, schools, and much more.

Attend Local Events and Festivals

With numerous annual events and festivals throughout WA state, there will always be something exciting to do here. This Kitsap County Annual Events Guide is simply a taste of what fun activities await.

“One of the most understated family events on Bainbridge Island is the All-Comers Track Meets held the 6 Monday evenings following the Grand Old 4th of July parade,” says Managing Broker, Chris Miller. “It’s hosted by the BI Kiwanis, and it’s free. All ages are welcome.”

Learn More

For additional information about our area, check out Visit Kitsap, Lonely Planet’s Must-See Attractions in Western WA, and these PNW Travel & Outdoor Guides.

Home BuyersReal Estate Market December 4, 2023

Should You Buy a House or Wait? Market Data & Insights

If you are thinking about buying a home, you may be asking whether you should buy a house now or wait. There are several factors to consider, including your personal situation, the overall market, and being able to find a home that’s right for you. We’ve gathered the most recent market data and insights to help you make an informed decision.

A Look at the U.S. Housing Market

Whether you are wanting to stay in your current community or move out of state, it’s important to look at the U.S. housing market. While there are nuances and fluctuations depending on supply and demand in certain areas, the bigger picture still influences local markets. According to Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, the number of homes for sale remains close to historic lows. “When adjusted for seasonality, there were just 1.03 million single family and condominium homes for sale in the month of August. That’s down 8.3% from a year ago, and the second lowest level in 2023.”

Gardner explains that this is due to mortgage rates. Current home owners are reluctant to sell and trade their low mortgage rates for a much higher one. This hesitancy is keeping the housing market tight with fewer homes for sale overall. As Gardner points out in the above video, you can’t buy what’s not for sale. However, there will always be people who need to sell due to job changes, downsizing needs, and more.

Western Washington and Bainbridge Island Market Update

When taking a closer look at the housing market in Western Washington, mortgage rates are definitely playing a role regionally as well. In the third quarter of 2023, sales fell even though the average number of homes for sale increased 29.5% from the second quarter. Gardner said he was surprised that “prices rose over the previous quarter despite the fact that mortgage rates were above 7% for almost the entire quarter.” In fact, prices for Kitsap County rose between 4% to 6.9%, which is higher than most other counties in our region. This factor, combined with other market data and insights, leads Gardner to believe that it’s still a seller’s market in Western Washington, but only slightly.

But what does this all mean if you want to buy a home on Bainbridge Island? Some of these trends are carrying over to the Bainbridge Island housing market as well, but with differences in the numbers. In the third quarter of 2023, there were 80 closed sales, which is down 21.6% year over year. However, the average home sale price was $1.6 million, which is up 8.9% year over year. Additionally, sellers received 101% of the list price. So as a buyer, the best thing to do is to assess your finances and see if there are options on Bainbridge Island that fit your criteria and price range.

Individual Considerations

If you are a Bainbridge Island homeowner and need to purchase a house elsewhere, you are in a good position to sell and buy that next home. If you are looking to relocate and move to Bainbridge Island, then it’s important to assess your personal situation and your financial goals. Keep in mind that Gardner expects inventory to remain low through next year. This means that if you see a great home now that meets your needs, you might as well put in an offer. Chances are that inventory won’t significantly increase any time soon. Plus, there will most likely be more buyers to compete with during next spring and summer when the market tends to heat up.

What About Interest Rates?

There is no denying that interest rates are high right now. According to Gardner, interest rates are now at levels not seen since the fall of 2000. But don’t let this discourage you from purchasing a home. Windermere partners with Penrith Home Loans, and Cherie Kesti, a Penrith Branch Manager and Mortgage Consultant, points out, “As we say in real estate, marry the house, date the rate. If you wait to buy, most likely the home’s value will continue to increase. This requires a larger loan regardless of the interest rate. If you buy now with a lower home value, you will have a smaller loan. With refinancing, this means a smaller monthly payment in the future.”

So, don’t let high interest rates stop you from moving forward in life. With such limited housing inventory available, the chances are homes will continue increasing in value the longer you wait. This leads to higher prices in the future, which are much harder to negotiate down in a tight market. It’s much easier to refinance a loan.

Get Advice from an Expert

If you’re still not sure what to do, contact a Windermere Bainbridge Island real estate agent to help you. Our agents are proud locals with extensive market knowledge. They will be able to guide you in the decision making process and tell you about recent home sales.

Community November 15, 2023

BARN: A Haven of Creativity and Community

A commercial kitchen is prepped for the afternoon Miso Soup cooking class. Three tables are full of all ages practicing wood carving. A classroom of adults is creating mosaic jewelry. 3-D printed projects line a windowsill. The podcasting studio is set up with a specially designed table by BARN woodworkers to accommodate microphones. Multiple tours of prospective members walk through the halls. This is a typical, busy day at BARN (Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network), a non-profit makerspace on Bainbridge Island. BARN enriches our community in so many ways. Our agents have even had clients say BARN made them want to move to the island.

Mission

BARN’s mission and vision is “To grow and inspire a creative community through craft, learning, and service.” They live this mission. The facility houses various studios that are open to members and to the public to explore creative endeavors. Within the walls of the studios, volunteers and teachers help participants. Beginners and experts alike create shoulder-to-shoulder, learning and expanding their skill sets. BARN’s Marketing Communications Coordinator, Jenn Hemmingsen, states, “BARN makes being a beginner easy.”

Photos courtesy of BARN.

History of BARN

In 2012, a group of woodworkers, fiber artists, and other community members came together with the goal of finding a home for makers and artisans. They envisioned a space where artisans could learn from one another. It was a long, concerted effort of volunteers and donors for years. Fast forward to June of 2017, and BARN’s new facility had its grand opening. Finally, the vision was fully launched.

Now, they’re looking ahead and want to purchase an adjacent property. BARN is actively seeking donations to complete the purchase so it can continue to grow.

There are discussions and focus groups analyzing which studio needs would be best met in the new facility. One of the founding members, Jeanne Huber’s face lit up while discussing BARN’s activity and growth. “It’s a delight to see that it’s so busy.”

Classes and Programs

BARN’s programming revolves around 10 studios that range from writing to woodworking to boat building and the fiber arts. Interested locals can easily get involved. Whether you’re a beginner looking to try something new or an experienced artisan looking to take a class from an expert (such as Sue Spargo in fiber arts), there is something for everyone.

More than that, there is a culture of mentoring embedded within the organization itself. All are encouraged to support continued learning. Take a closer look at the studio options in BARN’s video.

 

Eager to get started? Review their extensive catalog of classes or take a free, guided studio tour on Wednesdays or Sundays from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM.

Want to get a creative pre-teen or teenager connected?  There is an extensive youth program. In the summertime, the space is overtaken by summer camps. And, BARN has partnered with local schools to support programs like Girls Who Code and high school tech classes.

BARN also offers financial assistance to cover and/or subsidize membership and tuition costs.

Community Impact

According to BARN’s 2022 Impact Report (PDF), more than 2,400 individuals participated in BARN programs. These artisans were guided by 150 different instructors.  Their facility offered locals and small businesses access to skills and tools. BARN hosted Teen Nights, Maker Monday classes for early-release days, and summer youth programs. BARN was also at the center of building a tiny house.

Artisans fixed 23 furniture pieces, recorded 49 podcasts, and baked 140 pies. Employee Betsy Hagestedt shared, “We’re always evolving, responding to people’s needs.”

Photos courtesy of BARN.

 

How to Get Involved at BARN

BARN is open to the public, and there are 10 membership levels. Member benefits include free access to open studio sessions, extended hours access, discounts on classes, and participation in members-only events. Members are also able to sell their art at the annual BARN Bazaar and receive discounts at area businesses. Members interested in having a voice regarding the direction of BARN and its programming can join their Studio Steering Committee.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are a vital component of BARN’s programming. Each studio has a list of volunteers who help run open studio times and mentor newcomers. Many studios also offer classes. Check out the video below to learn about one BARN volunteer’s experience.

 

Support BARN

BARN is a 501(c)3 non-profit, and your donation is tax-deductible. Check out their online donation page.

BARN is truly something special. It is a makerspace, a mentorship mecca, and a place that pulses with creativity. As soon as you walk through the doors, you will quickly realize it is a true Bainbridge Island gem. It is a place for everyone to create, collaborate, learn, and grow. Check out the BARN Facebook page to stay up-to-date on programs, exhibits, and events.

 

 

This article was written by Meaghan Maldonado. Meaghan is a blog writer and a property manager.  After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in English and from Claremont Graduate University with a Masters in Education, she discovered a way to fuse her passions for writing, real estate, and travel. When she’s not exploring the Olympic Peninsula with friends and family, you can find her snuggled up with a book and a dog on her lap. 
Home Sellers October 1, 2023

Windermere Ready: Sell Your Home For More

The best way to impress potential home buyers is to ensure your property looks better than ever. The Windermere Ready program helps you accomplish this by preparing your home to make an excellent first impression. With the strategic guidance of a local real estate agent, our program maximizes your home’s value and helps increase your home’s sale price. Often this requires making an investment in repairs or upgrades to help your home shine. The Windermere Ready program offers up to $100,000 in financial assistance to make necessary improvements.

Sell in Less Time and for More

Typically, homes that look their best and have been enhanced and updated sell for more and faster. You want potential buyers to fall in love with your home, and their excitement can lead to offers above the asking price. While each home is unique, taking steps to improve your home is essential. But knowing where to focus your efforts is key.

The Windermere Ready program provides:

  • A customized consultation
  • An action plan developed specifically for your home
  • Recommended high impact repairs and updates
  • Professional staging for the finishing touch

Generally, buyers look for turnkey homes with the goal of moving immediately. Yet, many homebuyers also want certain comforts and amenities. This makes deciding what to fix before selling challenging. The Windermere Ready program takes the guesswork out of this process. One of our Bainbridge Island real estate experts will assess your home and identify important repairs and upgrades.

This information is used to create a personalized action plan to make your home market ready within your timeline. Working with an experienced professional also helps you avoid costly home-selling mistakes. Our Bainbridge Island real estate agents can also recommend local contractors and coordinate access to your home if needed. The Windermere Ready program is focused on maximizing your home’s value and making the selling process easier.

Maximizing Your Home’s Value

While many home sellers worry about needing to make major changes, minor ones often have the biggest impact. An eye-catching garden, a beautiful front door, and a fresh coat of paint give your home curb appeal. On the inside, making improvements with deep cleaning, decluttering, and updating certain spaces can reveal the beauty of your home to potential buyers. Focusing on minor repairs such as cosmetic updates and refinishing flooring will improve your home’s overall appearance. All these little things add up to a welcoming home, which makes a big difference to buyers.

The Windermere Ready program focuses on simple improvements for the outside including:

  • Landscaping
  • Power Washing
  • Window Washing
  • Lighting
  • Decorative Window Elements
  • Painting
  • Front Door Appearance

Simple improvements on the inside include:

  • Decluttering
  • Professional Deep Cleaning
  • Window Washing
  • Carpet Cleaning/Replacement
  • Floor Repair/Refinishing
  • Cosmetic Updates
  • Fixture Repair or Replacement

Staging Your Home

Once all the cleaning is done and the repairs are made, it’s time to stage your home. This is an important last step before showcasing your home to potential buyers. With the expert advice of professional stagers, you can increase your home’s sale price. Staging helps buyers visualize living there, and creates the best first impression online. In fact, staged homes can sell for up to 20% more than non-staged homes.

Windermere Ready is Invested in Your Success

Whether your home needs minor or major repairs, the costs add up quickly. The Windermere Ready program is available and there are no upfront fees for the loans. Additionally, there are no monthly payments during the six-month loan term. Once your home sells, the loan is paid off in one lump sum.

Carter Dotson, Owner and Designated Broker, explains, “The Windermere Ready program is designed exclusively for Windermere clients to give them access to funds that can be used to prepare their home for the market and ultimately generate greater interest from potential buyers.  Since its inception we have seen tremendous success for those who make use of the program.”

For more information, please contact us today.

CommunityHome September 12, 2023

Bainbridge Home Decor Accents From Local Shops & Artists

Looking for something special to elevate your home? These Bainbridge Island home decor accents will do that and much more. By shopping right here on the island, you’ll be supporting local businesses and/or local artists. You’ll also have something unique that serves as a great conversation starter when you have guests. Here’s a list of places and ideas to inspire your home’s decor.

Alexander & Nye Home

Located in Pleasant Beach Village on Bainbridge Island, Alexander & Nye Home has unique furniture like this durable, outdoor rocker. We love sleek furniture options like this teak geometric side table or these cozy linen pillows. While they don’t have a website yet, follow them on Instagram or check out their storefront for modern design pieces.

Clay and Coffee

If you want to call attention to your kitchen’s new backsplash or that antique coffee table that you love, consider adding a decorative platter or sculpture. Clay and Coffee is owned and operated by local ceramic artist Elena Wendelyn. Her pieces range from mugs and platters to sculptures and bowls. Her art is sold from Poulsbo to Bainbridge Island to Seattle. Wendelyn also accepts special orders and even teaches ceramic classes to children and adults locally. Check out Clay and Coffee’s Instagram to see what would spice up your home’s interior.

Bainbridge Arts and Crafts

A single piece of art can make a room more inviting, brightening the space and creating a more cohesive color palette. To find that wonderful masterpiece, we recommend Bainbridge Arts and Crafts. This local nonprofit is home to some very special pieces. They also do outreach work throughout Kitsap County. You can search for currently available art by medium or visit their store on Winslow Way.

Bainbridge Gardens

Indoor plants are another fun way to make your home’s decor more vibrant. Bainbridge Gardens is an excellent local resource. Their staff is very knowledgeable and ready to assist. Check out their Facebook page to stay up to date on their offerings, and read this Q&A to learn about the latest garden trends. And, if you’re also looking to improve your home’s exterior, check out our outdoor design ideas.

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art

Shopping at BIMA’s store is another beautiful way to support local artists. The store features different artists that coincide with their large-scale group exhibitions. Some featured options include pottery, plates, textiles, and prints. You can choose a piece at the museum itself or shop online. It’s a great spot to find that conversational piece that can make any space pop.

Dana’s on Bainbridge and Madrone Goods

These sister stores, located in the heart of Bainbridge Island, feature two furniture design collections. The Gus* Modern collection features upscale seating, dining, beds, accents, and lighting for your home. Although the design company is based out of Toronto, Canada, their pieces can be found locally at Madrone Goods. The Anaya Home collection includes unique, one-of-a-kind handwoven seating, storage, and accent pieces.

Danger on Bainbridge Island

This store is inspired by Northwest Living and features an eclectic mix of art from local artists. The Myorian Studio collection includes a special collaboration of wall art using mixed metals and kiln-formed glass. In addition, the storefront includes furniture and other home accents to enhance your space.

Zutto Vintage & Antiques

If you’re on the hunt for some classic pieces to update your home decor, visit Zutto Vintage & Antiques. Their online shop highlights currently available pieces that range from floor vases to tea tables. Their store is located in the heart of downtown Bainbridge, within walking distance of the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for upcoming sales and special featured treasures.

Whatever your decorating heart desires, there are a plethora of options on Bainbridge Island.

Community September 5, 2023

Oktoberfests in WA and Craft Beers on Bainbridge Island

Ready to celebrate fall in Washington? Many Oktoberfest events are coming up right here in our region. They are an exciting way to get into the spirit of the new season. As a celebration of Bavarian culture, they include beer, music, and other festival activities. Check out this Oktoberfest list to see which event fits your style. And, if you’d rather celebrate by simply grabbing a pint with friends, we’ve also included some great places to do so here on Bainbridge Island.

Edmonds Rotary Oktoberfest Family Festival in Edmonds

This Oktoberfest takes place on Friday, September 15th, from 3:00 PM – 10:00 PM and resumes Saturday, September 16th, from 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM. It is kid-friendly and pet-friendly. The Kids Korner will be open on Saturday and feature games, activities, and more. Pups can join the Pet Parade on Saturday around noon. The Beer Garden is reserved for those 21+. The event will also feature live music and food trucks. It’s sure to be a great time!

Cost: $10 for Beer Garden | Sept. 15 – 16

Poulsbrew Beer Fest in Poulsbo

This one-day event will feature many different drinks, food vendors, and live music. Tickets include a commemorative beer glass as well as five tasting tickets. Not drinking? That’s okay! For $15, you can still attend and receive a commemorative mug. It is strictly an event for 21+ and no pets are allowed. Register here.

Cost: $15 – $45 | Sept. 16

West End Oktoberfest in Spokane

In the heart of downtown Spokane’s West End, this Oktoberfest will feature six different breweries. You can go to each participating brewery to enjoy specialty beers and live entertainment. Admission includes an Oktoberfest 2023 mug, an event program, and an Oktoberfest beer at every location for only $4. While some breweries will allow all ages, the event is advertised for those 21 and older. Spend a weekend in vibrant downtown Spokane listening to live entertainment and tasting their popular local beers.

Cost: $20 | Sept. 16 – 17

Kirkland Oktoberfest in Kirkland

Returning for its 10th year, this event promises to be better than ever. This Oktoberfest is jam-packed with fun games and encourages visitors to get in the spirit and dress up. You can bring your own stein, but it is not required. Watch or participate in keg rolling races, dance during the live shows, or enter your pup in the wiener dog races. Event organizers describe this as the ‘Wurst 3 Days of the Year,’  and you can purchase your tickets online.

Cost: $20 – $75 | Sept. 22 – 24

Fremont Oktoberfest in Seattle

Strictly a 21+ Oktoberfest in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, this festival will feature over 100 craft beers, ciders, and more. Dogs are welcome on Sunday for Dogtoberfest and will receive some free swag, such as a bandana and water bowl, while supplies last. All weekend, you can celebrate with tasty meals, live bands, and games like the Stein Hoisting Competition. Check out the event’s FAQs for parking, nearby hotels, and admission information.

Cost: $15 – $45 | Sept. 22- 24

Projekt Bayern Oktoberfest in Wenatchee

Going into its 24th year, this authentic Bavarian festival is free all three weekends. It includes two huge dance hall tents, live German music, and German beer. Families with children are welcome to join, but the pets will need to stay at home. There will be crafts for kids, local vendors, and food booths. Every Saturday at 1:00 PM, there is the official keg tapping. Check out their musical lineup. While this Oktoberfest is free, once you’re inside, you can go to a food/beverage/souvenir ticket line to purchase tickets with cash or a credit card. Tickets are $1 each and a beer costs 8 tickets while food starts at 7 tickets.

Cost: FREE to enter | Sept. 29 – 30; Oct. 6 – 7; Oct. 13 – 14

Poulsbo Beer Run

This one-day event in Poulsbo is a unique take on the Oktoberfest celebration. Enjoy a 4-mile course that is half pub crawl and half sporting event. There are stops throughout Poulsbo at local breweries, restaurants, and cideries. Entrance includes five beers and one cider. Participants are encouraged to dress up and well-behaved dogs are allowed. However, children are not permitted at this event. All proceeds go to the Blue Star Banner Program, which honors locals who are currently serving in the military by installing street banners with their names on them. You can register online, and check out the Poulsbo Beer Run’s Facebook page to stay up to date on event information.

Cost: $45 – $55 | Sept. 30

Oktoberfest Northwest in Puyallup

Located at the Washington State Fairgrounds, Oktoberfest Northwest in Puyallup is Washington’s largest Munich-style Oktoberfest celebration. Children are welcome to attend for free until 6:00 PM. The evening hours are reserved for those who are 21+. Ticket prices range from general entry to VIP packages that include special VIP areas, light food and drinks, and a stein. No matter how you choose to celebrate, the Hammerschlagen, Bavarian Bier-Lympics, and Kids’ 1/2-Mile Root Beer Run are sure to be a blast!

Cost: Varies – see admission deals & packages | Oct. 6 – 8

Bier on the Pier in Anacortes

Started in 2010, this event will feature the beers and ciders of many local establishments, as well as food trucks and live music. This festival is also the perfect time to explore historic downtown Anacortes and all of its unique shops and restaurants. If you’d like to stay the whole weekend, the festival’s organizers created this list of lodging options.

Cost: $15 – $45 | Oct. 7 – 8

Or, Simply Enjoy Craft Beers on Bainbridge Island

Don’t want to commit to an all-day event or travel far? That’s okay. Bainbridge Island offers unique pubs and excellent craft beers. Simply visit our island to start fall off with a perfect pint.

Bainbridge Brewing Brewery and Taphouse

An independent craft brewery, Bainbridge Brewery has two locations on the island. The Brewery and Taphouse is located at Coppertop Park and welcomes all ages. The Bainbridge Brewing Alehouse in Downtown Winslow is reserved for those who are 21+. Every Thursday, the Taproom hosts Trivia Night and every third Wednesday, the Alehouse has a Drink & Draw event. No matter what day of the week it is, there is always a chance to enjoy some local flavors with small bites or a food truck.

The Harbour Public House

With a waterfront deck and steps from the marina and ferry, this is a perfect spot to grab a pint. Simply stroll along Bainbridge’s Waterfront Trail and you’ll reach this gem. The Pub serves local beers and delicious meals, including fresh seafood. Additionally, it is a historic site, the Ambrose Grow House, which was built in the 1880s. To learn more, download this fascinating Walking Tour of Winslow (PDF), created by Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.

The Plate & Pint

A family-friendly restaurant, The Plate & Pint is a popular place to enjoy local craft beers with friends or have a nice meal while watching a game. And, they have an excellent happy hour from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM featuring discounted beer and wine along with tasty bites like BBQ pork nachos and stuffed jalapeños. Check out their Facebook page for mouthwatering photos of their weekly specials.

Home Sellers August 9, 2023

Avoid These Costly Home-Selling Mistakes

When selling your home, the process goes more smoothly if you prepare in advance. There are many aspects of successfully selling a home and maximizing profit. While selling always involves various fees and costs, there’s a difference between standard costs and costly mistakes. By planning and considering all your options, you can avoid these costly home-selling mistakes.

Not accounting for home-selling costs

From the beginning, you should be thinking about various home-selling costs. Even if you’re not worried about them, it’s better not to be caught off guard. Before you put your home on the market, there are costs for the pre-sale inspection and the listing agent’s fees. Also, you want to make sure your home looks its best to get the best offer. This includes making any necessary repairs, possibly completing any renovations that have a high return on investment, and investing in professional staging.

When your home sells, costs include paying off the mortgage and any escrow fees. And of course, there are always taxes. This includes property taxes from the sale and there may be additional taxes depending on your situation, such as the capital gains tax. Once the sale is final, then it’s time to move. To ensure your belongings arrive at their next destination safely, it’s best to hire professional movers. If you’re not able to move directly to your new place, there may be storage costs to factor in as well.

Not making your house shine

If you really want to make sure your home sells for the highest possible price, there are some important steps you need to take. While these steps do cost money, they are worth it. The first one is preparing your home for the market. Start with a pre-listing home inspection. If the inspection reveals a list of repairs, meet with your real estate agent to decide which repairs are necessary and which have the highest return on investment. By making the right repairs, your home will be more attractive to buyers.

Also, hiring a professional stager will enhance your home’s appeal. First impressions are everything. Professional stagers know what personal items to pack away, how to highlight a home’s best features, and what photographs well and will capture buyers’ attention online. All these things work together to help potential buyers see themselves living there, which typically leads to better offers and faster sales. Yes, there are upfront costs to consider, but the investment will be worth it.

Also, if the pre-listing inspection does uncover major repairs such as issues with the foundation or the roof, the Windermere Ready Program can help cover upfront costs. This is a loan program offered by Windermere to help sellers cover much-needed repairs up to $100,000. When your home is sold, the loan is paid off in one lump sum. For more information, contact a highly-rated Bainbridge Island real estate agent.

Not working with a local real estate agent

When it comes to selling a home, it’s hard to beat working with a local real estate agent. Good local Realtors know your local market, are experts at negotiating, and have access to all the best listings. If you try the “for sale by owner” approach, you have to figure out all these things on your own and have the burden of added liability. By working with a local real estate expert, you have access to excellent local vendors, top-tier marketing resources, and experienced, data-driven guidance. They will help you avoid costly home-selling mistakes. As your greatest advocate and resource, your local agent can provide advice and insights. Local real estate agents know what houses are selling for in your neighborhood and will ensure you connect with the right buyers to get the best price possible.

Not getting a CMA

If you work with a local real estate agent, they can provide a free Comparative Market Analysis or CMA. This is a detailed report that estimates the value of your home by comparing your property to others in the area. A CMA starts with a walk-through of your home to give the real estate agent a sense of its size, condition, and best features. This information is compared to similar homes that have sold in your area. To get the full picture, the agent also looks at local market trends, the location of the home, nearby neighborhood amenities, and any other relevant factors.

Together, this information helps determine the listing price. It’s finding a balance between being competitive and getting the best offer. The CMA helps ensure your home is priced to sell. Plus, all this information helps a real estate agent determine what repairs will bring the highest return.

Not accepting the best offer

Sellers often think the best offer is the highest bid, but that’s not always true. Before accepting an offer, it’s important to discuss all the terms with your real estate agent. Cash offers or buyers pre-approved by a lender are more likely to close on time. If you’re on a tight timeline, an offer with these terms could be best for your circumstances. Also, take time to review any contingencies and how those could potentially affect the outcome. If the buyer requires a quick move-in date, you have to consider whether you can accommodate an even tighter timeline. Look at all the pros and cons of an offer to ensure it’s best for you and works for your situation.

By avoiding these home-selling mistakes, you will have the best chance of getting a great offer. And by following the above advice, you will also minimize moving-related stress.

Home Buyers July 16, 2023

6 Tips for Buying a House Out of State

There are a variety of reasons for buying a house out of state. Perhaps you have a new job opportunity or want to be closer to family. Maybe you’re looking for a summer home or for a rental property to diversify your investment portfolio. Following these six tips will make the process of buying property from afar smoother and more manageable.

1. Know the costs associated with buying a house in Washington state

First and foremost, take into account the cost of living and housing prices in different areas. For example, in Washington homebuyers have the opportunity to live in the city of Seattle, in picturesque nearby suburbs, or in more rural areas. Wherever you decide to buy a home, the cost of living varies widely. Check out Bankrate’s cost of living calculator to get a sense of housing costs compared to where you currently reside.

Consider that the property tax rates vary by state. Also, the closing costs, real estate laws, and even the climate can impact your home-buying decision. Check out this article for more specifics about purchasing a home in Washington state.

2. Consider how the house will be used

Ask yourself: Will this home be a primary residence, a rental home, a vacation home, or a vacation rental? Whatever the case may be, create a list of specific wants and needs to communicate with your real estate agent. A single-family house with a fenced-in yard may be ideal for a growing family while a downtown waterfront condo might be the perfect vacation home.

If the new home will be rented out, consider the pros and cons of managing the property personally or finding a property management company to handle marketing, screening tenants, home repairs, and more.

3. Use a local real estate agent

Using a local buyer’s agent has numerous benefits when buying a house out of state. They know the local market and will utilize the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to identify homes that fit your budget and criteria. If you’re unable to tour a home in person, they can show it to you through video chat while pointing out details. When it comes to negotiations, they will advocate on your behalf. Additionally, many of our agents are relocation specialists who have years of experience helping manage and prepare for their clients’ long-distance moves. They will explain the pros and cons of different neighborhoods, and help you get connected to the community. A great agent will also be communicative and readily available throughout the process.

When buying a house out of state, streamlining the process in any way possible can really reduce stress. A local agent can do that, connecting you with their vast network including excellent home inspectors, local lenders, repair workers, and more.

4. Review the home-buying process and timeline

Buying a home out of state may create timing challenges. Check out our Guide to Buying a Home for a complete picture of the home-buying process. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the pre-approval process and how to make a competitive offer. It explains escrow, home inspections, closing, and more. This guide is the perfect place to start when beginning your out-of-state home-buying journey.

5. Consider contingencies

It is important to understand any contingencies on an offer that may be in place when buying a home out of state. As a homebuyer, you may also wish to include a home sale contingent offer if you are trying to sell your current home before moving.  There are two different types of home sale contingencies that may be beneficial when buying a house out of state. However, home sale contingencies have pros and cons, which should be discussed with your real estate agent.

6. Utilize current technologies and local contacts

Technology provides a perfect conduit for buying a house out of state. Potential buyers can use online search tools and get connected with local realtors. Also, many listings feature 3-D tours. You can easily conduct video conferences with local agents, lenders, and home inspectors. Furthermore, financial and lending institutions have secure portals available for signing paperwork.

If you have personal contacts in the area where you are considering a home purchase, reach out to them. Ask them questions to get a sense of the area. You may even ask them to tour a home you like in order to have another set of eyes on the property. While it takes a little more planning, buying a house out of state is very manageable thanks to today’s technology.

Community July 11, 2023

Gardening and Landscaping Q & A with Bainbridge Gardens

From house plants to landscaping projects, patio planters to vegetable gardens, if you are starting a plant project, having the help of an expert can be vital. We received some wonderful advice about how to create a lush greenscape in any sized space from the experts at Bainbridge Gardens. They graciously made time to answer our questions.

A local favorite, Bainbridge Gardens is celebrating its 65th year in business on Bainbridge Island. The garden center is operated by the third generation of the Harui family in the Island Center, which has been in the family for more than 100 years. Read on to gain insights and tips for your next gardening or landscaping project. 

What are some of the current landscaping and garden trends you are seeing right now?

Native plants have never been more popular, and for good reason!  Native plants require less maintenance. Some are deer resistant. Once established, many can survive on rainfall alone. Natives are good for the planet. They provide a sustainable habitat for native wildlife, improve air quality, and reduce soil erosion.

Indoor gardening continues to thrive.  We all have our favorite houseplants, and our horticulturist, Lisa, is always on the hunt for new varieties of those favorites to thrill houseplant collectors.

What is the best way to utilize a small space?

Grow plants up as well as out. Utilize hanging baskets and window boxes.  Carefully choose plants that don’t grow too large or take up too much space.  But feel free to have a few larger items like a citrus in a container or a potted tomato plant on a trellis to give your space interest. 

What is a small change you can make in a large space that has the most impact?

Consider creating a thriving ecosystem in your landscape with a variety of plants and flowers that attract birds, bees, and butterflies. The activity of nature is amazing to be around.

What advice do you have for someone doing a first-time DIY landscape project?

Book an appointment with our horticulturist, Jenni, to give you ideas on what grows well in the various parts of your landscape and how to handle challenging scenarios, like a landscape near a beach or a very shady part of the garden.

What can you do during summer to set your yard/garden up for success during the rest of the year?

Well, although we hope that you set up your garden in the spring so you can relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor during the summer, you can start planning for the fall planting season. You can continue to plant vegetable seeds in the summer for a second crop in the late summer and fall.

Hot, dry summers seem to be the new normal. A planting tip from our horticulturist, Ax: When planting in the summer, dig a hole twice as wide as your plant and fill it up with water.  Let it drain and do it again. Saturating the soil prevents the water from wicking away from your new plant during the first waterings. Remember to create a healthy medium for planting by adding one part planting compost to two parts existing soil and a little fertilizer.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Bring in your gardening questions. Bainbridge Gardens has Certified Professional Horticulturists on staff to identify, diagnose, and coach you through your plant adventures. We love sharing the joy of the garden!

A big thank you to the wonderful staff at Bainbridge Gardens! If you’d like to connect with them, you can visit them here on Bainbridge Island, visit their website, follow them on Facebook, or on Instagram. For more helpful tips, check out our article on eco-friendly ideas to improve your home.