Title insurance is a policy that protects you from potential problems when acquiring real estate. When you buy real estate, you’re also buying all of the assets and liabilities associated with that property. So title insurance protects you from any past title problems. Some of these problems can include forgery, fraud, liens, and prior mistakes in legal documents.
Types Of Title Insurance
There are two main types of title insurance: lender’s title insurance and owner’s title insurance. Most lenders require the borrower (homebuyer) to purchase a lender’s title insurance policy, which protects the lender. It is important to note that a lender’s policy will not cover the homebuyer from any problems with the title. To protect yourself, consider purchasing owner’s title insurance.
Owner’s title insurance will protect you, the homebuyer, from any aforementioned issues. A title search examines public records and legal documents to confirm the legal ownership of a property before a transaction takes place. It is usually performed by an attorney or a title company. Although this procedure will often identify any title issues or mistakes, sometimes mishaps occur. These mistakes can be costly down the road, so buyers often purchase title insurance to protect them and their mortgage lender from financial loss if there’s a problem with the title after the sale.
Some common claims filed against a title are back taxes and liens. Liens are a right to keep possession of property belonging to another person until a person’s debt is cleared. It is rare for title companies to miss a lien, but if that does happen, it can cause quite a legal headache for the homeowner. Title insurance can protect from any issues that arise due to uncleared liens.
A typical title insurance policy covers the following hazards:
- Ownership by a party other than the one who sold it to you
- Incorrect signatures on documents as well as forgery or fraud
- Mistakes in legal papers and inheritance
This type of policy also ensures that there aren’t any outstanding liens for the property. Unlike traditional insurance policies that protect you from future events, title insurance protects you from past events that may not have come up during the purchase of the property.
Title Insurance in Washington State
In Washington state, the owner’s title insurance policy is usually optional and not required by law. You can choose to buy a policy that will cover the full price that you paid for the property. The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has more information about the process of purchasing title insurance in Washington state.
It is important to note that the only time it is possible to secure the owner’s title insurance is at closing. You will not be able to purchase a policy if you discover an ownership issue after you’ve bought the property and ownership has been transferred to you.
Having title insurance protects both the buyer and seller from potential risks that can lead to a considerable amount of stress down the road. It’s important to talk to your real estate agent about these details. They should be able to guide you through the process and provide additional insight. Our local Windermere agents are also here to answer any questions you may have.
Images courtesy of the Suquamish Museum.
In honor of Native American Heritage Month and in recognition of the Suquamish Tribe today and every day, we’re highlighting an incredible local attraction and resource: Suquamish Museum.
The Suquamish Tribe has lived here for centuries, long before settlers arrived. Their history is scattered across this region, and locals and visitors have the unique opportunity to visit Suquamish Museum to learn more about their history, traditions, upcoming events, local artisans, and more.
An Immersive Learning Experience
This museum is a cornerstone attraction that sits in the heart of Suquamish Village on the Port Madison Reservation. Opened in 2012, the museum features two exhibit galleries, an educational classroom space, a research space, a museum store, and beautiful grounds with a storytelling area. The Suquamish Museum staff often plan and host various educational workshops that are all free with general admission.
The first gallery houses a permanent exhibit, Ancient Shores – Changing Tides. Upon entering the gallery, visitors can experience an interactive exhibition. It engages the senses to provide a window into Suquamish culture and traditions. The display integrates Lushootseed, the language of the Suquamish tribe. This helps visitors gain a better understanding of the Suquamish’s way of life.
Current Featured Exhibit and Museum Guidelines
The second gallery rotates through different exhibits to feature specific historical events, customs and traditions, and pieces from Native artists. Their latest exhibit features art from Joes Ives. Ives is from the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Kingston. His mask carvings and designs have been used by his family and neighbors to illustrate traditional S’Klallam stories that have been passed down for centuries.
Due to COVID-19, the museum hours are now Friday – Sunday from 10 AM – 4 PM and are by appointment only with a maximum of 5 people per group. To further protect the community, the museum requires visitors to complete a non-invasive temperature check and questionnaire on arrival.
Leota Anthony Museum Store & Current Sale
The museum’s gift shop, the Leota Anthony Museum Store, has a Black Friday sale going on until November 30, 2020. Suquamish Tribal households and Museum Friends get 30% off of their purchase. You can virtually walk through the store and find wonderful holiday gifts. If you aren’t part of the Museum Friends Program, there are different membership packages ranging from $15 for individuals to $40 for couples. They all include free membership, a 10% store discount, special invitations, and more. For more information, contact Casey Lewis: email@example.com or 360-394-8499.
Nearby Historical Sites
There are a variety of historical attractions steps away from the museum, including Chief Seattle’s gravesite, Suquamish Veterans Memorial, House of Awakened Culture, and Old Man House Park. Walking through this beautiful, historic area is an inspiring privilege that locals and tourists will benefit from. As their neighbors, we are grateful for the museum, their traditions, and celebrations.
While the holidays will look different this year due to the pandemic, there are still many ways to safely enjoy them. We’ve compiled a list of local holiday events. Please note that at the time of publication, all of these events were scheduled to occur. But due to the situation with COVID-19, it’s important to check event websites and state guidelines in order to get the most up-to-date information.
Bloedel Reserve’s Winter in the Woods
With over 150 acres to enjoy, the Reserve is always a treat. Through most of December and into the beginning of 2021, you can stroll across their beautiful grounds and spot cleverly crafted snow people. They also have a Wishing Tree with individually wrapped wooden ornaments and pencils that you can use to add your wishes for the new year.
When: Dec. 5, 2020 – Jan. 3, 2021, open Tuesdays-Sundays, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Closed Mondays, Christmas Day, and New Years Day
Where: Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island
Cost: Included with Admission. Tickets must be purchased in advance online via timed tickets. Canned food donations are requested, which support YWCA Kitsap County.
Lighted Ships Parade
Every year, Rudolph leads Santa across the Puget Sound, greeting people along the parade route. Although there won’t be the typical festivities due to social distancing requirements, this is still a fun way to mark the holidays. This will be the 51st year of this tradition, put on by the Poulsbo Yacht Club. Bring some hot chocolate and enjoy the beautiful parade of festively lit boats. Or, register your lighted ship to “be the light”.
When: December 12, 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Where: Starts at Poulsbo Yacht Club Marina with a schedule/route
Holiday at Fay – Drive-Through Event
Enjoy an illuminated, festive holiday show from the comfort of your car. Play your favorite holiday songs with your family and drive through their dazzling display. For info and updates, follow their Facebook event here.
When: 2nd and 3rd weekends in December, Friday-Sunday, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Where: Fay Bainbridge Park, Bainbridge Island
Cost: $20 per vehicle. Register here using Activity #541006
Gingerbread House Parties
Delicious fun for everyone, build a gingerbread house in the covered Wintergarden with a table of up to 5 guests. Take-and-Make-at-Home Kits are also available.
When: Nov. 28 – Dec. 20, Thurs. – Sun. with time slots to register for in advance
Where: The Manor House at Pleasant Beach Village, Bainbridge Island
Cost: $48 + tax for one 1 house up to 5 people; Take-and-Make-at-Home Kit $38 + tax. Space is limited so reserve your spot early.
Creative Indoor Holiday Fun
A Chanukah Celebration (Music of John Zorn’s Masada)
Watch this live, 2-part Chanukah celebration while cozied up at home. Seattle musicians James Falzone, Wayne Horvitz, Darren Loucas, Keith Lowe, and Evan Woodle will be playing John Zorn’s music live on the Royal Room Stage. Ben Sisario of The New York Times says, “Masada, which [John Zorn] began in the early 1990s, was an attempt to explore his own roots and expand the idea of Jewish music through a ‘songbook’ that linked the language of klezmer and jazz.”
When: Dec. 11 and 17 at 7:30 PM
Where: Online at LiveConcertStream.com. More info here.
Cost: Free but donations to the artists encouraged.
Emerald Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” Ballet, Online
If you missed last year’s production of this holiday classic, you can now watch it at home. Emerald Ballet Theatre will be streaming their 2019 recording so you can enjoy this incredible production, which performed to sold-out audiences.
When: Digital premiere on Dec. 11 at 7:00 PM and it will remain online for viewing through the weekend.
Cost: Free but donations encouraged.
If you know of other safe, local holiday events happening on Bainbridge Island or around the Kitsap Peninsula that aren’t included here, please let us know on our new Facebook page, Windermere Sound Living. It’s where we’re celebrating the communities we serve with uplifting stories, helpful resources, and interesting local events.
We wish you and your family a safe, healthy holiday season!
We have a strong seller’s market, which means it’s an excellent time to sell your home. Inventory remains low and there are many anxious buyers wanting to move out of crowded cities to a beautiful place like Bainbridge Island. In our third quarter, our closed sales were up by 46% year-over-year. But just because our market (or any market) is doing well doesn’t mean you should casually list your home and expect to experience an incredible multiple offer situation. Some sellers are asking our agents this question: “Why do I need to stage my house if the market is so hot?” Our answer: It may be the best way to yield the outcome you want. Here are some key facts and figures for you to consider.
Proper Preparation Still Matters
If you have a good agent, you’ll know how important it is to take the time to make sure your home is ready to put on the market. Even though our market is strong with many success stories, there are still some houses that are sitting on the market for longer than others. Sometimes it’s because they were priced too high or they didn’t take the time to prepare. Most buyers right now don’t want a fixer-upper, in part because of the pandemic. They don’t want to have to deal with workers in their house. So, carefully prepare your home and utilize your agent’s local knowledge, resources, and expertise.
Think Like a Buyer
First impressions are everything and photos are usually buyers’ first glimpse of your property. In fact, 95% of people search for homes online. So, you want to grab their attention with beautiful visuals. In a recent report by the NAR (National Association of Realtors), buyers rated photos as the most important element in their home search process. They rated it higher than the description of the home and higher than the location.
Now, you may think a photographer can simply take photos of your home as it is. However, if your home is cluttered or filled with various personal touches (as most of our homes are), it can be difficult for buyers to imagine themselves living there. Expert stagers can draw people in and provide just the right amount of detail. The research supports this as well. According to the NAR, 83% of buyers’ agents said staging made it easier for buyers to see themselves living in the home they were viewing.
The Potential Return on Your Investment
According to last year’s NAR report, sellers’ agents stated that when staging a home, 39% saw an increase in the dollar value of the home, anywhere from one to ten percent. Additionally, 28% of sellers’ agents saw a decrease in time on the market for staged homes. So if you stage your home using local experts, it could greatly benefit you, especially when you think of how this information applies to our current, local market. Serious buyers are out there but you want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward in order to achieve success.
Bainbridge Island’s market had an incredibly strong third quarter. We’ve compiled key stats below to provide a comprehensive review of our market, as well as insights and predictions from Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner.
Our Strong Seller’s Market
It’s a hot seller’s market here on Bainbridge Island. Inventory remains low and demand is still high. In our third quarter, closed sales were up 43.6% year-over-year. Buyers should be aware that multiple offer situations are very common. Our Brokers have seen a significant increase in all-cash offers. In September alone (when the market typically starts to cool down), 37% of all Bainbridge Island residential sales were from all-cash buyers.
Although mortgage rates remain historically low and demand is high, our Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, has some concerns about how this may impact real estate down the road. “We may be heading towards a period where we see houses turn over at a far slower pace as we stay in our homes for longer than ever…this could be a problem as it leads to persistently low levels of inventory for sale, which itself could lead to prices continuing to rise at above-average rates and that would further hit affordability.” As for mortgage rates, Gardner does not expect them to rise significantly any time soon. However, he says, “We should all be aware that there could be consequences to very low rates”.
Western Washington Review
Let’s zoom out a bit and look at our area. Below are highlights from The Western Washington Gardner Report provided by Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner.
WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME SALES
- Total Sales: 11.6% increase from Q3/2019, and 45.9% higher than Q2/2020
- Homes for Sale: 41.7% lower than Q3/2019, but up 1.6% from Q2/2020
- Pending Sales: up 29% from Q2/2020
WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME PRICES
- Average: $611,793 (up 17.1% from Q3/2019). Low mortgage rates and limited inventory are clearly pushing prices up.
- Prices will continue to increase as long as mortgage rates and inventory levels stay low. If this continues to be the case, affordability issues will become more apparent in many markets.
DAYS ON MARKET, WESTERN WASHINGTON
- Average: 36 days (an average of 4 fewer days than in Q2/2020 and 2 fewer days than in Q3/2019)
- Kitsap County’s average days on market: 20
In Gardner’s Western Washington Report, he states that, although we have a strong seller’s market that is very buoyant, he’s “starting to see affordability issues increase in many areas—not just in the central Puget Sound region—and this is concerning. Perhaps the winter will act to cool the market, but something is telling me we shouldn’t count on it.”
We are honored to be the “Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks.” All of us at Windermere are proud to kick off our fifth season partnering with the Seahawks to #TackleHomelessness.
Our Tackle Homelessness Campaign
For every defensive tackle made at a Seahawks home game this season, Windermere will donate $100 to Mary’s Place. Mary’s Place provides safe, inclusive shelter and services that support women, children, and families on their journey out of homelessness. This cherished, essential organization has served the homeless community of greater Seattle since 1999.
With the Seahawks’ defensive efforts last year, Windermere donated $30,000 to Mary’s Place. This brought our grand total to $128,200 raised over the past four seasons! We look forward to raising even more this year.
The History of Our Foundation
Our partnership with Mary’s Place aligns with the mission of the Windermere Foundation: to support low-income and homeless families in the communities we serve. Please visit this link if you wish to donate directly to Mary’s Place and their imperative work.
Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has been raising funds for those in need. A portion of the proceeds from every home purchased or sold using a Windermere agent supports low-income and homeless families in our communities. In 2019, we reached a new milestone by raising nearly $3 million, bringing the grand total to over $40 million in donations raised over the past 31 years.
We are excited to continue our partnership with the Seattle Seahawks and you can follow our progress this season on our social media pages. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn for updates. Go Hawks!
Now, more than ever, Windermere Bainbridge fiercely supports our beloved Bainbridge Island businesses – and we’re asking you to join us. We’re all experiencing some of the most challenging, unprecedented changes to what we know as normal life. We are grateful for a resilient real estate market on our beautiful island. But our hearts and actions support our vital, local-business culture. It’s a large part of what makes our island so unique, and it needs support from all of us – right now.
The Bainbridge Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association to create SOS Bainbridge Island. This informative community effort aims to save our stores and businesses. Its website includes updates on how you can safely shop, dine, and support local merchants. Windermere Bainbridge Broker, Jackie Syvertsen notes, “I love how Bainbridge businesses have evolved to stay open through the Covid crisis. They’re happily creating distancing and extra safety features to accommodate.”
According to the Bainbridge Chamber of Commerce, many businesses, especially on Winslow Way, rely on summer visitors and tourism to help them survive through the rest of the year. Since this year’s visitor season was significantly quiet, we can all help now by shopping, dining, and supporting Bainbridge Island businesses.
Local Windermere Broker, Susan Grosten brings to light that “most of our businesses are owned by our own Bainbridge neighbors and friends, all who regularly add back to the community as locals. I’ve enjoyed so many of them, for 31 years and counting!”
Since 2005, a portion of every Windermere Bainbridge agent’s commission is donated to the Windermere Foundation of Bainbridge Island. Each year, the foundation donates funds and provides scholarships and support to essential community service organizations on Bainbridge Island.
Additionally, we are passionate locals who regularly shop, dine, and support merchants within our community. Our Broker, Shannon Dierickx says, “I have so many great experiences with local shopping and dining. I’m an original island girl who loves to keep our local businesses thriving!” Broker Cheryl Mauer adds, “I love stopping in at Covet Boutique to pick up a special gift, or to find myself the perfect outfit or jewelry.”
For our Bainbridge treats and dining favorites, the list is endless. Our marketing team notes a gamut including Bene Pizza, Streamliner Diner, Hitchcock, Treehouse Cafe, Sawatdy Thai Cuisine, Doc’s Marina Grill, and so many more. We all have many dear, personal favorites on the island, and now is the time to support them all.
In addition to listing current updates on how restaurants and cafes have adjusted to serve the community, SOS Bainbridge Island’s website also includes information on how many other businesses and services have shifted.
“One of my very favorite businesses on Bainbridge is Barrecor! Owner Emiliana and her wonderful instructors are offering their amazing classes online,” raves our Broker, Susan Grosten. Another business that stands out to our team is the local non-profit, Bainbridge Island Saddle Club. The organization aims to promote good horsemanship and foster equestrian sports locally. Windermere Broker, Maureen Buckley appreciates its programs and favors that “it’s an old-fashioned horse club for local kids to adults.”
We are truly all in this together. The more we all support the Bainbridge Island businesses we love, the more we’ll endure these trying times as a community.
Bainbridge Island’s allure includes the peace and adventure it offers in every season, making it a great Labor Day destination, even amidst social distancing. While large gatherings are still on hold, below are some creative ways to say goodbye to summer while staying safe this Labor Day weekend.
Support Bainbridge Island Businesses
Bainbridge is home to many locally-owned shops and restaurants. Many are open and need support now more than ever. According to the Bainbridge Chamber of Commerce, many businesses rely on visitors from April through September to help them succeed. Since this year’s visitor season has been significantly quiet, the Chamber and the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association have developed SOS Bainbridge Island, in an effort to Save our Stores and Businesses. Their website includes updates on how you can safely shop, dine, and support local merchants.
Host a Backyard Movie Night
Upon publishing this post, Kitsap County is in Phase 2 of reopening. For safe Labor Day social distancing, outdoor recreation can include up to five people outside your household. This happens to be a delightful headcount for a DIY outdoor theater. Project a classic, favorite film in the comfort of your own yard. Have a catered, intimate event using a local favorite such as Via Rosa 11 or Bainbridge Island BBQ.
Choose your Own Labor Day Adventure
Stretch the summer spirit with all that Bainbridge has to offer this Labor Day weekend. From water sports to hiking, to exploring the Bloedel Reserve – everyone can partake in fun holiday-weekend activities. Just be sure to check out the latest safety updates before venturing out.
Savor Summer Favorites
Say so long to summer while savoring seasonal favorites. Enjoy zucchini walnut bread from Blackbird Bakery or watermelon sorbet from Mora Iced Creamery. Craving one last crab feast of the year? The season runs through Labor Day, so be sure to obtain a license and discover the best spots here.
We wish you all a safe and joyous holiday weekend!
The charm of Bainbridge Island, Washington offers an escape during tourist season to those from near and far. But locals know that Bainbridge Island living offers adventure, beauty, and serenity all year long. Vogue Magazine once coined it the Nantucket of the Pacific Northwest. Learn how its allure can easily convince any visitor to imagine Bainbridge Island as ‘home’.
Bainbridge Island living offers small-town life and adventure, just 9 miles from Seattle.
Bainbridge Island’s footprint is similar in size to Manhattan but hosts a population currently under 25,000. Slower-paced and sophisticated, it’s also home to 65 miles of hiking trails, dozens of public parks and beaches, and the famous Bloedel Reserve. The 150-acre attraction is regularly named one of the Top-10 Botanical Gardens in the US (its distinguished Japanese Garden is considered one of the best in North America.)
The adventurous landscape of Bainbridge Island is served regularly by ferry from Seattle, the route that many island locals make their daily work commute. A 35-minute ride allows time for breakfast, phone calls, and even a jump-start on emails, all with serene views. It’s quite the opposite experience of sitting in Seattle traffic.
The quaint, engaged community of Bainbridge Island is an ideal place to raise a family. Safewise ranks Bainbridge Washington’s 6th safest city in 2020. The community also actively supports its highly-regarded public school system. Bainbridge Island School District includes Bainbridge High School, which often ranks high locally and nationally by US News and World Report. It also includes Captain Johnston Blakely and Ordway elementary schools; GreatSchools.org lists both in Washington’s top-10. Islandwood, a non-profit environmental learning center, also serves thousands of students each year from its 250-acre Bainbridge Island campus. Its alternative programs have gained national recognition.
Full-time island life doesn’t mean leaving behind fine dining or the arts. From regionally-sourced and James-Beard-awarded Hitchcock, to long-time Kitsap County favorite, Agate Restaurant – the island’s local cuisine is often renowned beyond the region.
Bainbridge Brewing and Bainbridge Organic Distillers keep spirits cheering year-round. Locals and tourists alike can find their coffee fix all around the island. The iconic Pegasus Coffee and the adorable carly’s Rolling Bay Cafe are just a couple of favorites.
The artist community of Bainbridge Island is abundant. The BARN (Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network) keeps local artists and makers connected and inspired. Bainbridge Museum of Art and Bainbridge Performing Arts continuously feature local and indigenous works for all to enjoy, while galleries and studios dot the island throughout.
Bainbridge is a Pacific Northwest gem with so much to offer. And, now is a great time to make island living a reality. The local real estate market has fared well through the uncertainties of 2020 thus far. Plus, our Windermere Bainbridge agents are all active community members and highly-skilled experts. Our team has an average of over 16 years in the real estate industry (the range spans from 4 – 37 years). We are passionate locals, and we’re honored to work with nearly half of the market on the island.
Looking to get away from the crowds, but still be close to adventure and city excitement? Bainbridge Island’s 53 miles of shoreline with thousands of waterfront properties awaits. Let Windermere Bainbridge help you find your island home.
Labor Day plans in the works?
This article has inspiring ideas!
Windermere Bainbridge Island studies market data each quarter to evaluate trends and stats in order to convey a valuable review to our clients and community. Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner also contributes his broad, expert analysis of the Western Washington market, which we share below to illustrate a complete picture and forecast.
Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the Bainbridge Island real estate market continues to press on. June 2020 saw a dramatic rise in the number of pending sales from the same month last year. Mortgage rates remain historically low and multiple offers are once again commonplace, indicating our spring market may have been delayed but is now taking hold. For these reasons, our forecast speedometer continues to show a solid seller’s market.
Western Washington Review and Forecast
The following is a summary of The Western Washington Gardner Report provided by Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. He analyzes and interprets economic data and its impact on both local and national levels. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and the U.K.
WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME SALES
- Total Sales: 22.2% drop from Q2/2019, but 30.6% rise from Q1/2020
- Homes for Sale: 37% fewer than Q2/2019, but up 32% from Q1/2020
- Pending Sales: up 35.7% from Q1/2020
WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME PRICES
- Average: $559,194 (up 3.5% from Q2/2019, up 6.6% from Q1/2020, suggesting that any concern regarding negative impacts to home values as a function of COVID-19 may be overblown.)
- What to watch for: Significant price growth in less urbanized areas going forward may be an indication that COVID-19 is affecting where buyers are choosing to live.
DAYS ON MARKET, WESTERN WASHINGTON
- Average: 40 days (matching Q2/2019, 14 fewer days than Q1/2020)
What a difference a quarter makes! Demand has re-appeared remarkably quickly and interest rates remain historically low. It certainly remains a seller’s market and I don’t expect this to change in the foreseeable future.