Community February 23, 2021

Community Spotlight: Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation

If great schools top the list of what draws new homebuyers to Bainbridge Island, great parks aren’t far behind. With more than 1,500 acres of public park land and a trails system that stretches 40 miles in all directions, exploring and enjoying Bainbridge parks goes to the very heart of island living.

Just ask Windermere Bainbridge Island Broker Jason Shutt. Serving on the board of the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation, Jason sees firsthand the payback that comes from the community’s investment in parks and trails. 

“I grew up across the street from a large urban park and spent vacations going to national parks. So recreation is in my blood,” says Jason. He lives near Winslow town center with his wife Mairead and their three children. “I joined the Parks Foundation to ensure I live in a place that gives these same opportunities to others.”

Jason Shutt quote BI Parks Foundation

An Island Rich in Parks

The island’s sprawling park system is managed by the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District, a municipal agency. But islanders consistently ask for amenities above and beyond what general tax funding affords. That’s where the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation comes in.

Closely aligned with, but independent from the Park District, the nonprofit Parks Foundation has raised more than $1,000,000 in private funds over the past five years. All funds raised have been for parks and trails projects, which benefit young and old alike. The Foundation led the development of Owen’s Playground, the island’s first accessible playground for kids of all abilities, at Rotary Park. 

Photos of Owen’s Playground by Leo Phillips.

 

The new Pickleball Founders Courts at Battle Point Park opened last summer, built by Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District with support from the Parks Foundation. The six dedicated courts and plaza are pickleball’s first-ever permanent home on Bainbridge, honoring the game that was invented on Bainbridge Island in 1965.

founders courts bainbridge park

Founders Courts. Photo by Leo Phillips.

Various Initiatives and Programs

The Foundation’s Community Grants program has supported countless smaller projects, from the high school sailing team’s fleet to diving boards and water stations at the Aquatic Center. Joe Richards, a Windermere Bainbridge Island Managing Broker and 22-year resident, has been involved with the Aquatic Center for over nine years and knows first-hand how beneficial it is. The Masters swimming program, under the leadership of our world-class coach April Cheadle, has exceeded anything I could have hoped for. Thank you BI Parks for providing this person, this program, and this place for our community.”

The Foundation’s support also extends to environmental stewardship and restoration year-round, from Blakely Harbor Park to the Grand Forest, to smaller neighborhood parks islandwide. This is done through the Summer Trails Crew, Nonprofits Helping Parks, and other programs.

Joe Richards Bainbridge Parks Dept quote

The Foundation’s current initiative, KidsUp! The Next Generation of Play at Battle Point Park is rebuilding the original KidsUp! as another inclusive, accessible playground. The centerpiece will be a giant, one-of-a-kind ferry boat play structure with climbable Orca whales. They will be “swimming” nearby to delight and educate kids about the natural environment of the Salish Sea.

“The more you learn about the Parks Foundation, the more you have to be impressed with its impact. Serving on the Foundation board has certainly opened my eyes,” Jason says. “I’m glad to share it with my clients, colleagues in the real estate community, and anyone else who asks. We have world-class parks here, and the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation is a big reason why.”

The Leader in Trails

When it comes to Bainbridge’s trails, you can quickly see Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation’s impact. The Foundation works with the Park District, the City of Bainbridge Island, and other stakeholders to plan and fund new trails connecting parks and neighborhoods. Soon you’ll be able to hike from Winslow all the way to Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve – an unprecedented cross-island route. It’s sure to be a real draw for visitors. And, it’s already drawing people to the island. Online guides like TripAdvisor are full of testimonials from around the country, including hikers wowed by our trails.

Current and Future Benefits

The Foundation is about to launch a major Trails Campaign. This will fund the development of 10 miles of new trails over the next five years. With museums, restaurants, and other cultural spaces largely closed down and/or limited due to the pandemic, many of us have turned to the outdoors for connection and health. No matter where you live on Bainbridge Island, there’s a park or trail near you. The Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation has probably done something to make it better.

“COVID has really brought the importance of our Bainbridge parks into focus,” says Jason, who co-chaired the Sakai Park bond campaign, to create the 23-acre park five years ago. “The lockdown and social distancing have kept us all pretty close to home for the past year. But we have our parks and trails as an outlet to stay active and healthy and grounded. Our community is extremely fortunate, and it shows what a great investment our parks have been and continue to be.” 

You can find out more about the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation on their website, and you can support a park project that’s important to you.

Home February 18, 2021

Eco-Friendly Ideas to Improve Your Home and the Planet

Want to make your home more eco-friendly but aren’t sure where to start? Here are five great ways to reduce your energy costs, waste, and your home’s carbon footprint.

Reduce Your Use of One-Use Plastic Items

While plastic is incredibly useful in many forms, we often aren’t aware of the prevalence and impact of one-use plastic items. Each year, 500 billion disposable cups are consumed and only about 23% of all plastic bottles get recycled. You can easily purchase reusable water bottles and drink containers to do your part. Additionally, 32% of plastic packaging produced annually ends up in our oceans. That’s equal to pouring a garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute. Another way to reduce your use of plastic: say no to straws or purchase reusable straws. Swap your standard plastic sandwich bags and trash bags for compostable BioBags. They’re just as handy and help the environment.

Start Composting

Unfortunately, our food doesn’t just decompose in landfills. When decomposing food is packed under layers of trash, it produces methane gas. Methane is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. You can avoid the hassle and the odor by simply putting a bin inside your freezer. Throw produce scraps into it and when it’s full, take it out to your compost bin or to a corner of your yard. Composting is also great for your garden, producing nutrient-rich soil. For additional information, here’s a helpful composting guide.

Switch to LED Light Bulbs

Another easy way to make your home more eco-friendly is to make the switch to LED light bulbs. You’ll save on your electricity bill and you’ll have a more energy-efficient home. LED light bulbs come in different color temperatures so you can choose between warm and cool lights to brighten your home. While incandescent light bulbs only convert 10% of energy into light and the rest is wasted as heat, LED light bulbs convert 95% energy into light.

Install a Smart Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is a bit of an investment, but it pays off in the long run. By learning our temperature preferences, smart thermostats cut down on fossil fuel energy sources. The thermostat can lower your house’s demand for electricity produced by power plants, reducing carbon emissions.

Invest in Solar Panels

Solar panels have become increasingly popular since they reduce utility bills and really help our planet. Over 25 years, a standard solar panel installation can be equated to 135 tons of carbon dioxide emissions avoided, 440,000 miles not driven, and 2.3 acres of trees planted. In addition, houses with solar panels can sell for up to 4.1% more than those without solar panels.

Community February 11, 2021

Best Day Trips From Bainbridge Island

Feeling cooped up and wanting to get away? Take a day trip! You’ll feel far away yet you’ll still be able to make it home for the night. While we know there are many incredible places to explore in our area, here are a few great day trip ideas to get you started. Travel times listed below are from Bainbridge Island to the destination.

Note: Due to the unpredictability of the pandemic, please call ahead or check online to make sure you’re able to visit. Don’t forget about COVID-19 precautions

Cape Flattery – Makah Trail

 

Escape to the northwestern most point of the contiguous United States for the epic weathered bluffs and spectacular vistas of Cape Flattery.  A true seaside bluff experience!  Traverse the cliffside trails and find your perfect picnic spot.  Be sure to respect the environment and pack out all your waste; there aren’t any garbage cans along the trail.

Drive Time: 3 Hours, 20 Minutes

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center – Olympic National Park

Hurricane Ridge Olympic National Forest

Photo by Bittina Erickson

 

Hurricane Ridge Road leads you up the peak of the majestic Olympic Mountains for epic panoramic views.  Once you get up the mountain road (be sure to drive cautiously), you’ll see the Visitor Center lodge devoted to the preservation of the park with ample parking and outdoor seating to enjoy the vista.  The best time to go is summertime, but the park is open year-round if you bring chains and plan ahead!

Drive Time: 2 Hours

Finnriver Farm & Cidery on the Way to Port Townsend

Finnriver Cidery

Photo by Finnriver

 

On your drive to the seaside town of Port Townsend (a wonderful day drip of its own), you’ll find the rustic Finnriver Farm & Cidery, serving organic farm to table cider since 2004! They also offer delicious food options like Dented Buoy‘s wood-fired pizza and they have touchless ordering and Covid protocols in place. Enjoy Finnriver’s beautiful outdoor seating area and take a walk through the orchard. From there, Port Townsend is only 20 minutes away!

Finnriver Drive Time: 40 Minutes; Port Townsend Drive Time: 1 Hour

Tree of Life (aka The Root Cave)

 

Nestled on the Kalaloch seashore sits the magnificent Tree of Life.  Despite its exposed roots, this massive undying Sitka Spruce stands strong and verdant.  If you’re feeling daring, take a walk under the Tree of Life’s root cave at low tide for a truly enchanting Washington experience.  For a longer adventure, the Kalaloch Lodge and Campground are just up the shore!

Drive Time: 3 Hours, 10 Minutes

Olympic Sculpture Park – Seattle Art Museum

 

Outdoor art abounds at the Sculpture Park on the Seattle Waterfront – just a 30-minute ferry ride away! The multiple award-winning Sculpture Park is a hallmark of the Seattle Art Museum, with nine acres of “monumental” artworks. Along with the art, the adjoining Myrtle Edwards Park provides miles of walking trails and beaches to enjoy. If you have time on your way back, there’s always something fun to do at the Seattle Waterfront.

Ferry Time: 30 Minutes

If you have another great idea for a day trip from Bainbridge Island, let us know on our Windermere Sound Living Facebook page

Real Estate Market January 27, 2021

Fourth Quarter Review and 2021 Forecast for Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island’s real estate market finished 2020 with a strong fourth quarter. We’ve compiled key stats below to provide a comprehensive review of our local market, as well as insights and a 2021 market forecast from Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner.

Bainbridge market stats

Our Strong Seller’s Market

It’s still a strong seller’s market here on Bainbridge Island. Inventory remains low while demand is high. Buyers should be aware that the market is in a seasonal slowdown, but not as slow as expected, given COVID-19. There are still many buyers looking to move away from Seattle, but still remain close by; inventory remains low, giving the advantage to sellers. Our Brokers have seen an increase in situations where some buyers are outbid either by price or an all-cash offer.

In 2020’s fourth quarter, the average sale price on Bainbridge Island was up 12.9% year-over-year at a very strong $1.315M. Sale prices continue to hover close to listing prices, indicating strong demand.

Bainbridge sold homes market graph

Bainbridge avg sale price graph

2021 Market Forecast

In his final Monday with Matthew video of 2020, our Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, shared his 2021 market forecast. He’s optimistic and for some good reasons.

First off, Gardner expects mortgage rates will not rise significantly on a local level, nor will they vary significantly throughout different regions across the U.S. Since mortgage rates are heavily tied to 10-year treasury maturity rates/yields, rates shouldn’t rise significantly until the entire market recovers from the COVID-19 slowdown. Another great sign is that Gardner expects home sales will grow, from 5.55% in 2020 to 5.93% in 2021. That’s “to a level we haven’t seen since 2006,” Gardner explains.  With the continuation of historically low mortgage rates and the consistent increase of home values, 2021 looks bright.

“No! There isn’t a housing bubble forming. But price growth will slow & sellers may feel like it’s a collapse … it isn’t collapsing, it’s just normalizing.”

Matthew reminds us that there are pitfalls to be wary of in this strong market. First and foremost: “we need more inventory.”  With the shuffling to new homes, and the huge wave of “first-time buyers [that] will continue to be a major player in the housing market,” many are making moves in a flood that will not persist. Buying during the pandemic will slowly settle. People are expected to stay in their homes longer, especially homeowners who have chosen to refinance. House values will rise due to the lack of supply, and that may price out many buyers who want to purchase in our area. 

Western Washington’s Market Report

For a big picture glance at how our local market compares, here are highlights from The Western Washington Gardner Report.

WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME SALES

  • Total Sales: 26.6% increase from Q4/2019, but 8.3% lower than Q3/2020
  • Homes for Sale: 37.3% lower than Q4/2019, and 31.2% lower than Q3/2020
  • Pending Sales: up 25% from Q4/2019, but 31% lower than Q3/2020
WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME PRICES
  • Average: $617,475 (up 17.4% from Q4/2019). This continues the trend of above-average appreciation of home values.
  • Interestingly, prices between Q3 and Q4 of 2020 only rose by 1%.  Is there a price ceiling we’re reaching?
  • Mortgage rates will stay competitive as the market continues to charge toward a price ceiling and potential affordability issues.
DAYS ON MARKET, WESTERN WASHINGTON
  • Average: 31 Days (16 days less than Q4 just one year ago)
  • In Kitsap County, average days on market: 17

Conclusion

Yes, it’s a Seller’s Market once again.  Matthew Gardner says, “I am moving the needle even further in favor of sellers.”  Here’s why: Covid-19 continues to push homeowners to stay put while renters flock to the countryside.  The resulting limited supply has “caused the region’s housing market to be incredibly active.” Matthew does warn that there may be “affordability concerns” that could prevent some homebuyers from entering the market and eventually slowing growth.
2021 will continue the trend of working from home, which keeps demand high. This, in turn, will drive sales growth, while affordability barriers will balance our current runaway appreciation for home values.
HomeHome Sellers January 27, 2021

4 Home Renovations that Return the Most at Resale

After months of working from home, you may have noticed some areas of your house that need refreshing. Well, before you spend thousands of dollars remodeling your bathroom, it might be helpful to know some of the renovations that return the most at resale. Below we have listed the West Coast’s average recoup values of four renovations that yield a high return on your investment. 

Manufactured Stone Veneer: 119.5% Cost Recouped

Also known as faux stone, manufactured stone veneer is a human-made material designed to replicate the look of natural stone. This remodeling project tops our list at an average of 119.5% recouped value at resale. Manufactured Stone Veneer is incredibly versatile. If you are looking to give your house a modern look while retaining a rustic vibe, this remodeling project is perfect. Cultured Stone has more information on Manufactured Stone Veneer projects. 

Garage Door Replacement: 117.1% Cost Recouped

We use our garage doors daily, and over the years, they are bound to have some wear and tear. Whether it’s the wood rotting, the track hardware malfunctioning, or just out of date technology, a garage door replacement is a safe investment with an average of 117.1% recouped value at resale. Most homes can benefit from a garage door replacement, but the Spruce can help you decide if you have more questions.

Entry Door Replacement: 87.9% Cost Recouped

Coming in third on our list are steel entry door replacements. Wood doors are beautiful. Unfortunately, they don’t withstand the test of time very well. Installing a new entry door made from steel will guarantee long-lasting beauty for years to come. Along with an 87.9% recoup value at resale, steel doors are a solid investment. Pella is an excellent resource if you are looking into more options on entry door replacements. 

Minor Kitchen Remodel: 77.6% Cost Recouped

Everyone loves a kitchen that looks brand new with sparkling appliances and space to cook. A minor kitchen remodel can go a long way. Simply leave cabinets where they are and replace their fronts with new shaker-style wood panels. Then add new, modern hardware. Go a step further by replacing the oven range and the refrigerator with more energy-efficient models. Replace laminate countertops and upgrade your sink and faucet to really make your kitchen shine. Finish with a fresh coat of paint and you’ll be wishing you would’ve done this years ago.

Hopefully, this list gives you the inspiration to get started. And, these suggestions are just the beginning. If a renovation you want isn’t on this list, but it’s something you’ve always dreamt of, then don’t let us stop you from making it come true. For more information, check out Remodel Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. If you’re thinking of selling your home, check out our home seller’s checklist.

Home January 19, 2021

Design Tips To Brighten Your Home

Gray skies and rain sum up wintertime here in the Pacific Northwest, but you can easily brighten your home to help you stay upbeat and alert. A little update can go a long way, especially for those of us still working from home. Here are some fun design tips to give your home a boost.

Let In As Much Sunlight As Possible

Nothing says bright and cheery like natural sunlight. There are various ways to optimize your home for maximum sun exposure. Closed rooms or bulky furniture are often culprits that shut out vital sources of light. Take a look around your space to see if you can move any furniture away from the windows so the light can spread more evenly throughout your home. Try leaving rooms open that face the east, west, or south so that the light can stream into other areas of the house. 

Embrace Light Colors 

Light-colored furniture, curtains, and rugs are excellent ways to add more light to your home. The colors can complement the natural sunlight that is already illuminating the room. Just make sure not to overdo it with soft colors. Otherwise, you’ll end up washing out that room. Consider adding a pop of color with a beautiful new wall hanging or with some throw pillows from a wonderful local shop like Conservatory Coastal Home. This will balance out the colors in the space and give that room a fresh new look. 

Purchase Daylight Lightbulbs

Natural sunlight is cool compared to the usual warm-colored light bulbs that we have in our houses. Replacing some of the lightbulbs, perhaps where your workspaces is, can provide a refreshing touch. Most lightbulb packaging will state if it mimics daylight. If not, anything between 3,500K – 5,000K light bulbs are a safe bet. 

Use Ambient Light

We all have corners in our house that just aren’t at the right angle to be lit up with anything. Pay attention to those dark spots and find ways to add a little bit of light. This can make a room feel more spacious and welcoming. Even a strategically placed lamp can open up an otherwise dusky corner. If you’re looking for a few new light fixtures, Furnish Bainbridge has some great options.

Add Greenery

Picking up some plants at your nearest nursery will add dimension and provide a vibrant, natural feeling to your living and work spaces. Not everyone has a green thumb, so some beginner-friendly plants to look into buying are Golden Pothos Vines, Spider plants, and Snake plants. If you are still unsure, the lovely staff at Bainbridge Gardens and Bay Hay and Feed can help you find the best plants to suit your needs. 

 

Community January 14, 2021

New Agent Spotlight: Ashley Mathews

We’re excited to highlight our new Broker, Ashley Mathews. Highly involved in our community, Ashley is passionate about helping people. She has a background in marketing and a range of industry experiences. Read on to find out more!

What unique professional skills do you possess that enhance your abilities as a realtor?

I started working at my mom’s travel agency at around 12 years old, which taught me organization in a transactional industry. After stints as a realtor in the fast-paced New York City market, I moved on to the marketing side of the business. I am a marketer at heart and bring the combination of my marketing expertise to my transactional knowledge of real estate, which benefits my clients.

What drew you to real estate?

Real estate has been the backdrop to my life for as long as I can remember. I love the ever-changing landscape, market conditions, and being able to impact someone’s life in such a monumental way.

How long have you lived here and what brought you here?

I have lived on Bainbridge Island for 12 years. I moved here from New York City after meeting a man from Bainbridge Island. He is now my husband of ten years.

Ashley Mathews Bainbridge Broker and husband

What personality traits do you think are important in this profession?

I think it’s important to be a good listener, have the ability to roll with the punches, have a good sense of humor, and possess dedication and integrity.

What area do you serve and what do you love about it?

I serve Bainbridge Island and have a great deal of first-hand knowledge of Bainbridge’s unique neighborhoods, having lived in downtown Winslow, Fletcher Bay, the Sand Spit, and Pleasant Beach. I love its beauty and the fact that it can be whatever one desires. Sometimes I enjoy its quiet serenity. Other times, I want to enjoy one of our award-winning restaurants. There is something here for everyone.

What made you decide to work with Windermere?

My passion for service has always made me a fan of the Windermere Foundation and its work. The Windermere Brokers on Bainbridge Island have such a great reputation and I wanted to be on their team. Blue is also my favorite color.

How are you involved in the community?

I serve as a board member for the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, and I serve as Planning Commissioner for the City of Bainbridge Island. Additionally, I serve as the Chair of the Board Development Committee for Treehouse For Kids and sit on its Board of Directors Executive Committee. For over a decade, I’ve been involved in Bainbridge Island’s vibrant equestrian community and am a member of the Bainbridge Island Saddle Club. I love the arts and have performed with the Bainbridge Chorale and on the Bainbridge Performing Arts stage in “Chicago” and “Cats”. I am also a lifetime member of the NAACP.

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

I have a 19-year-old daughter who inspires me every day as she navigates our new normal as a college freshman, as well as a beautiful and not so smart Doberman named Grace and a beautiful and very smart horse named Nektonia. I love to meet new Islanders so if you see me come say hi. Human connection is so important these days.

We’re so glad that Ashley Mathews has joined us. We know her local expertise and her integrity make her an excellent choice for buyers and sellers. You can connect with her on Facebook or through her website

Home BuyersHome Sellers January 6, 2021

Home Sale Contingent Offer – Pros and Cons

There are a lot of specific terms used in real estate, and you may wonder what a home sale contingent offer is. Who does it affect and what are the advantages and disadvantages? We’re here to provide you with the information you need.

A Home Sale Contingent Offer

Offers typically come with contingencies such as a home inspection but an offer that is specifically dependent on the sale of another property is a home sale contingent offerIf there’s a home sale contingent offer, the MLS (Multiple Listings Service) will list the property as contingent. So if someone else writes up a better offer then that one is “bumpable” by someone else.

Types of Home Sale Contingencies 

There are two types of home sale contingencies. One is a contingent offer and one is a pending sale contingency, which would say the other property is already under contract.

Suppose the potential homebuyer has not obtained or agreed to an offer on their own house. In that case, they may submit a home sale contingent offer. Through this contingency, the buyer effectively has “first dibs” on the house. The seller can include a “bump” clause to continue to show the property to other potential buyers. If the seller receives an offer, the first buyer has a specified amount of time to decide whether they want to move on with their contract. 

If the potential homebuyer has acquired an offer and has a closing date set, they may include a pending sale contingency. Since a home is not officially “sold” until closing occurs, this protects the potential homebuyer if the deal falls through. If the house is sold, then the contract is still valid. If the deal falls through, so does the homebuyer’s offer. 

Earnest money or good faith money may also be given to a seller when a buyer includes a contingency clause. This money represents the buyer’s good faith to continue with the purchase if the outlined conditions are met. Similar to a deposit, the earnest money is typically held in an escrow account until closing and then it is applied to the down payment and closing costs. 

Pros and Cons of a Home Sale Contingent Offer

There are many things for the seller to consider when accepting a home sale contingent offer. If you are selling your home, you should note that there is no guarantee that the buyer’s home will sell. So it is essential to specify a timeframe for the buyer to sell their property.

On the other hand, if your property has been on the market for a while, then a home sale contingent offer may be a good option. To protect yourself as a seller, you can include a “bump” clause in the contract to obtain some leverage in the sale. You would state a specified amount of time after receiving another offer for the first buyer to decide whether they want to pursue the contract. If the buyer still wants to continue, they must remove the contingency clause to resume the contract. If the buyer does not respond in the specified amount of time, you can back out of the contract and sell to the new party. 

Pros and Cons of Buying a Home with a Contingent Offer

If you are looking to buy, you might also be a home seller at the same time. If this is the case, it is crucial to understand both sides. As a buyer, a home sale contingent offer allows you to smoothly transition between houses. However, a home sale contingent offer comes with risk. You’re essentially asking the home seller to hold the house for you and risk not being able to sell their home if you’re unable to sell yours. And, when you’re looking to buy in a popular place like Bainbridge Island, multiple offer situations are common. So you’re competing with many eager buyers. Other buyers may be able to buy the home you want without having to sell their current home. Additionally, some may be willing to waive other contingencies in order to win a multiple offer situation. This does not mean that you need to do that too if that makes you uncomfortable. But it is important to consider contingencies carefully.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are different ways to look at a home sale contingent offer. It all comes down to the offer made on the property, any time constraint on the seller to close, and the seller’s preferences. A knowledgeable, local real estate agent, will advise you, advocate on your behalf, and guide you through the process.

Home SellersReal Estate Market December 14, 2020

Selling in Winter: 4 Reasons Why It’s a Good Time to Sell

Selling in winter may not seem optimal but there are actually some important advantages to consider, especially given our current market. Here are four reasons why now may be the right time for you to sell.

1. Demand is High and Supply is Low

There are many anxious buyers who want to move to our area. Western Washington has seen a significant increase in demand. Here on Bainbridge Island, closed sales were up 43.6% year-over-year in 2020’s third quarter. Multiple offer situations have become common and our agents have seen quite an increase in all-cash offers. Additionally, many families are able to work remotely and they’re drawn to all Bainbridge Island offers.

2. Mortgage Rates Have Hit Historic Lows

During 2020, mortgage rates hit all-time lows a dozen times. As of December 3, 2020, rates on a 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) have dropped to 2.7% and 2.3%, respectively. These low-interest rates incentivize serious buyers and create a sense of urgency for many.

3. Home Prices Are Up

Since inventory is low, prices have gone up. In fact, the median sale price was 1049K in 2020’s third quarter, which was up 19.9% year-over-year. So you could potentially sell your house for top dollar. If you’ve properly prepared your home and your agent is marketing it effectively, you could also experience a multiple offer situation.

4. Many Buyers’ Priorities Have Shifted

With the pandemic, many buyers are focusing more on finding homes that offer space: a backyard, proximity to nature, and room for their children to play and/or a home office. Bainbridge offers all of that as well as gorgeous beaches and hiking trails, a strong sense of community and easy access to the city. This appeals to first-time buyers as well as those looking for luxury homes. So even though it’s not the popular time to put your home on the market, it’s still a strong seller’s market and there are still plenty of serious buyers ready to make an offer on the right property.

CommunityHome December 14, 2020

Start the New Year Off Right With These Fun Activities

Each new year brings hope and the chance to start fresh. Here are some activities to help you feel rejuvenated and more connected to this incredible place we call home.

New Year, New View

We all get caught up in our daily lives and sometimes we take this gorgeous area for granted. Grab your coat and visit a trail you haven’t been to in months or ever. There are many great trails here on Bainbridge like Grand Forest, which is made up of 240 acres with approximately eight miles of trails. Kitsap Peninsula offers many wonderful places to enjoy. Another peaceful spot is Point No Point Park and Lighthouse in Hansville. There’s a short nature trail, a beautiful beach, and the oldest lighthouse on Puget Sound. While you’re taking it all in, try to remember what it felt like to experience this place for the first time. Or, if you grew up here, remember the joy of sharing this place with a visitor. Tapping into that can help you see your surroundings with fresh eyes.

Unplug For One Day

If your routine involves a lot of time in front of a computer or on your phone, take a day to fully unplug. Turn off all of your electronics. Yes, even your phone. It can be challenging yet rewarding. Play a board game with your family, write good ol’ fashioned letters or thank you cards, bake cookies for a neighbor. You may be surprised how often you automatically reach for your phone. In just one day, you can see where you really are on the usage spectrum. And, you may decide you want to limit your screen time as a new year’s resolution. Even if you are fine with how much time you spend in front of screens, a day off from electronics can help you appreciate them more.

Share Your Love of Books, New and Old

Whether you’re a voracious reader or have fond childhood memories of reading some of the classics, start the new year off by sharing your love of books. Donate a few of your books to your nearest Little Free Library so that others can enjoy them. If there isn’t a Little Free Library near you, start your own! Either way, it’s a great way to connect with neighbors, friends, and family over beloved books.

After you add to or start your own Little Free Library, you’ll have the perfect excuse to visit your local bookstore. After all, you’ll have gaps on your bookshelf that you’ll need to fill. You can find an array of excellent books at Eagle Harbor Book Co. here on Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo’s Liberty Bay Books.

If you never seem to have the time to sit down with a good book, try downloading a free app called Libby. You can borrow audiobooks by connecting the app to your Kitsap Regional Library card. It’s user-friendly and offers tons of bestsellers and classics for free.

Create a Gratitude Jar

Want a simple yet meaningful activity that gets the whole family involved? Get a large jar and decorate it with the word “gratitude” on it or purchase a gratitude jar like this one. Every week, your family members can put little notes in it, describing what you’re thankful for and memorable moments. To establish this new habit, pick a day that you’ll each add one note to the jar, like on Sundays after dinner. That way, it quickly becomes part of your routine. Also, make sure your gratitude jar is in a prominent place so anyone can jot down a note whenever they want. At the end of the year, you’ll get to go through all of these little notes together. It’s an easy way to regularly practice gratitude and an enjoyable way to reflect on the year’s highlights.

We wish you a happy, healthy 2021!