Health is a serious issue. If you think you might be in an emergency, call 911.
Have you heard this one? “Doctor, doctor. It hurts when I do this. What should I do?” “Stop doing that.” That’s a joke, but frequently a visit to a doctor, clinic, or hospital needs more than a straight line and a punchline. Healthcare in a metropolis falls into stereotypes and conventional options. Rural areas tend to be different. Islands tend to be different. Rural islands definitely are different. And then there’s Whidbey’s different version of different. Seriously though, “where is the health care?”
Let’s start with the typical.
Whidbey’s main hospital is WhidbeyHealth Medical Center. It’s in Coupeville, the county seat, near the middle of the island. That’s key and handy to reaching many of the islanders. It is even close to the highway (US20). If they can’t handle your issue, they know places that can, and they know how to get you there. In their words;
“WhidbeyHealth Medical Center is a fully licensed and certified Critical Access Hospital. The WhidbeyHealth system, which includes the medical center, three EMS stations, and eight outpatient locations, employs more than 750 staff members. An exceptional nursing team and more than 70 providers support a broad range of inpatient and outpatient services.”
Depending on who is counting, they have a few dozen beds. That’s far smaller than facilities in Seattle, but more than many rural areas. Of course, Whidbey only has about 80,000 residents, while Seattle’s metropolitan area has more than 4,000,000.
WhidbeyHealth can’t do everything.
Few hospitals can. The helipad makes it easy to spot unless it is busy elsewhere picking up or delivering a patient to another facility. Seattle has places that specialize in treating cancers, and birthing babies,… The list is long. One name that makes folks take immediate notice is Harborview. The harbor it views is in downtown Seattle, but folks going there can be treated for trauma. Or, as the helicopter flies in and out, it may be local. It can take 45 minutes to drive from either end of the island to the middle. Helicopters fly faster than ambulances can drive, and can reach some remote sites that don’t have road access. A regional option is having a subscription with the helicopter service (LifeFlight). Of course, the typical emergency vehicle is an ambulance. (See our article on Fighting Fires).
Fortunately, many medical trips aren’t emergencies. Doctor appointments, immunizations, and minor issues may be handled there, but clinics are scattered about the island. The hospital may have what you need, but a clinic four miles away is going to be more convenient than one that involves a forty-minute drive (WhidbeyHealth locations linked below).
Other local options.
Most health issues have treatment options at the hospital, as well as non-profits focused on one issue.
Health care off island.
As with many things, personal preference may mean traveling off-island for personal needs. Some islanders maintain their old relationships with professionals from a previous residence. Insurance providers may prefer approved healthcare providers who are off-island. Traveling off-island can be inconvenient at best, but the ferries have procedures to allow preferential boarding, basically skipping the line. Call first, though. You can get more information about Washington State Ferries medical preferential loading here.
Many residents are close enough to other regional facilities like the hospitals in Anacortes and Everett. Especially for people living near the north end or the south end, it can be quicker or more appealing to drive across the bridge to Anacortes or the hopefully short-enough trip across the Clinton Ferry to Mukilteo and, hence, to Everett.
What about insurance?
Because Whidbey’s population is necessarily small, there are fewer local insurance options. Your results may vary. One bit of perspective: the folks who’ve lived here long enough have probably found a solution that works well enough for them. It may not be optimal, but the tradeoff can be not having to leave the island. Especially in bad conditions, it can be reassuring to have a more personal relationship at a critical time.
Military has additional options.
Conventional medicine has been changing.
Treatments that were considered unconventional are now becoming more accepted. Chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturists,… another long list. Some such services are available through hospitals and clinics, but they are frequently found as isolated providers. Being part of the Pacific Rim means many cultures are represented on Whidbey. What western medicine considers unconventional may be something that’s been practiced for thousands of years. That’s considered traditional to millions.
As usual, locals can know best.
Social media is filled with requests for various types of care. Birthing services, elder services, and mental health care are frequent requests. When in doubt, if you can’t find links from here, check with your neighbors. Everyone’s needs are different, so one answer doesn’t answer all. One source of information and support is Friends or Friends, another valuable non-profit on Whidbey.
Health data on Whidbey.
Over all of these details is overall health. How healthy is Whidbey relative to other parts of the country? US News & Report did some research.
“Overall, Island County got a 71.8. That sounds like a C, but the average for its peers is 45.3.” – AboutWhidbey
“Life expectancy is 4 years higher than the national average, 81.9 vs 7.9 years. People are more active, 82.3% vs the typical American at 75.5%. Folks are less likely to smoke (tobacco, that is) 13.9% vs 17.3%. And only 11.4% of adults are considered to be in poor health vs 16.1% for the nation.” – AboutWhidbey
Whidbey isn’t perfect. No place is, but whether from culture, or nature, or job benefits, living on Whidbey can be a treatment of its own. We hope this helped answer the where is the health care question for you, or at least points you in the right direction. See your doctor regularly, eat well, exercise, and enjoy living someplace healthy. Hmm. Might be time for a salad and a walk. Whidbey is certainly a good place for all of it. If your new to Whidbey and wanting to learn more keep searching through our blogs for a wealth of information about Whidbey. If you are considering making Whidbey home connect with us! Our agents are not only Real Estate experts but also are a wealth of information about Whidbey.
You may have heard real estate laws are changing in Washington State. While navigating Washington’s agency agreement changes it’s important to note that it’s not uncommon for laws to change as industries evolve. In 2019 the rules requiring that buyer broker compensation be offered to list a property was eliminated. For transparency purposes, in 2019 another law made the buyer broker compensation offered in the listing viewable to the public. In 2022 laws were implemented that made the offer of buyer broker compensation separate and distinct from the offer to the seller’s broker. That same year, our Northwest Multiple Listing Service started including the amount of buyer broker compensation in the purchase and sale agreement so there is complete transparency within the transaction.
Other great changes that help the buyers and sellers is a revision of the agency law pamphlet. It is now more easily read and understood (taking it from 8 complicated pages to 4) and there is a requirement to sign a contract with buyers. Now buyers truly chose who is representing them and it doesn’t just happen randomly. Our brokers have been studying extensively not only the new laws but how to best implement them and prepare their clients to understand how the changes in the laws will affect them. Follow along as we walk you through navigating Washington’s agency agreement changes with an overview of the changes, how it impacts buyers and sellers, and offer you further resources for more information.
Overview of the New Laws:
Prior to January 1, 2024 Washington State law only required brokers representing sellers to enter into a brokerage agreement. Starting January 1, 2024 Chapter 18.86 RCW mandates brokers representing buyers in a residential transaction enter into a written brokerage service agreement as soon as reasonably possible. Washington is the first state to implement this type of legislation. This contractual arrangement encompasses key provisions such as the duration of the partnership, exclusivity terms, and the agreed-upon compensation rate. The purpose of the change is to ensure that buyers understand the scope of the representation, how much it will cost, and how the costs are paid prior to agents providing any real estate services.
Impact on Buyers:
There are a couple of changes that buyers should expect to see. The first is that they will be asked to commit to a Buyers broker early on. It’s going to behoove buyers to take their selection of the broker they work with much more seriously. Buyers will now be presented with an agency agreement prior to their agents providing any services. This might feel a bit off-putting to commit so soon, but Windermere brokers have never forced clients to work with them and are using an agreement that gives buyers control to end the agency relationship at any time. Be sure to read the agreement carefully and identify what the procedures are for canceling the buyer-broker agreement. Great Agents often provide you with a cancelation document or instructions upfront so that you can rest assured that you will not be stuck if their services don’t meet your expectations.
Impact on Sellers:
For the most part, sellers are not significantly impacted by the new changes. The only significant change that sellers can expect to see is that agents may offer a Seller Brokerage Service Agreement earlier than in the past. The new listing agreement allows for signing up to 90 days in advance of going on the market.
Overall, the changes are positive. They are put in place to protect consumers, which we are all about! By law, every client is to receive the Agency Law Pamphlet. The buyer or seller should take time to read it and understand it prior to signing any agreement. If you find yourself with more questions than answers, don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek guidance. If an agent does not currently represent you and you are seeking quality representation, connect with us. We can give you a few names of excellent brokers to interview. It is important to stay informed about these changes to ensure a smooth real estate transaction.
If you would like to discuss this in greater detail, please do not hesitate to connect with us.
Some call it graffiti while others call it art. Regardless, this iconic Whidbey Island slab of cement that sits perpendicular to the water on West Beach has become quite popular. Next to the West Beach County Park, it is the remains of a mostly washed away Bulkhead. Now, passers-by can enjoy an ever-changing canvas of creativity. While some find it an eyesore and would argue for it to be removed others find it their next photo-op. The destruction of the concrete seawall is a reminder of just how powerful mother nature is. It’s only taken a few years of storms for her to reclaim what was attempted. Winter storms are another attraction to this area. You can watch the onslaught of waves and wind as your car gets drenched in sea spray and flying ocean foam from the comfort of your car.
Check out the rest of Whidbey’s beautiful destinations from this series here.
Whether you are considering a move or just staying informed about the housing market, having the latest information is crucial. With all the latest headlines you might find yourself wondering, “is the current surge in available homes fact or fiction?” Let us help provide you some insight, follow along for a current update on the supply of homes for sale in your area. Whether you are in the market to buy or sell, the available inventory plays a significant role. Dive into the details below for insights.
The Truth About Today’s Housing Inventory:
The narrative the past few years has been centered around the scarcity of homes on the market. However, recent national data demonstrates a twist to the story that if your like most might have you questioning the truth. According to Realtor.com, inventory is showing signs of growth month-over-month in numerous regions across the country (highlighted in blue on the map below).
Looking at the map, nationally, the housing supply has increased just over 5% last month alone.
Does This Mean the Days of Limited Housing Inventory is Over?
Many people are wondering if the days of limited housing supply is behind us. This is a fantastic question. The short answer is no. Understanding the full picture here is important. Headlines are stating that inventory is up. The statement is true when compared to the most recent market, but when you look further back, data shows that there are still significantly less homes for sale now than typically listed in a more normal market.
Let’s discuss the graph below.
This graph demonstrates homes listed for sale during the month of October for the three most recent normal years compared to homes listed in the month of October in 2023. As you can see there are significantly less homes listed in 2023 than in that of a normal market. Viewing this helps explain comments like the one ResiClub Analytics, founder, Lance Lambert made where he said, “Housing market inventory is so far below pre-pandemic levels that October’s big jump is still just a drop in the bucket.”
At the end of the day, real estate is hyper-local and changes vastly between locations. It is of the utmost importance, especially in times like these, to look to your trusted real estate agent for clarification of the market as they will help you gain better understanding of the inventory situations in your specific market. Don’t have an agent? Connect with us here.
If You Are Looking to Buy:
You might discover more options than you have in the most recent months. However, it would behoove you to prepare yourself for low inventory. Find yourself a great agent that will share their expertise and strategies that have helped others navigate today’s ongoing low housing.
If You Are Looking to Sell:
Know that you have not missed your window of opportunity to potentially get multiple offers or see your house sell quickly. While inventory has picked up some nationally, overall, it is still low. Having a professional Realtor on your side can help you significantly in understanding the market you are in. A great agent can craft your home a unique marketing plan that meets the requirements of the market to get your home sold.
Regardless of weather you are looking to buy or sell a home, let’s connect so that you are up to date on all of the latest trends that could potentially impact your move.
It is often a wish come true to live on Whidbey Island. With the ideal four-season experience, a marine island climate, great community culture, stunning beaches, and gorgeous scenery, what’s not to love? Unlike most islands, with access limited by expensive boat rides or planes, Whidbey Island offers three main points of access on and off the island. The beautiful Deception Pass bridge at the north end of the Island, the Port Townsend Ferry from Coupeville, and also the Clinton/Mukilteo Ferry (pictured above) with the gorgeous mountain views to enjoy during the short ride over to the mainland.
Check out the rest of Whidbey’s beautiful destinations from this series here.