When it comes to buying a home, choosing the right lender is an important decision that can have a significant impact on your home buying experience. While it’s possible to work with a lender from anywhere, working with a reputable local lender in the area you are purchasing provides many benefits that make the process smoother and more enjoyable. In this article, we will share five reasons why you should consider using a reputable local lender for your next home purchase.
5 Reasons to Use a Reputable Local Lender:
1. Personal Connection:
A local lender provides the opportunity to have a face to face conversation and build a personal relationship, which can be especially helpful when dealing with complex issues. How much better is it to have the ability to sit down face to face with someone and discuss, ask questions, smile and laugh with or even cry if necessary? It is so much better than trying to solely do things over the phone or email with someone hundreds of miles away. When the going gets tough, you (or your trusted real estate broker) can go directly to the office and discuss the issues in person to figure it out rather than be put on hold.
2. Knowledge of the Market:
A local lender is more likely to have a deep understanding of the local real estate market, including contractors, permit requirements, and more. It is not unheard of to have a local lender provide contact details for a roofer that can get the fix done in time for closing or the local Labor and Industries permit guy who can solve the problem faster than driving an hour to the nearest office. Reputable local lenders understand when there is delay due to septic repairs or how to get the water quality test results ASAP.
Local lenders have a reputation to uphold in their community, which can provide added accountability and ensure a higher level of service. When you run into your clients in the grocery store or watch their kids play on the same soccer team you naturally put a little more into making sure your service is impeccable. Anonymity creates distance and reduces accountability.
4. Strong Relationships with Escrow Teams:
Good relationships with local escrow teams can lead to smoother and more efficient transactions. Often the most stressful point of the transaction is right at the very end as the final underwriter is reviewing the file and potentially finding issues that need more documentation. This can lead to delays in critical milestones that need to be met to close on time. Getting the necessary documents from the lender to escrow on time can be the difference in closing as expected or experiencing costly delays and even the possibility of losing the home. You can use a lender from almost anywhere, but the escrow team is nearly always local to the property being purchased. When lenders are well known and respected by the local escrow offices you can expect excellent communication and problem solving between them. This will make overcoming obstacles to closing on time more likely.
5. Competitive Terms:
Local lenders often offer competitive terms and rates, making them a cost-effective option. When comparing lenders, be sure to compare all the terms and costs of the loan, not simply the advertised interest rate. When you do, you’ll often find the local lender has lower overall costs than national corporate lenders.
In conclusion, using a reputable local lender provides a range of benefits that make the home buying process more enjoyable and efficient. From the personal connection to the knowledge of the local market and their reputation to uphold, there are many reasons to consider using a local lender for your next home purchase. So why not choose a lender who is well-known and highly regarded in your local real estate community? Contact us today to be put in touch with a great lender on Whidbey Island!
Island Transit is the public transportation system serving Whidbey Island, located in the Puget Sound region of Washington state. The system consists of fixed-route buses and paratransit vans, as well as additional programs such as vanpools and bike locker rentals.
Island Transit began on December 1, 1987 as a response to the increasing traffic congestion and lack of transportation options on Whidbey Island. Today, the system serves a population of approximately 73,000 people, covering a service area of approximately 400 square miles. The buses pick up passengers from bus stops like the Northgate Terrace bus stop pictured above throughout all of Whidbey Island.
In addition to its fixed-route buses, Island Transit also operates a paratransit service for individuals with disabilities who are unable to use the fixed-route buses. The paratransit vans offer door-to-door service and can be reserved by calling Island Transit in advance.
Island Transit’s vanpool program is a convenient and cost-effective alternative for commuters who travel long distances or have irregular work schedules. Participants in the program share the cost of gas and vehicle maintenance and can save money on the cost of driving alone.
The bike locker rental program allows riders to securely store their bike at a convenient location and use it to complete the first or last leg of their commute. The lockers are located at select bus stops and can be rented on a monthly basis (check out prices and apply here) in addition to public use lockers that are on a first come first served basis.
In recent years, Island Transit has made efforts to increase sustainability and reduce its environmental impact. Learn more about their initiatives here. As a result, hybrid buses have been added to its fleet all while keeping Island Transit buses fare-free.
Overall, Island Transit plays a vital role in the transportation needs of the residents and visitors of Whidbey Island. The convenient and reliable services, as well as its vanpool and bike locker rental programs, make it a valuable asset to the community.
If you have further questions or are interested in learning more about living on Whidbey Island please do not hesitate to connect with us. Contact us here.
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You are probably asking yourself, “did I read that right?”
Yes, yes you did.
It is normal for sellers to want to get the most money out of the sale of their homes. It feels safe to list your home at the price you are desiring to get, but the reality is listing high might actually do your pocketbook more harm than good in the long run. Follow along as we explain why.
RISKS OF OVERPRICING YOUR HOME
You are drawing the attention of the wrong buyers.
Most people begin their home purchasing journey by searching which homes are available in their desired location online. Consider this. Your home is worth $500,000, but you list it for $575,000. When buyers are looking online, they filter to find homes within their price range and typically by $25,000 increments. The person looking for a $500,000 home will never see yours and if they do they will believe it is out of their reach, and when the buyers looking in the $575,000 range see your home and compare it to others in that range, they will get the impression it is not worth it, and there are better options.
Fewer people will see your home.
When your home is overpriced, the issue can be detected by buyers just by looking at your online listing and will pass on viewing it in person. The more showings you have, the more legitimate interest there is, and the more likely your home is to sell. Showings give potential buyers an opportunity to see the home first-hand giving them the opportunity to imagine themselves living there.
On the other hand, if you get lots of showings because your photos look better than reality but no offers you’ve wasted your best shot at getting the right buyer through your home and you there are no redo’s for first impressions. This leads us to our next point…
You are sending the “I’m an undesirable home” message to the public.
As people continue to look for a home and new buyers enter the market, they might see your home online, but by that time they will also see the “time on market”. The longer your home sits on the market, the less attractive it becomes psychologically to everyone. Nobody wants the home that nobody else wants. Once it has lost its appeal the damage is done. You’ll find yourself beginning to reduce your price and often end up at a price less than what the home could have sold for if it was priced right the first time.
In conjunction with price reductions, the longer your home sits on the market, the more expenses you incur. Consider mortgage payments, utility costs, lawn care maintenance, seller’s fees, and more while you are trying to move out.
Your buyers won’t be able to finance if it doesn’t appraise.
Perhaps you drop the price just enough to intrigue a buyer but still above market level. Maybe you’re lucky enough to hook a buyer. Then the appraisal comes back low. Now you either have to come down in price or lose the buyer and start over again, with 20-30 days more on market…
If you are considering selling your home and would like a complimentary analysis to determine the correct value of your home in this market connect with us to be paired with an experienced Windermere agent that can help you with your unique situation and avoid all the overpricing pitfalls.
Selling your home can be overwhelming and feel like a full-time job… which is why there are realtors! Good realtors make the process so much smoother and less intimidating. To keep your mind at ease and prepare you for what will happen throughout the sale of your home we are sharing 10 top tips to get you from listed to sold in no time!
Discover what to expect when selling your home
1. Select the right agent the 1st time
It is of the utmost importance that you pair with a full-time, knowledgeable agent who can best represent you through the process. This should be your number one priority. Studies show that homes listed with an agent sell for more than those listed without, and this is for good reason. Great agents dedicate their lives to keeping up with economic changes, are masters at negotiating and getting things done, and know all rules and regulations. This will pay off immensely in the long run if you trust their process. If you are unsure where to start, ask your friends who they trust and about their experience with them but don’t stop there. Interview at least two, preferably three brokers, and the differences should be immediately clear. If you still need help, Windermere has a full-time manager that will ask you pertinent questions about your needs, personality style, and specific goals to make the perfect real estate agent match. Windermere’s ultimate goal is not the sale of a home but to give you a real estate experience you want to share with others! When you are ready to pair with an agent connect with us and we will match you with the perfect broker.
2. Set your timeline
A timeline is valuable in that it will keep you organized throughout the entire selling process. Anticipate that your timeline might change depending on circumstances and your local housing market conditions. You may need to adjust a couple of times, but the purpose is to keep you on track toward your end goal. SOLD! Your timeline will help guide you there. Know what the average days on market are for your home and price range (click here to determine Whidbey Islands) then add an average of 30-45 on that to get an estimate of how long it will take to sell once you go live. Work with your agent to build your unique timeline.
3. Determine your home’s value
The SECRET to selling quickly is pricing your home right the first day it hits the market. Overpricing can create serious problems like not being seen by the right buyers, less traffic both in person and virtually, and worst of all becoming less attractive to buyers the longer it sits resulting in lower offers than if you priced it attractively, to begin with. Your agent will provide you with a (CMA) Comparative Market Analysis which compares your home to others in your local area that recently sold and/or are actively pending. This formulated analysis will assist you in properly determining the best price for your home. Discuss this with your agent. They will help walk you through the process even if you aren’t sure you’re ready to sell yet.
4. Identify issues & execute the plan
This is the time to tackle any unfinished projects and address needed repairs. Talk with your agent to see if a pre-sale home inspection would be advantageous for your unique situation. Begin by creating a list of repairs you can do versus those needing to be hired out. Your agent can help you determine which will be the best use of your time, offer the largest return on investment, and help you find vendors and hire out projects. If money is tight it may be in your best interest to apply to our Windermere Ready Program which gets you cash for fixing up your home to list. Ask your Windermere Agent about how to apply.
5. Put your best foot forward
First impressions go a long way! Start with curb appeal. Clean up your gardens, mow your lawns, clean out gutters, and add a pop of color to your flower beds. If you have any cracked or peeling paint, apply a fresh coat. Make sure to declutter the inside of your home. The best rule of thumb is to remove personal effects and present your home like a hotel in which the buyer could envision themselves living in the space. Talk to your agent about the possibility of having your home professionally staged.
6. Get your home seen
Your realtor will help maximize the exposure of your home. They can list with the MLS, will get your listing on all major sites like Zillow and Redfin, and will be listed on their Brokerage site in addition to their own. These are just a few of the many ways in which your listing can be seen. Be sure to discuss the option for virtual tours with your agent. When it’s time for in-person showings, we suggest that you not be present so that the potential buyers can freely walk the home with their agent, ask questions, and ultimately have the space to imagine it as their new home.
7. Reviewing offers & negotiating
If you price right, you might see more than one offer on your home because we are still in a strong Seller’s market. The offers may be at or above the asking price. When reviewing offers, you have three options: 1. Accept the offer, 2. Make a counteroffer, 3. Reject the offer. These should ALWAYS be made in writing, and you should always give the buyer a short time to respond. Whether you are selling or buying, you will likely find yourself in negotiations. It is important for you to discuss negotiation strategies with your agent ahead of time. At Windermere, we pride ourselves on negotiation tactics grounded in psychology and win-win strategies.
8. Budget for closing costs
Closing costs include things like title insurance, recording fees, government taxes, lender fees, broker commissions, and numerous other things. Be sure to discuss this with your agent ahead of time and throughout the transaction so you don’t feel blindsided at closing and are adequately prepared.
9. The inspection
It is common for offers to be contingent on a professional home inspection. Your agent can prepare you for what to expect from a home inspection. Typically a home inspector will look at things like the foundation, structure, roof, plumbing and electrical systems, floors, windows, doors, and signs for things like water or fire damage.
You finally made it, but before you can officially close there are a couple of things to do. Ask the buyer to release any contingencies, sign the title, and close escrow before releasing the keys. Your escrow agent will help you through this process. Talk with your agent about questions you have about legal documents and settlement costs.
If you are considering selling and would like to speak to an experienced Windermere Realtor for more specific information connect with us by clicking here.
Home buyers are beginning to believe we are heading into a housing bubble. It is easy to acknowledge this premonition, as year-after-year home price appreciation has continued to remain in the double digits.
However, we are here to put your mind at ease as this market is very different than it was during the housing crash 15 years ago. Follow along as we explain four fundamental reasons why today's market is nothing like the market was back then.
1. Houses Are Affordable Unlike During the Housing Boom
To understand this, one must understand the affordability formula. The affordability formula consists of three parts: the price of the home, wages earned by the purchaser, and the mortgage rate available at the time of purchase. Conventional lending standards suggest a purchaser should spend no more than 28% of their gross income on their mortgage payment.
Fifteen years ago, prices were high, wages were low, and mortgage rates were over 6%. While today's home prices are high, wages have increased significantly, and despite the latest spike, mortgage rates are still well below 6%. This means that todays average buyer spends less of their monthly income toward their mortgage payment than buyers did back then.
In the latest Affordability Report by ATTOM Data, Chief Product Officer Todd Teta speaks to this stating, "The average wage earner can still afford the typical home across the U.S., but the financial comfort zone continues shrinking as home prices keep soaring and mortgage rates tick upward."
Undeniably, affordability is not as strong as it was last year, but it is significantly better than it was during the boom. The graph below demonstrates that difference:
How did so many homes sell during the housing boom with such prohibitive costs?
2. Mortgage Standards Were Much More Relaxed During the Boom
Getting approved for a mortgage loan was significantly more attainable during the housing bubble than it is today. According to credit.org, a credit score between 550-619 is considered poor. They define those with a score below 620, by stating that, "Credit agencies consider consumers with credit delinquencies, account rejections, and little credit history as subprime borrowers due to their high credit risk."
While buyers can still qualify for a mortgage with a credit score within that range they are considered riskier borrowers. If you are in that range, read our How Long Does it Take to Save for a Down Payment article here. Below is a graph illustrating the mortgage volume issued to buyers with a credit score less than 620 during the housing boom, in compression to the following 14 years.
Mortgage standards are significantly different than they were last time. Buyers that obtained mortgages during the past decade are better qualified for the loans. Lets look at what that means moving forward.
3. Foreclosure Are Completely Different Than They Were During The Crash
The most obvious difference is the number of homeowners that were facing foreclosure after the housing bubble burst. The Federal Reserve issues a report showing the number of consumers with a new foreclosure notice. Here are the numbers during the crash compared to today:
Undoubtedly the 2020 and 2021 numbers are impacted by the forbearance program, which was created to help homeowners facing uncertainty during the pandemic. Keep in mind, there are less than 800,000 homeowners remaining in the program today, and the majority of those will be able to work out a repayment plan with their banks.
Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President of RealtyTrac, explains, "The fact that foreclosure starts declined despite hundreds of thousands of borrowers exiting the CARES Act mortgage forbearance program over the last few months is very encouraging. It suggests that the ‘forbearance equals foreclosure' narrative was incorrect."
Why are there significantly less foreclosures seen today? Well, homeowners today are equity rich. They are not tapped out.
During the build-up to the housing bubble, some homeowners were using their homes as personal ATM machines. We saw a plethora of people withdrawing their equity the moment it was built up. When home values began to fall, many homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation where the amount they owed on their mortgage had surpassed the value of their home. Many were faced with the decision of walking away from their homes. When that happened it led to a rash of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at huge discounts, thus lowering the value of comparable homes in the area.
Homeowners, have since learned their lessons. Prices have risen nicely over the last few years, leading to over 40% of homes in the country having more than 50% equity. But owners have not been tapping into it like they had previously, as indicated by the fact that national tappable equity has increased to a record $9.9 trillion. With the average home equity now standing at $300,000. What happened last time will not happen today.
As the latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic explains, "Not only have equity gains helped homeowners more seamlessly transition out of forbearance and avoid a distressed sale, but they've also enabled many to continue building their wealth."
There will be nowhere near the same number of foreclosures as we seen during the crash. What does that mean for the housing market today?
4. There is Not a Surplus of Homes on the Market – We Have a Shortage
The supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued price appreciation. The following graph demonstrates, the surplus of homes for sale between 2007 to 2010 (many of which were short sales and foreclosures). That caused prices to tumble. Today, there is a shortage of inventory, which is creating the increasing home values we are witnessing today.
Inventory is drastically different in comparison to last time. Prices are rising because there is a healthy demand for homeownership while at the same time there is a shortage of homes for sale.
At the end of the day,
if you are worried that we are making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, the graphs above show data and insights to help alleviate your concerns. If you are considering buying or selling and would like to dive deeper into this subject we would be happy to schedule a consult with you. Call us today at 360.675.5953.
Horses have been a prominent animal throughout history, dedicated to their human’s side. Many would go as far as to suggest that horses, just as dogs, cats, and other pets can be man’s best friend. Like other pets, horses can contribute to the health, wellbeing, and happiness of their humans so much so that there have been people that contribute overcoming their mental illnesses to using a technique called Equine Horse Therapy. Likewise, many children have found companionship in their horses and have grown to learn valuable life lessons from them.
While we as humans receive so much from these amazing animals, it is equally important that we pay attention to their health, wellbeing, and happiness as well.
If you are new to the equestrian lifestyle here are a couple of tips to keeping them happy:
1) Consistent Exercise:
Horses, just like us need daily exercise to stay healthy and fit. A daily workout helps to reduce your horse’s stress and allows them to release pent-up energy. While it might not look like the typical gym workout, working out with your horse by training can be beneficial for both you and your horse.
2) Keep Vaccinations Current:
Like humans, horses also need vaccinations and it is important that they stay current, or like humans, they can get sick. Having the proper vaccination in a timely manner helps you keep your horse healthy, fit, and happy.
If your horse gets sick, it will take a lot of energy for it to fully recover. Keeping your horse on a vaccinations routine not only will help prevent your horse from getting sick but will also help your horse to recover against the more serious diseases more easily.
To ensure you are providing your horse the best care and keeping regular on its vaccinations, you can ask your vet for a list of vaccines he/she suggests you give to your horse and which ones are most important for your horse to have. If you don’t currently have a vet, click here for a list of ones in our area.
3) Your Horse Needs a Safe and Comfortable Environment:
Here’s one that lies near and dear to our hearts. As real estate agents, we know just how much we as humans want our homes to keep us safe and comfortable. Similarly, your horse not only deserves but needs housing that not only keeps him safe from things like storms and prey but also makes him comfortable. If your horse lives in a barn, provide them a stall and protection. If they live outdoors, they need some way to get out of the sun. Often a run-in shed, or shady trees can give them protection from the elements they need. Additionally, you will need to provide them with a dry walking area, grass, rubber mats, and hoof care.
Not all properties are created equally. When looking at properties, it is important to make sure it is sufficient for your horse and easy for them to maneuver and permitted for horse use. If you need help determining whether or not a property is viable for your equestrian needs reach out to our equestrian advisors here.
4) Good Nutrition:
We know that when we eat junk food, we feel, well like junk. Similarly, your horse requires a diet that can fuel the energy they need to stay fit and healthy. The digestive system of your horse is designed to process large amounts of fibrous foods regularly.
To keep the horse’s digestive health and increase their energy level, you should include grass, hay, and grains in their regular diet along with a lot of fresh CLEAN water. Including traditional mineral blocks into their routine will help your horse maintain an optimal diet. Check out these great places on Whidbey to purchase food for your horse.
5) Your Horse Needs a Dentist Too!
Have you ever been petting your horse when he decides to give you a big lick across your face?! We have too. That’s how we know it is of the utmost importance for your horse to have a dentist too. You should anticipate a checkup about once a year. Like humans, horse teeth grow. However, unlike humans, horse teeth continue to grow and could potentially become damaged by opposing teeth if not properly taken care of. Because their teeth continue to grow it is important for them to be filed regularly to ensure the horse is comfortable when he eats. Could you imagine trying to eat if your teeth hurt you?
Without regular dental check-ups, your horse could develop problems that could lead to more serious problems like colic and choke.
6) Their Hooves:
It is important to take care of your horse’s hooves, by cleaning them and trimming them regularly. Like humans, every horse is different. The growth at which your horses’ hooves grow may be vastly different from that of another’s. However, it is often common for hooves to grow in between 4 to 8 weeks. You can begin trimming them after that.
7) Visit Your Horse Regularly:
The bond between you and your horse should be very strong like the friendship between you and a best friend. You will develop this bond over time by spending adequate time with them. You should expect to visit your horse daily if possible.
But also, like humans, your horse needs equestrian friends too. So get out and make friends with similar interests as both you and your horse.
At the end of the day…
Buying property suitable for horses is no small task. It is certainly not the typical home buying experience. There is so much to consider from what kind of property best meets the needs of your horses to what kind of home will best meet your wants and needs. Speaking from experience, the horses’ needs are typically the priority.
Working with an experienced Equestrian Advisor/Realtor will also help ensure your home search and purchase go as smoothly as possible. You can find one here.
The Property has Acreage: Is it Suitable for Horses?
Any Equestrian Advisor/Realtor will be the first to tell you that, just because a property has plentiful acreage does not mean it will be a suitable property for your horses. The best property will be flat to gently sloped with good drainage, open areas with grass for grazing, with few trees, and wet areas. Horses weigh 1000 to 1500 pounds on average, which puts a lot of weight on the ground. Therefore, horses can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time.
The priority is finding an Equestrian Property with useable land – meaning not acres of unusable gullies, steep edges, or too many bodies of water. More land doesn’t necessarily mean it is better, the useability is the priority.
Housing horses and livestock on your property can be done with ease with a few convenient amenities. It is important to consider these amenities as they add value to the Equestrian Property:
- Barn – Does it have an adequate number of stalls for your needs and the right size for your type of horse? Horse stalls can measure from 10 x 10 to 12 x 12 or even larger. Does it have the capability to increase the size of the stall to make foaling stalls? Are the stalls matted? Are there runouts (sacrifice paddocks) off the stalls?
- Hay Storage – What style is the barn? If it is a Monitor style barn, does it have a hayloft? How much hay can be stored in the hayloft? If there is no hayloft, is there adequate storage for hay elsewhere?
- Tack Room – Does the barn have a tack room? If so, is it insulated? It is important to be able to store tack, brushes, and other items in the tack room without them getting damp and moldy.
- Tack Area and/or Wash Bay – While one can do without this amenity it sure is a bonus to have it.
- Quality and Safe Fencing – Fencing can be quite costly (please watch for our future blog on fencing). It adds a lot of value to an Equestrian Property to have good quality and safe fencing. Equally important is how well it is laid out on the property. Is the property fenced and cross-fenced?
- Arena (Indoor and/or Outdoor) or Training Round Pen with good footing – It is a huge bonus to find a property with an arena, especially an indoor arena. Indoor arenas are getting increasingly more difficult to get approval to build and depending on the size can cost well over $100,000 to build. Outdoor arenas are great but have their challenges. It becomes difficult to manage the footing due to weather. Footing in the arena is something to really consider. Each discipline has its own preferences for footing type and depth. But any equestrian will agree that poor footing can cost you a lot – cause lameness in your horses resulting in expensive vet bills and not to mention the time to rehabilitate the horse from injury.
- Water source and location of water on the property. Are there ample spigots to the pastures/paddocks and arena?
- Electricity – Does the barn have electricity running to it?
Transitioning to an Equestrian Lifestyle is a big adjustment. Make sure you are taking your daily routine into consideration when looking at properties. Consider the layout of the Equestrian Property. Does it seem that your daily routine will be seamless i.e., bringing horses in and out from pasture/paddocks to the barn? Are there turnouts off the barn that make it easier on your daily routine? Where is the manure kept? Ultimately, as an Equestrian, you want to be able to leave your property and know that your horses will be safe and sound while you are away.
Barn(s) and Outbuildings Should be Inspected Too:
You have found your Equestrian Property. It will cost you extra, but it is important to have your inspector inspect the Barn(s) as well as the Outbuildings. Your horses are part of your family, and you want to make sure that they will be safe in their surroundings. It is important to have a professional evaluate the Barn and Outbuildings for structural issues, electrical issues, or other potential problems.
Do not assume that the property is an approved horse property just because the owners or prior owners have had horses on the property in the past. Part of the Inspection process will be to do a little research with local city, county, and/or HOA regulations for agriculture and livestock. Do not let this lack of research cut into your dreams of owning an Equestrian Property.
Let us help you make your dreams of owning an Equestrian Property a reality:
To be honest this is all just the tip of the iceberg when searching for an Equestrian Property. It helps to have someone working for you that has done this before. Let’s get you connected. It would be an honor to help you make your dreams a reality.
50 miles South of the U.S./Canada border and 25 miles North of Seattle lies Whidbey Island, an incomparable destination for nature lovers and bird enthusiasts. On Whidbey, you can get lost for hours and find yourself mesmerized not only by incredible views but by a breathtaking variety of birds.
Whidbey Boasts 148 miles of winding shoreline, 6 state parks, 4 lakes, hundreds of miles of trail, and a ridiculous variety of habitats from bogs to estuaries to the prairie. It is not surprising then that Whidbey accommodates roughly 250 resident and migrant bird species.
Birdwatchers will declare some of the best times to watch for birds on Whidbey are:
Late April through May you can expect to be woken early by the Songbirds singing a pleasant tune.
Late July through September It is hard not to miss fat red-breasted Robins filling the apple trees and spot migrant visitors from the north like wigeons, ducks, coots, waterfowl, and red-tailed hawks.
November through mid-March is a great time of year to watch for Northern Shrike, Bald Eagles, and other raptor-type birds.
Best places for birdwatching:
If you are just trying to take advantage of easily accessible shoreline almost any time of year works. Some of the best places to watch for shorebirds birds on Whidbey Island are Penn Cove, Keystone Landing, Fort Casey State Park, and Dugualla Bay.
If you don’t live on Whidbey and are coming just for birdwatching be sure to schedule more than one day for viewing. Plan time so you can experience multiple locations, each with its unique features. To better understand all the places you can access the shoreline you really need to buy Getting to the Waters Edge! We sell it at our Windermere offices both in Oak Harbor and Coupeville.
Frequently asked questions:
Some people wonder if there is a time of day that birds are most animated. Typically speaking most birds are bustling around sunrise and sunset but that rule does not apply to all birds. For example, the morning is typically the best time for spotting diurnal species, while nocturnal species are generally spotted in the evening, but it really depends on the bird and the time of year.
Whidbey Island is native to species like Eagles, Northern Harriers, wading birds, loons, grebes, sea ducks, including Harlequin Ducks, dabbling ducks, Black Oystercatchers, Common Yellowthroats, Marsh Wrens, and more. It is also is a temporary home for migrant birds who frequent the island seasonally for the island’s ideal breeding habitats. But do not be fooled. Some birds like robins, hawks, cardinals, finches, sparrows, and more stay here all year but they seem to “return” because they become active again during the spring through fall seasons after they have bundled down in their nests and shelters during the winter.
To learn more about the birds that can be spotted on Whidbey and a guide for when you will likely catch a glimpse check out this detailed Whidbey Island Bird List created by the Whidbey Audubon Society.
Here are some of our favorite spots on Whidbey to watch for birds let us know your favorite spots in the comments below.
Whether you are a serious road cyclist; an avid mountain biker or just someone who enjoys a scenic bike ride every now and then, Whidbey Island has got you covered. Not only are we home to miles and miles of gorgeous; low-traffic backroads and off-road trails to explore, we also have an active biking community and bike shops that’ll keep you pedaling all year long.
And remember, safety first! You can review Washington State bicycle laws here.
Where to Road Bike on Whidbey Island
If you’re new to road biking on Whidbey Island, this bicycling map of Whidbey Island and Camano Island is an excellent resource to help you get started. This color-coded, detailed map shows cyclists what to expect on different roads, including how many feet of shoulder is available, traffic volume, recommended roads, the difficulty level of any hills,-, and other helpful markers.
Here are a few recommended road bike routes from the bike club to get you started:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35094153 (20 miler from the shop, very scenic!)
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35094160 (40 miler from the shop, scenic and challenging!)
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35018172 ( The bike clubs Saturday morning route)
Where to Mountain Bike on Whidbey Island
If you’re specifically looking for mountain bike-friendly trails, this map is a great place to start. In addition to locations and trail routes, you’ll find information on time estimates, trail conditions, distance, and climb/elevation.
This is another useful resource if you’re searching for mountain bike trails in the Pacific Northwest in general. There are four of Whidbey Island’s mountain biking trail systems highlighted here. You’ll find detailed maps to help you explore Putney Woods/Metcalf Trust Trails, Fort Ebey State Park/Kettles Trails, Hoypus Hill, and Dugwalla State Park.
*For route recommendations and current trail conditions contact Whidbey Island Bicycle Club here.
** For parking on state park property a Discover Pass is required, you can get one here.
Bike Shops on Whidbey Island
If you’re just beginning your biking journey and need to figure out what type of bike to buy, you don’t even have to leave our island to get properly outfitted. The same is true for maintaining your bike—we’ve got experts who are ready to give your bike a tune-up when the time comes.
Skagit Cycle’s Whidbey Island location is in Oak Harbor, and this is your one-stop bike shop on Whidbey. You can buy pretty much all types of bikes here and choose from a huge selection of biking accessories and bike parts, and they also offer an extensive list of services.
Located in Langley, Bayview Bicycles offers an impressive selection of e-bikes and bike gear as well as repair services.
How to Get Involved with the Bike Community on Whidbey Island
Whidbey Island Bicycle Club:
If you want to get involved in the local cycling community, meet other local cyclists, volunteer, or attend local group rides then Whidbey Island Bicycle Club, or WIBC is for you WIBC is all about bringing cyclists together to ride and plan rides, advocating for safe cycling routes, developing community cycling events, mountain bike trail stewardship, and supporting community activities that involve cycling. Riders of all levels are welcome to join. WIBC gets together for weekly road and mountain bike rides all yer long- They also have a Facebook page that is frequently updated, so make sure you hit the “like” button if you want to stay in the loop. For more detailed information about the club visit their webpage here.
This popular annual summer event on Whidbey Island attracts hundreds of cyclists from all over the Puget Sound region to participate. There are several different routes you can choose from—one route is as short as 10 miles (perfect for families), and the longest route is 162 miles and winds its way around the entire perimeter of Whidbey Island. Tour de Whidbey was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, but plans for the 2021 Tour de Whidbey are underway. Find out more here.
This non-competitive mountain bike ride is held annually in conjunction with the Mussel Fest in Coupeville, WA. There are three routes to choose from in varying levels of difficulty that cover most of the Fort Ebey/Kettles trails network. For up-to-date information on the ride, click here, and for the Musselfest click here.
Searching for more fun activities on Whidbey Island? You can continue exploring our community blog here!