Destination WhidbeyHomePlaces March 4, 2024

Tides around Whidbey

Find someone about six feet tall, then imagine another six-foot-tall friend standing on their head, not their shoulders but their head. Tricky but illustrative. They’d still have to hold their breath if they stood at the low tide line. The tides around Whidbey Island can rise and fall about twelve feet. That’s a lot of water. About twice a day, the Pacific Ocean flows into Puget Sound and flows back out. And yet, it usually happens quietly.

Why do Tides happen?

The moon and the sun pull Earth’s waters around the planet. The land gets in the way. Depending on the shape of the shore and the land underwater, the water piles up and drains. In Puget Sound that’s filling a basin 100 miles long across an area of about 1,000 square miles. It all has to flow past Whidbey. Imagine the traffic jam.

Where does all the water go?

Most of the water flows past the west side of the island. Admiralty Inlet is miles across. Some goes through Deception Pass, which is much smaller, and hence the currents are much higher. Particularly at the Pass, but throughout Puget Sound, we can get white water conditions as currents scour geography, continuing the carving of the rocks and the gravels that define Whidbey’s shape. Swimmers, divers, and kayakers beware.


The currents are noticeable, but islanders are more aware of the tides. Sandy beaches can have shallow and long tidelands. Penn Cove, Dugualla Bay, Useless Bay are a few of the beaches where it can be a long walk from the high tide line out to the low tide line. Cultus Bay drains out so far that any crabs wanting to stay wet have a mile-long commute. 


Where some see a lot of grey sand, birders and kids, clammers and beachcombers can find plenty to watch, play with, and harvest. Look up and watch eagles duel with osprey over fish. Long-legged heron may define the shelf before the drop-off to the Sounds’ incredible depths. 

What should people be aware of?

Boaters may find themselves checking their charts for hazards, or rapidly retreating from the sound of something scraping their boat’s hull. Often enough, some boat will anchor at high tide, then find it tipping over as the water recedes. That’s one way to wake up. Fisherfolk may want to check on the depths they’re casting to. Crab pots need to stay submerged. Beach walks can be interrupted by a returning tide even trapping unassuming walkers in the worst scenarios.


Anyone setting foot out there should check whether they’ll be trying to walk on firm sand, something a bit squishier, and unfortunately, occasionally needing to be extracted from shoe-sucking muck before the tide comes back in. There are many stories of unaware tourists or newcomers getting stuck in an almost quicksand like muck. No one has lost their lives but plenty of flip-flops and shoes have been lost.


Homeowners have another perspective. Waterfront properties are considered premium, for good reason. Unobstructed views of the water and its wildlife are sweet. Being able to launch a boat from the beach can be convenient. Posting sunset or sunrise photos can make an impressive photo gallery on social media.


Homeowners pay for the privilege. Depending on their local geology, they may have to deal with seawalls, maintaining a slope, even accessing the beach in some cases can be difficult to impossible. Low-bank waterfront lots will get you to the waves a lot faster but uncomfortably so, for some.


Tides don’t always act the same way every day. 


Every year there are tides that are higher and lower than normal. Near the New Year, there will be King Tides, tides that are higher than normal because of the relative position of the moon and the Earth’s tilt. Take photos, if you can. Scientists are trying to better understand how better to predict the time, size, and impact of the King Tides. They even have instructions about what to include in the photo to make it useful as data.


Storms happen, too. Storms usually happen with lower air pressure zones. Low pressure literally means less air pressure pushing down on the water. It seems like it wouldn’t have much of an effect, but check the Weather Channel’s commentary whenever an ocean storm is hitting land. 


Put those last two things together and a storm surge during a King Tide can be impressive, and something to respect. Look at some of the driftwood logs that seem so far back from the waves. There’s a good chance some storm set them there. That’s a good time to be somewhere safer. 


FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has compiled data and produced maps for the nation’s coastlines because floods and storms happen. If you’re interested in a particular address or neighborhood, you can zoom in to see what the officials expect. Some areas have surprising results because some Whidbey land was wet but is now dry thanks to dikes. Bayview, which doesn’t have a view of a bay, once was an inland harbor. 


Nature is wild, by nature. Waterfront views are wonderful, but that wonder takes a bit of effort to live beside responsibly. There is one solution to waterfront views that are more care-free: make sure it is fresh water. Lakeside houses don’t have to deal with tides. Their waters aren’t as dynamic, but can be equally peaceful. You just lose the bragging rights of owning something that touches the Pacific Ocean.


With so many options and such a variety of things to consider you need a shoreline and local real estate expert to navigate a purchase with confidence. Call us today and after we ask you a number of questions about your specific needs and goals we will match you with the perfect professional to guide the way!


If you are considering moving to a waterfront property, talk to your agent about how tides might affect your property. Don’t have an agent? Connect with us.


Real Estate December 22, 2023

Navigating Washington’s Agency Agreements Changes

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.


Real Estate November 6, 2023

Q3 2023 Gardner Report


If you have further questions and would like to connect with one of our Realtors contact us here.

Real Estate April 24, 2023

Real Estate 101

Real estate refers to the buying, selling, and renting of land, buildings, and other properties. The real estate market is a vital part of the economy. Real Estate can be an excellent investment opportunity for those looking to purchase property for personal use or as a rental income source. Check out our article “Is it better to buy vs. rent” to discuss how some people view their homes as investments. Consider following Matthew Gardner’s YouTube channel to stay in the know about the market here.

Location, location, location: 

One important aspect of real estate is understanding the location and condition of a property. The location of a property greatly affects its value, as properties in desirable areas will typically be more valuable than those in less desirable areas. The condition of a property is also important, as a property that is well-maintained and updated will generally be more valuable than one that is in poor condition. If you have questions about this and would like to discuss it in more detail message us here:

Costs and Financing:

Real estate is expensive, so an important aspect of the real estate market is understanding the various financing options available to buyers. Some buyers may choose to pay for a property in cash, while others may choose to take out a mortgage to finance the purchase. Additionally, buyers may choose to utilize various government programs, such as FHA of VA loans, to assist with financing. Need help finding a lender? Give us a call at 360.675.5953.

Types of Real Estate:

In addition to residential properties, there also commercial real estate and industrial real estate. Commercial properties are used for business purposes and include office buildings, retail spaces, and warehouses. Industrial properties are typically used for manufacturing, and include factories, warehouses and distribution centers. Investing in commercial or industrial properties can provide a steady stream of rental income. We can help you with these purchases too.

When and How to Ask for Help:

Real estate can be a complex and nuanced field, and it is important to do research and seek the advice of experts before making any major real estate decision. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or rent property, having a solid understanding of the real estate market and the various factors that can affect property value can help you make informed decisions. If you have questions do not hesitate to ask. Connect with us here.
Perhaps your interest in becoming an agent is what urged you to read this article, Real Estate 101. If you are interested in becoming an agent and want to learn more about how to get into the industry email us at and we will connect with you.
Gardner ReportReal EstateStats August 3, 2022

Western Washington Q2 Gardner Report

Western Washington Q2 Gardner Report

Western Washington Q2 Gardner Report

Western Washington Q2 Gardner Report

Real EstateStats May 16, 2022

Q1 Whidbey Island Market Report 2022

Q1 Whidbey Island Market Report 2022

Q1 Whidbey Island Market Report 2022



Q1, 2022- Quarterly Stats, Windermere Real Estate, Housing Market, Island Life, Lifestyle on Whidbey


Interested in digging deeper into the stats on Whidbey Island? Check out more stats here. Whether you are considering buying or selling let’s connect so that you have a trusted real estate advisor on your side who can help you strategize to achieve your dream of home ownership.

Gardner ReportReal EstateStats May 10, 2022

Q1 Gardner Report 2022

Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, Gardner Report

Gardner ReportHomeReal EstateStats February 3, 2022

The Gardner Report: Q4 2021

Real Estate December 13, 2021

Thinking the Housing Market is Going to Slow down this Winter? Think Again!

Last week’s article, Why You Should NOT Wait to List Your House Right Now couldn’t have been more TRUE!  Americans have more motivation than ever to buy a home. Whether buyers are taking advantage of today’s low mortgage rates or they feel the increased need for flexibility of working from home, we have seen an influx of buyers that just doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Experts reveal that buyers are making their moves right now, generating an unseasonably robust housing market compared to the historical past for this time of year.

As the fall season comes to an end we typically experience a decrease in demand…

…however, today as we move into the winter months we are witnessing quite the opposite. Industry leaders are boasting the strong market saying things like, “The demand for housing in the United States has reached a fever pitch, a trend that opposes the norm of this time of the year when the market cools as the winter months set in.” says the M Report, and Mark Fleming, the Chief Economist for First American who says, “Strong demographic demand will continue to act as the wind in the housing market’s sails.” But it doesn’t stop there, the highly esteemed Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Lawrence Yun explains, “This solid buying is a testament to demand still being relatively high, as it is occurring during a time when inventory is still markedly low. The notable gain in October assures that total existing-home sale in 2021 will exceed 6 million, which will shape up to the best performance in 15 years.” Some might ask, What about November? First American Deputy Chief Economist Odeta Kushi stated, “So far in November, purchase applications point to another strong month in sales. Still, low rates and demographic demand supports this strength, even as affordability and inventory headwinds remain.”

How does this impact the housing market for Winter? 

Buyers are active in the market and are competing for homes to purchase. With the momentum that is coming out of the fall, there is every indication that leads experts to believe that the winter housing market is picking up steam, making for a much busier season than the typical year.  As we have seen in a plethora of ways, 2020 and 2021 were anything but typical for real estate, and from the looks of it, 2022 will quickly be added to that list.

At the end of the day…

… if you have been considering selling there’s no time like the present. Whether you are thinking about buying a home or selling your house, maybe even both – let’s connect to determine if this winter is your best time to make your move. Email us or call us today!

Oak HarborReal Estate September 16, 2021

Is the Oak Harbor Housing Market Getting Squishy?

Written by: Kristen Stavros

16 September 2021

There is a general feeling amongst brokers that the Oak Harbor market has softened up just a bit. As Branch Manager and Co-owner of Windermere Whidbey Island I pay close attention to what my brokers are seeing and feeling out there in the market. When I begin to sense a theme I go to the numbers to see if they are telling the same story.

Is the Oak Harbor Housing Market Getting Squishy?

I’ll be really curious to see how these numbers change when we can add September data to them but I’m seeing the teensiest sign that there may be some easing.

For the first time all year, we’ve seen a dip in closed sales in August.

At the same time, new listings continue to rise every month.

Average days on market has plateaued.

Does this mean buyers can start getting homes for less $$$?

The answer is emphatically, NO. As you can see from the graphs below prices continue to climb, inventory is still at a record low, and homes are still moving off the market incredibly fast. This just means that instead of being up against 10 other buyers you now may be up against just 2-3 other qualified buyers. Instead of great homes going for up to 10-20% over list price, the good ones may just end up 5-8% over list. The pressure on buyers is still decidedly strong but the dial has been turned down ever so slightly.

Average Price Per Square Foot.

Months’ Supply of Homes (based on closed sales).

Average Days on Market.

Sellers still have a fantastic advantage in this market but things are changing weekly so we are encouraging sellers to not get too greedy or assured because doing so may mean you overprice the market, lose the opportunity to garner multiple offers out of the gate, and ultimately make less profit on your home.

Working with a smart and sophisticated listing agent has never been more important in the previous 3 years than it is RIGHT NOW. You need someone who is really going to take their time analyzing the market against your specific home before giving you pricing advice. Call us today to be connected with a market pricing expert!

This analysis focuses just on the Oak Harbor market but we have the same analysis going on for all of Whidbey Island! If you are interested in knowing more about any aspect of Whidbey Island real estate let us know and we are happy to share.