Living on the Water is a Lifestyle

Posted June 8 2016, 3:00 PM PDT by Kelly Weisfield subscribe to post Email-icon
Buying Waterfront Properties – What You Should Know Before You Take the Plunge

Posted in Luxury Homes, Premier Event , Selling, Buying, and Living by Kelly Weisfield

Living on the Water Is a Lifestyle

Enjoying direct and private access to the water is typically the primary motivator for buyers seeking a waterfront property. As such, it’s really important to consider how you intend to use your waterfront. For example, if you’re a boater, evaluate the moorage at the property. Is the water deep enough for your particular type of boat? Is there a boat lift to keep the boat out of the water when not in use, or do you plan to dry dock for the winter? If you’re a swimmer, is the lakeshore accessible to wade in, or do you have to jump off a dock or platform? If you have jet skis, sail boats or other water toys, is there a place to store them or moor them? If you’re looking forward to peaceful days on your stand-up paddleboard, is the water in front of your home typically choppy or calm? When you entertain, is there ample parking for guests or space for visitors to tie up their boats on your dock?

Your directional orientation will also impact your waterfront living experience. East-facing waterfront will allow you to enjoy wonderful sunrises. If you prefer sunsets, west-facing waterfront is preferable. South-facing properties generally enjoy light all day but can also experience more direct weather.

Focus on the Property More than the House

The golden rule of real estate, “location, location, location,” is even more true when considering a waterfront property. The ratio of land value to total property value is generally higher in waterfront properties. You can always update and change your home, but you cannot change the location. Consider especially the following features of the property:

View. One of the great perks of being on the water is enjoying the beautiful views. Understand if your view is protected by CC&Rs or view easements. If there are any view-obstructing trees or structures, identify whose property they are on and your ability to maintain your view.
Proximity to the Water. If the home is not close to the shoreline, consider how you’ll access the water. If you plan to entertain lakeside, think about how you’ll get food, beverages and supplies down to the waterfront easily.
Privacy. The property’s feeling of privacy usually corresponds to its waterfront frontage. The larger your waterfront frontage, the more buffer you’ll have from your neighbors.
Topography of the Land. Is the waterfront property on a level lot or a steep slope? Access to the water is easier on a flat lot – many lakefront lots are steep and can be difficult to get up and down to. Again, this impacts the value of the property

Understand What You Can and Can’t Do with the Property

Waterfront properties are subject to additional regulations and codes from various local, state and federal agencies. There are very strict regulations on shoreline development. If the property requires a new dock or bulkhead, it’s important to know that this can be a very challenging process given the multiple government agencies involved. These limitations are likely to get even more restrictive in the near future as the shoreline regulations are being updated. Sooner is better than later in applying for any permits related to docks, bulkheads and changes to the shoreline.

Finally, if you’re planning to build or significantly remodel, do a thorough feasibility analysis given city codes and shoreline regulations. New construction often cannot be built as close to the water as the existing structure under current code. In addition to meeting with the city, engage an architect and builder who have significant experience building waterfront properties in your area to help advise you about what likely limitations there are on your particular parcel.

Every Waterfront Property Is Unique – Learn the Nuances

Living on the water means that you have an additional set of factors to consider concerning your waterfront experience. For example, what is the boating traffic like in front of your home? Is it a busy channel or near a favorite fishing spot where boaters tend to congregate? Look closely at the properties of your waterfront neighbors: is there a tear-down next door so there will likely be a construction barge in front of you for the next few years? Does your neighbor have a huge yacht moored all summer that blocks your view? Is there a public beach nearby or community club that will cause noise late into the evenings?

If you’re considering shared waterfront, be especially thorough in understanding your rights and ownership interests. Some shared waterfront properties have a specifically deeded boat slip, though many others share an interest in a community dock. The system for moorage assignment and rotation can often lead to contention among neighbors, so it’s important to learn as much as you can about how the shared waterfront and is handled in your neighborhood.

There is a reason that owning a waterfront home is a life-long dream for so many people – it brings an extraordinary lifestyle. As a significant financial investment and very unique type of real estate, it’s especially critical to engage professionals who understand the complex issues inherent in waterfront properties. Equipped with the right expertise, guidance and knowledge, you’ll be ready to turn to your waterfront dream into a reality.

King County Had Almost Half of 2015’s 30 Most Competitive Neighborhoods in America

We probably don’t need to tell you that 2015 was a crazy year in real estate, especially in our city. Bidding wars and listings lasting mere days on the market is something we’ve all grown accustomed to. But it turns out we’re not alone. Redfin recently came out with a list of the 30 most competitive neighborhoods from all across the U.S.. What’s the most mind blowing thing about this list? Of the 30 neighborhoods listed, 13 of them are in King County.

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Seattle neighborhoods that made it onto this list are Roosevelt (4th), Phinney Ridge (9th), Stevens (11th), Greenwood (12th), Victory Heights (16th),Green Lake (17th), Madrona (20th), West Woodland (22nd). I mean, we all knew it was stormy out there, but this felt like a snow storm in Waikiki. It’s hard to say exactly what 2016 has in store, but our very own Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, has a few ideas (such as expecting that housing in Seattle will continue to appreciate in value, but at a slightly lower rate than 2015).

Read more on Seattle Curbed.

15 Islands You Need in Your Life: No Passport Required

CHECK OUT #11!

By
Deal Expert, Chicago

Stunning, shimmering sunsets across the water, the peaceful lullaby of waves crashing and the wind blowing, the feeling of truly being removed for your everyday life … yep, islands are pretty much the best. While it’s wonderful to get that coveted passport stamp, there are plenty of islands to escape to that don’t require a passport.

Here are 15 of our favorites.

NORTHEAST

1. Mount Desert Island, Maine

Home to Acadia National Park and the historic, upscale town of Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island is 108 square miles of rocky coastlines, evergreen forests and crystal-clear lakes, not to mention some of America’s oldest luxuries. See for yourself why this stunning, glacier-carved landscape inspired the likes of Rockefellers, Fords, Vanderbilts and Carnegies to contribute to its conservation.

How to get there: Mount Desert island is accessible by car via Bar Harbor Road. Out-of-state visitors can fly into Bangor International Airport (an hour away), or fly into Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport (15 minutes away).

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2. Shelter Island, New York

Located off the eastern tip of Long Island, Shelter Island is pretty much the Hampton’s charming, less high-maintenance little sister. One third of the tiny island is owned by the Nature Conservancy to protect its natural marshlands, and it is full of nature and bird-watching trails. The rest of the island boasts some of the oldest buildings in America. Shelter Island Heights is officially recognized on the National Register of Historic Places for its collection of rural residences that have remained essentially unchanged since 1872.

How to get there: Shelter Island is about a three- or four-hour drive from downtown New York via I-495 E. There are no bridges, so commuters must take the South Ferry to the island. Out-of-state visitors will find it easiest to fly into New York City and drive from there.

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SOUTHEAST

3. St. Simons Island, Georgia

Ranked as America’s No. 1 Favorite Beach Town in 2014, St. Simons Island offers “a triple threat of southern charm, serenity, and affordability” (Travel + Leisure). The 18-square-mile island amid the Atlantic is dotted with miles of pristine white-sand beaches, ancient oaks and lush green golf courses. A bike or trolley ride around the island delivers you to some of the area’s oldest plantations or to the iconic 1872 lighthouse.

How to get there: St. Simons Island is accessible by car via Torras Causeway. Out-of-state visitors can fly into Jacksonville International Airport or Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (90 minutes away), or into the Brunswick Golden Isles Airport (20 minutes away).

Be sure to stay at The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, which is now offering $70 in exclusive extras for Travelzoo members.

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4. Ocracoke, North Carolina

Majestic wild ponies, 13 miles of pristine sand beaches and the oldest lighthouse on the East Coast — these are only a few of the highlights of Ocracoke, the outermost island of the Outer Banks. First settled by colonists in the 1750s, the island serves as a perfect place for seaside recreation, exploration and relaxation. It’s also a history-lovers paradise with its 250+ historic structures and Civil War artifacts.

How to get here: Ocracoke is only accessible by ferry, boat or small plane. Out-of-state visitors can fly into Norfolk International Airport or Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport — both are about two hours from the island.

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FLORIDA & CARIBBEAN

5. Amelia Island, Florida

An enchanting blend of French, Spanish, English and Mexican influences have shaped the landscape and culture of this 400+-year-old Florida island. Bask in 13 miles of Atlantic coastline, try your luck at one of the island’s gorgeous golf courses or take a horse-drawn carriage down 50 blocks of unique housing, shops and dining in the historic district of Fernandina Beach. Whatever you choose, you’ll understand why the island has consistently been recognized as one of the Top 10 Islands in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler.

How to get there: Amelia Island is accessible by car via FL-200. Out-of-state visitors can fly into Jacksonville International Airport (30 minutes away).

Stay at the 4-star Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort and check out these awesome activities while you’re there.

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6. Key West, Florida

The combination of remote isolation, subtropical temperatures and breathtaking landscapes has made Key West the popular escape for everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Jimmy Buffet. Take a stroll down any of the island’s palm-lined streets and you’ll find century-old pastel gingerbread-trim homes, world-class seafood eateries, bars and small shops that call Key West home. Take to the water for some of the best fishing, diving, snorkeling and boating in the world.

How to get there: The easiest way to get to the island is to fly into Key West International Airport. Visitors can also access the island by luxurious cruise.

Be sure to stay at one of these hotels and check out these activities while you’re there.

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7. Vieques, Puerto Rico

Nestled just 7 miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico, Vieques is a Navy testing site turned beach resort oasis. Not only does this island have the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world and the largest natural wildlife refuge in the Caribbean, but it also has over 40 sand beaches. If that weren’t enough natural beauty for you, there’s also wild horses freely galloping on those beaches. Yep, it’s pretty much Puerto Rico’s best-kept secret.

How to get there: From San Juan International Airport, a 25-minute flight to Vieques starts around $220. Visitors can also fly to Vieques from San Juan Isla Grande airport. Or visitors can fly into Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and then drive 55 minutes to Fajardo. From there, visitors can take the Vieques-Fajardo ferry, which will take about 90 minutes.

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8. St. John, US. Virgin Islands

In 1956, Laurance Rockefeller donated 5,000 acres of St. John’s land to the National Park service, making the island one of the most naturally unspoiled in the Caribbean. Today, visitors can revel in the unbelievable hills, beaches and bays that make up two thirds of the island or take to the bustling streets of Cruz Bay, the island’s main town. Whether you’re planning on staying in a world-class luxury resort or basic campground, you’re sure to become enthralled with the island’s history, culture and natural wonders.

How to get there: St. John doesn’t have an airport, so visitors must fly into the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas and then continue to St. John by ferry or car barge.

The trip from the airport takes about 90 minutes. Cruises can also take visitors through the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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MIDWEST
(Yes, there are islands in the Midwest)

9. Isle Royale, Michigan

Isle Royale National Park is “a destination for the truly dedicated explorer” (National Geographic). Brave adventurers can trek rough and wild trails, encounter wolves and moose and make camp wherever they end their days — there are no designated campsites on this 45-mile-long island.

How to get there: The only way to get to the island is by boat or seaplane. The Thunder Bay International Airport in Ontario is the closest airport to Isle Royale.

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10. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Located just off the tip of the Michigan mitten in Lake Huron, Mackinac Island packs fascinating history, small-town charm and natural beauty into 3.8 square miles. The island is a National Historic Landmark having undergone extensive historic preservation and restoration, and it is known for its unusual ban on almost all motor vehicles – it hasn’t had cars on it since the 1890s. The island is also the site of one of America’s oldest state parks and some seriously delicious fudge. During peak season, 10 thousand lbs of fudge leave the island each day.

How to get there: The only way to get to Mackinac Island is to hop on the St. Ignace-Mackinac Ferry. Out-of-state visitors can fly into Chippewa County International Airport, drive about 40 minutes to St. Ignace and then take the ferry from there.

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WEST COAST & HAWAII

11. Orcas Island, Washington

Rolling hills, shimmering lakes, quaint hamlets and lush woodlands cover the 57 square miles of Orcas Island, known by locals as “the gem of the San Juans.” Hike, bike, horseback ride, swim or cruise — whatever you decide, you’ll be sure to encounter extraordinary natural beauty, wildlife, friendly people and that much needed breath of fresh air.

How to get there: The Washington State Ferry will take visitors from Anacortes to the island. Out-of-state visitors can fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport or Vancouver International Airport — both are about 75 minutes away.

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12. Catalina Island, California

Just 22 miles out from LA’s coastline, Catalina Island “gives you a glimpse of what undeveloped Southern California once looked like” (Fodor’s), with its quaint beach communities and unspoiled natural landscapes. The island’s access to the area’s unusually clean water also makes it a favorite of divers, snorkelers and kayakers, though other adventures like eco-themed zip lining are also available. Visitors and explorers of the island may notice the large population of bison on the island. Allegedly, a film crew brought bison to the island in the 1920s for a movie and left them, which is why there are over 200 roaming the island today. Catalina is also known for being the place where Mr. Wrigley brought his Chicago Cubs for spring training from the 1920s-1950s and for being the site of one of Marilyn Monroe’s homes.

How to get there: An hour long boat ride or 15-minute helicopter ride from San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach or Dana Point delivers visitors to Catalina Island. Out-of-state visitors can fly into Long Beach Airport, John Wayne Airport or Los Angeles International Airport.

Be sure to stay at one of these hotels while you’re there. Or, check into La Paloma Las Flores, located just a six-minute walk from the beach, with our deal that saves 70% on current rates.

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13. Santa Cruz Island, California

With a portion of the island managed by the National Park Service and the rest being owned by the Nature Conservancy, Santa Cruz Island is a place of truly unique natural wonder. More than 600 types of plants, 140 kinds of land birds, 11 species of mammals, five types of reptiles and three species of amphibian call the 96-square-mile island home and so does one of the largest and deepest sea caves in the world. Maybe Darwin should have studied here instead …

How to get here: An Island Packer boat will take visitors from Ventura to the island. Out-of-state visitors can fly into Los Angeles International Airport and drive to Ventura (90 minutes away).

It’s important to note that there is no transportation available on the island — all areas must be accessed by foot, kayak or private boat.

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14. Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands and boasts one of the most unique geographical landscapes in the world. The island is full of lush rain forests (a product of over 440 inches of rainfall each year) soaring mountains, steep sea cliffs, sandy beaches, coral reefs, small stretches of desert and even swamps. It’s no wonder the island has been the site of more than 50 movies, including “South Pacific,” “Jurassic Park” and “The Descendants,” and is considered an unparalleled treasure of the Hawaiian islands.

How to get there: The easiest way to get to Kauai is to fly into Lihue Airport.

While you’re there, save big with these hotels and deals.

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PACIFIC

15. Guam

Despite being just 200 square miles, Guam is the largest of the Mariana Islands and chock full of cosmopolitan charm and excitement. Walk the city streets and you’ll find a fascinating mix of Asian, European and Polynesian cultures not to mention gorgeous beaches and lookouts, delicious fusions of cuisine and fascinating glimpses into the island’s storied past. Fun Fact: You can reach a white sandy beach within 15 minutes from any point on the island.

How to get there: The easiest way to get to Guam is to fly into Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport – the flight is 12.5-hours long from California.

Note: In order to visit the island without a passport, you must get there without hitting a foreign port or place. It is also recommended that travelers bring a government issued photo ID and a copy of their birth certificate.

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Just Hanging Out

This was taken by Diane from her home on Buck Mountain.

Sun in the Madronas

taken by diane whitley

View from the Orcas Island Ferry

This was taken by Deborah Hansen, a broker in our Windermere Real EState/Orcas Island office.

Providing Food for the Holidays and the Rest of the Year.

It’s that time of year again when many of our Windermere offices are out in their communities helping to collect donations and raise money for their local area food banks. Many people rely on the food they get from food banks to feed their families. Not having the luxury to purchase their own food means that many families have to make do with what’s available at the time. You can help make the season brighter for these families by donating items that are needed most.

During the holidays, canned pumpkin and yams, cranberry sauce and box stuffing, can help families have at least some of the traditional holiday fare. Shelf-stable protein sources are also important, especially when families cannot afford to buy meat. Donate canned tuna, salmon, chicken, and other meats, or canned chili, soups and stews. Peanut butter, nuts and trail mix are also good choices. Pantry staples such as whole grain rice and pasta, oatmeal, flour, cooking oils, and canned vegetables are always needed. Perhaps the best way you can help food banks is to donate money because they have resources that allow them to stretch dollars to feed as many families as possible.

Please remember those in need this upcoming Holiday Season and donate to the food bank.

Dog Friendly Vacations

Did you know that according to Sunset magazine.  Orcas Island is the number 1 dog friendly vacation spot on the west coast?

Yeppers, it’s true!

http://www.sunset.com/travel/dog-friendly-vacations

Top 22 dog-friendly vacations

You can take your best pal with you on these getaways around the West

Turtleback Mountain Preserve

Dog-friendly trips: Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Photo by John Clark; written by Bob Friel

Orcas Island, WA

Play: After (on-leash) hiking in Turtleback Mountain Preserve (sjclandbank.org), swimming the cool waters of North Beach(orcasislandchamber.com), and romping in Eastsound’s off-leash dog park (orcasdogpark.org), your pup will learn to love the sight of the island ferry (dogs ride free; wsdot.wa.gov).Stay: West Beach Resort ($; $18 per night pet fee; westbeachresort.com)has cabins on a ½-mile dog- and family-friendly beach.

COSTAL LIVING ALSO THINKS ORCAS ISLAND IS ONE OF THE BEST DOG FRIENDLY VACATIONS:

http://dailycatch.coastalliving.com/2015/11/12/dog-vacations-california-oregon-washington/?xid=socialflow_twitter

Halloween on Orcas Island

One of the many reasons I love living on Orcas Island is Halloween. All the merchants in town decorate then pass out candy to all the little and big monsters! Fire pits are set up, hot apple cider is passed out, pumpkin carving and of course Trick or Treaters are everywhere. The costumes are inventive and the adults seem to have more fun than the kids!

Sunrise on Orcas Island

This was taken by Bob Shipstad at his home on Orcas Island