Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Open House June 24

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Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor will host a public open house on Saturday, June 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The following events and activities will take place throughout the day:

  • 5K Run along the flight line
  • Displays and demonstrations of NAS Whidbey Island Aircraft, which may include the EA-18G Growler, P3-C Orion, P-8A Poseidon, MH-60S Knighthawk, and the C-40A Clipper
  • Navy Band performance
  • Guided bus tours
  • Search and Rescue/K-9 Working Dog Demonstration
  • Fire Department Static Displays and Rescue Demonstrations
  • Explosive Ordinance Demonstration
  • Climbing wall
  • Children’s Bounce House
  • Aviation memorabilia

 

Community Profile: San Juan Islands

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The San Juan Islands are a chain of 172 islands scattered in the Strait of Juan de Fuca at the northwest tip of Washington State.  Although easily accessible from Seattle, the San Juan Islands enjoy a far different weather pattern with sunny weather and low rainfall created by the Olympic Mountain rain shadow.

Fidalgo Island (Anacortes, WA) and Whidbey Island (Oak Harbor and home of Whidbey NAS) are the most populated islands. Whidbey Island is connected by Fidalgo Island by the Deception Pass Bridge, as well as being serviced from the southern end by the Washington State Ferry. In addition to being connected to Whidbey Island, Fidalgo Island is connected to the mainland by two other Bridges. Because these two islands are so easily accessed by car, they are often not considered part of the San Juan Islands although geologically they are part of the island chain.

Most of the other San Juan Islands are sparsely populated by humans, but fish, whales, eagles, and other wildlife are abundant. The most accessible islands are San Juan Island, Shaw Island, Lopez Island, and Orcas Island – the islands serviced by the Washington State Ferry system. The ferry system carries both foot passengers and cars and the main ferry terminal is in Anacortes, WA which is just 80 miles north of Seattle.

The most populated Island not connected by bridge is San Juan Island with the town of Friday Harbor. The options for transportation to the island include scheduled land planes out of Seattle, Bellingham or Anacortes, WA. State Ferry service out of Sidney B.C. or Anacortes, WA; float planes out of Seattle, WA, charter planes, tour boats, water taxi, private boats, charter boats, private planes, private boats, or catch a ride with a friend. You can take your car, motorcycle, or bicycle aboard the ferry. If you walk on board you can rent a car, bicycle, moped, or take a bus or taxi once you reach San Juan Island.

Each San Juan Island has a very different culture and lifestyle. For example, Blakely Island is a private island which has a paved airstrip, water taxi service, a marina, a small seasonal store, and fuel, and has only a few year round residents. The smallest ferry served island is Shaw with only about 200 permanent residents. Portions of Decateur Island are serviced by a boat owned by residents; however there is also water taxi and an air field. Guemes Island and Lummi Island are service by a Skagit County Ferry.

Almost all of the islands inhabited have an air strip, some paved and some a little on the rustic side. The less populated the island the slower the lifestyle and island time takes on a new meaning from island to island.

At Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC we often have clients that want a vacation home or are looking for a place to live a slower lifestyle but they do not know which island that they want, and since each island boasts to be the best the options can be confusing. Our full time professional REALTORS¬ģ have been very successful in helping our clients chose the island with the lifestyle that is the best match. We have sold waterfront and water view estates from Hood Canal to San Juan Island, and would love to help you through the decision making process of finding your dream vacation home or next destination.

We can be reached daily at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com or at (360) 941-3734.

Community Profile: Whidbey Island

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Deception Pass Bridge, a National Historic Monument since 1982, is actually two spans that link Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island (Anacortes) over Canoe Pass and Deception Pass. The bridge is one of the scenic wonders and destinations of the Pacific Northwest.

With a population of nearly 72,000 people, Whidbey Island is the largest island in Washington State, sitting between Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula. Whidbey is home to the cities and towns of Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Langley, Freeland, Greenbank, Clinton, and Bayview; all of which fit snugly into Island County.

Oak Harbor is Whidbey Island’s largest incorporated city and home to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Named for the Garry Oak trees which grace its skyline, the city’s growth coincided with two major events: the building of Deception Pass Bridge on July 31, 1935, and the completion of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on September 21, 1942.

Whidbey Island’s popularity stems from the amazing views of Puget Sound and the plethora of tourist activities available. Explore the waters of Puget Sound on a scuba diving adventure, glide across the sea in silence on a kayak trip to visit the orca and gray whales, sea lions and seals, starfish and crab, and eagles and the porpoises!

For thousands of years, the only people who occupied Whidbey Island were the four Pacific Northwest Indian Tribes. In the spring of 1792, Captain George Vancouver explored the area and named every mountain, island, and waterway he could find. Whidbey Island was named on June 10, 1792 after Joseph Whidbey who proved it was an island when he discovered Deception Pass.

Aside from the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, the island has a strong military history. In 1890, the construction of Fort Casey began. The three-fort defense system was built by the US Army to protect the entrance to Puget Sound. Along with this fort, Fort Flagler and Fort Worden, which are located on the Olympic Peninsula, make up the “Triangle of Fire.” Twenty years after Fort Casey was built, it became the fourth largest military post and was no doubt the most beautiful. Fort Casey is open to the public, allowing visitors to climb on the ladders to inspect the guns, walk along bluff-side bunkers, and through the dark tunnels of the past.

March 19: Free State Parks Day

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Deception Pass and other parks throughout Washington will allow entrance without a Discover Pass on Sunday, March 19, in recognition of Washington State Parks turning 104 years old.

The Discover Pass is regularly $30 for an annual pass and $10 for a day pass and is required for vehicle access to state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources.

Additional free days this year include April 15, April 22, June 3, and June 10.

For more information, visit www.DiscoverPass.wa.gov.

Sharpes Corner/Hwy. 20 Roundabout to Begin Summer 2018

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More than 30,000 cars travel through the intersection at Sharpes Corner on Highway 20 in Anacortes every day, and there are about 14 accidents at the same intersection each year.  As the main route to and from Anacortes, the Washington State Ferries route to the San Juan Islands and Victoria, B.C. as well as the only land access point to Whidbey Island, traffic worsens during the summer and is often stalled, causing high-speed, rear-end collisions.

After a series of public forums, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) found that moving forward with a roundabout was the best option and will reduce all collisions by 40 percent.  Projected to begin summer 2018 for completion fall 2019, the roundabout will also allow for better traffic circulation and reduce travel time through the intersection by 80 percent.

For more information about the Sharpes Corner roundabout at Highway 20 in Anacortes, visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr20/sharpescornerinterchange/.

5 Things to Avoid When Applying for a Home Loan

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When applying for a home loan, many buyers are unaware that there are things they should avoid as to not impact their credit report.  Here are five things applicants should avoid:

 

  • Postpone purchasing major items such as a new vehicle, furniture, or appliances.¬† If the new purchases increase the amount of debt you owe each month, it is possible to be disqualified from the loan altogether or for available funding to be cut.¬† Your real estate agent can provide more information.
  • Avoid moving assets between bank accounts.¬† Transferring funds could complicate the application process and if something appears out of the ordinary, you must disclose and document the source of funds for each deposit.
  • Avoid changing jobs.¬† A new job may involve a probation period or a change in compensation, and most commissions or bonuses must be averaged over a two year period with the same employer to qualify.
  • Avoid consolidating bills before speaking with your lender.¬† The loan officer can advise you if this needs to be done, or if it is possible to consolidate simultaneously with the loan closing date.
  • Avoid packing or shipping information needed for the loan application.¬† Do not pack documents such as W-2 forms, tax returns, divorce decrees or anything you may need to finalize things with your lender as duplicates can take weeks to obtain, potentially stalling the closing date.

With all of your real estate needs in Anacortes, Skagit County and Island County, please call Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. at (360) 941-3734 or by email at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

Selling Your Home During Winter: Dos & Don’ts

While it looks like the plants on this home are still growing, the mulch gives a much cleaner look than dead grass.

While it looks like the plants on this home are still growing, the mulch gives a much cleaner look than dead grass.

Staging: While decorating your home for the holidays, it is easy to get carried away with decorations and unintentionally hide some of your home’s greatest features.  Keep decorating to a minimum to avoid clutter and not to overwhelm visitors.  Having an inviting and cozy home is a great way to help a potential buyer view what they could be purchasing.

Pricing: During the wintertime, home prices play a huge role in whether people will look at your home. You want to stay away from pricing your home too high because your house may stay on the market longer. To price correctly, not only reference similar houses and their closing prices, but also the prices of homes for sale currently on the real estate market that have similar features. Here is a great form to figure out that perfect selling price.

Schedule a home tune-up: Hire a home inspector or specific professionals to check-up on your furnace, chimney and roof. These are especially important during the wintertime as many people will be thinking about heating costs. If you know there may be problems, consider inexpensive upgrades such as adding insulation to your attic.

Curb Appeal: Despite the grass turning brown during winter, you can still make your yard look appealing.  Pulling dead plants, pruning trees and adding mulch to flower beds can make a big difference while nothing is growing.

Maximize your lighting: Make sure both the exterior and interior of your home are well lit. Since natural light isn’t going to have much to offer during this time, a nicely lit room with lighting that isn’t too harsh is a great way to warm up a home.  Holiday lighting on the outside of your house can also make it look more inviting.

If you are considering buying a home in Skagit County, Oak Harbor, or Anacortes, a great place to start is our website. If you are looking to put your house on the market in the coming months or just want to entertain the option of how much your house is worth, contact us today at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com or by calling (360) 941-3734.

 

Ready to repaint your walls?

Painting the walls of your home can be an exciting way to make your home feel like new, but it can also be quite intimidating and overwhelming.  With so many options out there, how will you ever decide which color or colors to use?

Find inspiration

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Use the items already in your home.  Look at the art on your walls, or the colors in your ornamental rug, or even your furniture.  Or be inspired by nature.  Do you love the beach, the desert, the rainforests or the beauty of Anacortes, WA… ?  Try perusing websites like Pinterest for interior design ideas.  As you think of what images inspire you, take into consideration their colors, shades, and tints.

Get to know your dislikes

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A paint store has a very overwhelming selection of colors.¬† Start whittling down the options by¬†eliminating the colors you don’t like.¬† Always hated a specific color?¬† There are so many shades and tints of each color, that by eliminating the ones you dislike, you‚Äôve just done yourself a favor and gotten rid of tons of options!

Test your favorites

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Don’t buy a whole gallon of paint, even if you’re 100% certain that you love it.  Get samples to bring home, and paint some large swatches on the walls in question.  Then, make sure you see those colors during all levels of light Рearly morning, afternoon sun, evening thunderstorm, cozy winter night…  What looks like a lovely pale blue might have an unattractive purple tint at night.

When in doubt, go with the flow

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Sometimes there’s too much pressure to be creative.  If you feel this way, go with what other people are doing.  This is another time when using the internet for popular interior design styles could be useful.  For example, gray is very popular today.  And you don’t have to feel like a total sheep, because there are tons of shades and tints of gray that you can still choose from.  Popular designs just give you a starting point, while still allowing you to be you.

 

If you’re considering painting the walls of your home¬†because it needs a “makeover”¬†or maybe because you’re getting ready to sell your home this Spring, we can help guide you!¬†There is always a full time real estate broker ready to answer your questions in our Anacortes real estate office.¬†

(360) 941-3734

Info@JeanGroesbeck.com

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2009 Washington State Energy Code Implementation

From guest blogger: Tim M. Hance- All Islands Home Inspectionswww.allislandsinspections.com

 Governor Christine Gregoire has delayed full implementation of the new state building energy code from July 1, 2010 until April 1, 2011, citing the delay is necessary to allow the construction industry to stabilize and to help avert the risk of a deepening recession.   Here are some interesting facts about the 2009 Washington State Energy Code you may not know about:

 (1)  Currently, new construction is built to conform with the prescriptive requirements of the Washington State Energy Code.  During construction, a house is insulated, ventilated, and subsequently visually inspected by the local Building Inspector.  Under the 2009 WSEC, however, testing will be required to verify the building’s performance is actually in accordance with WSEC standards.  This will involve air leakage testing (blower door testing) and duct testing for all new single family residential construction after April 1, 2011.

(2)  Testing must be performed by a certified Building Performance Analyst.  Testing shall occur at any time after rough-in and after installation of penetrations of the building envelope and the sealing thereof (See Sections 502.4.5 and 503.10.1). 

 This really is a huge step in the direction of compelling building energy efficiency to be in verified (tested) accordance with the Washington State Energy Code.  Another hoop contractors must jump through, to be sure, but in the long run one that helps ensure proper construction and greatly increased energy efficiency for Washington State. 

 I’ve also heard there is a movement underway attempting to compel building performance testing for all real estate transactions, informing potential buyers about the energy efficiency of the home they’re considering and recommended upgrades thereto. 

 For more information, see http://sbcc.wa.gov/Page.aspx?nid=14, the 2009 Washington State Energy Code, for specific language and requirements.

Tim M. Hance, of All Islands Home Inspections, is a Washington State Licensed Home Inspector, WSDA Structural Pest Inspector, and is completing coursework to become a BPI Certified Building Performance Analyst.   All Islands Home Inspections, www.allislandsinspections.com, services all of Skagit, San Juan, Island, and Whatcom Counties.  Phone: (360) 298-1163

If you are searching for homes for sale in Anacortes, Oak Harbor, La Conner, Guemes Island, Samish Island, or anywhere in Skagit County please contact Coldwell Banker Island Living at 360 293 4511.  We can send you new listings alerts or email market stats to you for any price range.

Come experience our island spirit and stress free real estate transactions!

Tax Credit Incentive Still Available to Some Military…

 

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¬†On November 6, 2009, President Obama signed into law the ‚ÄúWorker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009‚ÄĚ (the 2009 Assistance Act). In addition to providing an extension of unemployment benefits for the long-time jobless, the 2009 Assistance Act includes tax relief for military and other service members. Following are two of the new provisions. Please call our offices for details of how the new changes may affect you or your family.

 Waiver of Homebuyer Credit Recapture

¬†The first-time homebuyer tax credit must be recaptured (i.e., paid back to the government) if the home is sold (or ceases to be used as a principal residence) within three years of the purchase. A more extensive recapture rule applies to qualifying home purchases in 2008. The 2009 Assistance Act provides that the first-time homebuyer credit does not need to be paid back if, after December 31, 2008, the home is sold (or ceases to be used as a principal residence) by a member of the uniformed services, a member of the U.S. Foreign Service, or an employee of the intelligence community, in connection with a government order received by the individual or the individual’s spouse for qualified official extended duty.

Extension of Homebuyer Credit for Service Members Overseas

 The first-time homebuyer tax credit was scheduled to expire on November 30, 2009, but the 2009 Assistance Act extends the credit to purchases before May 1, 2010 (July 1, 2010, for taxpayers with binding contracts). For service members serving overseas, the extension is one year longer. The 2009 Assistance Act provides that for service members serving outside the United States for at least 90 days during the period beginning after December 31, 2008, and ending before May 1, 2010, the purchase must occur before May 1, 2011 (July 1, 2011, for taxpayers with binding contracts). The idea behind this additional extension is to allow service members stationed overseas to take advantage of the credit when they return.

 I hope this information is helpful. If you would like more details about this or any other aspect of the new law, please do not hesitate to call.

 Desha A. Furin, CPA

  Furin & Company, PS      (360)293-1040

 508 Commercial Avenue   Anacortes, WA 98221