I am well aware that although my website has a lot of information about Bainbridge, it also has a lot of information about me – blah, blah, blah . . . I think my life is pretty darn normal, but I hope it gives you the window into life on Bainbridge you are looking for. That is the basic goal of this blog, to provide the vista into Bainbridge Island life I could not find when I was researching Bainbridge from my laptop in California.
But, after a flurry of recent closings this summer and fall, I started thinking about the similarities among many of my buyers. Many of my buyers come from my website and feel like they know me a little bit before we even meet. That is a great thing.
But as someone who might be considering buying yourself, you might be interested to know what type of folks I work with and where they come from.
This category makes up the majority of my buyers. Some I start working with before they step foot on the island, others have been here renting for a few months. My perspective on relocating, the fact that I have young kids in school and that I am primarily a buyer’s agent appeals to them. Most of these buyers are second time buyers and most of them have purposely chosen Bainbridge and then looked for a job to get them here. Most of the families have at least one adult who commutes to Seattle via ferry on a regular basis. Most have looked at the East Side of Seattle as a housing option, but turned to Bainbridge for a smaller community, yet a strong school system. Many of these folks have come from California, southern and northern, a few have been from southern states and a number are from back east. A handful have been from Canada. Some folks have bought in neighborhoods in town and others have opted to purchase a home on an acre or so outside of town. Most folks have looked for this to be a 5-10 year home. As prices have declined, more of these buyers are first-time buyers, but the majority coming to Bainbridge are not.
More and more I am working with families who have lived in Seattle for 5-10 years. Most have children just starting school and although they have loved living in Seattle, they aren’t excited about the Seattle School District. They want to keep their current job and look to Bainbridge for the ferry commute and a place where they can buy a home and get a little more space, both inside and outside. Most of these folks have owned homes in Seattle and hope to stay in their Bainbridge purchase for at least ten years.
Bainbridge is not urban Seattle. Where the fast paced urban life is fun for some, it is exactly what some other couples are looking to escape. These couples are typically buying smaller homes (under 2,000 square feet) on lots one acre or larger. They are planting gardens and raising chickens. They love the trails and the peace and quiet of Bainbridge. For most of these folks this is not a first purchase and most commute to Seattle for work.
Again, ‘purposely choosing Bainbridge’ is a theme here. Many couples have looked forward to moving to Bainbridge after they retire. Many of these folks are downsizing from larger, maybe family homes into smaller homes, town homes or condos in Winslow. ‘Simplify’ is a word I hear a lot from these clients. They are happy to not take care of a yard and love being able to walk into town to catch the ferry, shop for groceries, or grab a cup of coffee with a friend.
And lastly, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I am working with investors. These folks are purchasing homes to rent for a ten year horizon. Investors aren’t sitting back waiting anymore. They are acting. The rental horizon for the next ten years is solid and many investors are buying with cash and calculating that their income stream is better than the stock market. Many of these clients are on the island, but a few have come to me from my website too. All of these folks own one or two homes, but are looking for investment rental income. Newer homes in town and near the ferry are appealing, as are condos and town homes. And . . builders are slowly starting to ask about and look into buying vacant land, considering subdividing land and building spec houses. A good sign of things to come.