The 2018 market is is ramping up fast, but I wanted to make sure I got to my favorite annual blog posts, my top 10 homes on the island for 2017. Last year 439 homes sold on the island – up from 369 last year – wow!  I am proud to say I personally toured the majority of them (that is a lot of laps around the island) and these are ten of my favorites. The list spans the island from north to south and represents the various price ranges, although that is not how I planned it, it just sort of ended up that way. The themes that jump out at me about last year are quality and character.  As speculation builders creep into our market more and more, quality construction and charming character homes continue to be harder to find. Homes that I love have soul.  The homes on this list are indeed soulful.

The sales prices continue to shift upward as the economy maintains its health and the Seattle area continues to be tech destination. Again, like last year, only two homes on the list are waterfront homes, which shows the desirability throughout our island; from inland pastoral, to convenient close-in neighborhoods, to the ever sought-after view and waterfront homes.The lack of inventory continued to be the predominate theme in 2017, which is why you will again see many multiple offers noted below in the list. In 2017, like 2016, the multiple offer scenarios crept up over the $1M mark, to the higher-end sales in several cases.

This is my 10th annual list. Wow, time flies when you are having fun.   To get a feel of the homes I personally enjoy touring and see all ten of my annual lists in one place, click here.  Have a fun virtual tour.

#10 | Sunrise Dr NE

#10

Original List Price $598,000

Sale Price $615,000 (multiple offers)

Days on Market – 6

Date Sold 6/28/2017

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #10 we start on the north end of the island on Sunrise Drive.  This home came on the market in the frenzy of the summer market and had multiple offers.  This home is surrounded by lush, established gardens and the interior style is bold, colorful and quirky. There are very few straight lines or boring colors in this home.  At just over 1,400 square feet the home lives large, making use of every inch and spills out to the garden spaces. The three stories gave you the feeling of being perched atop a magical tower and of course captures all possible light and views too.  A great start to the list that appreciates and celebrates non-cookie cutter style.

Jen Pells Real Estate Bainbridge Island

#9 | Clayton Place NW

#9

Original List Price $738,000

Sale Price $738,000

Days on Market – 10

Date Sold 6/14/2017

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #9 we move into Winslow to Clayton Place. In-town homes were in high demand once again last year.  Price per square foot is pricey in Winslow, where you trade lot size for Winslow convenience. Clayton Place is a quiet, small cul-de sac right at the edge of Winslow.  This home is just under 1,800 square feet and was listed at the beginning of summer at a price that some thought was aggressive. Yet, it took merely 10 days for the sellers to find the right buyer.  This home was originally spec built, but the sellers remodeled and styled the home into anything but ordinary.  The light and bright beach vibe is fun, colorful and downright likable.  The sellers added trim and wainscoting and chose great colors inside and out and I am always a fan of a modern metal roof.

Horizon View Place sold by Jen Pells Bainbridge Island Real Estate

#8 | Horizon View Place

#8

Original List Price $859,000

Sale Price $885,000

Days on Market –  4

Date Sold 5/24/2017

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #8 we stay in town and move over to Horizon View Place near the high school.  This modern rambler/farmhouse was built and sold to my buyers in 2015.  I was happy to re-list it for them in 2017 when they decided to move further out onto the Kitsap Peninsula and buy farmland.  This newer, one-level living home with finer, modern finishes, vaulted ceilings and an open floor plan was sought after by many.  The in-town proximity plus being adjacent to the newly renovated Rotary Park was a rare package. And right now, the new home options in Winslow are generally in developments, which this home was not.  We were thrilled to see an aggressive offer the first weekend, which helped my buyers quickly get to their next chapter.

#7 | Sorrel Way NE

#7

Original List Price $859,000

Sale Price $850,620 (multiple offers)

Days on Market – 20

Date Sold 11/13/2017

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #7 we head to the south end, to Sorrel Way, which sits above the Crystal Springs Neighborhood. I have always had a sweet spot for this home. It was a favorite back in 2009 when these sellers bought it.  The home does not scream anything overtly special, but the mellow hues, clean lines, whitewashed paneling, large west facing lot (which makes for epic sunsets) with custom designed  landscaping and a really good Rich Passage View, make it a rare, peaceful package on the south end. I had buyers crushed in 2009 when they could not get here fast enough to snap this one up. I was thrilled to help my buyers in 2017 be the winners in a multiple offer show-down.

#6 | Taylor Avenue NE

#6

Original List Price $975,000

Sale Price $1,060,000 (multiple offers)

Days on Market – 6

Date Sold 11/21/2017

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #6 we move to the south-central area of the island for Taylor Avenue NE. I don’t think Taylor Avenue could better represent what I characterize as the Bainbridge Package – the charming farmhouse with smart, modern updates on a large sunny lot.  Plenty of space for chickens and all that fun stuff.  This oh-so-cute home on Taylor Avenue was sold by sellers who enjoyed and loved it for 30 years. My buyers were one of five or six offers and they really, really wanted it.  The good thing was the sellers wanted to sell to buyers who really, really wanted it. It is not always about the highest price, but about the offer and all its parts and pieces.  My buyers are thrilled to be living in their ideal Bainbridge Package after living in town for seven years.

#5 | Mandus Olson Road NE

#5

Original List Price $934,900

Sale Price $1,085,000 (multiple offers)

Days on Market – 10

Date Sold 5/30/2017

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #5 we move to the center of the island and Mandus Olson Road NE. I have always really liked this area of the island because it is still close-in but feels very rural.  This larger, well built home on flat acreage caught the attention of many buyers.  This house makes the list for me for its large, fabulous, open kitchen. And it is a white kitchen, my favorite. I also really loved the open backyard and large deck space plus a bonus room over the connected garage.  The sellers had a fun mid-century modern style which made the house show really well too.  I recollect this home saw eight offers and had a steep escalation, one of the highest of the summer at $150,000. Here again is an example of the Bainbridge Package.

#4 | Parfitt Way SW

#4

Original List Price $1,175,000

Sale Price $1,250,000 (Contingent)

Days on Market – 14

Date Sold 9/27/2017

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #4 we stop at Parfitt Way SW back in Winslow. This home really made me swoon.  One of the many fabulous things about it is the very private, very lush patio room.  The plantings and design are fantastic.  The trickling of the fountain makes Winslow seem a world away, yet you are in the heart of it. The interior was re-imagined by Tom Kuniholm and re-designed by Michelle Burgess and Smallwood.  A fantastic revamp with high end finishes, clean lines, a soothing color palette and thoughtful use of spaces.  While I was previewing this home I sat down for a moment to pet the cat basking in the sun and I did not want to leave. Ever.

#3 | New Sweden Avenue NE

#3

Original List Price $1,550,000

Sale Price $1,600,000 (multiple offers)

Days on Market – 6

Date Sold 4/28/2017

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #3 we go back down south to New Sweden Avenue to this fantastic farmhouse on over 2.5 acres.  This home sits atop sunny acreage and is one of the best examples of an older home being lovingly restored to still look and feel old. The house also saw an add-on that flowed and worked really well.  I loved the house for its fantastic old world kitchen and fabulous woodwork and built-ins.  A prior owner was a master craftsman and built cabinets, an island, and built-ins that looked like they were in place since the turn of the century.  This house also saw multiple offers and again shows the popularity and desirability of quality, character homes on large properties. The Bainbridge Package.

#2 | Pleasant Beach Drive

#2

Original List Price $2,098,000

Sale Price $2,150,000 (multiple offers)

Days on Market – 7

Date Sold 5/9/2017

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #2 we stay on the south end and head over to Pleasant Beach Drive.  Known as the Gold Coast of Bainbridge Island, Pleasant Beach always draws a crowd, no matter the home, but this one was pretty amazing.  The owners completely remodeled the main home and guest cottage.  The main home was not large at about 2,000 square feet, but being all on one level it flowed easily outside to the south and west facing decks and primo low bank waterfront.  The walls of windows were a major showstopper and the kitchen was clearly designed for impressive entertaining. The butler’s pantry was appointed with a cookbook display wall and thoughtful storage.  And the guest cottage is so quaint and well designed guests will not want to leave.  It is no surprise this home saw multiple offers and a price escalation of over $50,000.00.

#1 | Euclid Avenue NE

#1

Original List Price $2,675,000

Sale Price $2,420,000

Days on Market – 125

Date Sold 11/10/2017

Click here for more photos and the full listing detail.

For #1 we go up to the north end again and end our list in Port Madison at Euclid Ave NE.  This home did not sell quickly and it did not have multiple offers, but it is fabulous none-the-less.  This home ticked all the boxes for me. Simplicity refined.  The sellers, who designed the home, clearly lived similarly to how we live in our home and I appreciated the design of the kitchen, living spaces and especially the LARGE mud room and laundry room. This is one of the best laundry rooms I have ever been in.

I also truly loved the use of wood and tall walls of windows and walls of concealed storage.  I also really appreciated how the bedrooms were not large (wasted space in my opinion), even the master. But, they did all have primo water views. Wow. This home just felt right to me the moment I walked in and tugged at me every day it was on the market. This medium-bank waterfront home sits toward the mouth of Port Madison and the boat traffic is a joy to watch. And beyond all of that, the home is in one of the best neighborhoods on the island with great sense of community plus shared beachfront and trails.

As we head into 2018 I am already on the lookout for special, soulful homes and I am making my list.  See you out there.

Again, to get a feel of the homes I like personally and see all nine of my lists in one place, click here.

7349 Madrona Drive NE is a unique in-town package in the popular Wing Point Neighborhood.  Right now, on the island, it is hard to find a home for sale that is close to the ferry and not cookie-cutter.  This home is anything put predictable or ordinary. Custom built by Bob Grimm of ID Construction, this property offers a 2588 sq ft main home and a 704 sq ft guest cottage on a lovely, landscaped, flat lot.  Only 1.5 miles to the ferry, this Wing Point property on .39 of an acre offers elbow room from your neighbors, but incredible proximity to the ferry, Winslow, and schools.

Open Houses Scheduled for:

Thurs., November 30th from 10am to 1pm & Sun., December 3rd from 1pm to 4pm

7349 Madrona Dr NE on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells Real Estate

7349 Madrona Dr NE on Bainbridge Island.

7349 Madrona Dr NE on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells Real Estate

The gracious entry way/den area makes an immediate impression with stunning woodwork.

7349 Madrona Dr NE on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells Real Estate

The open concept kitchen has been recently updated with quartz counters, new appliances, subway backsplash, shiplap siding and new fixtures.

7349 Madrona Dr NE on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells Real Estate

The dining area has stylish light fixtures that set off the wood beams and the south facing windows let in great afternoon light.

7349 Madrona Dr NE on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells Real Estate

The striking master bedroom has interesting angles, vaulted ceilings, custom paint, a skylight with shutters, and built in fir dressers.

7349 Madrona Dr NE on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells Real Estate

The formal living room has walls of windows and just off the entry it is a great place to greet your guests.

7349 Madrona Dr NE on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells Real Estate

The two story guest cottage sits at the back of the property and feels like it is on a separate lot.

7349 Madrona Dr NE on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells Real Estate

The quaint guest cottage is 704 sq ft, has a full kitchen, 3/4 bath, laundry and large bedroom.

Details about the home:

  • 2588 sq ft main home and 704 sq ft main cottage
  • Main home is 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths
  • Bedroom and bathroom on the main floor
  • Updated kitchen and bathrooms
  • Guest cottage has a full kitchen, 3/4 bath, laundry and bedroom
  • .39, flat, landscaped lot
  • One car garage with finished studio and half bath
  • Newer roof and exterior paint
  • 1.5 miles to the Seattle Ferry
  • Offered at $995,000

Storybook charm on desirable street in coveted Wing Point. A rare package of a custom main home (2588 sq ft) and a quaint guest cottage (704 sq ft) on a lovely, flat landscaped lot. The main home has been meticulously updated and professionally designed with custom lighting, quartz countertops and heated marble floors. The comfortable guest cottage offers a full kitchen, 3/4 bath and laundry. Your guests won’t want to leave. The finished garage studio could be a gym, music room, yoga studio, or office. Easy access to the ferry and Winslow.

Click here to see the full Windermere listing detail.

Click here to visit this home’s dedicated website.

On November 30, 2017, in Home Tours, Homes, Listing, Neighborhoods, Open Houses, by

This home is such a fun one to tour.  A welcome surprise to find new finishes on a quiet, established street in Winslow.  This home has undergone an amazing transformation; new entertaining kitchen, new baths and new hardwood flooring are just the beginning.  And it is all on one level, and walkable to all the great things in Winslow.  Come see for yourself on Saturday from 1-4pm instead of Sunday as Sunday is Mother’s Day ;)

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island Liste by Jen Pells Windermere Bainbridge

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island.

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells of Windermere

The great room showing new wood floors and custom propane fireplace.

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells of Windermere

Amazing entertaining kitchen with quartz counters, stainless steel appliances and quality fixtures.

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells of Windermere

Great coffee bar or cocktail bar in the large kitchen.

1002 Nakata Ave NW listed by Jen Pells of Windermere Bainbridge

Master bedroom suite has a full spa-like bathroom and extra large den; a great space for a private office or sunny exercise room.

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells of Windermere

Spa like master bathroom with double sinks and large custom tile shower.

1002 Nakata Ave NW on Bainbridge Island listed by Jen Pells of Windermere

Private, fenced backyard with mature and colorful plantings.

Details about the home:

  • 3 bedrooms with a den off of the master suite
  • 2 bathrooms
  • 1,866 square feet all on one level and vaulted throughout
  • .23 of an acre
  • Large, entertaining kitchen
  • Complete cosmetic remodel of home – including new window package and exterior doors
  • Clean lines with high end modern finishes and fixtures
  • Mature landscaping in private, fenced backyard
  • Walkable to Winslow and no HOA dues (plus you have a fenced yard and garage)
  • $748,000 asking price

Impressive modern remodel of this one-level, open-floorplan home tucked away on a quiet street in the heart of Winslow. Vaulted ceilings and clerestory windows highlight the new entertaining kitchen with quality cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and quartz counters. Great room with a custom propane fireplace and wood floors opens to a private backyard with colorful, mature landscaping. Spa-like finishes in new baths. New window package and paint. Close to shops, pool, library, schools, parks and ferry.

Click here to see the full Windermere listing detail.

Visit this home’s dedicated website here.

On May 12, 2017, in Homes, Listing, Neighborhoods, Open Houses, by

Traditional Fletcher Bay Home

Excited to share my new listing in Fletcher Bay on Bainbridge Island. Fantastic, flexible floorpan with room to breathe on over half an acre of property that backs to three more acres of open space. Come visit in person Sunday 1pm-4pm. And please feel free to reach out for more info.

Details about the home:

Room for everyone in this classic three bedroom home that also offers two offices and an extra-large bonus room. The eat-in kitchen opens to a vaulted great room that connects to another office/media room. Ideal for entertaining-easily move from the open kitchen to dining room to landscaped yard. While outside enjoy the waterfall, garden beds, lawns, fire pit and connection to three acres of open space adjacent to home and shared by the four homes in the enclave. Close to Winslow and ferry. Easy walk to beautiful public beach access at Fletcher Landing.

  • Three bedrooms
  • Two offices
  • Bonus Room
  • 2,740 square feet
  • .51 acres that backs to 3 acres of open space
  • Built in 2004 by Raven Construction
  • Asking $748,000

Click here for more info.

Wild Cherry on Bainbridge Island - for sale by Jen Pells

Wild Cherry on Bainbridge Island - for sale by Jen Pells

Wild Cherry on Bainbridge Island - for sale by Jen Pells

Wild Cherry on Bainbridge Island - for sale by Jen Pells

Wild Cherry on Bainbridge Island - for sale by Jen Pells

Wild Cherry on Bainbridge Island - for sale by Jen Pells

Wild Cherry on Bainbridge Island - for sale by Jen Pells

Wild Cherry on Bainbridge Island - for sale by Jen Pells

Wild Cherry on Bainbridge Island - for sale by Jen Pells

Click here for more info.

On March 16, 2017, in Listing, Open Houses, Real Estate Business, by

Eakin Drive sold by Realtor Jen Pells

Renting Can Make Sense

There are a lot of smart, pragmatic reasons for renting a home when you are new to a city.  It can be helpful to get the lay of the land, learn the neighborhoods, settle in a bit.  Wait to find the perfect house to buy.  But, as the inventory of homes available to buy is shrinking on Bainbridge, I am seeing more and more folks who never ever planned to rent enter into a rental or temporary housing here on the island. They are what I call the unintentional renters.

I am a Nester

When we moved here I KNEW there was no way I could rent.  Any viable option that we had was icky, for one, but secondly, I am just not a renter.  Do you put things on the wall? How do you settle?  I am just a nester. For my sanity I knew we needed to find our next home to buy and not do a transitional rental. For us it worked and it worked well.  We found a decent house in a great location.  We later gutted the house and made it our own, but the fact that we were settling in to our neighborhood and school and putting down roots right away was huge in our transitional process.

Low Available Inventory

Right now available inventory is not on the buyer’s side (in fact inventory is at historically low levels – read more about that here) so, many buyers are looking to rent as the next viable option since the house is not out there at the moment. And these wanna-be home owners are in turn making the rental inventory tighter.  I see some clients who do fine as renters.  They are so gung-ho about moving to a new place they do just fine settling in and meeting people. But, other times, usually when there is one party in the couple who is less gung-ho about the move, I see renting as a major contributing factor to families not settling in or transitioning well.

 Bainbridge Island | Jen Pells | Windermere RealtorCan’t Quite Put My Finger On It

Life is just not the same in a rental. Most likely you will rent in a different neighborhood than where you will buy and perhaps be in a different school district too.  As a renter, people can be less invested in making friends or settling in. They do not want to go through the effort for a temporary situation.  Renting can be seen as a great trial period to say, try Bainbridge on for size, but I see that trial period as a limited version of the real thing.  Sort of like only having access to Hulu versus Hulu Plus.  You are not going to have the same experience, and in the end, you could be less likely to fully commit to living on Bainbridge long term.

It Takes Two Years

I know if we had rented I probably would not be here right now.  My husband was the cheerleader for our move.  I knew Bainbridge was the right move for our family, but when we moved I left family, friends and a really good career in California.  I had a lot of things to miss, mourn, and rebuild after our move.  And six months in, during a dark December on Bainbridge, if I could have run back to California and ditched a rental, I probably would have.  Because yes, at that moment it would have been easier.  I have been honest before in other postings, that I think it takes two years to feel like you are home.

The first year is a roller coaster ride.  I recall loving Bainbridge and then hating it.  The first year is very bogged down with the logistics of moving physical stuff and paperwork and changeovers.  It is so hectic and yes, just plain exhausting. It was not until the second year that I felt like I had time to truly explore and discover Bainbridge.  In year two I hit the trails, parks and quaint shops. In year two, I realized I was spening more time outdoors than I ever did in California. In year two, I put pictures up on the wall (yes it took me that long) and I finally felt like I was home.

Bainbridge Island | Jen Pells | Windermere RealtorFeet on the Ground

In year two I got my feet on the ground. And yes, anytime before that I think I probably would have used those feet to bolt back to that comfortable environment of the ‘known” in California. I predict with more people renting we will likely see some more of that happening. I have seen this once or twice with clients in my eight years here already. For one family they looked for ten months and then moved back to the east coast. I certainly felt like they abandoned ship much too early, but the fact that they rented gave them that easy out.

Other Options

Since I am often the one talking my buyers out of “settling” on a house (I know not a good business model in the sales world) I am often the one helping them find temporary housing. A lot of different options exist on Bainbridge.  If you are like me and you feel like you are not a renter, I suggest going into a short-term furnished rental on a month to month basis. Since we are a vacation destination, we have a lot of rental options here. That way you can pounce when the right house comes up and your rental period is as short as possible.  If you are more open to traditional renting I suggest you get the shortest lease term possible, say three months with a month to month option after that. If you have to pay a bit more for that shorter lease term, I think the flexibility is worth it. I also suggest you try and find a rental in the area you’d like to buy.  If you want to be on the south end, rent on the south end.  But minimally, if you have kids, getting in the school district you want to be in should be a goal. Please email me if you are interested in a list of short and long term rental options.

Mentally Unpack . . .

If you are entering into a rental or renting right now, you are in a trial period yes, but remember your rental is likely temporary and not your eventual reality.  You will have a different mind-set once you have purchased and moved into your home.  For many people, only the commitment of a purchase allows you to fully unpack mentally and physically. But, don’t worry, you’ll get there.