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.



The new turf soccer fields at Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island.

The newer turf soccer fields at Battle Point Park.

Battle Point Park is one of the most wonderful parks on Bainbridge Island. The park totals 90.3 acres, is a former naval radio station, and is largely open space with two ponds, 1.5 mile jogging trail, fitness course, two newly turfed soccer fields, three softball fields, horse area, a covered picnic shelter, two tennis courts, sand volleyball court, play areas, two basketball courts shared with a popular roller hockey court, a large children’s play structure, and community garden plots. The recently renovated Transmitter Building is used for gymnastics classes and camps.

The Battle Point Neighborhood is to the south of Battle Point Park itself, and the Arrow Point Neighborhood includes the park and is primarily to the north.

If Battle Point Park is not enough there are miles of trails in the nearby Grand Forest and the Ferry Dell Trail, which winds down to the water.

Homes nearby are custom and of high quality.  Many homes are on acreage, and there is no one “development” type neighborhood.  Many homes are waterfront or have a view and many are in very private, wooded settings.

The park and waterfront opportunities attract many buyers, and there are a wide variety of homes and prices to suit many price ranges.

A home on North Tolo on Bainbridge Island.

A home on North Tolo on Bainbridge Island.

A home on Battle Point Drive on Bainbridge Island.

A home on Battle Point Drive on Bainbridge Island.

The Play Structure at Battle Point Park.

The Play Structure at Battle Point Park.

The Ritchie Observatory at Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island.

The Ritchie Observatory at Battle Point Park.

A newer custom home on Battle Point Drive.

A newer custom home off Battle Point Drive, built by Rick Debarros.

On April 7, 2013, in Neighborhoods, Parks, by

Bainbridge Craftsman

I wanted to share some information about my great new listing out near Battle Point Park.  This is a custom built home with finishes far superior to anything else in this price range.  For all of my listings I build a specific website that gives much more detail than the basic NWMLS limited blurb, and I also add information about the neighborhood – in this case the Battle Point Neighborhood. Below are the basics on the house, but do check out to the site for many more photos and details.

  • Offered at $529,000
  • Built in 2006 by Niche Homes
  • 2,921 square foot home
  • .39 acre lot
  • 3 bedrooms (plus bonus rooms) /2.5 baths
  • Office nook
  • Partially finished basement space plumbed for bath
  • Three bedroom septic system
  • Private party well
  • Corner lot
11767 Venice Loop on Bainbridge Island | Listed by Jen Pells

11767 Venice Loop on Bainbridge Island | Listed by Jen Pells

On June 10, 2012, in Homes, Listing, Neighborhoods, by

Abandoned Lynwood Center Project “Blossom Hill” is now “Pleasant Beach Village” under the new ownership of John Jacobi, founder of Windermere Real Estate.

A little over a week ago the sale of the formerly abandoned “Blossom Hill” project closed escrow and changed hands to new owner John Jacobi, founder of Windermere Real Estate.  Work is set to begin in less than two weeks on what is now being called “Pleasant Beach Village,” however, when I was down at the site this past week, a small landscape crew was already clearing out the site to make way for the of the reboot of the construction.

Pleasant Beach Village Bainbridge Island

The original architectural rendering of Pleasant Beach Village on Bainbridge Island. The project, when complete, will look similar to the original rendering, but in the end the exterior will actually be more in line with the style of the Lynwood Center across the street. (Contributed photo Wenzlau Achitecture)

Jacobi, is partnering with family, Tad Fairbank of Fairbank Construction Co., and Jim Laws, owner and broker of the Windermere Bainbridge Office.  Fairbank Construction will complete the project and architect Charlie Wenzlau will continue to be in charge of aesthetics.

Jacobi purchased the 16.5 acre site for less than 10 million dollars from Whidbey Bank, the original project’s owner. The project had two deeds with debt of over 27 million dollars.

The strip above is about three-fourths complete and will be a mixed use building with commercial on the street-front level and either apartments or condos above.  Later, there is potential to build eighty homes on the hillside and renovate an existing historic building (formerly Edna’s Beach Cafe) perched above to potentially again be a restaurant or event venue.

Local reaction is enthusiastic, especially on the south end of the island and especially for the business owners right across the street.  Businesses like Treehouse Cafe and the Lynwood Theatre have endured the eye sore since 2009.  I know as a Realtor, when down on the south end clients always asked “what’s that?”  I would cringe and then explain.  It did not look good physically or economically for the island.  Now, with Jacobi taking the reins, I must say, the reaction of island newcomers is very different. Two of my sales this summer have been on the south end, both to new islanders, both very excited about the new village just walking and biking distance from their homes.

Lynwood Center on Bainbridge Island

When complete, the new “Pleasant Beach Village” project will exude the same charm as the Lynwood Center directly across the street.



On August 30, 2011, in Community, Neighborhoods, by

Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island

The Eagle Dale Neighborhood is full of things to see and do. One of my favorite scenic drives is from the Y turning onto Eagle Harbor Drive all the way to the Bill Point Neighborhood. Off of Eagle Harbor Drive there are several places to stop and view Eagle Harbor, including the popular Pritchard Park with the new Japanese Memorial.

From the parking area at Pritchard Park, you can take a path to the beach area. The beach is a great place to soak up the summer sun and watch the ferries come and go. From the beach area you have a direct view of  Winslow and Harbor Square. The trails along the beach are great for dog walks, or a scenic run.

Another park in the neighborhood is the Eagledale Park. The park comprises seven acres and is on Rose Avenue off of Eagle Harbor Drive. At the park you will find a play structure for kids, tennis courts, volleyball courts, picnic shelters, an off leash dog park area, and the Parks and Recreation Arts and Crafts/Pottery Center is housed on the park’s grounds.

Pritchard Park on Bainbridge Island

Japanese Memorial Wall at Pritchard Park on Bainbridge Island.


A home on Wimsey Lane on Bainbridge Island

A home on Wimsey Lane on Bainbridge Island










The Eagle Dale Neighborhood has many homes with harbor, Seattle and Cascade views. Many homes are also set on acreage. This area on the island is close enough to town and the ferry (about 3 miles) for convenience, yet the rural feel makes you feel like you are worlds away from the city.

The Eagle Dale Neighborhood has a comfortable established feel. As you tour along Eagle Harbor Drive you can stop and buy farm fresh eggs from a neighbor’s chicken coop, and at Halloween the neighbors carve and display their pumpkins on the split rail fence on the corner of Eagle Harbor Drive and New Sweden Avenue. There are also convenient and well used city and school bus stops along Eagle Harbor Drive.

A home on Old Creosote Hill Road on Bainbridge Island

A home on Old Creosote Hill Road on Bainbridge Island


On August 5, 2010, in Community, Neighborhoods, Parks, by

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