Greg King & Company
Windermere Real Estate

Local Knowledge

Real estate in the San Juan Islands is, quite simply, extraordinary. In some respects, the island follows mainland trends, but there are definitely some distinct differences.


For a realtor to effectively represent island properties requires extraordinary resources, unlimited access, and uncommon knowledge.  Yes, island properties can attract interest far beyond the local market. The appeal of an island property can extend to a cosmopolitan audience of discerning buyers via today’s sophisticated technology.


However, real estate transactions include a multitude of processes, procedures, and deadlines. To move a transaction efficiently to closing, focused on savvy buyer and seller solutions, it is imperative that the realtor possess not only powerful networking skills, but superior local knowledge.


Local knowledge is the knowledge that people in a given community have developed over time and continue to develop. It is based on experience held by individuals, often tested over centuries of use, passed down from generation to generation adapted to the local culture and environment, embedded in community practices, institutions, and rituals. It is dynamic and ever changing.


Local knowledge goes a long way when it comes to real estate. Island realtors intimately know the community and the lifestyle, can help to narrow criteria, and define goals. They understand the islands’ resources and amenities. They are familiar with and stay current on laws, zoning regulations, easements, covenants, shoreline master programs, land division ordinances, land use by-laws, and building codes to include structural, electrical, and public health. They understand septic and well systems. Local brokers essentially know who to call and when.


Living on an island can be both idyllic and challenging. Local realtors understand that. Buyers typically are not obligated to buy, move, or invest here. They make a conscious choice to become part of the community, but many buyers may only be here for a limited amount of time. Local realtors can show a property on relatively short notice.


This time of year we are reminded of the importance to shop locally. To understand the link between healthy communities and healthy businesses is to understand that this extends to real estate on so many levels.


The islands have an independent economy. Money spent in the islands stays in the islands. For the islands to flourish economically, it is critical that residents contribute by shopping locally. Working with a local realtor keeps the money circulating closer to where it is being spent. Quite simply, it keeps the money in the community, creating a ripple effect where those realtors and their brokerages spend your money locally, potentially supporting a local merchant, helping to pay local wages, support local public services, put food on local tables, and pay local rent and mortgages. Ultimately, it funnels through to the many non-profits by generous donations from local residents and businesses. Money spent in the islands strengthens the islands. It is a commitment to the community.


From the larger islands to private islands, opportunities abound in a real estate market unlike anywhere else in the world. The key is access and expertise. And, local knowledge…