How to Move to Kitsap County: 5+ Top Tips from a Realtor
Thinking about moving to Western Washington? If so, you’re certainly not alone! This is a beautiful part of the country and the quality of life here is incredible. The market here is thriving, and if you want to move into the area, you need to go into your move with eyes wide-open. As a Kitsap County realtor, I know all the ins and outs of making the move from out of state, and what you need to be aware of to successfully land your dream home here.
So, if you’re ready to learn my top tips on how to move to Kitsap County, keep reading!
How to Move to Kitsap County: Top Tips from a Kitsap County Realtor
1. Visit First
How did you come to fall in love with the area? Did you come to visit? Even if you’ve visited a few times, it’s a good idea to make the trip back and thoroughly check out the different communities. You don’t want to put an offer in on a home you like and then panic because you’ve never been to the area. It may be a pain to come here if you live hundreds of miles away, but it will be well worth it when you find an area you love and can confidently move forward with your relocation.
We have just about any type of community you could want here – Bainbridge Island gives you island life just a short ferry ride from Seattle, Poulsbo is a charming Norwegian town with a great community, and Bremerton has an urban feel. Make the trip, visit the different communities, and see which ones feel right to you.
You can find a list of communities and a little about them (and listings) here.
2. Do Your Research
Of course, it’s also important to get online and research the areas you’re interested in. What are the crime rates like? What are the schools like? What do other people online say about living in those areas? Of course, you’ve always got to take these opinions with a pinch of salt and visit for yourself, but what one person hates about an area you may love, so it’s a good way to get a feel for which communities you’ll like before you visit.
Here are some resources you can use:
- Crime Map
- Publicschoolreview.com & Privateschoolreview.com
- Reddit – r/Kitsap County
Think about the practicality of each area, too. Consider:
- How easy is the commute? How long will it take you to get to work? How much will it cost?
- Are schools close by?
- How close are the amenities? Do you like to walk or drive to the store?
- How close are you to family/friends? Are there nearby clubs or similar you could join to make friends if this is a new area for you?
- How close is it to your preferred activities? Do you want to get out hiking at the weekend or head into Seattle?
3. Be Ready to Take Action
As such a popular area of the country, properties here rarely stick around, and that’s truer than ever as we return to normal after the pandemic. We have more buyers than homes, so once you know you want to live here, you need to be prepared to move quickly. You can’t wade into the waters slowly or take a lot of time to think over a property – you need to look for the home that makes your heart flutter and then dive in with your offer.
While it’s definitely recommended to visit the area, I have helped a handful of clients buy homes sight unseen. That means that the first time they step through the door is once they’ve got the keys, it’s theirs. This certainly isn’t easy, but it is sometimes necessary. I do a lot of virtual tours and with the way the market is currently, if you see a home that ticks all the boxes, looks exactly like what you want, is in your price range, and you’re ready in every way other than physically being present, it may be the right way to buy.
Of course, if you’re going to buy sight unseen, you’ve got to really trust your realtor to give you an honest look at the home and their honest opinion. I always make sure my buyers see all aspects of the home, anything that I note that you may dislike, and tell you about the vibe the home and neighborhood has. I’ll tell you if I think you’re going to get the life there you want, and if it’s a good place to buy. That’s why it’s so important to find a realtor you like and trust and with whom you’ve thoroughly discussed your needs.
Alternatively, we can do a virtual tour as described above and put in an offer, and then you can fly out to see the home for yourself during the due diligence period (about 5-7 days after the offer) to make sure it’s the home for you. This is a great way to work with the speed of this market but not go into any purchase with reservations.
4. Have Pre-Approval
If you’re getting ready to move here, we need one of two things from you:
- A mortgage pre-approval letter, or
- Proof of funds if you’re a cash buyer.
The market here is hot, and that means people won’t be willing to give you the time of day if they aren’t certain you have the means to buy the property. In other markets, you may find realtors that are happy to show you a home to give you a taste of what you may be able to get, but that’s not the case here. Each house that comes up for sale will almost always receive multiple offers, so there’s no time for speculation.
Another key tip for if you’re buying with the help of a mortgage – work with a local lender. If you need help finding lenders that will work with you and give you pre-approval, I’d be happy to help point you in the right direction.
5. Investigate the HOA
We have a wide range of different homes here, with all different lot sizes, ages, and styles of home. You really can find just about anything to suit your preferences, so the only thing you’ll be limited by is your budget. When you find a home or area you like, it’s a good idea to check out if there’s a Home Owner’s Association and what their rules are, especially if you want to change the exterior look of the home.
If you have any questions or are getting ready to relocate, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I get emails, calls, and texts every day from people who are looking to move here, and I love it. I’ve got your back when moving to Western Washington, so if you want to reach me, you can do so here. I’ve got the relocation process dialed in and I can help you every step of the way – from the decision to move here to getting your boxes through the door. If you’re ready for more advice, you can find my valuable Buying a House playlist on YouTube here