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Tips for Buying a Second Home in Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island is a natural wonderland located right in the heart of Puget Sound, known for its scenic yet rugged coastline and hills, and dotted with small towns that are authentic and fun.

It is an exceptional place to live, offering residents a slower-paced lifestyle that is completely opposite from the hustle-and-bustle of nearby Seattle on the mainland. Residents are treated to natural beauty like few other places, including water views, farms in rural settings, and breathtaking views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. There are beaches and state parks that offer activities galore, such as boating, hiking, kayaking, crabbing, and mountain biking.

Year-round residents love the unique lifestyle, and it’s a great place to raise a family.

Whidbey Island is also an awesome place to buy a second home that you can use for family vacations, weekend getaways, and holidays that will spawn a lifetime of memories. Having Whidbey Island real estate serving as a second home will save you the costs of staying in hotels and restaurants when visiting this special place, plus a second home will allow you to personalize your unique vacation experiences.

The basics

Whidbey Island is a long, narrow island that features three main towns where most of its residents live, as well as smaller locales up and down the island. Each of these communities has its own personality and identity.

Whidbey Island real estate includes comfortable homes in these small towns and beach communities, single-family homes in rural settings, and Whidbey Island waterfront homes for sale.

The main communities to become familiar with are Oak Harbor, which has a population of about 22,000, Coupeville, with 1,800 residents, and Langley, with a population of 1,000. While each community is different, the common hallmarks are charming downtowns, harbors, and great seafood restaurants.

Other communities that have Whidbey Island real estate perfect for second homes are Clinton and Freeland.

Home prices

Whidbey Island is part of Island County. According to Zillow, the median price of homes in Island County, including Whidbey Island real estate,  is $570,337. That is an increase of  28.4% during the last year. There are homes available for under the median price, and there are also some gorgeous Whidbey Island waterfront homes for sale that go for much more than the average price.

Island County is considered a seller’s market, meaning there are more buyers looking for homes than available inventory. That’s not surprising, considering that many people have been looking to get out of crowded urban centers during the pandemic and Whidbey Island has everything and more to provide a comfortable, slower-paced lifestyle. It’s also a wonderful place for people who can work remotely.

And, of course, it’s a great place for a second home.


You should learn the difference between a second home and an investment property. They are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are major differences that can affect the type of mortgage you can qualify for. And since these properties can be expensive, you need to know some basic facts before meeting with lenders.

A second home is just that, a residence you plan to live in for part of the year in addition to your primary residence. A second home can be used as a vacation home, and also for making regular visits to such as weekend getaways and during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

An investment property is a home that is not your primary residence and is bought to generate income from rentals and to profit over time from appreciation. It can also refer to a home that is purchased to take advantage of various tax benefits.

Line up a great agent

When purchasing Whidbey Island real estate as a second home, you need to work with a real estate agent who has several years of experience helping clients get into homes on Whidbey Island, especially second homes. A great agent will know the lay of the land as far as what kind of properties are ideal for second homes, what homes are currently available, and also know which of the local towns would be right for you.

It’ll take some research, starting with gathering information about agents and their expertise from their websites. You should also get recommendations from anyone you know who’s purchased any properties on Whidbey Island.

When you’ve got a solid list of three or four, interview each one and have them drill down on their recent record of success in helping buyers get into Whidbey Island homes for sale.

Get financing

Buying Whidbey Island waterfront homes as a second home can be a considerable expense, so another key early step is to line up a second mortgage. When you meet with home loan officers, they will want to know specifically how you plan to use the home. Generally, to qualify as a second home, the property must be a certain distance from your primary residence. A rough rule of thumb is at least 50 miles away.

Also, a second home can’t be used as an investment property to be rented out.

You should set a budget so you know how expensive a second home you can afford. Besides the mortgage, there will be the cost of another homeowners insurance policy, property taxes, and the cost of furnishing and maintaining the second home.

If you qualify for a conventional loan, you should be able to pay the same interest rate as you would on a primary residence. Other financing options include a cash-out refinance on your primary residence or a home equity line of credit. Both are ways to access the equity in your main home.

An experienced lender will be able to explain all the options you have.

When you are ready to explore Whidbey Island homes for sale to use as a second home in 2021, let Mike Konopik put his extensive experience to work for you, contact Mike at 308-627-7866, [email protected].

Get ready to make family memories on Whidbey Island!



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