Olympia DeerHaven’s First Blog Post

This is the post excerpt.

So this is my very first blog post for Olympia DeerHaven. I started this post to share with others my experience(s) relocating from southern California to Washington state in the spring of 2017.

Steph at Kitsap LakeHere I am at Kitsap Lake, Bremerton, Washington during a visit in August of 2016. The lake was named after a Suquamish Native American chief who lived during the mid-19th century. If Chief Kitsap were to visit the lake today he might be a little surprised by some of the activities taking place there now. A public boat launch, picnicking areas, a small dock and restrooms can be found at the southern end of the lake all within steps of the water.

I actually lived very near Kitsap Lake from the time I was born until I was nearly nine-years-old when my family relocated to southern California so yes, I am not a complete stranger to the state of Washington.

But let’s back up just a bit if you please…..

Before leaving California I spent the last few years devouring every website, blog and resource I could get my hands on about Washington state. I made a few “feet on the ground” reconnaissance mission travels and forays to the Pacific northwest also in my quest to locate a place that would not only fit my finances, but feed my soul as well. Some of the sites I found helpful were: redfin.com, realtor.com, zillow.com, trulia.com, city-data.com, craigslist.com, forsalebyowner and themlsonline.com. I found Redfin to have a lot of data on their site, Trulia seemed to post lots of foreclosures, themlsonline.com focuses on a specific area, while city-data has lots of input from “locals” regarding particular communities and their demographics.

One website I highly recommend joining, no matter where you live, is Nextdoor.com, which is a free private social network for your neighborhood. I’ve seen lost pets re-joined with their owners, suspicious vehicle postings and neighbors looking out for each other and helping each other in all kinds of situations such as local contractor recommendations, and so forth. I honestly just can’t say enough good things about the site.

So I searched from over near the western slope of the Cascades in Rainier all the way up to Hoodsport in Mason county, out to Aberdeen on the coast, and up to the Belfair and the Bremerton/Port Orchard areas. Once I’d finally narrowed my focus to either the Olympia or Shelton locals, it was time to find a realtor.

Now let me tell you that my realtor is a very patient guy. Over the past year he has researched innumerable queries and answered every email I sent to him, well before I ever actually made an offer on a property. He earned every penny of his commission.

My realtor was, by necessity, interested in my needs vs. wants such as: how many bedrooms? how many bathrooms? house? condo? mobile home? acreage? on the water? views? And let’s not forget the most important item of all: maximum price! Then I added more things to the list such as: a fireplace or wood-burning stove, and a double garage. My realtor soldiered on.

In early April of 2017, I made one last pre-visit to Washington state. At that time my realtor and I visited four different properties, as well as ruling out a few others for various reasons. I ended up making an offer on one property, which was accepted within 48 hours!

I flew back to California and went into packing overdrive. I must have made 12 trips to Home Depot in Simi Valley for moving boxes. Thirty plus years accumulation of stuff was forcing me to make several trips every week to Habitat for Humanity and the Goodwill. I did manage to sell a couple of items on Craigslist. My property in California sold within 36 hours of being listed, and closed escrow April 27, 2017. The movers had come, and I was already long gone putting well over 1,000 miles between me and Ventura county. No more dusty, barren hills! Bring on the trees and the gorgeous, breathtaking scenery!

More to come……:)




Fixin’ Up DeerHaven, 2017-2018

After several false starts I am committed to completing an update to this blog.

Spring, Summer & Fall of 2017

Because my newly purchased property would not close escrow until nearly the end of May my sister, Tami, graciously allowed me to stay with her in Bremerton during the interim. Her place is a beautiful 90-minute drive up highway 3 out of Shelton from my new place on the Steamboat Peninsula.

When I was within a week of closing escrow I stayed at a couple of Air BNB’s in different parts of Olympia as I was excited to explore my new town and the areas surrounding Olympia. One thing I  love doing when I’m driving around is to just pick a random street and drive down it to see where it goes. By doing this I’ve found parks, businesses and shortcuts that would’ve been unknown to me.

On May 27, 2017, I met my realtor downtown near Percival Landing who handed me the keys to my new home. I hugged him and thanked him for all of his help. I thought we had become friends, but other than bumping into him three months later at the Blueberry Bash community event out here on Steamboat, I haven’t heard a peep out of him.

Just to give some perspective: 18 months post the sale of my property in Moorpark, I continue to receive periodic (not intrusive) emails, letters, postcards, videos, birthday and holiday greetings from the listing agent I hired there. I guess the agent I used here in Olympia doesn’t believe in marketing.

So the first thing I did at my new place was have it surveyed, marked and recorded with the county as the old-growth forest made it nearly impossible to get through unless you were a raccoon or a squirrel. It took two surveyor guys six hours to hack through the brush with a machete in order to reach the back two corners of the property, which is just shy of 2/3 of an acre. They actually created “tunnels” through the brush so it was possible to walk out there for the first time. It was a Pacific northwest rainforest jungle. After that I hired a guy with an excavator who spent more than a week clearing much of the brush, leaving “islands” of trees with huckleberry and blackberry bushes woven between them. Afterward, there was a mountain of brush piled up in one area, which I had hauled out by another guy.