The Tiny House Movement

Did you know that there is a current movement happening where people are deliberately choosing to move into tiny homes?  These homes can be permanent residences on a concrete foundation or built on wheels for flexibility.  Companies are popping up throughout the country specializing in tiny homes and the Tiny House Blog has a great following of individuals looking for new ideas and inspiration.

Fun island tree house


When we bought our property on Decatur Island in 1990, we cleared a small area in the 100 year old orchard and set up a couple of tents around a fire pit and that was our “home” base for the first summer.  We quickly realized that we wanted to be able to come to our property year-round so we built a small 6×10 redwood shed and fitted it out with a double bed, three bunks and an antique wood-fired trash burner that served as a cooking surface and heat source. The redwood shed is now used for storage but I can see it out of my kitchen window and smile at all the memories it contains.


In the islands, tiny houses are a wonderful option for affordable vacation “getaways” or year-round homes.  Designs are available for kits and pre-built cottages that are 120 to 700 square feet and most tiny homes can be built for $15,000 to $50,000.  San Juan County offers an “owner builder” permit option for structures less than 1000 square feet.  Exciting projects are being developed by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and Frontier Fortress out of Wyoming.

Decatur Island “Tiny House”

Why do people want a “tiny home”?


“I want to enjoy my life and not be a slave to a mortgage”

“We want to live simply so we can focus on what we feel is important”

“Tiny houses are cute”

“We want to create a place that reflects our unique needs”

“We can build a home and pay cash for it”

“I want to travel but want a small place to come home to”

“I’ve always wanted to build my own place”

Posted on February 13, 2014 at 7:46 pm
Sarah Jones | Posted in Home Buying |

Real Estate is Improving

In case you haven't been watching the market or noticing the rising of "pending sales" in your community, let me tell you….the real estate market is improving!  Last month our office had 21 properties go pending in 21 days, which is so much better than it's been for the past 3 years.  From my 25 years of experience, I know that just getting through this presidential election helps a lot.  I realize it's part of the political process, but it's pretty challenging on the consumer to have confidence when the candidates keep talking about how the country is "going to hell in a handbasket" and they are the one to fix it…..yeesh!

New home starts are also increasing, which is great and impacts all areas of our community.  It's wonderful seeing new projects again and knowing that the worst is behind us.  I have access to all kinds of graphs and statistics if you want data for your specific area.  Let me know….I love hearing from you!

If you're thinking of buying a home, you might not want to wait until spring to do it….inventory is dropping rapidly and rates have never been better….it's a great time to be a Buyer!


Posted on December 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm
Sarah Jones | Posted in Uncategorized |

2nd Homes Can Be A Great Deal (tax-wise)

Doesn't everybody yearn for a 2nd home?…. A beautiful place to go and do nothing but relax and spend time with friends and family…drinking nice wine, eating yummy food and reading those books you've always wanted to have time to read.


Unfortunately, it's often hard to justify the expense of a 2nd home when the upkeep of the primary residence sometimes seems overwhelming.

As someone who traded in my primary residence to live in my "2nd" home on a full-time basis, I understand this dilemma all too well, but did you know there are some awesome tax benefits to having a second home? For one thing, interest is deductible for your first 1.1 million in debt. (you can buy a darn nice home for 1.1 million) Also, if you rent it out for less than 14 days/year, you don't have to pay taxes on that rental income….cool! If you yourself use it for less than 14 days/year, the vacation home is considered a business and up to $25,000 in losses can be deducted each year. So you ask…."why have a vacation home that I can only use 14 days a year?" Well, here's the loophole…Days spent "maintaining" the home, aren't considered personal use days. Hmmm….maybe that's why I see so much window washing and deck sweeping going on.. I'm not making this stuff up.  There's a great article on that tells all about it. 

I may not be able to do your taxes, but I can sure show you some wonderful San Juan Island properties that will tempt you to live your "dream".

Posted on October 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm
Sarah Jones | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

What will the new year bring?

As we start into the new year, after all the excitement of the holiday, some of us have resolutions in hand for 2012 and others are just trying to finish up the last of the sugar cookies so they can quit feeling guilty on a daily basis.  As for me, I started walking.  I go out every day and try to let go of all the questions about  the economy, presidential elections, obscure Facebook posts and wonderings about how I can spend so much time on the computer, and not accomplish much; vanish for a little while.

This morning, I had a wonderful treat.  I think spring is going to come early this year because the eagles are out in their full glory, and today I got the chance to watch a couple at play right on the trail ahead of me.  They were swooping and calling until the female flew off and left her majestic suitor sitting in the tree above me.  He was incredible!  He looked down on me with what seemed to be total disdain and called to her to rejoin him.  She didn’t and I moved on, grateful for a brief moment in nature to remind me of why I live in this beautiful place.

I don’t know what 2012 will bring so I’m going to just take each day as it comes and cherish the moments of glory and try to endure the moments of challenge.  That’s really all we can do anyway, isn’t it?  As my step father used to say, “It’s a great life, if you just don’t weaken”.  He lived each day fully until he died at 76.  His last words to my mother were, “I want to tell you all about my wonderful day, but I’m just too tired so I’m going to go to bed.”  I hope my last words are the same.

Walking the beach on Decatur Island

Posted on January 12, 2012 at 11:07 pm
Sarah Jones | Posted in Uncategorized |

Island Afternoons

Posted on December 10, 2011 at 11:00 pm
Sarah Jones | Posted in Uncategorized |

Tourist for a Day

A Tourist for a Day

Sometimes, we have to take a moment…and re-discover our world. I find that if I’m not careful, my day-to-day cares take over and I lose site of this beautiful place where I live. The water is just a passing view as I travel through the house carrying the laundry, the beaches are for someone else to walk and the sun shining through the windows becomes just an annoying glare on my computer screen. Although I appreciate where I live, I find I have to make a deliberate effort to enjoy my environment.

Yesterday, my daughter asked me to go on a kayaking picnic with her to the south end of Decatur Island. My first response was, “no, I’ve got too much to do today…I can’t do it.” But as most young 20 year olds, her response was to not take “no” for an answer and she kept persevering. Finally, I gave in and made up a picnic and gathered paddles and life jackets for the trip. What a trip it was!….Beautiful glassy water, a warm pebble beach, eating lunch and visiting with my daughter and even a nap in the sun. Suddenly, I wasn’t just a woman checking off items on a “to do” list, it was like I was someone kayaking the San Juan Islands and appreciating the awesomeness of this place for the very first time…the smell of the seaweed, the calls of the various birds and the unsurpassed beauty everywhere. I came home with a pocket full of rocks and sea glass and a full set of charged batteries….ready to attack my first item on my “to do” list….write a blog.

Wherever you live, take a minute and plan a day being a tourist in your own town….visit the museum, have lunch in the park and better yet, spend the day with someone who means the world to you. You’ll be glad you did.

Posted on October 14, 2011 at 11:40 pm
Sarah Jones | Posted in Uncategorized |