Port Ludlow Homes Blog

Cost of Owning a Used Home and the Benefits of Owning a New Home

When you're looking to buy a home, you obviously have two options: buy a used home or one that's new. While both undoubtedly have their perks, when it comes to the latter, there's nothing quite like the experience of buying a new home. While we'll discuss more about the benefits later, right now, let's talk money. While it can be a touchy subject, it’s also a rather important one considering what the cost of a home could be. You work hard for your money, so you want to make sure it's being used wisely, right?

There are several factors involved in the cost of a home (such as size and location), and according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) the median cost of a new home in April 2017 was $309,200 while the median cost of an existing home was $246,100. However, what if we told you that a 2014 NAHB article, New Homes are Less Expensive to Maintain, claimed that over time, it's going to be cheaper to maintain a new home? With that said, let's discuss some of the costs you may potentially face with buying a used home over one that's new.


While you might think that the previous owners are going to repair everything in the home that needs to be taken care of before you move in, that’s not necessarily true in many cases. It all depends on the agreed upon terms. In some cases, you may have to take some, most, or all of the repairs on yourself so you'll have to be financially, and emotionally, prepared to do that. You might find yourself fixing a loose railing in the backyard, repairing a fence, or having to fix loose stairs. Individually, they might not seem like much, but when added together, it could be a pretty big amount especially...

Historic Anchor at the Marina

In July 2016, the Black family kindly donated a ten foot high anchor to the Port Ludlow community. The historical anchor comes from one of the notorious hell ships – the Reaper.

The Reaper Port Ludlow

The Reaper caught fire and burned out in Ludlow Bay almost 110 years to the day – July 21, 1906. The boat had caught fire at the Port Ludlow mill dock and after burning overnight, her lines were cut and she was taken to the other side of the bay and burned out. At low tide you can see glimpses of the Reaper’s remains.

In the late 1800s, Port Ludlow was known for its excellent ship building facilities. The Puget Sound Mill Company was in charge of construction of three masters, ten two-masted schooners, and the Kitsap barkentine. The Hall Brothers built approximately 31 vessels in Port Ludlow, many for the Puget Sound Mill Company.

Hell ships, like the Reaper, were known as ships with poor living conditions or had a reputation of treating the crew callously. During this time in Port Ludlow and Port Townsend “shanghaiing” was somewhat routine. When a ship was lacking in crew members, the merchants would send runners to brothels and bars along the waterfront and force them to work upon the boat.

Flash forward to the 1960s, when two members of the Black family were scuba diving in Ludlow Bay, discovered the Reaper’s anchor and retrieved it. It sat as an amazing historical relic at their family home prior to the family donating this unique piece of Port Ludlow history to the community.

The anchor is now displayed at the Port Ludlow Marina for visitors and locals alike to enjoy and learn more about the history of the hell ships and boat building in Port Ludlow.

Port Ludlow Historic Anchor...

The Many Ways to Improve Your Quality of Life in Port Ludlow

Living in a smaller town often means a higher quality of life, thanks to a more peaceful, scenic backdrop, a cleaner environment and often a lower cost of living. In Port Ludlow, you’ll not only find all of this but many other ways to improve your quality of life.

Port Ludlow truly offers something for everyone, including a strong sense of community as former president of the Port Ludlow Village Council Terry Umbreit waxed poetically about in the Port Townsend Leader a couple of years ago.

Umbriet noted that “in addition to the natural beauty of the area and the assets of a master planned resort (golf course, marina, hotel, parks, trails and community centers), the strength of the community is its residents.”

“Port Ludlow residents,” he added, “have skills, talents and expertise that they are willing to share.”

“The power and influence of local residents are apparent in their commitment to maintain their lifestyles and protect the environment,” he continued, listing the timber harvest issue as one example, when residents gathered to put pressure on the county to stop the developer from clear cutting. A special committee was organized to communicate with Jefferson County and other government organizations, and it was the members’ homework and understanding of the issues which created an effective advocate for all residents. That creation of mechanisms to resolve conflicts is a very positive one for any community.

Then there is the residents’ high rate of volunteerism, and the vast social and activity calendar which includes a wide range of clubs like hiking, gardening, books, investment, fly fishing and more, as well as get-togethers like potlucks, luncheons and other events.

A strong community brings people together to advocate and support each other, and as human beings, we need a sense of belonging, and that sense of belonging is what connects us to the many relationships...

Westharbor Homes Award-Winning Designs

The Olympic Peninsula’s premier, award-winning home builder, Westharbor Homes has been building homes in the master-planned community at Port Ludlow for more than a quarter-century.

This village that sits at the edge of the Olympic Rain Shadow is becoming an increasingly popular destination for retirees throughout the Greater Seattle, Bellevue, Portland regions, and beyond, to downsize, reduce costs and maintenance of ownership, while enjoying an active neighborhood of like-minded people who want to take advantage of the spectacular surrounding beauty of the area.

Westharbor helps make that dream happen by creating first class homes for those seeking intentionally designed properties that have a focus on what these homeowners are looking for: downsizing, limited property maintenance and aging in place. Not only can they enjoy easy access to boating, golfing, hiking and the region’s bounty of fresh local cuisine, but they can live in a home designed to take advantage of the sights and peaceful sounds of this tranquil village by the bay in the village.

Westharbor Homes has been honored with multiple awards over the years, offering assurance to those considering a move to Port Ludlow that moving forward with that decision may be one of the smartest they’ll ever make.

Ludlow Cove Cottages, The Townsend: 2015 Gold Nugget Awards

In 2015, Westharbor Homes was honored as the Grand Award winner in the annual Gold Nugget Awards competition, which recognizes excellence in architectural design and planning, and draws entries from throughout the U.S. and the world. The panel of judges included some of the most creative and successful designers, planners and builders in the industry.

The honors were earned for “The Townsend,” a three-bedroom, 2.5 bath, 1,866-square-foot home, named the Best Single Family Detached Home under 2,000-square-feet for Ludlow Cove Cottages, a new neighborhood of 42 homes, on Ludlow Bay.


Why Living by the Water Makes us Happy

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” – Loren Eisley

We have all had those moments near the water that feel absolutely magical. Whether that is on a boat or in a kayak, on a stand-up paddle board or swimming, or simply lounging on the beach –feelings of peace and serenity wash over you just like wave.

And don’t just take my word for it. There is scientific evidence that supports that living near the water is good for you. Research has found that nature itself is therapeutic and promotes health and well-being. A 2016 study found that living within sight of water is directly correlated to lower stress levels. Even manmade water features like fountains, ponds, and canals can produce the same effect.

Wallace J. Nichols, marine biologist and author, call this “blue mind” and authored the book on the subject. Nichols advocates that that a “mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment” can be activated by spending time in, on, or near the water.

So perhaps it is time to take Nichol’s prescription for the Blue Mind Rx…go swimming, get out on a boat, walk along the shoreline, go fishing, watch wildlife as these are best practices for health and wellness.

Luckily in Port Ludlow there are endless opportunities to get in your daily Blue Mind….

Kayak through the Twin Islands

kayker for web

Catch at trout at Teal Lake


18 Things to Do on the Olympic Peninsula

The 3,600-square-mile Olympic Peninsula is surrounded by water, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north and the Hood Canal to the east, all highlighted by the soaring Olympic Mountains sitting at its heart. Those who are fortunate to be living in Port Ludlow, the “Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula,” enjoy easy access to all this magnificent region has to offer, from sailing, boating and fishing to hiking wild shorelines and temperate rainforests, wildlife-viewing and so much more. This is a true outdoor lovers’ paradise, home to some of the nation’s most remote wilderness areas and unspoiled shorelines, yet it still provides a wealth of cultural activities, along with fantastic restaurants – many of which serve some of the best fresh seafood on the planet – and, a mild climate with more sun than Seattle in many areas to do it all in, thanks to the Olympic Rain Shadow.

There is so much to do here, you may want to start your own personal “bucket list,” as it could take a lifetime to experience it all.

Drive the Olympic Peninsula Loop

One of the top things to do if you’re new to the area, as well as for those who’ve been here a while and haven’t experienced it, is to take a scenic drive on the loop highway, the Olympic Peninsula’s only major route. From Port Ludlow, connect with it on highway 101 at the junction with 104, traveling counterclockwise through Sequim, Port Angeles and eventually Aberdeen, veering off at Highway 12, just west of Olympia, before connecting with 101 north along the Hood Canal. This is a great way to get a taste of what the area has to offer, before taking a more in-depth look at some of the favorite spots. You’ll pass through lavender farms that surround the small town of Sequim, and you can take a detour into Olympic National Park, heading up to Hurricane Ridge to enjoy a jaw-dropping panoramic view of the San Juan de...

Options for Low Maintenance, Sustainable Landscaping in Port Ludlow

If you have an interest in gardening or landscaping, moving to a new area can be a challenge. Having little time to devote to landscaping or a desire to remain eco-friendly to the new region creates additional demands. Plants that performed well in one place may not thrive in another, which means a well-designed, sustainable landscape may be the answer.

What is Sustainable Landscaping?

Sustainable landscaping utilizes native plantings to create an eco-friendly and natural setting. Because the plants are native to the Port Ludlow region, they have a greater opportunity to thrive for many years than do those transplanted from other regions. Using native plants means the need to augment soil with fertilizers and other chemicals is typically unnecessary, making a sustainable landscape easier to maintain. This type of landscaping also strives to conserve energy and water while preserving the integrity of the plant life it supports.

Lawns and Sustainable Landscaping

Many people long for lush green expanses of lawn to enhance their homes or businesses. Gas powered lawn mowers however, emit carbon dioxide and contribute to smog-based pollution and the gasoline used to run these mowers is a burden on the fossil fuel supplies of the planet. One way to improve the sustainability is to reduce the size of the lawn by planting other groundcovers and plants. For any of the remaining lawn, choose a push mower that does not rely on gas or electric power to operate it.

Some properties just seem to require a lawn. Nothing holds up to foot traffic like grass. So if a lawn is a must-have, there are some practices that will help keep it sustainable and eco-friendly such as cutting it high. Lawns maintained to a three-inch height require less frequent cuttings. It also allows them to develop deeper root systems which mean they need less fertilizing and watering to stimulate growth.

Synthetic lawn additives such as fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides...

Why Port Ludlow Area Residents Enjoy All of the Benefits of the Northwest With Only Half the Rain

We’ve all heard the jokes about the rainy Northwest – What do you call two straight days of rain in Seattle? Answer – a weekend.

What? It only rains twice a year in Seattle! August through April and May through July.

There’s more than enough weather humor related to Washington going around that it easily leads anyone outside of the area to believe that we’re all walking around sopping wet, all of the time. Of course, those that actually live in Port Ludlow know better. While Seattle may not be as bad as what it’s made out to be, that’s especially true for our area.

The Rainfall Reality

While people who live on the wet (west and southwest) side of the Olympics can get hammered with some 200 inches of rain a year, those who live in the northern region of the Olympic Peninsula, including Port Ludlow, Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles, get dramatically less. Port Ludlow receives an annual average rainfall of just 27 inches, compared to 40 inches a year and higher in many other Puget Sound area communities. The U.S. average is 39 inches, which means Port Ludlow actually gets significantly less rain than most other towns in the nation.

Typically, Port Ludlow enjoys five times as many mostly sunny days, here in the shadow vs. Seattle – and sitting at the edge of the bay, the water helps moderate air temperatures too, providing a warming effect in the winter and a nice cooling effect on those hot summer days.

Why It’s Drier in Port Ludlow

But in addition to the natural air conditioning and warming provided by Port Ludlow Bay, what else do we have to thank? The Olympic Rain Shadow, also known as the “banana belt.”

The Olympic Mountains serve as a wall that protects the northeastern Olympic Peninsula from the bulk of the rain that moves into the Northwest. The dominant airflow during our region’s rainy days comes from the southwest. As the air runs into...

9 Things To Do in Olympic National Park

While there is nearly an endless list of reasons to love living in Port Ludlow, being so close to one of America’s finest national parks is surely one of them, with the three entrances to Olympic National Park starting just 15 miles from home.

This massive 1,442-square-mile park is larger than Rhode Island by 200 square miles, almost twice as big as Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and 300 square miles bigger than California’s Yosemite National Park. It’s also home to 49 peaks that soar more than 6,500 feet, many of which are rarely climbed due to isolation and sheer difficulty, and over 600 miles of scenic trails, much of which are designated wilderness by the National Park Service. What that means to you, is that unlike places such as Yosemite, where the crowds in the valley can be as thick as those at Disneyland, you’re probably not going to rub elbows with many tourists here, despite the fact that it’s the country’s fifth most visited national park. It’s also considered one of America’s most isolated places, sometimes even referred to as the “quietest square inch in the States.”

The park hosts everything from the towering jagged mountains and wild, rugged beaches to lush emerald forests, countless waterfalls, misty cliffs and more than 250 glaciers - Blue Glacier, located on Mount Olympus, is 2.6 miles long and is estimated to be the size of 20 trillion ice cubes. While most people head to parks like Yellowstone for wildlife, there is an abundance to be seen here too, from Olympic marmots and black-tailed deer to mountain goats, bear, Roosevelt elk and even whales, which can be seen swimming offshore along the Olympic coast during their migration seasons. Many bird species call the area home too, including bald eagles, northern pygmy owls, black oystercatchers, and more, with some 300 different species of birds found in the park’s diverse habitats.

While the Olympic Peninsula is filled with all sorts...

14 of the Best Things For Retired People to Do Together

One thing you probably always dreamed of while you were working, is having time to truly enjoy life. Now that the long commute, and longer work days are behind you, you’ve earned your unlimited free time. While for some, that can mean boredom, with too much time and not enough to do, if you live in Port Ludlow, odds are, you’re not going to have that problem. Of course, having someone to do those things with makes it all the better.

Whether you want to spend time doing things with spouse, significant other, a friend or relative, Port Ludlow and the surrounding area offer so much to do that it’s going to be a long while before you can say you’ve truly done it all, and at that point, you might just want to start all over again.


Many Port Ludlow residents are boaters, in fact, the opportunity to enjoy boating just steps away from their front door, is what lured more than a few to this picturesque waterfront community. Even long before all of the homes and marina were here, Port Ludlow Bay was a popular destination for boaters in the Pacific Northwest. Lots of people decide to purchase their home here primarily because they want to live near the marina – and, even for those who don’t live in Port Ludlow, it becomes their favorite destination, with faster watercraft getting here in just an hour or two from Seattle.

If boating is one of the main reasons you’re here, spending your time with friends and family out on the water is a no-brainer. Depending on specific tastes and desires, you’ll have an extensive array of spectacular destinations to choose from within easy reach:

San Juan Islands. The San Juan archipelago is one of the world’s premier boating destinations. Tucked between the U.S. and Vancouver Island, Canada, the San Juan archipelago consists of more than 450 islands, with the most-visited including San Juan Island, Orcas, Lopez and Stuart Island. From Port Ludlow, depending on...

Mortgage Interest Rates: Then, Now and Tomorrow

When it comes to purchasing a home, whether it’s your first or your tenth, few people are in a position to pay cash. Most of us need to rely on a mortgage, and of course securing the best interest rate possible is a goal we all have when we take out any type of loan.

Events That Have Influenced Mortgage Interest Rates

Dating back to about 1910, rates had been fairly consistent at 5%, although mortgages were not very common. That changed with the growth of the 1920s. At the beginning of the Great Depression, mortgage interest rates had risen to around 6%. With the collapse of the economy and the hardships faced by many Americans, mortgage interest rates decreased as the decade progressed and fewer and fewer people could afford to take out a mortgage. Instruments put in place by the federal government helped establish fixed rate mortgages as the new norm.

World War II was the next major influence on mortgage interest rates. With most of the country’s men off to fight the war, there was less demand for consumer goods, including housing, and a shortage of materials to build them. This encouraged lenders to let the mortgage interest rate drop below 5% for the first time. Following the war, returning soldiers and their families were again in the market for new homes. Many took advantage of the VA loans but the demand for mortgages overall escalated and with the rising demand, so did the interest rates for the next few decades.

The Arab oil embargo of 1973 plunged the country into a recession. Rates leapt from around 6% at the beginning of the decade to 8% and 9% halfway through the decade. Inflation was rampant and rates continued to soar, passing 10% by 1980. During the early 1980s, mortgage interest rates reached an all-time high of nearly 17%, a rate which has not been seen since. A change in policies and a slow recovery helped alleviate the mortgage rate climb. As the decade progressed, the country bounced back and the interest rates reflected that....

Construction Update Athena Home Site 7

The Athena - Home Site 7 - Starting at $446,700

The Athena home plan is the only two-story home plan offered in Olympic Terrace II. Featuring three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a spacious kitchen/dining/living open concept, at 1,874 square feet, this home is surely going to be one of the more popular in the neighborhood!

On track from completion in early July, the Athena home coming to life on home site 7 is about as close as you can get to a move-in ready home! Plus, there is still an opportunity to work with Westharbor Homes and personalize some of the interior finishes to your desired appearance.

Similar to what we mentioned in our Cameron Home Plan Construction Progress post, one of the things we love the most about creating new home neighborhoods is watching homes go from conceptual drawings and renderings to the finished home. To help set the stage for the incredible progress, below is a rendering of the Athena and the home plan.

Contact Us About This Home Plan

Athena Exterior Rendering & Home Plan

Athena Exterior Rendering

Athena Home Plan

Athena Home Site 7

As you will soon seen, the Athena home plan being built on Home Site 7 is very far along on the exterior construction and the Westharbor Homes Construction Team will soon be moving to the inside to take this home from a waterproof shell to a beautifully finished home in which the next owners can start creating memories!

Contact Us About This Home Plan...

Construction Progress of Cameron on HS 19

The Cameron - Home Site 19 - Starting at $491,700

One of the things that we love the most about creating new home neighborhoods is watching renderings and conceptual drawings come to life before our eyes.

The Cameron home plan on home site 19 in Olympic Terrace II is on pace for a new homeowner to move in by the second week of August.

At 1,703 square feet, this one-story three bedroom home is perfect for someone who is seeking to downsize their home and, at the same time, upgrade to a jaw-dropping Olympic Mountain view property.

Before we showcase the progress photos of the Cameron home plan on home site 19, here is the exterior rendering and the home plan, so you can also see how cool it is to watch these illustrations come to life!

Contact Us About This Home Plan

The Cameron Exterior Rendering & Home Plan

Cameron Exterior Rendering

Cameron Home Plan

Cameron Home Site 19 - Progress Photos

Now, onto the fun part! Below is a series of photos illustrating the tremendous progress that the Westharbor Homes Construction Team has made in the last few weeks building what will inevitably be one of the most spectacular view homes in the Olympic Terrace II neighborhood!

Contact Us About This Home Plan

Cameron Home Site 19 Exterior...

One Available Waterfront Home Site Remains

We are proud to share that Home Site 6 in Ludlow Cove Cottages is the last remaining true waterfront home site in the neighborhood!

This home site will accommodate the Chimacum home plan, a two-story, three-bedroom home that ranges between 1892 - 2149 square feet, depending on whether you select the optional bonus room for additional space to relax, and a lot more storage! The Chimacum on Home Site 6 starts at $555,000.

UPDATE: We've recently been given approval for a single-story home plan that can be built on Home Site 6! Scroll down for more information!

This home backs up to a high-bank waterfront, lined with trees that are perfect for that summer-time afternoon shade. The front of the home offer views of the park and peek-a-boo views of Ludlow Bay.

Chimacum Home Plan

The Chimacum home plan is one of our most popular homes because of its ability to offer a two-car garage in a fairly tight footprint. The Chimacum's footprint is exactly what allows it to be the only home plan available on Home Site 6.

Plus, we recently had an opportunity to capture a very cool 3-D tour of the Chimacum Home plan. Check out the 3-D Tour Here!

Contact Us About This Home Plan

Chimacum Rendering

Chimacum Home Plan

As we mentioned, the Chimacum home plan is among the most popular in the neighborhood. Check out the exterior rendering and home plan below and you'll soon realize that the extra space afforded by the Chimacum is what makes it ideal for entertain family...

5 Reasons Port Ludlow is one of the Best Places to Live

Olympic Peninsula Rain Shadow

Olympic Rain Shadow

Port Ludlow is located in the Olympic Peninsula Rain Shadow. Not sure what the Rain Shadow is? Simply put, it means that storms heading inland from the Pacific Ocean dump most of their moisture on or around the mountains, leaving a dry spot in North Puget Sound. Right where Port Ludlow is located. Port Ludlow receives an average rainfall of 27 inches per year compared to 40 inches or more in other Puget Sound communities.

26+ Miles of Maintained Hiking and Biking Trails

Port Ludlow Hiking Trails

We are so lucky to have over 26+ miles of maintained hiking trails to explore, exercise and enjoy. We are thankful to the Port Ludlow Trails Committee and the Trail Stewards for their service. The trail system was originally created from service roads that remained in Port Ludlow from the sawmill era. Today, the trails are traversed by residents and guests alike. Exploration on the trails will take you on adventures to the woods, the beach, and everywhere in between.

Location, Location, Location

Hurricaine Ridge

Port Ludlow is home to an 18-hole championship golf course, 300-slip marina in a protected bay, a farm-to-table restaurant, and a boutique waterfront inn. And of course, the Olympic Peninsula is home to Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. With numerous activities and exploration activities, you are going to have to schedule time to relax.

Social Life

Living by the Water...

Olympic Peninsula Cider Route

“I’m not sure what Napa Valley felt like in the days before the world really discovered California wines, but I’m pretty sure it’s close to the vibe that hard-cider lovers are feeling these days in Port Townsend, Washington.” – David Volk, USA Today.

And it’s not just in Port Townsend, hard cider is now an Olympic Peninsula staple. Cue the Olympic Peninsula Cider Route – the key to tasting, discovering, and exploring all things cider with three cideries located within 10 miles of each other.

Each cidery and tasting room on the route is unique & distinctive and well worth the visit. The three cideries are Alpenfire, Eaglemount, and Finnriver. I recently traveled the Olympic Peninsula Cider Route and had a fantastic time.

I began my trip at the Finnriver Cider Orchard in Chimacum. The orchard has over 5,000 organic apple trees and the historic feed trough has been turned into a gathering place for locals and tourists alike to enjoy the views of the Chimacum Valley and quite literally enjoy the fruits of their labor. The rustic and charming tasting room is inviting and a great place to learn about cider and the historic property.

Finnriver Tasting Room
I had the chance to taste Finnriver’s Artisan Sparking Cider, Golden Russet, Farmstead, Barrel Berry, Spirited Apple, and Pear Wine. Each cider and the pear wine were distinctive and delicious. And when you’re finished with your tasting, one of the kind and helpful employees will allow you to try tastes of what are currently on tap and you can enjoy your glass of cider in the historic trough.

Finnriver Artisan Sparkling Cider

While at the Finnriver Orchard, I highly recommend taking the self-guided walking...