Doing your research

Whether you are buying a home for yourself, or an investment property, it is crucial that you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the property itself (because they all have them both!), as well as the community you’re buying into. We will be developing this page as time goes on, but in the meantime here are a few great starting places:

Skagit County iMap

Use this interactive site to look potential (Skagit County) properties up by address. Look at the property’s tax and sale history, zoning classifications, and improvement details (tip: if an improvement is not listed here, you’ll want to follow up with the local planning or building department to make sure it was properly permitted). There is truly a wealth of information in here, just jump in and start exploring.

Flood Hazard Maps

Floods are part of the landscape for Skagit Valley. Use this page to determine whether potential properties are at risk, and to what degree.

Local Planning

If you plan on owning your property for more than a couple years, or if you’re hoping to do something “new” on the property, it will be important to contact the local planning departments to learn about future planning projects, upcoming changes to the zoning or development codes, and so forth.

Water Availability

If the potential property is not connected to a public water system, you will want to research its existing water rights as well as test the drinking water. You can look up the water rights through a (limited) online search tool at the Department of Ecology, or submit this Request for Existing Water Right Information form using the property information you obtained from Skagit County iMap.

This is a particularly important issue in Skagit County, where new exempt wells for single-family residences are limited in most stream basins pursuant to the Skagit Instream Flow Rule adopted by the Department of Ecology in 2001.

Inspections and Surveys

Finally (but importantly), we highly recommend that you have any building(s) inspected by a licensed home inspector, and that you follow their recommendations for more specialized inspections—such as for pests, electrical, foundation, roof or sewer issues, water systems, mold, or soil stability. Use the Washington State Department of Licensing website to locate a qualified home inspectors and/or land surveyors. For Skagit and Island Counties, you can also use the SICBA FIND A PRO page.