Does Kitsap County have slide areas? | Just Ask Jan

Dear Jan:

We are looking at waterfront homes, many of which are high bank.

With Whidbey Island having had slides, how do we know if a home is susceptible to a slide? We would hate to spend that kind of money and find our home falling into the Sound or Canal. — Thanks, JR

Dear JR: When I first started in real estate 24 years ago, when someone asked if they should worry about slides, we were trained to say, “Well, it has been here this long …”

Not true anymore.

We now have active slide zones in our area — not many, but one is too many.

I have one client who lost their home back to the bank because no lender would lend on it. It was identified as being in an active slide area by the state Department of Ecology, therefore, nobody would buy it.

A really good resource is the state Department of Ecology’s website. Google “Department of Ecology Kitsap County active slide areas” or go to This will take you to a Kitsap map.

Click on the little red squares in the area where you are looking for a home and it will expand the map and show the activity for that area.

There is a colored legend that tells you what the color represents. Red is not good. On a VA or FHA loan, the appraiser looks at this map. On a conventional loan, perhaps not.

Only you can decide how much risk you are willing to take. You would want to take into consideration things like how far the home is set back from the bank, etc. Kitsap County’s Department of Community Development has someone very knowledgeable about the stability of the area and they too would be a good resource.

Best wishes with your decision. Jan

— Jan Zufelt is a broker with John L. Scott Real Estate in Kingston. Contact her at