If you’re buying property on a medium to high bluff, you will want to consider bluff stability. The location of the bluff, the angle of the bluff, and the vegetation all play a part in bluff stability. East of the Sequim-Dungeness Lighthouse spit is fairly stable for the bluffs. They are largely protected by spits and bays. But west of the spit is a different story. Between the spit and Port Angeles there are several unstable bluffs, some where the bluff has peeled off 25 feet or more. This was never an issue until about 7 years ago. A number of homes have been red tagged and some are so close, it’s scary. I was surprised when a home recently sold where a 175 foot high bluff lost about 40 feet at the top, which put the bluff only 32 feet from the back of the house. It surely looked precarious, and there was no vegetation or tree root systems to stabilize the bluff any more. Someone came along and paid $445,000 cash for that home.
Bluff stability reports are too expensive for most people to have done by qualified engineers, so most buyers will have a learning curve as they look at properties on bluffs. I have years of doing this, so I do share what I’ve learned from engineers with my buyers, and I’ve read many bluff stability reports, so I know what to look for, or at least what indicia would raise red flags.
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