I’ve always had a deep appreciation for historic homes. It’s one of the reasons that I love living and working in Tacoma, with its abundance of intact architecturally significant historic buildings. It’s no accident that Tacoma still has so many incredible old homes. In part, it’s because city leaders recognize and appreciate that historic homes are an important part of Tacoma’s identity AND because the city is committed to protecting and preserving its old homes. In fact, the city’s Historic Preservation Office just won a state-wide award for the outreach programs that they’ve developed to strengthen public understanding of the importance of historic building stock to the fabric of a community. As a City Commissioner on the Landmarks Preservation Commission, I’m grateful for the opportunity that I’ve had to support the city’s efforts.
Historic Homes Workshop
There’s a lot of misinformation out there regarding landmark preservation and how it can and cannot impact homeowners in Tacoma. This disinformation is due in part to the fact that many real estate brokers aren’t as well versed on the topic as they should be. In an effort to help better educate the brokerage community, I’ll be leading an informational workshop for local real estate brokers on Monday, July 8th in association with Windermere and the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission. We’ll cover the potential benefits that landmark designation can have for homeowners and some of the guidelines that owners of landmarked homes must follow when making external modifications. We’ll also discuss the ways in which historic restoration and adaptive reuse can pave the way for increased investment capital in the community.
If you have any questions about buying or selling a historic home, please give me a call. I’m happy to assist.
For More Information Please Visit: cityoftacoma.org/HPEvents
Jeff and I recently bought a duplex in North Tacoma that we’re pretty excited about. We weighed the pros and cons of purchasing in the current market and ultimately decided that the property met our needs, both for the short term and the long. In light of our recent purchase, I thought it might be a good time to share some thoughts and observations about investing in real estate in Tacoma’s North End.
According to a recent report from Redfin, Tacoma has the hottest housing market in the nation. That doesn’t come as a complete surprise to brokers in the know. Tacoma has a lot to offer potential residents in terms of amenities and culture, but a big part of the city’s appeal has to do with affordability. You just get more for your housing dollar in Tacoma than you do in neighboring Seattle.
Not surprisingly, rents are on the rise in Tacoma. Between April of last year and April of this year, rents in Tacoma rose about 10%. Developers have been building new apartment buildings, but not enough to outpace demand. That means rents are likely to continue rising for the foreseeable future, making a strong argument for investing in rental properties in Tacoma.
Investing in real estate is a great long term strategy for accruing wealth but, like any type of investment, it does involve risk. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself before becoming a landlord.
5 Things to Consider BEFORE Becoming a Landlord
- Will you manage the property yourself or will you hire a property management company? If you decide to manage the property yourself, you may still benefit from assistance with screening potential tenants and/or evicting tenants if things don’t work out. Landlord Solutions is a great local resource for those types of services.
- Will you allow pets? Cats? Dogs? Large? Small? Allowing pets will obviously increase your potential applicant pool, but pets can take a toll on a house, which might cost you more than it’s worth in the long run.
- If your property is located near the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma Community College or UW Tacoma, will you rent by the room to attract students? You may be able to earn more income if you rent by the room, but you can also expect more wear and tear on your property.
- Have you talked to your insurance company to find out if there will be an increase in your premium if you convert a homeowner’s policy to a landlord’s policy? Our preferred insurance agent Jerry Hallman at Farmers is a great resource for exploring your insurance options.
- Have you spoken with your accountant about the potential tax implications associated with owning a rental property, converting your primary residence into a rental or selling a rental property? What expenses can be counted as deductions on your tax returns? How can you avoid capital gains taxes when selling a rental property?
Short Term Rentals?
With the emergence of marketing platforms like VRBO and Airbnb, short term rentals have become a very popular way for homeowners to generate income. Short term rentals may offer a greater return on your investment than a traditional rental property, but it feels like the short term rental market in Tacoma is becoming saturated. Jeff and I were initially thinking about using our new duplex units as short term rentals but are now leaning towards a more traditional long term rental approach.
If you have questions about investing in Tacoma real estate, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m here to help.
Mark Pinto is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere Professional Partners, specializing in residential real estate in Tacoma, Gig Harbor, University Place and Lakewood.
Mark Pinto: (253) 318-0923
10712 255th St E, Graham, WA
Designer inspired fixtures and finishes on the inside AND a spectacular, secluded setting on the outside. It’s a winning combination. Jeff, Mark and Miles recently listed this sophisticated single story three bed, two bath Contemporary in Graham. Nicely sited at the end of a quiet street, this beautifully landscaped 3/4 acre property offers a welcome sense of privacy and retreat.
- Updated kitchen
- Stainless LG appliances
- Family room
- Home office
- Master suite
- Newer bamboo floors
- Three zone in-floor radiant heat
- On-demand hot water
- Attached 4 car garage with RV parking
- Enclosed shop with a dedicated air-handling and filtration system
- Studio/shed with electricity
At the heart of the house is this tastefully updated kitchen with vaulted ceilings and a butcher block topped breakfast bar. Additional features include Corian counters, stainless LG appliances, a wine cooler, a central island with cook top, a pantry and a French door to a covered deck. Perfect for entertaining.
The family room blends clean, crisp lines with interesting design elements like an industrial ceiling fan and an exposed wood support beam.
Just when you think things can’t get any better, all you have to do is step outside. An expansive Trex deck on the back side of the house offers multiple areas for entertaining.
This meticulously maintained property includes mature landscaping, fruit trees, raised planting beds, a studio/shed with electricity and a daylight basement with additional covered parking and an enclosed shop.
Graham is a rural community just south of Puyallup and east of Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM), approximately 20 miles from downtown Tacoma. Originally part of the traditional lands of the Nisqually and Puyallup tribes, the area was settled in the early 1900s by workers for the Cascade Timber Company, one of the first outfits to start harvesting timber in the area. Logging camps and mills soon followed, and a number of business were established in the area to support them, including a barbershop, a blacksmith, feed and supplies, an auto and tractor repair shop, a meat market, cold storage lockers, a tavern and a restaurant. As timber resources dwindled in the mid-1900s, residents began to commute out of the area for work. Graham remains a good option for people seeking a rural home life in commuting distance of Tacoma, Olympia and JBLM.
For additional photos and detailed information about this property, please visit 10712-255th.com.
South Sound Property Group is a top-producing Real Estate Team with Windermere Professional Partners, specializing in residential real estate in Tacoma, Gig Harbor, University Place and Lakewood.
Searching for a new home can be fun and exciting, but it’s important to make sure there aren’t any financial obstacles in your way before you embark on the home buying journey.
Imagine finding your dream home. It has everything that you want – a big open floor plan, an updated kitchen, a view of the water and plenty of room for your growing family. The only hitch? Lots of other buyers are interested in the house too, and you find yourself in a multiple offer situation. You haven’t spoken with a lender yet, and you haven’t obtained preapproval for a loan. What happens next? You’ll likely lose out to a buyer with solid financing in place.
The Moral of the Story?
Speak with a lender BEFORE you start searching for a home so that you understand (1) what loan options are available to you and (2) how much money you can afford to borrow. A good lender will ask you for lots of information before providing you with answers to those questions. They’ll ask you about your employment history, your borrowing history and your credit history. They’ll also help you understand what NOT to do before getting a loan for your new home purchase (i.e. financing a new car). Once you’ve provided your lender with all the necessary information and you’ve received a solid preapproval letter, you’ll be ready to start shopping for your new house – and you’ll be glad you did your homework. In a competitive housing market like this one, it’s common for listing agents to contact a prospective buyer’s lender to make sure the lender has done a thorough job vetting the buyer’s finances. You’ll want to make sure your lender can respond to that call with a firm YES.
When you’re shopping for a lender, a recommendation from a Realtor that you trust is always a good place to start. Picking a lender is a little bit like picking a doctor. You want someone with experience, someone who makes you feel comfortable and someone you trust. You’ll also want to make sure the lender that you’re considering has a loan program that’s right for you and a good record for closing on time.
If you have any questions about the home buying process and/or if you’d like more information about reliable lenders in the area, give me a call. I’m here to help.
Miles Eaton is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere Professional Partners, specializing in residential real estate in Tacoma, Gig Harbor, University Place and Lakewood.
Miles Eaton: (253) 355-5862
Waterfront living isn’t unique to the Puget Sound region, but it’s definitely part of what makes working as a Realtor in the area so special. Jeff, Miles and I have listed and sold some really great waterfront properties over the years. They’ve each had features you would expect to find with a waterfront property, but they’ve also had personal histories that have made each house unique – and uniquely personal to us. Here are three of our favorite waterfront sales.
First up is a Raft Island Modern that was rebuilt from the foundation up in 2008 for an artist friend of ours and her husband. The architect for the project was their son, which made owning and living in the house extra special for them. Some of my favorite things about this house are the open volumes of space, the mix of repurposed wood and steel, the huge windows overlooking Henderson Bay, the expansive wrap-around deck and the artist studio up above the house. It’s rare to find this combination of drama, elegance and craftsmanship on the water, which made this home a pleasure to list and sell.
Waterfront homes aren’t just limited to the saltwater shores of the sound. There are also lots of fantastic lakefront homes in the area. A buyer client of ours recently purchased a beautiful, historic home in Lakewood with 130 feet of water frontage on desirable Gravelly Lake. Our client was looking for a home that was big enough to entertain her kids and grandkids, and this house definitely delivered. Features include a spacious gourmet kitchen, a formal dining room, comfortable sitting areas and several decks with views of the lake. This gated property also includes a dock and a two car detached garage with a guest apartment above.
The last home on our waterfront “tour” is a spectacular west-facing property in Poulsbo that we sold to friends of ours a few years back. The house was originally built for a glass artist in 1997, and his handcrafted light fixtures and stained glass windows can be seen throughout. This property embodies the best of the Pacific Northwest lifestyle – sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains, easy access to the water for paddle boarding and kayaking and an abundance of oysters, mussels and crab just waiting to be harvested. We’ve been lucky enough to enjoy many a feast over the years at this one of a kind waterfront gem.
There are a lot of things to consider when you’re buying or selling a waterfront home – soil stability and drainage, bulkhead condition, tideland rights and moorage capacity to name just a few. That’s why it’s important to partner with a Realtor who has experience with waterfront homes and a good working knowledge about what makes them unique. If you’re thinking about buying or selling a waterfront home, we’re here to help.
Mark Pinto is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere Professional Partners, specializing in residential real estate in Tacoma, Gig Harbor, University Place and Lakewood.
Mark Pinto: (253) 318-0923
Obtaining a post-secondary education is a big accomplishment, but it can also be a challenging journey for many. In addition to their academic demands, many students experience unexpected life events that can add a whole new level of difficulty to the process. Many high performing students at local Pierce College have been faced with these unexpected challenges and have been forced to make tough decisions that often directly impact their education. Can you imagine having to make impossible choices like: Rent or tuition? Dinner or daycare? Textbooks or hospital bills?
The Student Success Campaign
As a member of the Pierce College Foundation Board of Directors, I’m involved in an effort to help these students in need called the Pierce College Student Success Campaign. This $3.3 million fundraising campaign focuses solely on ensuring the success of high performing students faced with trying life challenges. Donations to the Student Success Campaign come from a variety of advocates, including alumni, faculty, staff, community members and local grant sources.
The Foundation and Campaign at Work
As an early example of the success of this campaign, I can share a story about a recent nursing school graduate. She was abandoned by her husband in the middle of the academic term, suddenly making her a single mother. Because her classes took place in the evenings, she needed childcare in order to attend. With her change in circumstances, she was unable to afford the necessary childcare. The Foundation stepped in to pay for her childcare for the rest of the term, allowing her to attend all of her classes and eventually graduate with honors. Because of success stories like this one, which have greatly benefited the lives of its students, Pierce College was recently recognized as one of the top five community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute.
In addition to its efforts to support the Student Success Campaign, the Pierce College Foundation hosts several different fundraising events throughout the year, including a golf tournament which will be held this year on August 15th, 2019. Click here for more information and/or to register: https://www.pierce.ctc.edu/foundation-events. The Foundation also hosts a Distinguished Alumni dinner where supporters and advocates can make donations to support student scholarships and other important student services.
Pierce College focuses on enabling students to achieve their academic goals and broaden their futures, with the hope that they’ll give back to their communities. Pierce College alumni have gone on to contribute to the South Sound community in incredible ways. One good example is Victoria Woodards, the current Mayor of Tacoma, who is a Pierce College distinguished alum.
More than 60% of the student body at Pierce College is made up of first-generation college students who may have had to beat the odds just to get where they are. This is one of the many reasons the Foundation works so hard to ensure that all students have the tools necessary to succeed. Many students go on to attend four year colleges in the area, with the majority transferring to UW Tacoma, while others go directly into working in their field of study.
I’m proud to serve on the steering committee for the Student Success Campaign, on the Foundations’ board of directors and on its finance committee. I believe strongly that the success of our community depends on having a motivated, educated workforce, and Pierce College is helping to close the hiring gap for many businesses in our region. It’s really gratifying to serve and support the college and to watch our students go on to become leaders in the South Sound and beyond.
Please click here for more information about the Pierce College Foundation and the Student Success Campaign: https://www.pierce.ctc.edu/foundation. Feel free to contact me with any questions. Thank you!
Jeff, Mark and Miles recently listed 2207 N Washington Street, a 1925 Craftsman that comes complete with a covered front porch and porch swing. A great home in an even greater location, just blocks from all that the Proctor District has to offer. The farmer’s market on Saturday mornings, happy hours at Cactus and date nights at the Blue Mouse Theater. It just doesn’t get much better than that.
Features of the home include:
- 4 bedrooms
- 2 1/2 bathrooms
- Hardwood and fir floors
- Spacious formal living room with a gas fireplace with original Batchelder tile surround
- Formal dining room
- Main floor master suite
- Updated kitchen with stainless appliances, quartz counters and a breakfast room
- Unfinished basement with exterior access
- Fully fenced backyard with patio
- Detached one car garage and two car parking pad off the alley
The spacious formal living room is a great place to gather with friends and family, offering two separate seating areas, a gas fireplace and easy access to the dining room.
Large formal dining room with hardwood floors and original windows.
The kitchen has been tastefully updated with quartz counters, stainless appliances and cork flooring. An adjacent breakfast room makes a great spot for casual dining.
Wake up each morning in this bright and beautiful main floor master suite with original fir floors and a fresh, updated bathroom with shower.
The home’s fully fenced back yard is perfect for entertaining, with a covered porch off the kitchen and a great patio area.
As one of Tacoma’s most desirable neighborhoods, the Proctor District offers an idyllic urban village experience. The area features some great old historic homes and a wonderful mix of owner operated shops and restaurants, including Metropolitan Market, Chalet Bowl, Cactus and Cooks Tavern. Proctor is also home to the historic Blue Mouse Theater – the oldest continuously operating movie theater in Washington State. The University of Puget Sound serves as an anchor institution in the neighborhood, providing access to a wide variety of cultural and athletic activities. With great public schools and easy access to downtown Tacoma, Point Ruston and Point Defiance Park, the Proctor District has something for everyone.
For additional photos and more detailed information about this property, visit: www.2207nwashington.com
If you’d like more information about homes in the Proctor District, we’re here to help.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a new construction home as opposed to an existing home, it’s important to recognize that each option has benefits and drawbacks. With some help from Zillow and Trulia, I’ve compiled a short list of pros and cons for those thinking of purchasing a new construction home.
WHAT ARE THE PROS?
- MODERN FLOOR PLANS – Newly constructed homes are designed for the way in which we live today with big kitchens, open entertaining spaces, large master suites, bonus rooms and extra storage. You also have a choice of floor plans, allowing you to pick the one that best meets your particular wants and needs.
- FINISHES AND UPGRADES – If you purchase a home before construction begins, you can typically choose your finishes and upgrades – paint colors, counter tops, cabinetry, flooring, lighting and air conditioning.
- EFFICENCY – In most cases, newly constructed homes are more energy efficient than older homes. They have more efficient windows, HVAC systems and lighting. Insulation standards are also higher now than they have been in the past.
- TECHNOLOGY – New homes can be “smarter” than old homes. Many come with a standard suite of new technology that can include alarm systems, speakers, high-speed internet cabling, high-tech thermostats and lighting packages.
- MAINTENENCE COSTS – If you want to avoid unexpected repair costs, new construction may be right for you. Everything is new and typically warrantied so maintenance is limited and significant repairs costs are unlikely for years.
WHAT ARE THE CONS?
- SMALLER LOTS – Newly constructed homes are generally found in developments that have relatively small lots with limited outdoor space. There are certainly some exceptions to the rule, but large yards are hard to come by.
- LANDSCAPING – More often than not, new developments lack mature or distinctive landscaping compared to older, more established neighborhoods. Shady, tree-lined streets are in short supply.
- EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK, YOU SEE YOUR HOUSE – New developments have a limited number of floor plans and color schemes, making it difficult to distinguish one house from another.
- COSTLY UPGRADES – Model homes are designed to make you fall in love so they generally feature upgrades that aren’t included in the base price for a particular floor plan. Fancy lighting and technology packages, high end appliances and high quality cabinetry and flooring are great, but they can add as much as $50-75K to the advertised base price of a home.
- REMOTE LOCATIONS – Most newly constructed homes are located in developments at a distance from city centers and/or amenities. If a more established location is important to you, you may want to consider purchasing an older home and remodeling it to suit your needs.
When my buyers are considering new construction versus an older home, I encourage them to focus on their priorities. Does new construction check off more of the boxes on their list than an older home or vice versa? Does one make the most sense to you?
Miles Eaton is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes. Click here to e-mail Miles or feel free to give him a call at (253) 355-5862.