Home Prices in Tacoma’s North End Continue to Climb

Posted on April 20, 2017 at 10:46 am
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Low Inventory in the North End Drive Home Prices Higher

Posted on January 11, 2017 at 12:59 pm
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North End Home Prices in the 2nd Quarter Continue to Rise

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Posted on July 20, 2016 at 4:28 pm
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The Real Estate Market In the North End is Great… If You’re a Seller.

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Posted on April 13, 2016 at 9:16 am
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What Makes a House a “Craftsman?”

As a Realtor who comes from Pasadena, California (the birthplace of Craftsman architecture), and a current member of the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission, nothing makes me crazier than real estate agents who incorrectly market houses as a Craftsman.  It is our job as Realtors to understand houses!  Craftsman is a distinct historic architectural style, and 95% of the time does not apply to new or newer construction.
 
Since we have tremendous examples of intact Craftsman homes all over Tacoma, I thought I’d explain to you, our astute real estate clients and followers, exactly what defines a Craftsman, and why.  

 

History: The Craftsman was the dominant style for smaller houses built throughout the country during the period from about 1905 until the 1920s. It originated in southern California and most landmark examples of Craftsman houses are concentrated there. The style quickly spread throughout the country via pattern books and popular magazines, but rapidly faded from favor after the mid-1920s.  These residences were given extensive publicity in such magazines as the Western Architect, The Architect, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, Architectural Record, Country Life in America, and Ladies’ Home Journal, thus familiarizing the rest of the nation with the style. As a result, a flood of pattern books appeared, offering plans for Craftsman bungalows; some even offered completely pre-cut packages of lumber and detailing to be assembled by local labor (referred to as “kit” houses). Through these kit houses, the one-story Craftsman house quickly became the most popular and fashionable smaller house in the country.

Character Defining Features:   Although these are considered the most typical character defining features of a Craftsman, not all of these will apply to each Craftsman-style building.

  • Low-Pitched Gabled (or sometimes Hipped Roof)
  • Wide, Unenclosed Eave Overhang
  • Timber Framed
  • Triangular Knee Brace Supports
  • Wood Shingle Siding and/or Wood Horizontal Siding and/or Cut Stone Cladding
  • Wide Window and Door Casings
  • Tapered Porch Supports
  • Low Porch Pedestals usually Supporting Columns
  • Exposed Rafters
  • Decorative (False) Beams or Braces under Gables
  • Shed, Gabled or Eyebrow Dormers
  • Porches, either Full- or Partial-Width
  • Sloping (Battered) Foundation

 

Types of Craftsman:

 

Cottage Style Craftsman – Typically a one-story building with a compact rectangular plan; a centralized main entrance consisting of a partial-width porch and flanked by windows; a symmetrical facade; a side-gabled low-pitched roof; horizontal wood siding; and Craftsman stylistic details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bungalow – The typical bungalow is a one-story house with low pitched broad gables. A lower gable usually covers an open or screened porch and a larger gable covers the main portion of the house. In larger bungalows the gable is steeper, with interesting cross gable or dormers. 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Clipped-Gabled (Hip Roof) Craftsman – A Craftsman building covered by a gabled roof which has had its gable point “clipped off.” The roof can be front, side or cross-gabled. Typically this type of Craftsman is a one-story building. Sometimes the clipped-gabled roof will have gabled, hipped or eyebrow dormers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colonial Craftsman – A Craftsman building which displays Colonial Revival features. Typically, this type of Craftsman has a trellised front and/or side porches, symmetrical façade and columns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aero-plane Craftsman – A Craftsman building with a set-back second-story and wide overhanging eaves which gives the impression of an airplane wings. This style can have a front, side or cross-gabled roof.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transitional – A building which appears to be “transitioning” from the Victorian-era into the Craftsman-era. Typically, this type of house retains a vertical emphasis on the facade and Victorian-era design elements, but is differentiated by its Craftsman features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Williams is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes.  Jeff is also a former board member of Historic Tacoma, and currently serves on the City of Tacoma's Landmarks Preservation Commission.  Click here to email Jeff or give him a call at 253-303-1135.

 

 

 

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 2:06 pm
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Five Major Considerations When Buying an Old House

As a commissioner for the City of Tacoma's Landmarks Preservation Commission and a former board member of Historic Tacoma, I've had a lot of experience with historic properties.  I've also been buying, renovating and selling historic homes myself for more than twenty years (45 houses and counting).  Not surprisingly, clients often seek my advice when they're thinking about buying an older house.  With the busy spring home buying season upon us, I thought it might be a good time to share some thoughts about what to consider when buying a historic home.  Below, I describe some of the “big ticket” replacement and repair costs that you may incur during the restoration of an older home.  It's important to note that there are loan programs and tax credits available to help defray some of these costs if you are buying a historic home in Tacoma.

 

1.  Not all old houses are created equal.  In my experience, houses built before 1900 were generally more poorly constructed than those built from 1900-1950.  The exception to this rule would be what I call the "robber baron" homes.  These turn of the century mansions were built with higher quality materials and engineering practices than more modest cottages built at the same time.  The grander homes are standing the test of time well.  The worker cottages, less so.  Smaller Victorian (pre-1900) homes were often built on posts and piers or loose rock/brick and mortar foundations.  In some instances, these foundations were later replaced or supplemented with concrete or block foundations, and settling issues are common.  This isn't necessarily a deal breaker.  Newer technologies allow for the levelling and repair of these foundations without breaking the bank.
 

 

 2.        Old houses aren’t usually insulated.  Builders didn't really begin insulating homes until the late teens and early twenties, and even then they generally just added cellulose (paper pulp) to the exterior walls and attics at very low insulating levels.  If you’ve ever demolished the ceiling in an older home, you'll know what I’m talking about.  You’re probably still discovering bits of the pulverized paper in your hair, ears and clothes.  If you’re doing a major remodel to a home, it makes sense to strip off the old interior plaster down to the studs so that the wiring and plumbing can be updated and insulation can be added.  If you’re not doing a major renovation, my advice would be to simply add insulation to the attic and underneath the first floor to increase the insulation value as much as possible.    Learn more about insulation at energy.gov.

 

3.      Are the mechanical systems up to date?  When buying an old house, people often encounter things like knob and tube wiring, galvanized and lead pipes, oil burning furnaces the size of a Winnebago and broken sewer lines.  Older systems aren't necessarily a problem, but a thorough pre-purchase home inspection can identify failing systems in need of immediate attention.  Be sure to factor the cost of plumbing, electrical and heating system upgrades into the purchase price of a home before you make an offer, and make sure you can afford to repair or replace these systems as it becomes necessary during your ownership.

 

 

4.       Original windows and doors are great.  Leave them alone!  Nothing frustrates me more than buyers who immediately think they have to replace all of the original doors and windows in a house.  It is significantly more cost effective to repair original windows and doors and install storm windows.  They’ll be just as energy efficient and will last exponentially longer than their cheap vinyl counterparts.  For more details regarding wood windows versus vinyl, check out my blog post regarding that subject here. 

 

 

 

5.       How many layers are on the roof?  Many older homes in Tacoma originally had wood shingle roofs with no underlayment to support a modern roof.  Over time, home owners have simply shingled over the original roof.  If a roof has three layers or more, it's no longer a candidate for re-shingling.  The roof will have to be completely torn off, and an underlayment of plywood or particle board will need to be installed before the new roofing material can be added.  Tear offs are three times as expensive as simple re-shingling so it's helpful to know how many layers a roof has before writing an offer to purchase an older home. 

 

 

 

Jeff Williams is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes.  Click here to email Jeff or give him a call at 253-303-1135.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on April 2, 2014 at 3:18 pm
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Investing in Houses in Tacoma’s North End

The demand for rental homes in Tacoma’s North End is high, with landlords charging as much as $1800-$2000 per month for a nice three bedroom house in a desirable location like Proctor or the Stadium District. 

Many homeowners were able to secure extremely low interest rates by refinancing when the market was low, which prompts some to consider holding on to their primary residence as a rental property when purchasing their next home.  Residential real estate in Tacoma’s North End is certainly a great investment.  With the economy stabilizing and job growth expanding in our area, some are predicting as much as a 20% gain in market values over the next 3 years.  

 

So whether it’s a property that you purchase specifically as a rental or a primary residence that you’ve decided to convert into a rental, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions before deciding to become a landlord.

 

                5 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE Renting Your Home

1.    Do you know how to screen potential tenants?  Credit-worthiness?  Employment and rental history? You can find out more about tenant screening at Bigger Pockets.

2.    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.

3.    If your house is located near the University of Puget Sound, will you rent to 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 the property.

4.    Have you talked to your insurance company to find out if there will be an increase in your premium if you convert to a landlord’s policy?  You can find out options from our preferred insurance agent Jerry Hallman at Farmers.

5.    Have you spoken with your accountant about the potential tax implications associated with owning and/or selling an investment property?  Capital gains taxes are easier to avoid when selling a primary residence than they are when selling a rental property.

Another route to consider would be purchasing a property for use as a short term rental.  The startup and maintenance costs (furnishings, utilities, supplies etc.) may be greater and the property will require more hands on attention, but the earning potential of a daily, weekly or monthly rental will be higher.  There are a number of sites available for marketing a short term rental, including www.airbnb.com, www.homeaway.com and www.vrbo.com.  Lastly, if you’re reluctant to deal with the active management of a rental property, you can always enlist the assistance of a property management company.  Locally we recommend Parkwood Property Management and McNally Property Management .  If you’re interested in purchasing an investment property, let us know.  We’d be happy to help you navigate the waters.

 

Mark Pinto 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 Mark or feel free to give him a call at (253) 318-0923.

 

 

 

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 6:21 pm
South Sound Property Group | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 5 Reasons to Live In Proctor

The Proctor District is one of  North Tacoma’s most popular neighborhoods.  Historic homes, great public schools, tree lined streets, views of the water and a charming central business district are just a few of the things that make this neighborhood so special.  For those who aren’t familiar with Proctor (and for those who are already fans), I thought I’d share some of my favorite things about the place we call home.

 

Metropolitan Market – Met Market is the undeniable anchor of the Proctor District.  This upscale grocery store caters to a sophisticated palate, with many locally sourced products, an outstanding cheese department and a wine steward.  Met Market could feel some heat if Whole Foods delivers on their promise to open a store in University Place, but the neighborhood feel at the Met will always be hard to beat.

 

 

 

Chalet Bowl – This family owned and operated 12-lane bowling alley “strikes” a wonderful balance between old school Americana and new school hip.  The lanes are well maintained, the staff is extremely friendly and the weekly bargain specials are hard to resist.  Two words.  Glow Bowling.

 

 

 

 

 

Wheelock Public Library – This local library has been serving the community since 1927 and is much used and much loved by children and adults alike.  An iconic bronze statue of Tacoma pioneer and early businessman Allen Mason located adjacent to the library is often whimsically decorated to befit the season.

 

 

 

Puget Park – Located at the corner of Proctor and N. 31st Street, Puget Park was one of the first green spaces to be donated to the city of Tacoma for public use in 1888.  The park features an updated play area and a picnic-perfect grassy knoll.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can follow a trail down through Puget Gulch to the waterfront for a wilderness experience right in the heart of the city.

 

 

 

Blue Mouse Theater – Originally opened in 1923 and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Blue Mouse is Washington State’s oldest continuously operating movie theater.  A group of local activists and preservationists purchased and restored the theater in 1993.  Dale Chihuly reportedly designed the blue neon mice that grace the marquis.

 

 

 

Mark Pinto 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 Mark or feel free to give him a call at (253) 318-0923.

 

 

 

Posted on February 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm
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