Buying A HomeNorth TacomaTacoma Real Estate July 26, 2019

Charming North End Craftsman Bungalow





We just listed this meticulously maintained single story Craftsman bungalow in a prime North End location – just blocks from Puget Park and the Proctor District. Features of this tastefully designed three bed, one bath home include:


  • Hardwood floors
  • Gas fireplace
  • Original built-ins
  • Original leaded glass windows
  • Updated kitchen
  • Updated bathroom
  • Sauna
  • Fully fenced back yard














Crisp and clean formal spaces marry original architectural elements with modern touches.
















Particular highlights include an intimate sitting area with a built-in bookshelf off the entry and an updated bathroom with heated vintage tile flooring and a claw foot tub.















The current owners have done a fantastic job with the outdoor spaces. Beautiful landscaping and a new sprinkler system have been added in front and in back. A newly poured back patio is ideal for entertaining.





Developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Tacoma’s historic North End offers a wide variety of architecturally significant homes – from modest workman’s cottages to grand mansions. Anchored by the University of Puget Sound, the Proctor District features a wonderful mixture of locally owned shops and restaurants including Metropolitan Market, Chalet Bowl and the historic Blue Mouse Theater – the oldest continuously operating movie theater in Washington State. The North End offers easy access to Point Ruston and the waterfront, with 2 miles of paved walkways, stunning water views, picnic areas and a fishing pier. The area’s natural assets also include Point Defiance Park – a 702-acre urban oasis with a zoo and aquarium, extensive gardens, an old growth forest, hiking and running trails and a saltwater beach.


3306 North Washington Street is offered at $499,000. For additional photos and more detailed information, please visit or contact us directly to schedule a showing today.






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.

Jeff Williams: (253) 303-1135
Mark Pinto: (253) 318-0923
Miles Eaton: (253) 355-5862


Investing In Real EstateMarket StatisticsNorth Tacoma June 20, 2019

Investing in Real Estate in Tacoma’s North End

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

  1. 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.
  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 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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


Luxury Real EstateMarket Statistics April 28, 2017

Pierce County’s Over Million Dollar House Market is Heating Up

Jeff Williams and Mark Pinto were recently interviewed by Kate Martin of the Tacoma News Tribune to explore the current trends for the over million dollar housing market in Pierce County.  As the listing agents for three of the over million dollar listings that are currently pending sale in Pierce County, they shared insight about buyers for these luxury properties and their experience in the luxury market.

In recent months, dozens of million-dollar abodes have sold or are in the process of closing. If the pace keeps up, sales of homes worth a million dollars or more could eclipse the record of 86 sales set in 2007.

Where are these buyers coming from? Many fly in from other parts of the country, said Jeff Williams, a real estate broker for South Sound Property Group, part of Windermere Professional Partners. He works with fellow broker Mark Pinto.

“They could be coming for a job or lifestyle change,” Williams said. “It could be a second home for people who live in California.”

One historic home in Tacoma’s North End is listed by Williams and Pinto at nearly $1.3 million. Its sweeping views of Commencement Bay, and the Olympic and Cascade mountains drew 25 showings in three weeks — a pace unheard of just a few years ago, Williams said. The final sale price was not available.

Williams and Pinto work together to sell luxury and historic properties in Tacoma, Lakewood and Gig Harbor. They said the luxury or “trophy home” market has heated up in the county in the past six months to a year.

“I think it speaks to the confidence that people have in the market and the broader economy,” Pinto said. “They probably have been sitting on the sidelines in a house that they like, but they want to buy up to that aspirational house.”

Selling Your Home December 7, 2016

Why selling your house in the winter may not be such a bad idea

Redfin recently conducted a study looking at more than 7 million home sales over the course of the past four years to determine what impact, if any, seasonality had on the sales process.  Not surprisingly, the study confirmed that listing your home for sale in the springtime was likely to result in a quicker sale and a higher sale price (see full study here).  What was surprising to some is that listing your home in the wintertime was a close second.

“Among spring listings, 18.7 percent of homes fetched above asking, with winter listings not far behind at 17.5 percent. While 48.0 percent of homes listed in spring sold within 30 days, 46.2 percent of homes in winter did the same.”

The study goes on to say:

“Buyers [in the winter] often need to move, so they’re much less likely to make a low-ball offer and they’ll often want to close quickly — two things that can make the sale much smoother.”

That’s why we encourage our clients to have their houses ready to go on the market in late January or early February.  However, given the persistent shortage of housing inventory in the North End, we are telling our clients to list now if it makes sense for their schedule.  If you’re thinking about listing your home for sale in the next 6 months, keep in mind that most of your competition will choose to list their homes in the spring. Listing your home this winter could position you more favorably with motivated buyers who don’t have a lot of good inventory from which to choose.



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.


Buying A HomeSelling Your Home September 29, 2016

Severe Lack of Home Appraisers is Complicating Real Estate Transactions

Home inspectorDiana Olick of CNBC recently wrote an article that sums up the reason for frustration for many home buyers and sellers in the South Sound region.  Olick notes, 

“Housing demand is rising rapidly, but a key cog in the wheel to homeownership is in deep trouble. The people most needed to close the deal are disappearing. Appraisers, the men and women who value homes and whom mortgage lenders depend upon, are shrinking in numbers.

That is causing growing delays in closings, costing buyers and sellers money and in some cases even scuttling deals.

The share of on-time closings has dropped from 77 percent last April to 64 percent today for loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance. Appraisal-related issues in these delays jumped by 50 percent in that time.”   (Read the full article here)

Our advice to our buyers and sellers is to factor in a minimum of 2-3 additional weeks time from what we would consider a normal 30 day closing.  It’s important to note that it’s become an even bigger problem for specialty properties such as waterfront, luxury and historic homes and for properties located in outlying areas such as southern Pierce and Thurston counties.  With lenders being forced to pay premiums for appraisals, we’re hopeful it will lead to more qualified appraisers being attracted to enter the field.  However, that transformation will not happen quickly enough to satisfy those of us that counsel home buyers and sellers every day.


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.


Market StatisticsTacoma Real Estate December 5, 2015

Why is Tacoma a Top 10 Housing Market to Watch in 2016

Tacoma recently ranked as number 10 on Trulia’s top 10 housing markets to watch in 2016, a list that also included cities like Grand Rapids, MI, Charleston, SC and Austin, TX (see the full report here).  Trulia’s rankings were based on a number of different criteria including strong job growth, low vacancy rates and high affordability.  I think high affordability was probably key to Tacoma’s inclusion on the list.  Though some of our buyer clients that are new to the Tacoma housing market have commented that prices here are high compared to where they’re coming from, the Tacoma housing market clearly remains a great value proposition when compared to Seattle where the median home price is more than twice as high.  As the tech industry continues to grow in Seattle, Tacoma will continue to represent a very attractive alternative to call home.  Not surprisingly, we’re seeing more and more folks from Seattle making the move to T-Town.  I think it’s that demand in particular that led to our inclusion on Trulia’s list of hot market’s to watch in the coming year.  To be clear though, Tacoma’s appeal isn’t just about being within commuting distance of Seattle.  For those of us lucky enough to live and work in Tacoma, it actually represents a preferable alternative.  A vibrant, livable small city with a big metropolitan hub nearby to visit when the mood strikes.


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.





Buying A HomeHistoric HomesHome RemodelInvesting In Real Estate April 2, 2014

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


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.











Investing In Real EstateNorth TacomaTacoma Real Estate March 11, 2014

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, and  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.




LifestyleNorth TacomaTacoma Real Estate February 17, 2014

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.




North TacomaTacoma Real EstateWaterfont Living January 20, 2014

How Much is a Water View Worth in North Tacoma?


With market values in Tacoma’s North End on the rise, we’re often asked by our clients to “keep our eyes open” for a house exactly like theirs but with a water view.  The implication being that if they found a view home that was as nice as their current residence, they would want to buy it.  The follow-up question from them is inevitably, “how much more would that cost?”  Well, that isn’t always an easy question to answer.  When showing homes to buyers that are specifically interested in purchasing a view property, it becomes readily apparent that not all views are created equal.  I did some digging and found an article published in 2011 by the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts that mirrors my experience with the Tacoma housing market.  It states the following:


Market studies support the premise [that a view adds value], with one study concluding that . . . “in addition to square footage and lot size, view is the most significant determinant of home value.”  A panoramic view (breadth and/or depth in aspect) tends to command the ultimate premium, . . .  a near view of a prized view object is preferred over a far view, while the ability to see a far distance is prized over a vista that is foreshortened. Other things being equal, an obstructed (or keyhole) view will draw a lesser premium. A view only visible from the upper floor of a single family residence likely draws a lesser premium.   A damaged view (a mountain view marred by overhead power lines or a junkyard in the foreground) will likely invoke a lesser premium.   View orientation can influence value. It is said that the view from the “back” of a residence (where family rooms and patios are often located) is significant, while the view from the front door is less significant.

A study of 1984 – 1993 data from Bellingham, Washington found that a view added a 25.9% premium to home value. When the views were differentiated, however, the study findings were more informative: poor partial ocean view (8% premium), good partial ocean view (29% premium), unobstructed ocean view (59% premium), and water frontage (127% premium).  (See the full study here)

I was curious to see if view homes in North Tacoma garnered this same price premium so I pulled recent sales data specific to the North End, comparing similar houses in the same neighborhood with and without views to determine pricing differentials.  The exercise is a challenging one, but I was able to find three pairs of properties of the same size and condition but differing in view (see below for side-by-side comparisons).  The view homes sold for 51%, 40% and 55% more than their non-view comparables for an average premium of 49%.  My sample size is obviously too small to draw definitive conclusions, but I think the results do support the findings of the study discussed above.  The results also echo what I always tell our real estate clients when they ask me “how much more for a view property?”… expect to pay at least 50% more for a great view property and be prepared to wait.  Patience is everything.


7213 N. 25th Street

5 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 3,032SF

Built in 1970, sold for $425,000 on 9/20/2013

View:  unobstructed water view from rear

1818 Skyline Drive

5 bedroom, 2.75 bath, 3,000 SF

Built in 1965, sold for $282,000 on 12/13/2013

View:  clipped, fully obstructed 

3009 N. 31st Street

3 bedroom, 1.5 bath, 2,006 SF

Built in 1906, sold for $462,000 on 8/28/2013

View: unobstructed water view from rear

2210 N. 29th Street

3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,820 SF

Built in 1904, sold for $330,000 on 10/23/2013

View: obstructed partial view from 2nd floor

3712 N. 39th Street

2 bedroom, 1.75 bath, 1,606 SF

Built in 1916, sold for $460,000 on 07/31/2013

View:  unobstructed water view from side and rear

3905 N. 35th Street

3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1,358 SF

Built in 1922, sold for $297,000 on 8/1/2013

View:  none



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.