In this series, I highlight the businesses I like to refer to my home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking all things insurance with John Hayes, Farmers Insurance.

Vendor Recommendation Series: John Hayes, Farmers Insurance

I can’t say enough wonderful things about John Hayes, Farmers Insurance. First off, his packages are hard to beat. He’s very thorough in explaining every aspect of my home, auto, and business insurance plans. John is also extremely proactive, in that he makes sure he gives me a call if a plan is up for renewal. He also creates comparison charts to show me the value I’m receiving from Farmer’s verses competitors. So naturally, I recommend him all of my home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area.

My clients also rave about him as an insurance agent. He is timely in his responses, and makes sure my clients have all their questions answered. I sell quite a few homes in Orting, WA where there are pockets of homes that require flood insurance. The ability to text John on the fly asking if a certain address requires flood insurance helps me set clear expectations to my clients from that start. This way my clients don’t get their heart set on a home that they then realize it out of their price range with the flood insurance included.

His goal is to help you find the best insurance plan that is tailored to your specific needs for your business or family. He prides himself on the relationships we build with our clients. He invites you to stop by for a cup of coffee to meet him and his team. He offer insurance products such as: Home Owners, Commercial, Auto, Life, and more!

Give him a call at (253) 961-6626 or visit his website, and he’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

You may also like: Vendor Recommendation Series: Immaculate Home Inspection.

So you’re ready to make the move from renter to home owner. You have thought about the pros and cons and have decided that buying is the right thing to do. While turning to friends and family for advice is appealing, just aware of common home buyer myths. Here are 6 home buying myths debunked so you can do this thing the right way.

6 Home Buying Myths Debunked

Myth #1: The first step is looking for a home

The biggest risk of looking for homes before talking to a lender is setting your heart on a property, running the risk of having your dreams shattered if you don’t qualify to buy that home. Browsing is always fun, but when it comes to serious home buying work, the very first step is to talk to a lender to get pre-approved. This way you know exactly how much you can afford before you start looking at homes.

Myth #2: Your down payment must be 20%

Sure a 20% down payment is ideal if you want to avoid the private mortgage insurance. But not all buyers, especially first time home buyers are able to gather up 20% of their property in cash. Because of this many loan types such as FHA allow as low as 3.5% down, as long as you’re able to pay the monthly PMI.

Myth #3: The only upfront cost is the down payment

If only this home buying myth was true! In addition to your down payment, you’re likely responsible for closing costs, taxes, inspections, insurance, and any fees associated with the community you’re moving to. Not to mention all the fees that come with buying a new house: new appliances, new light fixtures, new hardware, etc.

Myth 4: You can’t buy with bad credit

This is one of the biggest home buying myths. While having lower than a 600 credit score might halt your conventional loan, FHA loans allow those with credit scores as low as 580 to qualify for a loan. When you talk with your lender they will help you raise your credit in the shortest amount of time. They can put your in credit repair courses that ensure progress in a short amount of time.

Myth #5: You don’t need a home inspection

You might be tempted to believe that you don’t need a home inspection, especially if you’ve bought a new construction home in a hot housing market. But beware, if you skip the inspection, you’re responsible for anything that is currently wrong with the home, including the things you don’t know about. The average inspection is under $500, so paying for an inspection up front can help you save thousands down the road and give you peace of mind.

Myth 6: The schools don’t matter if you don’t have kids

While you don’t actually have children attending the nearby school, good schools are a sign of a good neighborhood. This could impact the safety ratings if the neighborhood and overall crime rate. So even through you’re not involved in the school itself, you can take advantage of the benefits that come with living in a neighborhood near a good school.

You may also like: First Time Home Buyer Tips & Tricks.

This 5 bedroom home located in the Summerwood Park neighborhood of Puyallup, WA is a must see home and will not last long. This home is nestled back off the main roads, yet just minutes away from all amenities, freeways, and JBLM. Check out the upgrades in one of the hottest homes for sale in Puyallup WA. 14002 63rd Ave E, Puyallup, WA 98373.

Homes For Sale in Puyallup WA – Summerwood Park

Chef Kitchen

Chef kitchen homes for sale in puyallup wa

The chef kitchen alone makes this among the most popular homes for sales in Puyallup, WA. With the double wide refrigerator, you’re able to store more food for your family, as well as impress your dinner guests. The extra wide island is the centerpiece of the kitchen holding 5 bar stools comfortably. The contrasting counters and cabinets makes this kitchen a timeless hub for you and your family to spend quality time and cook many meals together.

Hardwood Throughout

hardwood throughout homes for sale in puyallup wa

This craftsman home features hardwood floors throughout the main level of the home. The continued hardwood showcases the elegance of the home, as well as makes it easier to clean up after your family, friends, and fur babies. The medium brown color makes it simple to coordinate your furniture.

Open Loft

open loft in homes for sale in puyallup wa

The upstairs loft a comfortable space where your family can gather to watch movies and play games. With the open railings to the downstairs, the loft feels extra-large with light coming in at all angles. It also faces away from the stairs, giving you and your family privacy.

Full Laundry Room

laundry room in homes for sale in puyallup wa

Not only does this laundry room have a built in sink, it also features ceiling high cabinets, great for storage. With all of the cabinet space, you’re able to organize your cleaning liquids as well as use the space for extra linens if needed.

Covered Outdoor Patio

outdoor covered patio homes for sale in puyallup wa

With summer just around the corner, a covered patio is necessary. This home showcases a double wide covered outdoor living space, making in a top feature of this home and one of the most popular homes for sale in Puyallup WA. The openings on the 3 sides of the patio make it easy to enjoy the weather, while blocking out rain and snow. Additionally, with the open patio, you’re able to keep an eye out on the kids while they play in the yard.

To schedule a showing, call (253) 686-2174.

You may also like: First Time Home Buyer Tips & Tricks.

In this series, I highlight the businesses I like to refer to my home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking about Immaculate Home Inspection.

Vendor Recommendation Series: Immaculate Home Inspection

I started working with Todd Obergfell from Immaculate Home Inspection when I got my real estate license back in 2005. I can’t tell you enough how awesome he is to work with. He is extremely thorough in his home inspections and even provides his clients with the home inspection report before he leaves that day. He comes prepared with a printer and prints it out right in front of them. This allows the clients to review the report with Todd and ask any questions they may have. Both home sellers and home buyers are extremely satisfied with his work.

Todd works in the Pierce County area, but travels to wherever his clients are. Back when he was just starting out I remember he opened up our consultation with a card trick. He is a people oriented guy that is trust worthy and incredible at what he does.

Read below for some testimonials on Todd Obergfell from Immaculate Home Inspections.

This is Customer Service!

“Todd at Immaculate Home Inspection was fantastic.  He gave us a very detailed home inspection report.  He will climb up on the roof, get into your chimney, root around your crawl space, and find every small nasty place that needs to be checked out! He is very professional and friendly, and costs less than other inspectors in the area. I’ve called him at least 5 times since he inspected our home, and is always helpful and available to answer questions.  He’s even come out at least 3 times to check out some problems we’ve had, and even gave us a complimentary spot pest treatment because he missed it during the inspection. This is customer service!”

Better Than Well Done

“Todd and his team gets our HIGHEST recommendation! They arrived early and got right to work. His inspection was both meticulously thorough and spot on! He left us with a detailed report, photos and the knowledge that we had a complete understanding of the home’s condition that we were purchasing, both the great and the no so great. He found a few minor issues that we would never have caught which aided us in the negotiation process! It was a pleasure to have met and had him conduct our home inspection, we really cant say enough about this professional inspector. Thank You again Todd for a job better than well done!”

17 Years Experience

“We hired Todd to come out for a pre home inspection and could not have found a more enthusiastic professional!  With 17 years of experience he had a great attitude and really enjoys his work which shows with his energetic and immaculate work ethic from start to finish.  Very much recommend him to anyone looking for a home or pest inspection!”

You may also like: 5 Reasons to Move to Washington State.

Buying a house is thrilling especially when it’s for the first time! The learning curve is steep, but doing a little financial homework can help you navigate the system and set you apart from the competition. Here are six first time home buyer tips and tricks to ensure your home buying experience goes smoothly.

First Time Home Buyer Tips & Tricks

Check your credit

As a first time home buyer, the more you know about your own financial situation the better. Your credit score is one of the most important factors in determining if you qualify for a loan. Simply, the higher your credit score, the higher the chances you qualify for a loan and the lower your interest rate on your mortgage. Visit Credit Karma for a free credit report that determines your overall score as well as areas of strength and opportunity.

Research agents

Not every agent is the best agent for you. Talk to your friends and family and see who they’ve had luck with in the past. You want your agent to be in your corner at all times, giving you confidence in the home buying process. Having a great agent will ensure the success of your transaction and give you peace of mind. Additionally, a great agent will have experience with first time home buyers like yourself and can have ready to go solutions for any bumps along the way.

Check out the neighborhood

Before you put an offer on a home, check out the neighborhood. A good rule of thumb is to avoid buying the nicest house on the block as it won’t appreciate as well. Remember, you’re not only buying a house, you’re also committing to the neighborhood, the block and general surroundings. Explore the closest grocery stores and shopping centers and decide if that commute is one you want to make on a weekly basis.

Schedule a home inspection

Just because the home you’re about to buy looks like it’s in good condition, it never hurts to get a home inspection. By having a professional inspector come to the skeleton of the house, you’re able to catch any red flags early on. For example, if the home inspector finds an issue with the roof, you can show the inspection report to the home seller and ensure that they fix the issue before you move in. Home inspections are generally under $500 and can save you thousands of dollars to fix issues you didn’t even realize where present in the house.

Be open-minded

As a first time home buyer, it’s easy to find what you think is your dream house and turn away any other options, passing up some hidden gems. Make a list of your non-negotiables and nice-to-haves so you don’t turn every bullet into a non-negotiable. Additionally, when homes in open houses are staged, they tend to complete your vision of living in the home. Don’t let this prevent you from buying an unstaged home, pay attention to the floor plan, moldings, and size or rooms.

Save up for closing costs

It’s not just the down payment you need to save up for when buying a home. You’ll also need to account for the closing costs, transfer tax, escrow fees and prepaid interest. By anticipating these costs when you first analyze your budget, you’ll avoid being blindsided by the costs at the end of the home buying process.

You may also like: 7 Steps to Buying a Home in Pierce County.

With a booming job market paired with a temperate climate, it’s easy to see why Washington State is a popular state to live in. According to USA Today, Washington State was ranked the 5th fastest growing state in 2017. So let’s take a look at some specific reasons to move to Washington State.

Jobs

With Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks and Boeing all headquartered in Seattle, it’s understandable why the Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia area is the employment engine for the state. Washington State is also unique in that the Eastern side of the state, opposite Seattle, is one of the nation’s largest agricultural producers, especially for seafood and fruits such as apples and cherries. That’s a lot of employment opportunities, which makes jobs one of the biggest reasons to move to Washington State.

Water

If you move to Western Washington, you’re sure to run across the Puget Sound while you’re there. Cities such as Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue are located right on the water so you’re bound to see a view while you’re there. While the water is pretty cold during the fall, winter, and spring months, during the summer you’ll see families gather round the many lakes and bays the state has to offer and remains one to the top reasons to move to Washington State.

Outdoor Activities

With three national parks within state boundaries – Olympic, North Cascades, and Mount Rainier, Washington is a mecca for those who enjoy the outdoors. Hikers flock to popular hikes such as Mt. Si., Rattlesnake Ridge, and Mailbox Peak, whereas those who prefer water sports are seen sailing, kayaking and fishing throughout the state.

Green

Washington State prioritizes sustainability and frequently ranks in the top five in various categories of the most environmentally friendly states. Especially in Western Washington, you’ll see an emphasis on recycling and composting as well as mass transit options such as the Light Rail and Sounder. In 2015, Washington State was ranked as the nation’s most bike friendly state and also hosts the Seattle to Portland (STP) bike race every year.

Diversity

With Seattle being a melting pot of different cultures, you’re surrounded by diversity. You’ll find yourself learning about new cultures on the regular and trying different foods. The row of restaurants adjacent to the University of Washington, informally known as the Ave, hosts over 50 restaurants of 30 different cultures. The diversity in this state inspires creativity and drives innovation statewide.

You might also like: 7 Steps to Buying a House in Pierce County.

 

Buying a house in Pierce County can be stressful, competitive, and confusing, especially if you are a first time home buyer. These 7 steps can make buying a house in Pierce County manageable and enjoyable.

Step 1: Create a Budget

Sit down with your spouse and create a budget for your new home. Doing so will keep you in line if you are on the fence about a house further down the home buying road. Creating a budget can also help narrow down what houses and what areas are optimal for your family. If you are looking at putting down 20% on a home, what does that look like for your savings and monthly expenses? Starting the home buying process with a budget will keep you home buying process smooth and organized.

Step 2: Get Pre-Approved

The best way to see how much you can afford to spend on a home is to get pre-approved through a mortgage lender. To get pre-approved you’ll need to provide your some financial documents such as income, W2 statements, tax returns, paychecks, and bank account statements. Your lender will review this information and tell you about your approved loan amount. Doing this will speed the home buying process up as well as narrow down the houses to look at.

Step 3: Find the Right Real Estate Agent

It’s important to find the right agent for you when you start buying a home in Pierce County. The best way to get in touch with a good realtor is to ask your friends and family if they’ve had luck with a particular agent. This agent should be in your corner at all times during the home buying process and have you best interest in mind.

Step 4: Shop For Your Home and Make an Offer

This is the fun step! Open up Redfin and Zillow and see what houses are on the market in the area of Pierce County you’re looking to live in. Once you find a few houses that interest you, visit the open houses on the weekends and put in an offer on the ones you’re serious about. You will see a lot of houses so a good way to remember them is to take photos and videos.

Step 5: Get a Home Inspection

Getting a home inspection is always a good idea when buying a house in Pierce County. It protects you by giving you a chance to renegotiate your offer or withdraw without penalty if the inspection reveals significant material damage. For example, if the inspection reveals that there is a problem with the furnace, you can bring it up to the seller and negotiate that into the contract. Home inspections can save you thousands of dollars and give you peace of mind.

Step 6: Agree on a Loan

Now that you know what house you want to buy and the amount, it’s time to choose your loan type. A typical conventional loan requires 20% down as well as a 620+ credit score. If you’re a first time buyer with lower than 20% down saved and lower than a 620 credit score, a FHA loan may be a good option for you. With FHA loans you can put as little as 3.5% down and have as low as a 580 credit score.

Step 7: Close the Sale

At closing you will sign all the paperwork required to complete the purchase, including your loan documents. It typically takes a couple days for the lender and underwriter to process all the documents. Once the check is delivered to the seller, you’re able to move into your new home.

At Kelly Hendrickson Homes, we are focused on helping you through the home buying and home selling process.