In this series, I highlight the businesses I like to refer to my friends, family, home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking about Bruno’s Family Restaurant & Bar in Eatonville, WA.

Community Recommendation: Bruno’s Family Restaurant & Bar

Bruno’s Family Restaurant & Bar is located at the foothills of Mt. Rainier and gives off a warm family feel right when you enter the restaurant. When the co-owners adopted Bruno the dog from the Humane Society, they wanted to share his love for everyone by opening a restaurant that was perfect for Eatonville locals. Serving hearty American comfort food, Bruno’s is the perfect place to recharge. For a tail-wagging good time and amazing food, there’s no place better. One of my favorite features of Bruno’s is that they are dog friendly inside of the restaurant so you can dine with your pup at your feet, and meet new pups as well. The chowder, chicken friend steak, and homemade pies are must haves when you stop in!

Here’s what people have to say about Bruno’s Family Restaurant & Bar:

We had a wonderful dinner today! The 2 lb clams were wonderful, the beers were great, and the fish and chips, along with the chicken-fried steak, were delicious as usual. Best of all, our server Makai was outstanding! If you are ever in the area, be sure to stop on by for a down-to-earth dining experience 😋

-Ruth

This place and staying at the motel next door was definitely small town hospitality at its best. Great atmosphere, friendly staff, and great food whats not to love? This is going to be one of my new go to places when staying over when doing hikes on Mt. Rainier and to tired to drive home.

-Eric

Amazing food (best chicken fried steak ever!), fabulous friendly service and we got to dine with our dog at our feet, her own bowl of water and a puppy burger served as well as we enjoyed the patio with others. She even made another Sheltie friend! Can’t recommend enough. We have made it our go to after going to Mt Rainier just to have green beans and fresh pie!

-Serenity

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In this series, I highlight the businesses I like to refer to my friends, family, home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking about Deep Root Farm in Puyallup, WA.

Community Recommendation: Deep Root Farm in Puyallup, WA

With a name like Deep Root Farm, you would imagine that this company has fresh, local, and delicious food. This is beyond true! Every single person I talk to that has tried Deep Root has been blown away (including myself) and has told everyone they know to try this place! Deep Root has a variety of products from hydroponic micro-greens to baked goods. Deep Root is best known for their Amish bread and famous cinnamon rolls. Impress everyone at your next brunch with fresh scones and homemade jam. One of the best parts about this company is the owner – Monica Flores. She is so passionate about her business and it shows in every delicious decadent loaf of bread that she bakes. It’s one thing to sell good products, but it’s another to build relationships with every customer!

Here’s what others have to say about Deep Root Farm:

Her Amish breads are one of the best breads we have had, especially the garlic and herb one. We almost finish the entire loaf at dinner, and did I mention, they are huge. They are such a steal! Customer service are super friendly and great, too. We can’t wait to order more. You rock, Monica. -Nickie

I picked up my first order today and I’m in big trouble! Her rolls almost didn’t make it home. I ate 3 in the car. It’s only an 8 minute drive! Soft, light, buttery. Best thing that’s been in my mouth in a long time! Bread is gorgeous and we may have dessert before dinner. The cinnamon rolls are calling my name! Cornbread is beautiful! She is one of the nicest people I have met in a long time! We’re going to have a long, yummy friendship! Thanks so much!!! -Iris

Monica puts her heart and soul into everything she bakes and it definitely shows. If you haven’t tried her cinnamon rolls or fresh made dinner rolls, you’re missing out! They are absolutely the best I’ve ever had. Thank you Monica, I can’t wait to place another order soon!! -Nicole

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It wasn’t so long ago that everyone thought millennials would never buy homes. With overwhelming student debt, an inadequate savings account, and average credit scores, millennials were often looked over as a prominent home buying generation. But, in 2020, millennials have passed up baby boomers and Gen Xers for the fifth year in a row! If you aspire to be one of the many millennial homebuyers in 2020, here are four things to make that dream come true.

Tips For Millennial Homebuyers

Pay off Major Debts

One of the largest hurdles for millennial homebuyers is student loans. Over 44 million Americans are paying off student loan debt. Since buying a home is likely the most expensive investment you’ll ever make, it’s best to be as close to debt free as you can. If paying off your loans is not possible in the next decade, then it’s best to get on a budget and manage your monthly payments, seeing how much room you’ll have for an incoming mortgage payment as well as a down payment. A mortgage lender can tell you how to get on track with your payments before buying a home.

Down Payments

Most of us don’t pay cash for our first home, so buying a home requires a down payment. Having a strong down payment can help lower your interest rate as well as pay off your entire mortgage faster. While 10-20% down is ideal, some loan types – such as FHA – require as little as 3.5% down. The catch with a lower down payment is the additional requirement of mortgage insurance added to your monthly mortgage payment. If you feel overwhelmed saving for a down payment, you’re not alone. Some millennials need more than seven years to save for a down payment, so don’t feel bad if it takes time.

Affordable House in a Seller’s Market

A big challenge millennial homebuyers face is the rising value of homes. It’s best to be patient and to not give in to the temptation to stretch your dollars and buy a home that’s out of your price range. No home is worth sacrificing your retirement or your kid’s college fund! That’s why it’s best to find an affordable house in a seller’s market. It may require some renovation, but at least you won’t be struggling to make your mortgage payment each month.

Know the Buying Process

One of the best things you can do as a millennial homebuyer is to get familiar with the buying process. Working with experts who know what they’re doing (agent, lender) will likely result in a seamless process that’s enjoyable and exciting for you and for them! Remember, a good agent and lender is more concerned about your bank account, not theirs. Being confident and knowledgeable about the home buying process will help you move faster on the road to closing on a home.

You may also like: 4 Simple Ways to Save for a Down Payment

In this series, I highlight the businesses I like to refer to my friends, family, home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking about Bertoglio’s Pizza in Yelm, WA.

Community Recommendation: Bertoglio’s Pizza in Yelm, WA

Really great pizza places are hard to come by, but if you’re in the Yelm area, you’re lucky to have a gem right in your neighborhood! Bertoglio’s Pizza is a deliciously wonderful restaurant! The combination of high quality ingredients and top notch customer service makes this pizzeria a family favorite. Bergoglio’s Pizza has an extensive gluten free menu which includes cauliflower crust options. They also offer take and bake pizzas which is unique since you don’t really get that option with most pizza places. This is a great place for a date night, a casual weekend lunch joint, or a Sunday family dinner – especially in the summer months!

See what others have to say about Bertoglio’s Pizza:

“This is the BEST pizza I have probably ever had in my life. I have never had a pizza where everything about it is up to par and on the same level of excellence!! The pizza sauce is one of a kind, as well as their crust. Our favorite is the Canadian Bacon Pineapple Pizza – the pineapples are HUGE!! Definitely a summer favorite and our first choice when we want pizza!! So happy they are here!” – Longview

“The owner was very friendly and we could tell he took pride in his pizza, using quality ingredients. We ordered 2 pizzas: BBQ vegan chicken with pineapple and vegan cheese, and the second was vegan beef crumbles with black olives, mushrooms, and vegan cheese. Our family of 5 loved them! The BBQ was my favorite. If this place didn’t serve vegan pizza, I don’t know what we would have ended up eating. So thankful for this place!” – Christine

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There are many benefits of owning a home – personalization, community, and ability to make it your own. One of the often-overlooked benefits of owning a home is the equity you build over time. Here are 3 benefits of growing equity in your home.

3 Benefits of Growing Equity in Your Home

What is home equity?

First off, let’s take a look at what home equity is, and how it affects you as a home owner. Home equity is the portion of your home that you truly own – the difference between the home’s fair market value and the outstanding balance of all liens on the property. Home equity is also known as real property value. The average home increases between 3% and 5% in equity per year.

Move up opportunity

One of the biggest benefits of growing equity in your home is the move up opportunity. With the rise in prices, homeowners naturally experience an increase in home equity. This increase allows them to put this money down toward a larger house to fit their family’s needs in the future. For example, if a family puts down $55,000 into the house, and the house has increased in value by $10,000, then the family’s home equity is really $65,000. When you buy your first home, the down payment is often times one of the largest hurdles to overcome. When you buy your second and third homes, you’re able to use your home equity toward the down payment of the new home, granted the market is healthy.

Gain in seller’s profit

In today’s market, when a home buyer looks at the amount paid when they bought their home and then the amount they received after selling, it’s clear that some homeowners were able to walk away with a large gain. A seller’s profit is jumping fast compared to over the last few years.

Out of a negative equity situation

Negative equity occurs when there is a decline in home value, an increase in mortgage debt, or both. Often times home owners see this situation when the housing market crashes and their area’s home values decrease. Many families experienced these challenges over the last decade. The good news is many families have moved beyond a negative equity situation since the market has recovered and they are able to use the growing equity in their home to get out of their negative situation.

You may also like: 4 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home

While yes we all have the dream to decorate every inch of our home for the holidays, time and money don’t always allow that to happen. You’ve still go shopping and wrapping to do, not to mention your everyday life to live. Here are 4 ways to simply decorate for the holidays with a big impact.

How to Simply Decorate For The Holidays

Target The Tree

Your Christmas tree will be the center of attention in your home, so it makes sense to spend time and energy into nicely decorating it. For an easy, simple look, go with a monochromatic color scheme. This could mean a white flocked tree with crème and blush ornaments, or a green tree with silver ornaments and garland. Using a monochromatic scheme also coordinates with any room décor which eliminates the worry of balancing a color palette.

Mantle Magic

Simply decorating your mantle can complement the tree and bring holiday cheer. Choose a statement making garland to drape across the mantle. A good tip is to coordinate with the type of tree you’ve chosen, so if you have a flocked tree then go with a flocked garland. Then add some candles on the mantle to light at night, giving your fireplace a warm white color. Keeping the mantle simple will add elegance without having to spend a bunch of extra money on knick knacks.

Table Top

Focusing on the table top is key in simply decorating for the holidays. The holidays are a prime time for entertaining, so you want to make the gathering dining area festive. Adding another garland to your table as a table runner can do wondering for adding the seasonal flair to your table. Then you can add candles or ornaments along the garland to bring in the extra pop of color.

Front Porch

The front porch is visible by your guests as well as any car driving by. Consider adding a simple wreath to your door and some lights to your home. Adding décor that is visible in the day and night will serve as dual purpose. Additionally, if you’ve chosen to go with a monochromatic color scheme inside your home, consider going with a monochromatic color scheme outside as well. So, if you have a flocked tree inside, add some white lights to the outside of your home to tie your décor all together. This will also maintain the simple yet elegant décor feel to your home.

You may also like: 5 Simple Ways to Decorate Your PNW Backyard

The Seattle-Tacoma housing market continues to be attractive for home buyers. However, you need to consider if now is the right time for you to jump into home ownership. Just because your friends and family all own homes, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a financially smart decision for you to. Here are 4 signs you’re ready to buy a home.

4 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home

No more debt

One of the top signs you’re ready to buy a home is that you no longer have debt. You have eliminated credit card debt as well as your car payment and you’re now banking more each month. The extra cash flow that is no longer going toward your monthly debt can cover home owner expenses such as property tax, homeowner’s insurance, repairs, and furnishings. Considering the down payment is the top hurdle for most home buyers, the extra cash can cover that expense as well.

Credit score

If you’ve been watching your credit report and taking actions to improve your score, now could be the time to buy a home. Since your credit score is one of the most important factors in qualifying for a home loan, a higher score could land you a higher loan amount. With a higher credit score comes a lower interest rate, which ultimately means a lower monthly mortgage payment and less money over time.

Thought about all the monthly expenses

With owning a home comes many monthly expenses outside of your mortgage. Utilities, property taxes, HOA fees, and insurance bills are all costs you have to budget for. If you have done the research to include a ballpark estimate of all of these expenses and you’re comfortable with the outflow, it’s one of the best signs you are ready to buy a home.

Ready to settle down

Unless you’re in the house flipping business, your home is a long term investment. It’s best to plan to stay in a home for at least five years. If you’re just starting a family and need a certain number of bedrooms and outdoor space, it may be a wise decision to look into buying a home since renting an apartment of that size could cost as much or more. Additionally, if you have dreams of making your house a home, with personalized renovations and décor, owning a home may be right for you.

You may also like: Financial Benefits of Owning a Home

In this series, I highlight the restaurants and food services I like to refer to my home buyers and sellers in the Pierce County area. This month I’m talking about HG Bistro.

Restaurant Recommendation Series: HG Bistro

HG Bistro is one of my favorite restaurants in the Puyallup area. Located right on Main street, you’ve likely seen this joint busy on evenings and weekends. In addition to their delicious food and superb customer service, I appreciate that they change up their menu often. Chef Arnel and his team create a featured fresh sheet every two weeks and offer by reservation only intimate wine dinners prepared by Executive Chef Arnel Gaitan. For the past 12 years HG Bistro has been known for their Happy Hour and have been voted in the top 5 of King 5’s “Best Happy Hour” for Western Washington since 2009. Recently they were honored with the #1 spot in 2015.

HG Bistro also puts a strong focus on service fresh and local dishes. They prepare their dishes from scratch by using quality fresh ingredients. They strive to use local farmers as they come available. From their kitchen to the table they are passionate about giving an exceptional culinary experience with warm and professional service for a friendly dining experience.

Here’s what others have to say about HG Bistro:

“Atmosphere was intimate enough to hold a conversation. We got a table last minute on a Friday night and the staff was very inviting and warm. The food was also very good!” – Morgan F.

“A very nice small out of the way bistro between Sumner and Puyallup. The staff is very friendly and attentive. The menu wasn’t very busy. The atmosphere was between casual and fine dining. The food was delicious. They plate the food nice and fancy, felt more fine dining. They have 2 “sides” to the restaurant, one had the decor of casual the other more upscale. I would absolutely go there again.” – Calvin W.

“My Birthday dinner pick! I was so happy with everything. Dinner amazing and the birthday dessert was incredible. Service was outstanding, very attentive staff. I tried the Pom Pom from the drink menu and loved it!” – Kristal H.

For more information on HG Bistro, visit https://www.hgbistro.com.

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2019 has officially begun, and with the new year comes New Year’s Resolutions. Being more active, saving more money, and organizing your life are common resolutions, but what about goals for your home? Here are 4 essential New Year’s resolutions for home owners.

4 New Year’s Resolutions for Home Owners

Start an emergency fund

One of the most essential New Year’s resolutions for home owners is to start an emergency fund. The idea of setting aside $100 cash every month to put in an emergency fund sounds doable, but often falls on people’s “will do later” list. But what happens if you’re faced with a life changing event where you need access to cash? This year, look at your finances and pick a monthly amount to set aside for your emergency fund. You could save over $1,000 in just one year by staying consistent in putting money aside. You’ll be so happy you did if/when the time comes.

Create a disaster kit

Your home is your castle, but it’s not indestructible. If you haven’t already, create a disaster kit to store in your garage so you’re ready to grab it and go should an emergency happen. A disaster kit that includes financial documents, copies of passports, and a home inventory will speed up recovery if disaster hits. Additionally, it’s a good idea to place at least 3 days of canned food in your disaster kit, along with emergency medical supplies so you’re set for a few days.

Budget for home improvements

Most homeowners have goals of what they want to improve in their home, even those who buy brand new homes. This year budget for one or two large projects so you’re able to make progress on this goal list. These large projects may be replacing roofing, kitchen appliances, or adding a living space onto the back of your home. By achieving one or two of these this year, you’ll stay motivated to keep finishing projects throughout the next few years, and with the right budget to do so.

De-clutter

If you feel like you’re running out of storage in your home, it is time to go through each room and de-clutter. Spend a day in each room and create 3 piles: keep, donate, and sell. Once you’ve made your way through your home, combine all the donate items and drive them to a Goodwill or Salvation Army. Once you have all your sell items in a pile, host a garage sale, or sell online via Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. You’ll find your life less stressful when you get rid of all the unwanted clutter!

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