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 4th fastest growing state in 2019. 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.

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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 Crockett’s Public House.

Community Recommendation: Crockett’s Public House

Crockett’s Public House is one of Puyallup’s most famous restaurants for a reason! It’s family friendly, has a wonderful backstory honoring an early Puyallup resident (Hugh Crockett), and has some of the best food in town. Some of my favorites include the calamari, fire grilled flat bread, lobster mac-n-cheese and marcona almond pesto with shrimp.

Crockett’s Public House has a long list of accolades. It’s been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, won best of showcase magazine award 2016, 2017, and 2018, has numerous features in the South Sound Magazine, Tacoma News Tribune (TNT Diner) and the Puyallup herald, and has been mentioned as a place to visit on King 5 News Evening.

Crockett’s offers a popular happy hour 3-6pm & 9pm-close Monday-Thursday, 10pm-close Friday-Saturday, and all day Sunday. Their special is $3 off all appetizers, and $1 off all beer wine and specialty cocktails.

Here’s what people have to say about Crockett’s Public House:

“For fear of making this place more popular, this is insane food and atmosphere! and the pricing is more than fair for the portions and the uniquely great food.” -Chris

“I love this place! best thing I’ve order is the veggie burger, even though I’m not a vegetarian this burger is amazing!! seriously… the patty is fried goodness with gooey cheese inside and the pesto sauce is amazing.” -Kira

“Our waitress, Courtney, was very welcoming, patient and kind. the food was really good! my husband had the meatballs and they were huge.” -Cathy

“Love their happy hour! My favorite is the sliders. I will have to come back to try the chicken and waffles because I heard they’re pretty good. Service was great! Thank you.” -Tiffany

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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 Maidify Cleaning Services.

Community Recommendation: Maidify Cleaning Services

When helping clients buy and sell homes, a common referral question I get is finding a trustworthy and thorough cleaning service. I have had wonderful success with Maidify Cleaning Services and like to refer them to my clients who are looking for a house cleaner. They offer a weekly, monthly and deep clean for clients to choose from. Maidify Cleaning Services is located in Steilacoom and focuses on helping homes in the South Sound region.

Before starting Maidify Cleaning Services, the owner was serving in the Army as a Helicopter Mechanic. After being honorably discharged, he decided to finish his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. He tried to get part time jobs to relieve stress off of his family and attend school at the same time, but these “part time jobs” didn’t honor his school schedule and were demolishing his GPA at school. He was very upset and disappointed with most business establishments that claim they “help” College students, only to work them as like full time employees without any benefits.

He started Maidify Cleaning Services for 3 reasons:

  1. To provide part time jobs to local college students and prior military at JBLM
  2. To donate to charity
  3. To help relieve stress on local residents by providing them with a clean home

He wants to thank all the Veterans at JBLM and McChord Air Force Base for making the world a better place.

Maidify offers a 10% discount to Active Duty, Reserve and Retired Military.

For more information about Maidify Cleaning Services, visit their website or their Facebook page.

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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 PNW Grill in Puyallup.

Community Recommendation: PNW Grill

PNW Grill is a fun family-friendly restaurant that was established in 2019. Inside you’ll find casual tables, a large bar, darts, pool tables, and ping pong. PNW Grill serves scratch made food with some fun plays on American classics. I love a good steak and their rib eye is to die for! I loved this place so much that we are hosting our November VAREP Restaurant Takeover here.

Here’s what their customers have to say:

“Their wings are TO DIE FOR! Seriously, the Asian sesame are the way to go. Also, their mojitos are flavored with fresh fruit purées that are made in house daily. The peach and mango are amazing. I haven’t tried a pizza yet, but the table next to us got one and it’s definitely a must have next time. Great job to the new owners for really taking the place to its true potential.”

“My service was top notch and my waitress was very attentive.  My nephew had the rib-eye and it was mouthwatering as far as presentation. People: You want top quality beef you are going to pay for it, and I’m telling you it’s worth it to dine here.  I ordered the Rainer and some point during the meal I looked up to see my nephew staring at me.  I looked down to the pile of crust beneath me and muttered “What?” through a mouth full of meat and cheese.  I apparently was stuffing the slices in my face as though the apocalypse was upon us.  Great place, great service, great pizza.  If I ever get the chance to come back, I’m getting the steak.”

For more information, visit their Facebook page.

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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 decals with Stick On U decal services.

Community Recommendation: Stick On U

Stickers have been used for marketing initiatives for years because they last for years and require very low costs. They can help promote product launches, giveaways, social sharing, and reviews. If your business was about to launch a new product/service, giving stickers to prospective clients would be a great way to promote the launch. If your business was doing a giveaway, a sticker is an effective way to tell the public about your giveaway in the hopes more people would enter. If you want to spread your social network handles to new clients and old, using stickers to remind people how to find you online can be a good way to keep customers in your lead pipeline for years. Word of mouth is a highly effective way to gain new clients. Think about how many reviews you read before purchasing a product online. Giving clients a sticker to remind them to review their experience with your business can help your reputation management and bring in new business in the future.

When participating in any community event as a business, it’s nice to have decals to give away to the public, or to help create a nice backdrop for your booth. Recently I worked with Stick On U to help create decals for my VAREP booth at the Puyallup Fair. They were excellent to work with, affordably priced, and created exactly what I envisioned for my event. Sometimes it’s hard to describe what you want for a decal, but their team helped guide me on what a good layout design would be for my decals.

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Selling your home for the most money is a top priority of most sellers. If you’re planning on selling your home within the next few years, there might be some home improvements to make beforehand that can really increase your home value. Here are 4 upgrades to make before you sell your home.

Upgrades to Make Before You Sell

Update Cabinets

It’s not necessary to replace your cabinets as it may not make financial sense, but giving your cabinets a refresh can be one of the best upgrades to make before you sell. Start with a fresh coat of paint, preferably a color that is trendy and will appeal to home buyers when you sell. Next, change out the hardware. You may be surprised at how much a difference these two simple updates can make. Just updating your cabinets can turn a kitchen from a dark and isolated room, to a bright and welcoming room.

Light Fixtures

Go through your home and see what light fixtures could use come updating. Replacing light fixtures can make a large difference in your home’s appearance. If you don’t have the budget to replace all the fixtures in your home, start with the ones in the kitchen and above tables as those make the largest impressions in a room. Then move to the main living areas, and replace the bedroom fixtures last. A bright statement fixture can really tie a room together and thus make the room feel more expensive which can increase your selling price.

Paint

Adding a fresh coat of paint to all of your walls is one of the easiest and most effective upgrades to make before you sell. Sticking with a neutral palette will ensure you don’t scare away potential buyers, and will help your home appear more cohesive and move in ready. It’s also a good idea to give your front door a fresh coat while you’re at it. The front door is the entryway into the home, and can make a lasting impression on home buyers.

Landscaping

Curb appeal goes a long way in attracting potential home buyers. Do you have a large empty strip of bark that could use a nice flower bed? How about pruning the shrubs and trees? Even if you don’t plan to sell your home right away, you might consider planting some perennials so they are well established by the time you want to sell your home. Attractive landscaping is a great way to make a positive lasting impression on future buyers.

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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.

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The VA home loan offers some unbeatable benefits for active military members and veterans. From $0 down, to no mortgage insurance, to relaxed credit requirements, the VA home loan is definitely worth exploring while searching for a home. Here are the top 4 benefits of the VA home loan.

Top Benefits of the VA Home Loan

$0 Down Payment

The down payment is typically the most challenging hurdle for prospective home buyers, especially first-time home buyers. Qualified veterans can obtain a VA home loan without making any down payment at all. Compared to Conventional and FHA home loans, this translates to significant savings upfront. Conventional home loans typically require at least 10 if not 20 percent down, while FHA home loans require at least 3.5 percent down. The amazing benefit of being able to purchase a home with $0 down is that veterans get to fulfill the American Dream without having to spend years saving up for a down payment.

No Mortgage Insurance

A lot of first-time home buyers are going with an FHA loan since the down payment required is 3.5% (as opposed to the conventional 10 or 20 percent). The down side to paying 3.5% down is that it comes with mortgage insurance of a few hundred dollars a month (depending on the loan amount). The VA home loan doesn’t require monthly mortgage insurance. Skipping the monthly mortgage insurance will help veteran home buyers save hundreds of dollars per month.

Low Interest Rates

Typically, the VA home loan offer the lowest interest rate of all loan types. Since the VA guarantees a portion of every VA loan, financial institutions can offer lower interest rates than other loan types (0.5 to 1 percent lower than conventional rates). On a 30 year $250,000 loans, the difference between paying 4 percent and 4.75 percent equates to $40,000 in savings over the life of the loan. This is one of the top benefits of the VA Home Loan.

Flexible Credit Requirements

Veterans don’t need a perfect score to secure home financing. In fact, the flexibility of credit score allows more veterans to secure a home loan than if they went with a conventional loan. Some lenders allow scores as low as 580 which is significantly lower than the 620 minimum score for other loan types. The flexibility of credit requirements allows veterans to buy a home faster as they don’t need to spend years on credit repair.

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Our furry friends are a big part of our families. From setting designated feeding stations to keeping lint rollers scattered through the home, here are 4 tips to create a pet friendly home your guests and your pets will feel comfortable spending time in.

How to Create a Pet Friendly Home

Designate Feeding Stations

Creating a designated feeding station that is convenient for your pets to access but also not an eyesore for your family is key to create a pet friendly home. Choose a room such as a laundry room or mud room to stash your pet’s food and water bowls. This will keep the mess away from the entertainment areas of the home. It is important that you store food appropriately to prevent spoiling or unwanted bugs.

Conceal Toys

Yes we love buying our pets new chew toys, but we don’t necessarily love to see the toys lying around the house. If you don’t want your home to scream “crazy cat or dog person” stash pet items where they are easily accessible but not noticeable. Decorative baskets and bins are great for stashing toys and treat jars. Having a designated animal toy bin helps you keep track of the toys and tidy up your living space in an organized manner.

Vacuum/Sweep Often

In the shedding season, it’s vital to vacuum/sweep on a weekly basis (sometimes twice a week if you have a severe shedder). Be sure to vacuum the living spaces, including the couches and throw pillows. If you just aren’t a fan of sweeping, consider investing in a robotic vacuum. You can set it and forget it and maintain a hair free home.

Lint Roll

People don’t mind if you have pets, but they might mind if they leave your home with a leg full of dog hair. While vacuuming often is important, sometimes hair just finds it’s way onto the couch. Store lint rollers in a few easy to grab locations, like side table drawers, to offer to guests if they need to remove hair from their clothes.

Treat Stains Immediately

Accidents happen, and it’s ok as long as you treat stains immediately. If your animals are accident prone, consider getting a portable carpet cleaner for quick spot treatments. The last thing you want is for your guests to smell a stale scent when they sit on the couch. Get into the habit of walking through lesser-used rooms to make sure there aren’t any surprise stains setting in.

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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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