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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 Tibbitts at Fern Hill.

Restaurant Recommendation Series: Tibbitts at Fern Hill

Everyone needs to try Tibbitts at Fern Hill! Located in South Tacoma, Chef Shawn Tibbitts partners with local farmers to bring fresh ingredients directly from farm to table. Open for breakfast and lunch, Tibbitts at Fern Hill has quite the variety. From the Lobster Bomb and Southwest Frittata on his breakfast menu, to Adam’s Mushroom Bourguignon and Savor Tacoma Creperie for lunch, you’re sure to find something that will satisfy your taste buds.

Here’s what other’s have to say about their experience at Tibbitts at Fern Hill:

“He realized that we were new in the restaurant and came out and introduced himself and even asked our names. Who does that anymore? We will definitely be going back. The passion and love is in the restaurant and apparent in the food.”

“The food was so delicious. I really just want to come back for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each time they changed menus! The service was great and the chef/owner was so personable and we loved how he came out to introduce himself!! This will always be a place that we will stop by each time we visit from Alaska!! Thank you!!”

“It’s an honor to review Tibbitts @ Fern Hill. We heard about it opening on the Where to Dine in Pierce County Facebook page and decided to go there today at noon, and we ended up having the best lunch we’ve had in a long time!”

Tibbitts at Fern Hill has been recognized for various awards from #1 Farm to Table Restaurant in Tacoma to Top 5 New Restaurants of 2017 by the News Tribune to Best Chef 2018 and Best New Restaurant 2018.

For more information on Tibbitts at Fern Hill, visit their Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/TibbittsatFernHill/. Remember, tables fill up quickly so it’s best to make a reservation!

You may also like: Restaurant Recommendation Series: Devine Bites

It’s true that anyone can shop for a house, without formally signing on with a real estate agent. But, unless you have time to make home shopping your part time job, an agent will help match you with a compatible property much faster. Here are 4 benefits of using a real estate agent as you search for a new home.

4 Benefits of Using a Real Estate Agent

Expert in the Field

For most large projects, you feel more confident in reaching the end goal with a solid and hard working team. When you hire a real estate agent, they are in your corner 100% of the time. Remember, this is their job, and they have dealt with many situations similar to your in the past. Additionally, real estate agents are able to use their resources to find solutions for you if they don’t have the answer right away. Using a real estate agent will give you the confidence and peace of mind that everything that needs to happen is happening.

Pricing Pro

Most agents can set a price on a home the minute they walk in the door. If they have a lot of expertise in a market, they know how well a neighborhood holds its value too. Agents have the experience to know whether a house is overpriced or underpriced, and can give you the best advice accordingly. An agent will have such a good idea of what you’re looking for so that he/she won’t even waste your time touring houses that won’t work for you. Additionally, real estate agents are market experts, so they know market trends, and can help direct you in the most beneficial direction for you and your wants/needs for your new home.

Trusted Vendor Recommendations

A big part of buying a home is having a home inspector come out to look at it before you buy it. This helps protect you from having to pay for any large fixes that are found along the inspection, or gives you leverage for negotiating a lower sale price. Using a real estate agent opens up their recommendations for home inspectors and other vendors needed along the way. Wouldn’t you feel the most comfortable hiring someone who comes highly recommended?

Negotiation

One of the top benefits of using a real estate agent is negotiation. It’s uncomfortable to negotiate, especially as a first time home buyer.. So let your agent take care of all of that! Having an agent write the requests objectively and forward them to the seller, saves you from getting emotional about the deal. It’s best to let your agent take the heat in difficult negotiations so you don’t get upset about the property, or say something you wish you hadn’t.

You may also like: Tips to Finding the Perfect Western Washington Neighborhood

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 sewer related with Mike Shafer, Sewer Inspector.

Vendor Recommendation Series: Mike Shafer, Sewer Inspector

There are so many great things to say about Mike’s work. I was recommended to use him years ago, and haven’t changed sewer inspectors since! He is extremely thorough in his inspections and takes the time to answer any question myself or the clients have.

Some future home buyers don’t realize they need a sewer inspection, but the way I see if is that they can pay $200 for a sewer inspection now, or they can pay thousands and thousands of dollars later on to fix a sewer issue.

Mike works well with my home inspector and tries to schedule his appointment at the same time. This allows any questions to be answered on the spot, and sets the correct expectations for the home buyers. At the end of the inspection, Mike talks with myself and the home buyers about any potential concerns, and give recommendations of local contractors who can do the job.

Here’s what other clients have to say about his work:

Mike Shafer did a professional, thorough job in scoping the sewer line of a house I plan on buying.  He provided a USB memory stick of photos and videos of the sewer line inspection, which is handy for future reference. Also, Mike’s fees are reasonable, and not over the top. Recommended!

-Larry P.

Sewer inspector a trusted partner! As the owner and designated broker of Commencement Bay Broker we are highly focused on our clients experience and developing a long term relationship through the purchase and sale of real estate. As such it’s critical that our vendor partners share our focus and commitment to our clients. Sewer Inspector has earned our business repeatedly over the past 4 years and hundreds of inspections. The information that Sewer Inspector has provided our clients pre and post inspection has saved them ten of thousands of dollars in repairs and replacements. The experience and knowledge of Sewer Inspector is invaluable and I highly recommend their service. They are prompt, reliable and flexible which makes working with them very enjoyable. I recommend them to buyer , sellers getting their home ready for the market, investors looking to avoid costly changes to the budget and even other brokers! Countless times Sewer Inspector has gone above and beyond the call of duty. If you are looking for a professional company to provide excellent service and willing to go the extra mile to make sure the job gets done right, then call Mike Shafer, Sewer Inspector.

-Joe T.

You may also like: Vendor Recommendation Series: Vendor Recommendation Series: John Hayes, Farmers Insurance

Summer is officially here! And with summer comes late nights spent outdoors with friends. To maximize your time spent outdoors, you’ll need to have a backyard that you are happy with and is comfortable for you and your guests. Here are 5 simple ways to decorate your PNW backyard, so you’ll be THE house to hang out at this summer.

5 Simple Ways to Decorate Your PNW Backyard

Add a Fire Pit

Having a fire pit in your back yard automatically gives you and your guests something to do in your backyard for hours. You can either buy a metal one from your local hardware store, or you can construct one using stones. Add a few chairs around the pit and you’ll have yourself a fun and cozy place to relax. Because of the simplicity, adding a fire pit is one of the most popular ways to decorate your PNW Backyard.

Plant Your Favorite Herbs, Veggies, and Flowers

The wonderful thing about having a backyard is that you’re able to decorate it any way you’d like. Plants make a wonderful and warm decoration for your PNW backyard. A simple hack is to hang an over the door shoe holder on the fence, tucking herbs into the compartments to serve as a vertical planter. You can also place horizontal planter boxes around the edges of your backyard to provide an inner border. Additionally, plants can serve as great conversation starts and help you connect with your guests on similar planting interests.

Bar Cart

Having a bar cart around helps hosting gatherings in your backyard more convenient. Instead of having to go inside every time someone wants a drink or snack, the refreshments will be easily accessible on the bar cart. The great thing about bar carts is that they come in all different colors, so you can choose one that compliments your home or adds a pop of color. This is a simple way to decorate your PNW backyard.

String Lights

You’ll want to set the ambience as cozy and warm in your backyard so it remains inviting for you and your guests. While solar lights can do the trick, a much more aesthetically pleasing way to add light is to hang string lights from each side of your backyard. A bonus with string lights is that you can plug them into a master switch so that one button turns on/off all the lights. This prevents you from having to unplug and re-plug the cord each time you want to use your lights.

Tiki Torches

Unfortunately, here in the PNW, mosquitoes like to make their appearance in the summer months. Having a severely buggy backyard can deter you and your guests from hanging out in the backyard. A simple fix is to buy multiple Tiki torches for your local hardware store. These torches run off of oil that consists of bug repellent. Tiki torches also come in different styles so you can buy the ones that match your backyard style.

You may also like: 5 Ways to Add Curb Appeal in Tacoma, WA.

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.

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.