Housing Resource
Category: Home Buyer Education

If you have been watching the South Sound housing market, you have undoubtedly noticed that the market is very busy.  The area and economy are growing briskly, migration from the South West (among other areas), is pushing the population beyond planners expectations, and prices are going up.  What real estate investors call “upside potential” is great.

The economy on this side of the mountains is strong.  We are seeing a large migration of jobs and people relocating to the Tacoma/Olympia area.  A great example is the Developing Lacey industrial park, and Boeing’s growth in Pierce County (and of course JBLM).   If you visualize development coming south from Seattle, the leading edge of that development is right now surrounding JBLM, both in the Tacoma and Olympia areas.

Although housing inventory is low, and prices are appreciating….there are still plenty of opportunities out there…they come on the market every day.   The key to being an effective home buyer in a market like this is knowing what you want, and being prepared (along with your Realtor) to jump when the right home comes along.   You will be putting your best foot forward when you are confident and knowledgeable.   A good Realtor helps too….

As you start the house hunting process, whether you are local or looking long distance, it is critical that you educate yourself about the market.  I like to start looking for/sending listings several months before you are ready to buy.    The education that you receive by going thru the process will help you to recognize a good deal when you see it, and expose you to everything that is out there with time to absorb it all.

If you would like to learn more about buying a home in the JBLM area, whether you are already here or are en-route, please let my staff and I know.  We have lots more info available by email and a fantastic relocation packet that consists of a box full of material provided by JBLM and the State.

Phil is the Owner and Broker at Phil Sharp Homes LLC

and is also an experienced developer/builder in Thurston County.

                      Relocation Sponsor Services                                             Relocation Packet by US Mail

                      A Real Person Searching for Listings                             Free Home Warranty


I have recently entered an agreement to provide a free home warranty on every home I sell, regardless of age or condition.  The warranty is provided by a national warranty company, goes into effect upon closing, and will pay for any repairs that may not have been apparent at the time your home inspection was completed or problems that come up after you take ownership.

Providing a home warranty is a part of the marketing plan for each home I sell, and gives piece of mind to both buyers and sellers.  If you would like to learn more about my home seller marketing plans, and buyer action plans, contact me and I will personalize one for you.


d-house-search-concept-render-houses-magnifying-glass-searching-unique-54337196The Western Washington Real Estate Market, and the JBLM area in particular, has gotten pretty busy this year.  The factors that are creating this situation are great news for the local economy, and for those who plan to own a home in the area.   The outlook for real estate in Washington is bright.

One significant reason for the busy market is low inventory….expected to continue for years.  We have less than 30 days inventory in some cases, and the builders can’t keep up.  There is also lots of local pent up demand, with one of the symptoms of low inventory being people who want to sell…to upsize, downsize, or simply move…. but are unable to find homes to buy, so are not listing their current homes.   People leaving the area are often holding their investments as rentals, wanting to take advantage of increasing prices and rents.

The local population has grown, and continues to grow, by large numbers.  JBLM has more than doubled in size, the Lacey industrial park has brought thousands of jobs, and Boeing is selling lots of airplanes.  Several years ago a statistic was released by the local Association of Realtors stating that over 170,000 California driver licenses had been turned in to the State of Washington….The population is exploding.

While the population has grown, the building industry has been operating with one hand tied behind their backs.  The National Association of Realtors claims that as a country, we have underbuilt by between 5-10 million homes over the past 10 years.  Locally, I think the JBLM area real estate market is even further behind than the rest of the country.

The JBLM area economy and real estate market is growing for all of the right reasons.  The upside potential/potential for appreciation is very real.  It will take years just to catch up with today’s demand, and the population is expected to continue its current rapid growth.   I believe the demand will continue until this area looks like the other end of I-5.

*Location is the buzzword, and the real estate buzzword is “The Northwest”

If you need a place to live, please let us help you find your new home in Washington.   Stephanie Sharp, my assistant and daughter in law, spends 4-6 hours per day searching for listings for our clients.  She knows neighborhoods, and commutes, and will learn your likes and dislikes….she brings a personal touch to the search.  Let us know if we can help…



Who doesn’t love life hacks?? These are some great tricks from Boggs Inspection Services for around the house!


Have one of those doors that always closes on it’s own? The fix is easy, check out this how to video provided by Boggs Inspection Services.


Did you know that making just one extra mortgage payment a year can save you a ton of money in the long run? It mortgage-149882_960_720will shave years, that’s right YEARS, off of your mortgage. How nice would it be to pay your home off early? With no mortgage payment you might even be able to retire earlier! I would be okay with that for sure!

Sometimes saving extra money while running a household can seem a bit overwhelming. The best thing to do is come up with a plan and budget out exactly how you will save that money. Yahoo published a great article about how to set up a plan. They mention that it’s for San Fran, but really it works for any city, they just used that as the keyword for their article.

Take a look at how to pay you mortgage off early by clicking here.


Interested in buying or selling in the JBLM or Thurston County area? Check out Phil Sharp Homes at www.PhilSharpHomes.com. He makes buying and selling in Ft. Lewis easy.


Sants-selling-house-300x300Selling your home during that holidays may seem a bit overwhelming, does that mean it’s not worth it? The folks over at HGTV have some great advice on selling during this time of year and why you should consider it.

One of the best things on a seller’s side during the holidays is that they will have very little competition and the people searching to purchase are very serious. Check out what the HGTV experts have to say.


locked-houseMortgages can seem pretty complicated. That’s why it’s so important to not only have a Realtor that you trust, but also a mortgage lender that you trust. One that will explain the ins and outs of your mortgage and put it in simple terms when it gets to complicated.

One question that can seem overwhelming is when to lock in your mortgage rate. This is something that your lender should explain to you and specify your options based on the type of loan that you have. Check out this article about locking in your mortgage over on Realtor.com for some great pointers.


For more information on mortgages and Ft. Lewis real estate, make sure to follow our blog.




Are you in the process of shopping for a VA loan?
Working with a real, live person can make all the difference in the world.
We work very closely with Mike Villano over at Veterans Lending Group.
Here is your chance to learn a little bit about him and his team…

Meet the Villano Team and Veterans Lending Group,

Hello and thank you for considering our company for your upcoming home financing.  We are a company that was created to serve the soldiers and airmen of Joint Base Lewis McChord.  The success of our program is structured around our country’s Veterans and all of the complexities your family will face when PCS’ing, transitioning out of the military or just looking to use your VA benefit to purchase your next home.  With our company’s motto “Don’t talk about it, be about it” we “Be about it” by offering straight forward communication, honest advice and an extremely competitive VA Loan package which includes low fees, low rates, no origination costs and 30 day standard closings!

We offer you the extension of our reputation for rock solid pre-approvals and trouble free transactions.  When we begin this journey we will ask to see all of your documentation right up front.  We will complete a full credit review as well as a full document review prior to issuing any pre-approval.  Upon completion we will get with you to discuss anything we may need to address prior to you writing an offer, or to simply inform you of your approval amount and issue your pre-approval.  There is nothing worse than finding the home of your dreams just to have it slip away at the last minute due to a weak and incomplete pre-approval process.  I see a lot of clients come through my office with this problem after dealing with the other large national companies, it is never a good feeling.

**We offer a lender credit to the clients of Phil Sharp Homes, who is a preferred agent.  We do this to help keep the VA loan program a zero down program and to make sure you keep your cash on hand to help with your upcoming move.  In addition, I always structure your  financing so my clients receive their earnest money deposit back at closing, unless we discuss otherwise upfront.

There are some clients who will not be able to use their VA benefit, or require other loan products to free up their VA entitlement, so for those instances we do offer Conventional, FHA, USDA and State Bond Programs.  In addition, we offer an excellent one time close construction loan program and the ability to broker loans for specialty financing like manufactured housing.  We are a full service lender.

We teach VA educational classes to our service members several times per month, all around the state.  We teach VA specific clock hour classes to real estate agents looking to better serve our military clientele.   We have an employee funded nonprofit benefiting our Veteran community and we sit on the board of AUSA where we are able to donate our free time to other Veteran based nonprofits.

If you are looking for a solid lending experience with a team of industry leading professionals who really care how you are handled, we welcome you to Veterans Lending Group!  We look forward to working with ymike_villanoou and your family.

Thank you,

Mike Villano


This is a great video provided by Boggs Inspection Services that shows the best ways to clean and maintain your refrigerator.


canlights Here are some more great home maintenance tips from our friends over at Boggs Inspection Services

Can Lights? Make Them Green!

Can lights or recessed ceiling lights are a common design feature in modern residential construction. They are also common in older custom-built homes. They provide a unique lighting pattern without the glare of a fixture, but they may also waste energy. You have several options when replacing the bulbs (lamps) in can lights. Don’t use a common “A” type bulb; it will not direct light out of the fixture. Most of the light is just wasted inside the can. Consider a spot or flood lamp that reflects and projects light out of the can, such as a parabolic aluminized reflector lamp (also called a PAR bulb). For a “green” step up, consider a parabolic lamp, which has a curved reflector that projects even more light out of the can into a smaller pattern. For a choice that’s even more “green,” use a compact fluorescent spotlight or reflector lamp. These compact fluorescents save about 75 percent in energy costs and last much longer than incandescent bulbs. They also create less heat in the room – heat that must be removed with air conditioning in hot climates. While light from fluorescent lamps may look a little different at first, their light color and quality have greatly improved in recent years. Look for “warm” color lamps or “color corrected” lamps for a more pleasant light.


Many soldiers and families relocating to JBLM area are curious about gate locations when choosing which area to move. Here is a map of the main JBLM gate locations.

Check Current Conditions on the JBLM website for updated information.



Ft. Lewis Gate Locations

Gate locations for JBLM