Housing Resource
Category: Home Ownership and Home Improvement

Oh neighbors…they can be the best or the worst. I hope that you always end up with the best neighbors! Oh HOA’s! They can be such a pain! But in certain situations they can be a blessing in disguise. If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA you most likely won’t have to deal with the neighbors who also use their front yard as a junk yard and that’s when you will be thankful for that HOA. If you are in the unfortunate situation of ‘messy’ neighbors and ready to put your home on the market, this info is for you…

You have put your home up for sale and done everything your agent has advised you to do to prepare your property for sale, but still no offers have come in.  If you suspect your neighbor’s property is preventing your home from appealing to potential buyers, there are a few things you can do to remedy this situation.  Here are some tips for dealing with problem neighbors while selling your home.


Are Your Neighbors The Problem?

Before banging down the neighbor’s door and blaming them for your home’s lack of appeal, you’ll first want to make sure that is really the problem.  Ask your agent what they think the problem is, and whether they agree that the neighbors may be preventing the sale.  Also ask other homeowners in the area what they think of any problem neighbors to get perspective before making that visit.

Use Tact When Approaching Neighbors

If you have determined that a particular neighbor is creating a problem that is affecting your home’s value and marketability, your best bet in getting them to agree to make the required changes is to be nice about it.  Offer to help them with the cleanup and explain that it is not only for your benefit, but will also increase their home’s value as well.  Planning a neighborhood cleanup and renting a junk removal service for the community may encourage them to clean up without even being asked.

Last Resort

If you have asked nicely and your neighbor still refuses to clean their property, there are steps you can take to force the situation.  Many municipalities have bylaws concerning the upkeep of property, and getting your local officials involved may be necessary.  Also getting other homeowners in the area on your side can make this easier.  Remember though, you should always approach the individuals first and ask nicely before reporting them to the authorities.

Messy neighbors can be an obstacle to selling your home, but in most cases a little diplomacy and an offer to help will get the task accomplished.


Are you looking for a place to gets some plants to spruce up your new home??? I know just the place to go…Watson’s!! We did some major landscaping at our house this year and I was ready to plant. I had heard about Watson’s and figured I would give it a shot; so glad I did!! This place was so much fun and had so many options to choose from. Lots of knowledgeable staff available to answer questions and suggest plants based on your yard and preference. I don’t really enjoy yard work so I was hunting for the plant it and forget about it plants! I also wanted a lot of evergreen shrubs to they would stay nice and green all year.

When I first walked in I was so overwhelmed by all the choices! It was so nice to have such a big selection!

They also had amazing home decor stuff as well. I really could have spent all day here! And, if you did want to spend a majority of the day you wouldn’t have to worry about getting hungry of thirsty because inside the main building is Anton’s Cafe!

If you are in need of amazing plants or home decor or even just ideas for your new home in the JBLM area, I highly recommend checking this place out. They even have some cool events that happen during winter too (reindeer come visit)!

If you are in the JBLM area and looking for things to do, make sure follow this blog and head over to my Facebook page to see even more stuff about the JBLM area and#jblmareathingstodo.

Are you relocating to the JBLM area? We would be happy to set up a personalized home search for you. An actual person will search listings for you on a regular basis and only send homes that are actively on the market, meet your criteria and will qualify for your specified financing. Set up your JBLM area home search today!

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It’s that time of year when home owners start thinking about putting their home on the market. It is common for sellers to wonder what their home is currently worth, and if they should do some updating to not only make it worth more, but for it to have better appeal. It is important for sellers to remember that looks count for a lot. Have you ever wondered what would be best to update before putting your home on the market? I suggest giving your Realtor a call to discuss current market conditions and how your home would hold up if put on the market in its current condition. Take a look at this article discussing The Renovation Dilemma: What to Fix If You’re Selling.

Kitchen_cabinet_pullsinterior paintingSomething as simple as new paint colors can make a huge difference in the eyes of a potential buyer. A home with a fresh, clean look usually gets some pretty good bonus points. There are some projects that aren’t recommended though, so make sure you are aware of those. They are covered nicely in the article mentioned above.

Best of luck on your renovations & getting that home on the market!

Are you in need of real estate advice in the JBLM or Thurston County market? Have questions about buying your first home or how to sell your current home? Contact Phil Sharp to get all of your real estate questions answered. He can be reached by phone at 360-970-9977 or send Phil an email.


messy-kidThe idea of trying to sell your home not only while you are currently living in it, but living in it with KIDS can seem a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry…it can be done! Deborah Kearns over at Realtor.com has come up with some simple tips on how to keep your home show ready even with little ones running around. Check out Smart Tips for Selling Your Home While Living in It With Kids.

It’s important to remember that when you decide to put your home on the market that keeping it looking nice will help with the sale. Potential buyers can have a hard time looking around a mess even if it could be there perfect home. Make sure to keep things as tidy as possible and it should help!

For more information on selling your home in the Thurston County/JBLM area, give Phil a call at 360-970-9977


unnamed April Maintenance Tips Courtesy of Boggs Home Inspection:

Tip #36
Tune Your Refrigerator for High Performance (Or Color It Green?)

The refrigerator is among the most neglected of household appliances, because usually it runs forever with little repair. However, it often consumes the most electricity among your home’s appliances. You can improve the performance and extend the life of your refrigerator with simple maintenance.

The condenser coil of a refrigerator transfers heat to the air of your room. You should clean the coil with a vacuum or soft brush once or twice a year. The coil is located behind or underneath the refrigerator; it’s a serpentine apparatus with small fins. The fins’ narrow spacing catches lint and debris. A small tube connected to your vacuum will quickly collect this dirt.

Viewing and accessing the coils is often as simple as snapping the plastic cover off the lower front of the refrigerator. Often there is also a small fan that moves air across the coils. The fan should also be carefully cleaned or vacuumed after you unplug the unit.

Cleaning the coil and fan will aid in heat transfer and shorten the refrigeration compressor’s run time. This will save electricity and lengthen the life of your refrigerator.


Entrance to The Old Cannery

Entrance to The Old Cannery

Are you looking to furnish your place after moving to the JBLM area? If so, you must check out the Old Cannery in Sumner! It’s a little bit of a drive, but it’s less than 30 minutes from JBLM.

This place is awesome and fun for kids, a double bonus! my brother-in-law and his wife were looking to furnish the new home they just bought from Phil Sharp Homes and asked if we wanted to tag along. They have an amazing selection of furniture and decor that priced pretty well. The kids had a blast with all the fun things to look at and explore. We even visited the fudge shop and got some snacks for the little explorers and some fudge to take home. Along with a great selection, they also have TWO scratch and dent areas! You can find some pretty good stuff in there!

The children’s furniture area was by far the best part. They have a model train set up in there and the kids can press buttons to keep it going. Be prepared to send a lot of time in there if you have young ones! At the end of the day we had our two trucks loaded up to the top with a bunch of furniture for the new home…

They also have some events coming up!

Holiday Events:

Santa Land and Santa Pictures at The Old Cannery Friday November 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM – Friday November 28, 2014 at 3:30 PM

The Old Cannery Bridge Lighting & Festival Celebration with Fireworks Show Friday November 28, 2014 at 2:00 PM – Friday November 28, 2014 at 7:00 PM


For more information on the JBLM area follow this blog and like my Facebook Page, JBLM Relocation Sponsor.


20140128_171746We recently bought a house in Lakewood, which is about 10 minutes from Ft Lewis, WA. We bought an older home and are in the process of updating it…and oh what a process! With two kids under and three, it’s been quite crazy in our house since we moved in. It is always a construction zone with some project going on.

We just demoed part of the kitchen! We are changing the layout and opening things up quite a bit. It was fun to see what a difference it has made. I can now see the kids when I’m in the kitchen, which is pretty important since I feel like I spend 90% of my day in here!


Since we wanted to save money we chose to install our own cabinets and found a great place online to purchase them. We used CliqStudios and they were pretty awesome. I love the cabinets and the quality seems to be very good.

Here the progress so far…


You will notice that my daughter is no where to be found, she HATES loud noises but my son LOVES them!kitchen demo


Have you been waiting to make improvements on your home in the JBLM area?


Home Improvements

Home Improvements

If you have been waiting on the economy  to make improvements to your home, this is a great time to get going.  There are still some hungry contractors out there…they are busy, but after the experiances of the past few years, they are also being aggressive when bidding new jobs.  As the recovery continues, they will transition from “Survival Mode” to “Profit Mode”, and prices will go up.

As has always been the case, the place to spend $ is the Kitchen and Bathrooms.  Kitchen and Bath remodels almost always provide the best return on your investment, and they don’t have to be as expensive as many people think….especially if you are able to do some of the work yourself.  Following Kitchens and baths, Energy efficiency is another good choice.  New windows, added insulation, updated heating systems all add value.

2013 looks like the year to dust off those old plans / projects and get busy.  Take advantage of some of the deals that are lingering from the economic crisis (as of this writing, Home Depot will re-carpet your entire home for $99 plus materials).  Keep in mind that improvements are not the same as maintenance, and ask your realtor if you aren’t sure whether you should spent the money to improve.


Email to Phil about renting a a home in the JBLM area.


My husband just found out we are going to Fort Lewis last night so I began my search for info on the place. Coincidentally we are in Germany also. This will be our first REAL PCS move so I am trying to figure out all that I need to know. I am not sure we are looking into buying a home right this minute we just got all our bills paid and have a car payment but most likely in the next two years we would be interested in buying a house but like I said not sure. If you do help with rentals that would be amazing. We are particularly interested in the Lacey or Olympia areas.

Phil’s response.


Thanks for your email.  I want to be up front with you and let you know that I don’t manage rentals.  I do sell homes, and although this sounds like a sales pitch…this may be the best time to buy a home for the rest of your life!


I would certainly consider buying, and speak with a mortgage lender before making the final decision.  Right now, in the JBLM area, you can buy for considerably less than what you can rent for.  For example, a decent 1800 square foot home can be purchased with a monthly payment of about $1100, rent for the same home would be $1350-1400.  A very unique situation, that will not last.


If you do move forward with renting, I can refer you to someone who manages properties.  If you decide to buy, I can refer you to a local Mortgage lender who will counsel you on best courses of action and who can give you exact $ numbers.


Respectfully, Phil


What Happened to the “Shadow Inventory” of Foreclosures….?

Foreclosure ListingsLast winter, the news media was all excited about the shadow inventory of foreclosures that were going to catch us all by surprise, and tank the real estate market again.  Well…It is well known that I have very little affection for the mainstream media, and my sentiments have been re-enforced yet again.  The shadow inventory hasn’t appeared (in fact, any record at the courthouse, were foreclosures happen, seems to have disappeared), and new foreclosure filings are way WAY down, all a result of home buyers coming off the fence to take advantage of the change.

While there are still foreclosures that will come and go for the next couple of years, it appears that the worst of it is over.  Of course, we are in the most delicate stage of the recovery, we are in an election year, and the federal legislature couldn’t agree on the color of the sky…but maybe if they can’t do anything, then they won’t do anything wrong.

So it looks like we may have a recovery happening in the Ft. Lewis area real estate market.  Inventory is way down, prices are starting to creep up, and there is optimism in the air.  This is a great time to add a home or two to your portfolio.



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