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Joint Base Fort Lewis-McChord Washington Area Real Estate

Phil Sharp Broker

Veteran Owned -Retired Army1SG


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Welcome! I'll be happy to answer any questions.          No obligation.     -Phil


Welcome To Investors Toolbox


Real Estate Investors in Olympia-Lacey-Yelm Washington

Investors Toolbox JBLM Fort Lewis Real EstateAre you interested in investing in real estate in the Olympia-Lacey-Yelm Washington area? I have been an investor, developer, and Real Estate Broker in this area since my retirement from the US Army, and I would like to share my experiences with you.

My name is Phil Sharp, and I purchased my first property at the age of 18. I continued to invest in real estate thru-out my Army career, and then decided to make real estate a full time second career.   If you would like to work with an experienced real estate investor and Broker in the Olympia Washington area, give me a call or email…I would like to add you to my network, and thru the course of getting to know each other, one of us may learn something…

Real Estate Investing in Olympia and surrounding communities in Western Washington

Are you interested in real estate investing in the Olympia WA area?  The local real estate market offers some exceptional opportunities for realOlympiaWaterpark JBLM Fort Lewis Real Estate estate investors and home buyers who are able to take advantage of them.   Foreclosures and bank owned properties in the Olympia WA area are in great demand by both owner occupant home buyers and rental property buyers who are willing to do a little work in exchange for some sweat equity.   If you would like to start investing in the Olympia WA real estate market, or if you already do and want experienced investor representation, read on…

Why Invest in Real Estate In Olympia?

The prospects for population and economic growth in the Olympia WA area are very strong.  There are three main drivers to the local economy, along with hundreds of smaller ones.  The top three are the military presence just to the north of Olympia at JBLM, creating strong demand for both rental properties as well as owner occupants.  The State Government, located in Olympia, creates a demand for rental properties among transient state employees.  The third is corporate interest in the Olympia and Lacey Areas.  A number of large retailers have located their “west coast” distribution centers here (Such as Home Depot and Target), and more are on the way.  The employees of these operations are also very transient, and are quite often renters. 

Location Within the Big Picture

Olympia Homes For Sale JBLM Fort Lewis Real EstateTake a look at a map, and overlay it with projected growth in Western Washington. You will notice that there is water to the west, and mountains to the east…and growth is headed south from Seattle towards Portland. This growth has already had a major impact on the real estate market in Olympia, and I believe this is just the beginning. One can make many parallels to growth on the east coast of the US, or southern California. In both we have seen numerous large cities grow together into one. I think that the gap between Olympia and Portland will continue to close, although it may take some time…and those in a position to take advantage (those who own real estate in the path of growth) will do very well.

Getting started Investing in Real Estate

Rental property ownership has been recognized as a great way to build wealth for years in this country.   We have all heard of using OPM (other people’s money) and OPI (other people’s income) to build a real estate investment portfolio…nothing has changed and it is easy to do.  What you will need is decent credit, a little money, and a little effort. 

Get Rich Quick Schemes in Real Estate…Don’t Work!

Getting started is not difficult at all, but you will have to be realistic.  Many of the get rich quick schemes, such as buying for pennies on theInvesting In JBLM Area Real Estate and Property dollar and investing in tax foreclosures are bogus…or at least they don’t work in a real estate market like the one in Western Washington.  If you think about it for a minute, why would anyone sell a home for pennies on the dollar (would you just arbitrarily sell something you owned for less than what it is worth?) and if it can be purchased for pennies, is it really going to be a good investment?  Rule of thumb in Real Estate Investing, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is (or it’s a short sale).

My wife Gayle and I purchased our first property over 30 years ago, and have continued to invest in real estate ever since. I became a real estate broker as a direct result of our real estate investing activities, and we continue to practice what we preach as an investing and sales team.  

Our family arrived in Olympia in 1997, shortly thereafter we made the decision to retire from the Army and start a second career in real estate here in WA.  As our investment business grew, and as we sold homes in other locations around the country and purchased new investments here, we decided to expand our operation.  Over the years Gayle, our two sons and I have re-habbed and flipped dozens of homes; we have developed several small sub-divisions, and have built numerous new homes for resale in the Olympia area.  These experiences, in my opinion, have given us great knowledge to share with our investor colleges and clients.

Work With an Experienced Local Real Estate Investor and Broker

As I mentioned earlier, my wife Gayle and I have been investing in real estate since the early 1980’s.  We have enjoyed just about every aspect of owning rental properties and other types of real estate investments, and we enjoy interacting with others who share the same interests.  Give us a call or email if you would like to learn more about the real estate market in Olympia, Investing in rental properties, or you are ready to get started and need help or advice.

How the Process Works

Home Buying Process JBLM Fort Lewis Real EstateGetting started investing in real estate, or shopping for a new real estate agent to represent you in your investing career, is a matter of education.  If you are just getting started, you reach a point where books and online information is not enough…you need someone who has “walked the walk” to give you advice and mentorship.  If you are an experienced investor, you may have out-grown your agent and be looking for someone with more experience…. or one who is more active in the market with more exposure and experience in dealing with banks and institutional sellers.

Olympia-Homes Online is a website about investing in real estate in the Olympia WA area, with special emphasis on residential real estate, rental properties, and multi-family properties.  You will find information about developing a real estate investing business plan, selecting and screening investment properties, due diligence actions that you should take prior to purchasing a property.

In the previous paragraph I mentioned real estate investing business plans.  It is imperative that you have a plan, and I will help you develop it.   I am not selling business plan templates, I am offering to help you develop and implement your real estate investing business plan on the street.  I am happy to share both my successes and failures, lessons learned, and I have a few good “war stories” as well.

Foreclosure and Distressed Property Investing 

Foreclosures, Bank Owned Properties, Short Sales…if you are aware of the recent economic crisis, then you are aware of these terms.  The Foreclosure Homes in Fort Lewis JBLM Real Estateterm distressed property is often used interchangeably for homes owned by people in financial distress, and homes that are in bad condition.   Quite often foreclosed properties are in distressed condition, but there are two clearly distinct types of distressed properties, and both present opportunities and challenges for real estate investors.

Distressed Property = Property in disrepair
Distressed Sale = Seller in financial disrepair

Bank Owned Properties

Bank owned properties, called REO’s in the industry (Real Estate Owned by banks), are sold in much the same way as other traditional real estate sales.  I often have calls from people wanting to get a foot in the door, or get the inside line to the banker in order to get a great deal.  The people that sell books on this subject are selling books for a reason…The banker can’t sell his foreclosed properties to you, his brother, or anyone else that he has a relationship with.  (He can sell the mortgage prior to foreclosure, but that is a very different subject).

The banks must follow rules set both by the federal government and by their share holders.  The first and foremost of these rules is that REO sales must be “Arms Length” transactions, and the homes must be made available to the general public on the open market, and sold to the highest bidder.  For obvious reasons, the Government (who is the one ultimately lending the money), and the shareholders (who may get left holding the bag), want the property sold for market value, and not on an insider deal between the banker and his favorite investor or realtor.

Real Estate Auctions

Forms Home Seller JBLM Fort Lewis Real EstateThe auctions at the court house can offer some great deals.  To take advantage you must be able to write a check on the spot, or within 24 hours.  You must do your inspections and verify that there are no other liens prior to the auction (once you buy it…it’s yours), the previous owner may have the right to come back and take the house from you…

The Novelty Effect:  My recent experience at the auction in Thurston County is that by attaching the words “Real Estate foreclosure” and “Real Estate Auction” to a property, the price goes up.  I have seen homes go to the auction where people have bid more than what they could have purchased the home for on the open market…be very careful of the Novelty effect, and of yours and other peoples emotions when visiting the auction.

A little about Short Sales and Reality

You have probably noticed that I use the phrase “If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a short sale”.  Well, here’s why… Short sales are property listings in which the homeowner (seller) is hoping to sell his or her home before it is foreclosed on.  Sounds pretty straight forward, until you consider the following.

The banker does not know or care how much the home is listed for…And has not agreed to anything when the home is listed, in most cases they don’t even know that it is.  Once the homeowner has an offer, then the bank will consider it…before that they don’t want to waste the time and money (paying for an appraisal etc).   How likely is it that the bank will approve?  Depends on how much the loss is…if it is more than about 10K, and is a guaranteed loan, the short sale probably won’t be approved because the bank will get more money from the Fed if they foreclose.

Someone at the bank has to sign off on the loss…this one is easy.  If there are two bankers, and one signs off on 1 million in losses, and theSelling Your Home or Investment Property JBLM Fort Lewis Real Estate other signs off on 2 million…who do you think will get the big promotion?  It won’t be Mr. 2 Million because he will be standing in the un-employment line.  The banks and bankers themselves don’t have much motivation to approve a short sale.

As an investor, it is easy to make short sale offers and hope for approval.  You may even get one occasionally.  For owner occupants, the 4-6 month wait, and the potential that the bank will say no after 4-6 months of waiting, is not realistic.  If you are an owner occ, I recommend that you avoid short sales.

Military and VA Programs

The Department of Defense has two programs for distressed homeowners, and also a program for investors. 

VA Loan for JBLM Area Real EstateThe programs for Homeowners, called the HAP (Homeowners Assistance Program), and the VA Compromise (VA Short Sale), have not been very successful, mainly because buyers are not willing to wait for the lengthy approval process (the same as a short sale, typically 4-6 months).   In the not too distant past, real estate investors were willing to wait around for the approval timelines, but most investors have become frustrated by the apparent lack of urgency on the part of banks, and in some cases outright under-handedness.

Great Real Estate Investor Program…VA Vendee Financing…You don’t have to be a veteran!
Even if you are not a veteran, you may be able to qualify for VA vendee financing.  VA Vendee financing is a program put in place to help the VA sell it’s foreclosures in a time when the banks are asking people to make 20-30% down payments.  Qualification for the program is the same as a typical mortgage, there are no limits on the number of properties you can own, the down payment is typically 5%, and rates are competitive with current owner occupant rates.  This really is one of the best investor financing programs around! As of Spring 2014, VA vendee financing is going…going…

Ready To Get Started Investing in Real Estate?

Give me a call to get your career as a real estate investor started, or to move it to the next level!Buying Real Estate Property in JBLM Fort Lewis Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater Washington are communities at the south end of the Puget Sound, and are considered by many to be one large city.  If you are interested in investing in real estate in Olympia WA, Lacey WA, or Tumwater WA you have come to the website of an active investor and Realtor in the Olympia Real Estate Market who is anxious to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for real estate investing with you. 

Give me a call today if you don’t know where to start…or if you do, but need to find financing, investment property listings, or an experienced Real Estate Broker. Thank you for your interest, I wish you the best of luck in your real estate investing career…..Respectfully, Phil

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