JBLM House Hunting Resources

Dated: 09/16/2017

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Welcome!  I've gathered together here all the resources you could need for your home search around the JBLM (Joint Base Lewis McChord).


Best School Districts in Washington State according to Niche.com.

The best regarded school districts in Pierce and Thurston counties are University Place, Dieringer (Lake Tapps), Olympia, and Sumner.  Check out the ratings of individual schools at GreatSchools.org.


Washington State is famed for its tremendous natural beauty and landscapes of great variety: mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, lava fields, ice age remnants, the Pacific Ocean, temperate rain forests, inland waterways, farmland and tulip fields, 1,000 year old trees, forest trails, and more.  My favorite outdoor attractions near the JBLM are:

  1. Mount Rainier - Stunning Fourteener Mountain Standing Alone that Dominates the Region - Visible 150 Miles Away.

  2. Point Defiance Park, Zoo, and Aquarium - The #1 Urban Park in the West - Tremendous Natural Beauty.

  3. NW Trek - The First and Still the Best Adventure Park in the USA.

More ideas from TripAdvisor.com:

Things To Do in Tacoma

Things To Do in Olympia


Check in with my friend, Joe Jonart at Axia Home Loans, about the many benefits of a VA Loan - his favorite loan program.  Highlights:

  • 100% financing

  • No down payment

  • No cash reserves required

  • No application fee

  • Available to veterans, active-duty, reservists, and surviving spouses.

Apply now for a VA loan.  Joe and Axia have other loan programs too.


It's been know to rain in Western Washington.  You'll need to have some rainy day indoor destinations thought out.  My favorites near the JBLM include:

  1. Museum of Glass - Don't miss the Hot Shop!

  2. America's Car Museum - First class car Collection Funded by the garbage collection company of four Washington counties.

  3. W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory - Victorian style glass conservatory - not to be missed!


The best, oldest, most robust, and feature rich property search app for your phone or computer is Home Scouting.  Register here for Home Scouting.  A sampling of features:

Look up homes for sale you are driving by.

Invite family and friends into a private Facebook group the app creates to share and comment on properties.

Live and always up-to-date NW MLS data.

Register at http://tinyurl.com/homescoutingwa.


The general house purchase procedure runs as follows:

1. Even before we start looking at houses, you need to get pre-approved for a loan with a mortgage broker.  That will tell us what your budget is.  Or it might tell us that you need more time to save for a down payment.  Or need to sign up for a credit repair service.  The mortgage professional will advise.  Have your last two tax returns, last two paystubs, and last two bank statements ready.

Apply now for a loan pre-approval at Axia Home Loans.

2. With the pre-approval letter in hand, we can shop for a home.  I will set you up with one or more custom searches in the NWMLS that meet your criteria.  The MLS gives more powerful search tools to agents than are available to the general public.  Please sign up for Home Scouting, the most innovative and accurate home search app for your phone and computer.

3. We will plan one or more tours as needed, visiting up to 6 houses per day.  I've seen a lot of houses and followed a lot of inspectors around.  I can generally spot problems that you may miss and an inspector would later find.

4. Once you find a house you would like to buy, I'll write up the offer on my computer and sign you electronically.  You can even review the contract and sign on your phone.

5. I'll submit the electronic offer along with your pre-approval letter to the listing agent.  There may be a sequence of counter offers between the seller and yourselves.  The two agents will handle all communications and contract addendums.  If we fail to reach agreement, we resume the home search.  If we reach mutual agreement, we proceed to the next steps.

6. Lots of things happen right after mutual agreement:

  • I'll send the contract to your lender and the escrow company.

  • Escrow will send you instruction on how to wire, mail, or deliver to them an earnest money check.

  • We need to choose an inspector.

7. You will have a 10 day inspection period (or possibly shorter, if the seller proposed a shorter deadline).  During that time you can cancel the contract for any or no reason and get your earnest money back.  Normally, you will hire a professional inspector to look all over the property.  You should plan to attend the inspection and ask questions.  You'll learn a lot from your inspector.  The typical cost is around $400 for a house or $300 for a condo.

Next, we will negotiate with the seller over a list of repairs you may ask for.  If no agreement is reached, you have another opportunity to cancel the contract and get your earnest money back.  Most sellers are motivated to fix reasonable items and keep you on as a buyer.

If agreement is reached over the inspection, I will notify escrow and the lender.

8. The lender, meanwhile, will have been working on your loan and requesting documents from you.  It is very important that you respond promptly and completely to the lender.

9. Once the lender hears that the inspection contingency is satisfied, they will order an appraisal.  This is an evaluation of the property to assure the lender that the property is worth at least as much as what you are paying for it.  You get to pay this fee too.  Appraisals used to cost around $400, but lately (2016-17) there has been a shortage of appraisers and they are charging up to double of the usual rate.

10. The rest of the process is handled by escrow, the lender, and you.  Again, please respond promptly to any requests.  Within a week of closing, escrow will schedule a signing appointment with you.  The seller will sign around the same time.  Two or three days before closing you'll need to wire or deliver a cashier's check to escrow for your down payment.

11. On closing day, the lender will fund the loan - subject to a review of all the documentation.  Sometimes there is a last minute hitch and we end up closing a day or two late.   If the documents all look good and all money is delivered to escrow, they will record the deed of trust at the county.  Once we hear that the county has returned recording numbers (usually the same day), then I can hand over the keys to you.

A hundred little things can go wrong throughout this process, and I'm constantly encountering a new wrinkle.  It's the job of the realtors, the mortgage broker, and escrow to smooth over problems and keep the transaction on track.  That's where the value of experience comes in.


Click here for all the results


Click here for all the results


We are Bob Kelly and Elizabeth Kelly (Wang Jen-Yee) of eXp Realty and we would be honored to earn your trust in helping you with your next home purchase.



Bob Kelly

Bob is an eXpert buyer's agent with a special interest in travel and vacation homes. Bob and his wife Elizabeth (Wang Jen-Yee) are decades-long residents of Greater Seattle and the surrounding Puget ....

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