Crazy Rental Market Tacoma Heats Up

How to Find a Rental in Tacoma’s Overheated Rental Market

Renting in Tacoma is HARD right now. The stats are showing Tacoma Rents increased 13% over last year, which is squeezing Tacomans and making it harder for people to find places to rent. At the same time, there are very few new rentals being built- which has created the most competitive rental market anyone can remember.

Want to get a feel for just how rough it is out there? Don’t take our word for it.  Check out this great article by Kate Martin at The News Tribune.

The reasons for this are a combination of people coming south from Seattle to rent and commute up to King County, a steady stream of people relocating here from other states, and our own population growth. Millennials are the largest generation in history, and they are currently between 24-36 years old, which makes them a prime age for renting and buying homes.

The reason I bring this up is that the general narrative is that the squeeze is being caused by people moving into Tacoma, but the truth is we have not added enough housing units to handle our own population growth. Building a wall and making Seattle pay for it will not solve our problem. Only building more housing units will. Good news, over 1,000 units will be coming on line in the Tacoma area in the next 12 months. While they are all new and mostly marketed at the high end of the rental market rates more inventory is good news for renters and can help take pricing pressure off the market as a whole.

We’ve talked to landlords, property managers, and business managers to get the scoop on how to give yourself an edge in this tough rental market. Here are some tips:

1. Be open minded on neighborhood.

There just aren’t that many homes, apartments, condos, or townhouses for rent across the city. The ones you see on Zillow often have waitlists or are gone within hours. Being flexible on location will save you a LOT of grief. Check out our neighborhood guide to learn more about what each neighborhood has to offer, and keep an open mind.

2. The Rents SUCK. Be ready.

The rental rates quoted in most news articles and websites are usually out of date and are lower than what is actually available. Of course there are always exceptions, and you might find something for rent below the market rate, but while there are different numbers being thrown around, the average rents in Tacoma right now are well over $1000/mo for a modest 1 bedroom. Off street parking is usually $100-150/mo.  Additional charges are common for water, sewer and garbage for condos and apartments.

3. Treat applying for the rental like you’re applying for a job

Most landlords and property management companies are going to have an online application and you’ll need to attach supporting documentation. Scan all of that and save it in your email so it is ready to go the second you find something. Usually they want proof of income, but also including letters of reference from past landlords is a REALLY GOOD IDEA right now if you want to stand out. If you have pets this step is even more important. References from past landlords and/or your vet for your pets good behavior are invaluable.

When you call a property management company or landlord, be ready to take notes. They might tell you to call back in a few days when they’re expecting notices- get the name of the person you talked to and FOLLOW UP. There are so many people calling right now that they are probably not going to call you back, even if something comes up. If they don’t have anything when you call, ask them how often you should follow up or if they know any other buildings or places you can try.

4. Call on the 1st and 10th day of the month.

In our Tacoma Renters Guide we have a list of buildings and property management companies in Tacoma. The way that it works in Washington State is that renters who are month to month or at the end of their leases need to give 20 days notice. A lot of people don’t know this so they give 30 days notice, so calling on the 1st and the 10th means you might be able to find out about a place coming open before it is listed. Want to go the extra mile?  Mark Melsness from Spinnaker Property Management says, “Don’t just call. Stop by the office, text and e-mail more than once so you circulate back to the top of the agents response list. Really the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

5. Drive around. A lot.

You’ll figure out quickly that half the stuff on Zillow, property management, and other online sites is already gone or out of date. There are plenty of old fashioned or small time landlords in Tacoma that still do things the old way- just by sticking a sign in the window. Unfortunately these signs often don’t have the rental amounts listed on them, so this can be a frustrating process. That said, these are often the properties that are most likely to be under-rented, so it’s worth it if you’re on a budget. Go for walks, go for drives, enlist your friends (ask them to take a pic of the place and the sign and text it to you) and most importantly move QUICKLY. Show up at the showing with all of your paperwork and your deposit check ready to go.

If you use Zillow or Trulia, create a profile and set the criteria that covers you basic needs. When new homes or apartments are listed you will get a notification and can be one of the first responses.

6. Use your own social reach.

This is by far the most successful thing I have found. Obviously, this works best if you have a network here in the area. Post on Facebook what you’re looking for and ask your friends if they know anyone at all who has a rental coming up. If any of your friends are moving find out if you can approach their landlords directly once they give notice. Sometimes landlords are happy to re-rent it without listing it on the market. Sometimes people have mother-in-laws or basement units that they prefer to rent to someone they know or a friend of a friend. Your own network is a great resource, so don’t forget to let everyone know you’re looking.

Here is a the Tacoma Rental Guide we put together with a list of Tacoma area property management companies and buildings with apartments for rent. If you have any other good tips please leave them in the comments- and may the odds be ever in your favor.

 

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Congress releases FBI Memo

According to the Atlantic

On Friday, the House Intelligence Committee, which is chaired by Republican Representative Devin Nunes, released a four-page memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI. Earlier this week, Republicans on the committee voted to make the document public. The classified document has drawn criticism from Democratic lawmakers, who argue it is misleading, as well as from law enforcement officials. In a rare statement, the FBI warned against the document’s release, saying it had “grave concerns” about its accuracy. Despite pushback from officials, the White House approved the release of the memo Friday.

Below, read the memo in full.

January 18, 2018

To: HPSCI Majority Members

From: HPSCI Majority Staff

Subject: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Purpose

This memorandum provides Members an update on significant facts relating to the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and their use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) during the 2016 presidential election cycle. Our findings, which are detailed below, 1) raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and 2) represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.

Investigation Update

On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC. Page is a U.S. citizen who served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign. Consistent with requirements under FISA, the application had to be first certified by the Director or Deputy Director of the FBI. It then required the approval of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General (DAG), or the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.

The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC. As required by statute (50 U.S.C. §,1805(d)(l)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the FISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Then-DAG Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ.

Due to the sensitive nature of foreign intelligence activity, FISA submissions (including renewals) before the FISC are classified. As such, the public’s confidence in the integrity of the FISA process depends on the court’s ability to hold the government to the highest standard—particularly as it relates to surveillance of American citizens. However, the FISC’s rigor in protecting the rights of Americans, which is reinforced by 90-day renewals of surveillance orders, is necessarily dependent on the government’s production to the court of all material and relevant facts. This should include information potentially favorable to the target of the FISA application that is known by the government. In the case of Carter Page, the government had at least four independent opportunities before the FISC to accurately provide an accounting of the relevant facts. However, our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted.

1) The “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

a) Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.

b) The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named U.S. person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a U.S. law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC (even though it was known by DOJ at the time that political actors were involved with the Steele dossier). The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of—and paid by—the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.

2) The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News. The Page FISA application incorrectly assesses that Steele did not directly provide information to Yahoo News. Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News—and several other outlets—in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie was aware of Steele’s initial media contacts because they hosted at least one meeting in Washington D.C. in 2016 with Steele and Fusion GPS where this matter was discussed.

Seattle Does It Again.King of Housing

Seattle’s housing market is seeing the fastest appreciation in home values in the country, according to the latest data from Zillow Group.

The real estate data powerhouse released its September Market Report report Thursday and it shows Seattle’s home price growth is even outpacing Silicon Valley’s.

Seattle’s median home value is $455,800, up 12.4 percent from a year ago. San Jose, the epicenter of the Silicon Valley tech scene, rose 10 percent over the same period. San Francisco homes are appreciating more slowly, at 6 percent. At the national level, U.S. home values rose 6.9 percent over the past year, according to Zillow.

Home prices in Seattle have been surging for the past few years. (Zillow Graph)

The numbers give weight to the theory that Bay Area tech workers are increasingly moving to Seattle, in search of more affordable housing and other benefits of living in the Northwest.

Rents are growing more modestly in Seattle, with 5.5 percent year-over-year with a median monthly cost of $2,189.

September marked the ninth month in a row in which Seattle home values grew faster than any other metro region in the country. Does that mean we’re inching toward a real estate bubble?

Not exactly, says Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell.

“It might be easy to assume another bubble is emerging, with home values growing 10 or 12 percent per year, but don’t worry,” she said in a statement. “The market is reacting to basic economic laws, and is behaving exactly the way we would expect it to given good overall growth.”

Seattle’s red-hot housing market is the result of a perfect storm, Gudell says. Record numbers of newcomers are moving to the city, many for high-paying tech jobs. There are 35.2 percent fewer homes for sale on the Seattle housing market than this time last year, Zillow says. The combination means demand is outpacing housing supply. Plus, mortgage rates are still relatively low, making it an attractive time to buy.

Make your 2018 Amazing by L. Howard

Tools to help you make 2018 amazing( 12 minutes)

 

  • Read more( when is the last time you read a book.

 

  Reading recommendations

Think & Grow Rich by Napolean Hill, Who Moved my Cheese by Spencer Johnson,  

Unlimited Power, Tony Robbins,

Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Depak Chopra,

See you at the Top by Zig Ziglar.

  1. Seek out a mentor or coach or accountability partner for 2018. Challenger yourself to get beyond yourself through someone else’s mindset
  2. Love More, Pray more and meditate more for higher ideas, concepts thoughts that can alter your course.
  3. Give to to others: Invest your time, talent and abilities in others. Volunteer, strangers and organizations
  4. Write a letter to yourself
  5. Reward your success ( trip, clothes , shopping)

Stocks Break Another Record

In a recent article from the NY Post

Stocks are closing higher on Wall Street, sending the Dow Jones industrial average to its first close above 26,000 points.

The Dow had traded above that level on Tuesday but wound up closing lower that day. The Dow’s surge on Wednesday was driven in part by a big gain in Boeing.

With the stock market reaching records so often, 1,000-point moves in the Dow have become increasingly commonplace. It’s been just eight trading days since the Dow had its first close above 25,000.

Technology stocks were again some of the biggest winners. Microsoft rose 2 percent.

The Dow rose 332 points, or 1.3 percent, to 26,115.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 26 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,802.

The Nasdaq composite gained 74 points, or 1 percent, to 7,298.

US HOME PRICES INCREASE

According a recent Bloomberg keep rising.

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose in September by the most in more than three years, indicating resilient demand at a time of persistently scarce inventory, according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data released Tuesday.

HIGHLIGHTS OF HOME PRICES (SEPTEMBER)

  • 20-city property values index increased 6.2% y/y (est. 6%), most since July 2014, after gaining 5.8% y/y
  • National home-price gauge rose 6.2% y/y
  • Seasonally adjusted 20-city index advanced 0.5% m/m (est 0.3%)

Key Takeaways

The residential real-estate market is benefiting from steady demand backed by a strong job market and low mortgage rates. The ongoing scarcity of available houses on the market, especially previously-owned dwellings, is likely to keep driving up prices. Eight cities have surpassed their peaks from before the financial crisis, according to the report.

In the past few years, growth in property values has been consistently outpacing wage gains, crimping affordability for younger, first-time buyers. That could eventually become a headwind to faster price appreciation. For now, though, rising property values are also helping to boost home equity and support consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy.

Salute To Salvation Army

In our community impact segment we gave a shout put to the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian movement and an international charitable organization structured in a quasi-military fashion. The organization reports a worldwide membership of over 1.5 million,[2] consisting of soldiers, officers and adherents known as Salvationists. Its founders Catherine and William Booth sought to bring salvation to the poor, destitute and hungry by meeting both their “physical and spiritual needs”. It is present in 127 countries,[3] running charity shops, operating shelters for the homeless and disaster relief and humanitarian aid to developing countries.

The Army was founded in 1865 in London by one-time Methodist circuit-preacher William Booth and his wife Catherine as the East London Christian Mission. In 1878 Booth reorganised the mission, becoming its first General and introducing the military structure which has been retained to the present day.[5] The current world leader of The Salvation Army is General André Cox, who was elected by the High Council of The Salvation Army on 3 AugThe Salvation Army was founded in London’s East End in 1865 by one-time Methodist Reform Church minister William Booth and his wife Catherine as the East London Christian Mission. The name “The Salvation Army” developed from an incident on 19 and 20 May. William Booth was dictating a letter to his secretary George Scott Railton and said, “We are a volunteer army.” Bramwell Booth heard his father and said, “Volunteer! I’m no volunteer, I’m a regular!” Railton was instructed to cross out the word “volunteer” and substitute the word “salvation”.[6] The Salvation Army was modelled after the military, with its own flag (or colours) and its own hymns, often with words set to popular and folkloric tunes sung in the pubs. Booth and the other soldiers in “God’s Army” would wear the Army’s own uniform, for meetings and ministry work. He became the “General” and his other ministers were given appropriate ranks as “officers“. Other members became “soldiers“.[7]ust 2013.[citation needed]

In 1880, the Salvation Army started its work in three other countries: Australia, Ireland, and the United States.

The Salvation Army’s main converts were at first alcoholics, morphine addicts, prostitutes and other “undesirables” unwelcome in polite Christian society, which helped prompt the Booths to start their own church

The Salvation Army’s reputation in the United States improved as a result of its disaster relief efforts following the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The familiar use of bell ringers to solicit donations from passers-by “helps complete the American portrait of Christmas.”[according to whom?]

In the U.S. alone, over 25,000 volunteers with red kettles are stationed near retail stores during the weeks preceding Christmas for fundraising.[9] The church remains a highly visible and sometimes controversial presence in many parts of the world.

As of 1 September 2015 the Salvation Army operates in 127 countries and provides services in 175 different languages

Its stated membership (as quoted from 2010 Year Book) includes 16,938 active and 9,190 retired officers, 1,122,326 soldiers, 189,176 Adherents, 39,071 Corps Cadets, 378,009 Junior Soldiers, around 104,977 other employees and more than 4.5 million volunteers.

The Salvation Army is one of the world’s largest providers of social aid,[citation needed] with expenditures including operating costs of $2.6 billion in 2004, helping more than 32 million people in the U.S. alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Estate Happenings

Below are real estate stats Spokane ( courtesy of Go-Spokane) & Tacoma Market

 

Today 1 Month Ago               1 Year Ago
Active Inventory 6 7-14% 4+50%
Median List Price $662,000 $725,000-8% $269,000+146%
% Distressed 0% 0% 0%
Median Days on Movoto 56 64-12% 259-78%
Median House Size 5,578 4,331+28% 2,700+106%
Median $/Sqft 131 124+5% 103+27%

The median list price in Spokane is $662,000. The median list price in Spokane went down 8% from September to October. Spokane’s home resale inventories is 6, which decreased 14 percent since September 2017. The median list price per square foot in Spokane is $131. September 2017 was $124. There were 743 sales of single family homes under one acre in September. Year to to date there have been 5, 967 homes sold. Info courtesy of Go Spokane real estate

 

Tacoma

 

 

  • Median Sales Price. The median sales price for homes in Tacoma for September  was $257,900 based on 1,349 home sales.
  • Price Per Square Ft. Average price per square foot for Tacoma was $208, an increase of 15% compared to the same period last year.

 

Trends in Tacoma show a 9% year-over-year rise in median sales price and a 2% rise in median rent per month.  The median home value in Tacoma is $257,900. Tacoma home values have gone up 12.3% over the past year. Courtesy of Zillow

 

The median price of homes currently listed in Tacoma is $259,000. The median rent price in Tacoma is $1,600, which is lower than the Seattle Metro median of $2,300.

Lulu the black lab has flunked out of the CIA’s elite bomb sniffer school

According to a recent Circa news story

Lulu the black lab might be many things in her life, but being a part of the CIA’s bomb sniffing K9 squad will not be one of them.

The 18-month-old doggy was admitted to the agency’s explosive detection K9 fall 2017 puppy class, but early on it was clear that job just wasn’t for her.

“A few weeks into training, Lulu began to show signs that she wasn’t interested in detecting explosive odors,” said the CIA in a “pupdate” on their website.

 Pupdate:
Sometimes, even after testing, our pups make it clear being an explosive detection K9 isn’t for themhttp://bit.ly/2gQf3vk pic.twitter.com/07TXRCH7bp

We’re sad to announce that a few weeks into training, Lulu began to show signs that she wasn’t interested in detecting explosive odors. pic.twitter.com/c6lxHPfC09

View image on Twitter

Lulu’s trainers tried their best to motivate her with treats and playtime, but it was clear bomb detection just wasn’t her thing. It’s not uncommon for the puppy trainees to have a bad day during the training course, according to the CIA.

All dogs, like humans, have good & bad days when learning something new.
Same for our pups, though it usually lasts just a day or two. pic.twitter.com/z9lQa2uKX4

There are a million reasons why a dog has a bad day & our trainers must become doggy psychologists to figure out what will help pups. pic.twitter.com/iaeRpGiSUR

View image on Twitter

“A pup might begin acting lazy, guessing where the odors are, or just showing a general disregard for whatever is being taught at the moment,” said the agency. “Usually it lasts for a day, maybe two.”

Trainers have to become “doggy psychologists” in order to determine what’s wrong. Sometimes the trainee is just bored, needs a break or a new challenge. It can also be a physical issue, such as a food allergy. These issues are usually solved within a matter of days.

For some dogs, after weeks of working w them, it’s clear the issue isn’t temporary & instead, this just isn’t the job they are meant for. pic.twitter.com/bBjPz8Ng2U

Lulu wasn’t interested in searching for explosives.
Even when motivated w food & play, she was clearly no longer enjoying herself. pic.twitter.com/puvhDk1tRX

View image on Twitter

“But for some dogs like Lulu, it becomes clear that the issue isn’t temporary,” the article explained. “Instead, this just isn’t the job they are meant for. Lulu was no longer interested in searching for explosives.”

The CIA considers the mental and physical health of its K9s a top priority. The agency therefore determined it was best to cut Lulu from the program.

But it’s not all bad news for the lethargic lab. Lulu’s trainer decided to adopt her after she flunked out, a common practice once a K9 is retired. She has also discovered her true passions: sniffing for rabbits and squirrels, playing with her trainer’s kids and chowing down in her dog dish.

When a pup is removed or retires from our K9 program, the handler & their family is given the chance to adopt them & many do. pic.twitter.com/EMfua7zhbT

Lulu was adopted by her handler & now enjoys her days playing w his kids & a new friend, & sniffing out rabbits & squirrels in the backyard. pic.twitter.com/WOImM75P1D

View image on Twitter

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