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March 2015
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  • New Homes in Bremerton – Bremerton New Construction For Sale March 2, 2015
    Bremerton New Homes or New Construction Homes – Sometimes you just have to have new. I have a few buyers that are all about the new and so I have seen several new home neighborhoods over the last several weeks. New construction is a passion of mine and it use to be my real estate […]
    Jo Soss
  • Active Duty Military Real Estate Rebate January 21, 2015
    New for 2015 – Naval Base Kitsap Home Buyer/Home Seller Rebate Plan   HOMEFRONT Realty, the sponsor of Navel Base Kitsap Relocation is offering a “military discount” to ALL Active Duty Military members. This rebate will allow a buyer to use the rebate amount towards closing costs on their home purchase, or if allowable by their […]
    Jo Soss
  • Buyer Beware |Real Estate Home Purchase January 16, 2015
    Buyer Beware – Seller Disclosure Statement (Form 17) and formal Home Inspections are still no guarantee that your home is in the shape you think it is.  Caveat Emptor is Latin for , “Let the buyer beware”.  Caveat Emptor is the property law principle that controls the sale of real property after the date of […]
    Jo Soss

New for 2015 – Naval Base Kitsap Home Buyer/Home Seller Rebate Plan

HOMEFRONT Realty, the sponsor of Navel Base Kitsap Relocation is offering a “military discount” to ALL Active Duty Military members.

This rebate will allow a buyer to use the rebate amount towards closing costs on their home purchase, or if allowable by their lender a FULL CASH REBATE. As long as it can be entered on the HUD-1 Closing Statement you can receive CASH at closing. There are some very small restrictions so please contact HOMEFRONT Realty for more answers or read the articles below.

Home sellers can also participate. A seller will receive 25% CASH back REBATE at Closing. That is 25% of the commission between you and your HOMEFRONT Realty Broker.


Active Duty Military Buyer Rebate

Active Duty Military Seller Rebate Program

Active Duty Military Discount Program Registration


New Construction!  Brand New Homes!

Do you know how different it is to buy a new home than to purchase a resale home?  Do you know what is standard and what is an upgrade or extra?  Is the builder offering any incentives?  What are the builder incentives?

You as a buyer NEED to be represented.  Would you like to work with the builder’s agent or would you rather have your own agent that is going to look out for just you?

For 10 years I was an agent that would “sit a plat” for a builder.  I technically wasn’t the builder’s agent, even though I was on the builder’s team.  My title was “project manager” and I was compensated by the builder’s listing agent.  I had an arrangement that I would only be representing the buyer in a purchase contract.  This was an amazing opportunity for my buyers.  I was given unlimited access to the builder and the builder’s subs and attended the builders weekly production meetings.  I knew everything that was going on with the builder.

If you walk onto a new construction site here in Bremerton who do you think the agent sitting at the model home works for?  Are you going to ask?  Do you know what questions to ask to get the most honest answer.  If the agent sitting at the model home is the listing agent then they are working for the builder and could at best become your “dual agent” if you were to purchase a property there.  If the agent is just sitting the model home open as a favor to the listing agent they “might” be able to be your agent.  They are sitting the model home open to prospect for buyers.  However, they most likely are under some pressure to write some contracts on the new homes.  Do you want an agent that is under pressure from the builder to write new construction contracts to be your agent?

Here are some things that you will want to educate yourself on

  • Standard Features vs Upgrades
  • Building permit approved or needs to be submitted
  • What is a Presale?
  • Lot selection and Premium Lot fee
  • Color / cabinet / lighting selection process

Having spent 10 years selling new construction in the Puget Sound area and coming from a building background.  I can assist you with any questions you may have about purchasing a new home in Bremerton

Don’t let the “site agent” trick you into thinking they can get you a better deal.  They can not. 


Sometimes I show the best house first and sometimes I save it for the end.  Depends on where I think my buyers are in their learning curve of looking at homes.  Sometimes I am spot on and sometimes I am not!  The other day I had some buyers out that are relocating to the area from Texas.  Everything is bigger in Texas so I decided to show them the best house last.  The “best” house was the largest of the six homes we were going to see.  Three houses to see on Wed and 3 houses to see on Thursday.

When we arrived at house number 3 my buyers thought they had found “the one”.  The kitchen was open with granite counter-tops and stainless steel appliances (thank you HGTV) , the great room was spacious and there was an extra room on the main level.  They didn’t even want to see any other homes.  I was a little shocked and thought – OK, lets get ready to prepare the offer.  I told them that there was one other house they must see.  I asked them to meet me at the “last” house on the list and then we would see “the one” right after for the second look, and then write the contract up.

Of course to protect their interest in the 3rd house I called the listing agent and told him that we would be writing an offer so if another offer came in to please call me.  I told him our offer would be to him on Thursday.  On Thursday I met the buyers at house number 6.  The house that was the largest and from what I thought met all  the needs they had laid out to me prior to our tour.

They LOVED it!  They loved the spacious master and realized the secondary bedrooms were larger than house number 3.  There were not stainless steel appliances but they knew that someday there could be.  You can add appliances but it takes an engineering degree to add space in bedrooms!  So, after the grand tour of house#6 we went back over to house number 3.

Today, on the second look at house number 3 they could feel the smaller square footage, the SS appliances didn’t sway them on the 2nd look.  The granite counter-tops were not that cool when it came to the smaller kitchen of the two.  What they realized was the bedrooms in house number 3 were so much smaller and didn’t fit their lifestyle with a growing family.  Now “the one” wasn’t.  Good thing they had an agent like me that listened to their needs and didn’t just stop at a sale.  Of course I love writing contracts and making sales but I enjoy a happy client much more than a commission check.

Together we make a great team and we will find you the best house out there for you!


1.  THE FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT, I GOTTA WEAR SHADES.  When buying a home you really need to consider your future plans.   How long do you plan on staying in the area?  Do you want to be a move-up buyer in 5-7 years?  Make sure you buy a home that appeals to many and will be easier to sell in the future than the fixer-upper next to the freeway wall.  It’s not always a good idea to buy “anything” just to own a home.

2.  DO A DRIVE BY. Drive by during the day, drive by at night, see what type of street lighting there is.  Drive by during the morning commute time and see if the neighborhood is used as a “cut through” for commuters.  I encourage ALL of my buyers to drive by the property they want to purchase at different times of the day/night prior to writing a purchase and sale agreement. Check out this article I wrote a few weeks back –  DO A “DRIVE BY”! WHAT EVERY BUYER NEEDS TO KNOW – KITSAP REAL ESTATE

3.  IS A BACKGROUND CHECK IN ORDER?  There are ways that you as a buyer can check out crime statistics, school ratings and look at the sex offender maps for the area.  If you need help I can send you a link.

4.  WHAT’S YOUR STYLE?  TRADITIONAL TWO STORY OR DAYLIGHT RANCH?  Here in the Pacific Northwest the traditional 2 story is the most popular, but you want to make sure your home style reflects your living habits.  As I get older the stairs on certain days are an issue!  Do you like an open floor plan or do you like your space divided?

5.  ABC, 123 LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT INFORMATION.  Do you have kids?  Are they in school?  Do you want to stay in the same school boundaries?  Property values can be tied to how good a school preforms or how poor.  I have some great sites you can visit to look at all the states “grades” on schools, just ask.

6.  VINTAGE OR BRAND NEW.  I spent 10 years selling new construction in King County and have purchased a brand new home, but longed for the day of a “vintage” home with that extra character value.  I have lived in new homes, 1950′s homes and now live in a “art deco era” home built in 1941.  I know what to look for in new construction quality and I know how to tell in a vintage home if you will need to update wiring or plumbing.

7.  LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.  You have heard it before and you will hear it when you enter the real estate market as a buyer from all of your friends.  You must live here – not there – its all about the location.  We can chat about this more at length in-between viewing homes.

Of course there are a kagillion other things you might consider too, these are just a few to get your brain thinking about your home purchase.  Its a fun process and an exciting experience to purchase a home!

VA Buyers: You searched on Zillow? You missed 72% of the Homes Available Bremerton 98312

This morning while doing some market research for a client I received a phone call from Zillow.  These calls come in from time to time when some other agent decides to stop paying Zillow for some advertising product.  Today it was that zip code 98312 became available for purchase.  My office is in 98312 and I live in 98312 so you would think I would “jump” at the chance to purchase a spot on the Zillow website for zip code 98312. Nope, I politely declined.  Then I started to wonder, why was the other agent giving up the spot in 98312?  Probably because the return on investment just wasn’t what they thought it would be.  I very rarely pay for ads and at the moment I am not paying for any advertisement on Zillow or Trulia.  I don’t think I have ever paid for advertising on Zillow.  If I have it would have been years and years ago.  I know I have never paid for a zip code. This phone call got me to thinking.  What does that zip code 98312 look like.  I went to Zillow and put in zip code 98312.  There were 42 homes listed for sale. Forty-two homes for sale?  I knew something was a miss.  You see the Northwest Multiple Listing Service which all real estate brokers in the area belong to does NOT syndicated listings to these 3rd party sites.  So Zillow would not be getting the homes that are listed through the MLS to them.  We as companies or individual brokers can enter our listings on Zillow and HOMEFRONT Realty does. However, there are a bunch of other real estate agents/brokers that do NOT. If you were a buyer in the 98312 zip code of Bremerton and you were searching on Zillow you would have MISSED 113 homes for sale! That number again is 1 1 3!!!  Crazy!  If you were searching for homes on HOMEFRONT Realty you would have seen ALL 113 homes that are available along with some pending homes, homes that are NOT sold but not in a total active status.  Most of these homes will sell, but some will be back on the market, so always nice to see that data too. I guess I was shocked to see that Buyers using Zillow to search for their home would miss out on 72% of the homes available in Bremerton’s 98312! Buyers do your self a service and search on a Company website – we are the ones that have ALL of the listings.  Don’t miss out on your dream home!

VA Buyers: DO a “DRIVE BY”! What every Buyer Needs to Know – Kitsap Real Estate

You have found the perfect house, you want to make an offer, you have seen it in the early afternoon for about 20-30 minutes.  Do you write an offer or do you do a “drive by”?

I encourage ALL of my buyers to drive by the property they want to purchase at different times of the day/night prior to writing a purchase and sale agreement.  Our Form 35 – Inspection Addendum does have a section titled Neighborhood Review Contingency that gives the buyer the opportunity to review all areas of the neighborhood during an agreed upon time frame which is usually 3 days from mutual acceptance.  Of course you can use this to preform your due diligence on the neighborhood, but from my experience by the time you have written an offer, went through any kind of counter-offer phase and have come to terms with a mutually accepted contract you just are not that motivated to preform a neighborhood review.  This is why I counsel to review the neighborhood prior to submitting an offer.

Drive by during the day.  Are there basketball hoops in the cul-de-sac?  If the neighborhood is not in a HOA (Home Owners Association) the only fall back you have is the City of County the neighborhoods is located in.  Is it garbage day?  If not, do you see cans left out on the street?

Drive by at night, see what type of street lighting there is.  See what neighbors have what lights on.  Is there a neighbor with a security light that is right next to a window where you won’t want light at night?  How are all the cars parked?  Do people have to use their driveways? (Some HOA’s demand this) If not, do people use them?  Are drive ways empty and cars parked out on the street?

Drive by during the morning commute time and see if the neighborhood is used as a “cut through” for commuters.  Are the stop signs sufficient?  Are people driving too fast?  Will kids have to walk to school or are they bused? Is there a vacant lot next to or in back of the home?  What can become of this lot.  Will there be 1 home or will the city/county allow for the lot to be subdivided into two or more?  Will the homes built there face towards one street or maybe the other street so their backyards back up to your side yard?  If you want to purchase a classic charmer will a vacant lot and new construction ruin what your idea is of the neighborhood?

Builders will build anything anywhere as long as they can get a permit and cities/counties want that permit money! Never assume anything. Remember that neighborhoods are always changing and your new neighborhood will but at least if you are careful and do your homework the changes won’t effect your quality of life or the joy of your new home.

VA Buyers: What is a Listing Alert? Buying a House in Bremerton

You are looking for homes online.  It’s so easy to do, with so many sites.  Sites managed by real estate companies, sites managed by 3rd party vendors, sites managed by real estate agents and sites that are managed by builders and large marketing companies.

Where do you go?  What sites are the best?

Of course everyone takes a look at Zillow and Trulia, the largest 3rd party sites.  I think that we all enjoy those sites because we can be anonymous.  We can read blogs, ask questions or read questions others have asked.  We can see a “zestimate” of a property and do lots of other stuff.  However, you will not be able to see ALL of the homes available for sale in your area on Zillow or Trulia.  They are not given the data by the local MLS.  They get their data from some internet data feeds given to them by real estate companies.

HOMEFRONT Realty doesn’t give a feed to any 3rd party sites.  So if you are looking at Zillow or Trulia for inventory you are probably missing out on AT LEAST 40% of the inventory.  We do input our listings on these sites for our sellers.

If you want to have the best search experience it is best to connect with  a real estate agent or sign up for a Listing Alert product from a real estate agent.  Sign up for an account.  That way you can save your favorites, save your searches and have new listings delivered to your email in box.  So simple.

At HOMEFRONT Realty we offer this service free of charge.  We also will not “hound” you when you sign up.  We might sent you an email every couple of weeks, but nothing that you can’t read in 2 minutes.  We are NOT a pressure sales driven company.  Sign up here for your own account – LISTINGS BY EMAIL – Listing Updates Sent to Your Inbox.





VA Buyers: Naval Base Kitsap Relocation PCS Calculator

Hi folks, currently my husband and I are in the middle of PCS. This will probably be our last since Jay retires in 3 years. Of course if he makes Senior Chief he may evaluate his enlistment. Anyway, you know how confusing all of the PCS stuff can be. I do fine with the civilian side, like giving notice to vacate to a landlord, cancelling water and electric and changing the mail address. Where I get all confused is the military side. I know Jay knows the ropes but I just like to double check things. We all know that the military isn’t perfect. I think its very important that the military member know what they are entitled for. Remember WE are responsible for this. We receive Dislocation Allowance and travel pay monies. Its easy to find out what your Dislocation Allowance is, you can find the information out on several sites. I always use a [dot] mil site so that I know it is correct. DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE (DLA)

But, how are we suppose to figure out the travel pay?  Sure you can try and figure it out using the Defense Travel Management Office web site, yeah, right!  Have you ever tried this?  I have and I have also used The Joint Travel Regulations Manual.  Now there is something that is a little complicated.  So while doing yet another search for something easy I ran across this calculator.

PCS Travel Pay Calculator

This calculator was spot on!  Jay had revived his travel money so I checked it against this calculator and it was almost perfect.  Perfect enough to have faith in it so that I want to pass it on to anyone getting ready for a PCS.  Enjoy!

Military Relocation to Naval Base Kitsap

Your Military Relocation Guide to Naval Base Kitsap | You Are Gonna Love West Puget Sound on the Kitsap Peninsula!

This is the moving van that hauled our Household Goods (HHG’s) on our military PCS to Naval Base Kitsap from the desert of Southern California.

Every year it is estimated that one third of Active Duty Military members have to plan and execute a permanent change of duty station or PCS in military speak. The most important part of a PCS is to take charge, it’s your PCS!! There’s lots of help available but you are going to have to find it and ask for it. The military will also help with the moving expenses but you are going to have to know your allowances and your entitlements and you are going to have to request them and follow all the rules.

When it comes to a PCS you will find lots of people are going to want to tell you how to do it, they will tell you what the rules are, they will tell you what they could or couldn’t do. As with anything else even though there are strict rules overseeing the military PCS process each command at each installation are full of individuals who will interpret the “rules” a million different ways so you need to know where to find the truth. Please remember that when a person was in the military 14 years ago the rules were not the same! We still have retired members telling current members that BAH is based on how many dependents instead of with or without! Now that is scary!

I have been a Navy Spouse for 4 years and during that time I have moved three times. All three of the moves were cross the country – West Coast to East Coast, then East Coast to West Coast, then from the Mojave desert of California to the subzero terrain of Alaska. I am now “home” and will be able to stay here for several years.

I want you to know that I know what you are going through, I know what its like to move with short notice, and I know how much work it takes to have a successful PCS. I give you this information about me so you can begin to get to know me. Begin to have the confidence in me that a trusting relationship can begin to form. I know people do business with those they trust and I want to be the one person you can trust when it comes to any of your real estate needs.

Over the last 4 weeks I wrote a series of articles on relocation to Naval Base Kitsap. The start of the Naval Base Kitsap Online Relocation Package began with this post Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | IT’S YOUR PCS which outlined the NBK Online Relocation Package. Below is the final version, but be sure to read the post that started the series. Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | IT’S YOUR PCS

 Week One – Take Charge | Know Your PCS

Week one featured four articles that dealt with the nuts and bolts of a PCS. Items you need to know prior to your move. I touched on the subjects of allowances, entitlements, planning a moving calendar to incorporate “to do lists”, and research of your new area with an installation overview. We also explored the local housing market and discussed the aspects of homeownership in Kitsap County.

Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | Week One | Take Charge | Know Your PCS

Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | Week One | Installation Overview

Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | Week One | Schedule of Events

Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | Week One | Kitsap County Homeownership

 Week Two – Close-up | Bremerton, Silverdale, Port Orchard

Week two featured four articles about the place you are going to call home. We looked at the areas to reside, the local shopping scene, school district information and those special base amenities.

Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | Week Two | Shop Till Ya Drop

Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | Week Two | ABC…Easy as 123

Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | Week Two | Fun, Fitness & Food on DECK!

Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | Week Two | Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Week Three – Let’s Have Some Fun | Out & About Area Attractions

Week three we spent reading about the new area you will be calling home, the beautiful Kitsap Peninsula on West Puget Sound. This week I wrote about local attractions, the local art scene, the parks and what there is to do around town and local.

Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | Week Three | Out and About |HARBORSIDE

Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | Week Three | Out and About | The Arts


 Week Four – Make it a Vacation on the Navy | Day Trips and Mini Vacations.

I know that after I am settled in and have explored the local area I always like to find out what is on the out skirts. This week I wrote some articles about what there is to do in the “Greater Puget Sound” area. How to become a tourist in your own backyard and enjoy the so many Puget Sound attractions.

Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | Week Four | Vacation on the Navy | Day Trips

Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | Week Four | Vacation on the Navy | Mini Vacations

Let me be the first to WELCOME YOU to Naval Base Kitsap,

on the beautiful Kitsap Peninsula of West Puget Sound!

If you have any questions about real estate in Bremerton Washington, contact Jo Soss with HomeFront Realty at (360) 990-1433 or visit her personal website HomeFront Realty Online where you will be able to search for homes and find more Bremerton Real Estate information.


Naval Base Kitsap | Vacation on the Navy | Mini Vacations

Now that we have some day trips under our belt, let’s talk about some “mini-vacations” you can take on a long weekend or plan to enjoy for several days in the Great State of Washington. It’s God’s Country, you know! I had that affirmed to me while filling up at a gas station in Southern California. This woman kept staring at me and finally came up to me and pointed to my license plate. She asked if I was from Washington, I said yes I was and no sooner did I say those words did she blurt out, “That’s God’s Country”. Her plates were California plates – I can tell you she put a smile on my face and a tear to my eye! So explore, after all you’re here on the Navy’s dime!!

Tri-Cities | Kennewick, Pasco and Richland

The Heart of Washington Wine Country where you can sip, sample and enjoy the beauty of natures gift. You can choose to explore 150 wineries, or spend the day golfing in the sun, riding bikes on the trails, hiking in the hills or take your kayak on the Columbia.

You might want to explore nature by bird watching at the McNary National Wildlife Refuge or explore the Hanford Reach. Spend a sunny summer weekend on the river banks watching the hydro races. The weather is usually dry and hot during the summer so make sure to bring your SPF. If you play softball you will end up in the Tri-Cities for some type of tournament.

Leavenworth | Bavarian Village

Leavenworth is a Bavarian style town with authentic German architecture, located in a dramatic alpine like setting with awesome old time hospitality. You will find a variety of resort activities here during any of the four seasons. I enjoy Leavenworth the most during the Christmas Holidays.

You can find that “White Christmas” feeling here when you visit for the tree lighting or decide to come for the sledding. You can ride in a horse drawn sleigh through the snow sipping hot chocolate or you can rent a snowmobile and ride the groomed trails.

Accommodations are plenty and run from the rustic type cabin to the cozy bed and breakfasts or you can stay at one of the many hotels. I love walking around down at dusk with the lights on looking in all of the quaint little shops. There are several authentic German type restaurants if you enjoy that type of food.

Grant County | Moses Lake, Ephrata, Grand Coulee, Soap Lake and George

This area of Washington State will be the closest you get to a desert type area. With 10 wineries, 14 golf courses, 144 lakes, the Grand Coulee Dam (8th Wonder of the World / largest concrete structure in North America) and the beautiful outdoor Gorge Amphitheatre, there is always something to do in Grant County!

I spent 11 years in Moses Lake and really enjoyed being able to water ski right out my backdoor! I learned to knee-board, water ski and cliff dive. My boys were born in Moses Lake so I have a special place for the small town that is now a huge tourist area.

During the summer you might be able to catch a Dave Matthew’s Band concert at the Gorge which is an outdoor amphitheater. In Grant County you can find amazing fishing – whether it be winter or summer. You can plan a camping trip to the sand dunes as long as it isn’t Memorial Day weekend – that place is too crazy for me on that holiday!! You can ATV, fish and enjoy the hot summer sun. Be sure to bring your SPF when you visit Central Washington!!

Ocean Shores | The Ocean is Calling

I love this beach! I have spent time in Rhode Island (the beach state) and Southern California where you can swim and surf in the water, but for some reason I love the beach at Ocean Shores the best. There are six miles of public sand beach with five beach approach access roads so it is easy to get to even when there are tons of people. The sound of the pounding waves is really something to experience here. There is that “roar”.

This is not the surf you come to swim or board in; this surf is just too cold and dangerous with the riptides. But you can jump some waves as they come in to catch your feet, you can do some fun wading while you search for that special sand dollar or starfish.

I love to spend time flying my kite or digging razor clams at midnight with a lantern and flashlight. On one outing I was able to watch the most amazing meteor shower while lying on a blanket on the sand staring up in the sky. Ocean Shores is the typical tourist beach town with quaint shops and eateries. Be sure to buy some saltwater taffy! You can rent bikes, go bowling or have some fun at the go-kart track. Always a fun getaway for either the weekend or a full week.

Hope you have enjoyed the Naval Base Kitsap Online Relocation Series, this will be the last article prior to my “wrap up” . If you have missed any articles you can check out the article that introduced the Naval Base Kitsap Online Relocation Package by clicking on this link Naval Base Kitsap |Online Relocation Package | IT’S YOUR PCS which is updated after every new article.


If you have any questions about real estate in Bremerton Washington, contact Jo Soss with HomeFront Realty at (360) 990-1433 or visit her personal website HomeFrontRealtyOnlinewhere you will be able to search for homes and find more Bremerton Real Estate information.