Sequim Real Estate in Sunny Sequim, Washington

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Who is Your Escrow Officer?

When you get mutual acceptance on your home purchase, who will be your escrow officer? This an important question, because the answer does matter. Most buyers don’t realize how much it matters.

Escrow Officer

Escrow Officer Role

I’ve written elsewhere about the importance of hiring full time professionals who are experienced, competent, and who have integrity. That’s true of any professional you hire, including your Realtor, your loan officer, and your escrow officer. But most buyers have little knowledge about the important role that your escrow officer plays in your purchase.

When you have your Realtor draft an offer on a home, you fill in a blank to identify the title and escrow company you will have handle your transaction. Title companies search the title and all documents associated with your property, and they insure that you get a clear title. The bigger and more important decision involves your choice of an escrow company and perhaps the specific escrow officer. Once your Realtor delivers your signed agreement to your escrow officer, that person runs with the ball and coordinates many critical details on your behalf. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Loan Process

The loan process is enough to turn a normal person into a zombie. You may have retired from a stressful career in police work, military service, or sales at Oracle, but that has not prepared you for the mortgage mine field. Trust me. I was an attorney for 20 years, and I know what stress, bureaucracy, and B.S. are, and if you think working for Larry Ellison was a nightmare, you haven’t applied for a mortgage recently.

The Loan Process

Keys in The Loan Process

The loan process can go smoothly, or it can suck the life out of you. Experience has taught me that the very first tip to save yourself from a mortgage nightmare is to hire a local mortgage broker. I’ve written several articles on why this is so important. A mortgage broker outside your market does not know the local real estate requirements for an underwriter, and they are so far away, they often put your file at the bottom of a huge stack. Do yourself a big favor: do not hire some national mortgage company that advertises like crazy. [Read Hire a Local Mortgage Broker]

The second tip is do not hire a new or inexperienced mortgage broker. That has turned into a nightmare for so many buyers, I cannot even count that high. An inexperienced loan officer doesn’t know what they don’t know, and at the 11th hour just before closing they will often hit you will new documentation they could have asked for weeks before, and this can kill your transaction or require a closing extension. A closing extension can create hardships for the buyer and seller in additional costs and rescheduling moving trucks (and sometimes that can’t be done without a mini-nightmare of its own), rescheduling airline tickets, and so on.

The third tip is hire an experienced, professional, and honest mortgage broker. This may sound like the last tip, but is is not the same. I cannot overemphasize this one. The best of the best in every profession always consists of a small percentage of people, and that is true in the mortgage business.

The Loan Process – VA Loans

A VA loan can be a nightmare by virtue of the massive documentation and bureaucracy, but the loan process is especially a nightmare if you have an inexperienced loan officer, and the loan process gets even more problematic if your loan officer is not local. A VA loan also requires VA certified appraisers, which often means the appraiser is not local, and that can create another mini-nightmare as they often under-appraise properties. The parties are then thrown into a legal quagmire as the price must be renegotiated, or the parties must appoint a second appraiser, and all that will require a closing extension, and the parties might not agree on price. The transaction may be terminated, and it’s possible the parties will get into a dispute over who gets to keep the earnest money. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the loan process for a VA loan and many other loans.

I strongly recommend you connect with the best of the best when it comes to a Realtor, and the best of the best when it comes to selecting a mortgage broker. Save yourself the stress and nightmare by taking these tips from the school of hard knocks seriously. I am certain that the last thing you need going into retirement is a nightmare with the loan process.

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  • Filed under: VA Loans
  • Sequim Garden a Hint of Heaven

    Do you want a beautiful Sequim garden? Are you a master gardener? Do you want your back yard to be a hint of Heaven? This is a Sequim garden of a home I just sold, and even though it is a small lot, this owner has done an amazing job of making this lot a peaceful little haven to enjoy every day. He even has water trickling through the yard which adds to the mood.

    Sequim Garden

    Sequim Garden Beautiful

    The amount of landscaping and gardening you want to do or are willing to do to maintain your ideal property is something to consider when you are filtering homes online, although it’s hard to tell from the online photos what will be required. I’ve learned from working with hundreds of buyers that it boils down to personal passions. Maybe you are a master gardener, or you love gardening. Our rich soil, blue hole and sunshine, the climate and the right amount of rain (with some added watering with your loving touch), makes for the perfect garden (elaborate or tiny). See this earlier article about a Sequim Garden.

    Sequim Garden Expense

    Another home I sold had more than a full acre beautifully landscaped and planted with a wonderful variety of flowers, shrubs, and trees. Of course, this kind of landscaping can be expensive, upwards of $50,000. But the loving touch of a master gardener can turn a boring yard into the kind of Sequim garden in which you think you’ve died and gone to Heaven. See this earlier article describing a Sequim garden at Fine Gardening.

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  • Filed under: Sequim Weather
  • Is a building permit important? What if the home you want to buy does not have a building permit? A couple arrived in Sequim to buy a home, and they found the perfect home and property in a peaceful location. They were so excited. Their buyer’s agent told them it did not have a building permit, but she told them it would be easy to get a building permit after they purchased it. All they had to do was fill out the application, staple a notice on a tree, and pay a small fee, and Voila! the Clallam County Building Department would issue a building permit. This is what I call a trap for the unwary buyer. Perhaps this article should be entitled The Building Permit Nightmare.

    Building Permit

    Do You Need a Building Permit?

    You might want to know how someone could buy a home and get a loan when the home doesn’t have a building permit, which means it also has no occupancy permit. Appraisers don’t automatically check a building permit file at the local county office. Apparently they are not required to by law or by the appraiser’s code. That’s not a surprise, because they are also not required to do a septic inspection, or a home inspection. The appraiser’s job is to see to it that the home is structurally sound, and so they do a visual inspection. If they see something that is a red flag, they investigate further.

    The appraiser’s employer is not the buyer, although the buyer pays his fee. His employer is the lender, and his primary job is to make sure the lender’s loan is secured sufficiently. So the appraiser is looking at the building integrity and the value. Based on the appraisal report, if the lender feels their loan to value ratio is good, and the house is structurally sound without serious issues, the appraiser has done his job, the loan is approved, and the buyer closes on the purchase.

    This means some appraisers may feel it is necessary to actually check the county building department’s permit file, and some will not. If the builder of a home never obtained a building permit, and the appraiser does not check the file, the issue never comes before the loan underwriter. A buyer could buy a home, obtain a loan, and close and never know their new home is not permitted . . . until they decide to sell it someday. And here’s where the nightmare begins.

    Building Permit Nightmare

    If the new buyer’s lender’s appraiser checks and finds out the house was never permitted, the new buyer’s lender’s underwriter could refuse to fund the loan. This means the homeowner can’t sell his home. Now the seller is in a nightmare scenario!

    So what is the lesson here for buyers? There are two, and both are extremely important. Lesson number one is make sure that the home you want to buy has a building permit. You can certainly buy one without a permit if you have cash, but the issue may come back to haunt you when you sell. Lesson number two is simple but no less important. Hire a real estate agent who is educated, experienced, competent, professional and honest.

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    Due Diligence and Buying Your Home

    Doing your due diligence when you buy a home is extremely important, or you could end up with some big mistakes, like paying too much for a home, or discovering problems you should have discovered before you closed. I’ve written many articles on this real estate blog about due diligence on every aspect of buying. Here are some links to those articles.

    Due Diligence

    Due Diligence Issues

    There are many issues you need to know about when you buy land or a home, but you are not likely to have your own checklists. I do. These are not checklists that other Realtors will be able to offer you (unless they copy my checklists), because I developed these due diligence checklists as a real estate attorney and Realtor over the past three decades. You should do your due diligence when you buy property, but I don’t expect you to become an expert by using these checklists. In fact, having a checklists is helpful, but you also must know how to use the checklists to do your due diligence properly.

    Due Diligence Checklists

    Land Due Diligence Checklist

    Home Inspection Due Diligence

    Mold and Mildew Due Diligence

    Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Due Diligence

    Real Estate Agent Interview Checklist

    Sequim Real Estate Buyer Resources 

    This last link will lead you to several powerful resources, including online maps and documents on Sequim properties, using an online MLS, Sequim real estate books for buyers, buying foreclosures, how to search real estate issues, and mobile apps for buyers. No real estate brokerage on the entire Olympic Peninsula offers so many free resources to buyers. Enjoy them, and if we can answer questions, simply email for any due diligence questions.

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    Touring Sequim Homes

    I toured Sequim homes yesterday with a buyer from out of town. We had time to look at seven homes. It was a particularly fun tour, because every home was especially unique and extraordinary in it’s own way. There were happy surprises, and there were what we both thought were serious negative issues with some Sequim homes for sale.

    Sequim Homes

    Viewing Sequim Homes

    The first home we looked at was a big disappointment, because in the photos it looked really great, but as we walked through it, we discovered it had a very unconventional floor plan on two levels, and there was another house built almost on top of this one, way too close. The listing price did not seem to reflect those negatives. The second home was a pleasant surprise. It has gorgeous river frontage and a very peaceful setting, but the home was too small and the price was too big.

    Sequim Homes – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    The third home was impressive, although it was an older home. The horse stables were built extremely well. My client was hoping for a little more privacy, and this home had some neighbors who could look right in the windows. The fourth home was in a very private setting, but the floor plan was funky. It felt more like a weekend getaway cabin than a retirement home.

    The fifth home on our tour was a lot of fun. It had everything, privacy, a nice floor plan, and a big shop. But it had too much for this buyer. All told there at least seven buildings on this property. This property overwhelmed my buyer as it probably would most buyers looking at Sequim homes. While the property was fun to tour, it was so unique that it will take a buyer as unique as the seller, and that is pretty darn unique.

    The sixth home on our tour of Sequim homes was up in the mountains, and the property was beautiful and had access to miles of horse trails. While the home had a nice floor plan, neither my buyer nor I could figure out what the owners intended with some unusual outbuildings. Usually you can figure out what was intended, but sometimes you cannot. In this case, we could not. At a much lower price, my buyer might have been tempted to submit an offer, but not at a listing price that did not seem to take into account the unusual nature of the outbuildings that will not appeal to the vast majority of buyers. Sometimes a price can be justified by comps or by replacement cost, but there may be negative factors that require a reduction in price, and sometimes sellers and listing agents don’t recognize these factors. I can tell you that buyers definitely know the difference.

    The seventh of our Sequim homes was a log home. Log homes can be beautiful. I sold a gorgeous log home on five acres that had large windows all around and a cathedral ceiling. The logs were treated with a dark stain outside, but inside the logs were all natural, and absolutely stunning. But some log homes, especially two story log homes, can be dark if they have small windows on the first floor, and if they don’t have sky lights in the bedrooms on the second floor. Buyers do not like dark homes anymore. The log home we viewed was too dark for this buyer.

    Looking at Sequim homes is a lot of fun. Join me when you come to the Olympic Peninsula (you can use the “Book Your Appt Online” in the right margin), and let’s do a tour of Sequim homes.

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    What Happens if I Get a Low Appraisal?

    What happens if the home you are buying gets a low appraisal? This might surprise you, but a low appraisal is more likely to happen in a rising market with increasing prices and especially a very hot market. That’s because appraisers are using data that may be six months old when they compile comparable sales, and their prices are simply outdated. So what happens if you do get a low appraisal?

    Low Appraisal

    The Implications of a Low Appraisal

    If your appraiser comes in below the sales price that you and the seller have agreed upon, you can ask the seller to reduce the price. In a very weak real estate market, or at least in a market that is not doing anything, a seller is likely to agree to reduce the sales price to the amount of the appraisal. But in a stronger market, the seller may say no, in which case a buyer has a couple of choices. Since the buyer’s loan is based on the sales price or the appraisal, whichever is lower, the buyer would have to come up with the difference in cash. If they cannot or are unwilling to do that, the buyer can walk away from the transaction.

    Low Appraisal Battle

    The seller could request a new appraisal, and there is a process for determining which appraisal is acceptable to the loan underwriter, but that process is a rather involved re-appraisal and battle of the appraisers. Everyone could end up in the same place as the above scenario with the buyer either coming up with the cash difference or walking away from the transaction because of a low appraisal.

    Right now in the Sequim real estate market, I have seen a low appraisal more than once, and it creates quite a stressful situation for everyone at the 11th hour. Some sellers are refusing to lower the price, because they have backup offers at full listing price and one even had a cash offer above listed price. That’s the kind of market we are in now. You can hope you get a good appraiser who actually understands how to properly evaluate a property in a rising market. In the vast majority of cases, the appraisal comes in at or just above the selling price, and then we don’t have to fret over a low appraisal.

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  • Filed under: Appraisals
  • Home Sales Best in 8 Years

    Home sales are better than they’ve been for 8 years according to the National Association of Realtors. The NAR reports that home sales increased 3.2% to an annual rate of 5.49 million homes, the highest level since February of 2007. This accounts for the brisk sales in the Sequim market this year. In an earlier article (Sequim Home Sales) I compiled this data showing how sales have increased in Sequim and Port Angeles.

    Home Sales

    Home Sales Way Up

    This year home sales are up nationally 9.6% from a year ago. Where do buyers of Sequim homes come from? From all over the United States, so when home sales increase elsewhere, we see an increase here. And the chart above shows how dramatic that increase has been. It follows the national trend, but it’s even more impressive. Home sales for the first 6 months of each year in Sequim have been increasing accordingly, but notice on the chart that so far in 2015, sales are better than they have been since 2005. That’s impressive.

    Home Sales and Buyers

    We are shifting from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market. I’m not saying it is definitely a seller’s market, because it isn’t, but we are making the shift in the current market. The inventory of nice homes is limited, sellers are now getting full price on many homes, and retirees have continued to buy homes in Sequim every day of the week. Home sales are good.

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    Gold v Real Estate and Investing

    Gold v Real Estate is not really much of a competition since late in 2011. This chart shows that gold has dropped almost $800 per ounce. Ouch! That’s about a 40% loss. And this has all happened in a time when the economy has been slowly recovering. Real estate prices have risen over this same period by 20% to 50%, depending on where you are in the U.S. 

    Gold v Real Estate

    Gold v Real Estate and Losing Money

    In December of 2011 I predicted the collapse of gold in an article called Gold or Real Estate? In one of my earlier articles, I suggested that transferring from gold to real estate (a retirement home) could end up paying for your retirement home. I was right. If you had $1 million in gold and sold it then, and purchased a home for $400,000, your home would have been paid for by the loss otherwise sustained by holding onto gold. I’m not a seer, and I’m not the seventh son of a seventh son, but fundamental technical chart reading of the gold chart in that 2011 article revealed a huge red flag in gold prices. Gold peddlers are still trying to sell you gold, and they have been watching the decline this entire time. They make their fees on commissions, and they are not concerned about whether you make money or lose it. By the way, don’t pay attention to their slick pitch that “gold is a hedge,” and beware of anyone who says “gold is not an investment.” That’s how they talk when they anticipate you will lose a lot of money. 

    Gold v Real Estate and Investing

    Real estate is not a perfect investment either. There is no such thing as a perfect investment. There are only levels of risk and levels of security. My argument isn’t that you couldn’t lose money by investing in real estate. Instead, my argument is that real estate is far safer than gold or the stock market in these current markets. Far far safer. As long as you don’t use excessive leverage, and if you seek to own real estate debt free, you will not only survive cycles, but your real estate will never disappear on you, and it will always have value as everyone needs a place to live. Appreciation in real estate may not be explosive over the next few years, but homes in the Sequim area will appreciate, and with far less risk than gold or the stock market. In the Sequim area, prices are now headed upward. And when it comes to gold v real estate, I don’t think it’s much of a competition.

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  • Filed under: Investing
  • Sequim Summer Weather

    Sequim summer weather has been gorgeous of late. This past weekend could not have been more beautiful as it hosted the Sequim Lavender Festival. Sunday evening cooled off after a 90 degree day, and I took this photo as the sun was setting off the northern beaches of Sequim. Enlarge this photo by clicking on it, and you’ll get a much better feel for Sequim summer weather. See if you can spot the only ship on the horizon.

    Sequim Summer Weather

    Sequim Summer Weather Mild

    I grew up in Alaska where temperatures dipped to 70 degrees below zero nearly every winter, and I served in the USAF in the deserts of Nevada where my body acclimated to training outside at 113 degrees above zero. Sequim summer weather is the perfect in between. Summers and winters in Sequim do not have the extremes of most climates. Lately the Sequim summer weather has been a pleasant reminder of why I like to say often, “Another day in Paradise.”

    Sequim Summer Weather

    Here’s a fun experiment for you. Compare your temperature and weather in your current location in California, or wherever you are, with the temperature and weather in Sequim throughout the year. When it’s 109 in Las Vegas, it is typically 74 in Sequim. Almost too good to be true. Sequim summer weather is nothing less than gorgeous.

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  • Filed under: Sequim Weather
  • Buyer Beware

    Buyer beware comes from a latin phrase (“caveat emptor”) that has been a rule for hundreds of years. The phrase is actually part of a longer statement: “Caveat emptor, quia ignorare non debuit quod jus alienum emit,” which is translated as “Let a purchaser beware, for he ought not to be ignorant of the nature of the property which he is buying from another party.” The phrase is still relevant today. As a buyer, you are responsible for your own decisions, including your offer on a property, the price, the due diligence, and even the real estate agent you hire to represent you. Even with all the consumer protections in the law, the reality is the clause “Buyer Beware” is still relevant today.

    Buyer Beware

    I talked with a buyer recently who called about a listing in the MLS, and after I answered some questions, he thanked me and then said “I’m working with an agent who showed me a few houses, so I kind of feel obligated to work with her, and I don’t want to hurt her feelings.”

    I appreciate loyalty as much as the next guy, but no one deserves your unconditional loyalty just because. This is a major life decision for you, and it is perhaps the largest investment you will make for the rest of your life. Buyer beware.

    Buyer Beware Feelings

    Seriously, forget about hurting someone’s feelings if they haven’t earned your loyalty. There’s a lot more at stake here. This is your money–a lot of it–and your decisions will affect you the rest of your life. Don’t you owe it to yourself and your spouse to find the most knowledgeable, experienced, professional, competent, and honest real estate agent? Of course you do. Remember, this is about you, not any real estate agent or their feelings. In fact, this is totally about you and your best interests.

    Loyalty is not a given–like trust, it needs to be earned.
    Danny Brown.

    If you have not signed a buyer’s agency agreement (I do not recommend signing one), you are free to hire any agent you want, and if you want to hire a more experienced agent, be courageous and let your other agent know that it’s been great, but you’ve decided to hire someone else. Be kind, but don’t let fear of hurting someone’s feelings hinder you from making the best decisions for your own life. Read the rest of this entry »

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  • Filed under: Buyer's Agent
  • The Lavender Festival

    This weekend is the great Sequim Lavender Festival, and tens of thousands of people from all over the country are arriving, filling up every hotel room and every B&B. Sequim is the Lavender Capital of the U.S. now, and the weekend is full of Lavender tours and festivities. Click on this photo for an enlarged image of the focus of this Lavender Festival.

    Lavender Festival

    Lavender Festival Schedule

    The Lavender Festival is a major annual event here. You can view the Friday through Sunday Schedule at Lavender Festival. There’s a lot more going on than just sniffing lavender, too.

    Lavender Festival and Lavender Farms

    Sequim has sprouted many lavender farms, and growing lavender even on a small scale is now required by city ordinance. Well, that’s not true, but you’ll see lavender growing all over in Sequim and in many yards. If you’ve ever thought about visiting Sequim, this is a great time of year to do that–during our Lavender Festival.

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  • Filed under: Sequim Sights
  • Sequim and the I-5 Corridor

    Sequim is a two hour drive from the I-5 corridor. If you want to know why Sequim is such a peaceful, low crime community, read on, because our distance from the I-5 corridor explains a lot about Sequim. If you are comparing Sequim with areas north of Seattle, or anywhere within the I-5 corridor, you may want to consider the implications of living within the corridor.

    I-5 Corridor

    I-5 Corridor

    The I-5 corridor is carved out by Interstate 5, the major North-South freeway on the west coast running from California through Washington to the Canadian border. This is the primary commercial and non-commercial arterial for millions of trucks and cars 24/7 all year long. Apart from the Seattle and Tacoma waterfront docs, the I-5 corridor feeds the entire Seattle-Tacoma metropolis. Along with these benefits of the I-5 corridor comes something not so beneficial for residential communities.

    I-5 Corridor Influence

    Sequim is outside the I-5 corridor, and that means Sequim does not get all the drive through traffic of the casual or the curious, including criminals and would-be criminals. No wonder Sequim’s crime rate is so unbelievably low. People who live in Sequim are either retired or they are working. Sequim does not attract street people in large numbers, unemployed beggars, or illegal aliens who wander the streets. This is not a political statement, nor is it a comment about those who are less fortunate. It is a factual statement about the demographics of Sequim. 

    The I-5 corridor extends on either side of I-5 by a distance of perhaps a one hour drive, but when you get two or three hours from the I-5 corridor, you are getting beyond the reach of it’s influence. For quiet residential communities, being outside the I-5 corridor is a very good thing.

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  • Filed under: Sequim
  • Chuck E. Marunde, J.D.

    Founder and Broker of
    Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate dba iRealty Virtual Brokers
    435 W. Bell St. Suite A, Sequim, WA
    (360) 775-5424
    Search Sequim Blog

    Who is Chuck Marunde?

    Chuck's background includes real estate sales going back 37 years, including 20 years as a real estate attorney. He has closed hundreds of real estate transactions, authored thousands of articles on Sequim and Port Angeles real estate, and written several books on real estate. He has lived in Sequim for almost 20 years. Buyers from around the country seek Chuck out and retain him as their buyer's agent. Local homeowners list their homes with Chuck because he has the most powerful Internet marketing system that reaches highly qualified buyers around the country, and that sell homes. Chuck is consistently one of the top individual selling agents of single family homes by volume in all of Clallam Country for 2013, 2014, and so far in 2015.

    How to Search the Best MLS

    From Seattle

    I’ve had the pleasure of working with Chuck over the past three years in selling my parent's estate. It was a tough time to sell during the housing recession, but Chuck always kept things on the positive side. With his real estate law background, he offers sound, practical advice. He helps you along with the process using discussions and reason, rather than opinions and speculations. If Chuck doesn’t know the answers, he will get them for you. In several instances, Chuck took the initiative to meet with county officials to get up-to-date facts about zoning and regulations. I was always impressed with his company’s tech savvy communi-cations and internet presence: weekly email updates, blogs, videos, links, Linked-in networking, etc. He is truly pioneering the future of buying & selling real estate. Brian M.
    Sequim Real Estate Market Report

    From Florida

    We do our homework for the task at hand and we look for and expect to enlist partners that do the same. It was our good fortune to select Chuck Marunde of Sequim and Port Angeles Real Estate to represent us as a buyer's broker in our search for a home in the Sequim/Port Angeles area. Chuck's site is all encompassing and super fast compared to many others, he knows the market at every conceivable level and his guidance through the process of selecting and purchasing a home is priceless - above and beyond that of anyone with whom we have ever worked. Add to all this his 20 year background in real estate law and you have discovered a superb asset in the adventure of purchasing a home. Greg and Marilyn

    From Gilroy California

    As an out of state buyer unfamiliar with the area, it was important to me not only to have a real estate agent who knew the area well, but also one who knew the value of the properties. I chose Chuck because he is also a real estate lawyer and it is reassuring to have that extra degree working for you. I selected the houses I was interested in on line before taking a two day trip to Sequim to look at them in person. I sent my list to Chuck, who gave me feedback, then organized our tour so we could see 16 properties in a short time. He was very accommodating, driving me all over Sequim, and rescheduling appointments when we fell behind on our time. On day two, I found my home and we drafted an offer on it that evening. By the time I arrived back home on the plane the next evening, my offer had been accepted. Chuck was honest about what it would take to get me into my new home, while having my back the entire transaction. Since I was unable to relocate immediately after closing, he and his assistant Ade, have been taking care of many additional responsibilities for me. He was a pleasure to work with. Chris D.

    From Corona California

    The best decision I made, once I settled on Sequim as the ideal place to spend the rest of my days, was to hook up with Chuck Marunde as my broker/go-to guy. He happily took on the entire complicated merry-go-round associated with a long distance move that involved selling in Southern California (with a different agent) and buying in Sequim – all in the span of just over a month. The unexpectedly quick sale of my previous home was already a week into a 30 day escrow when I got to Sequim for my house hunt. We had two days to find my slice of heaven. And day one was less than stellar, each home having at least one major issue. The killer was the dream home that turned out to be an unmitigated disaster once we got inside. I was crushed. Chuck had his work cut out for him that night. And he worked his magic. On day two there was one beautiful possibility, but not quite right. Suffice to say, in the early afternoon we pulled into a driveway and the first words out of my mouth were “That’s my house.” 29 days later I took possession of my new home. Every sale has its issues, but throwing in the complications of a short escrow on top of 1200 miles of separation from all documentation, etc. gives new meaning to “challenging”. Thanks to his encyclopedic knowledge coupled with a great sense of humor, Chuck was able to keep me on an even keel when things got dicey. He knows when to step in and when to let it evolve. I cannot imagine making this move without him. Rebecca B.
    Sequim Real Estate

    From Bakersfield California

    "During the months of February and March 2012, Chuck showed my wife and I over two dozen homes from Port Angeles to Port Townsend. We found Chuck to be very helpful, friendly and courteous. With Chuck there is no pressure; It is all about finding the best home for the buyer. As a Buyer's Agent, Chuck will give you his honest opinion of a property, including a fair market price. In one instance Chuck wrote up an offer for us which was accepted. Chuck was very helpful arranging for home and well inspections which involved multiple trips to the property. Unfortunately, escrow failed to close when, during the home inspection process, it was determined that a septic system repair was needed which the seller was unwilling/unable to make. We will continue to work with Chuck as there is no better Buyer's Agent on the North Olympic" Bert and Sally
    Sequim Real Estate Q&A

    From Los Alamos New Mexico

    "Over a year ago, during a visit to the Olympic Game Farm, we developed what we eventually called the “Sequim Syndrome.” We live in New Mexico and decided Sequim was where we wanted to live in retirement. On our second visit to Sequim, we met with Chuck and asked him to help us. Chuck's web site provides such amazing search capabilities. Chuck's site also contains a 1000 blog postings and a real estate video series detailing buying real estate in Sequim. We bought Chuck's book about Sequim real estate and set out to follow his advice carrying on an ongoing email and phone conversation with Chuck. Doing our due diligence “Marunde style” and using his MLS search site, we came up with about 50 homes that met our needs. We narrowed the list down to 15 properties that best met our needs. We came back to Sequim a third time with our list in hand, and Chuck spent two days with us showing us all the homes on our list. Not only did Chuck help us find that dream home, he spent time to educate us about the quality of construction, fair market values of various properties, home layouts, and the joys of Sequim living. We had a great time as we traveled from house to house. By mid afternoon of the second day, my wife said we had found “the house.” Chuck helped us draft our offer and sent our offer to the seller's agent. It turned out there was a second offer made on the property at the same time. Chuck's help to make a clean offer paid off. At breakfast two days later, we got a call from Chuck saying our offer had been accepted by the sellers. We are now back home in New Mexico. Chuck attends every inspection on our behalf, updating us at every turn by email and phone. Our dream home is becoming a reality because of Chuck and because we were smart enough to follow his advice. We absolutely would NOT have been able to do this without Chuck Marunde's expertise and enthusiasm. We recommend Chuck to everyone planning a move to Sequim, Port Angeles, or anywhere on the Olympic Peninsula. Chuck is a gold mine of information and expertise for home buyers everywhere, not just on the Olympic" Larry and Shirley
    Sequim Real Estate Bookstore

    From Sun Lakes Arizona

    "We are ex-Washington residents who currently live in Arizona. We had been searching the Puget Sound area four years for a waterfront property to build a retirement home when we first contacted Chuck Marunde through his website. We had made multiple trips to various areas but most of the Realtors we contacted simply sent us an email, provided no follow up and did next to nothing to help us locate a property. On our first trip to Port Angeles, after connecting with Chuck, we purchased our dream property. We now own a high bank waterfront lot overlooking the Straight of Jaun de Fuca, and are excited to become part of the Peninsula community." Paul and Linda

    From California

    "Andy Romano is a successful motion picture character actor with over 40 years in 'the Biz.' Mr. Romano has a home in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, but he chooses to live most of the time in Sequim, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula in the great Pacific Northwest. Why? In his own words, 'Because it's even more beautiful and surrounded by more beauty in this incredibly peaceful and quiet place. With respect to real estate agents or brokers, well my friend Chuck Marunde, owner of Sequim and Port Angeles Real Estate, is hands down the best there" Andy R.

    From Sequim

    I’ve known Chuck Marunde for several years. My wife and I bought and sold one house through his services, and now have another listed through him for sale. Whether Chuck was representing us as the buyer or seller, I am confident he always had our best interests at heart. He helped us set or negotiate a reasonable price, and made sure there was a clear and open line of communication. He responded rapidly to email and phone calls and always knew the best person to contact for the various services involved in a transaction. I have worked with quite a few real estate agents and Chuck is right at the top of my list of good ones. Actually, Chuck is first and foremost just a good person, and he carries his personal honesty and integrity over into his profession. He has the greatest depth of experience in real estate of any agent or broker I have known. His years of practicing real estate law prior to becoming a broker are evident in the meticulous care he takes with the process and documentation. I am impressed by the way Chuck has integrated internet services into his real estate business. He probably knows more about this process than any other realtor in the country. In this tight market it is important to use every possible means to spread the word about available properties…to reach the few people who might be interested in a particular property. Steve L.

    From The Netherlands

    "We contacted Chuck about six months ago to help find a retirement property in Sequim. We had visited Sequim several weeks before and decided that this was the place for us to retire. We liked the friendly people and the natural beauty of the area. We had been looking for some time in other parts of the country - California, Oregon, North Carolina, and Vermont. In most of these other areas, we found real estate agents that were knowledgeable but did not follow up with us to continue narrowing down real estate possibilities. Once we were out of earshot, communications would stop. That is one of the reasons we were interested in working with Chuck. Besides having great knowledge of both the local real estate market and of law, his testimonials on the internet indicated a willingness to actively communicate with his clients. Chuck demonstrated this immediately. Even before we met, he responded very quickly and helpfully to any email question. After arriving for a second visit to Sequim in September, we finally met Chuck face to face. He was friendly, encouraging, and readily shared good practical information. We worked with him on a number of candidate properties - including an offer on a property while visiting that week. Although we could not come to terms with the owners on the final property price, we look forward to continuing to work closely with Chuck. He is an invaluable resource to help us identify and purchase the retirement property that's right for us." Paul and Virginia

    From Fremont California

    We can't say enough about working with Chuck Marunde. Luck would have it that we discovered his web site, spoke with him on the phone and had an instant feeling that we had found our realtor. And we were right. With Chucks help and expertise, our longtime dream to retire to the Pacific Northwest came to fruition with Chuck assisting us in finding the perfect home for us. Buying a home is always a big decision and these days can be complex with unexpected delays etc. In fact, our whole experience from offer day to closing, was very smooth. Chuck took all the time we needed to explain processes and made us feel at ease, even though we lived 800 miles away, tying up loose ends and getting ready for the big move to our new home in Sequim. We were impressed with Chuck's ability to listen to our needs and understand our concerns in buying from a distance. Chuck kept us informed all along the way, during the process and was so good at getting right back to us if we had another question. All went so well and Chuck really went above and beyond for us, taking time out from his busy schedule to assist us with some details regarding our beautiful property, even after the closing, because we were not yet arrived there. Without hesitation, our son and his wife will be contacting Chuck this summer, as they plan to follow us to paradise in this lovely town. Thanks again Chuck, for everything! Mary and Jerry

    From Fontana California

    My husband and I went to Sequim intending to interview several realtors to find one to help us locate and buy a home in Sequim. We knew we wanted someone we could trust and who would have our best interests in mind. Since we would be handling the transaction from S. California this was very important to us. We met Chuck and looked no further. We felt a connection right away and spent some time looking at homes together so Chuck could get a feel for what we wanted. Well, we left Sequim having made an offer on a home which the owner accepted. Chuck has helped us through the purchase process. We are positive it would not have gone so smoothly without his help. We give him 4 thumbs up. Wally & Cathy

    From Tacoma

    Chuck Marunde’s level of expertise in real estate investment is amazing. His knowledge, experience and legal training have given me a dramatic advantage in real estate investing. He works hard to stay on the cutting edge of real estate marketing, sound advice and value-added service for his clients. Kirk Wald, Financial Planner

    From Wendell Idaho

    My wife and I moved to Sequim six weeks ago, and prior to our move here I contacted Chuck Marunde and enlisted his help as our buyer's agent. Once we got here, it took us about two weeks looking at houses, and Chuck did a superb job of showing us places and letting us make our own decisions and guide us through the purchase of our home. We now completed our transaction and are very happy. We would recommend Chuck to anybody. Don & Marilyn

    From Sequim

    "Buying property either commercial or residential can sometimes be a tricky proposition. That’s why I would recommend Chuck to help you with purchasing or selling property. His background as a real-estate lawyer and his no nonsense to the point advice will help you make the right decisions. Experience and Integrity, what you need when you can’t afford to make a mistake. Dail Hurdlow, CEO, Hurdlow Enterprises

    From Seattle

    I am an experienced real estate buyer, but I am not from the Sequim area. I am somewhat flexible, realistic, but also particular. So the question was, “how do you choose the RIGHT real estate agent?”

    I made my appointment with Chuck on a Sunday morning in March, 2013. He showed me 5 houses. Every house he showed me was within my parameters! I was amazed: a real estate who listened, did his research, and didn't waste my time showing me houses I would never buy! I made an offer a few days later. That was the easy part…

    Buying a house is always a stressful time in life. Advice to Buyers: choose an agent who is competent, communicates well, and has exceptional follow-up and follow-through! You will spend a lot of time with your agent during the process. Choose someone likable. Go with your gut. I got to know Chuck during the process, and he's a great guy!

    You need an agent who is competent to handle and help you negotiate the issues that come up during disclosure, home inspection, appraisal, etc. Chuck's competence is superb! I got truly professional, sound, straightforward advice.

    Chuck's communication skills are exceptional: phone, email, fax. He has a wonderful ability to stay "on-point" with what is actually important and doesn't lead you astray on issues that aren't so important.

    Chuck's turn-around time on questions, issue resolution, etc. was virtually always within 24 hours. He follows-up, follows-through. He does what he says he will do timely. This relieves a lot of Buyer stress!

    Having a difficult time finding the right agent? Simplify your life! Choose Chuck Marunde. I did. [Name withheld by request]

    Intro by Chuck Marunde

    From Sequim to California

    "In our Sequim real estate broker Chuck Marunde we found a Realtor who knew not only how to list a property, but most importantly, he knew how to sell a property. Chuck is very skilled in current technology and uses that skill to advertise your property nationally. We were very pleased with Chuck, his honesty and integrity." Jerry Levitan and Donna "Teva" Tetiva
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