Welcome to the largest Sequim Real Estate Blog with over 1,900 articles.
19 Mar 2017
OLS v. NWMLS is a continuing battle between two MLS systems in Clallam County, which includes our two biggest cities, Sequim and Port Angeles. If you’re not familiar with the terminology, the OLS is the Olympic Listing Service, our local MLS (multiple listing service), and the NWMLS is the Northwest MLS based in King County outside of Seattle.
Sequim and Port Angeles real estate brokers largely feel obligated to belong to both MLSs, which means entering their listings twice in two completely different systems with different data fields, different entry requirements, and different rules and penalties. There are a few holdout brokers who have refused to join the NWMLS as of this date. While I once thought it was wise and beneficial for my clients to belong to the NWMLS, I now realize having two MLSs is bad for everyone and all of us would be better off if we only used the OLS. As I will explain in this article, that is not likely to happen, so the OLS v. NWMLS battle will continue.
The OLS includes the listings of Sequim and Port Angeles, and 100% of local brokers are members of the OLS. The NWMLS is based on the Seattle side of the pond and includes the listings of 25,000 brokers in the Seattle-Tacoma metropolis and the surrounding counties.
I used to think that a Sequim homeowner who wanted to list and sell their home needed to be in the NWMLS in order to give their home the greatest possible exposure to the most buyers and the greatest possible exposure to the most buyer’s agents. With that in mind, I have been a member of both MLSs for about 10 years. Here’s what I’ve learned. Read the rest of this entry »
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16 Mar 2017
What if you want to buy a house that needs a new roof? This might be a simple question, but the solution can get complicated. Here are your options if you find the ideal property in the right location but the house needs a new roof.
First, you could negotiate your best price and after closing have a roofing contractor put on a new roof, assuming you have the cash to do that. Depending on the total square feet, that will cost $12,000 to $18,000. Second, if your lender requires a new roof before they will fund your loan and close (because the roof has less than two years left), you could have a dilemma. But there is an approach that often works, and it’s an approach I used for the sale of the home in this photo.
This home has two roofs that are full of moss, and the roofs are 38 years old. The buyer’s lender required a new roof for both houses prior to closing. So then the question is, “Who will pay for the roofs?” A buyer isn’t going to put money up prior to closing to repair the roofs, and a seller isn’t going to advance money to put on a new roof before closing. There’s always a possibility the buyer won’t close, so a seller doesn’t want to risk it, and the seller may not have the funds anyway.
In this case we simply raised the price by the amount of the roofing contractor’s bid to a new roof on both houses (one roof is the main house, and the other roof is the guest house above the shop). The total roofing bid was $28,000, so we raised the agreed selling price by that amount, and we hired a roofing contractor to do the work prior to closing. Since the roofing contractor has a 10 day grace period to pay his roofing supplier, the roofing contractor could do the work and get paid out of escrow at closing. That way neither buyer nor seller had to come up with the funds to put on a new roof.
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2 Mar 2017
Finding your luxury home starts with your online search, and here I’ll share two powerful and easy to use Luxury Homes websites. These are two of the best Luxury Homes websites in the entire Northwest. You’ll find 100% of all luxury homes listed on these two sites, including Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, and all the islands between the Olympic Peninsula and the Seattle shoreline. You’ll find the most expensive homes in the Northwest on these two sites.
Sequim and Port Angeles is a small real estate market, so if you are looking for an incredible luxury home, don’t be surprised when you discover we don’t have a large inventory of luxury homes. To see our inventory of gorgeous homes, go to Sequim Luxury Homes (which includes Port Angeles). Every home listed in the Olympic Listing Service MLS is on this site.
Port Townsend luxury homes are listed on a different website, which you’ll find at Port Townsend Luxury Homes for Sale.
If you would like to look at luxury homes on the several dozen islands between the Seattle Shoreline and the Olympic Peninsula across the Strait of Juan de Fuca at LuxuryWaterViewHomes.com. This is the same site you’ll use for Port Townsend. Every home listed in the Northwest MLS is on this site, which includes every Realtor’s listings for the entire Northwest.
When you are filtering through our luxury homes, you’ll obviously want a highly qualified buyer’s agent who can represent your interests, protect you, and negotiate the best price and terms. I recommend you hire the number one buyer’s agent of luxury homes in the Northwest, Chuck Marunde. You can reach Chuck at 360-775-5424 or ChuckMarunde@gmail.com.
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28 Feb 2017
“Manage Your Energy Not Your Time” is now available in audio as well as the previously published Kindle and paperback versions. Manage Your Energy is Chuck Marunde’s latest book. While Chuck’s last 10 books have been about real estate, and specifically about Sequim real estate, this book is not about real estate at all.
What is Manage Your Energy all about? “Who doesn’t want to be free to be happy, successful, and have great relationships? This book taps into something every one of us has: physical, mental, emotional, psychological, and spiritual energy. All of these key areas can drain us of energy, or they can work together to increase our energy levels in all areas of life, and the result is so powerful, you’ll wonder how you get so much done in a single day–every day.”
My clients are all real estate clients, and the vast majority are retirees who are already mature and successful and happy, but this book will challenge anyone to think in new ways. Retiring is the next big exciting phase in life, and despite the fact that our bodies are getting older and slowing down, in every other way, we have an opportunity to make the next decade the best years of our lives. Manage Your Energy is a fun read in either paperback or on your Kindle or iPad, and if you prefer, you can download the audio version and listen to it in the author’s own voice.
You can learn more or purchase at Amazon: Manage Your Energy.
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27 Feb 2017
Are Sequim septic systems high maintenance, and are they potential problems for buyers who have lived in the city on public utilities their whole lives? And what about Sequim wells? These questions come up regularly from buyers all over the U.S. Even today a buyer called me to ask about Sequim septic systems.
Here are six articles I wrote that answer many of the questions about private septics and private wells. What you’ll find out is that private wells and septics are very reliable, low maintenance, and not at all the problem most people might think. Private wells are usually low maintenance, and so are septic systems. Private wells in the Sequim area are known for having pure water, and most of us have no reason to have a water purifier.
Sequim Septic Systems Article 2: Private Septic Systems
Sequim Wells Article 1: Private Well Issues
Sequim Wells Article 2: What is a Well Cistern?
Sequim Wells Article 3: Are Private Wells Safe?
When you are buying a home in Sequim, I always recommend a well inspection and a septic inspection, and of course, a home inspection. You can read at least a dozen article on this blog about home inspections, what is involved, and how to respond to needed repairs. If you have any questions after your read the articles above on wells and septic systems, you can always email me at ChuckMarunde@gmail.com or simply call me at 360-775-5424.
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20 Feb 2017
You will be selecting a real estate agent. The purpose of this brief article is to share one tip with you–how to avoid the big mistake that some buyers make when selecting a real estate agent. If you screw up selecting a real estate agent who can represent you well, it will cost you, not me. Take this advice with a grain of salt if you want to, but it comes with almost 40 years in real estate, including 20 years as a real estate attorney. I share this hard learned experience with you absolutely free. Do with it as you will, but it is solid and sage advice.
I got a phone call a few days ago from a gentleman, but I was on the line with another person, so I didn’t pick up. I called back within 3 minutes, and the gentleman said, “I just went down the list and called the next agent, and he answered the phone, so I have an appointment to view a home with him.”
I don’t doubt this gentleman was doing what he thought made sense, but he was making a big mistake selecting a real estate agent, not for me but for himself. Think about what he did. He was about to spend a large sum of money, and he was selecting a real estate agent by just grabbing the next name off a list. And not a refined list of highly qualified Realtors. Just an unfiltered list on the Internet. Really? Is buying a home like buying a pair of socks on a shelf? Is selecting a real estate agent like finding the next clerk at the Post Office, or the next Barista at Starbucks? Or is hiring an agent just a matter of cold calling people off a list, and the first one to answer wins? May I speak plainly? It’s hard to imagine that anyone would use such a reckless approach for such an important task, and with so much money at stake.
Would you hire a financial planner and give him your life savings without some research on him and his company? Would you hire a babysitter without references? If you needed serious legal help, would you hire the first attorney to answer the phone in the Yellow pages with no interview, and no research? Read the rest of this entry »
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16 Feb 2017
Today we have an article about reverse mortgages written by mortgage expert Buck Gieseke. Reverse mortgages are one of the most misunderstood home financing tools available today. As a mortgage originator for over two decades, I was adamantly opposed to writing this type of loan until mid-2006. That’s when I got the facts that changed my thinking. First and foremost let’s put some of the Reverse Mortgage myths to bed:
What if I outlive the benefit? You can not outlive a reverse mortgage. If you live to be 120, you still will not have to make a mortgage payment. Can I get upside down in value? Because the loan is insured by the FHA, you will never be obligated for more than the sale of the home (even if it depreciates).
Could you lose the title or lose control of the property with reverse mortgages? Title always remains in the homeowner’s name. Could the burden or responsibility be passed on to my heirs? Your reverse mortgage is secured by the equity in your home so your heirs are never personally liable. Upon my death, is there a possibility that my heirs would not inherit my home? Your heirs do inherit your home according to your own estate planning, and your heirs have the option to sell the home or refinance it.
The majority of reverse mortgages originated today are FHA or HUD Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM). These are insured by the FHA and have been growing in popularity over the recent years.
To qualify for reverse mortgages, you must be at least 62 years of age, have an equity position in your home and undergo nominally priced (approximately $100) counseling from a HUD approved agency. In contrast to past guidelines, you can have a co-borrower that is less than 62 years of age. The surviving spouse (borrower) can still remain in the home without repayment of the loan but does not have the ability to continue making draws on the loan. Read the rest of this entry »
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6 Feb 2017
Snow in Sequim is rare, but this just happened overnight! Amazing and beautiful! This is our first snow in Sequim in about four years. My dog didn’t know what it was, but he figured out he likes to lick it. Since I took this photo this morning, the sun has risen higher and the clouds have cleared, so it is now approaching 40 degrees at 10:45 in the morning. The snow may be gone by the end of the day.
When there is snow in Sequim, all the kids run outside to play in it before it melts. There’s not really enough snow to sled, but some of us have sleds our kids can ride in the back yard or in the park. There are a few small hills where kids will sled for a little while before the snow melts. Robin Hill Park has a nice little sledding hill where my own children had fun.
Fortunately, when there is snow in Sequim, the highway department quickly clears the snow from the roads, although most of it just melts as soon as the sun comes out. Soft snow isn’t dangerous to drive on, because there’s decent traction on soft snow. It’s only when the snow melts and freezes or when it gets packed and icy that it gets dangerous. Your average retiree in Sequim is smart enough to just stay home until it melts on the roads. Life is safer that way when there is snow in Sequim.
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1 Feb 2017
Operating a Sequim home business has always been popular for retirees in the Sequim area, but it is becoming more and more popular for two huge reasons. In this article I’ll explain why a Sequim home business is such a good idea for almost any retiree.
Who retires to the Sequim area? People in their 50s and 60s who have had full professional careers and who have vast knowledge and experience and life wisdom. These incredible people have so much to offer the rest of us, and they are far too energetic to retire and do nothing. They are not the kind of people who plan to sit in a lazy boy chair, eat potato chips, and wait until they die. Far from that, retirees who move to Sequim are full of life and excitement about their futures. Many take a career of amazing experience in science, engineering, writing, teaching, law enforcement, and so on, and become consultants or trainers working out of a Sequim home business. With high speed Internet, you can showcase a small Sequim home business and give it a wonderful professional online image. Running a home business with your unique skill set can be very fulfilling.
Many retirees are also wanting to run a Sequim home business because they want or need the income. The future is full of uncertainties. You might have a six figure retirement from a California municipality or the State of California, but what does the future hold for the budgets of those governments? Many have been expressing concerns about the future solvency of some state and municipal governments. I know a commercial airline pilot who was worried his retirement would get reduced by 70% because of the airline’s reorganization. I know a retired deputy from Los Angeles who is being told his retirement may get reduced substantially. Even if your retirement check keeps coming forever, you can be certain your living expenses will increase, including health care and prescriptions.
For those who want to retire but have not built a huge nest egg to live on for the rest of their lives, running a Sequim home business may be a necessity. Financial planning for retirement has and is dramatically changing. Large corporations are not necessarily the place to find a steady 20 or 30 year career anymore. Microsoft and many companies prefer to hire independent contractors, not employees, and they can terminate these contractors without any long term commitment or benefits or retirement. [Read The Crisis in Retirement Planning, Harvard Business Review, July-August 2014.]
What does this mean? It means operating a Sequim home business where you build a monthly income to live on is probably going to replace the $3 million dollar mutual fund that provides a $100,000 annual retirement income. In the current generation, most will not have the option of creating that large nest egg. Consider this: creating a $4,000 a month income running a Sequim home business is the equivalent of getting a 3% annual income off a $1,600,000 retirement account. Another way of thinking about this is to say that a home business that provides a $4,000 a month income is worth $1.6 million invested. Don’t underestimate the value or freedom of running a successful home business.
These are two great reasons to think about operating your own Sequim home business and why so many of us do.
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28 Jan 2017
Ambiguous real estate contracts can turn into a nightmare for a buyer like you. Real estate contracts are an important part of buying a home, and normally your Realtor drafts your real estate contracts. These are binding agreements, and if your Realtor doesn’t draft clean documents that are unambiguous, you could end up with a nightmare. I know this, because I was a real estate attorney for 20 years. Now I’m a buyer’s agent for people moving to Sequim. During all these years, I’ve seen hundreds of ambiguous contracts, clauses, addendums, as well as ambiguous letters and emails, and I’m talking about communications from other Realtors. I can testify to the importance of articulate and unambiguous contracts and communications. Words have meaning, especially in real estate contracts, but sometimes words can be misleading, as in this photo.
Real estate transactions have gotten exceedingly complicated over the decades I’ve been in the business. A purchase and sale agreement was only two legal sized pages when I started, but today I would say the shortest agreement is 14 pages. The legalese is far beyond most buyer’s understanding.
But that’s not the problem. The problem for you as a buyer is ambiguities in the communications between the Realtors and others involved in your transaction. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I have received an email from a Realtor on the other end of a transaction that is embarrassingly ambiguous. Look, not everyone is good with the English language, right? We all know that, but have you considered how deleterious an ambiguity can be in your real estate contracts? Being sloppy with English is okay in a casual conversation, but not in a binding contract.
How many times have people ended up in a dispute because the buyer thought something was going to happen, but the seller had an entirely different idea? These misunderstandings can be minor or major, but in either event, they can be a nightmare. How do such things happen? Poor communications between the Realtors.
The articulate use of the English language is essential when you are buying a home. It is important to express your intent as a buyer in your real estate contracts concisely and without ambiguity. It is vital that your Realtor know what to say and what not to say (or write). After 40 years in real estate, I’m going to estimate that 70% of all Realtors in the U.S. do not communicate clearly throughout the entire length of a real estate transaction on all issues. Frankly, I think that percentage is probably much higher. Most buyers get lucky, and if nothing bad happens, then no one ever knows the difference.
You don’t have to hire me as your buyer’s agent, but I hope you do. I work very heard to earn your business, so interview me, meet with me, talk to me. Find out for yourself.
I don’t practice real estate hoping, guessing, or by using ambiguous language. I don’t do ambiguities. I protect my buyers. Trust me, you do not want ambiguities in your real estate contracts.
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23 Jan 2017
A 3 Story Home in the Sequim area is a rarity. Retirees just do not build a 3 story home, at least until now. Why? The obvious. Retirees do not like stairs. Most of my buyers are in their 50s and 60s, and while they are pretty healthy, they usually say something very similar, “We’re healthy now, but we’re thinking about when we are in our 80s. We don’t want to be walking up and down stairs to the master bedroom.”
So when I saw this 3 story home going up in Sequim, I was fascinated. Unless there’s an elevator shaft I do not see, this home has stairs galore. It appears fairly narrow, especially when you allow for staircases inside, which always take up a lot of square footage. There are both advantages and disadvantages to a 3 story home.
The chief advantage is the view you get from the top floor. In this case, this 3 story home is facing the Olympic Mountains, and the view will be wonderful. On this particular lot, you needed a second floor or a third floor to capture the majesty of the mountain view they will have, but on many lots that are positioned with a grand panoramic view, you get an incredible view from a single level home.
There are significant disadvantages. The building costs increase dramatically with a 3rd floor, the heating is not as efficient as a single level, and there is the loss of useable space because of all the staircases, not to mention having to climb up and down all those darn stairs for the rest of your life. But the biggest disadvantage in an area like Sequim is that retirees don’t want to buy a 3 story home. While a 3 story home may be the cat’s meow while owned by the original builder/owner, reselling a 3 story home may be nearly impossible in Sequim. That’s just the reality of our demographics. I’m glad my home is a single level, but I’ll certainly have fun looking at this 3 story home every time I drive past it.
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22 Jan 2017
Sequim electric rates are a fraction of what they are in southern California. My monthly electric bill averages $125 per month. I have a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in Sequim with 1,850 square feet all one one level, and my Sequim electric rates are quite reasonable. June, July, August, and September were all $67 per month. Here’s a 12 month graph of electricity usage. This graph shows what your own monthly useage would look like from month to month, although your monthly bills may be more or less.
This has been the coldest winter we’ve had in 3 or 4 years, so even with low Sequim electric rates, our bills were a little higher this winter. Our coldest months are shown on this graph starting in November. My winter bills ranged from $100 to $200, and everything in my home is electric. I do have a fireplace, but I haven’t used it this year.
The average residential electricity rate in Sequim is 8.09¢/kWh. This average in Sequim is 31.9% less than the national average rate of 11.88¢/kWh. Residential rates in the U.S. range from 8.37¢/kWh to 37.34¢/kWh. [Source: Electric Rates]
The cost of living in Sequim is very reasonable compared with many other areas of the country. Sequim electric rates are one reason, but we don’t have temperature extremes either. We don’t need air conditioning in the summer, because temperatures rarely get above 80, and most days in the winter are in the 50s and 40s.
The PUD (public utility) in the Sequim area has a great online billing and analysis tool for homeowners, so you can know exactly what your useage with a variety of charts. We are very fortunate that Sequim electric rates are low.
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9 Jan 2017
Who needs a real estate expert? Two people come to mind–buyers and sellers. Your home, the one you buy, will be one of the most important and largest purchases of your life, and it’s the home where you will spend the majority of your time, maybe for the rest of your life. With that in mind, would you want a Realtor or an attorney who is not a real estate expert? Would you trust someone who dabbles in real estate, or someone who is a part-time Realtor? Believe it or not, 85% of all buyers hire the first Realtor they talk to with no interview, no due diligence, and they do not know what qualifications a real estate expert should have.
What could happen if you try to buy a home without a real estate expert? Since I was a real estate attorney for 20 years, I can actually tell you what happens when buyers are not well represented. There’s a reason there are so many attorneys in this country, and there’s a reason they make so much money. I recall a couple telling me their buyer’s agent didn’t advise them to get a home inspection, and they ended up with a nightmare after closing. Their agent didn’t know the importance of a home inspection. The truth is, most agents are not real estate experts. Most consider themselves sales persons with basic real estate knowledge.
Another agent missed the deadline for a well inspection response, and the well turned out to be contaminated. That meant the buyers lost their earnest money. A couple decided to buy a 100 year old farm house, but their agent lacked expertise on the need to have the electrical panel and wiring checked out by an electrician. It was too late when they discovered they had to do a complete rewire of the whole house at a huge expense. Unfortunately, their agent was not a real estate expert.
A buyer relied on her agent to give her advice about the seller’s disclosure statement, but the agent missed the red flag, and the buyer had to replace the heat pump at a cost of several thousand dollars. There are so many things that can and often do go wrong in a real estate transaction, but until it happens to you, you may not realize the need for a real estate expert. You might think you can just hire any Tom, Dick, or Jane to help you buy a home. You might get lucky and everything might go smoothly, but do you really want to rely on luck with so much of your hard earned money?
If you wanted to hire a real estate expert to represent you as your buyer’s agent in the state of Washington, what would you look for? Here you have to be a bit cautious, because in the sales business, many agents will give you the answers you want to hear, so you need discernment, but you also need to know what kind of credentials your buyer’s agent should have, and you need to know how to do your due diligence. Have you heard the phrase, “Buyer beware?” Well, when it comes to buying something as expensive as a home, the warning is still good advice after 2,000 years.
By the way, be very careful about hiring a Realtor simply based on a referral by a neighbor, a friend, or someone in your Church or your favorite club. People are quick to give their brother’s name to someone else (or their best friend’s name), but that can be as bad as it could be good. Read “Real Estate Referrals: Blessing or Curse?”
I would encourage you to do your research before you decide on a buyer’s agent. Do your due diligence on me. I welcome it. Read more of my real estate blog articles (there are over 2,000), read some of my real estate books, watch my Sequim real estate videos for buyers, take a look at the real estate training site linked to the image above, use one of my three Sequim MLS sites, and interview me yourself. Whomever you hire as your buyer’s agent, make sure for your own sake that you hire a genuine real estate expert.
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2 Jan 2017
This Sequim Real Estate Blog is by far the largest local real estate blog in Sequim and possibly the largest on the Olympic Peninsula with over 2,000 articles written for buyers. At the end of each year, I like to share some of our most popular articles for the calendar year.
It’s no surprise that our most popular article is itself packed full of powerful resources for buyers and has been read over 1,300 times during 2016 by almost 300,000 visitors to this Sequim Real Estate Blog. [Total hits on our blog were over 3.8 million.]
#1 Sequim Real Estate: 10 Powerful Buyer Resources
#2 Your Closing Date May Be a Moving Target (a surprisingly popular article)
#3 Sequim Real Estate and Private Well Issues
#5 Blizzards, Tornadoes, and Floods (But Not in Sequim)
I certainly hope you enjoys these articles, but don’t stop with these six. You can search any subject on Sequim real estate, and you’re likely to find an article that answers your specific question. You see, I’ve been answering the questions that people moving to Sequim have been asking for two decades.
BONUS: There are two other articles that have been unusually popular, even though they are older articles. The first has 15 comments, and some of them are quite angry. Their comments only affirm the gist of the article. The article is entitled Who Should I Hire First–Architect or Builder? The other article is also garnering a lot of interest around the State of Washington (16 comments), and it is about how loans are being turned down because of a ridiculous government regulation. The article is entitled Private Road Maintenance Agreements.
architects and private road maintenance
You can search in 3 ways. First, you can simply type in a word or phrase in our powerful search box, and all articles on that subject with appear. You’ll find our search box on the home page in the right margin, and it looks like this. You can click on this image, and it will take you to the search page.
Second, you can use our incredible drop down menu on the home page, and you’ll see all the major categories people like to search. When you pull up a category, it gives you all the articles on that subject. In some cases, that will mean over a dozen articles on a single question you want to get answered. Just hover your mouse over the links at the top of the home page, like “Buyers”, “Sellers”, “Sequim”, “Real Estate Books”, “Buyer’s Guide”, and “Seller’s Guide”.
Third, you can find many of these articles and many of our other online resources for buyers with a simple Google search. We have optimized more articles, photos, and videos for the search engines than any other single brokerage in our market. But the most direct path to getting your answers is to use our search box above.
Of course, we also have the most accurate, most powerful, and easiest Sequim MLS site to navigate at Sequim Real Estate MLS.
Wishing all our readers and future clients a very Happy New Year and a prosperous 2017. Now you know the most effect way to search for your Sequim real estate.
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28 Dec 2016
What will happen to the Sequim real estate market this coming year? What will prices do? What will the Sequim inventory look like? What about land prices? How much will interest rates go up? My Sequim real estate prediction for 2017 is an educated view of what the Sequim real estate market will be like this coming year, especially under a Trump administration.
The Sequim real estate market bottomed out about a year and a half ago, and it’s been slowly improving since then. Prices have been creeping upward, and most homes are selling at the listed price as long as it is fair market value. The inventory of homes retirees want has been reduced to a crisis level. [Read Sequim Real Estate Inventory and Sequim Home Inventory written over 3 years ago]. People are starting to build homes again, because they cannot find a suitable home in the existing inventory. Prices have not increased as much as they should have based on the economic formulas of supply and demand in the Sequim real estate market.
We’ve all known that mortgage rates would be going up, and we’ve known that for several years. [Read Mortgage Interest Rates Going Up written in 2013.] We’ve seen a recent bump in interest rates, and as of today the 30 year fixed rate is at 4.18%. You can check on interest rates for 30-year, 15-year, and ARMs at the bottom right of this Sequim Real Estate search page.
Here is my logical prediction for the Sequim real estate market this coming year. While interest rates got a recent bump in anticipation of Janet Yellen’s announcement of a quarter point increase and 3 more likely increases in 2017, I think it is highly likely with a growing and healthy economy that we will see the 30-year fixed rate at 4.75% by the end of 2017.
With respect to the Sequim real estate inventory, it will continue to shrink and new spec homes will not replace them fast enough. This is a small market, and local builders cannot afford to build out large numbers of spec homes for future sales. That means almost all new homes are custom homes started only after you sign a contract with a builder. Then you can expect a construction timeline extending about 8 months out. That assumes you’ve already purchased a vacant lot for your home and drilled a well and put in a septic system (unless you’re on municipal utilities).
Because of the low inventory, prices will continue to slowly increase over 2017. I anticipate that by the end of 2017, home prices will increase by 5% from today (Dec 2016). Because more new homes will be built, land will start to sell again here, which means a steady increase in prices on vacant land.
Increased mortgage rates and a 5% increase in home prices in 2017 will affect some buyers’ ability to purchase their ideal home, but for buyers who will pay in cash, they will have an advantage among buyers. And there will be more competition for homes, so the buyer who finds their ideal home will probably lose it to a more assertive buyer who gets an agreement signed with the seller. Remember, you will have plenty of time to do your due diligence with a home inspection and other inspections once you have a signed agreement with a seller. Days or weeks of research prior to even making an offer is going to be a sure way to lose the home to another buyer in a market like this.
Some are concerned about a Trump Presidency, but his background bodes well for the Sequim real estate market. He certainly understands real estate and the mortgage business, more so than any president in my lifetime. If he can implement his promises for an improved job market, a tax code and regulatory environment more conducive to businesses, we may see an economy that does grow by 4% in 2017. No matter what your political persuasion, a Trump Presidency is going to be a good thing for the Sequim real estate market in 2017. Already, nearly everyone on both sides of the aisle are surprised at the records being set in consumer sentiment, home builder sentiment, and the financial markets. The Dow is up 8.6%, the NASDAQ is up 4.8%, the S&P 500 is up 5.6%, and the Russell 2000 is up 14%, and all this since the election. Excluding weekends and holidays, that’s only 35 days. Never have the pundits and naysayers been so wrong as they were this year. We’re a long way from the vibrant Sequim real estate market of 2005, but I anticipate a healthy 2017.
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22 Dec 2016
Things are not always what they seem. This is true in real estate, but it’s true everywhere in life, and the older and wiser we get, the more we see this play out all around us. I’ll point out a few examples to emphasize how important this is for you and me, but the goal of this article is to help you avoid traps for the unwary when you buy a home in the Sequim area, or Port Angeles or Port Townsend.
I quoted the short version, but the full quote goes like this: “Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.” Phaedrus
Let me set the stage. Have you seen a TV commercial promoting a pillow that sounds too good to be true? Even the price sounds fantastic when you hear that you get the second pillow free. So you call, but you find out the actual price is $180 for two pillows. You can buy one, but it will be the same price. But if you use the promo code, the price is ONLY $90. But not really. A set of two pillow cases is $50. But with the promo code that is reduced to $25. You wanted to buy one pillow for yourself, and what you find out is that you get two and the regular price is a total of $230. Plus shipping. But they tell you if you order now and use the special promo code, you get this incredible bargain.
You say to yourself, “You know what? I can go buy a good pillow at Costco for $28 to $38,” and you would be right. The reminder is that sales people on TV and everywhere will pitch their product and make it sound so doggone irresistible, but things are not always what they seem.
Awards are another example. How many times have you seen a car advertisement boasting that their model has received the J.D. Power & Associates award, and they obviously intend us to be impressed by that award. The truth is car companies have to pay substantial fees to J.D. Power & Associates to be included in the studies and get the reports, and if they want to boast that they received this award, they have to pay J.D. Power another $300,000. Things are not always what they seem. So much for the credibility of the award. It’s just another sales gimmick to fool consumers.
Realtors and home builders can get prestigious awards, too, but we also have to pay for them. I was awarded a prestigious Realtor award only given to the top 7% of Realtors in the entire Seattle area. I was quite pleased, but then after the award notification, they informed me the key to taking advantage of the award was to give them $4,000 to buy a half page add in Seattle Magazine. In other words, the entire business is to sell expensive advertising. The awards are just a front. Things are not always what the seem.
If you don’t know these things, you might be fooled when a sales person boasts about their awards. Understand that awards today are almost always bought. So are certificates. All those initials that Realtors have after their names were bought and paid for at expensive seminars. Entire industries are created for the sole purpose of creating false images all to sell smoke and mirrors to consumers and to make a sales person sound better than he or she really is.
The less knowledge, experience, and wisdom a sales person has, the more they need the smoke and mirrors, the more they need lots of initials after their name, and the more they need certificates and awards. Otherwise you would see right through them, and you wouldn’t be impressed, which means you wouldn’t hire them. May I say it again? Things are not always what they seem.
When you look at an MLS data sheet with photos online in search of your perfect home, are you getting an accurate representation of the home? When you get the seller’s disclosure statement, is it 100% accurate? When you work through the due diligence on your prospective home, maybe you would do well to pause and recall that things are not always what they seem on the surface.
The single most important thing you need when you visit a new area of the country like Sequim, Washington, intending to buy what may be your last home, is someone who is absolutely trustworthy. Do you know how to find that trustworthy Realtor? I hope so, because I can assure you . . . things are not always what they seem.
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14 Dec 2016
This Sequim condo is the most popular floor plan preferred by couples moving to Sequim. With a modern kitchen, open floor plan, 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, this is the perfect retirement home according to a lot of people. Check out these photos [Sequim Condo], and you might also enjoy this 3 dimensional virtual tour below where you can walk through this Sequim condo. Use your mouse button or the arrows on your keyboard to walk through this home.
This Sequim condo is a custom townhouse with Silestone countertops in kitchen, twice the kitchen outlets you normally see, an upgraded range with a warming oven, a custom chandelier with a handcrafted Tray ceiling, tile floors in the entry and kitchen, tile countertops in the laundry and bathrooms, and a huge tile shower in the master. This Sequim condo is in North Sunland. Sunland amenities include community beach access, tennis, a clubhouse, and a pool and RV parking. There were many extras built into this condo. It’s a Green Built home with custom blinds, natural solid wood throughout, and an extra large concrete patio. There’s also a greenbelt in the back with privacy.
Condos aren’t for everyone, but if you like the idea, check out this Sequim condo.
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6 Dec 2016
This morning we had our first frost in Sequim. It’s a beautiful sunny day with hardly any clouds in the sky. It was very early this morning when I heard my Sequim weather station tell me the temperature outside had reached 32 degrees. That didn’t last long. The temperature went up to 40 degrees shortly after the sun began to melt the frost on the blades of grass in my yard.
We’re in December, and it’s finally getting cold. Of course, cold for Sequim in the winter is a quick dip to freezing in the early morning hours, and so today was the first frost in Sequim. I love it. The yards and fields are all bright green as you can see in this photo above. The grass hardly grows during the coldest months of December and January, but since this is the wet time of year, the grass turns a bright green and stays that way all the way into the summer.
It’s hard to predict the precise date that will give us the first frost in Sequim. People ask me, “What are winters like in Sequim?” I usually say something like, “Which winter?,” because it seems every winter is a little different. We haven’t had snow in Sequim for three or four years. When we do get snow, it’s usually a couple of inches and melts within hours, but since we rarely see it, it is fun for a short time. With a little luck, maybe we’ll have a white Christmas.
Because our winters are mostly in the 50s, and our summers are mostly in the 60s, we have an incredibly mild climate without those darn cold extremes of the midwest or the east coast, and we don’t suffer the hot extremes of the south. I sold homes to couples from Virginia and Pennsylvania recently, and they both reminded me of how humid the heat can be on the east coast.
Our first frost in Sequim reminded me of how mild our Sequim weather really is. What a beautiful day for a walk with my dog.
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3 Dec 2016
Sequim MLS hot links help buyers find special properties easily and quickly. I created the Sequim MLS hot links for the most popular searches, and these links save you the time of trying to set up a unique search with Sequim MLS parameters that are sometimes hard to set up based on the Olympic Listing Service MLS data fields. Unless you’re a Realtor, you won’t have access to the data fields in our MLS, so setting up special searches can be hard. So I’ve done it for you.
How do you find all the horse properties in Clallam County (Sequim and Port Angeles and beyond)? How do you instantly find all Sequim waterfront properties, or homes with shops or barns? How do you find all Sequim foreclosures with the click of a mouse button? Or how can you pull up all the log homes for sale? The answer is Sequim MLS hot links.
You can just bookmark this article and use the Sequim hot links above, or you can always find these links on the number one Sequim MLS site, Sequim-Homes.com on any of the secondary pages on that site. In other words, these links are not on the home page, but they are on all the other pages.
By the way, these links are always “hot”. This means they are always the latest active Sequim MLS listings in each of these categories. I created these links because buyers wanted them and use them all the time. I think you’ll like Sequim MLS hot links.
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26 Nov 2016
It’s hard to find a home plus a Sequim guest house plus a shop only a few miles from downtown Sequim, especially on a beautiful lot in a quiet area with privacy. This is a property I just had to write about, because you will rarely find a property like this in the Sequim area. It’s not perfect, because it needs some work, but if you can either do the work yourself or are willing to hire someone to do it, you will get a one-of-a-kind property at a bargain price.
The main home is 2,500 sq.ft. with 3 bedrooms (on the 2nd floor), 2.5 baths, and an attached 2 car garage. This home is vintage 1979, so the kitchen needs a major upgrade and the hardwood floors need to be refinished. I suspect you would replace carpet, too. In addition the roof has a lot of mildew on it, and the back deck is collapsed and needs to be totally replaced. It’s possible the wood shingles on the roof need to be replaced. How did the maintenance get so far behind on this home? The husband passed away years ago, and his widow lived alone for many years until she passed away recently, so this is an estate sale.
A nice Sequim guest house is hard to find in this market, and this guest house is very impressive. Unlike the main house that needs upgrading and maintenance, the guest house is move-in ready, and with over 1,000 sq.ft. the huge living room and gorgeous kitchen are more than comfortable for a couple.
When you look at the photos, you’ll see how cool this shop is. High ceiling, super bright shop lights, and heating and ventilation equipment. The high shop door also means a motor home would have a warm home. In addition to the shop, there is a large double garage beneath the guest house. And the shop also has a kitchen and a bathroom.
You can look at photos of all of this at Sequim Shop + Sequim Guest House. The listing price is $425,000 for 2 acres plus the main house plus the guest house plus the shop. In my opinion, the guest house and shop alone are worth well over $250,000. If you’re in the market for a spacious home plus a guest house and a shop, maybe you should call me now at 360-775-5424. Our inventory is very low of late, and the right home listed at the right price is selling fairly quickly at full listing price. That doesn’t mean that will happen to this property, but I share that to emphasize that if this is your property, you probably don’t have all the time in the world. Someone is likely to ask me to draft an offer on this property fairly quickly.
Looking for a Sequim guest house and a shop?
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