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Sequim Lavender Weekend

Sequim Lavender weekend was a big success as the Lavender Festival is every year. It is amazing how many people come from all over the country to enjoy Sequim Lavender. The truth is many people love to spend time in Sequim, and this time of year it is beautiful. So perhaps coming to tour Sequim Lavender farms is just a great excuse to see the area. But many who come are close to retirement, so they are checking Sequim out. I’ve talked to many people who have been planning to retire in Sequim for a decade before they actually did.

Sequim Lavender

Sequim Lavender Weekend

I spent some time at the George Washington Inn & Estate, which includes the Washington Lavender Farm, and I was not alone. Hundreds of people gathered to get some of their own Sequim Lavender and Lavender products. The George Washington Inn sits on a high bluff with a stunning panoramic water view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, British Columbia, and the San Juan Islands. To the south are the majestic Olympic Mountains. No wonder people fall in love with with the area when they come to see our Sequim Lavender.

George Washington Inn

Sequim Lavender

A great way to see Sequim is to stay at a Bed & Breakfast, and I highly recommend the George Washington Inn & Estate. This is an exact duplicate of the original architectural plans of George Washington’s home, and the grounds are beautiful, but the rooms are absolutely delightful. You will not be disappointed. You may also fall in love with the Sequim and Port Angeles area, too. And that wouldn’t be so bad, would it?

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  • Sequim Real Estate Listings

    Sequim real estate listings and the shortage of homes that retirees want has created a difficult market and a slow down in sales, too. Local Realtors are struggling to get good listings, and that has created a serious challenge for real estate brokers.

    Sequim Real Estate Listings Shortage

    The traditional real estate brokerage has relied heavily on listings to make money, and the way the vast majority of traditional brokers have generated buyer leads is through their real estate listings. In other words, their business models focuses on getting listings, not creating a marketing system of free information for buyers. Their listings have been their marketing system, but it’s not really a marketing system for real estate listings as far as buyers are concerned. Now with the shortage in listings, this is creating a tremendous challenge or dilemma for the traditional brokerage.

    Sequim Real Estate Listings and Marketing

    If I am correct on this point, this means that the traditional brokerage may be in trouble, because without lots of good listings, they suddenly have lost their primary tool for generating buyer leads. This is not a small issue. It is so big, we could see brokerages with big overhead and a shortage of closings close their doors. I hope not, but this is unquestionably a crisis for brokerages who rely so heavily on real estate listings for their income.

    What is so dramatically different about iRealty Virtual Brokers is that we are the number one brokerage providing massive resources for buyers, thousands of articles, several MLS sites designed and programmed for buyers, and a staff with more real estate knowledge and experience than any other. iRealty does not rely exclusively on real estate listings to generate buyer leads. Buyers love all the free information we provide on the Internet, and we’re the only brokerage to provide this level of relevant and credible real estate information.

    If you’re a buyer looking at Sequim real estate listings, you just found the biggest and most powerful source of buyer information on the entire Internet for the Sequim area. Browse this blog and browse all our resources, including our MLS sites, and we think you’ll love what you find. You can not only find the answers to all your questions, you can also look at all our real estate listings.

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    Bluff Stability

    Bluff stability has not been a major concern in the Sequim to Port Angeles area until recently. In the last few years we have seen large sections of people’s high bluff peel off and fall to the beach 100 to 200 feet below. The area that is most susceptible to bluff stability problems encompasses an area along the bluff to the west of the Sequim-Dungeness Lighthouse spit all the way to Port Angeles. In this article I’ll show you how to identify properties that are at risk, and if you’re looking at buying a home on a high bluff, this will help you with questions about bluff stability. I’ll show you how to do this online, and it’s easier than you might think.

    Bluff Stability

    Bluff Stability and Online Help

    The image above was taken from a Google Satellite view. This is an area just west of Port Angeles on West Bluff Drive, and you can see a massive section of the bluff that recently fell away. The bluff is now approximately 80 feet from the road and about 76 feet from the corner of this home. This bluff is 175 feet high, so as I stood on the edge of the bluff and looked down, it was a devastating example of why bluff stability is a concern for anyone wanting to buy a home on a high bluff in areas where bluff stability is at risk.

    If you are considering a high bluff property, here’s how you can do an online analysis of bluff stability, and while this is not definitive by any means, it is helpful to recognize when there may be grave risk. When I talk about grave risk or any significant risk of problems with bluff stability, I’m looking at the obvious. Examples of obvious bluff stability risk would include a major section of bluff that has recently peeled off near a home, or a bluff that is less than 100 feet from a home, and if a bluff is only 50 feet, more or less, from a home, I would consider this grave risk. Remember the context here is high bluff property, which is higher than 50 feet by my definition. A low bluff presents much less risk. Another important factor that determines risk is vegetation along the bluff with deep root systems.

    All of this is viewable online now. You open your Google search engine, and type in the property address. Then click on “Maps” and you will get a nice Google map with your property at the center. Now choose the Google map option called “Satellite” view. This will show you exactly what the property and the bluff look like, and you can see how far the bluff is from the house and how much vegetation is on the bluff, if any. Less vegetation or no trees or shrubs means less bluff stability. You can also see how steep the bluff is.

    You can measure the distance from the house to the top of the bluff with this Google Satellite view. You right click to show the option “Measure Distance,” and then you place a marker at the house and one at the top of the bluff. Google will measure the distance in feet. This is an incredibly accurate measurement, although I will qualify that by saying that it is possible the bluff has peeled off more since the Google Satellite image was last taken. Although Google Satellite maps do not show you the date the image was taken, you can find out by using Google Earth, discussed below. Google maps and Google Earth use the same image, and when you are in Google Earth, the date is shown at the bottom of the image. The date of the image above is 7-15-2013.

    Bluff Stability and Bluff Height

    As long as I’m giving you powerful free tools to do a cursory bluff stability analysis, here’s another fantastic tool to tell you how high the bluff is at a particular location. You cannot use Google maps for this, but Google has another tool to measure elevation, and it requires that you download a free tool called Google Earth. Once you have that installed, you type in a property address, and then you use the “path” tool to mark the property in two spots at the bluff and down on the beach, and then you will find the option to measure elevation. If you need help with that, do a Google search on “how to measure elevation” and you’ll get specific instructions.

    There you go. Now you know how to do your own quick analysis to examine bluff stability. You can drag your Google Satellite view along the bluff from Port Angeles to Sequim and see how many homes are at risk. It is surprising how many homes are right on the bluff or within 25 to 75 feet.

    Read more about local Bluff Stability. Bluff stability on the Olympic Peninsula has become a greater concern in recent years.

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  • Filed under: Water Views
  • 3D Virtual Tours: What About Privacy and Security?

    3D Virtual Tours are the latest rage in real estate listings and one of the most powerful marketing techniques available today. Buyers love 3D Virtual Tours, because they can walk through an entire home interactively on their own computer from wherever they live. The tour below is an example of a great 3D Virtual Tour, and you can enlarge the tour full screen. But what about privacy and security for the sellers? Do 3D Virtual Tours expose sellers to thieves?

    3D Virtual Tours Fundamentals

    First, we must acknowledge the effectiveness of marketing a home this way. Compared to the old virtual tours that simply use photos and have the software move around on still photos, 3D Virtual Tours are like a modern luxury car and the old tours are like a Model T. Oddly enough, iRealty Virtual Tours in Sequim and Port Angeles and Port Townsend is the only brokerage giving sellers this powerful marketing tool. Several buyers have bought their homes this year sight unseen based on the 3D Virtual Tours.

    Second, we need to ask about privacy and security, especially in this day of identify theft and Internet exposure of private information. I met with a security expert and discussed the 3D Virtual Tours and the issue of security. Anyone who is sensitive to the whole issue of privacy will be concerned.

    When I do one of these tours with my incredible nine lens camera, I make sure there is no confidential information on desks or on walls, but having done that, does the tour expose more information than is normally available on the Internet?

    3D Virtual Tours Compared to Photos

    A typical MLS listing includes interior and exterior photos, and that includes every room in the house. 3D Virtual Tours take lots of interior photos and piece them together, but they don’t add photographic views that are not already available with still digital photos. Some listing agents like to include a floor plan of a listing in the MLS, because buyers want to know the floor plan and where rooms are located throughout the home, and so 3D Virtual Tours share that information, too.

    The county tax assessor already includes a ton of information on every single home in the county, including a floor plan, dimensions, square footage, age of the home, their best estimate of the fair market value, and even photos of the outside of the home. The assessor even reveals the full name and address of the owners, and whether they are in default on their taxes. All of this information has been available for years online to anyone.

    My conclusion is that 3D Virtual Tours do not expose any more information that burglars would not already have access to online. Having said that, I would say that while everything in 3D Virtual Tours is already available, there is one thing these tours do allow a person to do online. They can walk through a house to help them get a better feel in a real 3D view. So if someone wanted to case your home, they could use a tour, but they already can see if you have nice furniture and a beautiful home based on the regular photos in the MLS, and the tax assessor already gives them the floor plan.

    Whether you feel comfortable or not with 3D Virtual Tours, there is a big upside to using one. Buyers absolutely love them, and they are probably the most powerful marketing tool available today. I listen to what buyers want, and they want to be able to compare homes, which means they want 3D Virtual Tours.

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    Bidding Wars for Homes?

    Bidding wars for homes began in the Bay area in California about two years ago and in the Seattle area about a year ago. Bidding wars hit the Sequim area about six months ago, although with a different flavor than in the metropolitan areas.

    Bidding Wars

    Bidding Wars Hit Sequim

    Supply and demand in housing determines prices, and when the inventory gets so low that buyers are competing to buy a limited number of homes, prices start to rise until we reach a crescendo of activity resulting in bidding wars.

    The inventory is low in Sequim, and there are more buyers than available homes. But I need to qualify the phrase bidding wars here, because there still are homes that have been on the market for a long time and so it is not a seller’s market for all homeowners. And there are homes that are selling, but there is no bidding on those homes. Bidding wars are a reality for a small percentage of Sequim homes.

    Bidding Wars on Popular Homes

    Bidding wars only happen on what retirees would consider the ideal home in the ideal location on a beautiful lot, and the listing price is at least a very reasonable fair market value. When that home shows up on the market, it can get more than one offer. Bidding wars usually happen when a listing is underpriced and buyers who have been searching for a while know when a nice home is underpriced. They pounce on it. I’ve sold several homes sight unseen for buyers who are out of state and can’t get back to Sequim immediately.

    There are not very many of these ideal homes available on the market, and that’s where supply and demand creates a sense of urgency on the part of buyers. I have a couple of recommendations on how to approach this market.

    First, you need to set up email alerts for new listings that fit your parameters, or at least watch the MLS daily for new listings. Many real estate MLS sites or syndicated sites do not have accurate data, so you need a Sequim MLS site that is 100% accurate. That site is Sequim-Homes.com or Sequim4Sale.com. Either domain takes you to the same Sequim MLS site.

    Second, when you find a new home in the MLS that looks good, you need to have a Sequim Buyer’s agent who will go out immediately and preview the home for you if you are not here and cannot get here immediately. And thirdly, you need a buyer’s agent who knows exactly how to draft an offer in this competitive market and has the experience to advise you if the home is one that could be the subject of this article–bidding wars. You don’t want to pay too much, but you need to pay enough if you are going to beat out other potential buyers.

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  • Real Estate Referrals – Blessing or Curse?

    Real estate referrals can be a blessing, but did you know a referral can also be a curse?  It’s true.  Let me “make the point as delicately as I can,” as the Russian Ambassador said in the movie Red October.  Everyone has a friend, right?  Every accountant, every lawyer, every doctor, and every real estate agent has friends.  Friends will freely give real estate referrals, right?  But where is the filter protecting you from getting referrals to someone less than qualified?  People hand out the name of a friend or an acquaintance they don’t really know professionally to other people all the time.  But accepting a referral without your own careful research could turn into a well intentioned curse.

    Real Estate Referrals

    Real Estate ReferralsA gentleman hired a real estate agent just because he/she was in his circle.  Circle in this context can be any group, association, club, union, political affiliation, gym, company, non-profit, or even a church.  It turned out his agent didn’t have the experience to deal with what turned out to be a difficult client, a negotiation that required advanced skills, and complex due diligence issues that had to be addressed diplomatically.  The transaction was on the ropes several times.  Had it not been for an experienced professional agent on the buying end of the transaction, the transaction would never have closed.  The seller simply hired an agent referred to him, and the only filter was that he and the real estate agent were in the same “circle.”  He did no other due diligence on his agent.

    Now let’s pause for just a second, because there’s a lot of money at stake here–yours.  If you only have one filter, one qualification for selecting a real estate agent, and that one filter is he/she belongs to your club or association or gym or church or whatever, that’s no filter at all.

    If the only filter is a referral from someone you know who knows a real estate agent, then where is the filter protecting you?  Where is the filter for important things like real estate education, real estate negotiating experience, experience in marketing and sales, experience in legal issues, knowledge and experience of due diligence items, experience in handling difficult and numerous real estate issues, honesty and integrity, availability, and other relevant qualifications.  Granted, if the person giving you the referral already did all this due diligence to protect you, that would be great, but in 95% of the real estate referrals I’ve seen in several decades, this is not happening. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Real Estate Questions and Answers

    This is the place to get your real estate questions answered, but we have a very unique approach. Earnest Hemingway once wrote, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” I understand what he meant.

    Real Estate Questions

    Real Estate Questions

    I’ve been answering real estate questions for a couple of decades, specifically questions that buyers have been asking about buying homes and land in the Sequim area. I enjoy answering real estate questions, and I answer them very carefully, but a blog must be more than just cold calculated answers, right?

    Who would bother reading a blog if it was boring or written poorly, or if it was just boilerplate staid facts? So every day I write an article on this blog, I seek to connect with readers on an emotional level, too. Any author worth his or her salt connects with clients on an emotional level. But that is not easy.

    Real Estate Questions Content Rich

    Many years ago this blog received an award for being “Content Rich,” and that’s a good thing, but that’s not enough. So in my striving to make this blog enjoyable for buyers to read, I find I have to pour myself out emotionally. To do that consistently is hard work, and this is why I identify with Hemingway’s statement, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

    The last year I looked at the stats, the 2,000 articles on this blog were read over 3 million times in one calendar year. This blog has a lot of readers around the United States who want their real estate questions answered.

    So that’s what I do here. Well, I don’t use a typewriter any more, but to answer your real estate questions I do sit down and type at the keyboard and . . . I bleed.

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    Sequim Real Estate Market

    The Sequim real estate market is unique, and if you’re thinking about buying a home in the Sequim area, it might help to know more about the Sequim real estate market. Sequim has been well known for decades for it’s Blue Hole or “Rain Shadow” as it is sometimes called, and the nearly perfect climate and extraordinary beauty of the Olympic Mountains and the gorgeous pristine bays along the coast have become known all over the United States through retirement magazines and coffee house conversations.

    Sequim Weather

    For almost 10 years the Sequim real estate market suffered the worst real estate recession in the history of the area. But that came to a quiet end this past year. With real estate prices increasing in other major markets around the country, retirees once again were able to sell their homes and buy their retirement home in Sequim.

    Sequim Real Estate Market Improvements

    Home builders did not build homes during the past 10 years, because buyers were not buying land and building homes. There was still a steady stream of retirees moving to Sequim, and so existing homes were selling even if it was slowly and at discounted prices. But that meant the inventory was slowly shrinking, and here’s an interesting but obvious reality–retirees all seemed to want the same kind of property, a three bedroom, two bath 1,800 sq.ft. to 2,400 sq.ft. single level, modern home, with a little privacy. Within this past six months to a year, homes began selling again, and prices have been slowly creeping upward.

    Sequim Real Estate Market Today

    Today the Sequim real estate market is healthy, although the challenge for many buyers is finding the home of their dreams, because the inventory has been depleted. This calendar year started strong, but slowed down surprisingly in May. In other words, buyers came in fewer numbers in May. May tends to be a busy month for many people, and children and grandchildren are graduating in May.

    But this is likely to change for the balance of the summer. I expect buyers will arrive in increasing numbers during these summer months, and the competition to find the ideal home will be greater.

     

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    Sequim Weather is . . .

    Sequim weather is cloudy and overcast, wait . . . Sequim weather is sunny and beautiful. Well, it all depends on the time of day lately. Sequim weather is famous for its blue hole or as it is also known, the Sequim Rain Shadow.

    Sequim Weather

    Sequim Weather

    Retirees from all over the United States find Sequim when they are researching the best place to retire, and part of that decision includes the best weather, an even climate without extreme temperatures and without natural disasters. Voted one of the 10 Best Places to Retire in the U.S., Sequim keeps showing up for all those who diligently search.

    Sequim Weather Without Extremes

    I understand extreme temperatures, because I have lived in the two greatest extremes in the U.S. In Alaska I learned what 70 degrees below zero was like almost every winter, and in the summers in Nevada I learned what it felt like to work in 100 degrees in a military uniform. Sequim winters are in the 40s and 50s, and the summers are in the 60s and 70s. How sweet it is.

    Whatever you are looking for in your retirement years, it’s hard to beat such an even climate and only 16 inches of rain a year, one-third the rainfall of Seattle. Sequim weather is delightful, although it’s not always sunny. Don’t tell anyone.

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  • How much would a pier or boat dock add to the price of a home? Many buyers would like a waterfront home with a boat dock, but they aren’t willing to pay a huge premium for the dock. So let’s take a closer look at what is involved. First, the Olympic Peninsula may be surrounded by water, but there are not very many waterfront homes for sale with a pier or boat dock. If you would like a waterfront home, and you would like a pier, these numbers will help you evaluate the prices of homes with a pier.

    Pier

    How Much is a Pier or Boat Dock?

    The value of a waterfront home has three components. The first is the land itself. Of course, location is everything and the view is a part of the value attributed to location. The second is the value of tidelands ownership. If waterfront property includes ownership of the tidelands, that adds significant value, although it’s hard to say precisely how much. Tidelands can be owned all the way to the low tide mark, or tidelands might be only partially owned, which means not all the way to low tide. And there is also something called “commercial tidelands,” and that would add more value. Adding $30,000 or more for non-commercial tidelands would be reasonable.

    Pier or Boat Dock

    The third component of value is the dock or pier itself. This is where you may be surprised by the cost or the amount that a pier adds to the total value. I just talked today to a gentleman today who has a pier, and between the permits and costs of obtaining the permits, which took many years, plus the construction of a basic pier with posts and timbers, he has about $100,000 in hard costs.

    What does all this mean? It means that if a vacant waterfront property is worth $300,000 by itself, then add another $100,000 in costs for the pier and maybe $30,000 to $50,000 for the full tidelands ownership. This vacant land would then have a value of at least $450,000. Then it’s a matter of what a ready, willing, and able buyer is able to negotiate with a willing seller. Now you know how much value a pier adds to waterfront property.

    Here is a list of all the waterfront homes in the Sequim area with either a boat launch, marina, dock slip, or moorage: Sequim Homes with a Pier.

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  • Filed under: Water Views
  • Home Buyers – Who is Watching Out for You?

    This article is written to home buyers like you. You’ve been planning to retire in Sequim and now you’re looking at homes online, doing some research on the Internet about Sequim, and you’re anonymously peeking at a few real estate brokers’ websites. You’ve even looked over a few of their resumes. You’re still in the planning stage. You’re not worried about making every decision with absolute perfection, but you definitely don’t want to make any bad decisions, especially at this point in your life. Below is my graphic of “One Chance to Get 4 Things Right.” Enlarge this graphic by clicking on it, and you can read the detailed article at Retire in Sequim.

    Home Buyers

    Who is Watching Out for Home Buyers?

    The challenges you have as you transition to Sequim are not insignificant. But you can only do so much. You can only know so much. You may not have all you need to make wise decisions and avoid every possible mistake. After all, you’ve been a professional in your own area of expertise, which is probably not real estate. So what do you do? You do what most home buyers do–they hire a real estate broker they trust. But did you know . . .

    Home Buyers Beware

    Did you know that online MLS sites like Zillow have their own profit center, and you are not their client, nor are you their priority. Many other MLS sites are not getting accurate source data, and you could be looking at inaccurate information on a home. Many online MLS opt-ins will connect you with a real estate broker or a mortgage broker, but that is not because that person is necessarily the most knowledgeable, the most professional, or the most honest. It is only because they are paying to show up on that site to capture leads . . . leads like you. If you follow the money, you might be surprised how often your interests are low on the priority list of many you do business with as you go through the process of searching for a home, hiring a real estate broker, and all the other parties involved from the offer to closing. There are so many traps for the unwary buyer, it would take a book to list them all. (Actually, I’ve written that book, but this is intended to be a short readable article.)

    So my question to you as a buyer is, “Who is watching out for you?” As I said earlier, you can’t know it all when it comes to real estate transactions, so who do you trust with your money, and who do you trust to help you with such major decisions? When it comes to buying your next home, do your due diligence on the agent you hire.

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    Sequim Water Management Rule

    The Sequim Water Management Rule, aka the Dungeness Water Rule, was adopted by the Washington Department of Ecology in 2013 to manage surface and groundwater within the Dungeness Watershed, which effects about 3,600 property owners around Sequim. The basic idea is to attempt to manage drinking water and to protect fish, wildlife, and other natural resources.

    Sequim Water Management Rule

    Sequim Water Management Rule

    The Sequim Water Management Rule requires mitigation for any new groundwater withdrawals. In other words, any new water use within the geographic area governed by the rule that is not an allowed private well use, will require the equivalent of what some are calling a tax. Under the rule is it called a mitigation fee.

    To implement the Sequim Water Management Rule, the State of Washington works with a non-profit organization called the Washington Water Trust, which administers the water certificates for people who are required to mitigate their water use.

    The Sequim Water Management Rule Litigation

    A lawsuit has been filed against the Department of Ecology to litigate the validity of the Sequim Water Management Rule (technically the Dungeness Water Rule). The trial is scheduled for October 21, 2016 in Thurston County Superior Court. The facts and the legal arguments are so complex, there is virtually no possibility I can summarize them here, and I was a real estate attorney for 20 years.

    You can learn more about the Sequim Water Management Rule at these two sites online:

    1. State Site re Sequim Water Management Rule
    2. Olympic Resource Protection Council

    Read our early explanation of the rule at Sequim Water Management Rule.

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  • Filed under: Water Issues
  • Looking at Homes in Sequim

    Yesterday I spent the day looking at homes with clients, and it was a very interesting day because of the homes we viewed. The first home was a beautiful custom built home, but there were two deal killers for my buyers. One was the view would be blocked when another home was built on the adjacent lot, and that would destroy so much of the value of this home’s appeal. The second deal killer was something a little unusual.

    Looking at Homes

    Looking at Homes

    The main room with large windows facing the best view would normally be a room with comfortable chairs or sofas or some kind of sitting area. The idea would be that you could sit and enjoy the view. Instead the room was designed to be an exercise room only. While that is a cool idea, it is probably cool to less than 1% of the buying population. Substantial reconstruction would be required to convert it to a sitting area, so this home would not appeal to over 99% of the potential buyers in this market.

    Now we get to one of my pet peeves. If you build a house so unique or with some extremely unique features, you have severely limited your ability to sell the house to the vast majority of future buyers. Granted, you have created the “perfect” retirement home for you and your spouse, but not for anyone else. Ten to twenty years later when you want to sell your home, you will enter a nightmare scenario, because you need to sell the home but cannot, and to eventually get it sold, you must take a devastating financial loss in your senior years. That was the first home we viewed.

    Surprises Looking at Homes

    I never get tired of looking at homes with buyers. The second home we looked at also happened to be unique, but for different reasons. It was a home with a million dollar water view, but it had small windows peeking out at the water view. The living room had little windows, the dining room had little windows, and the kitchen and bedrooms all had peek-a-boo water views. Crazy! A million dollar water view and the people who built the house did not take advantage of it with large windows! Read the rest of this entry »

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    Beware Online Realtor Referral Sites

    Realtor referral sites are a major trap for the unwary consumer. Whether you are a buyer or seller, it would not be wise to rely on the many online sites that claim to offer you a reliable and credible Realtor referral. I’m about to tell you something few consumers know, and the implications are huge for you personally, not only financially but legally.

    Realtor-Referral

    Online Realtor referral sites do not filter and promote only Realtors who are experienced, professional, competent, and honest. Realtor referral sites have one and only one qualification: Money. Realtors who pay get promoted. The many referral sites claim to qualify Realtors or want to give you that impression, but they do not. You’ve heard the rule, “Follow the money.” Never was that more true than on these Realtor referral sites. Randomly hiring a Realtor from a Realtor referral site is like tossing the dice and hoping you just get lucky and end up with a qualified and honest Realtor.

    Realtor Referral Sites

    There are many Realtor referral sites online, such as Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com, Homelight.com, AgentSearch.com, Yelp.com, AgentHarvest.com, MyAgentFinder.com, TopAgentsRanked.com, UpNest.com, and there are many others.

    HomeAdvisor.com is a similar type of referral site for home contractors, but it suffers from the same kind of disqualifying lack of credibility–whoever pays gets promoted. It’s all about money, not experience, not professionalism, and not integrity.

    Where there is an opportunity to make money, someone will create an organization that appears to help consumers by pre-qualifying professionals and filtering out the bad ones. It sounds like a good idea, and it is, but consumers are unwilling to pay for such a service, so where does the business make its money? From the professionals it is supposedly rating. Will business owners pay to be rated badly? No. But they will pay to show up on these sites so consumers will think they have been vetted and hire them.  Read the rest of this entry »

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  • Filed under: Buyer's Agent
  • Architectural Chaos

    There is such as thing as architectural chaos. It’s hard to define, but I’m reminded of how Justice Stewart Potter described pornography in a 1964 Supreme Court case. He famously said, “I know it when I see it.” That’s how architectural chaos is. It would be virtually impossible to define, but I definitely know it when I see it.

    Architectural Chaos

    Architectural Chaos

    I showed three homes yesterday to a couple who are very excited about moving to the Sequim area, and each of the three homes was unique and substantially different than the others. The first home was nice and fairly traditional, but as we walked through the home, nothing happened. In other words, it wasn’t emotionally thrilling, exciting, or moving. It was just a floor plan. Nothing weird, but nothing particularly noteworthy. 

    The second home we walked through was a delight from the moment we walked in the front door. There was no architectural chaos in this home. This was a home built in the ’70s, but the floor plan was especially pleasing. It was a little different than the traditional living room, dining room, kitchen combo, but it was somehow very pleasing on a deep emotional level. The kitchen and dining room had been remodeled nicely, and everything seemed to flow. This is what really wise architects do. A great architect creates a floor plan that flows and is pleasing to the emotions and the subconscious. On paper, the average person cannot tell the difference, but when you walk through a home with architectural chaos, your spirit will know it immediately. You may not be able to define it, but when you see it, you’ll know it.

    Architectural Chaos Not Limited to Older Homes

    The third home we viewed was a modern home, probably 40 years newer than the second home, and it was built with excellent materials and workmanship. But . . . this home instantly sent messages of architectural chaos to me and my clients. It was subconscious at first, but then as we walked around the home and discussed its features, the good, the bad, and the ugly, we began to recognize the architectural chaos we were feeling deep inside.

    A good architect will not create architectural chaos, but clients often have an idea they will insist an architect put to paper. What’s an architect to do if the client insists on a certain floor plan if the client is the boss and the client is signing the checks? 

    This home had a combination of big archways Spanish style adjacent to contemporary obtuse angles and something that appeared to be a combination of several architectural styles. The result was architectural chaos that you could feel, but not necessarily describe. No wonder this home had been on the market for a long time. While no one probably understood why this home had not sold for a long time in a very hot market when almost everything was selling, I believe the reason had more to do with architectural chaos than anything else.

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    The Key to Happiness

    I’ve reflected on how it is that happiness is so prevalent in Sequim among so many retirees. I’ve written about how Sequim is the happiest place I’ve ever lived, and my own research in communicating with hundreds of Sequim residents who have retired in Sequim from all over the United States has proven that many others feel the same. A national survey by the Huffington Post concluded that Sequim, Washington is the Number One Place in the U.S. to Grow Old and Be Happy. [Read Happiness in Sequim.]

    Happiness

    Happiness in Sequim

    In an earlier article I wrote, “While the list of things in Sequim that contribute to our happiness are important, I think retirees who move to Sequim have figured something else out from a lifetime of conscientious learning and growing. I think they figured out how to answer the question, “how can I be happy?” [Read How Can I Be Happy?]

    Years ago Sequim was named one of the 10 best places to retire in America in a national travel magazine. Here’s what I think. Happiness in a place is not just the result of a wonderful climate and weather, or great recreational opportunities, or one’s career work or retirement activities–it is also and primarily the result of a person’s deepest beliefs about happiness. Happy people have a way of thinking that is different than unhappy people. 

    Happiness a Key to a Wonderful Retirement

    Life’s journey is different for each of us, but I believe our elder years are meant to be the best years of our lives. Wisdom comes with age, if we are teachable and humble. There’s a peace and contentment that comes with a lifetime of experiencing life in all its dimensions. We gain a control over our emotions, and we have balance and moderation in our lives. There is more stability and predictability, less stress and uncertainty. We know what we want, how to live, and what not to do in order to be happy.

    What I find amazing is how so many incredible people are retiring to Sequim. In what is almost mystical, Sequim is attracting extraordinary people, but I don’t think it’s coincidence or happenstance. These are people who know what happiness is, and how to live it, and they know how to find the ideal place suitable for a retirement that is full of happiness. These are people who are mature on every level, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. [I recommend my book Manage Your Energy Not Your Time.]

    I’ve lived in Sequim for 22 years, and I am one example of thousands who find living in Sequim to be a big factor in my own happiness. And my work as a real estate broker representing buyers from all over the country brings me a great deal of joy. Working with so many genuinely happy clients is also a big factor in my own happiness.

    What would you attribute to your happiness?

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    What if You Get a Low Appraisal?

    What happens if get a low appraisal that comes in below your purchase price? This could turn into a nightmare scenario, but there is a seasoned approach to handling a low appraisal. First, we’ll look at the immediate consequences, and then we’ll look at the solutions.

    Low Appraisal

    What a Low Appraisal Means

    It does not happen very often, but once in a great while a low appraisal comes in below the purchase price. When that happens, the contract language provides options for the buyer and seller. Upon receiving a low appraisal, the buyer issues a Notice of Low Appraisal to the seller. The Notice of Low Appraisal presents the seller with three options:

    Option 1: Seller hereby gives notice that a reappraisal or reconsideration of value has been completed in an amount not less than the Purchase Price. Buyer shall promptly seek lender’s approval of the reappraised or reconsideration of value.

    Option 2: Seller hereby consents to reduce the Purchase Price to $______ (an amount not more than the amount specified in the appraisal or reappraisal by the original appraiser, or an appraisal by another appraiser acceptable to Buyer’s lender, whichever is higher).

    Option 3: Seller hereby gives notice that Seller rejects Buyer’s notice of low appraiser and (1) will not cause a reappraisal or reconsideration of value to be completed; and (2) does not consent to a reduction of the Purchase Price.

    Overcoming a Low Appraisal

    While these look like logical options for a seller, and they are, there really is only one practical option for a seller in this real estate market: lower the price to match the low appraisal value. Why is this the only practical option? 

    I represented a buyer in the purchase of their home in Sequim, and the appraisal came in $30,000 less than the agreed price, which was just under $400,000. That was a surprise to all of us. The sellers were quite disappointed naturally, but here’s why their only practical remedy was to accept the lower price.

    The buyer’s lender will only extend a loan based on the loan to value ratio (i.e. 80%) of the purchase price or the appraisal value, whichever is lower. The only way a buyer could pay a higher price above the appraised value is if the buyer came up with the additional cash for the difference. In this case, the buyer would have to come up with their 20% down payment of the appraised value plus an additional $30,000 in cash to make up the difference. That simply doesn’t work for most buyers, and buyers would generally be adverse to paying more than the appraised value anyway.

    If a seller chooses the reappraisal option, the entire closing will have to be extended for weeks to have time for another appraiser to come in and then what do you get? You get a second appraisal that probably comes in fairly close to the first appraisal since they are using the same sales comps and replacement costs in their evaluation. If the second appraisal comes in higher, you would still have the challenge of getting the buyer’s lender (the underwriter) to accept the second appraisal, and that simply may not happen. Meanwhile everyone’s plans have been delayed by weeks, and the buyer’s are in a nightmare scenario, because they have no place to live during all of this, and the seller’s probably packed everything up in boxes and are practically moved out of the home. In addition, the sellers are also probably buyers for a home where they intend to move to, and that is means they have another pending transaction that will have to have the closing date extended, and that might not work for those sellers.

    In my buyer’s transaction, the sellers did agree to reduce the price by $30,000, and everyone will be able to move on with their plans. A low appraisal is rare, but when it does happen, it is unfortunate for the sellers especially. The practical solution in most cases of a low appraisal is for the sellers to agree to reduce the price. There are exceptions to this rule, but those exceptions are as rare as the low appraisal itself.

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  • Filed under: Appraisals
  • Do You Want Cows or Horses or Sheep?

    Cows are a common sight on the Olympic Peninsula, including Sequim, Port Angeles, and Port Townsend. Many who move to this area want a little acreage, and enjoy having a horse, or a cow or two, and perhaps some sheep or goats. Chickens are also popular. If you’ve lived in a condo or on a postage sized lot in the Bay area or any metropolitan area, you may long to have room to breath and have a few animals. Moving from Los Angeles to Sequim is like a breath of fresh air literally, and walking around on two acres in Sequim is like being set free after sharing a neighborhood area no bigger than a prison playground.

    Cows

    No wonder many who retire to Sequim want to spread their wings and have some cows or a horse or some sheep. Some retirees have told me they feel like they are free for the first time in decades. I understand the feeling. I have a cow and two sheep on my 2.58 acres.

    Cows and Covenants

    If you do want cows or other animals, make sure the property you want to buy does not prohibit animals in the covenants. Of course, if you’re looking at property in the city limits of Sequim or Port Angeles, the zoning code prohibits farm animals.

    It’s not easy to find a property that is suitable for animals like horses and cows and sheep, but you do need enough acreage to support the animals, and there are other obvious questions about fencing, grass, watering (and irrigation if the property is within the water management area). We don’t have any pig farms in the area, but if you intend to have a “sounder of swine” you’ll need to do a lot of due diligence, because you could get some push back from neighbors.

    Cows and Lawn Mowers

    If you have several acres as I do, you may want a couple of grazing cows or other animals to keep the grass in the fields neatly mowed right up to the fences and around the fence posts. I don’t have to mow or use a weed eater in my fields, because the cows and sheep do all the work, and they do an exceedingly good job.

    The other important feature to look for would be a small barn or horse stalls, or at least shelter that can protect the animals during storms. Cows and horses are tough, but in cold or rainy weather, they do need shelter.

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  • Filed under: Farmland
  • Do Buyers Owe a Realtor Loyalty?

    Loyalty is earned, not automatically deserved. This subject comes up periodically because some buyers have the mistaken notion that they owe their undivided loyalty to the first Realtor they talk to, and other buyers will use several Realtors at the same time with no sense of loyalty at all. The first approach is not wise if you want good representation, and the second is unfair to the Realtors. So where is the balance?

    Loyalty

    How do we define loyalty, or where is the line in the sand that defines when a buyer owes their Buyer’s Agent undivided loyalty? This article is less concerned with a Realtor’s hurt feelings than it is on focusing on what is right and reasonable and courteous, consistent with a buyer’s best interests.

    When is Loyalty Owed?

    First, it is surprising that some buyers will hire the first Realtor they talk to with no research, no due diligence, and no idea if that Realtor has a foundation of real estate knowledge, or if they are competent, professional, honest, good with contracts and legal language, understand the extensive due diligence a buyer needs help with, are top notch negotiators, and have good communication skills. Believe it or not, according to the National Association of Realtors about 85% of buyers hire the first Realtor they talk to on the phone, no questions asked. With the power of the Internet today, there really is no excuse for not doing research on your buyer’s agent to help you filter agents in the very beginning, so the question of whether a Realtor has begun to earn loyalty should be addressed right away. Even if the answers are positive with your preliminary research online, an agent has not yet earned your undying loyalty. [Read about Loyalty at Buyer Beware.]  Read the rest of this entry »

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  • Filed under: Buyer's Agent
  • What About Discount Real Estate Commissions?

    The topic of discount real estate commissions comes up in articles published a couple times a year by journalists, which then enourages FSBOs (For-Sale-By-Owners) to try to sell their own homes or find a broker who offers discount real estate commissions. I’m a real estate broker and real estate attorney (ret.) who is in constant pursuit of the truth on all things real estate (and in the rest of my life). Because of misconceptions about discount real estate commissions, today I want to share some important truisms on this subject.

    Discount Real Estate Commissions

                       Discount Real Estate Commissions Offered by Brokers

    Discount Real Estate Commissions Working?

    There are a number of brokers across the country experimenting with discount real estate commissions (as well as multi-level commissions or “profit sharing” as they like to call it), but none are setting the world on fire or attracting top talent. A full time professional Realtor cannot make a living if they only get paid $50 for showing a house and $100 to present an offer. That’s simply not a sustainable service. [Read about one broker offering Discount Real Estate Commissions.]

    Redfin is the largest brokerage offering discount real estate commissions, and they have struggled to survive, although they’ve been in business for 10 years. Today they are still not profitable, which means they are losing money every year. Their investors are still hoping that someday Redfin will become profitable, but it hasn’t happened after a decade. It is not a sustainable business model. [Read more about Redfin’s failure.]

    Another Seattle broker offers discount real estate commissions by listing property for a flat fee of $350.00. For that the property owner gets their property listed in the Northwest MLS, plus they get a little sign and some flyers. I’ve personally interviewed a half dozen people who used that service over the past decade, and all of them were angry at what they perceived to be misrepresentations in the services they thought they were going to get, and none of them sold their homes with that service. Read the rest of this entry »

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    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
    ChuckMarunde@gmail.com
    Search Sequim Blog

    Who is Chuck Marunde?

    Chuck Marunde is the #1 Sequim Buyer's Agent, having sold more homes (by volume) to buyers than any other agent or any "team" of agents for the past seven years. He is the author of thousands of articles for buyers on this real estate blog, and he is the author of several real estate books for buyers and one for sellers. He is the creator of many free tools that buyers use and love every day. He is recognized as a national expert on real estate transactions, marketing, and negotiating. Please schedule your appointment to view homes with Chuck well in advance of arriving in Sequim.

    How to Search the Best MLS

    From Los Angeles

    It's rare, but once in awhile life provides the perfect collaborator for an important endeavor such as buying your new home. For me that person was Chuck Marunde. His two decade background as a Real Estate Attorney, his prolific career as an author of articles and books on Real Estate and his forthright and moral character made choosing Chuck a no-brainer. Chuck is dedicated, thorough, incredible at the negotiating table, knowledgeable about all local laws & regs but, most importantly, Chuck loves what he does. And what he does is find his client the perfect property. Chuck isn't about making the sale, he's about making the sale that is OPTIMUM for his CLIENT and this makes Chuck a rare bird indeed. I love my new home in Sequim and I am indebted to Chuck for making it happen. Kevin E.

    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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