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How Much Should I Offer: What is Fair Market Value

How can I know the fair market value of a home, and how much should I offer for a home in Sequim? Why is this important? Because when you do find the perfect home, you will have to filter through many prices in order to decide how much you will offer. There is a listed price, a tax assessor’s price, the seller’s purchase price, the cost of replacement, the price of comparable sales, and there may even be a formal appraiser’s price. So how much will you offer?

What is Fair Market Value

Fair Market Value

How to Calculate Fair Market Value

Chuck Marunde’s brand new book, Buying Your Retirement Home And How Much To Offer, shares for the first time the keys to calculating true fair market value. When you find your ideal retirement home, you need to know how much to offer, and you cannot rely on the listed price to do that. The listed price is the seller’s price, the price the seller hopes to get, and it may or may not be fair market value. It may be the price the listing agent suggested, but even that doesn’t guarantee it is true fair market value.

The last thing you want to do as you move into the next exciting phase of your life is over pay for a home. You need a way to understand the various methods used to arrive at price, and this new ebook will help you do exactly that. Submitting an offer on a home is not about guessing at the price. For only $2.99 you can learn from nationally recognized real estate expert Chuck Marunde. Chuck got started in real estate four decades ago, has been a real estate attorney for 20 years (ret.), and is an author of many real estate books. Chuck is a Buyer’s Agent in Sequim, and this is good news for retirees coming to Sequim. Many seek to retain Chuck as their Buyer’s Agent months before they arrive in Sequim.

You can learn all about fair market value in Buying Your Retirement Home And How Much To Offer on Amazon. As with all of Chuck’s eBooks, you get free updates forever.

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  • Filed under: Listing Price
  • Sequim Cell Phone Towers

    Sequim cell phone towers and cell phone antennas are everywhere, as they are all over the country now. While is it great to have good cell phone reception, which requires cell phone towers, it has also come to our attention that the powerful electric and magnetic emissions from these towers and from our cell phones, our computers, and our wireless networks in our homes are a cause for concern. There are studies indicating that many health dangers are present.

    Sequim Cell Phone Towers

    It is a good idea to do a search of Sequim cell phone towers based on the address of the prospective home you might buy. Not far from where I live, a couple built a brand new house about two years ago, and about six months ago Verizon installed a new mini-tower or antenna on a large telephone pole directly adjacent to their home. The tower is on Kitchen-Dick Road, and it is literally on the boundary of their property. I measured the distance from the pole to the house on Google satellite, and it is only 109 feet. If the bedroom is on that end of the house, this innocent couple is being radiated the entire time they are trying to sleep at night, not to mention all the electro-magnetic emissions that are penetrating the whole house 24/7.

    The Search for Sequim Cell Phone Towers

    I have a tester that shows electric and magnetic levels, and based on our own government’s warnings and standards, the levels I have tested in areas near some of these towers and electric power lines are often 100 times above what is safe for humans. Some of these Sequim cell phone towers emit massive amounts of electro-magnetic waves. People wonder why they are having all these unexplainable health issues, like headaches, discomfort in the hips or joints, short term memory losses, shortness of breath, digestive problems, constant diarrhea, sleep apnea, and the list goes on and on. Doctors take test after test, and they prescribe this drug and then another drug, but no one can figure out what’s going on. Sound familiar? 

    I was shocked when I measured what my wireless modem was emitting throughout the house, especially when I was sitting right at the computer. I was shocked when I measured what my microwave oven emits, my TV screen, and my laptop. Thank God I am 1,423 feet from that new tower on Kitchen-Dick Road. 

    I’m not wanting to put the fear of microwaves into anyone who intends to buy their retirement dream home in Sequim, but isn’t it worth doing a search for the nearest Sequim cell phone towers to make sure you’re planned retirement in Paradise doesn’t turn into unexplainable health issues, one after another?

    Do your own research. Don’t take my word for anything. Youtube has many great videos on these subjects, as well as some wacky videos that fall into the category of conspiratorial. If we have excessive levels hitting us now, wait until they launch the new massive network called “5G.” That is going to be many multiples of what we are now bombarded with. In any event, I hope this article is helpful and is part of your important due diligence when you shop for a home in Sequim. 

    By the way, I hope you’ll consider hiring me as your Sequim Buyer’s Agent. As you can see, I work very hard to provide you with everything you need to make wise decisions when buying a home in Sequim.

    Sequim cell phone towers. Who knew?

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    Is My Retirement Account Safe So I Can Move to Sequim?

    Many believe that their retirement account is their life blood, especially when it comes to retiring in Sequim and buying a home, right? There are many excellent registered financial advisers, and I hope you have one, but what do they all say when the stock market starts to crash? They don’t warn you to sell. Instead, they tell you that you must hang in there, not panic, and that this is a buying opportunity. They could be right.

    Unless they are wrong, and this is the beginning of a long market crash. If we are in the beginning of a long market decline, then this definitely would not be a time to pour more of your money into the market. In fact, it would be a time to sell what you have in the market already to protect yourself from massive losses and the depletion of your retirement account, your future security. Yesterday the DOW went down over 1,000 points in a single day. Wow!

    Retirement Account in This Market?

    Retirement Account

    Retirement Account

    I’m not a registered financial adviser now, although I was years ago, and I’m not giving you financial or retirement advice in this article. You need to make your own decisions and you undoubtedly have your own financial advisers, so I recommend you seek your own financial and retirement advice from your own experts.

    I would like to say that the answers you get are only as good as the questions you ask, so make sure you’re asking the right questions. I recommend listening to some contrarians and not just those who keep telling you to keep all your money in the stock market and put more in the stock market when the market goes down. Here’s one smart contrarian, and you might benefit from his video Market Down 1,000 Points. This video below is worth watching as Harry Dent talks about what is coming in our market. 

    Why would I write about your retirement account on this real estate blog? Because most of my buyer clients are retirees moving to Sequim, and they are relying on their retirement account to be able to do this. What if, and this is only a what if, the stock market and your retirement account went down 50%? What is your financial adviser telling you now? I hope and pray you are getting good advise.

    I’ll tell you one thing. If I were planning to retire in Sequim and buy a home, I wouldn’t dilly dally too long. If I had a million dollars in the stock market, and the market went down 30%, I would be kicking myself, because I could have bought a $300,000 home in Sequim if I had sold at the right time and not rode the market down. I’m just saying. 

    The older we get, the more conservative we ought to be with our investments and our retirement account. It’s too hard to start all over when we get older, if not impossible. I hope you are getting solid advice on your retirement account. 

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  • Filed under: Investing
  • Buyer Checklist After You Have Mutual Acceptance

    This is a buyer checklist on what to do after you have reached mutual acceptance with the seller. In other words, once you have a fully signed agreement and you and the seller have agreed on the price and all terms and signed and initialed the purchase and sale agreement (PSA) and all the relevant addendums for your transaction, what happens next? This is the buyer checklist I share with my buyers as a Sequim Buyer’s Agent.

    Buyer Checklist

    Buyer Checklist

    After you have mutual acceptance:

    1. The countdown for all deadlines starts the day after you have mutual acceptance. So the day after is day 1.
    2. As your buyer’s agent I deliver a fully signed copy of the agreement to the designated escrow company the day of (if it isn’t too late) or the next morning.
    3. The escrow company opens a file and gives a copy of the agreement to their title plant. The title plant or the title company begins a comprehensive search of all records, liens, judgments, and encumbrances that effect the property.
    4. Once the escrow company has opened their file, you as the buyer need to deposit the earnest money with the escrow company right away. State law requires the deposit to be made within 3 business days, but I like to say that the deposit should be made without delay. You can deliver a check to the escrow company, but for most of my out-of-town buyers, it is more efficient to simply wire the earnest money into the escrow company’s trust account. When I email the title company your PSA, I ask them in that email to email you and give you wiring instructions, unless you are local, in which case you can hand deliver the check to them.
    5. If you’re getting a loan, you should immediately email a copy of the full agreement to your mortgage broker or loan officer. This is important, because the loan process is the longest process taking up to 30 days or 45 days for a VA loan. Your mortgage broker has to bring in other parties at his end, like a loan processor, an appraiser through an appraisal management company, and a loan underwriter.
    6. The next step that should be done right away is to call a home inspector and schedule the home inspection. You can do this yourself, or you can delegate this to me. I can refer you to a home inspector if you don’t know one, and for your information I never receive any referral fee or any benefit from any home inspectors. There are several good ones, but I can give you two right here who always do very thorough inspections and clients love them. One is Tyler Zimmel, and the other is Chuck Bishop. You can find both of them and their emails and phone numbers on a Google search. The cost of a home inspection is $350 to $400.
    7. The seller will be obligated under the standard terms of our agreements to order the septic inspection report at the seller’s expense. The seller will usually pay $150 to $250 for this inspection. This item is not so much a part of the buyer checklist, but it’s good to know who does what.
    8. If the property is on a municipal water system, you don’t have to worry about ordering a private well inspection, but if the property does have a private well, you have the option of ordering a water flow test and a water quality test for bacteria and nitrates. That inspection would be at your expense, and you can either order it yourself, or you can delegate it to me. Brother’s Plumbing and Integrity Pumps both do great work. The cost of this inspection is usually less than $250.

    Buyer Checklist Additions

    There are other addendum that we use, depending on the transaction. There’s a Title Addendum, a Feasibility Addendum, and at least 80 more legal addendum that we have in our documents inventory. It’s critical that your buyer’s agent knows exactly which addendum you will need for your own protection. I’m thankful I was a real estate attorney for 20 years, because this gives my buyers a huge advantage.

    Depending how each inspection goes, there will be inspection responses we need to put in writing, and there may be sub-inspections we add to the buyer checklist that need to be ordered if a red flag is triggered. But you don’t have to have all this figured out in advance. This is one of the reasons you hire an experienced buyer’s agent.

    Of course, part of what I do is answer my clients’ questions along the way, help them with the inspections, attend inspections they cannot attend on their behalf, and advise them at each step. I hope this little buyer checklist is helpful to you.

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  • Filed under: Buyer's Agent
  • How much due diligence should you do before you submit an offer to the seller? First, let’s make sure we’re on the same sheet of music by defining “due diligence.” Due diligence is the research you will want to do on a home and the property before you close on the transaction. The bottom line is you need to know if there are any serious issues that would cause you to walk away from the property, which is all part of doing your due diligence.

    Due diligence usually includes a home inspection, a septic inspection (if outside a municipal system), a well inspection (if private), a review of the title by examining the preliminary title report, a possible neighborhood review, and perhaps a feasibility review. One of these inspections could trigger another sub-inspection of a specialist. The standard contingency addendums don’t include provisions for a survey or a boundary line review, but you may need to know more about the precise property boundaries.

    Septic System Inspection

    Due Diligence Before Closing

    All of these inspections or investigations are part of the due diligence process, and all of these must be done prior to closing the transaction. Some cannot be done before an offer is submitted and before the buyer and seller have reached a full agreement on the price and terms. For example, a full home inspection is not something a seller allows a buyer to do unless they already have an agreement signed. [I recommend reading some of my articles about due diligence at Due Diligence for Buyers.] 

    Also, a seller is not going to allow a buyer to dig holes on the property (perc tests) or to do other potentially destructive investigations unless the buyer has committed to buy the property subject to his contingencies. Sellers don’t really care about the buyer’s due diligence process. The seller is focused on selling and an acceptable selling price.

    There clearly is some due diligence that a buyer can do on the Internet that will help answer some key questions, like what the plat looks like, the length and width of the property in feet, what an aerial view of the property looks like from a satellite, and a buyer can also look at all the property records from the country building department. But these are things that can be done by a buyer online and do not require an addendum with special language giving them permission to do that kind of research.

    Due Diligence Before The Offer

    I’ve learned something interesting about buyers over the decades. Buyers have different levels of comfort or discomfort. Most buyers have no issue with reaching mutual acceptance first with the seller, and then doing their inspections based on the terms of the addendums attached. But there are a few buyers who feel the need to know the outcome of these investigations before they draft and submit an offer to the seller.

    First, if you do weeks of due diligence studies before even submitting an offer, the property could sell out from under you. End of story. If the property was an ideal property for you, you just lost it because you wanted to put the cart before the horse. We could have locked the property up by obtaining mutual acceptance and then doing the inspections under the contract terms. Don’t forget, if your inspections are not acceptable to you, you can simply terminate and get your earnest money back.

    Second, contractually all your due diligence is already part of the inspection addendums with specific guidelines and timelines. In other words, you will get to do all the inspections and due diligence you want to, but the contracts in Washington have a process and timeline for inspections, and these come after you have mutual acceptance, not before.

    Third, if you intend to use your investigation results to get the seller to come way down on their price, think again. It may sound like a reasonable strategy, but in this market it has never been an effective strategy. For example, you could prove there is not much merchantable timber on the property around the house, but I’ve never seen a seller agree to reduce the price based on your printed report that you paid a forester/timber cruiser to do.

    Here are more examples. A written contractor report that you will have to paint the outside of the house in the next two years, or that the composition shingles may need replacing in the next 7 years never justify a huge reduction in price from a seller’s perspective.

    The point is, if you are hoping to use your pre-offer investigations to submit a low ball offer, think again. I’m not saying it isn’t a legitimate way to think. I love negotiating, and I have 40 years of negotiating experience. I’m just saying in 23 years in this market in Sequim and Port Angeles and Port Townsend, that has never worked. Sellers have an idea of what their home is worth, and when they list it, they have no doubt done some extensive comparative market analyses, and perhaps they have reviewed their own hard costs in the land and construction of the house. Try as you might to justify a much lower offer, and the seller is going to hold out for a buyer who will come closer to their price, and eventually that does happen.

    Which brings us back to the way offers are normally handled. The buyer makes their offer, and the seller can accept, reject, or counter. Then the buyer can respond, and you may have an offer go back and forth a few times. But if you try to persuade the seller that his price is way too high with your own inspectors and studies, the seller is just going to walk away and wait for the next buyer.

    Of course, if you cannot see your way to justify a price the seller can accept, then you must walk away, too. 

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    Sequim Broker Reaches Out to Sellers

    This Sequim broker is reaching out to homeowners to find listings for buyers. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that our home inventory in the MLS is very low, and buyers are having a hard time finding the ideal home. 

    Sequim Broker Marketing System

    The ideal home most retirees are looking for in the Sequim area is a single level, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,800 to 2,200 square foot home, open floor plan, and a modern kitchen on a nice lot with some privacy. Unfortunately, this home doesn’t exist in our inventory. Buyers from around the U.S. have been hiring Chuck Marunde as their Sequim broker to help them find their home, but many cannot find it, because it doesn’t exist in the inventory. 

    As a result, Chuck Marunde is reaching out to homeowners in the Sequim area to seek home listings for these buyers. With the largest marketing system online of any Sequim broker, it only makes sense for iRealty to find homes for our buyers. 

    Sequim Broker Marketing System for Sellers

    Sequim Broker

    Click on Image to Open Full Size

    To help homeowners understand how they benefit from a large marketing system built over a 10 year period specifically for buyers, Chuck is offering local Sequim homeowners a free copy of his latest eBook, The Seven Myths of Selling Your Home. If you are planning to sell your home, you can also get a free copy of this eBook, even if you are in another state. See the instructions on the bottom of the enlarged image above. 

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    Buying a Home with a Revocable Trust

    If you are buying your retirement home in Sequim or Port Angeles (or anywhere in the U.S. for that matter), and if you are going to apply for a loan, you will be required by the lender to make the loan application in your personal name, not the name of a trust.  The real estate offer and the loan application must have the exact same buyer.  There are some exceptions, most notably if you are paying all cash, you can title the real estate any way you want.

    Regardless of how you buy your home, a living revocable trust is a great estate planning tool that will save stress, legal fees and costs, and delays.

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  • Filed under: Legal Q&A
  • When Home Sellers Chase the Price Down

    What does it mean to chase the price down? For a home seller it means reducing the listing price again and again, but each time they are just behind the market trend, and instead of being on the front edge and getting their home sold, they are behind a market pull back every time they reduce their listing price. Here this description in more detail in this audio.

    Chase The Price

    If you are in a market where the market has topped out and is beginning to pause and begin a downward trend, you need to get your listing price right or you could end up chasing the price down and ultimately lose a lot of money.

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    Failed Real Estate Advertising to Sell Your Home

    Real estate advertising is obviously an important subject when it comes to selling your home, and that is true wherever you home is located in the United States. Every market is unique to some extent, and advertising that might work in one market may not work so well in another market, but there is one universal truth that all sellers should know with certainty today. Print advertising and especially newspaper advertising is dead.

    Real Estate Advertising

    If you’re planning to retiree in Sequim and buy a home, and you must sell your home in California or Colorado or Florida, you’ve got to have good advertising and an effective marketing system to highly qualified buyers. You will rely on your listing Realtor to have extensive real estate knowledge and vast marketing knowledge, and a great marketing system to qualified buyers. Let me add the obvious here–you’ve got to have sufficient discernment yourself to filter though listing Realtors to find and hire those who are qualified.

    Real Estate Advertising

    In my podcast above, you’ll hear my 40 years of experience on the subject of advertising with a focus on print advertising and its ineffectiveness today to sell real estate. Real estate advertising is important, but you’ve got to know what works and doesn’t work.

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    The Home Buying Process

    The home buying process can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t bought a lot of homes. Even if you’ve bought a couple of homes in different parts of the country, the home buying process is always unique to a local real estate market. This podcast gives you an overview of the home buying process from A to Z.

    Home Buying Process

    As I said on this podcast, you really need to do a good job with your due diligence. Buying a home is not a time to make any big mistakes, especially if you are retiring. Who wants a nightmare in retirement? So I always recommend finding a very professional buyer’s agent with experience and integrity, and I always recommend hiring a local mortgage broker. Buying a home is hard enough without mistakes or lack of knowledge that could cost you your dream home, and when I say “lack of knowledge,” I’m not referring to you, but to the professionals you hire.

    Master the home buying process with the right professionals, and everything will go as smoothly as it possibly can, which still means no transaction is going to be a cake walk.

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  • Filed under: Buyers
  • How to Choose a Real Estate Broker

    Choosing a Sequim real estate broker is harder than most people realize. Choosing a real estate broker requires some research skills, a certain level of discernment, and this is true whether you’re a buyer or a seller. Here’s a fun video that I think you’ll enjoy. I just updated it, because I realized you needed to see more proof or more evidence that we are who we say we are. It highlights a few of the best things iRealty Virtual Brokers does for buyers and sellers, but you might be surprised at how much we do for our clients. We do many things no other Sequim brokers do at all, and we have been setting the pace for a decade now with many firsts in our market.

    Real Estate Broker Video

    But watch the video for yourself, and if you want a free copy of our latest eBook entitled The Seven Myths of Selling Your Home, just email me (chuckmarunde@gmail.com) and tell me which eBook version you want (iBooks, Kindle, Kobe, Nook), and be sure to use “eBook Request” in the subject of your email. You must be a Sequim resident to qualify for the free ebook. Be sure to include your Sequim address in your email for proof.

    To get the most out of this video, you should enlarge it to fill your screen.

    Included in this eBook is our 26-point checklist for choosing a real estate broker. This is a full book with the paperback version over 270 pages. This eBook version includes more material than the paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon.

    Find Your Real Estate Broker

    There are plenty of real estate brokers in the field, but how will you filter them? One real estate broker is not necessarily like another real estate broker. After you’ve done your due diligence, I hope you’ll choose iRealty as your Sequim real estate broker.

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  • Homeowner Associations: Nightmare of Nightmares

    Homeowner associations are a hot topic. Having dealt with them for decades as an attorney and as a Realtor, I think buyers like you might want to know what I’ve learned so you can protect yourself when you buy a home or condo.

    I would classify homeowner associations into three general patterns. First, are the rural homeowner associations that do nothing. They may have a common road, but they have no club, no other facilities, and no dues other than a small annual road maintenance fee. Their board exists but doesn’t have to do much, and the President of the HOA (homeowners association) is a very nice person who willingly took the position but didn’t really want it. He took it because someone has to do it. My experience tells me that in a rural area, this kind of HOA makes up about 70% of the associations. I’m in a HOA like this, and I am so grateful for our president and the board members for all they do. I love living in my neighborhood, and the fact that contentious HOA issues are conspicuously missing is a huge plus for me.

    homeowner associations

    Second, are the busy homeowner associations with facilities and common property that needs to be maintained, and business that needs to be addressed every week or every other week. The president and the board members are a little more sophisticated than the small rural HOA that doesn’t have to do anything, but even these board members typically don’t have much, if any, experience related to running homeowner associations. They are usually people with professional careers, so they often have related experience and they learn what they don’t know. They are usually kind and truly want to help the homeowners enjoy life in their neighborhood. The president of this kind of HO is a nice man or woman who is a leader with some management experience and is very sincere in doing a good job for everyone. Like the president in the first group, this president is not selfish or arrogant. He or she  is a considerate person, and the homeowners are blessed to have such a president. I’m estimating that in a rural area, this group makes up about 25% of the HOAs.

    Homeowner Associations Gone Wild

    Third, and I’ve saved the nightmare for last, are the homeowner associations with a Hitler for president. This president could be either a man or woman, but oddly enough it is nearly always a man. Thank God this group in a rural area only includes about 5% of the total number of HOAs. Unfortunately, because this group tends to be larger, it typically includes and affects a lot more homeowners than the other smaller groups. What makes this one a nightmare?

    In most residential neighborhoods, the vast majority of people are busy living their lives and minding their own business. They have families to take care of, careers to attend to, and even retirees find ways to fill their time every day of the week. Such good people are not thinking, “I want to be president of the HOA. I want to be in charge here.” In fact, that’s the last thing on their minds.

    There is another kind of personality that does strive to become the next HOA president. He wants it. He needs it. He has a deep need for recognition, for power, for control, and he can be ruthless in pressing his agendas. I’ve seen this president in a number of homeowner associations over the past four decades, and it is so unpleasant for the majority of homeowners. I wish this kind of profile was not real, but believe me, this is a very real profile, and you probably ought to at least be aware of this president if you are planning to buy a home in a neighborhood where he is president.

    There is a personality profile defined as the “narcissistic personality disorder.” Here is how the Mayo Clinic describes it:

    Narcissistic personality disorder — one of several types of personality disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

    Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and the severity of symptoms vary. The Mayo Clinic continues. People with the disorder can:

    • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
    • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
    • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
    • Exaggerate achievements and talents
    • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
    • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
    • Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
    • Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
    • Take advantage of others to get what they want
    • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
    • Be envious of others and believe others envy them
    • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
    • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office

    At the same time, people with narcissistic personality disorder have trouble handling anything they perceive as criticism, and they can:

    • Become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special treatment
    • Have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted
    • React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior
    • Have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior
    • Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change
    • Feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection
    • Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation [Source: Mayo Clinic]

    Far too many elderly couples, widows, widowers, as well as younger homeowners, have been subjected to homeowner associations with presidents that fit this description to a “T”. 

    It’s a nightmare for homeowners when their president is suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. The president would never acknowledge that he has this mental problem, and who would tell him he suffers from the symptoms? If you did, he would probably take your head off!

    This kind of president creates tremendous dissension and contentiousness over the term of his presidency. Get ready for the bad news. This kind of president wants to continue as president into the next term and the next. What a nightmare! By the way, this kind of president surrounds himself with board members who are sycophants and do whatever he wants them to do. Granted, he makes them think they are independent, but he is the master manipulator. If there are any board members who won’t join his dysfunctional team, he will eventually drive them off the board with all the dissension and viciousness.  Unfortunately, this kind of president also creates division by creating strong allies, and he divides and conquers within the HOA. He manages to turn some issues into heated issues and causes some homeowners to become enemies for life. Listen to me: this kind of president is poison to the entire neighborhood.

    Homeowner Associations – What To Do?

    So what can you do? First, be aware that there are such dysfunctional people running homeowner associations. Second, do your due diligence when you’re shopping for a home and find out what’s going on in the HOA and how the president conducts himself. Talk to some of the homeowners to get the inside scoop. Third, realize there’s nothing you can do if there is such a president. No one wants to run against them. No one wants to fight all the time with such a contentious person, who apparently thrives on such conflict. He may pretend he doesn’t, but he loves power and control, and any challenge to his kingdom will be met with an unpleasant personal attack.

    Fourth, the only thing that really works is to vote against any inappropriate action he wants to take. Rally the homeowners to vote the way they feel is in their best interests, and be a support and encouragement to elderly folks who do not do well with conflict. 

    If you live in one of the 95% HOAs, count your blessings. If you live in the 5% dictatorship, I have empathy for you. You’ll have to learn to live with it while you rally votes to stand against the dictator’s own agendas, which are often hidden and full of self-interest.

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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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    Affordable Real Estate Disappearing?

    Affordable real estate has been an American dream for decades. Economic policies, tax rules, credits, and special loan programs have encouraged home ownership for all Americans, and there have been some periods in which many have been able to buy starter homes, and others have been able to trade up. But there have been some cracks starting to show in the vast financial network that makes up the mortgage industry. There are some data points that indicate legitimate concerns regarding home sales and affordable real estate.

    This affects retirees moving to Sequim, because if you cannot sell your home where you are now, you probably will not be able to move to Sequim and buy a home. There is some trouble on the horizon.

    Affordable Real Estate Data

    Affordable Real Estate

    Affordable Home Prices

    [Source: The Economist Magazine]

    Affordable Real Estate and Home Prices

    Home sales have slowed down dramatically around much of the country. [See many recent articles from around the country at Housing Market Slows Down.] In Canada, the Vancouver market has dropped a dramatic 30% in volume this past month over last year. There is a huge real estate crisis brewing in Australia and in New Zealand. China is said to be on the verge of an economic crisis. Of course, Venezuela is in a massive currency devaluation and their economy has already collapsed. 

    I’ve been saying for several years that interest rates are artificially low, and now suddenly mortgage interest rates have popped and are on the way up after years of historical lows. Combine this with another important long established qualification for buying a home, and we have a problem. It has long been the rule in the mortgage industry that the formula for buying a home is a price that is two to three times a person’s annual income, but because of the increase in housing prices, that formula is broken. In order for a couple to buy a home now in some parts of the country, they have to buy a home ten times their annual income. We are losing the whole concept of affordable real estate. [I recommend this video: The Looming Housing Crisis.]

    Put all this together, and we see some cracks forming. Low housing inventory in some areas, prices that have continued to escalate without a commensurate increase in income, sudden increases in mortgage interest rates, the lack of affordable real estate for the entire millennial generation, and economic threats on the horizon around the world, not to mention our own debt crisis in the U.S., and we can no longer be sure that things will continue as normal. The honest answer is that things are unlikely to continue as they are.

    You can see in the graphic above that Seattle home prices have nearly doubled since 1994. And in San Fransisco that increase was 154%. Millennial incomes have not kept up with these increases, and not just millennials. We are once again at a place where people cannot afford homes. I don’t have young couples buying homes in the Sequim area. My buyers are typically people with substantial net worth and a lot of equity to liquidate in their current homes elsewhere, again because prices have gone up for them. But if these buyers suddenly don’t have buyers for their homes, the music stops, and you can only hope you’re not left standing by yourself. Dreams of retiring in a place like Sequim will go “poof.”

    No one knows what the future holds. Even Peter Schiff who has been forecasting an economic crash, does not know for sure. I certainly am not an alarmist, but here’s something to consider, and take this with a grain of salt. If there is one major crisis somewhere in the world, because of our interconnectedness, it is likely to create a chain reaction of events that we will all feel.

    For example, a war event of any major kind would set off a series of economic consequences, including reverberations in International markets (stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, commodities, futures, currency exchanges, and so on). There would be reactionary fiscal and monetary policies, sudden shifts in national policies, and central banks around the world would re-evaluate their next move and possibly pull back for safety. Travel could be restricted and many people would just hunker down for the remainder of however long it takes to get back to normal. Buying and selling real estate would come to a screeching halt. No one wants to think about war, but the middle east clearly is poised for war. Russia, Turkey, and Iran are experiencing severe economic crisis (meaning they are getting desperate), each have military forces and equipment ready for action, and they are staunch allies in their desire to destroy Israel. On the subject of war, the world is on thin ice.

    If we had a major earthquake that caused great damage in a metropolitan area, the same chain reaction of events would occur across the world and the United States. Most people do not know that earthquake activity on the ring of fire has dramatically increased. [I recommend Dutch Sinise who has a channel on Twitch.TV.]

    If there was a volcanic eruption of epic proportions, the same chain reaction will affect us all. If we have a celestial event (a solar event on the sun, or a meteor event, or a shift in magnetic activity), we would see the same chain reaction. More likely than any of these would be a economic crash in China or elsewhere, and that would cause a chain reaction of catastrophic events affecting home buyers and therefore home sellers. Retirees’ plans to move to Sequim most certainly would be put on hold.

    I hope and plan for the best myself, and I have many great buyer clients coming from around the country to retire and buy their dream home in Sequim. No matter what the future holds, I am absolutely convinced that Sequim is the safest and one of the best places to live anywhere in the world. I have lived in Sequim for 23 years, and I love living here. Like many others who live here, I say that I have no plans to ever move anywhere else in the world. Why would I?

    I want to leave you with this thought. If you are planning to sell your home now and buy a home in the Sequim area or on the Olympic Peninsula, I would not wait too long. A gentleman was in Sequim a couple of weeks ago who just lost his home to the Redding fire. It is unknown whether he can rebuild in Redding, or whether his insurance will cover the full cost of rebuilding, and if he can and does rebuild, will anyone buy a home in the Redding area now? His dreams of retiring to Sequim may be over forever. My point is that if you have a plan you have long been dreaming of implementing, don’t wait too long. You just don’t know what the future holds.

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    Clallam County Faire 2018

    It was a great Clallam County Faire this year, and as always there were plenty of animals, people, and food. Junk food, but still food. The horse show was great. Some of the horses were beautiful, and the young riders rode well.

    The Clallam County Faire is located in Port Angeles, so it’s only a 20 minute drive from Sequim. I couldn’t resist taking some video clips for everyone who couldn’t be there. If you’re in California, you really missed out, but I have a bigger question for you. What are you still doing in California?

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    Sunland Golf Course in Trouble Again?

    The Sunland Golf Club is asking for financial help from the Sunland homeowners again. Have you ever felt like saying, “Here we go again?” Back on January 27, 2010, over eight and a half years ago, I wrote an article entitled Is the Sequim Sunland Golf Course Going Bankrupt?

    Why that title? Because the rumor mill in Sunland was asking that question, and the local newspaper was asking that question, and everyone was getting nervous. I called the club manager and told him I was writing an article and wanted to make sure I had all the facts correct, and he refused to talk to me and said goodbye.

    Sunland Golf Course Issues

    So I wrote a very carefully researched article, interviewed the Sunland HO President and a couple of other involved Sunland residents, and I read the newspaper articles and gathered information about the golf club. That resulted in the article I wrote in 2010 about the Sunland Golf Club.

    On April 10, 2012 I wrote an updated article in which I stated that it appeared that things had calmed down and the club was doing okay. I’m revisiting the subject today, because we are back to the Sunland Golf Club asking the Sunland HO Association for money. The idea being floated is that every homeowner be assessed an additional $300 per year to help the club survive.[Fred Smith, President of the SLHOA, reports that the proposed assessment is $354 over three years.] This is far more serious than most people realize, because in the attempt to get homeowners to agree to an increased assessment is a hidden threat.

    The threat is the power of foreclosure. As assessment is not voluntary, and if you don’t pay an HOA approved assessment, they can get a judgment against you, and a judgment can be used to foreclose on a home. I know this because I was an attorney in Sequim.

    In the 2010 article I wrote, “There are three logical resolutions to this dilemma: 1. all homeowners chip in, 2. Club members ante up and save their Club, or 3. The Club files bankruptcy and liquidates.”

    We will dismiss the third option in this recent skirmish, because the club tells us they are not near bankruptcy. In a recent Sequim Gazette newspaper article dated August 15, 2018, the Sunland Golf Club apparently stated that they are not near bankruptcy, but that “finances of the club are on shaky ground . . . and uncertain.”

    Isn’t it interesting that we are back to the first two options that were on the table 8 1/2 years ago, and the only viable option seems to be that “all homeowners chip in.” Deja Vu! Read the rest of this entry »

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  • Filed under: Sequim Golf
  • Buyer Expectations

    Buyer expectations are an important part of the algorithm for buyers coming to the Sequim area. This is also true for my buyers buying in Port Angeles, or Port Townsend, Port Ludlow, Port Handlock, or also Brinnon or Quilcene. I’ve seen buyer expectations that were not realistic, and that can really derail your plans if you want to buy a home and retire in Sequim. Let me expand on this, because as a buyer you may not be aware of this trap for the unwary buyer, and I’ve come to realize how important this is for buyers to understand.

    Buyer Expectations

    Buyer Expectations #1

    If you are coming from another area in the United States, which almost all of our retirees are, you may have been living in a real estate market that is totally different than the market in Sequim, and that can color your buyer expectations. I’ll give you some real life examples.

    I showed a couple homes over a two day period some time back. They couldn’t find their idea of the “perfect” home, so they had to compromise, and they decided to make an offer on the one that best suited them. Of course, there probably isn’t such a thing as the “perfect home” for anyone. We reached an agreement with the seller and proceeded to do the necessary due diligence. I attended the home inspection on their behalf because they went back to Temecula. The inspection report showed a few minor things that were normal in a home that was 22 years old, but nothing major. Nevertheless, the buyers decided to terminate the transaction because they decided it was too far out of town. It was a 22 minute drive to Safeway from the home. Apparently they were having conversations at home about that, and one of them felt that it would be too far to run to town for a half gallon of milk, because according to the wife, “By the time you go to town, shop for milk, and drive back home, it will take an hour.” 

    Apparently the buyer expectations for them involved being very close to convenient shopping. Okay, I get that. Why did they have those buyer expectations? They had lived within 7 minutes of a grocery store for the last 35 years. I terminated their transactions according to their instructions. They never did buy a home in the Sequim area. Interesting.

    Buyer Expectations #2

    I represented a man from Thousand Oaks, and he had lived in an expensive gated community for over 24 years. He was used to having everything in his neighborhood immaculate and maintained to perfection. He wanted to be up high where he could have both a view and some privacy in Sequim. When we looked at homes in the hills around Sequim, he expressed frustration that the driveways to the homes he liked were gravel and some were “steep” compared to the perfectly level roads he was used to in Thousand Oaks. He worried about being “remote” and getting in and out when it snows. His buyer expectations ultimately killed his move to Sequim. He now rents a small home in Edmonds, north of Seattle. Interesting.

    Buyer Expectations #3

    I had a buyer from a large metropolitan area, and after struggling for months, she finally found the right home. We wrote an offer and reached mutual acceptance with the seller. The home was in nearly perfect condition, and it was in a premium Sequim area. Immediately after the home inspection, she decided to terminate the transaction. Why? She shared that the home had been poorly maintained and there were too many issues of concern. The truth is the home was in extraordinary good condition, had passed the home inspection with flying colors, and the home inspector told me himself he had rarely inspected a home that was so clean and had so little to report. After 23 years in Sequim, I felt the same way. This was the perfect home, if there is such a thing, yet the buyer terminated. Why? Buyer expectations. She expected something that had no blemishes whatsoever, even though this was a “used home” and not brand new construction.

    I’ve also had buyers who did not have a good understanding of roofs, HVAC systems, concrete, septic systems, private wells, drainage, and so on, and yet they didn’t listen to my counsel or the inspector’s opinion. They assumed they had knowledge they did not have, and ultimately they made decisions that were not based on what is true and what I would call “reasonable practices.”

    There are many verses in Proverbs that say we should “surround ourselves with wise counselors.” I am a strong believer in the idea that we should surround ourselves with wise advisers who are also trustworthy. You need to collect all the relevant information you can, and then ultimately you must make the decision that you feel is in your best interests. So here’s my advice for buyers who want to avoid false buyer expectations.

    First, know what you want and what you can afford. Be realistic. Second, find the best Realtor you can with the knowledge and experience you feel will give you what you need. Third, make sure you’ve done your due diligence and that you know how to interview a Sequim buyer’s agent who is absolutely honest, has integrity, and is trustworthy. You would think all buyers would know this, but they do not. Fourth, once you have wise counselors in your corner (your buyer’s agent, your loan office, your home inspector, your well inspector), listen to them. It’s in your own best interests, right? Ultimately, you get to make your own decisions, but make sure your decisions are based on reality, on true facts, and on solid advice.

    I hope this helps you align your buyer expectations with reality and make wise decisions for your future. I’m here to help.

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  • Filed under: Buyer's Agent
  • Sequim Real Estate Podcast

    Sequim real estate podcast is now online for buyers, and you’ll find these podcasts full of a lifetime of real estate knowledge and experience that buyers like you can put to use immediately. If you could pay a real estate attorney and a long time real estate broker to record podcasts answering all of your questions, how much would that be worth to you? Well, guess what? We offer it free for you on a smartphone app you can download free, and the podcasts are free. Darn it, I wish we would stop giving away all these great resources for buyers. Books, thousands of blog articles, videos, photos, podcasts. When will it stop? Never, because we love helping buyers like you, and we’re good at it.

    Real Estate Podcast

    real estate podcast

    Chuck Marunde Real Estate Podcast

    Here’s how you get this free app for your phone. Just go to the app store, and download it. This app is available for iPhones and Androids. Once you have installed it on your phone, search for my last name, “Marunde” and you’ll find this real estate podcast, which is actually called “Chuck Marunde Podcasts”.

    I’ll be adding podcasts to this regularly, but if you want me to address a particular issue or you have any question, just shoot me a text to 360-775-5424 with your question, and I’ll record a podcast for you.

    Sequim real estate podcast. What will they come up with next for buyers?

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    I Want a Home With Chickens

    Chickens are popular in farm country, but what about Sequim? Yes, chickens are popular in Sequim, too. Sequim really is farm country, and some retirees moving to Sequim want a property with chickens.

    Chickens and the CC&Rs

    The key to searching for a property where you can have chickens or other animals is found in the CC&Rs, aka the covenants, conditions and restrictions. I share more about this in this podcast.

    Goats and sheep are popular, too, but some people with larger properties have their horses or cows grazing on the back 40. I’m a typical country hick. I have 2.58 acres all fenced for animals and two horse stables in a little barn. I don’t have any animals now, but I love my property with my panoramic mountain view. I do have a dog, and he does love his little kingdom. 

    If you’re looking at some properties in the Sequim MLS that you hope will allow chickens, email me and I’ll help answer the question.

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  • Filed under: Covenants
  • Sequim Traps for the Unwary Buyer

    When I was practicing real estate law in Sequim I periodically saw clients with a fence line problem. In a rural area like this with some old barbed wire fences from 1947 on boundary lines, you might expect some of those old fences would not be precisely on a surveyed boundary line. Depending on your neighbor, this kind of dispute can be serious or extremely serious. I’ve negotiated amicable resolutions, and I’ve had to litigate fence line disputes and boundary disputes, so I know this issue well. This podcasts is the tip of the iceberg on this subject, but it will help you to be aware of the issues involved.

    You can listen to more of my podcasts at Chuck Marunde Podcasts. I cover a lot of topics and will be adding many more podcasts in the weeks to come. By the way, you might love the smart phone app, which you can download free and listen to all my podcasts anytime you want, like when you’re driving to work on the freeway through L.A. Egad!

    Download the iPhone app at iPhone App.

    Download the Android app at Android App.

    To find me on the app, just search “Chuck Marunde Podcasts”. 

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    Search Sequim Blog

    Chuck E. Marunde, J.D.

    Sequim Buyer's Agent (Atty Ret.)
    Founder and Broker of
    Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate dba iRealty Virtual Brokers
    125 Olympic Ranch Ln, Sequim, WA
    (360) 775-5424
    ChuckMarunde@gmail.com

    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.

    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

    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

    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.
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    Chuck Marunde Text or Call 360-775-5424