Welcome to the largest Sequim Real Estate Blog with over 1,900 articles.
1 May 2016
A homeowners seminar is needed in Sequim. Many homeowners are frustrated because they have not been having a good experience with their listing agent. The real estate business has changed dramatically, and the vast majority of today’s brokers are operating out of a 20 or 30 year old business model. Marketing a home is not what it used to be. Now there are some answers for anyone who wants to sell their home in this homeowners seminar. The lessons apply no matter where you are in the United States.
Local Sequim homeowners (and Port Angeles homeowners too) can register for this homeowners seminar by calling the phone number in the video. The seminar is taught by national real estate expert Chuck Marunde who started in real estate four decades ago. He practiced real estate law for 20 years, and he is the author of many real estate books. Chuck started his career as a teacher, and he is passionate about a little thing called the “truth,” and in real estate that means sharing the truth about real estate marketing today. He founded iRealty Virtual Brokers ten years ago, and the thousands of articles he has published on the Internet have been read by millions. Realtors and attorneys from all over the United States call Chuck for guidance. Now you can take advantage of his knowledge and experience by attending this free homeowners seminar.
If you’re outside the Sequim area or in another state, you may not have the opportunity to attend this homeowners seminar, but you can read Chuck’s book, The Seven Myths of Selling Your Home., in ebook or paperback. Wherever you want to sell a home, anywhere in the country, this book will share insider secrets about the real estate profession, about sales gimmicks, and the kinds of questions you really need to be asking a listing agent when you hire one, including how to interpret the answers they give you. In other words, this book shares what you need to know to be able to discern truth from fiction, honesty from dishonesty, and what kind of marketing works and what does not work. Find out how Chuck became the number selling agent by total dollar amount of homes priced over $200,000 in all of Clallam County, including Sequim and Port Angeles, for the past seven years. Only homeowners may attend. No Realtors.
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30 Apr 2016
Attic ventilation is one of the important items on a long checklist of things to watch for when you buy a home. It’s also important if you have a home built–the home should have the right attic ventilation designed into the home. I learned long ago that the answers you get in life are only as good as the questions you ask. The challenge too often is that we don’t know what questions to ask. This real estate blog with almost 2,000 articles written specifically for Sequim buyers, helps you to know what questions to ask, and then I answer the questions.
I just represented some buyers in the purchase of a home in Sequim, and when the home inspector came down from inspecting the attic, what he shared set off some big alarms. Apparently the owners had someone blow insulation into the attic years ago. The insulation guy covered all the attic soffit vents with insulation. Dumb and very bad. But wait, because it gets better. The vent from the laundry room ended in the attic and for years had been dumping moisture into an attic with no circulation at all. There were no vents at the ends of the attic, and there was no ridge vent. The result was mold in the attic. Not good.
There’s another important reason for good attic ventilation. A hot attic will shorten the life span of composition shingles. Since roofing a typical home in Sequim can cost $12,000 to $18,000, this is a big deal. And of course, a very hot attic can contribute to higher temperatures inside the home.
Soffit vents are required in the eaves under the Uniform Building Code, but you could also have a vent (and even an automatic fan) that vents out the end of the attic or through the roof. Another great way to get good attic ventilation is with a ridge vent. You can easily recognize if a home has a ridge vent, because at the top of the ridge there is a heightened ridge with shingles about an inch above the rest of the roof.
Attic ventilation in a mild climate like Sequim’s climate is not as critical as it is in Las Vegas or Phoenix, but it is still important. Even with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, an attic can get quite hot without good ventilation.
If the home you want to buy doesn’t have good attic ventilation, you could add it, but first you want to hear from your home inspector as to whether there is a problem now. Knowing what to ask the seller to do and what you can do later yourself is part of the negotiating process, and it’s important to know what Sequim sellers are willing to agree to when it comes to repairs or improvements to attic ventilation.
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27 Apr 2016
The California Coastal Commission is out of control, and homeowners with beachfront property or bluff property are being told they cannot protect their house with standard small barriers, and those who have barriers (treated wood or rock boulders) are being told they cannot maintain those barriers, even if this means eventually their houses will fall into the ocean. This is an unconstitutional taking of private property, and apparently the case will go to the courts for resolution.
In Washington state we have a massive law called the Washington Shoreline Management Act (SMA). It may not be as onerous as the California Coastal Commission, but it does govern what you can and cannot do along any shoreline in Washington. Under the Act each city and each county with shorelines must prepare their own Shoreline Management Plan. Besides multiple jurisdictions, you may deal with more than one agency if you want to do anything along a shoreline. Each agency creates their own Regulations, and a simple matter like protecting your shoreline or bluff can become extremely complicated and even expensive with technical engineering reports required.
All this means if you want to do make improvements or maintain your shoreline in Washington, you may be in for a bureaucratic nightmare, although perhaps not as bad as the shorelines subject to the California Coastal Commission.
Building a path to the beach from your medium high bluff may not be possible. Building your own dock probably is impossible. The last gentlemen I know who built one said it cost him $100,000 in permits and studies and legal fees and many years. He started that process when he was a young man, and now he is old. Maintaining your bluff to protect your property may also be a task of epic proportions.
Read more about Sequim Bluff Stability.
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24 Apr 2016
A lot can happen from the offer to mutual acceptance. Today I want to share the tip of the iceberg on that process from the time of the offer to mutual acceptance. Entire treatises have been written on this subject and the nuances involved through each step, so bear with me as I try to compress thousands of pages (and 40 years of my own experience) into a 500 word article. I’ve had some complex negotiations, and some clients want to learn how things work while it is happening.
Drafting an offer on your next home involves getting the offering price right and the terms right. Regardless of the listing price, you need to know true fair market value (FMV), and your offering price should be based on the FMV and the current inventory, and of course, supply and demand. And if you don’t know how to construct the best terms that a seller will be able to accept in the local market, you may never reach an agreement.
The process goes like this: 1.) the offer, 2.) the seller’s response, which could be acceptance, rejection, or a counteroffer, and if the seller counters, 3.) the buyer’s response could be acceptance of the seller’s counteroffer, or a counter to the counter.
If a seller counters, he has rejected the offer, and is making a new offer to the buyer. That means the price and terms, and all the deadlines in the original offer are dead and not part of the seller’s counteroffer. If the buyer makes a counteroffer to the seller’s counteroffer, the buyer is rejecting the seller’s counter, and putting a new offer on the table.
The terms of a buyer’s offer may include contingencies, such as a financing contingency, a home inspection contingency, and maybe even a contingency on the sale or close of the buyer’s own home.
There are a variety of specific terms under each of these scenarios. There is the potential of a “bump clause” in which the seller is entitled to accept a second offer and the buyer has to match the terms of the second offer or their offer is bumped and terminated. There are potential backup offers, and the buyer will have a number of options regarding his due diligence from the time of mutual acceptance to closing
What I’ve learned is that some of my buyer clients trust me to handle the contract language and processes from the offer to mutual acceptance, other clients have some questions during the process, and still other clients want to know every single detail and are full of questions.
As a buyer, you don’t need to try to learn everything a professional has learned over a period of decades, but I do recommend that you carefully select your Realtor, because if your Realtor is going to do a good job for you and get you to mutual acceptance and beyond, your Realtor needs to be darn good. Just because someone has a real estate license, or just because they’ve been a Realtor for a while does not guarantee they have the requisite knowledge and experience. [Read more articles on various aspects of Negotiating.] You can also learn more about specific steps of the process by using the drop down menu at the top of this blog where you’ll find thousands of articles written specifically for buyers by a Sequim Realtor and Attorney (Ret.).
The process from the offer to mutual acceptance is full of traps for the unwary, and it is a complex process. There’s a lot at stake, mostly your money and the rest of your life, so I recommend you make sure you get it right.
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22 Apr 2016
Does a low maintenance home sound attractive? Sequim is famous for its Rain Shadow, but Sequim is also known for affordable housing and many who retire in Sequim love the idea of a low maintenance home and a low maintenance yard.
This home is a 5 minute drive from Safeway downtown Sequim, and yet it sits up high above Sequim in beautiful Emerald Highlands with a water view. The yard is a low maintenance yard behind the house in a fenced yard. The garage is a large double garage with room for toys.
The house is 1,968 square feet of modern custom quality, including 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. The master bedroom is very large with a walk-in closet, and the master bath is your dream bath with a double sink, shower, and deep tub.
Everything you need is on one floor, which is what most retirees want. When you drive into your garage, you carry the groceries straight into the kitchen. But there is a bonus room. There is one room with its own entrance on the lower level, and this large finished room could be just about anything you want.
See more photos and learn more about this Sequim low maintenance home.
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19 Apr 2016
Welcome to the 10 most powerful buyer resources of Sequim homes. Use these 10 resources, and you will see why thousands of buyers before you have raved about these resources. Why do Sequim home buyers love these resources? They were designed specifically for buyers of Sequim homes, and most of them have taken many years to develop and improve with buyers’ meticulous preferences in mind. So here they, and I hope you enjoy them.
1. The best Sequim MLS site is Sequim-Homes.com. Watch the video on that site for the quick and easy intro on using the best local MLS site to find and save your favorite homes. (This site is 100% accurate, which is not true of many national MLS sites.)
2. The best real estate blog on Sequim homes, which includes over 1,500 articles about every aspect of buying a home in the Sequim market. This blog is used every month by over 100,000 people who are looking at Sequim homes and retiring on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula. Bookmark Sequim Real Estate Blog.
3. The best (and only) books written just for buyers about buying Sequim homes, including Sequim Real Estate: A Buyer’s Guide available on Amazon (47 chapters addressing the most important buyer concerns), Buying & Selling Real Estate in the Rain Shadow in a 310 page paperback on Amazon (and now in the Kindle store entitled Buying & Selling Real Estate), Buying Your Retirement Home (in the Apple iBookstore), and How to Make an Offer (in the Apple iBookstore). Learn more about these great buyer resources at Real Estate Books.
4. The best Sequim real estate expertise for buyers of Sequim homes. What if you could find a Sequim Buyer’s Agent who had also been a real estate attorney for 20 years. You get this experience free. Imagine a broker who watches out for your best interests and protects you.
5. The best weekly newsletter for buyers of Sequim homes. This email newsletter will arrive once a week in your inbox with the latest articles about what is happening in the Sequim real estate market. There is no other more relevant free (or paid) resource for buyers.
6. The best real estate market reports for the Sequim market. Multiple reports throughout the month are published on the real estate blog.
7. The best Sequim map for buyers visiting. This map was designed by a professional map maker of three decades with my guidance to include what buyers want most on their map. The map can be ordered directly from me, or picked up free at the Sequim Chamber of Commerce. The map is so popular, the Chamber says they are flying off the shelf.
8. The best Sequim foreclosure site. It’s hard to find a clean list of foreclosures that are actually for sale. Neither foreclosure.com nor realtytrac.com have an accurate database of Sequim foreclosures, but I have created a site that does, and you’ll find it at Sequim Foreclosures.
9. The best database of answers to hundreds of questions buyers have been asking for 20 years in Sequim. Just type a concise phrase or word, and all the articles on that subject will instantly be available. You’ll find this at Sequim Answers. And another site with short questions and answers is also available at Sequim Real Estate Q&A.
10: The best online links to deep research on your potential properties. Some of these sites have government urls that are very hard to find, and you can’t remember the long names, so I’ve compiled the 5 most valuable local government sites for buyers of Sequim homes. Go to Sequim Real Estate Maps and Documents.
You’ve got to believe that anyone who would create all these powerful resources over a period of many years must take customer service awful serious. And the answer is that we do. Email or call (360-775-5424) any time, but by all means use our free online resources if you are looking at Sequim homes.
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17 Apr 2016
How to Sell a Home today is a dramatically different process than it used to be, especially in this Internet age. If you are going to sell your home in California, Colorado, Florida, Alaska, or wherever you are now, so that you can buy a home in Sequim, be very cautious about how you go about selling your home. If you use 20 year old methods, you may be sitting on your home for a long time, and then you may not get the highest price. The vast majority of Realtors around the U.S. are not tapped into the new world of marketing. I know, it’s crazy, but it’s true. So today I will share the tip of the iceberg on what works and what does not work to get your home sold for the highest price in the least amount of time. How to sell a home today is not what it used to be.
When I started in real estate 40 years ago (I’m 61 today), my broker in Fairbanks told me exactly how to sell a home and what to do with a new listing. He said, “Run your listing in the Sunday issue of the print newspaper once every 90 days, hold an open house, put up a sign, and send out ‘Just Sold’ postal cards to the neighbors.” That was the sum total of how Realtors marketed their listings for decades. Now are you ready for some shocking news?
Roughly 90% of all Realtors across the U.S. are still doing what I was doing 40 years ago. I know. It’s nuts. I ask my colleagues periodically why they are running their listings in the Sunday paper when it’s so expensive, and when the buyers are not searching the print newspaper classifieds for their next home–they’re using the Internet. They all answer the same way, “Well, my client expects me to do something.” In other words, many Realtors are just using smoke and mirrors to make their clients think they are effectively marketing their home. That is just plain crazy. Of all people who should know how to sell a home, you would think Realtors would know.
Here’s one of my biggest frustrations. Sellers don’t seem to have the knowledge or discernment to realize that their listing Realtor is just blowing smoke and not marketing their home to the most qualified buyers. I can’t blame sellers. How would they know? They haven’t spent a lifetime in real estate or marketing or sales.
Here is what does not work today like it used to. Running an listing in the print newspaper is so outdated and so ineffective, it is just a total waste of time. Holding an open house is a waste of time. Even the NAR (the National Association of Realtors) national survey showed that less than 2% of homes actually sold at an open house. That’s a 98% failure rate. Unless you’re in a unique hot market where people are looking at homes at open houses, it is a total waste of time and effort. The truth is, Realtors like to hold open houses so they can pick up new buyer leads.
A for sale sign is still important, but again almost 100% of buyers are using the Internet now to find their ideal home. They’re not driving around and around forever until they see a sign. But a for sale sign is till good–it’s just not the way buyers find their home today. Sending out postal cards to a neighborhood is okay, but it’s old school and not nearly as effective as using the Internet to market to highly qualified buyers.
Do you know what the number one complaint across the U.S. is after people have listed their home with a Realtor? “I listed my home with a Realtor, and [he/she] put it in the MLS, but I haven’t heard anything and they are not even showing it. Other Realtors show it more than my own Realtor, and I don’t know what’s going on? There was a pretty listing presentations, and they made a lot of promises, but all they did was throw it in the MLS, and that’s it.” How can it be that even Realtors don’t know how to sell a home today?
The keys to effective marketing a home today is a whole new world of marketing, and few Realtors around the country are tapping into Internet marketing. I’m not making this stuff up. Want some proof? I’ve built the largest Internet marketing system on the Olympic Peninsula, and for the past 7 plus years (since Jan 1 of 2009), I have personally sold more homes by myself than any other Realtor or team of Realtors in this market. I’ve written books on the subject of how to sell a home (The Seven Myths of Selling Your Home, The New World of Marketing for Real Estate Agents), but I don’t think other Realtors are reading books any more. (Okay, I’m being sarcastic. That’s my effort at humor, but my kids tell me I’m not very funny!)
The point is this. If you want to sell your home in another state so you can buy a home and retire in Sequim, make darn sure you connect with a listing Realtor in your market who knows how to market your home using the most powerful marketing available today so they can real the most qualified buyers and get you the highest price in the least amount of time. Do not use “old school” Realtors. Find one who knows how to sell a home today. In Seven Myths I share insider secrets you won’t know if you haven’t spent a lifetime in the industry, including gimmicks, the misuse of statistics, and all kinds of sales games that are played just to get you to list. Do not get caught up in nonsense, and definitely don’t end up listing your home for a year with someone who doesn’t know how to sell a home today.
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16 Apr 2016
A private well and public water system have different concerns, so if you are going to buy a home on a private well, you will want to know what the issues are and what kind of due diligence you should do to protect yourself. Here are some guidelines that will help you.
I’ve written many articles on the subject of handling the issues for a private well. You can always do a search of this real estate blog with almost 2,000 articles of any phrase to pull up all the relevant articles, but here are the links to some private well articles for your convenience.
Is a Private Well Safe? My clients often ask this question, and it’s a good question, especially if you’ve never had a private well before and you’ve always been on a public water supply. Read more at the link.
What is a well cistern? What is a well cistern? This is a question asked by buyers when they move to Sequim, Washington. A well cistern is a large storage tank for a private well, usually 1,000 gallons. Read more at the link.
Well Logs. If you buy a Sequim home or a Port Angeles home with a private well, you’ll want to do your due diligence and review the well log originally filed with the county. There are two important numbers–the flow rate (gallons per minute) and the well depth (and the depth of the water within the well). I’ll give you the link to all well logs in the State of Washington, which are online with free access. Read more at the link.
Private Wells are common outside the city limits, and in Clallam County around Sequim and Port Angeles there are thousands of private wells. Perhaps one in 1,000 private wellswill pump less than 5 gpm (gallons per minute). That’s not a major problem if the well pumps at least the state and county minimum of 1/2 gpm. At 1/2 gpm a well will produce about 800 gallons of water per day. That’s far more than any family will use. Read more at the link.
A private well today is not like the well in the photo above. But there is a lot to know and to understand when you buy a property with a private well.
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8 Apr 2016
The question today came from a gentleman who asked whether he had a moral obligation to work with a Realtor who had emailed him and talked to him on the phone about some properties. This gentleman clearly is a man of integrity, and it’s honorable that he would have a sense of loyalty to a Realtor. Loyalty is good. Honor is good. But does a buyer (or seller) have a moral obligation to work with a Realtor when he would prefer working with another Realtor? In other words, at what point does a client have a moral obligation to work with a Realtor? How much must a Realtor do to earn that moral obligation?
A moral obligation does not exist just because someone emails and talks to you, or because they do some research, or even because they show you a few homes. None of that creates a moral obligation. A true moral obligation could be created when someone saves your life, or when someone does something so big that it changes the course of your life in a positive way. In less dramatic ways that moral obligation can be created at some point in a relationship, but where is that point with a Realtor?
If you have not signed a Buyer’s Agency Agreement with a Realtor, you have no contractual obligation. [Never sign a Buyer’s Agency Agreement.] That’s the law. Judges have also ruled that just talking, emailing, or driving around and looking at houses does not create a binding agency relationship. At the core of the legal analysis is whether there is a moral obligation.
You do not create a moral obligation with one phone call to an agent, nor with two or even 10 phone calls. Nor does one or a dozen emails create any kind of obligation. The Realtor owes you nothing, and you owe the Realtor nothing at that point. Realtors answer hundreds of emails and phone calls throughout the year to clients all over the country, and Realtors understand that is part of the business, but it certainly creates no moral obligation for anyone.
Now suppose you have talked to a Realtor for a long time and emailed many times, and the Realtor has done many favors for you during the past six months or a year, such as taking additional photos of listings with insufficient photos, previewed a number of homes for you before you could arrive in Sequim, and perhaps he has incurred some costs sending your printed information in the snail mail. What we have here is a Realtor who has demonstrated a commitment to you with his own precious time on many occasions, and with his own money. He has clearly proven that he is willing to earn your trust, and if you have come to the conclusion after many phone calls and emails that he is competent, professional, trustworthy, and looking out for your best interests above and beyond, then there is some kind of moral obligation at that point.
Let’s take this a step further. Suppose a Realtor does all of that, but you learn that this Realtor is not so competent, or that she is not very professional, or perhaps you come to the conclusion that she has not been entirely upfront with you. In such a case, if you ever did have a moral obligation to her, she has effectively terminated that obligation.
The first obligation on your part is to protect yourself and your spouse by making wise financial decisions, and that includes who you hire as a Realtor. So here’s a rhetorical question for you. Why would you hire any Realtor but the best one you could find after you have done your due diligence? There’s a lot at stake when you buy or sell a home–mostly your money, your liabilities, and your stress and happiness. Do not underestimate the importance of hiring the right Realtor, or avoiding hiring the wrong Realtor.
What is peace of mind worth to you? Do not create an artificial moral obligation when none exists. You have the right to hire the best Realtor you can find, and that’s the truth. If the first Realtor you communicate with is not “the one,” then find and hire the best. End of story. Some kind of artificial moral obligation should not become your ball and chain.
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6 Apr 2016
Teachings of the Wilderness is Chuck Marunde’s latest book, a story about growing up in Alaska in a little cabin far from civilization. While this blog is all about real estate, and most of Chuck’s books are about real estate, this book is something completely different and fun.
This book takes you back to a simpler time in America when living simply brought great satisfaction, and when being happy was the result, not the goal, of living a good life. The harsh Alaskan wilderness taught me extraordinary lessons that transcend time, and while it has taken me a lifetime to share these lessons, I’m finally ready. [From Teachings of the Wilderness]
I never imagined that growing up in a cabin in the remote wilderness would prepare me for success anywhere in the world, even in the concrete jungles of the metropolis. I had no idea at the time that I was being prepared to experience life to the fullest.
I learned more about how to live a good life growing up in the harsh Alaskan wilderness in abject poverty than I learned in College, in law school, and in the thousands of hours of studying and reading combined. The stories in this book share profound lessons from the wilderness you won’t learn in a classroom.
You can get the paperback version or the Kindle version at Amazon at Teachings of the Wilderness.
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2 Apr 2016
This 20 acres comes with a beautiful custom built home and a water view of International waters. If you want privacy with no neighbors, this is it. You can walk through this entire home right now online with this 3D Virtual Tour by using your mouse or keyboard arrows. You can turn 360 degrees in any room in the house, and you can even go up the stairs to the reading room. To watch this tour, after you hit the play button below, it will load the video, and then use the full screen option in the bottom right corner. After that, you use your mouse or keyboard arrows to move throughout the house.
You can’t see from the windows, but there is a long distance water view, and it’s gorgeous. This is a really impressive home, and you can enjoy the deck or walk around anywhere on this 20 acres with total privacy. Do you like to shoot skeet? Do that from your own back door. How’s that for privacy and control over your own property?
How’s that for 20 acres and a home? The price is $649,000. If you’d like to view this home, call your favorite buyer’s agent, Chuck Marunde, at 360-775-5424. See the full listing at a Home on 20 Acres. The listing will remain online until it is sold and closed.
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31 Mar 2016
Sequim demographics have created a very stable Sequim economy and stable Sequim real estate market. First let’s talk about some of the general Sequim demographics, and then I’ll explain how they create a strong local economy.
The Sequim population in 2013 was 6,669 (97% urban, 3% rural). The population changed since 2000 by a plus 53.9%. This does not include the much larger surrounding population not inside the city limits.
The entire county population in 2012 was 71,863 (65% urban, 35% rural), and it was 64,525 in 2000. The estimated median household income in Sequim in 2013 was $41,432 It was $27,880 in 2000.
Mean prices in 2013: All housing units: $239,920; Detached houses: $268,314; Townhouses or other attached units: $233,711; In 2-unit structures: $190,471; In 3-to-4-unit structures: $140,337; In 5-or-more-unit structures: $115,321; Mobile homes: $97,467; Occupied boats, RVs, vans, etc.: $112,594. [Source: City-Data]
Some of these stats are not especially easy to interpolate, so I want to add two important conclusions that add substantially to an understanding of the stability created by the Sequim demographics.
The big box stores have been building aggressively in Sequim for over a decade, but they have not been building in nearby cities as far away as 50 miles. Silverdale is the next growing city, and that’s about an hour’s drive. Costco, Home Depot, Office Depot, Wallmart, Starbucks, Petco, Ross Dress for Less, and restaurant chains have been building in Sequim for over a decade, because their corporate demographic studies, which are extensive and expensive, prove to them that Sequim is the strongest area economy with the best long term growth potential. That conclusion comes from the Sequim demographics that identify retirees with steady retirement checks as strong and stable consumers, no matter what the economy is doing.
There’s another important less about Sequim demographics. Retirees moving to Sequim buy a home rather than rent. Homeowners are more stable than tenants, earn more money, spend more money, and stay longer with a vested interest in the local economy.
There’s no question that the Sequim demographics are part of what makes our local economy so stable. And that’s a good thing.
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27 Mar 2016
Your Realtor’s emotional IQ (intelligence quotient) is far more important than most people realize, and I’ll tell you exactly why. Most people certainly realize that their agent should have a lot of real estate knowledge. They also realize that competence, professionalism and honesty are critically important. So now that we’ve just eliminated 50% of all Realtors (just kidding), let’s look closely at the importance of the emotional IQ when it comes to your real estate transaction and your Realtor.
Daniel Goleman is the man who first came up with the idea of emotional IQ, and he wrote a best seller on the subject. It woke up a lot of us and confirmed our suspicion that intellectual IQ was not the answer to success and happiness. We knew there was more, and Goleman articulated what it is. It is the emotional IQ, which includes empathy and compassion, and the ability to identify with someone in a genuine way at the deep emotional and psychological levels.
What happens if someone does not have a normal or high emotional IQ? They do not have the ability to have compassion or empathy for you. They won’t understand how you feel. They can even go the wrong direction on you, and stab you in the back with no remorse, because they can’t begin to feel what you would.
Now you know why it is so important that your Realtor not only have the requisite real estate foundation (knowledge, competence, negotiating experience, honesty, integrity), but it is vitally critical that your Realtor have a high emotional IQ. Imagine for a moment what your real estate transaction could be like without that high emotional IQ.
If your Realtor has a low emotional IQ, he/she would have no idea how important this transaction is to you emotionally and psychologically. He/she would be incapable of identifying with your stress, your frustrations, your hopes. As a result, your Realtor with a low emotional IQ would not feel compelled to stay up worrying about taking care of you or the details of your transaction. In one sense, a person with a low emotional IQ is a cold person, although they may get very good at pretending to be an empathetic person. Sales people can learn to be effective, even if they are not genuine.
If you’ve had the opportunity to read my book, Sequim Real Estate: A Buyer’s Guide, Chapter 12 includes a 15-Point Interview Checklist for buyers. And my book for sellers, The Seven Myths of Selling Your Home, includes a 26-Point Interview Checklist for sellers in Chapter 8. The vast majority of consumers do not know how to do their research on a Realtor and do not know how to interview them. That’s why I created these checklists.
It is my strong conviction that emotional IQ is a qualification you should add to your filtering process before you hire a Realtor. Now you know why your Realtor’s emotional IQ is important to you.
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26 Mar 2016
This Sequim Flood caught my eye, because it covers several lots that have been for sale for years, and I had no idea that these lots could be under water until now. This is on the north side of Sequim about six miles from downtown Sequim. You can see an aerial view of this mini Sequim flood on the video below.
Here’s an interesting video angle from about 60 feet above the water. This perspective is taken from Hogback Road just off Lotzgesell. This little Sequim flood is not near the Sequim-Dungeness River, and it’s not at the base of a mountain range where it could collect water, so how did all this water rise to record levels in this neighborhood so close to the bluff? This is a low area where the water table is naturally high and where surface water can gather after a lot of rain, and this has been a record winter for rain in the Sequim area.
This kind of Sequim Flood is not a Common Occurrence, and that’s what made this event worthy of a video. It does make an interesting point, however, for anyone thinking about buying a vacant lot to build a home. These lots under water are part of a short plat that was surveyed, and utilities were installed. There is a large electric box halfway under water in the photo at the boundary of two of the lots. The point is, the county building department approved this short plat, apparently unaware that it could become part of a Sequim flood.
This means when looking at vacant lots where you hope to build your retirement home will involve some due diligence, common sense, and perhaps a local who has been around for a long time. Maybe that way you can avoid your own Sequim flood in your house.
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20 Mar 2016
What makes iRealty Virtual Brokers so different than other brokerages? Have you ever heard the phrase, “Like kinds attract”? I’m sure you have. In any business you will find that the people working there tend to practice with the same methods, the same philosophy, the same ethics, and even the same customer service and attitudes. This tends to be true in every company. Whether this is the result of “leadership down” or “like kinds attract,” the result is the same. And this is true in every real estate brokerage, small or large.
Lynn Moreno is a broker at iRealty. Let’s assume for the moment that Lynn is one of the smartest Realtors out there, which she is. What one quality sets her apart from the crowd? The answer is her un-compromised integrity. Before Lynn joined iRealty, I had the privilege of working with her on the other end of transactions for many years. She was always professional, and when she said something, I could count on her word. She’s smart, she knows real estate, and she has integrity. But she is also intelligent, articulate, and a very pleasant personality. That makes her exceptional in the real estate industry. This is why she works with iRealty, and this is why iRealty is fortunate to count her as one of our brokers.
Debbie Madden is my Chief of Staff and Vice President of iRealty. Her prior career in strategic planning and her expertise in customer service makes her stand head and shoulders above the crowd, and that’s exactly what we want to do at iRealty. But Debbie also is an exceptional person, because she lives her life out of integrity. All that she does for me and Lynn and this brokerage is from a foundation of absolute integrity.
My own passion for the truth and integrity started when I was 14 years old (and that was a long time ago). It’s how I conduct my personal and professional life, and it’s how I have always conducted myself. Because of the way we treat our clients and the job we do for them, our clients are not just satisfied by the time they get to closing–they are giddy happy, like the people in this photograph above.
The exciting thing about un-compromised integrity is that it creates the foundation for the entire business model, all our marketing, our customer service, and every single task we perform for our clients. It means no gimmicks, no exaggeration, and no misrepresentations. It means we put our clients at the center of everything we do, and their best interests are placed above all else, even our own commissions.
No Realtor can hang their license and work at iRealty unless they meet these exacting high standards. In the decades I’ve worked in the real estate industry, it has been true at almost every brokerage that anyone who has a heart beat can hang their license there. At iRealty our client’s are at the center, and that changes everything we do, including the brokers we hire.
Knowledge of real estate, competence, and professionalism are all prerequisites to work at iRealty, but the ultimate filter is honesty and integrity. That’s why we are a small brokerage. Not every Tom, Dick, or Jane qualifies to work with us. If you meet these iRealty standards, perhaps you would like to join us. We do intend to hire more brokers, but we are looking for brokers who believe and practice like we do.
iRealty is an exceptional brokerage, and we are doing things other brokerages haven’t even dreamt of doing yet. Our technology and our Internet presence are lightyears ahead of the competition, and our in-house training and mentoring is unparalleled in the entire Northwest. If you want to learn more about how iRealty is setting the standards, email ChuckMarunde@gmail.com.
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17 Mar 2016
You will receive a Preliminary Title Report from your title company shortly after you and the seller reached an agreement for the purchase of your new home. The Preliminary Title Report is the first important document you will receive when you buy a home. It is a thick document, which has several key sections, and being able to read a Preliminary Title Report is very important. Today I’ll tell you how to read it.
The first section of the title report will tell you who is vested in title, i.e. who owns the property legally, and it will also show you as the proposed insured. Why do you need title insurance? A title company will insure that the title you get is free and clear of all mortgages (except your own new mortgage), liens of any kind (labor liens, mechanic’s liens, federal tax liens), judgments against the seller, and any other clouds on the title. The seller actually pays the one-time premium for your title insurance, but if you get a loan, your mortgage company will also require a mortgage title policy, and you will pay for that.
The preliminary title report shows what is on the record now when your transaction is pending, but when your transaction closes, you will get a final title report showing that you are getting a clear title. The most important section of your preliminary title report is called “Special Exceptions,” and this is where you will find everything that is recorded against this real estate, and any related potential liens or title issues, including the list above.
If there are Covenants (CC&Rs) on the property, you’ll find mention of that in the Special Exceptions of your preliminary title report. If there is an easement running over the property, it will show up here. Normally, you will get a copy of all related documents attached to your preliminary title report, so that’s why this is so important. You should read through the title report and all the attached documents. You may need help from your Buyer’s Agent interpreting the covenants or the preliminary title report, but you can always get title answers directly from your title company.
One important thing you should know is that if a neighbor has or is making a claim to part of the property by way of adverse possession, or a claim to access to his property by way of a prescriptive easement, those potential legal claims do not show up on a preliminary title report.
And now you know how to read a preliminary title report.
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13 Mar 2016
iRealty is pleased to announce a Sequim Real Estate Seminar for homeowners. This will be an important seminar for anyone who wants to sell their home, because the real estate industry has changed dramatically, and what worked years ago to sell a home no longer works today. The seminar is for Sequim homeowners, and attendees who register will receive a free copy of the brand new book, The Seven Myths of Selling Your Home by Chuck Marunde, J.D.
Forty years ago I got my real estate license in Fairbanks, Alaska. My broker told me then exactly what to do to advertise a listing. He said, “Put the listing in the Sunday newspaper once every 90 days, hold an open house, and send out a few dozen ‘Just Listed’ postal cards to neighbors.”
Here’s what’s amazing. Forty years later traditional real estate brokers have not changed their business model. They still have a big bricks-and-mortar building, and they use print newspapers, hold open houses, and farm neighborhoods with mailings. None of these approaches work any more. In fact, they quit working many years ago.
In 2010 in The New World of Marketing for Real Estate Agents I wrote about how the traditional brokerage was no longer valid, and an entirely new way of marketing properties and reaching qualified buyers had arrived. The world changed, but more than 90% of real estate brokers around the country still haven’t adapted.
So this real estate seminar is different. In 20 minutes I will demonstrate how consumer preferences have changed, how traditional methods have fallen to the wayside, and how technology and the Internet have created entirely new ways to reach qualified buyers.
Come and find out what Chuck is doing and how he became the number 1 selling agent of single family homes by volume above $200,000 in Clallam County for the past seven years total (1/1/2009 to 1/12/2015). [Source: Olympic Listing Service]
To register for this Sequim real estate seminar call 360-504-2291. Seating is limited, so register early, and bring your spouse.
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8 Mar 2016
Our Sequim MLS Map just received a nice upgrade. Now the map is a full map covering the width of your computer monitor and making it much easier to search for listings on the map. Just go to Sequim MLS Map to search for your home by area on a map that you can enlarge, reduce, or move in any direction.
Once you have the map on your screen, you can use your mouse to open up the listings on the map and see all the photos and details. You’ll also notice there is a filter in the upper right side, and if you open that filter you have more choices to set your search parameters. You can also set the price range as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
To use this Sequim MLS search tool, go to Sequim MLS Map. This is an interactive map, meaning it gives you the ability to make all kinds of adjustments, and each time you make an adjustment or drag the map to a new area, all the listings are refreshed on the map.
I use this map myself if I have a client who wants a particular area. Most maps are small and hard to use, but this Sequim MLS map is very user friendly and easy on the eyes.
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6 Mar 2016
Pending sales are way up in Sequim and Port Angeles. We have 125 pending sales. This helps explain why buyers are having trouble finding their perfect home. Some are saying, “There’s no inventory left,” although that would be an exaggeration. There is still inventory, but the inventory for the 3 bedroom, 2 bath single level modern home on a nice piece of property is almost non-existent. If it does appear on the market, it’s gone quickly. You can pull up pending transactions at Sequim-Homes.com.
This means prices are finally starting to go up significantly. This past 12 months we have seen increased sales and upward pressure on prices as homes were selling at full list prices, and some were selling for slightly above. But now we are seeing homes selling for more than previously established Fair Market Value (FMV). In other words, supply and demand is now dramatically effecting the sales price and sales numbers, so we now have more pending sales than ever before.
Some buyers are feeling desperate, because they can’t find what they want. If and when they find something that they decide would be a workable compromise, the list price is often higher than they feel it’s true FMV is. Here’s a real life example.
I showed a couple a home that had been on the market for over 700 days. In other words, it is a home that no one has wanted in two years on the market. It has been vacant the entire time, and it appears the seller has been doing virtually no maintenance. It’s an older home, and the floor plan is not all that attractive. There are some other features of the property that are attractive, but this is definitely a home that retirees moving to Sequim did not find appealing. The seller kept the price way too high, and it was clearly overpriced the entire time. This is the classic example of a very stubborn seller who refuses to acknowledge the laws of supply and demand by setting the price artificially high and just sitting on it despite the fact that so many buyers had walked away from it over such a long time period.
In my opinion, and the opinion of my buyer clients, this property had a FMV of $275,000 to $285,000. I show and sell a lot of homes, and the comps indicated a value in that range. But the seller had it listed for much more, $345,000. There was just no way that the home was worth that much. There were no comps supporting that, and far too much work was needed on the home. The entire kitchen needed a major upgrade. Some of the basement rooms were rather odd.
My clients decided to make an offer of $285,000, and after some counteroffers back and forth, they came up substantially more than they felt was justified to $315,000. They couldn’t find another suitable home in the inventory, and so they were willing to pay $15,000 to $20,000 more than it was worth. But the seller would not come below $335,000, which was way more than this old house was worth.
While my clients were considering whether they should walk away forever or pay even more, the home went under contract and became one of our statistical pending transactions. We don’t know the sales price yet, because that doesn’t become public information until it has closed, but it would appear this home sold for $335,000 or something close to that. This means this home sold for about $50,000 more than it’s historical FMV. Of course, once pending sales actually close, they become the new standard and establish FMV.
That is proof that prices are finally going up significantly when you add this to the 125 pending sales we have now. I have buyers who cannot even find a suitable home in the inventory. It is my opinion that supply and demand is finally catching up with Sequim, and now we have proof with all the pending sales.
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5 Mar 2016
We are excited to announce the all new 4th edition of Sequim Real Estate: A Buyer’s Guide, which is now available on Amazon in either a paperback version ($24.95) or a Kindle version ($9.95). It is hot off the press as we just finished publishing this update this morning.
Thousands of buyers have read Sequim Real Estate: A Buyer’s Guide and found it very helpful. This is the 4th Edition, and I hope you also find it helpful, but I want you to know what the purpose of this book is, and how to use it to help you if you are thinking about buying real estate in beautiful Sequim, Washington.
This is a book written specifically for buyers of Sequim real estate, and my intent is to give you good content, accurate information on the most important issues, checklists, and helpful suggestions that will guide you through the process. But this book is also a window to many free Sequim online resources, including thousands of articles, websites, multiple MLS sites, and smartphone tools. In other words, don’t stop with this book, because this will lead to a lot more free information for you, all online and at your fingertips anytime 24/7.
I’ve been listening to the questions buyers have been asking for the past 20 years about Sequim real estate, and this book and the online resources answer those questions. By the way, this book could have been named, “Port Angeles Real Estate: A Buyer’s Guide,” because it applies to Port Angeles, too. If you’re looking at Port Townsend, this is still the most relevant book on the market today.
This book is a labor of love from a lifetime in real estate. You can click on the image above to purchase a copy, or go to Amazon and search for the title. If you do, please consider leaving a positive review on Amazon. I hope you enjoy Sequim Real Estate: A Buyer’s Guide.
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