Welcome to the largest Sequim Real Estate Blog with over 1,900 articles.
You will be selecting a real estate agent. The purpose of this brief article is to share one tip with you–how to avoid the big mistake that some buyers make when selecting a real estate agent. If you screw up selecting a real estate agent who can represent you well, it will cost you, not me. Take this advice with a grain of salt if you want to, but it comes with almost 40 years in real estate, including 20 years as a real estate attorney. I share this hard learned experience with you absolutely free. Do with it as you will, but it is solid and sage advice.
I got a phone call a few days ago from a gentleman, but I was on the line with another person, so I didn’t pick up. I called back within 3 minutes, and the gentleman said, “I just went down the list and called the next agent, and he answered the phone, so I have an appointment to view a home with him.”
I don’t doubt this gentleman was doing what he thought made sense, but he was making a big mistake selecting a real estate agent, not for me but for himself. Think about what he did. He was about to spend a large sum of money, and he was selecting a real estate agent by just grabbing the next name off a list. And not a refined list of highly qualified Realtors. Just an unfiltered list on the Internet. Really? Is buying a home like buying a pair of socks on a shelf? Is selecting a real estate agent like finding the next clerk at the Post Office, or the next Barista at Starbucks? Or is hiring an agent just a matter of cold calling people off a list, and the first one to answer wins? May I speak plainly? It’s hard to imagine that anyone would use such a reckless approach for such an important task, and with so much money at stake.
Would you hire a financial planner and give him your life savings without some research on him and his company? Would you hire a babysitter without references? If you needed serious legal help, would you hire the first attorney to answer the phone in the Yellow pages with no interview, and no research? (more…)
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Packaging sells, and great packaging sells a lot more. This is true whether you are buying real estate or donuts. I was in one of Sequim’s local grocery stores, and as I often do, I was browsing the bakery department. Mostly I just look. I try to watch my calories (when I have the self-discipline). I didn’t buy anything on this day, and a few days later I was in the store browsing again. I noticed some of the same items on the same shelves, only the date was a few days older. All the bakery treats look so fresh and delicious, but appearances can be deceiving. All that glistens is not gold.
Unfortunately all these bakery goods are just sitting on shelves for days at a time with no refrigeration. How fresh can they be? Every once in the while I lose my self-control and buy a box or package, and when I taste them at home, they are terrible. They look delicious with all the bright colors, but they do not taste as good as they look. I often throw away the whole package after the first bite. Considering all the artificial ingredients needed, that’s probably a good thing. I think most people buy this junk because attractive packaging sells. If these bakery treats looked as bad as they taste, I certainly wouldn’t buy them.
Packaging sells homes too, and by packaging I mean marketing. Consumers are often sold on appearances alone. When you look at a home on the Internet, you’ll see the photos the listing agent took, but are they accurate representations of the home? Many buyers tell me “not so much” for some listings. And packaging sells real estate brokerages. Pretty building? Nice conference room? Agents who wear nice clothes? But what about the substance? Appearances alone do not guarantee knowledge, experience, professionalism, integrity, and loyalty. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard of people who regretted their decision to hire someone.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to do your due diligence when you shop for a home, hire an agent, hire a home inspector, hire a well inspector, hire a mortgage broker, and work through the entire process. There’s no doubt that good packaging sells these days, but ultimately you’ve got to see right through the packaging to make wise decisions. Too bad I can’t get through the packaging at the bakery department and taste the goods before I buy them. My life would be so much better.
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Bidding wars among buyers have erupted in some areas of the country, areas like the Bay area in California and Seattle. We haven’t had these kind of intense bidding wars among buyers for homes in the Sequim area. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have multiple offers on some properties from time to time. We do, and so in this article I will discuss how to handle the Sequim version of bidding wars. As a buyer, when you find the ideal home and make an offer, you need to know exactly how to deal with a second or third competing offer.
I drafted an offer yesterday for my New York buyer, and when I submitted it to the listing agent, she informed me another offer was coming in later on the same day. I always wonder what the odds of that happening are in a small rural market like this, but it does happen on rare occasions. I discussed this with my buyer, and laid out her three options.
The first option is to just submit the offer and sit on our hands to wait out the seller’s decision. Of course, we have no idea how much the other offer is, and the listing agent is prohibited from revealing how much the other offer is.
The second option is to submit an increased offer, which usually means offering full listing price, or offering slightly more. Of course, even then you don’t know if the other offer or offers will be more. The third option is to follow the original offer up with an addendum with an escalation clause. When bidding wars break out in metropolitan areas, an escalation clause is often used if a buyer wants to be sure that he or she is going to get the home.
The escalation clause gives you as a buyer the right to match the other offer or offers and add a defined amount to the highest price offered by another buyer. Here is the exact language in that addendum:
If Seller receives a competing offer for the property prior to accepting this offer, with a Price equal to or greater than the Net Price of this offer, then the Net Price of this offer shall be increased to $_______ more than the Net Price of the Competing Offer. In no event, however, shall the new purchase price of this offer exceed $_______.
The challenge with using an escalation clause is that you still have to define a maximum price you would pay, and unless you choose a very high number above the listed price, you cannot be guaranteed you will be the highest bidder. Buyers who come to retire in the Sequim area to buy a home typically refuse to get involved in bidding wars.
By the way, after several days of negotiating on behalf of my New York buyer, I am pleased to report that we were victorious over the other buyer, and my client is quite excited she has a binding contract with the seller. She has won her home in our local version of bidding wars. The key to successfully making this happen in my humble opinion, is an experienced, knowledgeable and professional buyer’s agent. Buyers normally listen to and rely on their agent’s advice when it comes to bidding wars.
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“They don’t know what you think they know” is a statement shared with me about 30 years ago at a seminar. The instructor made a fascinating point that I had never considered. This was a real estate seminar, and the instructor was talking about getting wise advice from experts. He suggested that the experts, or so-called experts that we often call on for counsel, well . . . they don’t know what you think they know. We assume they are experts and know everything about the subject, but they often do not. We have a tendency to assume that people know things they do not necessarily know. This can be such a dangerous trap, and in real estate it can cost you dearly.
Fast forward 30 years later to today. I’ve seen this played out time and time again, they don’t know what you think they know. I practiced real estate law for 20 years, and I learned that when new clients asked an attorney, “Do you practice real estate law?,” pretty much every lawyer answered, “Yes,” even though most did not. Clients never questioned their answer, and those same clients paid those attorneys a lot of money to learn the subject, which cannot be done quickly anyway.
When it comes to retirement investing, the super majority of retirees or soon-to-be retirees, assume their registered investment adviser knows all about investing, how to protect their capital, avoid market crashes, and capture the greatest appreciation over the years. How wrong that assumption is. When I retired from real estate law practice, I was recruited by American Express Financial Advisers, now known as Ameriprise. I became a registered financial adviser, and I assumed they were going to teach me how to invest and trade. How wrong I was. They used computers to create “customized investment reports,” and we were simply salesman to close the deal. The investment community makes money off their 1.25% of funds under management, and their business model makes money even when all their clients are losing money like crazy. They don’t make money if you pull your money out of your account, so they recommend you keep it in the account even during a market down turn. They are fond of saying, “You invest for the long term.” Right. Investment advisers–they don’t know what you think they know.
I’ve been in real estate brokerage for a long time, and I can tell you that if you assume that all real estate agents are experts and know everything you need to know, think again. They don’t know what you think they know.
Now here’s a trap. Every professional acts and looks like an expert. In other words, they look good, smell good, and smile at the right times. Unfortunately, most people assume too much about these professionals. My word of wisdom to you is simple. Do your own research. Ask questions, and be discerning when you hear the answers. Remember, they know how to overcome objections. They’ve learned all the scripts. They know what you want to hear. Your job to protect yourself is to listen to the answers and follow those up with more specific questions.
Do not assume anything when you hire someone, including a Realtor. Because too often they don’t know what you think they know.
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Sequim real estate videos for buyers is now live. In this video, I introduce iRealty Virtual Brokers to buyers who are searching for content-rich information about Sequim real estate. As you’ll hear in the video, we offer more for buyers, more free information, more online articles, more books, more MLS sites, and more help for buyers online than any other Sequim or Port Angeles real estate broker, bar none. Check out our sites and watch our videos for yourself. And if you have any questions, we give away answers every day, absolutely free.
We have many firsts as a real estate brokerage, and creating a series of Sequim real estate videos for buyers is another first. Our series includes videos that review the entire buying process for buyers of Sequim real estate and Port Angeles real estate, including the contracts, negotiating, the home inspection, the well inspection, the septic inspection, the escrow process, and much more.
I’ve learned that people love videos. Youtube’s massive success is proof of that. So consistent with our practice of putting our clients at the center of the Universe and giving them megabytes of free information that is accurate, truthful, and content-rich is just an extension of what we’ve been doing for years. These videos are intended to help people gather information that is accurate and without hidden agendas and zero manipulation. Would we like you to hire us as your real estate broker? Absolutely, but we would prefer that you do that only after doing your due diligence.
We will be adding many more videos in the weeks and months ahead so check back and peek at our buyer’s playlist, which you’ll find at SequimRealEstateVideos.com.
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Realtor referral sites are a major trap for the unwary consumer. Whether you are a buyer or seller, it would not be wise to rely on the many online sites that claim to offer you a reliable and credible Realtor referral. I’m about to tell you something few consumers know, and the implications are huge for you personally, not only financially but legally.
Online Realtor referral sites do not filter and promote only Realtors who are experienced, professional, competent, and honest. Realtor referral sites have one and only one qualification: Money. Realtors who pay get promoted. The many referral sites claim to qualify Realtors or want to give you that impression, but they do not. You’ve heard the rule, “Follow the money.” Never was that more true than on these Realtor referral sites. Randomly hiring a Realtor from a Realtor referral site is like tossing the dice and hoping you just get lucky and end up with a qualified and honest Realtor.
There are many Realtor referral sites online, such as Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com, Homelight.com, AgentSearch.com, Yelp.com, AgentHarvest.com, MyAgentFinder.com, TopAgentsRanked.com, UpNest.com, and there are many others.
HomeAdvisor.com is a similar type of referral site for home contractors, but it suffers from the same kind of disqualifying lack of credibility–whoever pays gets promoted. It’s all about money, not experience, not professionalism, and not integrity.
Where there is an opportunity to make money, someone will create an organization that appears to help consumers by pre-qualifying professionals and filtering out the bad ones. It sounds like a good idea, and it is, but consumers are unwilling to pay for such a service, so where does the business make its money? From the professionals it is supposedly rating. Will business owners pay to be rated badly? No. But they will pay to show up on these sites so consumers will think they have been vetted and hire them. (more…)
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Loyalty is earned, not automatically deserved. This subject comes up periodically because some buyers have the mistaken notion that they owe their undivided loyalty to the first Realtor they talk to, and other buyers will use several Realtors at the same time with no sense of loyalty at all. The first approach is not wise if you want good representation, and the second is unfair to the Realtors. So where is the balance?
How do we define loyalty, or where is the line in the sand that defines when a buyer owes their Buyer’s Agent undivided loyalty? This article is less concerned with a Realtor’s hurt feelings than it is on focusing on what is right and reasonable and courteous, consistent with a buyer’s best interests.
First, it is surprising that some buyers will hire the first Realtor they talk to with no research, no due diligence, and no idea if that Realtor has a foundation of real estate knowledge, or if they are competent, professional, honest, good with contracts and legal language, understand the extensive due diligence a buyer needs help with, are top notch negotiators, and have good communication skills. Believe it or not, according to the National Association of Realtors about 85% of buyers hire the first Realtor they talk to on the phone, no questions asked. With the power of the Internet today, there really is no excuse for not doing research on your buyer’s agent to help you filter agents in the very beginning, so the question of whether a Realtor has begun to earn loyalty should be addressed right away. Even if the answers are positive with your preliminary research online, an agent has not yet earned your undying loyalty. [Read about Loyalty at Buyer Beware.] (more…)
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What is your Realtor’s job when he or she is representing you as a buyer’s agent? This may surprise you, but as a buyer you probably have a more realistic understanding of what your Realtor’s job is than most Realtors. Today, I want to take a look at what you are entitled to expect of your buyer’s agent.
On the legal side your buyer’s agent owes you strict loyalty, agency and fiduciary duties. In other words, your Realtor’s job is to represent you well and protect you, too. Your Realtor’s job is not to act as a lawyer, but you cannot escape the fact that your buyer’s agent will be drafting a lot of contract documents for you, and so they had better know which ones to use and how to use them.
All this means your buyer’s agent should represent you honestly, competently, and professionally. You are entrusting your agent with a lot of money (possibly several hundred thousand dollars to a million), and that requires a level of knowledge and skill that rises to the same level of responsibility and importance as your CPA, your lawyer, your Registered Investment Adviser, and your doctor.
Your buyer’s agent should know the subject of real estate upside down and backwards. He should be a master negotiator when it comes to your hard earned money. He should know exactly how to protect you with a buyer’s due diligence. He should be able to answer all your questions along the way, and he should be honest, articulate, and a pleasure to work with.
Hiring a buyer’s agent is one of the most important decisions you will make as you go into your retirement years. Be careful. Be wise, and do your research before you hire a buyer’s agent. Your Realtor’s job is very important . . . to you.
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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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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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Is your Realtor the number 1 selling agent? If you’re a buyer, you want a real estate agent who has a proven track record, but be careful about statistics. They can be misused. This article will show you what the single most important statistic is if you are hiring a buyer’s agent or a listing agent.
The single most important stat is the one that shows who sold the most homes representing buyers in your relevant price range. That person is called a “selling agent.” In other words, a selling agent is a buyer’s agent. This often confuses people. Think of it this way. An agent who represents the buyer is the one who actually sells the home. An agent who lists is a listing agent. A listing agent does not sell the home, unless he is a dual agent and also represents the buyer. So we have a listing agent (also known as a seller’s agent which is different than a selling agent), and we have a buyer’s agent, aka the selling agent.
The relevant price range in Sequim for buyers who want a nice home is going to be above $200,000. You can’t buy much of a home for less than that. So if you are a buyer, you want a real estate agent who has a great track record selling the kinds of homes and the price range that you want. For example, you wouldn’t want to hire a Realtor who sells a lot of mobile homes if you want to buy a custom built $300,000 home.
If you are selling a home, you also want a real estate agent who sells a lot of homes, not just one who lists a lot of homes. The difference is night and day. You want a Realtor with a fantastic marketing system [know what that means because nearly all Realtors say they have one] who actually sells homes like yours. So you might want the number 1 selling agent to list your home, because he doesn’t just list–he sells.
I work hard and rarely check on the MLS statistics to grade myself against other Realtors. Statistics are relatively unimportant to me. What is important is taking care of my clients, and doing that better than anyone else. That can’t really be measured with a statistic. However, this morning I discovered for the first time that I am the number 1 selling agent of single family homes above $200,000 for all homes sold over the last seven years in Clallam County which includes Sequim and Port Angeles. That didn’t really surprise me, but it did make me laugh. This goes to show how UNIMPORTANT statistics are to me. Obviously I have not focused on being the number 1 selling agent in Sequim and Port Angeles. But sometimes when priorities are right and you don’t focus on the wrong things, you get what you did not seek.
Beware of agents who tell you they are number 1, because you have to ask what statistics they are using. To prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am telling the truth and that I am the number 1 selling agent in this market for homes that sell above $200,000 for all sales going back to Jan 1 of 2009 through Dec 31 of 2015, I’m including this graphic from the Olympic Listing Service.
What does this show me? It shows me that my virtual marketing system is the largest in the entire county and maybe the Olympic Peninsula. It shows me that my business model is working exceedingly well. It tells me I’m doing a lot of things right, and that’s encouraging.
If an agent tells you he or she is the number 1 selling agent, tell them that when another agent sells one of their listings, that does not count as one of their personal sales. The most important statistic is the homes they personally sell by representing a buyer. The agent who represented the buyer is the one who actually sold the house. The listing agent only listed the house. I mention this, because listing agents are counting my sales of their listings as their own sales in their listing presentations. Isn’t that interesting?
What is more important than whether an agent is ranked the number 1 selling agent? Honesty, integrity, knowledge, experience, competence, skill, and truthworthiness. So here’s a thought. If an agent is willing to misrepresent statistics, doesn’t that kind of indicate there’s a problem with honesty and integrity?
So here’s what’s so ironic. I don’t really care that I am the number 1 selling agent, because there are other more important character traits and values in my business model. Being the number 1 selling agent is just confirmation that my business model is a good one. And that brings me a great deal of satisfaction.
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Do Realtors exaggerate about their success using statistics? I think we all know the answer to that. The most articulate answer probably goes something like this, “Some Realtors exaggerate their statistics to make themselves look better than they are, some Realtors exaggerate a little from time to time (still inexcusable), and some Realtors are absolutely honest and never exaggerate their sales statistics.”
I’m passionate about being absolutely truthful about how we use statistics at iRealty. Do Realtors exaggerate here? No. We don’t need to exaggerate, and we don’t need to defend ourselves when other brokers misuse statistics or say something about us that isn’t true, but I do think truth is everything. While this issue of Realtors exaggerating with the use of statistics is relatively minor in the context of all the bigger issues in life, I think honesty and being truthful is extremely important.
I believe that “truth” is the most important word in all of history. Alexander Solzhenitsyn had it right when he wrote, “One word of truth will outweigh the whole world.” And the one man who had the greatest impact on all of human history was a man called Jesus, who called himself “The Truth.”
For myself, I never feel like I have any corner on the truth, because I am constantly learning and expect to be learning until the day I die. But one thing I do not do is misrepresent the truth or distort it or lie. The truth reigns here at this brokerage, because I think the truth is the single most important word in the world.
Why is this minor issue about how Realtors exaggerate important for iRealty? Because at the foundation of all the values at iRealty, truth and honesty and integrity are the most important. Everything else is secondary. “Everything else is just cheap whiskey.”
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Vanity advertising got popular in the late ’70s and the early ’80s in the real estate industry. I recall the bill board advertising, “Number one selling agent,” or “I sell more homes than anyone,” or “The #1 Top Producer.” And there would be a huge photo of the agent. Oh boy. That was vanity advertising.
Most people are not impressed when someone they just met tells them how great they are. Chest pounding is better suited for gorillas, and bragioso is not a winning strategy when it comes to making friends and influencing people. Vanity advertising is not pretty.
There is a time and a place for talking about where one stands within a profession, and for a Realtor that means that a client is entitled to know what a Realtor’s sales record is. When a buyer or seller asks or they want to know how big the agent’s marketing system is, it’s not vanity to tell them, unless subtle misrepresentations are part of the answer. Misusing statistics in a listing presentation is one of the biggest abuses in the profession. Statistics can be proof of a successful business model, or statistics can be misused to promote oneself. That would be vanity advertising.
This real estate blog goes a long way to provide buyers with solid content and real answers to their questions. Prospective clients are under no obligation and can read our articles and use our MLS sites without registration. We have so much free information and so many free tools for buyers, it’s crazy. We give and we give and we give, and we demand nothing in return. Our approach is the opposite of vanity advertising. We seek to build trust and prove to our prospective clients that there is substance under the hood before you ever talk to us. But if you want to know more about us, we would be delighted to answer any question you have. We’re not into vanity advertising, and in the past 10 years we’ve done very little paid advertising. You could say we have a different approach to building relationships.
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At least one Sequim agent is having the time of his life. “I love this business, and with the incredibly powerful Internet tools that are available today for buyers absolutely free, searching for your ideal home has never been easier, and it’s never been more fun than it is today.” This is one example of Chuck Marunde’s passion to help buyers get accurate and complete information to make wise decisions. iRealty Virtual Brokers, also registered as Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, has more firsts than any other local broker, and here’s another–a very powerful menu system to help you search and find answers to your questions.
The best way to see our new menu system is to simply go to the top menu above and drag your mouse across the menu and over the drop down menus that appear. The “Buyer’s” menu will reveal five major columns with about a dozen titles covering a variety of important buyer issues. This is the only menu of its kind, so you can see why this Sequim agent is excited to offer this extraordinary search capacity to buyers.
This new menu is fun to use. As you drag your mouse across the menu items to the right, you see more drop down options, and you’ll even see a beautiful drop down of book images and even a drop down video. I won’t bore you with the complicated programming this Sequim agent had to do to make all this happen. Chuck Marunde takes great delight in making the complicated look simple, but the real key is giving buyers content-rich information on key subjects that will help them make wise decisions as they enter the best years of their lives–their retirement years.
The menu system uses a very functional system of categories, posts, and pages, so many of the links will include multiple articles on the same subject. This is unquestionably the single most powerful real estate site on the entire Olympic Peninsula, and maybe even in the Northwest.
Of course, you can still search for particular subjects and phrases beyond our menu system using our powerful search tool for all things Sequim real estate: Search Sequim Real Estate. “If buyers find all this information with over 1,900 articles, many books, and MLS sites useful in helping them find a home and get answers to their many questions, I hope they will consider hiring me as their Buyer’s Agent. But even if they hire someone else, they can always say this was the best source of accurate and complete information on all things about Sequim real estate,” shares Chuck. Now you know what one Sequim agent has been doing.
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Do you have real estate questions? Questions about Sequim, Port Angeles, or Port Townsend? Questions about retiring on the Olympic Peninsula? What life is like on the Olympic Peninsula, what the cost of living is, and a hundred other questions? What if you could find one place, one source that would answer all your real estate questions with straight and honest answers? Well, you’ve found it here. With over 1,900 articles written that answer these real estate questions, this is the largest real estate blog on the Olympic Peninsula and one of the largest in the entire Northwest.
You can search this blog with any of thousands of phrases or words, and all articles written with that phrase or word will pop up. Many articles include links to more information on specific topics. All articles are written by nationally recognized real estate expert Chuck Marunde, retired real estate lawyer and real estate broker, and author of ten books, mostly on real estate.
In the right margin you will see links to affiliate sites with more information. There are links to the books, links to three MLS sites, links to photos sites, and much more.
If you cannot find the answer to your question(s), you can email Chuck at ChuckMarunde@gmail.com, or you can schedule an appointment online with the link in the right margin. If you have subjects you would like to see covered on this blog, suggestions are very welcome.
A big part of Chuck’s philosophy as a real estate broker and buyer’s agent involves giving you as a buyer the best and most accurate information you can get to make wise decisions. “I believe in giving and giving, all free and without any obligation. I also believe that eventually it comes back.” If you like to read books, you can order the books on Amazon.com. With all these resources, you are almost certainly going to get all the answers to your real estate questions.
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At least one Sequim Realtor is having more fun than he has ever had in his life. How can a Realtor be having so much fun in the real estate business, and in Sequim, WA no less? I’m happy to share how this is happening. The answer isn’t so much about me as much as it is about you.
The most fundamental reason I’m having so much fun is because my business plan and my marketing and my customer service and every single thing I do is built around my philosophy that my clients are at the center of the Universe, and everything I do flows out of that commitment. My clients’ interests are always placed at the center. Nothing trumps my clients’ needs and wants–not my commission, not my perceived needs, not my personal preferences. So why is this Sequim Realtor so happy about that? There are some very big implications to this approach, and they make the business and life of this Sequim Realtor dramatically different (and happier) than traditional real estate sales people.
As a Sequim Realtor, Chuck Marunde shares why he is having so much fun. “I’m at a place in my life where all my real estate education and experience comes together for my clients, and that’s almost four decades of real estate sales, real estate law practice, teaching other Realtors, and writing real estate books. It has all come together and my interest in technology and in using the Internet to give buyers content-rich information about Sequim and buying and selling real estate have come together uniquely. There comes a point in one’s life when serving others becomes the greater part of satisfaction, and because I’ve had all this experience, it now gives me great pleasure to be able to answer virtually any question my clients have and to help them through any negotiation or challenging real estate situation. And the fact that my clients appreciate me and value what I can do for them (and they tell me they deeply appreciate my honesty as well), is incredibly rewarding for me.”
“But something magical has happened along the way. My business model, which I developed 10 years ago and have been working diligently to perfect ever since, was and is built with the same philosophy–with my client’s best interests at the center of the Universe. That means my Internet marketing approach has been a smashing success. When buyers are searching for specific answers to their questions, they keep finding me, and my clients are the most amazing people I’ve ever met. That makes my work pure joy. And since my marketing system is working better than any of the traditional bricks-and-mortar models, I’m selling more homes than any other single agent by volume. All of this means my work is fun, rewarding, low stress, and I sell more real estate than my colleagues. But the greatest reward for me is what I’m able to do for my clients, and the fact that they appreciate me makes my work very fulfilling.”
No wonder this Sequim Realtor is having so much fun!
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You can make an offer contingent on the sale of your home, but the seller may or may not accept it. Here’s how an offer contingent on the sale of your home can be structured.
Standard contingencies in most offers would include things like a home inspection, financing, a septic inspection, and a well inspection. But there are two other types of contingencies. One includes an offer contingent on the sale of your current home. If your home is not currently pending, you’re asking a seller who may be thousands of miles away from you, to accept an offer that is subject to the conditions of another real estate market, another buyer, and perhaps contingencies in that offer. Some sellers in the Sequim, Port Angeles, or Port Townsend areas may not feel that is a strong offer.
On the other hand, the standard addendum with this kind of contingency includes a “bump clause,” which means the seller can accept your offer and keep his house for sale in case a better offer comes along. If a better offer comes along, you have the right to waive your contingency and proceed to closing, essentially matching the other offer. If your home hasn’t sold and you can’t cash out your Sequim seller, then you are bumped, and your transaction is terminated.
A much more attractive offer contingent on the sale of your home happens when the sale of your current home is actually pending with a firm closing date. In that case, the seller in Sequim is going to feel better about signing an agreement with you, although it will still include a “bump clause.’
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Buying a home is a massive undertaking, and if you’ve read some of my earlier articles about doing your due diligence as a buyer, you have a good checklist of major items to review. Things like the home inspection, the septic inspection, the well inspection, irrigation systems, traffic noise, driveway easements, view easements, the quality of construction, architectural obsolescence, kitchen designs, appliances, and much more.
But there are also a number of lesser known considerations when buying a home. I like to say that something is a minor issue until it becomes a major issue. These are things a buyer and their buyer’s agent could easily overlook, but after buying a home, they could be major headaches for you.
When you’re looking at homes, I recommend doing something most buyers do not do. It is quite normal to walk through a home looking at the floor plan, the quality of construction, the views from the windows, the appliances, and so on. That’s all good, but there are a few simple steps you can take that can save you from a nightmare scenario.
For example, it only takes a minute to fill a glass of water in the kitchen and taste the water. Many buyers miss this important step. Sequim is very fortunate that nearly all our wells have very pure delicious water, but there are some pockets where mineral levels (magnesium, iron, sulfur) can be high. High in minerals does not mean the water is unsafe. The health concern is not minerals–it is bacteria and nitrates.
Tasting the water is a good simple test, but you can do more. Smell the water, like you might if you were sampling wine. If there is a sulfur smell, look for a water filtering system. And there’s another important step. Tap water may smell pure and taste good, but if there is a filtering system for minerals, that just tells you the system is working properly. The next step is to go into the master bathroom and turn on the shower, and turn on the hot water. The smell of high mineral content, particularly a sulfur smell, may not be noticeable in the kitchen, but hot water that is atomized into the air has a way of accentuating any sulfur scent. This is a trick few people would think of when buying a home.
If the well is deep, and there is plenty of water, and if mineral content is high, a good filtering system usually solves the issue entirely, and you can live happily ever after. But a good mineral filtering system can cost $4,500. By the way, here’s a nuance worth knowing. Mineral content can increase and decrease at different times of the year. In the rainy season, mineral content usually decreases.
Another question worth asking when you’re in the process of buying a home is, “Is this property in or near a final approach to an airport?” You may not hear any planes overhead when you’re looking at a home, but after you move in, will planes be flying over regularly? And if so, how often?
It is worth observing where the current owner’s cable or satellite TV is located, where their Internet connection is located, and whether there are connections in other rooms where you might locate those services. Find out about their Internet service. Is it fast or exceedingly slow? Also, check the bars on your cell phone. Will this location have good cell phone service, or none at all. That could be a crisis.
While these are all minor issues, they could quickly become major issues, and you don’t need that. You don’t have to know everything when buying a home, but if you don’t, your buyer’s agent should if he or she is going to protect you. Clearly, the importance of doing your due diligence when buying a home cannot be understated.
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Real estate brokers around the United States seem to be missing the point, at least from a client perspective. If you read the regular stream of articles published about how real estate brokers must change, and about the so-called “new brokerage models” that are supposed to give consumers better service or more choice, you’ll notice (if you have the discernment to see what is behind the curtains) that the emphasis is always on money, not the consumer’s best and ultimate interests. This subject may be a bit deep for most people just searching for a home online, but not for my readers. My readers are smart and sophisticated, and they like to know how things really work. If you read this blog, you know my personal passion is summed up in a little word called “truth”. Unfortunately in the real estate industry, many real estate brokers don’t understand how their own business model or corporate culture can play against consumers like you. As a result, they miss the entire point–serving your best interests, all the while claiming (and sincerely believing) they do put you first. It’s not necessarily the fault of real estate brokers you and I know–good people. They don’t always understand, because few of them have a background in business development, marketing and sales, real estate law, and customer service. They fall into the trap of believing the talking points of their brokerage. As a result, they miss the most important focus of all–how to best serve YOU as the client.
Redfin is a example of good intentions gone awry. Redfin was created because real estate brokers thought by reducing real estate commissions to 1.5% on the listing side and 3% on the selling side (total 4.5%), and by offering buyers an additional refund of part of the commission, and by paying their agents salaries, they could give consumers like you something you really want.
Reducing fees always seems like a good idea to consumers, until you realize where the focus is NOT. The focus is NOT on attracting or hiring the most experienced professional real estate brokers in the business–it is about hiring real estate brokers who will work on small salaries. New and inexperienced real estate brokers may be attracted to a small salary with little room for career progression, but when you hire a listing agent to sell your home, do you really want that real estate broker? Of course not. You want the best who can most effectively market your property, who has the experience to negotiate the best price, and much more. (more…)
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“If you get, give: if you learn, teach,” is a quote from Dr. Maya Angelou who was a remarkable woman, an author and a civil rights leader. She died last year at the age of 86. Why do I quote her on this real estate blog? Because her philosophy and the way she lived her life echoes my beliefs about how I work with real estate clients, and how I live.
Dr. Angelou also wrote, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” This statement describes how I live every day. I may be lacking in humor, but I am passionate and compassionate, and I hope along the way I have a little style.
I recently helped a buyer purchase the home in this photo. This 3 bedroom, 2 bath single level home is about 5 miles outside of Sequim on a little over 2.5 acres, all fenced and with a couple of outbuildings, including two beautiful horse stalls. The back deck faces south, and what a peaceful spot to enjoy a cup of gourmet coffee and the Sequim sunshine. There’s an irrigation system for outside watering and a pond on one end. At $385,000, this buyer is not just pleased–he’s giddy. This is what I do. I teach buyers how to buy and guide them through the entire process. I’m a buyer’s agent.
Another favorite Dr. Angelou quote is, “Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage, you cannot practice any of the other virtues consistently.” When I first read this quote, it really hit home for me. A person might work hard regularly, and might be honest most all the time, and generous at times, but it takes courage to practice these virtues consistently.
I find that my own daily practice takes all my emotional energy, because I pour myself into my client’s best interests, and that often means working from morning ’till night, and often seven days a week. But I love what I do, mostly because it helps improve the quality of my clients’ lives, and that is why I teach and guide buyers. It is my gift and my pleasure.
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