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Ambiguous real estate contracts can turn into a nightmare for a buyer like you. Real estate contracts are an important part of buying a home, and normally your Realtor drafts your real estate contracts. These are binding agreements, and if your Realtor doesn’t draft clean documents that are unambiguous, you could end up with a nightmare. I know this, because I was a real estate attorney for 20 years. Now I’m a buyer’s agent for people moving to Sequim. During all these years, I’ve seen hundreds of ambiguous contracts, clauses, addendums, as well as ambiguous letters and emails, and I’m talking about communications from other Realtors. I can testify to the importance of articulate and unambiguous contracts and communications. Words have meaning, especially in real estate contracts, but sometimes words can be misleading, as in this photo.

Real Estate Contracts

Real Estate Contracts

Real estate transactions have gotten exceedingly complicated over the decades I’ve been in the business. A purchase and sale agreement was only two legal sized pages when I started, but today I would say the shortest agreement is 14 pages. The legalese is far beyond most buyer’s understanding.

But that’s not the problem. The problem for you as a buyer is ambiguities in the communications between the Realtors and others involved in your transaction. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I have received an email from a Realtor on the other end of a transaction that is embarrassingly ambiguous. Look, not everyone is good with the English language, right? We all know that, but have you considered how deleterious an ambiguity can be in your real estate contracts? Being sloppy with English is okay in a casual conversation, but not in a binding contract.

How many times have people ended up in a dispute because the buyer thought something was going to happen, but the seller had an entirely different idea? These misunderstandings can be minor or major, but in either event, they can be a nightmare. How do such things happen? Poor communications between the Realtors.

Real Estate Contracts in Plain English

The articulate use of the English language is essential when you are buying a home. It is important to express your intent as a buyer in your real estate contracts concisely and without ambiguity. It is vital that your Realtor know what to say and what not to say (or write). After 40 years in real estate, I’m going to estimate that 70% of all Realtors in the U.S. do not communicate clearly throughout the entire length of a real estate transaction on all issues. Frankly, I think that percentage is probably much higher. Most buyers get lucky, and if nothing bad happens, then no one ever knows the difference.

You don’t have to hire me as your buyer’s agent, but I hope you do. I work very heard to earn your business, so interview me, meet with me, talk to me. Find out for yourself.

I don’t practice real estate hoping, guessing, or by using ambiguous language. I don’t do ambiguities. I protect my buyers. Trust me, you do not want ambiguities in your real estate contracts.

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Home Buyers – Who is Watching Out for You?

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

Home Buyers

Who is Watching Out for Home Buyers?

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

Home Buyers Beware

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

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

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Where is Wisdom?

Where is wisdom? This is the rhetorical question I have been asking for a couple of decades. This is a real estate blog, so I write about all the issues that concern buyers and sellers of real estate. With over 1,900 articles here, I strive to help buyers discover the answers to their most important real estate questions. At the foundation of every single article on this site is the focus on what is true. 

Where is Wisdom

Where is Wisdom?

But just getting some facts still begs the question, where is wisdom? You need all the facts, and you need wisdom to make the best decisions for the rest of your life, especially as you go into your retirement years. Unfortunately, we are living in a time when selective facts and partial truths have become tools for those with hidden agendas. Listen to the news, to politicians, or just walk down the street, and you may be asking yourself, “where is wisdom?”

To the best of my knowledge, there is not one single incorrect fact in the thousands of articles on this site. Why? Because the truth and accuracy are absolutely critical, and they are critically important here because integrity and honesty with our clients is everything. Should you ever find any statement that is not true, bring it to my attention, and tell me why it is not true. I will examine it and put it through the filter of truth.

Where is Wisdom Today in Real Estate?

Every fact and article on this blog must also pass the test of context and wisdom. The question, “where is wisdom?” is always front and center on this real estate blog. Read the articles, search for answers to your questions with our powerful search tool, email questions to chuckmarunde@gmail.com. It is my personal hope that if you ask “where is wisdom?” you will find it here.

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Maybe You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover

We’ve heard it all our lives, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” but is that really true? While there are certainly applications that are fitting for this cliche, I am going to challenge conventional wisdom and suggest that when it comes to hiring a professional (doctor, lawyer, priest, dentist, insurance agent, or a real estate agent), it is actually false. You can judge a book by its cover when you meet a professional you are thinking about hiring.

Judge a Book by Its Cover

Judge a Book By Its Cover?

In 37 years as a professional, I have seen one disturbing pattern repeat itself over and over again: people who hired a professional who later admitted they made a mistake, although their first clue was a bad first impression. Had they stopped to think that maybe they can judge a book by its cover, they might have avoided hiring the wrong person. For most of these folks, it wasn’t just a matter of hiring the wrong person, it meant hiring someone who was either incompetent or dishonest or unethical. In so many cases that clients have shared with me in almost four decades, had they paid attention to their discernment, had they realized they could judge a book by its cover, they would not have made the mistake of hiring the wrong person.

The Rule is Judge a Book by Its Cover

Here’s a rule you can live by. When you talk to a professional the first time, including real estate agents, listen to your first impression. In this narrow context, your first impression is usually dead on. Listen to it. In this case, you can judge a book by its cover.

Having said all of that, the next obvious lesson from life is that just because a person looks good, smells good, and has a sweet voice and smile, and says all the right things does not mean you shouldn’t do some due diligence. Check everyone out. You have to. You’re about to entrust someone (a Realtor) with a lot of your money. But don’t disregard your first impression, because maybe you can judge a book by its cover.

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The Secret to Buying a Home

Is there a secret to buying a home?  I think there is.  It’s something that I have been observing in buyers for over three decades, and I realized that the conversations that I have been having with hundreds of buyers have included a very important element.  I’m not suggesting there is only one secret or a single key or magic wand that will answer all your questions about which home to buy.  Life is not that simple, and neither is buying real estate, but there is one thing that can give you the experience of hundreds of buyers just like you, and I thought I would share that today.

Secret to Buying a Home

The Secret to Buying a Home

I’m assuming that you’ve searched online and looked at many homes and as you searched, you narrowed your search parameters so you would get a better list of potential homes based on your personal preferences.  You should narrow the list to a short list of 6 to 12 homes.  Once you have your short list of homes to view, how do you filter and sort those mentally and emotionally so you can narrow that down to “The One?”  I think you’ll find this to be a valid secret to buying a home.

The Secret to Buying a Home is the Right Conversation

Here it is.  You and your spouse should be discussing the homes with your real estate agent as you look at the homes. You should discuss the good features, the best features, and the negatives or the less attractive features of the homes. At the end of the day, you should have a conversation about all of the homes, review again the positives and negatives, but here is where the value is in this conversation, or what I’m calling the secret to buying a home. Of course you want to talk about the exciting features, the positives, but it’s not the positive features that help you filter your list from several homes to only one.  The positive features keep homes on the list.  It’s the negative features that will help you filter and eliminate the homes you should not buy.   (more…)

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Buying a Home From A Bankruptcy Trustee

Buying a home from a bankruptcy trustee is complicated.  If a homeowner files bankruptcy, all assets owned by the homeowner are controlled by the bankruptcy trustee, and a home cannot be sold without the trustee’s approval.

Buying a Home From a Bankruptcy Trustee

The homeowner looses control of selling the home and the process of selling the home once he files for bankruptcy.  The process of buying a home from a bankruptcy trustee is governed by Federal law, and the whole process is defined by the trustee, not by the homeowner and the buyer.

Buying a Home From A Bankruptcy Trustee

The Price of Buying a Home From a Bankruptcy Trustee

The trustee can approve or disapprove the selling price.  The trustee can set a time months into the future and say that he will accept all offers received up to that date, and then he will decide which offer is the best one.  And get ready for this.  The trustee can convert the transaction from a regular sale into an auction where he tells everyone who makes an offer what the other offers are, forcing all buyers to either bid higher or drop out.  The homeowner selling the home completely loses control of his home.  That is because the trustee’s loyalty is to the creditors, not the homeowner and not buyers.  (more…)

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One Thing Can Change Your Life

One thing can change your life.  It’s true, one thing can change everything for the rest of your life.  Whether a Californian moves to Sequim to retire in their dream home, or stays in Los Angeles the rest of their life often turns on a single event.   Let me share a simple example to get your brain’s neurons firing.

One Thing Can Change Your Life in Small Ways

One Thing Can Change Your LifeOne of my personal challenges in life has been finding a good affordable electric shaver.  There are some very fancy and expensive electric shavers, and being financially conservative and skeptical, I have not been persuaded to make a withdrawal from my 401(k) to invest in one of the top of these line electronic marvels.  Replacement screens and cutters, and the alcohol solutions for cleaning the units all require a substantial monthly budget.  Instead, I fell into a pattern of purchasing inexpensive electric shavers priced from $9.99 to $29.  At those prices it was cheaper to just buy a new shaver rather than replace the screen and cutters.  But I always had a hard time throwing any of these away, so I had a box of electric shavers, and my bathroom counter surrounding the sink on any day would have a myriad of shaving units.  The problem wasn’t just that I had a mess on my counter.  I also wasn’t getting the best shave, and the skin on my sensitive neck and face suffered.

Then I discovered that one thing can change your life, and it changed mine.  I bought a top of the line electric shaver.  It’s a Braun Series 3 Model 390 cc-4.  The very first day I used it, I realized I was feeling a new sense of freedom.  The much more powerful unit and faster speed of the cutting action gave me the smoothest shave I’ve ever experienced in my life, and once again my neck and face were as smooth as a baby’s behind.  It was fast and painless, and I love the results.  So how did this one thing change my life?

One Thing Can Change Your Life Like a Chain Reaction

After this one thing–buying a quality electric shaver–I collected all my old shavers in a large box and threw them out.  Then I cleaned the entire bathroom counter and organized it better than it has looked in years.  But changing one thing often reverberates in the rest of your life, and this was true for me even in this little thing.  With my bathroom counter looking so good, I got the bug to clean the rest of my bathroom.  I scrubbed, cleaned, and organized.  I stood back and felt a sense of pride.  Then I realized I had not yet replaced two dead light bulbs of the many that encircled the bathroom mirror, so I did the thing that any man would do.  I went to Home Depot.  While in Home Depot I met some friends, and we had a great conversation, and there was plenty of laughter.  Hearty laughter is great medicine for the soul.  The day just kept getting better.

Having recaptured my baby smooth face with the new shaver, and now getting a happy surprise every time I walked into my bathroom, I was on a roll, and started cleaning the kitchen, and then the other rooms in the house.  Because of one thing, buying a quality electric shaver, a chain of events was put into motion, and my life has improved, albeit in small ways.

One Thing Can Change Your Life in Big Ways Forever

A couple in California decide to visit Sequim with the idea of looking at homes and evaluating the area to see if this might be the place to retire for the rest of their lives.  There are many steps in that process.  They will spend time on the Internet before they come looking at homes, reading about Sequim, and perhaps emailing or talking with a local real estate agent.  They collect information, and they filter through lots of information.  They contact an agent, and they come to Sequim to look at homes.

If they hire the wrong real estate agent, they may take a completely different path, one that leads to staying in Los Angeles.  If they don’t find the ideal retirement home, they may stay in Los Angeles for the rest of their lives.  If they find the right house, but they make a mistake in the negotiations, they may not get it. 

On the other hand, if they meet a Realtor they enjoy working with who is competent and professional, and if they find the ideal home, and if they negotiate a great price and terms, and they have a good experience in the process, they end up moving to Sequim and the rest of their lives are changed forever.  Or any one event in the chain of events could cause them to stay in Los Angeles for the rest of their lives.  Living in Los Angeles will result in a series of inter-related events that have their own consequences and meaning for life, some good, some not so good.  There are many decisions made in the retirement process, and one thing can change your life.  Whether they move to Sequim or stay in L.A., the people with whom they have relationships will play a major factor in the path they take.  The next person you meet could change your life forever.  The next home you buy could change your life forever.  Take it from many retirees who have already moved to Sequim and from me, having lived here for 18 years, one thing can change your life forever.

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Real estate agents are leaving the business, and while that’s not front page news anymore considering the last five years, it is relevant to both buyers and sellers.  In 2008 Sequim had 258 real estate agents, and now (April of 2012) we have only 107 real estate agents.  Let’s do the math.  That means we only have 41% of the agents we had, which is nearly a 60% loss of agents.  Here’s a coincidence for you.  While I was finishing typing that last sentence I got a call from a homeowner whose home I showed a month ago.  He called to tell me that his listing agent left just the brokerage.  Amazing.  He also told me that his listing has been terminated, and he wants to relist his home with another company at a $50,000 price reduction.  He’s not my client, so I did not feel comfortable telling him over the phone that his home was overpriced by $100,000, not $50,000.  I did share that with his listing agent when I showed the home, but either his listing agent did not communicate that to him, or he simply did not believe it.  This is a perfect example of why a homeowner’s home has not sold and why his own agent is starving.  She can’t earn a commission trying to sell an overpriced home in a recession.  No wonder so many real estate agents are leaving the business!

Real Estate Agents Closing Doors

Real Estate Agents

These real estate agents did close their doors.  This was one of the largest real estate offices in Clallam County, and the owners were evicted from the building.  They didn’t have enough business, and their traditional bricks-and-mortar business model could not survive this recession.  That’s certainly unfortunate for them.  For consumers, buyers and sellers, there is a bigger picture of change occurring.  It is slowly transforming into something much more consumer friendly, efficient, and much more oriented to addressing the best interests of the consumer in an honest way.  Consider how incredibly easy it is for you as a buyer to search all the homes in the MLS online 24/7 from the comfort of your own home without talking to any high pressure salesmen, or how easy it is to do your due diligence online to find a competent and professional and trustworthy buyer’s agent.  You can now do tremendous research online at absolutely no cost about a home, it’s history, the previous prices paid for the home, the tax assessment, and much more.  All of this substantially reduces the need to consumers of a large bricks-and-mortar building full of sales people.

Real Estate Agents Go Virtual

If you consider this real estate blog alone has over 1,100 articles about Sequim real estate, an MLS search buyers can use 24/7, and dozens of powerful online tools for them to research and do their due diligence on Sequim homes before they ever arrive in Sequim, and that they can do all of these things without being forced to register, you can see why I could say just based on this that I have the largest virtual real estate office in the county and maybe the state.  During the calendar year of 2011 over 315,000 prospective buyers used this real estate blog to search for and find their retirement home in Sequim.  My articles were read over 1.6 million times.  In light of how buyers love to use the Internet and free powerful tools to help them, it’s not hard to understand why so many of the big offices are closing their doors.  Not only is their overhead ridiculously high, but their business model and sales approach no longer caters to buyers’ real needs.

Real Estate Agents Not So Physical

I do have a physical office, but clients don’t care about a physical office any more.  Why should they?  Sellers want me to come to their homes, and buyers are interested in driving around and looking at homes, not sitting in an office.  In fact, my clients seem to prefer meeting at Starbucks and enjoying a cup of coffee as we prepare to look at homes on their filtered list.  This is why I’ve spent so much time and money building so many powerful tools on the Internet for buyers.  Not all real estate agents get it, but buyers get it and they love it.

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realtor_personalitiesHave you ever thought about real estate agent personalities?   I write periodically about how important  it is that you have a great real estate agent, but rarely do I discuss personalities or behaviors.  First, you want an agent who is knowledgeable and competent.  That’s a given.  Then you certainly want an agent who is trustworthy, someone you can trust to represent your best interests.  That’s a given.  But you also want someone you feel you can work with, right?

That’s where personality comes into the picture.  Real estate agent personalities run the gamut from quiet to boisterous, from reserved to giddy, humble to arrogant, serious to humorous, and so on.  One could say that what I’m describing are really reflections of a person’s personality or personality traits, and that there is much more to a person’s total personality than learned behaviors.  That’s probably true, but we often identify a person’s personality by how they relate to us in a given situation.

sequim_real_estate_agents_marundeA real estate agent’s personality is often reflected in what they did in an earlier career.  So a Realtor who was an accountant or an engineer will typically be a detail person who pays great attention to trivia, which is good, but which also can drive some people crazy because of how that directs conversations.  My own prior career as a lawyer would normally suggest, I think, that I would tend to be confident and arrogant.  Those who know me best tell me I am confident but not arrogant.  Thank God for that, but it’s a process and I continue to strive for humility and wisdom.  Lawyers are rarely good salesmen and are known for being deal killers in the real estate business, but fortunately I started as a Realtor and later became a lawyer.  My heartbeat even as a lawyer was to facilitate real estate transactions and not kill them.

Of the five major personality traits recognized by psychologists (see Big Five Personality Traits), “agreeableness” includes aspects that have a direct impact on how you and your real estate agent  will relate while you are shopping for your next home, or listing your home for sale.  Here is the range of “agreeableness.”

  • I am interested in people.
  • I feel others’ emotions.
  • I have a soft heart.
  • I make people feel at ease.
  • I sympathize with others’ feelings.
  • I take time out for others.
  • I am not interested in other people’s problems. (reversed)
  • I am not really interested in others. (reversed)
  • I feel little concern for others. (reversed)
  • I insult people. (reversed)
  • I like being isolated. (reversed)

Where your agent is on this scale of agreeableness is no small matter.  You definitely don’t want an agent who is near the bottom of this list.  I live in Sequim, and I would say that many of my Realtor friends in Sequim are agreeable and very pleasant to work with.  We are lucky in Sequim that way.  As has been said by many of my clients, “Sequim has so many genuinely kind people.”  And I think that is true of our Realtors, too, but you still want to choose the best Realtor for you, right?  You want a Realtor who is agreeable, but not milk toast either,  and you want someone who is willing to serve you faithfully, not out of his own self-interests.

Agreeableness is a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. . . . Agreeable individuals value getting along with others. They are generally considerate, friendly, generous, helpful, and willing to compromise their interests with others.

Disagreeable individuals place self-interest above getting along with others. They are generally unconcerned with others’ well-being, and are less likely to extend themselves for other people. Sometimes their skepticism about others’ motives causes them to be suspicious, unfriendly, and uncooperative.  (Quote from Wikipedia)

What do you look for in a real estate agent?  I’ve written elsewhere that it is important to do your due diligence on the Internet to find out if it appears your agent is competent, knowledgeable, and comes off as honest and trustworthy, but then I also recommend that you interview your agent (or several) and see if your personality meshes with your agent’s personality.  You’ll know the answer to that question almost immediately.

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Sequim Real Estate Search Engine

Search for any real estate issue with this specialized Sequim search engine and pull up the most credible and authoritative posts, articles, videos, and data from many Sequim websites and blogs directly answering your questions.

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Sequim real estate agents are wondering what Chuck Marunde is doing to sell so many homes and get so many qualified leads.   Neighbors of a home Chuck has listed in Sunland on the golf course are seeing the sign and the activity and wondering who this broker is.   They’re used to seeing the familiar franchise signs for sale on homes in Sunland.   So who is Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, LLC, and what’s all the hullabaloo?

“Back in 1995 I realized the Internet was going to be a major player in real estate, and I started a website then, but in the past two years the Internet has become the dominant tool buyers use to find a home,” says Chuck.   “So I built the largest Internet brokerage in all of Sequim and Port Angeles, and the results are stunning, but other brokers and many homeowners who are not paying attention to this Internet trend are still in the dark.   I don’t advertise in the local newspaper, because that is NOT where buyers from California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and Montana are looking!   And it’s not Sequim homeowners who are the buyers.   I am reaching out directly to the buyers from out of state.   It just makes sense, but many people haven’t thought this through, including local real estate brokers.”

In the biggest real estate recession the country has seen in decades, and the worst real estate market in memory for Sequim and Port Angeles, many real estate agents have left the business, and some have not sold anything in over a year.   Many are working other jobs, including washing dishes (literally) just to survive.   Not Chuck Marunde.

“I feel very blessed.   I sold a home in January, one in March, one in May, and I have two pending transactions in June already, and I’m submitting another offer today or tomorrow.   Here’s the amazing thing.   I don’t waste my money or my client’s money on things that don’t work, advertising that produces no results.   My Internet presence is producing buyers who are delighted to work with a Realtor who gets it.   Clients tell me they appreciate the fact that I was a real estate attorney, and tthe articles I post for them at no cost so they can make intelligent choices when they move here.   I would just call this basic customer service.”

“I’m so fortunate that the pieces of my chaotic life seem to have come together at this time and place.   I spent a lifetime in real estate transactions and law, marketing and sales, and technology.   I also love to write, so all of this somehow uniquely fits me, but most importantly it fits clients who are buying and selling.”

Most real state brokerages are operating under a 20 year old business model, but they are being left behind by the Internet.   Selling homes in Sequim or Port Angeles is no longer a simple matter of putting it in the MLS, running an ad once every six weeks in the local paper or the home sales magazine.   Agents who are sitting at the desk staring at the phone while it does not ring and waiting for buyers to walk into their brick and mortar offices are getting nervous, but more importantly, they are not producing sales for their listing clients and they are not connecting with buyers.

“Don’t be fooled by agents who tell you they have your listing all over the Internet.   There is much much more to the story about what works and what doesn’t work.   While I prefer not to reveal secrets that have taken me years and a wheel barrel of money to learn, I will share those with my clients.”

Sharp buyers and sellers are not just using the Internet–they are using it intelligently.   They know how to filter through the garbage to find a good agent, how to search for property, and they are discerning the   difference between agents who are blowing smoke and the agents who have real experience and professional knowledge.

So this real estate blog continues to help buyers and sellers to buy and sell in this market, but this blog also continues to be a source of professional education for real estate agents.   Everyone is welcome here.

At least one agent in Sequim and Port Angeles is having fun.   Chuck Marunde can be reached at his email, which is chuckmarunde@gmail.com or his direct phone, which is 360-775-5424.

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Finding a Real Estate Agent Who is Good

Real Estate AgentFinding a real estate agent who is good is not something some people consider important, or they don’t realize how to find a good real estate agent.

Pick a Real Estate Agent (Pick a Card)

A buyer decides he needs a real estate agent to buy a home, but this buyer makes a huge mistake, and the bad news is he has no idea he is making it.   He’s in a very respected profession, and he’s a mature and intelligent man.   He has a good friend, and his good friend’s wife is a real estate agent.   So when he wants to buy a house, he automatically hires his friend’s wife.   After all, she is a real estate agent.   Notice that word “automatically.”

This is a true story.   As it turns out, his friend’s wife is not so competent and not so ethical or professional.   The details don’t matter for purposes of this brief story, but the bottom line is that Mr. Professional gets less than royal treatment, and that is the understatement of the century.   I’m being polite here.   At the time Mr. Professional had no idea how his own real estate agent sabotaged his transaction with her incompetence and unprofessionalism. He never knew, that is, until much later, when he subsequently finds out, and later tells me the whole story.

Real Estate Agent –  Dime a Dozen?

What’s the moral of this story?   Just because your friend’s wife is a real estate agent does NOT mean she is a great agent who will do such a great job for you.   Why in the world would someone assume they must hire their friend’s wife or sister or friend?   I’ll tell you why, and when you think about it, it just seems dumb.   They hire that person simply because of that relationship.   Period.   That is the ONLY reason.   It’s hard to believe, but this happens regularly, and I hear the nightmare stories.

[In my book on this subject I included this paragraph, and I included this in a response to a comment to this article:  “As a small but important point of clarification, when I use the term ‘housewives’ I’m really talking about people, men or women, who got their real estate license but have no real estate education, no business education, no sales education, no marketing education, no legal training to draft legal documents, and very little to offer clients except time and a smile. As consumers tell me all the time, there are agents just like this all over the country. I actually picked up this derogatory use of the word ‘housewives’ from consumers themselves over many years. Do not misunderstand me here. This doesn’t mean a person I call a licensed housewife (or househusband) isn’t a wonderful person and a good person. This is not a character issue. It’s a professional competence issue. It’s not about the person—it’s about their lack of education, knowledge, experience, and professionalism. I get along with almost everybody, and I love almost everybody, regardless of their background or history. Anyone who knows me also knows that I am a strong believer in extending grace and mercy to everyone.”  See more in the comments below.]

Your Real Estate Agent and Professionalism

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a friend’s wife as your real estate agent, if she is truly competent, experienced, professional, and ethical, but for goodness sake, do some due diligence first.   Go out and interview at least three real estate agents, and choose those three carefully by filtering through the Internet to first read about them and find the one real estate agent with the best education PLUS experience PLUS a powerful Internet presence.   The first two should be obvious, but don’t forget that 85% of all home buyers start their search on the Internet today according to a national survey by the National Association of Realtors, so if your real estate agent doesn’t have a powerful Internet presence, go somewhere else.

Honestly, I have heard so many stories from good people who hired a housewife as their real estate agent because she was a sister of someone or a brother’s aunt’s daughter, and after they have made the same big mistake that so many before have innocently made, they shake their head in disbelief as they talk about it.

Why would I be so blunt and honest in this article?   Because I have seen this same scenario so many times as a real estate attorney and again as a real estate agent that I think I’ll scream it out–All real estate agents are NOT the same.   Hire a good real estate agent, not just someone who has a license and is your friend’s wife.   Many of these real estate agents have no business background, no degree in marketing or sales, no real estate knowledge, other than the little online courses required to pass the test, and virtually no experience in hard negotiating or legal documents, and you’re hiring this person to spend your $300,000?   Egad!

Okay.   I’ve said it.   Now you have some choices to make.   Hire someone who is professional, honest and has the experience, someone who will assertively represent you, or . . . hire Tom, Sally, or Jane who just happens to be a friend of a friend and got his or her license.

Not sure who to hire?   Call me and ask me anything under the sun, and I’ll answer your questions honestly.   Do the same with two other real estate agents.   Then judge for yourself.   If you don’t think I’m the man for the job, then hire someone else, but don’t you deserve the opportunity to find out for yourself before you hire Jane or Sally automatically?

Hire a good real estate agent, whoever he or she might be.  A good real estate agent is not easy to find.

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sequim-search-engines

There’s a new Internet search engine in town, and it’s Microsoft’s search tool called, “Bing.” It’s easy to find on the Net, because it is simply bing.com. How does it stack up to the number one search engine, Google, which has about 64% of the search engine market? It is amazingly similar to Google.

Microsoft is struggling with only 8% of the market. Even thought Microsoft has been around a lot longer than Google, Google clearly figured out what consumers wanted, and Google continues to tweak and build to meet the cutting edge of consumer preferences. Microsoft has not done so well in this area, but their new search engine looks amazingly similar to Google’s.

Even the results are quite similar, although not precisely the same. Of course the results will not be exactly the same with different algorithms. But if you’re using Google already, you might wonder why you should shift to Bing. Other than a moment of “something new,” I can’t answer that.

“Nearly 98 percent of the traffic at Live.com is passive (coming from MSN, etc.) and Bing will be an attempt by Microsoft to establish its search offering as a destination Web site with high active traffic,” Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Agarwal said in a research note on Monday. “In our view, though Microsoft’s search technologies are ready for prime time, making a call on the success of Bing now will be premature.”

Most Microsoft searches have been the result of using MSN with toolbars and other methods, while just 1 or 2 percent come from people actually typing Live.com into their browser’s address bar. The rumor is that Miscrosoft plans to spend $80 to $100 million dollars to advertise and promote Bing.

Well, that wouldn’t be the first time Microsoft tried to buy its way into a market. We’ll see how it goes, but this author predicts that Google will remain dominant and Google fans like me will continue to favor Google.

For an example of the same search in Google and in Bing, take a look at these results with the search phrase “sequim and port angeles real estate news” without the quotes:

Bing search results for sequim and port angeles real estate news

Google search results for sequim and port angeles real estate news

Or have a little fun yourself and type in phrases like, “find an honest realtor in sequim,” or “port angeles homes price per square foot.”

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Sequim real estate brokers and Port Angeles real estate brokers are certainly facing many of the same struggles that brokers are facing all over the country, and Traditional Real Estate Brokerage is rapidly becoming a business model of the past. Why?

Let’s face it, and we all know this, everyone is moving to the Internet for almost everything.   Real estate agents can’t afford the expensive advertising of print newspapers, but print advertising just isn’t pulling in the clients anymore either.   Because consumers no longer want to read stale news, pay newspaper subscriptions, and because businesses are not paying for expensive and ineffective advertising, print newspapers are going out of business across the United States.   And brick and mortar real estate offices are not what impresses clients.

This tidal wave of change that has been sweeping the nation is literally forcing real estate brokers to ditch the old business model, because they are getting sucked into a black hole of financial disaster.

Imagine being forced to close 11 real estate offices!   That’s exactly what RE/MAX Dolphin Real Estate did. “This is not a geo-centric business anymore. The office has become less of a focus,’ said Allan Bernardi, broker and chief executive officer of RE/MAX Dolphin. ‘Technology has reduced the need to get the client into the office. You need to go where your clients are.'”   Read Mobilizing the Real Estate Office.

Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, LLC has been on the cutting edge of technology and the Internet, and we are pleased to announce that we are the largest real estate Internet brokerage in the county.   We’re not sure, but we may be the largest private solely owned Internet broker in the State of Washington.   All that would not mean much, except we are also built on a foundation of professional competence, knowledge, and integrity.   Chuck Marunde started in real estate 30 years ago, spent 20 years as a real estate lawyer, and now focuses that experience on real estate for buyers and sellers in Sequim and Port Angeles.   “We give clients more free information on the Internet than any other competing broker on subjects like buying and selling, the specifics of a transaction, negotiating the best price, building your own home, market prices and charts, analysis, MLS information, and much more–all free for our clients and all those who just need the information,” says Chuck Marunde, broker and founder.

Check out our sites:   SequimPortAngeles.com and SequimRealEstateNews.com.

For the hottest new online newspaper in the area, see Sequim-News.com.

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The Real Estate Business Gets Nasty

Christian Real Estate AgentAs a real estate broker I’m part of a national network of professionals in the real estate business, and I have the privilege of conversing with these professionals about the real estate business, brokerage, the market, sales techniques, and trends.   I learn a lot from these colleagues, all of whom live and work outside my market.

Here’s a story I’ve heard more than once.   An agent worked for a broker who promised everything under the sun, including a vast educational network, training and mentoring, opportunity for growth and income, office support, tools, supplies, and affiliations that could help the agent build his business.   The agent wasn’t new to the business.   As a matter of fact, the agent had years of precious experience that the broker insisted would be helpful to the brokerage and help them finally get moving in the right direction and get some momentum going.   There were even hints of partnership or management that would involve substantial compensation.   It all sounded so good to the agent that he signed up enthusiastically with the broker.

Unfortunately, after a year of no office meetings, no “vast educational network,” no helpful affiliations, no marketing systems, no business planning, . . . and virtually no office support with any value, the agent decided he had no choice but to move on.   He realized after pouring his heart out and working long hours to be successful at the brokerage, and after undying loyalty and faithfulness to the broker and the broker’s wife and the entire staff, the broker had in fact misrepresented his services and benefits.

It turns out this is a common story told in nearly every region of the country.   Real estate agents have a hard time finding a good home, and that’s the rule rather than the exception.   The exception is the agent who has been working with the same broker for a dozen or more years.   That’s rare.

It’s a tough business. Brokers are trying to make money off every agent, and agent’s are trying to keep as much of their money as they can.   If an agent felt he was getting great value for the substantial portion of the commission he gave his broker out of each transaction, that would be one thing, but many agents are finding out they don’t get all that was promised, and some argue they don’t get anything.

With the real estate market down so far, and deals few and far between, it has become dog-eat-dog out there.   If you’re a Realtor trying to find a broker who understands how to run a profitable business and take care of his agents with generous compensation and mentoring, don’t give up hope.   They’re out there.   They’re just hard to find.

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In Sequim and Port Angeles, there is one complaint I hear over and over again from people who had their property listed for sale with an agent at some point in the past.   I’m hesitant to share this, but I hear it so often, I don’t think this is any kind of secret.   In fact, it seems to be something that many homeowners have experienced in the school of hard knocks.   Here is what many have told me, almost verbatim:

“I had my property listed, but all my agent did was put it in the MLS.   I never heard from ‘him/her’.   Nothing happened.   No showings.   For six months.”

It’s a shame that such things happen, but this is not unusual around the country.   Getting a real estate license is not much harder than getting a driver’s license.   Sure you have to take an online course and take a test, but let’s fact it, just because someone has a license doesn’t mean they have knowledge and experience to handle your biggest investment.   I’m part of a large nationwide network of professional Realtors, and this is a common theme around the U.S.

I had some clients recently who took a very intelligent approach to searching for property.   First, they did their due diligence to find an agent they thought had the requisite knowledge and experience to help them find their ideal property and negotiate the best price.   Second, only then did they start looking at properties.   Makes sense, doesn’t it?   I think it does.   Of course, I am a Realtor, but I’m willing to be interviewed, and you’re welcome to do your due diligence in looking at my background to see if I can help you sell or buy your next property.     I love helping people buy and sell real estate, and everything I have learned in 30 years of real estate (including 20 as a real estate attorney) is yours for the asking.

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A majority of buyers now start their home search with an Internet MLS search for Sequim and Port Angeles properties. This is true all over the United States.

Did you know that not all real estate brokers and not all agents are necessarily members of your local MLS (multiple listing service), wherever you may live in the U.S.? What does it mean if a broker is not? Let’s consider the implications.

Most people know that the MLS is where real estate agents post their listings. This is the first step in marketing a property. Putting the listing in the MLS gives other agents who are members of the MLS the ability to view the details of that listing and share the listing with their potential buyer clients. All of this exposes the listed property to more potential buyers.

So why wouldn’t a broker be a member of a local MLS? There are three logical reasons. First, it is too expensive. That is not likely, since it is not an expensive service. In fact, it is the least expensive marketing an agent will ever do. The second possible reason is that the broker has a better marketing plan. That could be, but this also not likely, since the best marketing plan would include first listing it in the local MLS. The third possible reason would be that the broker’s membership was suspended or revoked by the local MLS board. If that is what happened, we don’t even want to discuss going further with that broker. Anyone who list with such a broker either does not know about the suspension or revocation or they are on Ritalin.

For the consumer, there are several more important considerations in deciding to list with a non-MLS participating broker.

  1. What is the broker’s plan to market your property? Does he or she even have a plan?
  2. How are the listings exposed to the rest of the world, or are they at all?
  3. Does the broker depend almost entirely on just hanging poor photos of your listing in the window at his or her office? How many buyers will that expose your property to?
  4. Is the broker’s effort at marketing focused only on local buyers in a limited marketing effort, or is there any national exposure to the many out-of-state buyers?
  5. With no exposure to all the other local brokers and agents, how does the broker intend to expose your listing to all potential buyers, or even many of them? Most buyers will be working through other agents, right?
  6. What is the broker’s relationship with other local agents? Good? Bad? Non-existent?
  7. If the broker is not part of the local broker network, understand that it is highly unlikely that other local agents will ever tell their clients about the broker’s listings. Why should they, they don’t get paid.
  8. A non-MLS broker will not have an IDX (public) search capacity from their website and your listing won’t show up in other agents’ websites through their IDX public property search tool.
  9. Does the broker have many other agents who will help market your property, or is the broker a loner?
  10. A non-MLS broker may try to entice customers with discounted commission rates. One question here. Would you pay a discounted price for a burnt steak, a rotten potato, and freezer burnt vegetables? What’s a discount if you don’t get the service, can’t sell your home, or don’t get the best price?
  11. Last question. What is the broker’s relationship with past clients? I don’t mean just 2 or 3, I mean many of them. Anyone can end up with a few happy clients, but what about dozens or 100’s of clients? Are there a lot of burned bridges? Don’t you want to know?
When it comes to hiring a real estate agent, do your due diligence. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as getting a broker who wants to list your property but is not even in the MLS.

Your logical goal when selling your home is to get the highest possible price in the least amount of time. I recommend choosing your real estate agent carefully. It’s a very important decision for you.

Courtesy Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, LLC

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What are you looking for in a Realtor?

How would you find a good experienced and professional real estate agent in Sequim or Port Angeles? Someone you could be sure was both competent and trustworthy? Who is the best Realtor in Sequim or Port Angeles?

The following are true stories from somewhere in the U.S. Only the names have been changed to shield the guilty.

True Story #1. An out of town couple hire a real estate agent to find their dream home. Their agent shows them a number of homes. They purchase and close on one they love. Later they discover the home is infested with pests, and the wood under the house in the crawl space is rotting because of excessive moisture and standing water. Their agent knew about this but did not disclose it. The buyers paid for the repairs out of their own pockets.

True Story #2. A widow purchases a home that turns out to have asbestos, but she has no recourse against her own real estate agent nor against the inspector.

True Story #3. A couple listed their land with an agent they found through a popular advertisement. Their land was listed for over a year but never sold. Out of frustration the couple did not renew the listing and decided to sell it themselves.

True Story #4. A couple listed their home with an agent, but months passed by and they didn’t hear from their agent, didn’t have any activity on their home, and didn’t see any advertisements. They withdrew the listing, listed with another agent and sold the home within a matter of weeks.

What are you looking for in a Realtor? Do you know how to identify what you want in a Realtor? Or will you end up disillusioned with your agent?

By the way, the photo above is me . . . many years ago. Wow, I look so young. Looking for a competent and trustworthy Realtor? Interview me and ask me anything you want, and you decide. I don’t have all the hair I had in that photo, but I do have the experience you might be looking for.

Email me at chuckmarunde@gmail.com or simply call me anytime at (360) 775-5424.
Website: SequimPortAngeles.com
Blog: SequimRealEstateNews.com or
PortAngelesRealEstateNews.com

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Is There a Difference Among Professionals?

I was reminded this week that in every profession, there are those who are competent, those who are mediocre, and those who are simply unprofessional. Think of the Dentists you’ve seen in your life. The really great Dentists make it almost pleasant. Or consider plumbers, contractors, CPA’s, insurance agents, or financial advisers. Some are great, and those are the ones to keep for a lifetime. But . . . this week I had a client who tried to work with a mortgage rep to get their home loan. There are some great mortgage reps out there, but this person was not one of them. No phone calls, no communication, lack of coordination among my clients and me, and ultimately this rep drops my clients with nothing more than, “Can’t do the loan.” No purpose is served here by going into detail, because my main point is this:

When you need the services of a professional, seek out someone who is really good, and that normally means someone who has knowledge and experience, and it certainly helps if they have a good reputation for 1.) doing good work, and 2.) communicating with their clients.

I’m a Realtor, and we all know that everyone and their brother has a real estate license. That alone should be a red flag for anyone considering working with a Realtor. Real estate agents are a dime a dozen. Having been in real estate for about 30 years now, I can tell you from personal experience that this profession is like all others. We have the competent, the mediocre, and those who are . . . well, let’s just say not your best choice. This certainly isn’t front page news, right?

So the next time you are looking for a Realtor, please, for you own sake, do your homework and seek a Realtor who really is competent, trustworthy, experienced, and professional. You’ll be so happy you did.

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Search Sequim Blog

Chuck E. Marunde, J.D.

Sequim Buyer's Agent (Atty Ret.)
Founder and Broker of
Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate dba iRealty Virtual Brokers
435 W. Bell St. Suite A, Sequim, WA
(360) 775-5424
ChuckMarunde@gmail.com

From Los Angeles

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

From Seattle

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Chuck over the past three years in selling my parent's estate. It was a tough time to sell during the housing recession, but Chuck always kept things on the positive side. With his real estate law background, he offers sound, practical advice. He helps you along with the process using discussions and reason, rather than opinions and speculations. If Chuck doesn’t know the answers, he will get them for you. In several instances, Chuck took the initiative to meet with county officials to get up-to-date facts about zoning and regulations. I was always impressed with his company’s tech savvy communi-cations and internet presence: weekly email updates, blogs, videos, links, Linked-in networking, etc. He is truly pioneering the future of buying & selling real estate. Brian M.

From Florida

We do our homework for the task at hand and we look for and expect to enlist partners that do the same. It was our good fortune to select Chuck Marunde of Sequim and Port Angeles Real Estate to represent us as a buyer's broker in our search for a home in the Sequim/Port Angeles area. Chuck's site is all encompassing and super fast compared to many others, he knows the market at every conceivable level and his guidance through the process of selecting and purchasing a home is priceless - above and beyond that of anyone with whom we have ever worked. Add to all this his 20 year background in real estate law and you have discovered a superb asset in the adventure of purchasing a home. Greg and Marilyn

From Gilroy California

As an out of state buyer unfamiliar with the area, it was important to me not only to have a real estate agent who knew the area well, but also one who knew the value of the properties. I chose Chuck because he is also a real estate lawyer and it is reassuring to have that extra degree working for you. I selected the houses I was interested in on line before taking a two day trip to Sequim to look at them in person. I sent my list to Chuck, who gave me feedback, then organized our tour so we could see 16 properties in a short time. He was very accommodating, driving me all over Sequim, and rescheduling appointments when we fell behind on our time. On day two, I found my home and we drafted an offer on it that evening. By the time I arrived back home on the plane the next evening, my offer had been accepted. Chuck was honest about what it would take to get me into my new home, while having my back the entire transaction. Since I was unable to relocate immediately after closing, he and his assistant Ade, have been taking care of many additional responsibilities for me. He was a pleasure to work with. Chris D.

From Corona California

The best decision I made, once I settled on Sequim as the ideal place to spend the rest of my days, was to hook up with Chuck Marunde as my broker/go-to guy. He happily took on the entire complicated merry-go-round associated with a long distance move that involved selling in Southern California (with a different agent) and buying in Sequim – all in the span of just over a month. The unexpectedly quick sale of my previous home was already a week into a 30 day escrow when I got to Sequim for my house hunt. We had two days to find my slice of heaven. And day one was less than stellar, each home having at least one major issue. The killer was the dream home that turned out to be an unmitigated disaster once we got inside. I was crushed. Chuck had his work cut out for him that night. And he worked his magic. On day two there was one beautiful possibility, but not quite right. Suffice to say, in the early afternoon we pulled into a driveway and the first words out of my mouth were “That’s my house.” 29 days later I took possession of my new home. Every sale has its issues, but throwing in the complications of a short escrow on top of 1200 miles of separation from all documentation, etc. gives new meaning to “challenging”. Thanks to his encyclopedic knowledge coupled with a great sense of humor, Chuck was able to keep me on an even keel when things got dicey. He knows when to step in and when to let it evolve. I cannot imagine making this move without him. Rebecca B.
Sequim Real Estate

From Bakersfield California

"During the months of February and March 2012, Chuck showed my wife and I over two dozen homes from Port Angeles to Port Townsend. We found Chuck to be very helpful, friendly and courteous. With Chuck there is no pressure; It is all about finding the best home for the buyer. As a Buyer's Agent, Chuck will give you his honest opinion of a property, including a fair market price. In one instance Chuck wrote up an offer for us which was accepted. Chuck was very helpful arranging for home and well inspections which involved multiple trips to the property. Unfortunately, escrow failed to close when, during the home inspection process, it was determined that a septic system repair was needed which the seller was unwilling/unable to make. We will continue to work with Chuck as there is no better Buyer's Agent on the North Olympic" Bert and Sally
Sequim Real Estate Q&A

From Los Alamos New Mexico

"Over a year ago, during a visit to the Olympic Game Farm, we developed what we eventually called the “Sequim Syndrome.” We live in New Mexico and decided Sequim was where we wanted to live in retirement. On our second visit to Sequim, we met with Chuck and asked him to help us. Chuck's web site provides such amazing search capabilities. Chuck's site also contains a 1000 blog postings and a real estate video series detailing buying real estate in Sequim. We bought Chuck's book about Sequim real estate and set out to follow his advice carrying on an ongoing email and phone conversation with Chuck. Doing our due diligence “Marunde style” and using his MLS search site, we came up with about 50 homes that met our needs. We narrowed the list down to 15 properties that best met our needs. We came back to Sequim a third time with our list in hand, and Chuck spent two days with us showing us all the homes on our list. Not only did Chuck help us find that dream home, he spent time to educate us about the quality of construction, fair market values of various properties, home layouts, and the joys of Sequim living. We had a great time as we traveled from house to house. By mid afternoon of the second day, my wife said we had found “the house.” Chuck helped us draft our offer and sent our offer to the seller's agent. It turned out there was a second offer made on the property at the same time. Chuck's help to make a clean offer paid off. At breakfast two days later, we got a call from Chuck saying our offer had been accepted by the sellers. We are now back home in New Mexico. Chuck attends every inspection on our behalf, updating us at every turn by email and phone. Our dream home is becoming a reality because of Chuck and because we were smart enough to follow his advice. We absolutely would NOT have been able to do this without Chuck Marunde's expertise and enthusiasm. We recommend Chuck to everyone planning a move to Sequim, Port Angeles, or anywhere on the Olympic Peninsula. Chuck is a gold mine of information and expertise for home buyers everywhere, not just on the Olympic" Larry and Shirley
Sequim Real Estate Bookstore

From Sun Lakes Arizona

"We are ex-Washington residents who currently live in Arizona. We had been searching the Puget Sound area four years for a waterfront property to build a retirement home when we first contacted Chuck Marunde through his website. We had made multiple trips to various areas but most of the Realtors we contacted simply sent us an email, provided no follow up and did next to nothing to help us locate a property. On our first trip to Port Angeles, after connecting with Chuck, we purchased our dream property. We now own a high bank waterfront lot overlooking the Straight of Jaun de Fuca, and are excited to become part of the Peninsula community." Paul and Linda

From California

"Andy Romano is a successful motion picture character actor with over 40 years in 'the Biz.' Mr. Romano has a home in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, but he chooses to live most of the time in Sequim, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula in the great Pacific Northwest. Why? In his own words, 'Because it's even more beautiful and surrounded by more beauty in this incredibly peaceful and quiet place. With respect to real estate agents or brokers, well my friend Chuck Marunde, owner of Sequim and Port Angeles Real Estate, is hands down the best there" Andy R.

From Sequim

I’ve known Chuck Marunde for several years. My wife and I bought and sold one house through his services, and now have another listed through him for sale. Whether Chuck was representing us as the buyer or seller, I am confident he always had our best interests at heart. He helped us set or negotiate a reasonable price, and made sure there was a clear and open line of communication. He responded rapidly to email and phone calls and always knew the best person to contact for the various services involved in a transaction. I have worked with quite a few real estate agents and Chuck is right at the top of my list of good ones. Actually, Chuck is first and foremost just a good person, and he carries his personal honesty and integrity over into his profession. He has the greatest depth of experience in real estate of any agent or broker I have known. His years of practicing real estate law prior to becoming a broker are evident in the meticulous care he takes with the process and documentation. I am impressed by the way Chuck has integrated internet services into his real estate business. He probably knows more about this process than any other realtor in the country. In this tight market it is important to use every possible means to spread the word about available properties…to reach the few people who might be interested in a particular property. Steve L.

From The Netherlands

"We contacted Chuck about six months ago to help find a retirement property in Sequim. We had visited Sequim several weeks before and decided that this was the place for us to retire. We liked the friendly people and the natural beauty of the area. We had been looking for some time in other parts of the country - California, Oregon, North Carolina, and Vermont. In most of these other areas, we found real estate agents that were knowledgeable but did not follow up with us to continue narrowing down real estate possibilities. Once we were out of earshot, communications would stop. That is one of the reasons we were interested in working with Chuck. Besides having great knowledge of both the local real estate market and of law, his testimonials on the internet indicated a willingness to actively communicate with his clients. Chuck demonstrated this immediately. Even before we met, he responded very quickly and helpfully to any email question. After arriving for a second visit to Sequim in September, we finally met Chuck face to face. He was friendly, encouraging, and readily shared good practical information. We worked with him on a number of candidate properties - including an offer on a property while visiting that week. Although we could not come to terms with the owners on the final property price, we look forward to continuing to work closely with Chuck. He is an invaluable resource to help us identify and purchase the retirement property that's right for us." Paul and Virginia

From Fremont California

We can't say enough about working with Chuck Marunde. Luck would have it that we discovered his web site, spoke with him on the phone and had an instant feeling that we had found our realtor. And we were right. With Chucks help and expertise, our longtime dream to retire to the Pacific Northwest came to fruition with Chuck assisting us in finding the perfect home for us. Buying a home is always a big decision and these days can be complex with unexpected delays etc. In fact, our whole experience from offer day to closing, was very smooth. Chuck took all the time we needed to explain processes and made us feel at ease, even though we lived 800 miles away, tying up loose ends and getting ready for the big move to our new home in Sequim. We were impressed with Chuck's ability to listen to our needs and understand our concerns in buying from a distance. Chuck kept us informed all along the way, during the process and was so good at getting right back to us if we had another question. All went so well and Chuck really went above and beyond for us, taking time out from his busy schedule to assist us with some details regarding our beautiful property, even after the closing, because we were not yet arrived there. Without hesitation, our son and his wife will be contacting Chuck this summer, as they plan to follow us to paradise in this lovely town. Thanks again Chuck, for everything! Mary and Jerry

From Fontana California

My husband and I went to Sequim intending to interview several realtors to find one to help us locate and buy a home in Sequim. We knew we wanted someone we could trust and who would have our best interests in mind. Since we would be handling the transaction from S. California this was very important to us. We met Chuck and looked no further. We felt a connection right away and spent some time looking at homes together so Chuck could get a feel for what we wanted. Well, we left Sequim having made an offer on a home which the owner accepted. Chuck has helped us through the purchase process. We are positive it would not have gone so smoothly without his help. We give him 4 thumbs up. Wally & Cathy

From Tacoma

Chuck Marunde’s level of expertise in real estate investment is amazing. His knowledge, experience and legal training have given me a dramatic advantage in real estate investing. He works hard to stay on the cutting edge of real estate marketing, sound advice and value-added service for his clients. Kirk Wald, Financial Planner

From Wendell Idaho

My wife and I moved to Sequim six weeks ago, and prior to our move here I contacted Chuck Marunde and enlisted his help as our buyer's agent. Once we got here, it took us about two weeks looking at houses, and Chuck did a superb job of showing us places and letting us make our own decisions and guide us through the purchase of our home. We now completed our transaction and are very happy. We would recommend Chuck to anybody. Don & Marilyn

From Sequim

"Buying property either commercial or residential can sometimes be a tricky proposition. That’s why I would recommend Chuck to help you with purchasing or selling property. His background as a real-estate lawyer and his no nonsense to the point advice will help you make the right decisions. Experience and Integrity, what you need when you can’t afford to make a mistake. Dail Hurdlow, CEO, Hurdlow Enterprises

From Seattle

I am an experienced real estate buyer, but I am not from the Sequim area. I am somewhat flexible, realistic, but also particular. So the question was, “how do you choose the RIGHT real estate agent?”

I made my appointment with Chuck on a Sunday morning in March, 2013. He showed me 5 houses. Every house he showed me was within my parameters! I was amazed: a real estate who listened, did his research, and didn't waste my time showing me houses I would never buy! I made an offer a few days later. That was the easy part…

Buying a house is always a stressful time in life. Advice to Buyers: choose an agent who is competent, communicates well, and has exceptional follow-up and follow-through! You will spend a lot of time with your agent during the process. Choose someone likable. Go with your gut. I got to know Chuck during the process, and he's a great guy!

You need an agent who is competent to handle and help you negotiate the issues that come up during disclosure, home inspection, appraisal, etc. Chuck's competence is superb! I got truly professional, sound, straightforward advice.

Chuck's communication skills are exceptional: phone, email, fax. He has a wonderful ability to stay "on-point" with what is actually important and doesn't lead you astray on issues that aren't so important.

Chuck's turn-around time on questions, issue resolution, etc. was virtually always within 24 hours. He follows-up, follows-through. He does what he says he will do timely. This relieves a lot of Buyer stress!

Having a difficult time finding the right agent? Simplify your life! Choose Chuck Marunde. I did. [Name withheld by request]

Intro by Chuck Marunde

From Sequim to California

"In our Sequim real estate broker Chuck Marunde we found a Realtor who knew not only how to list a property, but most importantly, he knew how to sell a property. Chuck is very skilled in current technology and uses that skill to advertise your property nationally. We were very pleased with Chuck, his honesty and integrity." Jerry Levitan and Donna "Teva" Tetiva

Who is Chuck Marunde?

Chuck Marunde is the #1 Sequim Buyer's Agent, having sold more homes (by volume) to buyers than any other agent or any "team" of agents for the past seven years. He is the author of thousands of articles for buyers on this real estate blog, and he is the author of several real estate books for buyers and one for sellers. He is the creator of many free tools that buyers use and love every day. He is recognized as a national expert on real estate transactions, marketing, and negotiating. Please schedule your appointment to view homes with Chuck well in advance of arriving in Sequim.
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Chuck Marunde Text or Call 360-775-5424