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Sequim Foreclosures

Clients often ask me about Sequim foreclosures and whether they should be looking for a good deal among the Sequim foreclosures or the Port Angeles foreclosures.  I looked up all the foreclosures this calendar year (from Jan 1 to Oct 22, 2010).  We’ve had a total of 404 foreclosures as evidenced by the “Notice of Trustee’s Sale” documents that have been recorded.  This includes foreclosures in all of Clallam County.

Sequim Foreclosures

Sequim Foreclosures
Sequim Foreclosures Not So Many

The number of Sequim foreclosures is a much small number.  A Notice of Trustee’s Sale must be recorded part way through the foreclosure process.  The beginning of the foreclosure process is the issuance of a Notice of Default, but in Washington that document isn’t recorded, so there will be more foreclosures than represented by the number Notice of Trustee’s Sales recorded.  But that is offset by the fact that some Notice of Trustee’s Sales are recorded more than once, and there are also Discontinuances (termination of the foreclosure).

Sequim Foreclosures Not for Retirees

This means that the actual number of Sequim foreclosures is a small number, perhaps 50 homes.  Can retirees find great deals in this inventory of foreclosures?  Not really.  The many clients I have been working with over the past several years have not found a nice home in a good area at a great price among the Sequim foreclosures.  Trying to find a foreclosure you would want to live in and trying to negotiate with a bank REO on the east coast is a bit like entering a Twilight Zone movie.

There are also many problems looming in buying a foreclosure because of the legal problems with the bank foreclosure process.  See my earlier article at Sequim Foreclosures and Problems.

I don’t list foreclosures, but I do represent clients as a Sequim Buyer’s Agent or a Foreclosure Buyer’s Agent.  If you do find a foreclosure you want to buy, why not use a retired real estate attorney who understands foreclosures intimately and who is a Sequim real estate broker?  Email me or call me on my cell phone.  Sequim foreclosures are not necessarily the best buy for retirees but if you find one I would love to represent you.

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Foreclosure Process Defective

The foreclosure process of many homes around the country is being challenged because of allegations of wrongful procedures by financial institutions.  The federal government is conducting an investigation into Ally Bank’s foreclosure process, and several large banks have put a stop to foreclosures while they examine their own foreclosure processes.

Foreclosure Process

Foreclosure ProcessFor Buyers who are thinking about buying a foreclosure, this could turn into a nightmare scenario.  As a Realtor I don’t list foreclosures, but I do act as a Foreclosure Buyer’s Agent, and in that capacity I owe my clients full disclosure on the state of the foreclosure market and the risks inherent in buying a foreclosure.  The process to foreclose a property is a statutory process in Washington [RCW 61.24].  When I was still practicing real estate law, I created a detailed checklist for the foreclosure process, and as you can see from this foreclosure process checklist, it is quite detailed and cannot be compromised.  [Read my article entitled  The Truth About Foreclosures and the foreclosure process.]

Foreclosure Process Under Investigation

The investigation into the bank foreclosure process is the result of revelations about how foreclosures are being handled.  Apparently at one bank, Ally Bank, one of the foreclosure administrators was processing an average of 8,000 foreclosure packages each month, or 45 foreclosure packages per hour for each 8 hour day, a virtual impossibility.

In private lawsuits (and class action suits) one of the challenges is that the banks foreclosing do not hold the original promissory notes, and therefore they cannot by law foreclose.  At least that’s the argument.  It appears that Banks may have been playing fast and loose with the foreclosure paperwork and the foreclosure process.

Foreclosure Process Creates Market Chaos

What does this mean for buyers of foreclosures?  It means there are unresolved issues, such as:

1.  If you buy a foreclosure, if it is later determined that the foreclosure process was defective, do you own the house, or does the prior owner still legally own the house?

2.  Judges do have the power to reverse or remove a recorded document, such as your statutory warranty deed when you purchased the foreclosure.  Actually, you don’t even get a statutory warranty deed when you buy a foreclosure.  It is a lesser deed that doesn’t warranty your title.

3.  It is theoretically and legally possible that the prior owner would be put back in title, and that you would be evicted from the house.

4.  In the alternative, it is possible that the prior owner would be given some amount of financial compensation for their damages, and that you would be left in title.

5.  And it is possible that your title to the property would be defective, but that you would have a right to sue the foreclosure bank to get a clear title.  The problem is you may not be able to get clear title from them, which may require more litigation or class action lawsuits.

6.  It is very possible that to defend your title to your foreclosure purchase you would have to hire an attorney and begin writing blank checks to your attorney every month.  Litigation of this kind could easily reach $40,000 to $100,000 in attorney’s fees.  Who wants to go there?

Is this likely to happen to all foreclosures?  Absolutely not.  Is it likely to happen to the foreclosure you might buy?  Probably not.  But the uncertainty of the foreclosure process as it is being challenged all over the U.S. makes this a risk that any buyer of a foreclosure must taken into consideration.  Now you know.

If you are in the market to buy a foreclosure, I strongly recommend you hire a Foreclosure Buyer’s Agent.  As a Realtor and a prior real estate attorney who handled many foreclosures myself, I understand the foreclosure process intimately, and I understand how to protect my clients.  As I have written elsewhere, some of the best buys right now in the Sequim and Port Angeles area are listings in the MLS that are not foreclosures.  Many foreclosures are still overpriced, many are trashed, and many are not what buyers are looking for anyway.

I like my clients to be fully informed, and now you know about the defective foreclosure process.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Sequim Short SalesIf you are buying a home in Sequim or Port Angeles involving a short sale, here are three proven steps to making that purchase a huge success.  If you’re not familiar with the term “short sale,” it involves buying a home at a price that is less than the current mortgage balance.  Most people are familiar with the concept of a car  being upside down when the car isn’t worth what is owed on it.  Until the recent real estate recession, we didn’t have homes that were upside down.  Around the country many homes have had to sell as short sales.  Of course, this requires the bank’s agreement to cut their losses and take a payoff on the loan that is less than what is owed.

    Short sales are closing every day in cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix, but not in Sequim and Port Angeles.  The procedure and the steps to accomplish a successful short sale here are different than the template for the short sale hot spots around the country.  As a real estate attorney who handled many foreclosures and short sales, and now who represents buyers in short sales as a real estate agent, I’ve articulated three steps to a successful short sale in Sequim or Port Angeles.  If you do complete these three steps, you still have no guarantee, but if you miss one of these steps, you are guaranteed to fail or end up with a nightmare scenario.

    3 Steps to Buying a Short Sale Home

    1.  Know the process and save yourself from disillusionment.  Know that negotiating a short sale in Sequim or Port Angeles will be a slow and tedious process, and the bank can leave you waiting, literally not responding for months.   The process can drive a normally patient person to say, “Forget it, I’m not going to sit around waiting, not knowing when or if anyone will decide to respond to my offer.”  [Again, this is not the same in Las Vegas where there are currently 700,000 loan modifications in process.]

    2.  Find a Professional Short Sale Buyer’s Agent.  Buying a home that must be a short sale is not something you want to do without an experienced professional who has been there, done that many times.  There are many nuances and many traps for the unwary.  I picked up many clients as a real estate attorney who thought they knew all they needed to know, but subsequently found themselves in deep trouble.  When I represent a client as their Short Sale Buyer’s Agent or their Foreclosure Buyer’s Agent, I cost my clients absolutely nothing.  Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?  But it is true.  The seller pays all my fees as well as his agent’s fees.  What I give my clients is a lifetime of real estate experience, including many short sale and foreclosure transactions.

    3.  Do Your Due Diligence.  You’ve got a lot of due diligence to do when buying a home in a new area, and a short sale or a foreclosure will require some additional due diligence because of unique problems associated with distress sales.  Also in this process, the bank will submit certain documents to you, in addition to the standard real estate forms used in Washington, and these forms will require legal interpretations as you will be asked to sign them.  Some entities representing banks in this process have put together forms that were not drafted by an attorney and give them complete access to all of your personal financial accounts and identity.  That is not only inappropriate, but dangerous, and yet many who don’t know or aren’t getting good advise are signing such documents. [I know this because I have reviewed these documents and advised my clients.]

    Your ideal home may be in the MLS and listed with an agent, and it may or may not necessitate a short sale, but if it does, know how to go through the entire process and come out a winner.

    I hope this information is helpful.  If you do find a home that is for sale, and it is either a foreclosure, or was, or it must be a short sale, you can hire me as your Short Sale Buyer’s Agent or Foreclosure Buyer’s Agent.  Contact me by email, chuckmarunde@gmail.com, or call me at 360-775-5424.  I would love to represent you.

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    I’ve showed several Sequim foreclosures recently to several clients. One of these properties is a nice five acre parcel in a great area, and while there is no water or mountain or valley view, the property sits in a quiet and private place. It is ideal for the person who wants privacy and ideal for the person who wants some animals, maybe a horse or two or cows, Alpacas, or sheep.

    Sequim Foreclosures

    The shortcoming of this Sequim foreclosure is not the property itself and not the listing price.  The challenge is the house.  The house was built in the ’70s and needs major work and a small garden wheel barrel full of one dollar bills.  The floor plan also is not what the majority of people want.  And as happens often with a Sequim foreclosure, the prior owners left the house in a seriously run down condition.

    What about other Sequim foreclosures?

    The other Sequim foreclosure is also a nice piece of property with over two acres.  The downside with this listing is that the manufactured home needs major rehab work, so much so that it may not be inhabitable.  The carpet has been completely ripped out and the sub-flooring emits a strong cat urine stench, and the stains in the flooring can be seen everywhere.  The walls need replacing in much of the home, and so much of the rest of the home needs replacing, in my opinion this home is a tear down.  Buyers looking at Sequim foreclosures often find it a frustrating experience.

    These listings are priced in the $140,000 to $170,000 range.  Considering the amount of money and labor required to bring these properties up to standard living conditions, they are not such good deals in my opinion.  By the time you put $75,000 to $100,000 in each of them, you’re up to a price that could buy you a nice home that doesn’t need all that work, money, and stress.

    Sequim foreclosures are not where you’ll find your best buy in this market.

    Some of the best homes and the best prices, all things considered, are currently listed in the MLS by a Realtor.  I’m not trying to sell Realtors here, but if you’re looking for value and a nice move-in condition home, this is the truth.  If you’re looking to buy a Sequim home, my suggestion is that you browse SearchSequimMLS.com.  There are some diamonds hidden in this large MLS inventory of Sequim homes for sale.  If you see one you like and have questions, shoot me an email at Sequim Real Estate Agent, and I’d be glad to answer your question if I can.  There are some Sequim foreclosures out there that could work for you.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Foreclosure Process in SequimDo you own a Sequim or Port Angeles home that is now in foreclosure or just a month or two away from the foreclosure process?  It is a sign of the times that many good people find themselves on the verge of foreclosure or in the middle of one.  Some have suffered the loss of their full-time job.  Others have a limited pension, but with large losses in retirement funds managed by so-called professional money managers during the past two years, increasing health care costs, and financial uncertainty, continuing to make large monthly payments on a mortgage is no longer manageable.

    In earlier years you might have simply sold your home and down scaled, but with the real estate recession, many homes are now upside down:  they are worth less than the balance of the mortgage.  Some have put their homes up for sale, but have not had any buyers make an offer.

    What can you do if you are close to foreclosure or in foreclosure?

    As a real estate attorney I did many foreclosures in Sequim and Port Angeles.  I know the process, the costs and fees associated with a foreclosure, the timelines involved, and I know what it takes to keep your house out of foreclosure.  Some of the costs and fees can be compromised, and there are statutory deadlines that cannot be compromised.

    As a real estate broker I know what it takes to sell a home in this market.  I also have worked with banks on loan modifications and short sales.  To help my clients and prospective clients, I have many online articles about the foreclosure process, short sales, and marketing a home in this market.

    If you are in or approaching a foreclosure on your home in Sequim or Port Angeles, and you would like to sit down with me for a free consultation on what the process involves, how much time you have, what you can do, and whether trying to sell your home makes sense, call me at 360-775-5424 for an appointment.  Do not procrastinate, because time is your enemy in this situation, and I can help only if we have enough time before the statutory Trustee’s Sale at the courthouse.

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    Buyers are using the Internet to search for their next home, and this technology is the greatest advancement for home buyers in decades, at least since the invention of the MLS itself.  Online MLS search tools have made finding a home or land so much easier and more efficient, it’s really amazing.  While buyers can browse hundreds of homes for sale with very specific parameters, there is still something the Internet won’t do for you.

    The Internet won’t give you the 3D real life experience with the ability to see everything in person, experience the visual reality (as opposed to virtual reality), experience the smells and all that your senses tell you about a neighborhood and a house.   Looking at a data sheet and some photos and maybe even a virtual tour is all good.  It’s all incredible, and so much more than buyers had even a few years ago, but until you put boots on the ground, you won’t be able to get the full experience of any home or lot.

    This becomes glaringly evident when you look at homes for sale in different cities and states.  The real estate markets are different around the country.  For example, if you live in an area like Phoenix or Mesa or Las Vegas, you can find some absolutely gorgeous foreclosure homes in the MLS, and some great prices that may be as much as 30% or more below their normal FMVs.  In fact, you can find not just a few homes like this, but hundreds.  There are foreclosures that are beautiful and listed at incredible prices, the kind of homes that buyers want and could say, “I could make this my home forever.”

    But in an area such as Sequim, Washington (and many cities and towns around the country), you cannot find such nice homes readily available in the MLS at great prices.  In fact, in some of these areas, it is almost impossible to find a foreclosure that is nice enough to live in, doesn’t need major work, and is priced very low.

    Some of these differences can be interpreted by an online Internet search, but unless and until you actually put boots on the ground, you won’t really know precisely what these homes look like.  Use the Internet to filter through available homes, and then plan your trip to view the best prospects.  But don’t be surprised if everything looks different on the ground.  It always does.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • More foreclosures are on the horizon just about everywhere in these United States.  Retirement havens Sequim and Port Angeles are no exception, although we certainly have a much smaller foreclosure market than most.  Our own foreclosure market is a function of the mortgage debacle and the recession.  Owners who find they owe more than the house is worth are making hard decisions about whether to continue to make the mortgage payments or just walk away.  But there’s another reason we will see more foreclosures.  This national recession is taking a tremendous toll on family finances.  Many are unemployed.  The self-employed entrepreneurs, who are the backbone of this great nation, are getting hit hard, and this will mean more foreclosures.   To make matters worse, national banks with mortgage loans on the Olympic Peninsula are quite uncooperative and generally unwilling to work with distressed homeowners when it comes to  what are text book cases for loan modifications and short sales.

    So we certainly will see more foreclosures in 2010.  How will this effect the real estate market for buyers and sellers?  Will this present grand opportunities for buyers?  If you are a buyer, should you be scouring the market for that diamond in the rough, aka that foreclosure bargain?

    port_angeles_foreclosures

    Not all foreclosures are disasters like the one in this photo, but many foreclosures are in such disrepair, or have been damaged intentionally by the previous owners so much that they simply do not appeal to 98% of all buyers.  Several of our local foreclosures have had fixtures torn out, sinks ripped out, kitchen islands taken, hot tub parts removed, and yards left looking like a natural disaster occurred.

    Buyers tell me the first priority is location.  What good is a great house if it is in a horrible location?  With that in mind, foreclosures do not lend themselves to the first priority.  A foreclosure cares not where it is located, what the neighborhood looks like, whether there is a mountain view, a water view, or no view at all.  A foreclosure does not care if it is next to a junk yard or 200 feet from a major highway.  You don’t get to pick the location of a foreclosure.

    Foreclosures on the Olympic Peninsula are not like foreclosures in markets like Las Vegas or Phoenix, where there are so many that they have had to develop systems to organize how the banks will work with the REOs, the appraisers, new lenders, and the listing Realtors.  By comparison, the foreclosure market here is in chaos, not order.

    When foreclosures are listed in Las Vegas, they are listed at sellable prices, not excessively high listing prices.  But this is not necessarily true in Sequim and Port Angeles.  Many foreclosures here are listed at prices so high, you can find much better deals in the MLS that are not foreclosures or distress sales.

    Of the very few needles in the foreclosure haystack that we do get, you can bet that the property either will not make it to the Trustee’s Sale before a full time investor has already purchased it, or it will be sold within two hours of listing.  It is almost impossible to compete on that level.  First, you can’t compete in the first instance, and in the second, there’s no way to know when a foreclosure will find its way back into the MLS.  But there are some who are either on the inside (don’t get me started on that issue, because I do not have the evidence to reveal some of what I suspect may be going on in the foreclosure market behind the scenes), or they are just involved in a series of coincidences.  As a buyer, you can’t count on being lucky with a foreclosure.

    Conclusion.  An increase in foreclosures in the Sequim and Port Angeles areas will not help buyers as most of them hope or think it could.  The vast majority of buyers (98%) have no interest in the foreclosures that come across their radar.  Of the few who are interested in pursuing the idea of buying a foreclosure, most of them will give up after great frustration and months of searching.  For homeowners who have their homes listed for sale in the MLS with a Realtor at a reasonable price, the homes in foreclosure are not really competition.  Those who would buy a foreclosure are almost never those who would buy a nice three bedroom, two bath home in a nice area here.  Or perhaps that should be said the other way around.  Those who are in the bell curve of buyers who want a nice three bedroom, two bath home with an attached garage in a nice area are not likely to find those parameters in a foreclosure.  And those buyers who retire here and are serious about finding their prefect retirement home often cannot find it in the regular MLS listings.  These buyers will purchase a lot in the perfect location with a mountain view or water view, and hire a custom home builder so they can live the rest of their days in a castle of their own design.  (See Sequim Custom Home Builder)

    Recommendation.  I would urge you to narrow down precisely what it is you want and can afford, as well as your timeline.  Then scour the market with your Realtor’s help and find the best home for you.  Whether that is a FSBO, a regular MLS listing, a foreclosure listing, or building your own retirement home doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you live in your dream home for the rest of your days in peace.  In other words, don’t focus all your energy on finding a foreclosure.  That can turn out to be a very frustrating failure.  Instead, focus all your energy on finding that ideal home in the ideal location.  That may or may not be a foreclosure, but  with this strategy your probability of success just went up dramatically.

    A great tool online for finding a home or land in the MLS, whether it is a foreclosure or not, is this online MLS search:  Search the Sequim and Port Angeles Homes and Land Listings.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Loan modifications under a federal plan announced by President Obama had hope for homeowners who were  struggling to make their mortgage payments, and for those who were already in default and facing a foreclosure. Over 3,137,548 homeowners made requests for information, but only 31,382 actually got permanent loan modifications.  Mortgage representatives around the country geared up to help homeowners save their homes and many implemented special educational programs to get the word out.

    mortgage_modifications

    Unfortunately, it now appears that the program has been a dismal failure with only a one percent (1.0%) success rate.  While one could be critical of the Obama program for the failure, the real victims are homeowners across America.  The pace of foreclosures in several large metropolitan areas has not slowed down.  For the government’s report, see Loan Modifications Report.

    “So out of over 3 million requests sent to borrowers, only 31,382 modifications have been made permanent. That’s a failure of epic proportions. Imagine if you got a 1% score on a test when you were in school. How embarrassing. No wonder the link to this report is “accidentally” broken on the financial stability website. (I found it by guessing what they’d correctly name the file and typing it into the browser.)”  Quoted from the Atlantic, 1% Success Rate.

    foreclosures_nationwide

    There have been some successful loan modifications in Sequim and Port Angeles, although not necessarily under the federal program.  Clallam County has seen its share of foreclosures gradually increasing.  Trustee’s Sales at the Courthouse have stepped up, and projections are that there are many coming down the pipeline.  We shall see, but if you are in need of a loan modification, pursue that diligently with a reputable loan rep.  Many have gone down the path of modification with a rep that dragged them along for months with nothing in the end, and all that after paying a hefty fee.

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    Sequim foreclosure home must be sold fast. SELLER JUST ORDERED $50,000 PRICE REDUCTION from $510,000.  The price is now $460,000, subject to bank’s approval as this is now to be a short sale. An incredible home at this price.

    See this home by driving by at 83 Three Firs, Sequim, Washington. Then call me to see the inside, Chuck Marunde at 360-775-5424.

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    Buying foreclosures in Sequim and Port Angeles is a challenge, and that is an understatement. Here’s a short video that describes why.

    Chuck Marunde is a Qualified Foreclosure Buyer’s Agent and can be reached at chuckmarunde@gmail.com or at 360-775-5424.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Buying foreclosures can be confusing and frustrating.  The foreclosure process around the country is chaotic at best.  This is the first of a two part video series describing the process from default to the Trustee’s Sale and beyond to listing and selling.  We cut through all the nonsense, all the hype, money-making scams, and all the misinformation to get directly to the truth as it effects you, a potential buyer of a foreclosure home.  This is Foreclosures Part 1 of 2.  After viewing this video, watch Foreclosures Part 2.

    Buyers and investors in the State of Washington may retain the services of Chuck Marunde to draft and submit offers on foreclosures.  Chuck is a Broker and Realtor, practiced real estate law for 20 years, and handled many foreclosures from beginning to end.  While Chuck prefers not to list foreclosures, he is a qualified Foreclosure Buyer’s Agent with extensive experience.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • The foreclosure process around the country is chaotic at best, and trying to buy a foreclosure can be a very frustrating experience for buyers.  This two part video series completes a description of the process from default to the Trustee’s Sale and beyond.  We cut through all the nonsense, all the hype, money-making scams, and all the misinformation to get directly to the truth as it effects you, a potential buyer of a foreclosure home.  Foreclosures Part 1 should be viewed first.  This is Foreclosures Part 2 of 2.

    Buyers and investors in the State of Washington may retain the services of Chuck Marunde to draft and submit offers on foreclosures.  Chuck is a Broker and Realtor, practiced real estate law for 20 years, and handled many foreclosures from beginning to end.  While Chuck prefers not to list foreclosures, he is a qualified Foreclosure Buyer’s Agent with extensive experience.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Sequim foreclosures at deep discounts are hard to find.   I’m surprised at how many people are diligently searching for Sequim foreclosures and Port Angeles foreclosures.  There are four main foreclosure databases online for consumers.  They are more accurately called “foreclosure information sources,” but for simplicity, I’ll refer to them as “foreclosure data sources.”  Here they are with my analysis as a real estate foreclosure attorney and now real estate broker and Realtor.

    Clallam County Foreclosure Data Source No. 1:
    Foreclosure.com

    This is the largest database in the country for foreclosures.  Unfortunately, in Clallam County it is not complete.  I subscribed to this service for almost two years myself so I could provide a service to my clients, but as I learned and as my clients have discovered, this database is incomplete.  They offer a free trial, but you have to register to get access, and that annoys me.  But there’s a bigger problem.  They do not have a contract with the Clallam County Auditor’s office to scrape the data from the county’s site.  I spoke with one of the founders of Foreclosure.com on the phone, and he was certainly nice but said that they had to focus on larger metropolitan areas, and he had no idea when, if ever, Clallam County would be included in their database.  Right now the foreclosures that show up on their site are pulled randomly and automatically with their software but it is quite unreliable.  So if you are serious about searching for foreclosures that are actually for sale, I do not recommend this site.

    Clallam County Foreclosure Data Source No. 2:
    RealtyTrac.com

    I also tried subscribing to RealtyTrac.com for about a year, but I could repeat what I just wrote about Foreclosure.com.  I do not recommend this site for the serious buyer or investor.  There are foreclosure homes that show up for Clallam County, but again no one is actually entering these, and they do not have a contract to collect the information from the Auditor’s office, so this data is randomly pulled from various Internet sources, and many of these listings are not, I repeat not, for sale.

    Clallam County Foreclosure Data Source No. 3:
    USA-Foreclosure.com
    (Northwest Trustee Services source)

    Northwest Trustee Services certainly has a closer connection than the first two, and they hire our local appointed Trustee at the Friday morning sales.  They do the paperwork on many foreclosures and adminster the sales.  It appears they list their data with USA-Foreclosure.com.  This site includes only the foreclosures they are adminstering.  They also do not collect data from the County on all the foreclosures.  This is a good source for foreclosures as long as you realize it is not the full database.

    Clallam County Foreclosure Data Source No. 4:
    Clallam County Auditor
    (the original  or source database)

    Finally, we arrive at the original source of foreclosure data, the Clallam County Auditor’s office.  This is where all real estate documents must be filed, including the Notice of Trustee’s Sale, which shows the balance owed, by whom, the scheduled date of the Trustee’s Sale, and the Trustee or Attorney handling the foreclosure.  If you want reliable data, this is the place to go, and this includes every Foreclosure in Clallam County.  The challenge is that this is a database of real estate records that is not designed for real estate investors or buyers.  That means the searchable fields are not at all convenient for searching.  You’ll have to spend hours every week to sift through thousands of real estate recordings to find a diamond in the rough.  But let me save you a lot of time:  You can filter your search by searching only the Notice of Trustee Sales.  The results are still clumsy, but that does narrow it down a lot.

    Finding a Sequim foreclosure or a Port Angeles foreclosure that is a good deal will be very hard, and when you find one, you can bet that many others have found it to, including some cash strong investors who know how to do their due diligence.  There are some who work at this 40 hours a week.  Do you have 40 hours a week to filter through 1,000 foreclosures to find one that you would be willing to buy so you can complete with other bidders?  Now if we were in Las Vegas or Phoenix or Miami, this would be a totally different scenario, but in Sequim and Port Angeles, you can see why hunting for foreclosures is such a challenge.

    I’ve handled many foreclosures as a real estate attorney, and as a Realtor I’ve represented clients buying foreclosures.  If you want me to represent you, I’d be glad to.  I don’t have the 40 hours a week to search for the steal of the century, but if you get lucky and find one, I can guarantee I know how to buy it.   Some fees are negotiate, and others are not.  You can email chuckmarunde@gmail.com or call 360-775-5424 anytime.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Chuck_Marunde_RealtorShould I stop making mortgage payments and let the bank foreclose? This is a question that a lot of people are asking as they struggle financially to pay their bills and make their mortgage payment. In some cases a spouse has lost her job, and the income no longer supports a large mortgage payment. There are a thousand stories across the country explaining why good, hard working Americans cannot make their mortgage payments.

    Should I Stop Making Mortgage Payments?

    So the question comes up, “Should I stop making mortgage payments?”  Here is some practical advice intended to help you make wise decisions as well as protect your number one responsibility–your family.

    Let’s break this into two common scenarios.  The first involves a family that finds the current fair market value  (FMV) of their home to be substantially less than their mortgage balance.  In other words, they are upside down.  The second situation involves a family with a mortgage balance equal to the FMV of their home, or less, but because of a loss of income, they realize that in the months ahead they will not be able to continue to make the payments.

    Stop Making Mortgage Payments – The Dilemma

    Stop Making Mortgage PaymentsFirst, for the family that is upside down on their mortgage but can afford to keep making mortgage payments (and does not have to say, “I have to stop making mortgage payments.”), it is both a financial and moral issue.  You’ll have to address the moral issue consistent with your own values and beliefs. I will say this, and this is the old moral and theological question:  If you are a father and have children to feed, and you have no money and no food, would you steel a loaf of bread to feed your children?  Absolutely, and that is also the correct answer among theologians.  So if you are unable to make your payments and you have a responsibility to take care of your family, you may have to stop making mortgage payments.

    Stop Making Mortgage Payments – The Financial Picture

    On the financial issue, it may make more sense to let the house go into foreclosure than make payments for the next 20+ years on a $400,000 mortgage balance.  You may end up paying a total of $700,000 (principal plus interest) over that time period, but right now you may be looking at a house with a current FMV of only $275,000.

    It might be easy for someone not in that situation to be critical and say you shouldn’t stop making mortgage payments.   But one has to consider the long term picture, the challenges of growing older with the increasing cost of living and the growing burden of health care costs.  The first rule of life is survival, and if survival means you must let a house go into foreclosure, then it is a tough decision that you will have to live with.  Millions of Americans have found themselves forced to make such tough decisions this past year.  Millions of Americans have had to stop making mortgage payments over the past three years.

    Second, for the family that realizes they will run out of money to pay the mortgage in six months, it makes no sense to continue to throw precious money into the dark hole.  If you know you will run out of money, and if there is no apparent pot of gold at the end of your rainbow, then giving a corporate institution on the east coast precious money you will need to survive in six months makes no sense at all.  You may have no choice but to stop making mortgage payments.  You must place your family’s survival at the top of your priority list.  The banks, who have their own ethical and financial problems, must fend for themselves.  When it comes to balancing the welfare of your bank or your family, it is no contest.  Your family wins, and you are ethically, morally, spiritually, and financially justified if you stop making mortgage payments.  And you should not throw good money after bad, meaning you should not pay property taxes either, or put money into the house for any other reason.  Of course, if you have the money and income, you should make the payments, but we are discussing a family that does not have that option.  Put in its proper perspective, it is not such a difficult moral decision.  Uncomfortable?  Yes, but necessary.

    The question often comes up for those who have made a decision to stop making mortgage payments, should I list the home for sale as a short sale, since it is upside down now?  The answer is yes, but you have to put a very sellable price on it, otherwise you will end up in the same situation 95% of everyone else, which is that they put too high a listing price on it, and it never sells even after reducing the price several times, and then it goes into foreclosure anyway.  Get it sold now at a low short sale price.

    If you must, stop making mortgage payments and let the bank foreclose, but take care of your family and your needs as you grow older.

    If you need to consider selling your home, because you are in default right now or will be soon, email me or call me to discuss your options.  As a Realtor and retired real estate attorney, I would be glad to share whatever I know with you.  For those who have to make the hard financial decision, it is not wrong to stop making mortgage payments.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Sequim foreclosure home for sale – One acre country home just outside of Sequim, Washington now in default and foreclosure and must be sold fast.  This is a fine two-story Colonial custom home with over 3,400 square feet, a 3-car attached garage with a very high ceiling, a glass sun room, a large kitchen with lots of custom built cabinets, and an unusually large laundry room just off the kitchen, which doubles as a mud room from the garage.  This home has  3 bedrooms, one den, and one extra room.

    As the photos show here, this really is a beautiful home.  The yard and the house are looking a bit run down right now precisely because the mortgage is in default and will be sold at a foreclosure sale unless someone snatches it up at cost.  The sellers will net zero on this sale at $510,000.  Update:  Price just reduced by seller to $460,000.  Must be sold fast. This house was originally listed for sale at $699,000, but this real estate market has taken a toll on many sellers, and buyers now have the opportunity to walk in and pick this stunning property and home up for bargain price.

    The location is great if you’re looking for a country home.  There’s something majestic about the look of this home when you first see it and every single time you drive by it.  I’ve been driving past this home since I first moved to Sequim in 1994.  I lived just down the hill on Ward Road adjacent to the Olympic Game Farm.  I believe every time I ever passed this home on Lotzgezell, whether I was jogging, bicycling, or driving my car, I always had to look at this home, which sits down Three Firs Lane and off Lotzgezell several hundred yards.  It has a majestic appearance that makes it stunning.  Maybe I just love a traditional colonial, or maybe this home is beautiful to everyone.  What do you think?

    This home needs some tender loving care, but remember it is a foreclosure.  Now I’ve seen a lot of foreclosures for sale, and I can tell you this one is head and shoulders above the rest.  Most foreclosures are terribly run down and many in this market have been looted of fixtures and appliances by the prior owners.

    To see more photographs and details on this home, go to Sequim Foreclosure Home for Sale.

    If you have an interest in looking at this home, call me right away at 360-775-5424.

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    Is a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure a good idea?   With our home in foreclosure or about to go into foreclosure, should we offer our bank a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure?   We also owe a second mortgage.   This is a question that I get asked a lot lately, more than in all the years before.

    The Deed in Lieu of foreclosure has several almost insurmountable obstacles.   The explanation is a bit involved and much more complex than this simple explanation, but here are some highlights.

    Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

    The Deed in Lieu is rarely accepted by a bank.   There are a number of complex legal and insurance issues for banks if they take a Deed in Lieu.   If a bank forecloses and they suffer a loss, they complete an application for loss with their mortgage insurance carrier, which is often HUD or some other insurer.   Banks almost never suffer a financial loss, because they get reimbursed for any loss as the result of a foreclosure.     (This is not true if the bank is local and keeps the loan in its local portfolio, but that is very rare.   Almost all bank loans are sold.)   But as I learned when I worked for Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Company many years ago, if a bank accepts a Deed in Lieu, the same application and rules for reimbursement no longer apply, and it is much harder to prove that the bank would have sustained the same or greater loss if they had actually completed a foreclosure.   So rather than go down that risky path, banks most often choose to foreclose, and that way they know they ultimately will get all their money.   Nowhere in their calculations is there any consideration for you as the homeowner.   They make their decisions based exclusively on their income and expense sheet.

    If a bank in first position agreed to accept a Deed in Lieu, the property would still be subject to the second mortgage, and the bank in first would owe the entire balance to the second bank.   That’s another reason the bank in first will prefer to foreclose.   By foreclosing on the first mortgage, the second mortgage is wiped off the title.

    Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure and Taxes

    There is another very difficult and unanswered question for you as a homeowner.   Even if the bank agreed to take a Deed in Lieu, the IRS has regulations which could hit you with a tax based on the forgiven balance of the loan.   I don’t know the precise math, but it has been argued that the IRS could consider the forgiven balance of the mortgage income in that same year, and the taxes could be horrendous.   There was discussion in this past year about the possibility of the politicians passing temporary laws that would toll those IRS regs and give people relief, but I haven’t found anyone who knows for sure how any of this has worked out in the real world.   Even accountants seem confused on these issues as to what should or could happen.

    One last difficult issue is if the bank in first accepts a Deed in Lieu, they could still come after you for the loss in a civil suit, unless they agreed to sign a contract with you that they would not.   But why would a bank who holds all the cards ever agree to not come after you for any loss they sustain.   Remember, if they accept the Deed in Lieu, they suddenly owe the entire balance of the second.   The second only goes away as security on the real estate if the first forecloses and the second mortgage decides not to protect their interest by paying off the first.

    By the way, if the first bank accepts a Deed in Lieu, there is no foreclosure and therefore no Trustee’s Sale.   The bank in first would literally own the property as though they were stepping into your shoes, so they would have to list it for sale, but they still owe the second, so it is a losing situation for them.

    Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure Difficult

    The practical course of action will be that the bank in first forecloses on the property.   They will feel they have no choice when their legal department and their loss and mitigation department flush out all the issues, just like I did here.   When they understand all this, they will simply move forward with the foreclosure.   The unanswered question is whether the bank in second will try to protect it’s interest by either making the payments on the first, which they could do, or pay off the first entirely and then foreclose themselves.   It is extremely rare that a bank in second protects its interest in this way.   They usually get foreclosed on and go lick their wounds, possibly threatening to sue you for their loss.

    Banks are reticent to accept a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure but some are.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Are Sequim Foreclosures a Good Deal?

    Are Sequim foreclosures a good buy?   This is a question I get a lot, because buyers are looking for the best value right now, and let’s face it, almost everyone is talking about foreclosures.   There are rumors and rumors of rumors of incredible steals in the foreclosure market, but is it reality?

    There are some steals in the real estate market in places like Las Vegas, Phoenix, in parts of Florida, and in other hard hit areas, but not in Sequim.   Sequim does not have a flood of foreclosures.   Do we have more foreclosures than in years past?   Of course we do, but this small market is much more stable than most large metropolitan areas around the country, and our retiree population is traditionally much more conservative and far less likely to get foreclosed upon.

    The few Sequim foreclosures that we do have are not necessarily good buys.   There is some garbage out there that most buyers would not want to live in.   Of the larger homes that are more attractive for their location and features, many of these foreclosures are in sad shape and not priced great either.

    In one case, the home has been stripped of almost every single light fixture, the ceiling fans, the kitchen stove and island, the sinks, and even light fixtures on the outside of the house are gone.   The master bedroom deep jetted tub has been broken and most likely needs to be completely replaced.   Some parts were taken from the plumbing.   Some other fixtures in the house are also missing.   On top of this, I learned the original owners did not get the proper building permits before moving into the house.   What a nightmare this foreclosure could be.   It could easily cost $150,000 to make this house habitable and legal.   Since these homes are sold “as is,” there could be even more hidden defects.

    In another case, light fixtures were also missing, all the carpet in the house was a major disaster with dog poop and urine stains in every room.   The entire kitchen needs to be replaced, including the hardwood floors, and the yard is a run down disaster.   It would be one thing if the price was exceptional, but guess what?   The foreclosing banks who assigns their foreclosed homes to REO’s who handle the listing and the price and negotiations, do not have a clue, and neither do the REO’s here.   It’s a major hassle and nightmare for some to try to get a reasonable price for a foreclosure and not get jerked around by parties on the east coast who don’t know anything about the property, its true value, and who could care less about who you are.   One of my clients recently walked away from a month of negotiations with a house like this, even though they had arrived at an agreement on the price.   The REO tried to pull a fast one with some unbelievable conditions my clients would never accept.

    So if you really are seriously looking at Sequim foreclosures, what do I recommend?   Go ahead and look at foreclosures, but spend most of your serious time looking at the existing inventory of seller owned homes in the MLS.   You’ll find more motivated individual sellers and get a great home negotiated at a great price within days, instead of within months.   And you won’t be buying a disaster.   In Sequim there are far more great deals to be had by seller owned listings than there are in the chaotic foreclosure market.   I promise this is true.

    You can do a complete search of the Sequim MLS, including Sequim foreclosures that are listed in the MLS by simply going to Search Sequim Foreclosures.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Foreclosure REO Addendum Disasters

    If you’re thinking about buying a foreclosure house, think again.   I’ve written elsewhere that the foreclosure market is in chaos.   It really is.   The loss mitigation departments of the national banks and the short sale divisions of the national banks are at a loss for leadership and management that understands fundamentally how to handle their work load.

    Buying a home that is a foreclosure or a short sale, at least from a national bank, can end up being a nightmare or a dead end in terms of trying to get a reasonable transaction put together with a real closing date in the not-too-distant future.

    I had a short sale offer on one of my listings that the Bank of America should have accepted in a heartbeat, but they could not get their bureaucratic act together.   The kind lady working at their short sale division told me she could not even get the offer considered, although she knew it was an offer that should be accepted immediately. Another bank killed an offer by a client of mine over $5,000.   It was a reasonable offer, too.   Can you imagine any seller killing a sale over $5,000?   That bank still has that house sitting on the market months later.

    But here’s what I want to share with you today, and this is an exclusive.   I recently wrote an offer for a buyer on a foreclosure, and we did reach an agreement on the price and all the terms.   But then the REO, the entity that represents the bank that foreclosed, presented my clients with a mandatory Addendum that literally made my clients walk away from an otherwise great transaction.

    What kind of Addendum would scare buyers away?   An eight page Addendum that added numerous ridiculous terms that were totally uncalled for, absolutely offensive, but more than that some of these terms changed their basic agreement and would have made financing mathematically impossible.   They demanded the loan have final approval within 21 days of mutual acceptance.   That’s impossible.   Thirty days is standard.

    But here’s the clause that might just get your blood perking.   Imagine the seller of a home demanding full access to your personal checking and savings accounts and all your personal credit information.   I’m talking about the seller, not your lender.   Your lender is entitled to that information–confidentially.   But can you imagine the seller demanding unlimited access to your personal financial world?   This REO, representing the selling bank, demanded just that.   There is no reason on earth for the REO to need that information.   None whatsoever.   Here’s the clause from that ridiculous and poorly drafted Addendum:

    Would you ever agree to give a seller that information?   This is an REO who can give this information to their staff, wherever and whoever they may be, to their other contractors (and there are several), and to the bank they represent.   In other words, your personal financial information could get broadcasted to many unknown people and organizations out there.   Unbelievable.   In this day of identity theft, who in the world would agree to such outlandish demands?

    By the way, this Addendum is only provided after you have made an offer, gone back and forth with counteroffers and gotten the REO to agree.   Then they thrust this Addendum on you without any previous warning of the outlandish terms.   Also, as part of their game, they refuse to sign or initial a Washington State Purchase and Sale Agreement in their counters.   Instead, they make their “counteroffers” in an informal email with their listing agent.   They refuse to make any commitments at all until they spring their Addendum on you, and by then you’ve spent many days or a couple of weeks going back and forth on what you thought were counteroffers so you could actually arrive at mutual acceptance.

    Imagine having spent many days, or more than likely a couple of weeks looking at homes, narrowing down the many homes you have looked at, meeting with a loan officer to get pre-qualified, and then making an offer and working through all the conversations and issues on the counteroffers back and forth, only to have the rug pulled out from under you at the 11th hour when you thought you had a deal?   You feel you are back to square one, and your emotional reserves may be drained at that point.   You may even be so discouraged, you don’t feel like starting all over again to find another house.   Welcome to the foreclosure market!

    This is just the tip of the iceberg and only a little example of how chaotic the foreclosure market is.   Want to see the whole Addendum from an REO, all eight pages?   Much of this agreement is boilerplate, which is totally unnecessary since it is in the Washington contract we all use already, but if you read through this in detail, you’ll see many clauses that were clearly not written by an attorney and which are totally unacceptable and unreasonable to any intelligent buyer.

    Foreclosure REO Addendum

    (The names of the parties have been deleted to protect myself from frivolous lawsuits.)

    Why did I scan this agreement and make it available to you?   Because I believe consumers deserve the truth and what banks and REO’s are doing to consumers behind the scenes is full of legal and ethical problems that could cause serious harm to home buyers.   My mission as a buyer’s agent is to work hard for my buyers and to protect them from this kind of nonsense.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Foreclosure Banks Make Huge Mistakes

    There’s a fascinating thing happening in the real estate market right now across the country.   I’ve seen in right here in Clallam County several times.   A home that was foreclosed on and is now for sale in the MLS receives a reasonable offer from a pre-qualified buyer, and the bank kills the transaction demanding unreasonably high prices.

    I’m not kidding.   Sure, we all have heard the story of the buyer who got lucky and snatched the deal of the century, a home for $100,000 less than its fair market value.   We probably all heard the same story about that same guy.

    But seriously, imagine a bank countering back and forth on a foreclosured home for sale and killing the deal over $5,000.   It happened.   Imagine a foreclosure in the MLS for $300,000 (plus or minus to disguise the actual listing) and the bank refusing to accept an offer from a pre-qualified buyer at $279,000 (plus or minus), when that is actually a fair offer.

    The word is that banks don’t really want to own real estate.   That may be true, but try telling the clerks on the east coast in the loss mitigation departments of those banks that they are killing good transactions.   They don’t know our market, and most of them probably never were in real estate sales or negotiations of any kind.   It’s crazy but true.   I’ve written about the chaos in the foreclosure market.   Believe me, it is chaos in the foreclosure market.   But don’t expect any great deal.   The banks wouldn’t know a good offer if it landed on their desk in New York.

    What’s your best opportunity to buy a great home at a great price?   A home in the MLS that is not a foreclosure or a short sale.   This comes from a full time Realtor who has been there, done that, and many times for many clients.   Don’t waste your time hoping upon hope that you’ll be the one to get a steal on a foreclosure.   There are plenty of great homes for sale by owners who are not in foreclosure.   They are more willing to intelligently negotiate than a bank on the east coast.   By a long shot.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Sequim Foreclosures

    This is a list of houses in Sequim that are in various stages of foreclosure, according to Foreclosure.com.   I pay for a monthly subscription fee to be able to access specific information on these sites.   I wish their system would simply allow me to include a link you could use for more detailed information, but Foreclosure.com’s system will not allow that.   But if you see one you have driven past   and you like what you see, you can email me, and I’ll get you the information in the database and email it to you.   Courtesy of Chuck Marunde.

    Street Street Address City
    Foreclosure 341 Pike Pl Sequim
    Foreclosure 350 W Turnh… Sequim
    Foreclosure 140 Osprey … Sequim
    Foreclosure Lot 3 Pries… Sequim
    Foreclosure 312 Dungene… Sequim
    Foreclosure Parcel B Sv… Sequim
    Foreclosure 131 Alpine … Sequim
    Foreclosure 61 Gupster Rd Sequim
    Foreclosure 109 Southwe… Sequim
    Foreclosure 1090 N Mari… Sequim
    Foreclosure 2096 Hooker Rd Sequim
    Foreclosure 124 White D… Sequim
    Preforeclosure 440 W Spruc… Sequim
    Preforeclosure 180 Coral Dr Sequim
    Preforeclosure 343 Gupster Rd Sequim
    Preforeclosure 234 W Hammo… Sequim
    Preforeclosure 102 Madera Pl Sequim
    Preforeclosure 242 Mcdonal… Sequim
    Preforeclosure 1780 Hooker Rd Sequim
    Preforeclosure 191 S Olymp… Sequim
    Bankruptcy 1740 Gardin… Sequim
    Bankruptcy 281 Bon Jon… Sequim
    Bankruptcy 260 Indepen… Sequim
    Bankruptcy 175 W Prair… Sequim
    Bankruptcy 174 Camelot Rd Sequim
    Bankruptcy 664 Marshal… Sequim
    Bankruptcy 1033 River Rd Sequim
    Bankruptcy 4212 Woodco… Sequim
    Bankruptcy 122 Applega… Sequim
    Bankruptcy 160 S Solma… Sequim
    Bankruptcy 160 Shelly Ln Sequim
    Bankruptcy 131 Stone Rd Sequim
    Bankruptcy 10 Kane Ln Sequim

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    Search Sequim Blog

    Chuck E. Marunde, J.D.

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

    From Los Angeles

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

    From Seattle

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

    From Florida

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

    From Gilroy California

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

    From Corona California

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

    From Bakersfield California

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

    From Los Alamos New Mexico

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

    From Sun Lakes Arizona

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

    From California

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

    From Sequim

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

    From The Netherlands

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

    From Fremont California

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

    From Fontana California

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

    From Tacoma

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

    From Wendell Idaho

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

    From Sequim

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

    From Seattle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Intro by Chuck Marunde

    From Sequim to California

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

    Who is Chuck Marunde?

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