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Sequim Foreclosure and Short Sale

Some Sequim homes are in foreclosure or need to be sold for less than the current mortgage balance (short sale).   Fortunately, Sequim and Port Angeles have far fewer homes in distress than most of the country.   There is some confusion among homeowners in financial distress and even among real estate agents about what happens and how to work through the process.

If you’ve read my articles on this blog about the foreclosure process and short sales, you may be familiar with the way things work.   You’ll find a series of articles on this real estate blog on foreclosures, the foreclosure process, costs and fees in a foreclosure, the short sale process, and getting a short sale through.

I’m told by mortgage bankers and insiders working inside the loss mitigation departments of mortgage companies that a short sale will not even be considered by a bank until a loan is in default at least two months.   Of course, that’s not real sensible on the part of the banks, but that’s the way it is.

I have a listing that will be a short sale, and to sell it the bank will end up taking less than the current mortgage balance.   If they do not agree, it will simply go to foreclosure and they will end up taking even less.   They know this, and this is why short sales are being accepted.

Buying a house in foreclosure or trying to structure a short sale requires knowledge about the process.   Frankly, it is much harder than handling a regular listing and a regular transaction.   I recommend reading the series of articles in the above link before making decisions.

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Buying a home in Port Angeles or Sequim right now would undoubtedly take advantage of one of the best market opportunities buyers have had in decades, but one area that creates confusion is the foreclosure market.   Buyers ask me regularly if they can get an extraordinary deal buying a foreclosure.   There are foreclosure stories galore about people picking up a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home for $105,000 in Vegas, or a 4 bedroom home on 5 acres on the top of the mountain in California somewhere for $245,000.

Port Angeles and Sequim simply don’t have a big foreclosure market to take advantage of.   Sure there are some foreclosures here, but very few, and the foreclosure records (data bases) here are in total disarray.   You can’t access the volume of information here on a foreclosure that you can in most areas of the country.   Foreclosure.com is the largest foreclosure website, and I have a monthly subscription I pay for the benefit of my clients.   Unfortunately, they do not have a signed agreement with the Clallam County Auditor’s office to bring all the real estate information into the Foreclosure.com database.   They could, but we are too small and too far out of the way to prioritize.   The same of true of Realty Trac and all the other foreclosure services.

Even if you find a foreclosure, if it is a nice home you would want to live in, it is likely to never make it to the Trustee’s Sale, because the owner will either borrow money from a friend or family member to pull it out of the foreclosure process, or they will sell it to someone they know or to an aggressive investor who spends 40 hours a week looking for that home.   The foreclosure market here is very small and the real opportunities for buyers are very limited.

There are far more opportunities with homes listed in the MLS here, which includes homes that were foreclosed and are now on the market for what may be less than the original balance.   That could mean a short sale, and that could end up being a good transaction.   But notice that these listings are simply in the MLS, like all other listings.

My recommendation is that you search the MLS for your ideal home.   If you don’t find it, you may want to consider buying a lot at the current garage sale prices and have your dream home built by a good builder.

No matter what you are looking at, may I save you time and stress (and potentially a lot of money)?   I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years now, including 20 years as a real estate attorney.   I’ve seen a lot of people over the years spin their tires and waste money and time when they could just email me or pick up the phone and get simple answers without any charge at all.   There’s no downside to that and a lot of upside for you.   Anything I have learned or experience is yours for the asking. Why would I make such an offer?   Because I hope that by being generous you may consider retaining me as your buyer’s agent.

Where can you find the best MLS search?   Here.   Search the Entire Sequim MLS and the entire Port Angeles MSL.

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Foreclosures of the Rich and Famous

Foreclosures are not just hitting “average folk.”   Even the rich and famous are learning about foreclosures.

Evander Holyfield owes $10 Million on his 109-room mansion in Fairburn, Georgia.   What happened to all those earnings Evander?

Ed McMahon owes: $4.8 million on his 7,000 sq. ft., six bedroom, five bath mansion in Beverly Hills, California.   The foreclosure saga of Ed McMahon, 85, Johnny Carson’s former “Tonight Show” sidekick, peaked last summer when he appeared on Larry King Live wearing a neck brace to tell everybody his home is up for sale.   McMahon has been fighting foreclosure for about nine months after falling behind his mortgage payments. Real estate mogul Donald Trump has offered the television personality to bail him out twice, but McMahon, who recently went back to work, has been reluctant to take him up on it.   The McMahons remain in their home, although foreclosure proceedings are still underway.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Sequim Foreclosures

    Can I buy a Sequim foreclosure and get a good deal? This is a question I’ve been getting a lot lately, and as a prior real estate attorney who did many foreclosures and Real Estate Broker now, I want to share a little reality here, because there are a lot of people out there selling their goods to the public. You know, ads saying, “get rich buying foreclosures,” or “buy a foreclosure home at half price,” and lots of other little catchy phrases to hook you and get into your wallet. Watch this short video on the subject, and if you’re serious about buying a home at the best possible price (foreclosure or otherwise), email me or give me a call.

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  • Foreclosures, Short Sales, and Credit Scores

    What effect does a foreclosure or a short sale have on your credit score? Negatives on a credit report are scored by three factors: recency (how recently did the negative event occur), severity (how late is the payment) and frequency (how many times you’ve been reported delinquent on credit obligations). If you have payments in default on a mortgage, your credit score is taking some hits, but if you have a foreclosure, you will not be able to get a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed loan for five years.

    If you have a home for sale that is threatened by a possible foreclosure, you may have to try to sell it for less than the current mortgage balance. If your mortgage company accepts less than what is owed, that is a short sale. Trying to do a short sale is not for the inexperienced homeowner or the inexperienced real estate agent. It’s very technical, and you don’t want to screw it up.

    Lenders prefer short sales over foreclosures because they net more from them. Foreclosures incur additional legal costs and fees, carrying costs, and marketing costs. Your credit score is downgraded with a short sale, but not as much as a foreclosure.   Borrowers can be considered for loans following a short sale after 24 months, if the sale was caused by extenuating circumstances outside of a borrowers’ control, or 48 months if it was the result of financial mismanagement on the borrower’s part of the homeowner.

    There are potential tax implications with a short sale.   The IRS code penalizes you if you do a short sale by taxing you on the forgiven portion of the loan, the difference between what you owed and what the mortgage company accepted in the short sale. It’s hard to believe that our government would tax you on a short sale when you are already in severe financial hardship, but who said our tax code was fair?

    Because of public outcry, congress made an exception to the IRS code. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 and the recently passed Emergency Economic Stabilization Act allows you to exclude up to $2 million of income ($1 million if married filing separately) from debt that’s discharged through mortgage restructuring, or that’s forgiven in connection with foreclosure, for the years 2007 through 2012. The exclusion must be connected with a decline in the home’s value or the taxpayer’s financial condition, and only applies to a principal residence, not investment properties.

    If you own a home you need to sell, this is absolutely not a time to experiment with selling prices and marketing.   It’s not a time to hire an inexperienced real estate agent.   You may only get one chance to do it right, and time is your enemy.   If you do everything right from the beginning, in four or five months, if your lucky you’ll have a closed sale.   Trip along the way on any of dozens of steps, and you will lose, and the consequences could be devestating.   The key to getting it right is finding an experienced professional who knows exactly what to do and when to do it.

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    ForeclosuresMy 12 year old daughter says to me yesterday afternoon (Friday), “Daddy, did you know that WaMu went bankrupt, but my savings account is okay, because another bank bought them out?” You know we are in a banking crisis when middle school children talk about it.

    I attended last Friday’s foreclosure sale at the courthouse in Port Angeles (Clallam County), in the wake of the bankruptcy filing of Washington Mutual. WaMu, which had assets of over $300 billion, is the second major financial entity after Lehman Brothers to file for bankruptcy protection. The fall of WaMu is the biggest banking failure in American history.

    WaMu’s losses from their mortgage department will exceed $19 billion. Wow! Remember when one million dollars was more than we could imagine?   Remember when we thought a millionaire was sooooo rich?

    How does all this filter down to the little people of Sequim and Port Angeles? That’s hard to say, but I can tell you there were no buyers for the dozen properties sold at the courthouse foreclosure sale. The banks took those properties back, and now they will assign them to REO’s and list them for sale. I guarantee they will have to be short sales, because no one is going to pay full price, meaning the entire balance of the mortgage. The FMV (fair market value) is less than the mortgage balances, at least for this Friday’s foreclosures.

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  • Traps for the Unwary Buyer of Foreclosures

    Bank ForeclosuresQuestion:   Chuck, you write about foreclosures, the process, issues for investors, and I appreciate your foreclosure checklist for the entire process showing all the fees and costs, but what are some of the traps for a buyer of foreclosure properties?

    Answer:   Good question. There are many traps, and I’ll write a full article on this, but here are a few.

    1.) I had a client who came to me after he thought he bought a house at a foreclosure sale, but he actually bought a second mortgage. The first mortgage balance was more than the house was worth. He lost his $50,000.   That was sad, because he worked seven years to save that $50,000.

    2.) I know a gentlemen who bought a foreclosure only to find out later that a substantial number of the beams under the house had to be replaced because of rotten timbers. He said after all the money and time, he will be lucky to break even.

    3.) Buying a pre-foreclosure property or negotiating a great price on a house prior to the trustee’s sale could be great, but a purchase can be subject to unknown subordinate mortgages, mechanic’s liens, labor liens, federal tax liens, assessments, and judgments, not to mention possible permit violations, boundary disputes with neighbors, easement or access problems, adverse possession claims or easement by prescription claims, and about 100 other possible legal issues.

    It’s dangerous out there. Be careful.

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  • Large Builder’s Spec Homes Foreclosed

    A Port Angeles home builder has many spec homes on the market, and it apparently has begun to catch up with him. Nine of his homes were foreclosed on September 26th, the result of two financial institutions foreclosing on their lines of credit.

    Glenn Terra Corporation is one of the large home builders in the Port Angeles area, and has been aggressively building spec homes. Unfortunately, now is not a time to build spec homes that sit on the market with no buyers.

    Normally a builder will have a large line of credit that he will draw on as he builds spec homes, which he hopes will sell in a healthy market. But in this past year with so many buyers just not showing up in Port Angeles, the carrying costs alone for a spec home with a line of credit can be far too much of a burden. It is estimated that Glenn Terra has over two dozen spec homes on the market. The foreclosure of nine homes may be the first crack in the dam for this builder. I hope the best for this builder, and for all builders in the area, but it is an especially tough time for new home builders.

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  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Salvation

    foreclosuresThe Federal Government’s bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are extraordinary measures, but were critical to avoid a systemic meltdown.   The depth and breadth of the mortgage and foreclosure crisis has implications far beyond the devastating consequences for individual families (as if that wasn’t bad enough).

    Behind the curtains of the public stage of the mortgage business are layers of businesses, organizations, agencies, and security backed markets.   Had the government not stepped in with it’s money printing capability to save Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, we very likely would have seen a serious nationwide economic depression, not a recession.

    While I am not a strong advocate of government intervention in private enterprise, I do applaud this move, because it averted a depression, but there is a huge downside for us in the long run, and it is so significant, it may have been wiser for the feds to stay out of this.   I’ll express the downside with these rhetorical questions, “When has the federal government ever managed an organization like a finely tuned violin without breaking the strings?”   “Do you think the feds will ever give Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back to private industry?”   Think again.     This may be one of the most powerful long-term moves toward socialization of our economy I have seen in my lifetime.   Having the feds operate these two organizations that are responsible for over 70% of our entire mortgage industry is very dangerous.   The implications reach far beyond the horizon of our visibility right now.

    By the way, trading stocks on either of these two companies, or worse yet, buying options (calls) hoping to catch a big ride back up in the next few months or year, would be bad positions.

    We will get through this foreclosure crisis, but it will take time, and taxpayers will ultimately carry the burden.

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • bank foreclosuresRight now buying a home in foreclosure in either Sequim or Port Angeles appeals to people who are in the market to buy a home anyway, and it appeals to cash rich investors.

    Want to know where the best possible deal right now is in the foreclosure market?   I’ll tell you, but you might not be able to afford it. If you can, you can make some serious money here.

    The largest percentage of buyers shop in the mid price range, $250,000 to $375,000.   This is where most families shop, because it is what they can afford.   There are some bargains in distress or bank foreclosure in this range right now, but they are not super bargains.   You might shave $15,000 to $30,000 off the fair market value in this price range.   That’s good, and if you’re in the market to buy anyway, it is a bargain and definitely you are buying in a buyer’s market.

    But if you can afford to purchase in the upper price range, for example above $500,000, you can pick up an instant $100,000 in a few cases.   Why?   Because when you get in this upper price range, you reduce the number of folks with cash who can actually buy.   In this upper range the percentage of buyers narrows to perhaps less than 10% of all buyers.   When you get to $700,000 and above, you only compete with 2% of all buyers in this area.

    As I like to say when it comes to a down real estate market, cash is king.

    If you are in the upper price range as a serious buyer, email me or call me.   With 30 years in real estate, 20 in real estate law, and a lot of experience in foreclosures, short sales, and negotitating, I promise that you will be very pleased with my representation.   You’ll get the home of your dreams for a huge discount, and if you are an investor, you’ll be happy to shave a $100 grand off your initial investment.

    Email:   chuckmarunde@gmail.com
    Cell:       350-775-5424

    Chuck Marunde, J.D.
    Realtor/Broker/Owner
    Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, LLC
    618 South Peabody St., Suite I
    Port Angeles, Washington   98382

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Port Angeles ForeclosuresThere are Sequim and Port Angeles homes in foreclosure.   Many are in pre-foreclosure, and for some the Trustee’s Sale Date is looming.   This is unfortunate for the owners, and that’s an understatement.   When it comes to getting the home sold in a timely way, and pocket some money, this is more difficult than most think.   Talk is cheap, so be cautious about any investor or real estate agent who talks big, because most of the talk is just that–talk.   At the end of the day, you are very likely in this market to end up simply losing the house at the sale.   All the equity you have will just go poof!

    I have several clients who are cash buyers, and they have asked me to find them a good investment.   This is not easy to do.   I have more data on Sequim and Port Angeles foreclosures and more access to relevant information than probably any other agent out there, and having been a real estate attorney and now a broker, I don’t think it is unfair to say I probably have more knowledge and experience in handling foreclosures than most, but . . . it is still very difficult to find a foreclosure property that is a reasonable investment for a buyer.   Let me explain that.

    There are many homes in pre-foreclosure and foreclosure, and to do the due diligence required of me to narrow down a 100+ properties, collect the ownership and financial data, look at the homes and evaluate them, do comparative market analyses, figure out what they could be sold for in this market, and work with a potential investor, all of this alone could take 60 hours a week.   In other words, working foreclosures could easily be a full time job, and as a Realtor, I have other clients, other listings, and other responsibilities.

    Cash is king!   Always has been.   So, here’s the deal.   If you, or someone you know, has a home in foreclosure, or land in foreclosure, email me with the information or call me, and I will examine your property and see if I can sell it for you.   Of course, that could be to one of my current clients or it could be by listing it and promoting it to other potential buyers.   You won’t find anyone more diligent and caring in this process than me.   I mean that.

    May I make a suggestion?   Do NOT procrastinate.   A Trustee’s Sale Date has a way of creeping up on you like a ghost in the night.   You do not have time to fool around, to experiment with various approaches that might sell your home, to try to become an expert in marketing and real estate by being your own FSBO, or by letting an inexperienced real estate agent burn up the next few months dinging around while you lose your home.

    May I be bold here?   I am being blunt, because many who are in foreclosure are simply out of time.   Real estate agents are a bit like attorneys.   Ask an attorney if he or she can handle a particular legal matter, and their answer is always, “Yes,” even if they have never touched the subject.   Hey, everyone has to start somewhere.   There’s a first time for everything, right?   It’s just that if you are in foreclosure, you don’t have time to let others learn in the school of hard knocks at your expense.   There’s too much at stake for you.

    You know how to reach me.

    Sincerely, Chuck Marunde, J.D. (Realtor and Retired Real Estate Attorney
    chuckmarunde@gmail.com
    360-775-5424

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • Bank Foreclosures in Tacoma and Seattle

    With all the talk about bank foreclosures, where do we rate in the Seattle and Tacoma areas?   Here are some of the hardest hit cities and their rankings:

    No. 1:   Stockton, California
    No. 2:   Riverside/San Bernardino, California
    No. 3:   Las Vegas, Nevada
    No. 4:   Bakersfield, California
    No. 5:   Sacramento, California
    No. 6:   Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    No. 7:   Phoenix/Mesa, Arizona
    No. 8:   Oakland, California
    No. 9:   Fresno, California
    No. 10: Miami, Florida

    No. 43: Tacoma, Washington
    No. 67: Portland, Orego and Vancouver, Washington
    No. 83: Seattle/Bellevue/Everett, Washington

    Tacoma ranks 43rd among cities experiencing foreclosures, and Seattle and Bellevue and Everett rank 83rd.   California, however, has six cities in the top ten.

    [Source of Data:   RealtyTrac and The Seattle Times, Seattle Foreclosure Activity Up, July 25, 2008, page D1]

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  • Filed under: Foreclosures
  • The Truth About Buying Foreclosures

    “We want to buy a nice 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in a good area, and we heard we can get a really good deal right now buying a foreclosure.   Can you help us find one?”   I get this question a lot lately.

    As a Realtor who was a real estate lawyer for 20 years and did many foreclosures and short sales, let’s clear the smoke and get to the truth about buying foreclosures.   There is far too much nonsense being published about buying foreclosures, mostly by get-rich-quick artists and seminar leaders who have found a niche to make a lot of money fairly easy.   There’s a lot of hype, and there are also a lot of foreclosures in some parts of the country, especially California, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida.   So what is the truth?   Can you buy a great foreclosure home in Sequim or Port Angeles, or anywhere for that matter?   If you are an investor, can you make tons of money buying foreclosures.   Let’s shine a light in the dark corners of the foreclosure world, expose the lies, and reveal the truth.

    (more…)

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    Sequim Real Estate Foreclosures – Caution

    Recently, Inman News published an article on the misleading prices that are often attached to Trulia.com and Yahoo! Real Estate pre-foreclosure listings. It’s a good read, which features commentary and possible solutions from Foreclosure.com Founder, President and CEO, Brad Geisen, about how to correct the problem.

    Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly), RealtyTrac.com Vice President of Marketing, Rick Sharga, took exception to Brad’s input. That’s because the company that he represents supplies Trulia.com and Yahoo! Real Estate with their foreclosure data.

    Let’s go through a few of Mr. Sharga’s comments line-by-line to clear the air once and for all. Here he is talking about their misleading listings:

    Neither Yahoo Real Estate or Trulia or RealtyTrac is setting out to mislead anybody. Anybody looking to purchase a foreclosure property is going to have to educate themselves a little on the process. Its not as straightforward as just buying a resale property from an agent.

    Whether it is done intentionally or not, RealtyTrac and by association Trulia.com and Yahoo! Real Estate doesn’t appear to have either the desire or the ability to make it clear that the prices associated with some distressed listings are often not sale prices. Therefore, while Mr. Sharga claims, in theory, that he and his partners are not setting out to mislead anybody the reality is that they are.

    (more…)

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    Short Sales

    What is a short sale in a foreclosure? Here’s a short video on the subject.

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    Sequim and Port Angeles mortgage default online help is now available, and homeowners who are struggling to make loan payments can work directly with their lending institution, and this new system has the capacity to get very quick responses through this well connected database network.

    Homeowners who use the system are able to get responses from the banks in as little as one week. That’s practically unheard of. This is cutting edge technology, and it’s a business model desperately needed now. I believe this could be an answer for thousands of people across the country. I have been authorized by the owners to make this exclusive news announcement, and I am the first to announce this new system for homeowners in Washington state. I urge you to take advantage of this help, if you need help with your current mortgage.

    We are in challenging times, and a loss of job or reduction in hours can be the cause of a default, but there are many other legitimate reasons a person might find themselves in trouble. Divorce, death of a spouse, injury, or other circumstances can cause a person to get behind on their mortgage payments.

    As a retired real estate attorney and now as a Broker/Owner/Realtor, I’ve spent time interviewing the founders and owners of this company, and I am greatly impressed with what they’ve put together. I highly recommend this site if you need to communicate with your lender to seek a modification of your loan, a forbearance, or a refinance.

    If you are in foreclosure on a local level in Sequim or Port Angeles, be proactive to find solutions. Don’t wait until the 11th hour of the Trustee’s sale when it may be too late. Having been a real estate attorney, I understand the process inside and out and what can be done. I also have a site where buyers can look at listed foreclosure properties: SequimForeclosures.com or PortAngelesForeclosures.com.

    To modify your loan or to communicate with your lender for other requests, go to this site: Resolving Your Loan Default Now. You’ll be glad you did. Email me and let me know how they were able to help you.

    Courtesy Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, LLC

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    Foreclosure properties for sale in Sequim and Port Angeles are now available through a retired real estate attorney who himself did many foreclosures in Sequim and Port Angeles. Chuck Marunde now offers his clients a service at no cost, which gives them the ability to search the entire foreclosure database here, including pre-foreclosure properties, trustee sale properties, and REO properties (already foreclosed and listed for sale). This service is offered through Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, LLC.

    The following is taken from the search page:

    The following foreclosure database is a subscription service I pay for, but I offer it to you here at no cost with the permission of the largest foreclosure database in the country, Foreclosure.com. If I can answer a question for you about the foreclosure process or how to bid for a foreclosure, either before the Trustee’s Sale, at the the Sale, or when the property is an REO (bank owned listing), don’t hesitate to email me or call me at 360-775-5424. By the way, if you’re looking for foreclosures in any county in Washington or in any state, make your offer through me. I just might be able to save you a lot of money because of my experience. Why not use me to make money?

    One thing I want to share with you up front, although this is self promoting, is that I’ve done more foreclosure work in Sequim and Port Angeles than most, since I was a real estate attorney here, and I did many foreclosures and forfeitures from beginning to end. I know the process intimately, the costs involved, what can be waived or negotiated away, and how to deal with second mortgages, third liens, judgments, tax liens, bankruptcies, and L&I liens. Real estate agents have been calling me for 15 years to understand how to handle these issues. My point? I know this subject. Can I earn your business?

    Search the Entire Foreclosure Database for Sequim and Port Angeles here.

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    Want to sell your own home in Sequim or Port Angeles? How do you market your home in this economy? What techniques are best for selling? How do you get the highest price? This is Part 2 of a 6 part series answering these questions.

    As I wrote in Part 1, “I think of selling your house as a six part process: 1.) knowing the local real estate market, 2.) figuring out the FMV and determining a realistic sales price, 3.) developing an effective advertising plan, 4.) negotiating diplomatically but firmly to arrive at a price that pushes your buyer as far as they are willing to go, 5.) drafting the legal contracts as well as drafting unambiguous language that gets the property sold without legal problems, and 6.) avoiding the many traps for the unwary.”

    Today’s Coverage: 2.) Figuring out the FMV and determining a realistic sales price.

    The single most important step in the process of successfully selling your home is coming up with a true FMV (fair market value). Price your house wrong on the market, and it may get stale, and either take much longer to sell at a lower price, or not sell at all this year.

    A Realtor can get a beautiful CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). If you’re not a member of the MLS, you won’t have access to all that data, so a FSBO (For-Sale-By-Owner) will have to resort to what are probably less accurate and more labor intensive methods to do a CMA.

    I have a strong conviction about arriving at the listing price, whether a FSBO or listed with a Realtor. I believe it must be an accurate FMV. An experienced Realtor using the MLS can arrive at an accurate FMV, but it takes hard work to make the necessary adjustments up and down for the comparables to arrive at the best FMV for your home. Because it is so hard for a FSBO to do this accurately without a lot of training and a current data base, I recommend hiring a licensed appraiser and paying him for what is the equivalent of a bank appraisal. It is extremely effective to show a prospective Buyer how you arrived at the asking price. They can’t really argue with it. It is well documented, has color pictures of the comps, includes all the amenities and the values, and has an authoritative bottom line number.

    This same appraisal is typically good for six months and probably can be used by your buyer with their own bank. While some appraisals take weeks to get done, your appraisal is already done and the Buyer can take it to the bank. What a great way to reduce unnecessary delays, especially with VA loans. The appraisal will cost $400, more or less, but just tell the Buyers that while you have done them a favor by getting it done in advance, you expect to be reimbursed at closing as it is normally their cost anyway. By the way, some special types of HUD loans or VA loans may require a bank appointed appraiser of their own choosing, but your appraisal still has all the benefit of accurate pricing to market and sell your home.

    I recently listed a home that had previously been listed for six months with another broker with no activity whatsoever. I sold it in about 30 days after listing, and I would attribute this success to effective marketing AND the right listing price. The listing price was $25,000 below a current bank appraisal, and I made it clear in the marketing that price was already negotiated and firm.

    Wrong pricing can be devestating. I noticed in my MLS that a 2.5 acre lot with a mountain view sold this past month for $139,000. What is interesting is that the original listing price was $239,000. Wow! What a discount! It would seem the original price was grotesquely over FMV by $100,000. Guessing what the FMV is on your property is just plain dumb. Don’t do it. Pricing is not science, but neither is it throwing dice. Admittedly there is a subjective aspect, but there is a great deal of solid mathematics involved, too. You have to know how to do the math.

    It may be obvious, but another great thing you accomplish by getting the appraisal done in advance is to reduce the offer/counteroffer/counteroffer exchange. Explain that the appraisal eliminates the uncertainty for them about what the FMV of the house is, eliminates the need for the games that Buyers and Sellers often play without an appraisal, both trying to take advantage of the other. This is very effective!

    Courtesy Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, LLC
    Chuck Marunde, J.D. Owner/Broker/Realtor

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    Sequim FSBO – For Sale By Owner – Part 1

    What does it take to sell your own home in Sequim? How do you market your home in this economy? What techniques are best for selling? How do you get the highest price?

    I think of selling your house as a six part process: 1.) knowing the local real estate market, 2.) figuring out the FMV and determining a realistic sales price, 3.) developing an effective advertising plan, 4.) negotiating diplomatically but firmly to arrive at a price that pushes your buyer as far as they are willing to go, 5.) drafting the legal contracts as well as drafting unambiguous language that gets the property sold without legal problems, and 6.) avoiding the many traps for the unwary.

    Today’s Coverage: 1.) Knowing the local real estate market.

    Buyers sometimes come from outside our area, and if they are from an area where real estate is priced substantially higher, they might over pay for a property. The reality is that buyers are getting very well educated these days, and they are learning to negotiate hard. The Internet has become a very powerful tool educating both buyers and sellers, evidenced by you reading this.

    Buyers are able to view many homes on the Internet and compare features and prices. By the time a buyer looks at your home, they have looked at hundreds of homes on the Internet, and physically viewed a dozen or more homes in your market. The better you know the market, the better you will be prepared to negotiate the sale.

    Knowing the market involves knowing several critical components to getting your house sold. It will be helpful to know:

    1. the fair market values of comparable houses;
    2. the differences between those comps and your house in great detail;
    3. how and why you have adjusted the comp prices to arrive at your price;
    4. the shortcomings or negatives of your home–objectively;
    5. considering all of this, how your home looks on the market to prospective buyers;
    6. how to stage your home;
    7. the market timing or the “when” of selling your home.

    WHEN you put your home on the market is a very important decision. First, the market might be in a correction mode, so it could be the worst time. Second, the season or time of the year can be disadvantageous. Third, annual events often create the best and the not-so-good times to put a house on the market, like school starting at the end of August. There are many things that effect timing decisions. You will want to be aware of these, because wrong timing can mean the house does not sell within a reasonable period of time, or it could mean you take a substantial cut on the price. Ouch!

    You would also benefit from having a written comprehensive plan. Do you know what you are going to do, and do you know when you are going to do it between now and closing? Chaos is not in your best interest when it comes to selling your home with so much money at stake. Write a good and thorough plan, including the contact information of key professionals you will involve, such as the title company, the escrow officer, inspector, loan officer, and so on. It’s what you don’t know that can come back to bite you. It has been said that we learn best by making mistakes, but it would be a disaster if you had to loose a lot of your money just to learn something about selling real estate. It is the intention of this series to help you avoid that kind of nightmare and to successfully sell your own home. If after studying everything you can get your hands on, you decide your want a Realtor, that is still your option, but at least you would be making a fully informed decision.

    Realize that the success of a FSBO is not so much in doing something extraordinarily good: the key is not making any major mistakes. Kind of sounds like a military career, doesn’t it? It means covering all the bases, and not falling into traps for the unwary. This is why a comprehensive plan is so important. It is your road map to success. Without the map, you may not end up at closing with the net proceeds you hoped to get. And then who wants to close a transaction, and later get sued because your paperwork opens you to legal liability.

    Courtesy Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, LLC
    Chuck Marunde, J.D. Owner/Broker/Realtor

    Possibly Related Posts:


    Foreclosures in Sequim and Port Angeles

    Home foreclosures in Sequim and Port Angeles are in fact up, although not nearly so prevalent as in many other states. If your home is in default, none of the national statistics matter, and empty promises don’t matter. One thing does matter: saving your home from foreclosure.

    How can your save a home from foreclosure? Solutions for resolving the default range from reinstatement (bringing the loan current by catching up on past due payments), a workout with the lender, refinancing, paying off the debt in full, or selling the property, which has to be done fairly quickly to avoid the trustee’s sale. If none of the above happens by the auction date, your property will be sold to the highest bidder, and typically the bank takes the property back for the amount of the debt.

    If your home is in default, you cannot afford to experiment or fool around for months learning how these things work by trial and error. As a sword swallower might say, “Don’t try this at home. You could get hurt.” If your home is in default, find a professional who knows this stuff inside and out. Attack the problem right away. Procrastination will cost you valuable time, which you don’t have right now.

    To learn more about the foreclosure process in Sequim and Port Angeles, review these articles:

    Short Sales and Foreclosures
    Buying Foreclosures
    The Legal Foreclosure Process

    When you’re ready for professional help from someone who is a real estate broker and Realtor, and who practiced real estate law for 20 years, email me or call me. I’d be glad to answer your questions, and maybe I can help.

    Chuck Marunde, J.D.
    Broker/Owner/Realtor
    Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, LLC
    618 South Peabody St., Suite I
    Port Angeles, WA 98362
    (360) 775-5424
    chuckmarunde@gmail.com
    SequimPortAngeles.com

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    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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