Sequim Real Estate in Sunny Sequim, Washington

Welcome to the largest Sequim Real Estate Blog with over 1,900 articles.

Menu

Archive for the ‘Home Inspections’ Category

The Home Inspection Report Response

When you’re buying a home, you will order a home inspection report, and when you review that report, you have an opportunity to ask the seller to address any serious problems. I don’t recommend trying to renegotiate the price again because of minor issues in the home inspection report, but if there is something seriously wrong, like standing water in the crawl space or mold throughout the house, then you have the right to terminate the transaction and get your earnest money back.

The Home Inspection Report

The Home Inspection Report Response

Based on your home inspection addendum, you have a designated number of days to have your home inspection report done, and if you have a response to give to the seller, you will use a Form 35R, which is the home inspection report response. If you’re satisfied with your home inspection report, you will check that box on the response form, but as a buyer you don’t have to issue a form 35R if you are satisfied and not asking the seller to do anything. The 35R is optional for a buyer and is not required by law.

I’ve written many articles on this blog about the home inspection report if you want to round out your understanding of what is involved and how to handle various issues in the Sequim and Port Angeles and Port Townsend areas. [Read more at Sequim Home Inspections] And you might enjoy the video above on the home inspection report.

Possibly Related Posts:


Home Defects Haunt Buyers

Home defects can haunt a buyer long after moving into their home. We can’t all buy a brand new home, and the cost of buying land and hiring a home builder to build a new home is substantially more than buying an existing home, but an existing home may be on the perfect piece of land in the perfect location. Buying a used home is what most of us choose to do. But an older home can have home defects of various kinds. Here are a few home defects to watch for when you are looking at homes.

Home Defects

Latent Home Defects

The home in this photo was built in 1976, and it is in a perfect location at the end of a private drive and with a stunning mountain view. Notice the messy front concrete step. Six months after the buyer moved into this home, he realized how slippery the tile was on the front step, and there was some kind of white sticky stuff oozing up from between the tiles. When he grabbed one of the tiles, it came up with a slight lift. This was one of many projects done by the previous owner.

A latent defect exists when a homeowner, who has no clue how to do construction work, does his own work on a home and disguises it with an apparent normal appearance. These kinds of latent defects are hard, if not impossible, to recognize when you are looking at homes.

Home Defects Multiply

If a homeowner did a lot of things cheaply or without proper knowledge during the many years he lived in a home, you might not discover all the problems until you’ve been living in the home for the first few months to a year. Light switches in the wrong places, a bathroom shower with no exhaust fan at all, an electrical panel that needs upgrading, cabinetry that doesn’t fit right, soffits that need stronger wire screens because the woodpecker broke through, and a dozen little weird things that were not done right.

Build a brand new home and you won’t have to deal with home defects from a previous owner who should have hired licensed contractors but did not. On the other hand, I wouldn’t trade my 1976 used home for a new home across town. You see I’m the buyer who bought the home in this photo, and I love it with all my heart, despite the many little problems.

I recommend hiring a good home inspector, but having done that, you still need to pay attention to the kinds of defects I’m writing about, because most home inspectors miss a lot of the common home defects that will annoy you later.

Possibly Related Posts:


Buying a Home: The Biggest Problem

Buying a home used to be much easier. A purchase and sale agreement was one page. Your loan application was two pages, and a few weeks later the transaction was closed in the real estate office with two or three signatures. Now the purchase and sale agreement is 14 pages with all the required addendums. There are loan officers, appraisers, loan processors, underwriters, title insurance companies, home inspectors, septic inspectors, well inspectors, escrow officers, and sometimes attorneys. There are multiple deadlines and complex alternate contract clauses. Closing involves several people, and you sign your name about 40 times in a stack of documents. Buying a home is much more challenging today than it when your parents bought their first home.

Buying a Home

Buying a Home: Home Inspections

A couple of years ago I wrote that the biggest problem when buying a home is the mortgage process. That process is still a monster of bureaucracy, but another problem has taken first place as the biggest problem when buying a home. That problem is how home inspections are being conducted and how home inspection reports are being written. My intent in this article is to help you be proactive in understanding what you are likely to experience when you are buying a home.

Buying a Home: Home Inspectors and Liabilities

Home inspectors are so terrified of legal liabilities, the majority are going way too far in identifying any and all potential issues discovered during a home inspection. What buyers really expect from a home inspector is to find out if something is broken, or not functioning the way it should. Buyers must be able to use the home inspection report to terminate the transaction if there is such a serious problem that it cannot be fixed.

Buyers who are buying a used home understand they are not buying a brand new home, and that there may be the normal wear and tear you would find in a home that has been lived in for decades. No one in their right mind would expect an older home to be exactly in the same condition as a brand new modern home just built.

But when you go through the process of buying a home and have your own home inspection done, it is almost guaranteed that your home inspector will fill the report with notations that various items are not perfect, and they go on with boilerplate warnings that you should have additional experts examine whether or not an item should be serviced or replaced–even when it is working perfectly. This has gotten totally out of control, and you should be aware of it, because most buyers assume their home inspector is warning them about serious problems in a home that need to be fixed, but these warnings are very often grossly exaggerated.

Home inspectors are using speculative language in their reports that is scarring the heck out of buyers. Home inspectors are killing transactions because buyers read the report, and make dozens of excessive demands of sellers that are totally unreasonable.

Why are home inspectors doing this? They are terrified that someone will sue them if there is some problem they don’t highlight, so they not only highlight every potential issue even when items are working perfectly, they go on with speculative language and make it sound like there are very serious problems when there are not. This has become the number one problem to deal with when buying a home. It’s crucial that you have a home inspector who does not speculate and who does not try to make you think an older home should be in the exact same condition as a brand new home. The key to a good home inspection report is that it focuses on the real need for the report by addressing one primary question “Is there anything broken in the house now?” There’s more to that question, but you get the point. Beware when you are buying a home, because the home inspector’s report is very likely to sound like the nice home you are purchasing is a major disaster with dozens of serious problems, even when everything is working properly.

Read more about the home inspection process and how to handle your own home inspection at: Buying a Home.

Possibly Related Posts:


Home Inspector Kills Transaction

Buyers, please beware of the home inspector who can kill your transaction based on inexperience. A seller had a home built by one of the best home builders in the state, a builder who had three decades of building the highest quality custom homes and who worked with the best framer, the best roofer, the best concrete men, and the best electricians and plumbers. This home builder was extremely meticulous, and he built his homes to standards that were higher than the building code.

Home Inspector

Pictured here is Chuck Bishop, who is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable home inspectors in the Sequim area. Chuck is in high demand because of the accuracy of his work and reports.

Home Inspector Report

So when the seller received the buyer’s home inspector report listing dozens of problems, he was shocked, because the main alleged problems that the home inspector identified were not defects at all. In fact, the home inspector (and the roofing inspector) alleged that the home builder did not build the home to the code, that the attic and the vents and the skylights and the roofing were not done correctly.

The buyer believed his home inspector. Why wouldn’t he? How is a buyer to know that his own home inspector lacks experience and knowledge on construction standards. The buyer had no idea that what home inspector labeled as low quality or not meeting the code requirements were actually standards that were much higher than the building code and better quality than the average builder.

The seller brought in an expert to respond. Then the buyer brought in more experts to respond to the response. Then the seller had to respond again. All this unfolded over a period of weeks and cost both parties more time and money. The buyer was fixated on what he thought were serious defects, and he can’t really be blamed. The fault here lies with the home inspector who was inexperienced and made major mistakes in his report.

The home inspector issued a report that caused tremendous stress for everyone, and ultimately killed the transaction as the buyer finally walked. What’s so unfortunate about this whole scenario is that there are no serious problems with the home, and the real losers were both the buyer and the seller. The buyer will never know how his own home inspector poisoned his dreams of owning a beautiful home.

Home Inspector Choice

The point of sharing this story is to emphasize the importance of hiring a good home inspector, someone who is well educated on construction, who is competent and honest, and who issues accurate reports. Once again, the decisions you make as a buyer regarding who you will hire will make all the difference. Your choices are critical, so be careful about accepting a referral without knowing more. 

I’ve written elsewhere that the single most important decision you will make is who your Realtor will be. After all, you are probably going to rely on your Realtor to refer you to a title company, escrow company, mortgage broker, well inspector, and home inspector. I hope the professionals you hire facilitate your transaction, rather than kill it. Of all the people you hire, the home inspector is one of the most important, so be sure you hire a good home inspector.

Possibly Related Posts:


Septic System Inspections

When you buy a home with a private septic system, you most likely want the seller to perform a septic system inspection. That inspection will tell you if the components of the system are all working properly, including the tank itself and whether it needs to be pumped, the condition of the pump and electronic controls, and the condition of the drain field.

Septic System

Here’s the trap for the unwary buyer. Some sellers or their agents may tell you they don’t have to have a septic system inspection done even though you have attached a Septic Addendum to your agreement. They point to language in the Addendum that states:

If Seller had the OSS inspected and, if necessary, pumped within 12 months of mutual acceptance by an OSS service company and Seller provides Buyer with written evidence thereof, including an inspection report, Seller shall have no obligation to inspect and pump the system unless otherwise required by Buyer’s lender.

If they have done an annual or three-year evaluation and filed that with the county, they are thinking that qualifies as an “inspection report” in the above language, but they are wrong. The Clallam County Health Authority has made it clear that an annual or three-year evaluation is completely different than the inspection report required within 12 months of the sale of a home. 

Septic System County Code

Under Clallam County Code (CCC) 41.20.170 a property owner with a private septic system must file an evaluation (report) every three years for a gravity system, and annually for all other systems.

The filing of this evaluation does not require a filing fee of $40, and does not require staff review.

When a home is sold, however, there is a different section of the Clallam County Code that applies, and that is CCC 41.20.190:

(1) At the time of property transfer, the property owner shall provide to the buyer a copy of the current system status report performed within 12 months of the property transfer by a licensed designer or licensed OSS maintenance provider.

(2) The property owner shall ensure that a current report of system status is on file with Environmental Health Services when the property changes ownership.

The Clallam County Health Authority told me today that a “report of system status” that is to be “on file” means that the septic inspection report has been filed with that agency and a filing fee of $40 has been paid. This is different than the annual or three-year evaluation which does not require a filing fee. The two reports have different purposes, although they are very similar. The two reports are mandated under different provisions of the CCC. By the way, you can tell which report you are looking at by the identified purpose in the top right of the report. If it is for a sale, it will say “Point of Sale” or words to that effect.

Septic System Report Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the standard Septic Inspection Addendum does require that the seller obtain a new septic inspection, even if they filed an annual or three-year report within the past 12 months. However, if they filed a septic inspection report with the county for the purposes of a sale and paid the $40 fee within the past 12 months, they would not have to do a new septic inspection. 

Possibly Related Posts:


The Home Inspection Report

This is what a home inspection report looks like, at least in part. I represented buyers on the purchase of a home in Sequim, and this is the summary of the home inspection report showing the main issues.

Home Inspection Report

Home Inspection Report Issues

On this home inspection report the issues are all relatively minor, including items like some minor siding issue on the shed adjacent to the house, the down spouts needed to be extended a few inches, a hose bib was leaking, the electric panel cover needed a couple of shorter screws, a new toilet needed to be tightened to the floor, and a little tile caulking was needed. All of that was pretty easy to fix, and the seller readily agreed to repair these items at my client’s request.

Home Inspection Report: Sump Pump

Sequim Inspection

The home inspection report also discovered a faulty sump pump that needed repair. Fortunately, the sellers agreed to take care of that. In some areas in Sequim, the water table is high, and a sump pump must be installed in a hole in the crawl space to keep water from building up in the crawl space during the three months of the winter when the water table is at its highest.

I also attended the septic inspection for my buyers, and when the inspector took the lid off the tank that holds the liquids, it was full to the brim with water. No one had been living in the home, and apparently the septic pump was not working. During some rehab work, the seller’s contractor had torn out what he thought was an extraneous conduit pipe. Unbeknownst to him, that conduit held the wire carrying electricity to the septic pump. The seller agreed to repair this for the buyers. 

This is why the home inspection report and the septic inspection report are so important for a buyer. For more, read a series of articles about the Home Inspection Report.

Possibly Related Posts:


What Home Inspectors Find

I met with two home inspectors this past week on behalf of two separate buyer clients. Home inspectors are a very important part of the home buying process, because they go through a home with eyes that can see and recognize everything that is wrong, broken, not in compliance with the building code, and they even see things that “might possibly” be wrong.

Home Inspectors

Home Inspectors & The First House

The first home was built in 2012, and no one has lived in it yet, so it is a brand new home. But it’s never been checked out by an inspector or any other buyer, so my buyer wisely chose to hire one of the local home inspectors. We really didn’t expect any big black marks. The home is a custom built home, and it looks perfect to the untrained eye. The selling price was $272,500, so it’s a high quality home for 3 bedrooms and 2 baths in 1,800 square feet with a double attached garage. In fact, that was an excellent price for a home of this caliber.

Of course, home inspectors always find something, and he found three items worth mentioning in his report. The first was the master bathroom fan did not turn on. The second was several screws were missing in the electric panel cover in the garage. The third was that the house needed two carbon monoxide detectors. That was it. I wish all home inspections were that easy.

Home Inspectors & The Second House

This second home was built in 2005, but it wasn’t finished by the builder at that time and later went into foreclosure unfinished. The current seller purchased it as a foreclosure and finished it himself. Since he is not a builder or carpenter by trade, there are some issues that even I could recognize with my buyers. This is the kind of home that will make home inspectors work a little harder. (more…)

Possibly Related Posts:


What Home Inspectors Don’t Tell You

I always recommend that buyers hire home inspectors, and every buyer should pop the $450 or so to get a thorough home inspection, but there are some important things to know about what home inspectors don’t tell you. This is not a matter of honesty or professionalism, because the home inspectors I’m talking about all have incredible credentials and knowledge, and they are all honest and are able to find everything and anything wrong with a home. This video shares just a peek behind the curtain about what home inspectors don’t tell you, and I will explain below the video what the major concerns are for buyers and sellers today.

Home Inspectors and Standards

First, there are three recognizable standards for examining the condition of a home. The first is the appraisal standard. Here an appraiser for a bank or mortgage company is looking for structural problems or other issues with the house that effect it’s security for the value of the loan. That makes sense, because the appraiser’s client is the bank, not the buyer.

The second standard is the home inspector’s standard. Here the home inspector is trying to find anything and everything that might be or could be wrong with the home. Even minutiae that the appraiser would not care about are in the home inspector’s report. His report includes notes that something might need further inspection by a specialized expert. A home inspector will make a note that there “may be indicia of” something. In other words, there may be signs that there could be something to look into further. That is a perfectly good idea, but that idea can be carried beyond practicality. (more…)

Possibly Related Posts:


A home inspection is an important part of your due diligence when you purchase a home. Once you have reached a full agreement with the seller on price and all the terms, you have mutual acceptance. That’s when you can schedule your home inspection with an expert who will spend two to three hours giving your new home a thorough inspection from top to bottom. In different parts of the United States you’ll find that there are some similar home inspection issues, but there are also some issues that are more common in some regions. Since so many of my buyer clients are from other areas of the country, it might be helpful to know what common issues are recurring in the Sequim and Port Angeles area.

Home Inspection

Common Home Inspection Issues

What are some of the most common home inspection issues, in other words, the biggest problems that keep showing up? Here they are:

  • First generation LP siding that was defective from the manufacturer and moisture gets under the siding.
  • First generation Trex decking that was defective and the surface peels off randomly.
  • Composition roofing that has nearly exhausted it’s useful life.
  • Skylight windows that leak.
  • Windows in the house with failed seals so moisture gets between the panes.
  • Outlets in the kitchen or bathroom that do not have breakers
  • Insulation in the basement that is falling down in some sections.
  • Vents from the bathroom or kitchen that are not connected in the attic.
  • Non-compliance with the electrical code in the electric panel.
  • A hot water heater without an earthquake band holding it in place.

Solving Home Inspection Issues

These are the most common home inspection issues in the Sequim area, but there are periodically more serious issues that turn up, and those are the ones we are looking for. Issues like water in the crawl space, a furnace or heat pump that is not working or worn out, a major structural problem, and appliances that don’t work, can be expensive to repair and often end up in a termination by the buyer, if the seller is unwilling to negotiate a reduction in the price or make the repairs himself.

A home inspection is cheap insurance. I recommend every buyer get a home inspection done.

Possibly Related Posts:


Sequim Home Inspector Busy

This Sequim home inspector is busy of late with increased home sales, and scheduling can require more time for a home inspection these days.  Chuck Bishop of Bishop Property Inspections is shown in this photo explaining his analysis of a composition shingle roof and how to best maintain it.

Sequim Home Inspector Chuck Bishop

Sequim Home Inspector

Sequim Home Inspector & Due Diligence

Chuck Bishop has been in the building industry for a long time, and his knowledge of construction, electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, roofing, foundations, flooring, siding, and mechanical is extensive. Of course, the whole purpose of a thorough home inspection is to be sure you are getting the home you will pay for.  But another client shared an insightful way of looking at the value of hiring a Sequim home inspector. He said hiring an inspector is like getting a live home owner’s manual, complete with all the explanations you could hope for in person.  He was absolutely right.

Sequim Home Inspector

If you’re going to buy a home in Sequim, I strongly urge you to hire a Sequim home inspector as part of your due diligence.  To learn more about the home inspection process in the Sequim and Port Angeles area, read this series of articles on Your Sequim Home Inspector.

Possibly Related Posts:


Sequim Roofing Repairs for Buyers

Sequim roofing repairs are often needed when buying a home, but buyers face a potential dilemma on this issue.  Once you and the seller are done negotiating the price, and you have a firm contract (mutual acceptance), you’ll want to hire a home inspector during your due diligence period.  What if the roof needs to be replaced at a cost of $14,000?  Who will pay for that–you as the buyer or the seller?

Sequim Roofing Repairs for Buyers

Sequim Roofing

A home inspector cannot tell you if the roof needs repair.  His liability insurance carrier prohibits him from making specific recommendations or drawing ultimate conclusions about things like roofing, the foundation, the heating system, and so on.  So if he thinks the roof might need repair or replacement, he will recommend you bring in a roofing contractor to tell you.

Sequim Roofing Inspections

Here’s the challenge.  There are roofing contractors who will tell you the roof needs to be totally replaced even if the roof has many years left.  They make their living replacing roofs, not giving free advise.  But this kind of advice can literally kill your real estate transaction, because if you as a buyer present an estimate for a Sequim roofing job in the amount of $18,000 to the seller and ask him to reduce the price or give you a credit, the seller is likely to freak.  In this market the seller may have already reduced his price a couple of times over the past year, and then he agreed to a further reduction in the negotiations with you, so he already feels he is below what he is entitled to. He may be wrong, of course, but the point is he is not going to buy you a new roof at this late stage in the negotiations.  But what if the roof really did not need to be replaced?

Sequim Roofing Solutions

An honest professional opinion on a Sequim roofing job is absolutely critical to the successful negotiation of your purchase. If the roof really has 10 years of life left, you don’t need to get into a knock-down-and-drag-out fight with the seller and risk losing the home.  If the roof has 5 years left, perhaps you just replace it in 5 years, because you already negotiated a very good price on the home.  I’ve personally interviewed a number of Sequim roofing contractors and I know their work.  When I act as a buyer’s agent, I help my clients work through any Sequim roofing issues, and when appropriate, we can negotiate a partial reduction in the price.  But that is a delicate issue with a seller, and it takes some negotiating finesse to resolve serious Sequim roofing issues.

Possibly Related Posts:


Moss on the Roof

You will see moss on the roof of some homes in the Sequim and Port Angeles area.  The moss tends to grow on the north side of a roof, the opposite of the sunny side.  And it grows where there is shade, mostly trees shading the north side of a roof.  This example in this photo is an extreme case.  When you are looking at a home you want to buy, should you be concerned about moss on the roof and what are the remedies?

Moss on the Roof

Moss on the Roof

Moss on the Roof Damaging?

Is moss on the roof harmful to composition shingles?  “Moss can damage the roof.  It will damage three-tab composition shingles, cedar shingles, or cedar shakes without discriminating.  It should not be allowed to take hold there.” [Source:  Dave’s Moss Away]

Moss on the Roof Cleaning

How often should a roof be cleaned?  “A report published by Clean Water Services of Oregon, entitled ‘Safe Roof Moss Control’ states, ‘cleaning roofs once or twice a year is recommended.’  Cleaning removes the debris that slow drying of the roof (leaves, needles, etc.) and removes moss.”  Moss on the roof can damage your roof if not removed.  If you’re buying a home, and there are small quantities of moss on the roof, you can always clean it later if the seller won’t take care of it.

Possibly Related Posts:


The home inspection is a critical component in your due diligence once you have found your ideal retirement home.  But what if the home inspection report indicates that there are some important repair items?  How do you respond and what demands would you make of the seller? 

The Home Inspection Process

Home InspectionThe process of buying a home goes like this.  First, you make an offer on a home.  In your offer, you’ll have the main Purchase & Sale Agreement, plus you’ll have addendums.  The addendums will typically include a Financing Addendum, unless you’re paying in cash without a loan, a Well Inspection, if there is a private well, and a Septic Addendum, if the home is not on a public or community sewer system, and among other possible addendums, you’ll have a Home Inspection Addendum.  [If you’d like to know more about the home inspection, read my series of articles on Sequim Home Inspections.]

The Home Inspection is Vital

Second, once you have mutual acceptance with the seller, you step into the due diligence phase.  This is where you have an opportunity to do research and find out if there are any problems with the home.  Let me interject here that if you are a buyer from outside the Sequim or Port Angeles area, you need a Sequim Buyer’s Agent who will step into your shoes and be your boots on the ground, attending the inspections, and following up on the necessary steps within the contractual deadlines on your behalf.  This is another reason I do not recommend that you hire the listing agent, who is working for the seller and motivated to get the transaction closed.  That’s why I often refer to your “buyer’s agent.” (more…)

Possibly Related Posts:


Sequim Home Inspection and Due Diligence

I recommend a Sequim home inspection to all my buyers.  When you buy a home, you’ll want a thorough inspection of the home, the heating and electrical, the plumbing, the structure, the roofing, the crawl space, the appliances that stay, and so on.  If there is anything wrong or any problems, you want to know during the due diligence period.  Newer homes in Sequim are less likely to have serious issues, but older homes could have.

Sequim Home Inspection

I’ve written a few earlier articles about the Sequim home inspection process and what is involved:

Sequim Home Inspection – What’s Involved

Home Inspection Form 35

Do Sequim Homes Have Termites or Pest Infestations

Sequim Home Inspection – Certified Inspectors

Sequim Home InspectionAn experienced, detail oriented, and patient inspector is easily worth the $400 you’ll spend on a Sequim home inspection report.  In this photo, Alan Jogerst, owner of Hadlock Home Inspection is conducting a Diamond Point home inspection.  Diamond Point is only 12 miles from Sequim and a short distance from Port Hadlock.  Alan uses a laptop computer with special software to add information and photos while he is on site, and then he emails a full copy of the detailed report the same day to the owner and to the buyer’s agent.

Sequim Home Inspection

If you do find a serious issue that you want to address with the seller, you must use a form 35R, which is an Inspection Response form.  In that form you can ask the seller to repair the problem, or you might ask for a credit at closing.  If you don’t respond at all within the inspection time period, you automatically waive any right to terminate the transaction based on the Home Inspection Addendum.

When you have mutual acceptance, your buyer’s agent will help you coordinate all the details of your Sequim home inspection and complete the due diligence necessary.

Possibly Related Posts:


Buying a Home on a Bluff and Bluff Stability

Have you considered buying a home on a bluff?  We have bluffs in the Sequim and Port Angeles areas with absolutely stunning water views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and International waters with beautiful Victoria’s night lights glowing on the horizon.  “But what about bluff stability,” you might ask.  “Is a 100 foot or a 200 foot bluff stable?  If the house I’m interested in is 100 feet from the bluff’s edge, is it safe and stable for years to come?”  The answer is not easy, but there is a logical analysis that can help you decide on a particular bluff property.

Bluff Stability in Sequim and Port Angeles

There is much to learn about bluff stability, and bluffs east of Sequim to Port Angeles and further west are not all equally stable.  I’m not a geologist or a bluff stability engineer, but I have spent 18 years in the area studying our bluffs, and I’ve read a number of bluff stability reports.  More importantly, I’ve talked with the county’s number one bluff engineer about the history and issues that influence bluff stability.  He also shared some of the important differences between bluffs in our area from east to west.  This article is the “tip of the bluff” on this subject, but I hope this will help enhance your analysis when you look at bluff homes.

Bluff Stability

Factors Influencing Bluff Stability

Here is a bullet list of the most important variables in bluff stability. (more…)

Possibly Related Posts:


The question, “Do Sequim homes have termites or pests” does come up quite regularly.  If you’re in California or Colorado, or if you have lived on the east coast all your life where some homes are 200 or 300 years old and where termites are not uncommon, it is a perfectly logical question. 

Do Sequim Homes Have Termites or Moisture Ants?

Do Sequim Homes Have Termites

Tree Ants, Photo Taken With an iPhone

Do Sequim Homes Have Termites or Obnoxious Pests?

In the 18 years I’ve lived in Sequim and practiced real estate law and real estate brokerage, I have only seen one home that had a termite problem.  I have heard rumors of a few other homes that had termites, but clearly we don’t have a major or even significant termite problem.  They are quite rare.  I cannot say that Sequim homes have termites to any significant degree.

Do Sequim Homes Have Termites or Ants?

I sold one other home that had signs of possible “moisture ants,” but there were no ants present.  The key to recognizing any kind of pest problem is damp soil in a crawl space where old wooden beams from the house are resting in the moist or muddy soil.  New homes are not built this way anymore, and most older homes built within the last 40 or 50 years also do not have wooden supports that are touching the dirt in a crawl space.  Concrete pads or steal posts were used to separate the house from the dirt.

We also do not have other pest problems of any significant level.  Rats are not a problem.  We do not have poisonous snakes.  Spiders are not a problem, and we don’t even have poisonous spiders.  [Someone will say we do, but I’ve never seen one, nor do I know anyone who has seen one.  Apparently there was a Black Widow in Sequim, and it bit someone about seven years ago.  That made the newspapers.]  We do have mice, but they are easily eliminated with a couple of mouse traps.

The answer to the question, “Do Sequim homes have termites?” is no, but I recommend that all my clients still hire a professional inspector to do a careful inspection under the house and around the foundation to look for wet or damp soils.  If we find standing water under a house or mud in the crawlspace, we know that even if there are no pests, we still have moisture problems that could be the cause of mold buildup and rotting beneath the house.  Drainage around a house is a bigger issue here than pests.

Of course, none of this negates the need to pay attention to annually spraying for common spiders or ants around a house or on the property.  We do have professionals in the county who keep busy doing that as well as helping people eliminate bee nests or hornet nests on a home or in trees close to a house.

Possibly Related Posts:


Home Inspection – LP Siding

You will want to order a home inspection as part of the due diligence you are doing when you buy a home.  Tyler Conkle is a local Home Inspector who contributed this article on LP Siding.  Suppose your home inspector has informed you that the exterior siding of the home has deteriorating LP.  What does that mean and what should you do next?

Your Sequim Home Inspection

The home inspection report should have some accompanying photos and may read something similar to this:

  1. The siding on the inspected building(s) is a composite material and shows evidence of damage that is consistent with the deterioration and failure of these types of products. Swelling of the leading edges, warping, sunken nail heads, peeling caulking, soft spots, fungal growth and wood rot damage.
  2. The siding on the entire home is in need of a minimum of restorative painting, caulking maintenance. 
  3. The deterioration due to product defects can be reduced and likely arrested by extensive preparation (wire brushing the leading edges), caulking, proper priming (elastomeric primers) and painting (mildew treatment added). 
  4. Have the siding evaluated by a licensed painting contractor familiar with composite siding issues for a full cost estimate. 
  5. The limits of a physical/visual home inspection may necessitate the removal of a localized section of siding in order determine if / or the extent of any moisture intrusion that may have occurred.  The conditions reported are the result of a careful visual inspection. There is a possibility other damage or conditions conducive to may be present that are not readily identifiable at visual means at the time of inspection. This home inspection report is not a warranty or guarantee that all damage or conducive conditions associated with the composition siding have been identified.

Home Inspection

Some manufacturers specifications state that if the leading edges of the lap siding had expanded to 5/8 of an inch or greater, failure occurred in that area. There may not be extensive damage or obvious evidence of deterioration that would result in removing and replacing all or even portions of the siding, but that is why you hired a qualified inspector.  The majority of the siding may still be functional, and yet in need of extensive maintenance in order to arrest the deterioration and preserve the integrity of the materials.  (more…)

Possibly Related Posts:


Are Private Wells Safe?

Are private wells safe?  My clients often ask this question, and it’s a good question, especially if you’ve never had a private well before and you’ve always been on a public water supply.  Private wells are safer than public water systems in some ways and not as safe in other ways.  I’ll explain what I mean.

Private Wells and Quality

Private wells

We are very fortunate that Sequim private wells generally have very good water, clean and pure.  Wells are typically 50 to 80 feet deep with water at 30 or 40 feet, and water flows of 8 to 20 gallons per minute produce more water than a family can use.  There are a few wells in the valley on the side of a mountain where water was not reached or where there is a lot of iron in the water (in the Blyn area).  Otherwise, private wells produce plenty of pure drinking water.

Private Wells v. Public Water

One of the drawbacks to using a public water system is that it is subject to pollution.  That is rare, but it has happened.  The more likely health hazard using public drinking water is the high levels of Chlorine they use.  I once heard the statement, “You don’t want to drink public water without Chlorine to kill contaminants, but you certainly don’t want to put all that Chlorine into your body.”  If you have a private well, you can keep your well pure without these concerns.

Private Wells and Contamination

Well experts will tell you that a well head is sealed, and there is virtually no way for a private water system to get contaminated from the well itself.  It is a “closed system” as they say.  As long as the aquifer deep below the surface is not polluted from a nearby source of industrial contamination, which we don’t have in the Sequim valley anywhere that I can recall, there is no possibility of contamination.  This is good news, unless you own a well that was installed prior to 1985.  Prior to 1985, believe it or not, well heads were not sealed.  In the photo above you can see an example of a well that is pre-1985, and the well cap did not have a rubber seal of any kind.  While the cap was bolted securely on the well head, it still was not perfectly sealed, and tiny ants got in this well.  This was so rare, even the well drilling company had never heard of this happening.  It was not a major issue, because the owner simply ran the hose and the faucets in the house, and the ants got washed out of the system.  A water sample was taken and no nitrates or bacteria were found, but to be safe the well was “shocked,” meaning that Chlorine crystals were dropped in the well.  Of course, a rubber seal was installed, and the well cap put back in place.

I’ve written two other articles on private wells for your edification, including Sequim Private Wells and Well Logs and Sequim Well Inspections.  If you’re buying a lot or a home with a private well, understanding the issues of private wells is an important part of your due diligence.

Possibly Related Posts:


Sequim Home Inspection – What’s Involved?

I recommend all my buyers have a Sequim home inspection completed as one of the contingencies of buying a home in Sequim.  You can do your own Sequim home inspection if you are an expert in construction, heating and circulation systems, wells and septics, electrical, foundations, roofing, siding, appliances, and so on, but most of my buyers are not.  It makes sense, in my opinion, to hire a local expert who has inspected hundreds of homes in the area and who knows the potential red flags that will protect you from buying a home with a serious defect.

Sequim Home Inspection for Buyers

Sequim Home Inspection

Sequim Home Inspection Process

This morning I will attend a home inspection with a client from California.  As a Sequim Buyer’s Agent, I like to attend inspections with my clients when possible, but especially when they cannot be here.  This is a three bedroom single level home in a very nice neighborhood with a peaceful view of farmers’ fields from the back yard and a sweet view of the Olympic Mountains.  This is a beautiful home with great curb appeal, and this is all the more reason to have a detailed Sequim home inspection done by an expert.  If there are issues of any kind that are not visible, but could be expensive problems to repair later, my clients need to know now so they can have the seller take care of the problem or negotiate a reduction in the price they already agreed upon.

Sequim Home Inspector

Sequim Home Inspection Cost

A Sequim home inspection will typically cost from $350 to $450, a price well worth the information and protection in my opinion. As a buyer, you pay this cost, normally directly to your Sequim home inspector.  While a home inspection is not a guarantee, it is a form of insurance so you won’t be surprised with a problem that could or should have been caught before you close your purchase.

In this photo Tyler Conkle explains what he looks for in the electrical system during a Sequim home inspection.

Possibly Related Posts:


Sequim septic inspector and designer Eric Hibbard conducted a septic inspection on this home just sold between Sequim and Port Angeles.  This home is a new manufactured home built with high quality and custom options, which makes it a “cut above” many stick built homes that were built by discount home builders in the area.  This home also sits on 1.25 acres in an area of similar sized lots, and has a view of the mountains to the south.  There actually is a small water view looking out the dining room window and kitchen window to the south.

Sequim Septic Inspector Examines Home

Sequim Septic Inspector

Sequim Septic Inspector Eric Hibbard

Sequim Septic Inspector

Buying  a home in a rural area outside the Public Utility District means having your own well and your own private septic system inspected prior to closing.  A septic inspection is not complicated or expensive, but you really need a Sequim septic inspector who is licensed and certified to do that job.  There are stringent requirements for septic systems, and it is fairly well known that the laws now require systems that are designed to far exceed the standards needed.  All the more reason to hire a Sequim septic inspector to be sure the home you’re buying is up to the legal standards and that there are no problems lurking in dark places.

One assumption home buyers sometimes make is that all septic systems should be pumped by the seller before closing.  According to Eric Hibbard, that is not true.  If a septic tank is pumped too early, the bacterial action necessary to break down contents will be interrupted, and the septic system will not operate at peak efficiency.  After measuring the level of solids and liquids in this system, Eric recommended the system not be pumped.  It was operating perfectly.

Our Sequim septic inspector also examines the drain field to make sure it is working properly.  A system permitted for two bedrooms will have a drainfield that is 100 feet long, and you add 50 feet to the drainfield for each additional bedroom.

Sequim Septic Inspector and Designer

There’s a good reason to keep Eric Hibbard’s contact information in your rolodex (does anyone still use a rolodex?), because the law now requires an annual septic certification by a certified inspector.  It’s a pain, but it needs to be done to comply with the law, although there is no code enforcer on this requirement.  Should you need an annual inspection, I do recommend Eric, because he is not only licensed and certified, he is also very knowledgeable and professional.

Eric Hibbard, can be reached at Soils Application in Carlsbord (between Sequim and Port Angeles) at 360-683-6300, your friendly Sequim septic inspector.

Possibly Related Posts:


Chuck E. Marunde, J.D.

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

Sequim Real Estate

Search the Sequim MLS

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.

From Los Angeles

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

From Seattle

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

From Florida

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

From Gilroy California

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

From Corona California

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

From Bakersfield California

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

From Los Alamos New Mexico

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

From Sun Lakes Arizona

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

From California

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

From Sequim

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

From The Netherlands

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

From Fremont California

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

From Fontana California

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

From Tacoma

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

From Wendell Idaho

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

From Sequim

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

From Seattle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intro by Chuck Marunde

From Sequim to California

"In our Sequim real estate broker Chuck Marunde we found a Realtor who knew not only how to list a property, but most importantly, he knew how to sell a property. Chuck is very skilled in current technology and uses that skill to advertise your property nationally. We were very pleased with Chuck, his honesty and integrity." Jerry Levitan and Donna "Teva" Tetiva
Sequim Real Estate Logo
Sequim MLS
Featured Listings
Search Foreclosures
Sequim Real Estate Agent
Chuck Marunde Text or Call 360-775-5424
Sequim Real Estate Firsts

Archives

Luxury Water Views