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A walk through is an opportunity for a buyer to walk through their brand new home just prior to closing so they can do a final check to see if their home builder completed construction of the home according to their contract and the architectural plans. I wanted to write about the walk through because too many buyers and buyer’s agents are confusing the walk through with the normal contingencies of buying an existing home.
The phrase “walk through” only applies to brand new construction, not existing home sales. That means there is no such thing as a walk through if you are buying an existing home. When the phrase is used by a real estate agent representing a buyer, it creates confusion for a seller who is wondering what the heck a walk through is for an existing home. Let’s look at what a buyer is really thinking about.
There is no “walk through” language in the purchase and sale agreement, nor is there any walk through language in any addendum. Those contracts do provide a buyer with the right to do some due diligence. For example, there is a Home Inspection Addendum, and that is the buyer’s opportunity to have the home examined to see if there are serious problems that need to be addressed. There is a Septic Inspection Addendum, which similarly gives the buyer the right to approve or disapprove the septic report. There is also a Well Inspection Addendum, and again a buyer can require repair work or terminate the transaction based on the well report.
A buyer has other options, depending on the addendums attached, such as the right to do a feasibility study, a neighborhood study, a title report review, and so on. Once the buyer complies with his contract options, the contract he had drafted, and after the buyer has used his contract options, he then either terminates the transaction under the contract terms, or he moves forward to closing.
That means there is no walk through. There’s no such thing for an existing home. But if you have a brand new home built, you are entitled to a walk through prior to closing. Now that you know as a buyer that “walk through” is the wrong legal phrase when you buy an existing home, tell your buyer’s agent. Unless, of course, you hire me to be your buyer’s agent. Wait, that’s a great idea, don’t you think?
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This Sequim home builder is building gorgeous custom homes in the Sequim area, and he has been for decades. The company is Legacy Homes, and the builder is Steve Lamb. Steve’s clients call him a master builder, and one of my clients called him an artist after he created their master piece. If you’re looking for a Sequim home builder, I encourage you to call Steve. He is in high demand as you might expect, but isn’t it true that everyone who is the best in their profession, and it’s true of this Sequim Home Builder.
I took this aerial photo of one of Steve’s newest projects. As you can see, the site is being prepared for a foundation, and in the background to the south are the Olympic Mountains. To the north, which would be looking directly behind this camera which is 100 feet in the air, is a view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. When this Sequim home builder is done with this project, the views from this home will be stunning.
I can’t wait to see this home when it is completed. I’m thinking about taking photos during the construction, like time lapse photos and putting them together in a video. Wouldn’t that be fun to see?
One of the reasons I wanted to share this article about this Sequim home builder is because the quality of his homes and attention to detail that he gives every home are extraordinary and second to none. How do I know? I’ve seen a lot of new homes over the years, and I’ve been trained by several builders. And during the 20 years I practiced real estate law, I saw the problems that many clients had with builders. So when a builder builds a gorgeous custom home to perfection, and when his clients are so happy, they are giddy, and when he does it over and over again, I know we have a master builder.
If you would like to check out Steve Lamb’s website, you’ll find it at Legacy Homes. I do not hesitate to recommend this Sequim home builder.
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There is such as thing as architectural chaos. It’s hard to define, but I’m reminded of how Justice Stewart Potter described pornography in a 1964 Supreme Court case. He famously said, “I know it when I see it.” That’s how architectural chaos is. It would be virtually impossible to define, but I definitely know it when I see it.
I showed three homes yesterday to a couple who are very excited about moving to the Sequim area, and each of the three homes was unique and substantially different than the others. The first home was nice and fairly traditional, but as we walked through the home, nothing happened. In other words, it wasn’t emotionally thrilling, exciting, or moving. It was just a floor plan. Nothing weird, but nothing particularly noteworthy.
The second home we walked through was a delight from the moment we walked in the front door. There was no architectural chaos in this home. This was a home built in the ’70s, but the floor plan was especially pleasing. It was a little different than the traditional living room, dining room, kitchen combo, but it was somehow very pleasing on a deep emotional level. The kitchen and dining room had been remodeled nicely, and everything seemed to flow. This is what really wise architects do. A great architect creates a floor plan that flows and is pleasing to the emotions and the subconscious. On paper, the average person cannot tell the difference, but when you walk through a home with architectural chaos, your spirit will know it immediately. You may not be able to define it, but when you see it, you’ll know it.
The third home we viewed was a modern home, probably 40 years newer than the second home, and it was built with excellent materials and workmanship. But . . . this home instantly sent messages of architectural chaos to me and my clients. It was subconscious at first, but then as we walked around the home and discussed its features, the good, the bad, and the ugly, we began to recognize the architectural chaos we were feeling deep inside.
A good architect will not create architectural chaos, but clients often have an idea they will insist an architect put to paper. What’s an architect to do if the client insists on a certain floor plan if the client is the boss and the client is signing the checks?
This home had a combination of big archways Spanish style adjacent to contemporary obtuse angles and something that appeared to be a combination of several architectural styles. The result was architectural chaos that you could feel, but not necessarily describe. No wonder this home had been on the market for a long time. While no one probably understood why this home had not sold for a long time in a very hot market when almost everything was selling, I believe the reason had more to do with architectural chaos than anything else.
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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.
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.
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.
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Building homes in the Sequim area is making a come back! During these last nine years of recession, builders quit building homes almost entirely. That’s because the prices of existing homes went down roughly 30% below the cost of buying land and building a home. As long as buyers could find an existing home that would meet their needs, it made no financial sense to spend 30% more building a home. But the winds have been changing, and some retirees moving to Sequim are building homes again.
There are two main reasons some buyers are buying land and building homes again. The first reason is that the inventory of three bedroom, two bath homes on one level has been shrinking over the years, and it is harder now for many buyers to find the ideal home. The ideal home may not exist in the housing inventory. That is pushing some buyers to build homes. [The land in this photo is available and can be seen at Sequim Land.]
The second reason some are building homes is that the difference in the cost of building and the cost of buying a similar existing home has been shrinking. The price of building a home has not changed much at all during this recession, but the cost of existing homes went down and is now on the rebound. That makes building a home more attractive, although if you can find an existing home you love, it will still be substantially cheaper than building the same home.
In conclusion, with the existing home inventory shrinking and prices increasing, some retirees moving to Sequim are building homes again.
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Buying a brand new home is suddenly becoming a viable option for buyers moving to the Sequim area. During this past seven year recession, home builders have not been building homes. Home building just died back in 2007 or 2008. Many builders went out of business, and a number of Sequim developer/builders went bankrupt and lost their their subdivisions to bankruptcy trustees. The inventory of used homes has been shrinking as those homes have been slowly selling since 2007, and now we have a crisis. There are hardly any homes in the inventory that retirees want. Unless a brand new listing comes on the market, you may not be able to find what you want. So builders are suddenly finding buyers knocking on their doors, and once again they are getting orders to build brand new homes. It has been a seven year drought for home builders in Sequim.
There is a definite advantage to a new home, aka new construction. If you have a home builder build the ideal floor plan for you, you get exactly the new home that is best suited for you. That’s a good thing. But you also don’t have the maintenance of a used home (roofing, heating, heat pump, plumbing, appliances).
The reason buyers have been buying used homes rather than have a new home built is because used homes have been about 30% cheaper during this past seven years. Buyers are willing to compromise a little to get a home close to their ideal retirement home for a 30% savings.
But that savings has almost vanished as the inventory has been shrinking and buyers are thinking, “I’ll just buy a brand new home or have one built, since I can’t find a used one on the market that I like.”
Even newer used homes are hard to find if we are talking about a 3 bedroom, 2 bath 1,800 to 2,200 square foot home in a nice area priced from $275,000 to $425,000. So buyers are finding that they need to consider building a home. This is a big development in Sequim. I have been watching this for seven years wondering when we will find balance again between sales of used homes and new homes.
Of course, you should exhaust all efforts to find a used home that you love, but if you are looking at homes in the MLS, and if you are having trouble finding the ideal home, you might want to consider building a new home.
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Is it time to build a home? For seven years builders have not been building homes. The cost to build a home has been 20% to 30% more than the price of a similar existing home. Almost no one has been building during this real estate recession, and many builders went out of business. But something has been happening that may change all this soon. The inventory of existing homes has been shrinking as retirees buy them up, and new listings have not come on the market fast enough to replace the ones sold. Buyers have focused on the best homes in the best areas, which means that it is now hard for many retirees to find their ideal home. For the many who cannot find the home they want, it may be time to build a home.
I wrote in an earlier article that remodeling homes was on the rise in Sequim and Port Angeles, and that trend is also a response to the same dilemma for buyers. The existing inventory has been shrinking, and homes that buyers do want are selling very quickly now. By the time many buyers decide to make an offer on a home, that home is sold right out from under them. This is a frustrating experience for buyers. Imagine finding the one home you really like and can afford, and then it is sold hours before you make an offer.
Anyone who has built a home knows that the process is stressful, and it takes at least six months of construction. The many decisions that must be made before and during construction can be exhausting. That is the nature of building a home. Having the right Sequim home builder or Port Angeles home builder is everything. I know most of the builders in the area, and can advise you regarding buying land and the issues involved. You can view a long time area home builder’s website at Sequim Home Builder.
As new homes are built and the existing inventory continues to shrink, prices will eventually balance again. The prices of existing homes are on the rise, and when those prices balance with the cost of building similar homes, we will be back in a healthy real estate market. As of now, it is still a buyer’s market, if you can find the ideal home. If not, you may have to build a home.
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What is the optimal height for kitchen countertops? The answer to that question really depends on how tall you are, because the optimal height for kitchen cabinets is not necessarily the standard 36 inches. The standard height is an attempt to create an average that everyone at every height can use without too much discomfort. But that means people who are short and people who are tall are all forced to use kitchen countertops that are uncomfortable for them and may cause back discomfort daily.
The standard 36 inch countertop is actually several inches below optimal ergonomic height for a person who is 5’9″ and taller. Most people will object to this only because they’ve been using a standard 36″ countertop their whole lives, but next time you’re chopping vegetables on your countertop, notice how you are forced to lean forward or tilt your head downward or droop your shoulders into a bad posture. This can be the cause of back discomfort. If you’re taller than six feet, this is all emphasized dramatically, and a standard 36″ countertop can be uncomfortably low for daily use.
Why is 36 inches the standard for kitchen countertops? Somewhere back in time this became the average height, and cabinet makers needed to have a standard size so they could reproduce cookie cutter cabinets for tract homes. But did you know the average height of Americans has been slowly increasing from generation to generation? Yet over the same time period the standard height of kitchen countertops has not increased?
I showed a home recently where the stove and hood above the stove were unusually low. I could not bend forward and reach to the back burner without hitting my head on the hood. The owners who had the home built are short. Now that their home is for sale, the average person, and especially the tall person, will not buy this home.
There are not many homes for sale with higher kitchen countertops. The home in the photo above has 40 inch countertops. The owners were over six feet tall, and this has been wonderful for their daily kitchen work. But this also means for the majority of buyers, their first impression will be that these countertops are too high, but they may actually be ergonomically more comfortable than the standard 36 inches. Isn’t it interesting what we take for granted after a lifetime of using countertops that are not the ideal height for us individually? See more photos of this home above with higher countertops at Sequim Countertops.
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Who should I hire first, architect or builder? That is the question I address in this article. This article has been one of the hottest articles I’ve ever written if the comments are any indication. So I’ve republished this important issue for those who have not gone back in time to find it. I am neither an architect nor a home builder, but in all my work I have always had a sincere desire to seek the truth, wherever that may lead. As a real estate attorney for 20 years I saw repeating patterns in which consumers kept getting the short stick in their relationships with other professionals (lawyers, accountants, financial advisers, architects, contractors, real estate agents, auto mechanics, and the list goes on). After years of recognizing the pattern that was far from consumer-centric, I learned to ask new questions. I learned that it was not wise to assume, but much wiser to do one’s due diligence and to carefully reconsider conventional wisdom. So the question of who should be hired first, architect or builder, is a relevant question for any consumer who intends to build a home today.
It is conventional wisdom that if you are planning to have your next home built, you should first hire an architect. Because of my experience with a large number of clients over 20 years who had nightmare experiences with both architects and builders, I learned to question conventional assumptions and to review the entire process and experiences of many who have gone before.
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I want to show you how to compare buying an existing home to building a home in the Sequim or Port Angeles areas. As you look at existing homes, there are several ways to determine what a reasonable fair market value (FMV) would be. First, you can look at comparable sales. You’ll have to do a careful analysis here, because you must differentiate the location and features of a home to arrive at an accurate FMV of your subject property. Second, you can look at the Clallam County tax assessment of the property. The tax assessor has been known to miss the FMV, and that can be by an under assessment or an over assessment. But I have been surprised at how often the assessor’s automated software seems to be improving its accuracy of late. Third, you can do a cost replacement analysis, and I’ll show you how to use these numbers when you’re considering drafting an offer on a home.
Each of these three approaches is an estimate of FMV. In a healthy market, all three would theoretically be the same number, give or take a few thousand dollars. In a recession, the cost approach or replacement value will typically be higher than the other two. That’s where we are now. The value of being able to do a quick calculation on the cost approach is that it tells you immediately if the current listing price is way out of line. I’ll demonstrate how to do these calculations.
The most accurate way to arrive at FMV is by looking at true comparable sales. This is what appraisals are all about, and banks lend on the values of comparable sales. But if you’re looking at existing homes, and you’re wondering if the listing price is reasonable, you can use a cost approach and you’ll know in a matter of three minutes. Knowing the approximate cost of building a home is very informative. Here’s how you do that. (more…)
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Dealing with a home builder and building your retirement home can be stressful, and there are a few traps for the unwary. I received a call this week from a client who owns a gorgeous high bluff water front lot on Bainbridge Island. She and her husband are near retirement, and they found a home builder on the Island and began making plans to build their dream home. This home will be the fulfillment of a long term plan they have had for many years to build their financial security for their retirement years and then to build their ultimate home and live happily ever after. That’s the plan for most of us, right?
Unfortunately, as they began striking up conversations with people on the Island, they learned their home builder had a trail of bad relationships, unpaid subcontractors, and a questionable history as a home builder. And then they found out that their house was to be the last home the builder intended to build. He was planning to move overseas. I’ve said it before, and I’m compelled to say it again, “Truth is stranger than fiction. You simply can’t make this stuff up!”
Unfortunately, they had advanced the builder $6,500. Fortunately, they had not signed a contract yet, and so they would only lose the $6,500. They can ask for it back, of course, but they’ll never see a dollar of that money. There’s no doubt about that. I practiced real estate law for 20 years, and I’ve seen this same scenario many times. The attorney’s fees to chase the money would exceed any recovery, but typically the builder has already spent the money anyway. This is an example of a case when it is a good time to cut one’s losses and chalk it up to an expensive education.
Finding a good builder is something I’ve written about extensively. I’ve written about the exact scenario above and other similar nightmares, and I’ve described precisely how to avoid these traps for the unwary and how to find and identify the best home builder. Here are some of those articles. These articles were written with 20 plus years of experience of hearing from hundreds of clients, each of whom had trouble working with a home builder. You could say that the lessons in these articles, and the other articles on this blog about building and working with contractors, cost many people hundreds of thousands of dollars from the school of hard knocks. Why not take advantage of the lessons they paid for, and from which you can now benefit at . . . let’s see, how much? Oh, absolutely free on this real estate blog.
You might wonder how the client in the story above found that builder. Their architect gave that builder a high recommendation. Turns out there may be a cozy relationship between the two. Great. I wrote a very important article about the danger of hiring an architect first, and it is a very real problem. Read the article above about “Who Should I Hire First – Architect or Builder?” If you read that article, you’ll see a very ugly comment from an architect who tells me how out to lunch I am. Since the client above just lived through the exact scenario I described in that article, I would say I may be wet, but if I am it is just a little dampness. [P.S. I have nothing against the architectural profession, just against dishonest or unethical individuals. Every profession has a few of those.]
If you are planning to hire a Sequim home builder, I recommend you talk to Rick Anderson of Anderson Homes, LLC. He is, in fact, a man of integrity, not to mention a really great custom home builder.
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Steam showers convert an ordinary bathroom into a little Heaven of relaxation and health. I love the way architecture has been evolving to make homes more functional and more enjoyable. Remember the days when architects and builders put laundry rooms in dark, unfinished basements? Thank God we got away from that. Today modern custom homes have a gorgeous laundry room off the kitchen or near the master bedroom with nice countertops and cabinets and a window! For many years kitchens have been getting upgrades and improving in both function and beauty. Alas, bathrooms have come along as the third major upgrade in homes today, and these steam showers are one of these latest upgrades.
If you think back to how architecture has changed over the past four decades, you’ll recall how bathrooms have evolved. Remember bathrooms used to be considered nothing more than functional rooms? People were not expected to spend a lot of time in a bathroom. Of course, when makeup was invented, that all changed. Actually, that’s when vanities became popular with large mirrors and many light bulbs around the mirror, and portable vanities were often found in the master bedroom.
Then in the 1960’s the next big evolution in bathrooms was the double sink and large mirror. Shortly thereafter the separate toilet room became a fad, and a separate bathtub room added a luxury touch. Bathtubs became more focused on luxury with jetted tubs and large tubs approaching the hot tub concept. Bathrooms have been getting bigger and bigger and the beautiful custom home of today has a large master bedroom with a gorgeous roomy master bath.
Luxurious steam showers are a continuation of this trend of making our homes more comfortable and more enjoyable in every way. To look at more of the options for steam showers, take a look at Steam Showers. For a local Sequim Custom Home Builder who has been installing steam showers in his custom homes, see Rick Anderson of Rick Anderson Homes at Sequim Home Builder.
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Looking at Sequim custom homes is a lot of fun, and this is such a buyer’s market I thought you might enjoy knowing what it was like looking at homes all day in Sequim. I spent the day with two wonderful clients looking at a filtered selection of Sequim custom homes yesterday. Looking at homes never gets old for me, and every home is unique. What I want to share here is my clients’ impressions of homes as we looked at them. If you are retired or nearing retirement, in your 50’s or 60’s, and you’ve been a professional for an entire career, and you have been married for a long time, have adult children, a stable retirement income, and good credit, you may find that you think a lot like these clients. So put yourself in the shoes of these clients as we look at homes.
I started the day by picking up my clients at the Sequim Quality Inn at 8:30 in the morning. Then we drove to Sunland to look at several Sequim custom homes. The first home was listed at $259,000 and was built in 1982. It had all the prerequisites, like 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, at least 1,800 sq. ft., but the problem with older homes like this is the architecture. It was popular in the ’70’s and early ’80’s to build dark homes with small windows (and no windows in some rooms), and remember that ever popular dark brown paneling? Skylights were not in vogue yet.
The next home on the list was sold out from under us. (Wait, you mean other retirees are buying homes in Sequim like the one we want? Absolutely!) Continuing with our list of Sequim custom homes, the third home was listed at a little over $260,000, and is 1,700 sq. ft., has a nice practical floor plan, and was well maintained. The house is a medium level custom home, but the kitchen cabinets were low custom quality. But at this price, this would be a great buy for someone.
The next home was also an older home, dark in some rooms, but it had a weird floor plan, and we couldn’t figure out what the original thinking was. You’ll see a lot of variety among Sequim custom homes. The next home had a small galley style kitchen with an odd little breakfast nook. At $297,000, it was significantly overpriced when compared with these other homes. The next home had great curb appeal, and the first floor had a pretty good layout, but the second floor had tiny bedrooms and a narrow hallway. This home is listed at about $650,000, but my clients and I felt it was overpriced by about $300,000. (I’m not exaggerating either.)
The next two homes were nothing special. Boring floor plans, and unimpressive kitchens, yet they were priced like some of the newer and better homes. The next home was stunning in every way. It was the kind of home you walk into and just sigh. It is priced about $200,000 below the seller’s cost, literally. This is why builders are having such a hard time. We spent a lot of time at this home. But we weren’t done. We had one more to look at for the day.
The last home was the frosting on the cake. In a country setting with over an acre and a gorgeous valley view, it is a beautiful high quality custom home with a propane stove, hardwood floors, custom all-wood kitchen cabinets, Internet and speaker wires in every room, an attached garage but also a separate garage with a little apartment above, and a work out room (or office) with carpet and a sound system and a complete bathroom and shower. But the feature that was the bonus of bonuses is the solar system that provides 70% of the home’s electricity needs. This home is listed at about $150,000 less than the owner’s cost. I think my clients found their retirement dream home. If they don’t buy it, I will. We really have some great Sequim custom homes at some incredible prices right now.
We will spend another day looking at some more homes, but I think my clients are convinced they found “the one.” We will look at a few more because it is important to know for sure that you have found the right one, and unless you are convinced you have found the right one and that it is a great price, you won’t have the confidence to draft an offer and negotiate your best deal. Now you know what it is like looking at Sequim custom homes.
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What are building costs in Sequim, Washington? If you purchase a vacant lot inside the city limits of Sequim, what will it cost you to obtain city permits and approval to build your home? This is a question many of my clients have asked, so here is the answer.
These costs are fresh off the press. I just sold and closed a vacant lot in Sequim. It was a great deal for my client. I acted as a Sequim Buyer’s Agent, and we negotiated a lot for a fantastic price. The lot is in a great location with a beautiful water view of Sequim Bay. It was part of a development that was finished just before the market turned downward. At that time this lot and others like it were selling for $260,000.
Long story short, lots were not selling and building costs in Sequim added to the cost of already high priced lots. The development was recently foreclosed, and this bank owned lot was listed at a fair price of $129,000. My client is very pleased we were able to negotiate the price down to $100,000.
What are building costs in Sequim for this lot for an average custom home of 3,000 square feet? Here is the breakdown of the fees the City of Sequim charges to build a home:
|General Facility Sewer Fee||$7,800.00|
|General Facility Water Fee||$5,850.00|
|Transportation Impact Fee||$2,893.00|
|Building Permit Fee||$2,663.93|
|Park Impact Fee||$1,975.00|
|Plan Check Fee||$1,731.55|
|Water Hookup and/or Inspection||$565.00|
|5/8 Water Meter Package||$407.30|
|Sewer Hookup Inspection||$150.00|
|Certificate of Occupancy||$100.00|
|Sewer Backwater Valve Kit||$72.73|
|Plumbing – Fixture||$20.00|
|Sewer Backwater Valve Sales Tax||$6.25|
How do building costs in Sequim compare with Port Angeles or Clallam County (outside the Sequim city limits)? How about 1/6th the cost? Yes, the Sequim City Council has implemented a strategy to slow down development and to provide income to pay for community services.
It is interesting that even though building costs in Sequim are higher than Port Angeles or outside the city limits in the county, the majority of retirees still prefer to buy and build in Sequim. Sequim is popular as the Rain Shadow, but it really is one of the best places to retire in America. And for that, retirees are willing to pay more.
Now you know. Building costs in Sequim are substantial.
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Finding and hiring a good Sequim home builder is the most important step in building your retirement home in the Sequim or Port Angeles area. There’s another way to say that. Hiring the wrong builder could create a nightmare you do not want to have. Building your retirement home should be a positive experience, although any major transition and project will necessarily involve some stress. I’ve talked with many clients who had wonderful experiences, and I’ve talked with clients who experienced the nightmares. This short video highlights the two most important keys to understanding the process of looking for and hiring a Sequim home builder.
Most builders use cost-plus contracts. I strongly recommend that you use a builder who is honest and confident enough to guarantee the contract price up front. The trap for the unwary is the builder who gets you to sign a contract based on the fact that it is the lowest bid, and then he surprises you with “extras” and “change orders” during the construction process that you did not agree to.
The materials used by a builder should be carefully listed in the spec manual, but I’ve seen a lot of spec manuals and the vast majority of Sequim home builders and builders around the country do not use a complete spec manual listing all the materials they will use to build your home. That leaves them a lot of discretion, and a lot of room to cut corners and still comply with the contract you signed.
I’d be delighted to discuss how to hire a Sequim home builder and how to compare bids, and as your buyer’s agent, I can help you do that. Email your questions, and I’ll be glad to find your Sequim home builder.
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A Port Angeles contractor is building another home. Rick Anderson of Anderson Homes, LLC, is building a custom home in Port Angeles. This is a quality custom built 2,400 square foot home with a split master suite, 10 foot high ceilings, granite kitchen counters, a granite island, all stainless steel appliances (a Wolf 48″ gas range, designer hood, 2 Electrolux wall ovens), walk-in pantry, hot water radiant heat, solar tubes, attic storage space, and much more. This is going to be a one-of-a-kind home.
This Port Angeles contractor is building this custom home on a beautiful lot with a view of the Strait and a beautiful and private treed back yard. When retirees move to Sequim or Port Angeles to have their retirement home built, they expect that their home builder will build the home with great care and attention. They expect that their general contractor will hire only the best subcontractors.
Unfortunately not all contractors build with this kind of care and attention. I love watching homes under construction by Anderson Homes, and obviously I enjoy taking progress photos from the beginning all the way through to completion. By the way, you can see more of Rick Anderson’s homes on his website at RickAndersonHomes.com.
Watch this site for more progress photos of this Port Angeles Contractor building this home.
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Sequim home builder Rick Anderson has done it again. This beautiful Sequim custom home was just completed on schedule and within the guaranteed contract price. But then Rick has built over 400 homes in the Sequim and Port Angeles area since 1981, and with the best project manager and crews, Rick has a stellar record of completing homes within the construction time period of six months. This home was completed in under five months.
The reason I write so enthusiastically about this Sequim home builder, Rick Anderson, is because what he does is not the standard, and how he works with his clients is not the standard. His standards are so much higher than other builders, I wish more retirees could know all that goes on behind the scenes of the home building industry and on a building site during construction.
Sequim Home Builder Quality
Here’s a dirty little secret: All custom homes are not built with the same quality. In other words, every Sequim home builder is not the same. As a Realtor I have learned from home builders and contractors how to look for quality and how to examine a home under construction. When your eyes are opened and you begin to discern the differences in materials and workmanship, a whole new world opens up. The difference in quality and workmanship of this Sequim home builder is far ahead of the crowd of builders out there. What amazes me is that his contract price per square foot is so often less than other Sequim home builders, but retirees don’t typically know how to do an apples vs. apples comparison with contracts and specification manuals.
I’ve known many home builders and how they manage their projects and how they contract and work with their clients. Rick Anderson wouldn’t sleep at night if he did not continue to build quality and give every single client honesty and integrity throughout the project. Rick Anderson does have a website where you can look at home plans, photos, and read articles and testimonies at RickAndersonHomes.com. I know this builder and I unabashedly recommend him as your Sequim home builder. In fact, I am planning to have him build my own home.
You can see more photos of this beautiful home following the entire construction from beginning to end at RickCrimmel.com.
Retirees still are having their homes built in the Sequim and Port Angeles area, and the main reason is that they can’t find a retirement home that is the ideal floor plan and quality of home in the location they want. In the current market you can probably find an existing home at a price somewhat less than the price per square foot of building your ideal retirement home, but . . . what price do you put on living in the perfect custom home for the rest of your life? If you’re custom home cost $40,000 more than an existing home for sale that wasn’t exactly what you wanted, would it be worth $40,000 to have your dream home for the rest of your life?
Photos by Chuck Marunde taken with the permission of Sequim home builder Rick Anderson.
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In 2005 and 2006, septic regulations were created that greatly impact Clallam County Environmental Health and county residents served by septic systems. The State Board of Health adopted a revised version of the onsite sewage system code, WAC 246-272A. This code governs on-site sewage (aka septic) systems in the state. In the updated code, there is a provision that requires the 12 Puget Sound counties, including Clallam County, to develop Onsite Septic System Management (OSSM) plans to address development and long-term management of onsite septic systems. Also included in these septic regulations is a requirement for septic systems to be inspected at routine frequencies (i.e. annually or every three years depending on the type of system) and that the County will maintain a method to account for all septic systems in the county and retain data on all the septic system inspection activities. The second piece of legislation, RCW 70.118A, requires the County to address areas where septic systems are or might be impacting water quality related to shellfish growing areas by creating a Marine Recovery Area (MRA). Further, the County is required to account for and determine the functional status of every septic system within the MRA.
In response to this mandate, the Environmental Health Division developed Clallam County’s OSSM plan using a consensus-driven stakeholder work group composed of members of the local governments and tribes, industry, realtors, financial institution representatives, and citizens. In 2007, the stakeholder work group (known as the Clallam County OSS Work Group) developed a plan which was approved by the Clallam County Board of Health with concurrence from the State Department of Health. An MRA was established based on the existing Sequim-Dungeness Bay Clean Water District. As a method to comply with the requirement to ensure and document that septic systems were working properly, the OSS Work Group discussed the issue of inspection at time of property transfer in detail and determined that the requirement should be in our local onsite septic system code. This decision was based in part on the State Board of Health code which provides for local environmental health departments to use this tool as a mechanism to implement local on-site management plans.
WAC 246-272A-0015(7) states:
In order to implement the plan described in subsections (1) and (5) of this section, the local health officer may require the owner of the OSS to:
“(d) Have an inspection of the OSS at the time of property transfer including the preparation of a “record drawing” if necessary.”
Due to concerns about the impact on property owners and the real estate community, the implementation of this part of the code was extended to the June 1, 2010 date.
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We know lot sales are down and new home construction has been slow, but are Sequim or Port Angeles contractors building homes? The answer is yes. Rick Anderson, founder of Anderson Homes, LLC, is building homes. Rick has built over 400 homes in Clallam County since 1981, and has a reputation for quality homes at affordable prices. It is almost certain that Rick Anderson has the highest customer satisfaction rate of any local home builder, and I can say that because hundreds of clients talk to me about their builder experiences. There are other good builders, but I know of no other builder who has so many clients who are truly pleased with the end product and the entire process.
This photo was taken as the sun is setting across the tree tops. When a home is under construction, it is hard to tell what it will look like as a completed home, but stay tuned because we are going to provide you with a video of the entire construction process of this home when it is complete.
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If you are going to hire a Sequim or Port Angeles contractor to build your home, is it necessary or wise to have theft insurance during construction? This may seem like an esoteric question, and few people having a home built would even think of asking it, but it did come up recently for one of my clients.
What we’re talking about here is whether insurance is important to protect the supplies delivered to a house site during construction in Sequim or Port Angeles. Once the house has doors and windows and the doors have locks, you won’t need a separate theft insurance policy, because you would be covered by your new homeowner’s policy.
First, theft insurance for personal property (not attached or affixed to the house yet) for lumber or other supplies is a good idea where thefts occur. Does Sequim or Port Angeles have a serious problem with lumber or supplies being stolen from home sites? I asked a long time builder, Rick Anderson, who has built over 400 homes here since 1981. He remembered a small theft about 15 years ago, but that was the only one in all these years. Theft has not been a serious problem here.
Second, a good contractor doesn’t have expensive lumber and supplies sitting out in the open for long periods of time where it can be easily stolen. A good project manager coordinates the delivery of supplies with the construction crew, and expensive lumber, like hardwood flooring, is never left outside and only delivered when the house is secured and doors have locks.
Precious items like custom made countertops and kitchen cabinets are never dropped off and left outside where rain could destroy and theft could occur. Deliveries are coordinated with installers.
Suppose a homeowner wanted to buy a theft policy that went above and beyond the homeowner’s policy coverage, just in case some plywood or some other lumber was stolen before it was installed? You could. I asked local State Farm agent Ray Gruver how much such a policy would cost. He said a $20,000 policy (about twice what you would need) with a $100 deductible was in the ballpark of $250.
The bottom line is that contractors and homeowners don’t usually bother with theft insurance in Sequim or Port Angeles. Now if you were building in Phoenix right now, the answer might be different.
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