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Traps for the Unwary Buyer

Traps for the Unwary

By Real Estate Attorney Chuck E. Marunde, J.D. (Ret.)

As a real estate broker who represents a lot of buyers (with 20 years as a real estate attorney as a background), I have seen so many real estate disasters. I’ve seen many buyers get caught by one of the traps for the unwary. It’s true that knowledge is power, but who you are listening to as an adviser (your Realtor) is critical. Here are 15 areas in which buyers often get in trouble. These are short audios I created for your listening pleasure. I hope they are interesting, or at least entertaining.

Trap for the Unwary #1: The Trespassing Fence
Trap for the Unwary #2: The Trespassing Driveway
Trap for the Unwary #3: Timber Trespass
Trap for the Unwary #4: The Good Samaritan
Trap for the Unwary #5: Encroaching Branches
Trap the the Unwary #6: Road Maintenance
Trap for the Unwary #7: View Easements
Trap for the Unwary #8: Speed Bumps
Trap for the Unwary #9: Private Well on Vacant Land
Trap for the Unwary #10: Shared Wells
Trap for the Unwary #11: Well Circles
Trap for the Unwary #12: Buying Vacant Land
Trap for the Unwary #13: Buried Fuel Tanks
Trap for the Unwary #14: Contaminated Ground Water
Trap for the Unwary #15: Clandestine Land Fills

If you enjoy these, or if you’ve had some experience with one or more of these traps for the unwary, please leave a comment. Other buyers can benefit by your experience and knowledge,

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Can Listing Photos Be Too Good?

Listing photos are what you see first when you’re looking at homes online. You see a thumbnail photo on the summary page, and then you can enlarge that and look at more listing photos. This is the most important sales presentation of a home online, because when it comes to looking at homes, we’re all visual. If you’ve spent time looking at listing photos online, you already know there are many terrible photos out there, but can listing photos be too good? In other words, can a professional photographer make a home look better than it really is?

Listing Photos

Listing Photos Too Good?

How can listing photos be too good? That’s easy. A person can photoshop a photo to make it look better than it really is. But there’s more. A special wide angle lense that makes a small room look very large misrepresents the true character of a room. I show a lot of homes, and buyers tell me all the time that homes often look better than the lousy listing photos in the MLS, but they also tell me that some homes looked far better and more impressive in the doctored photos than they do in person. So it is true that listing photos can be too good if they do not accurately represent a home.

Listing Photos and Reality

This photo above is an example of an exceptional photograph that uses a special lense and a professional camera, but does not distort or misrepresent the true dimensions and appearance of this gorgeous living room. Look at this larger image of this Port Townsend Home. Notice that it is 100% accurate in every way. The vantage point or perspective of this photo shows a tremendous amount of information. You see the full dimensions of the living room, from wall to wall, and from the floor nearly to the ceiling. You can see incredible details, like the speaker on the wall between two beautiful paintings, the type of floor tile, a deck outside, and you can see there is an upstairs hallway. You also see the water view through the windows. If you viewed this home and stood in this exact location on the stairs, you would say that the listing photos accurately represent this home. And that’s what buyers want–an honest representation. You can see the rest of the photos of this home at Listing Photos.

The key for buyers is simple. When you as a buyer come to the Sequim area (and Port Townsend to Port Angeles) to look at homes, you expect that when you actually walk through a home, you will not find yourself saying, “this home does not look at all like the impression I got from the listing photos online.”

I should add a note here. Many of my buyers will ask me about homes before they come. I can help refine your online search by giving you feedback on what a home really looks like in person before you arrive. That’s just one of the services I offer my clients. Email me at ChuckMarunde@gmail.com the link to the home you want to know more about, and I’ll be glad to answer your questions. You can always call, too, at 360-775-5424. I’ll be delighted to help you connect reality with online listing photos.

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  • Filed under: Homes and Land
  • What About Owner Financing?

    Buyers often ask if owner financing is possible? Will sellers carry the paper? In other words, will sellers offer buyers owner financing? I just sold a home, and the seller did offer owner financing, but this is rare. Very rare. There are only nine owner financing homes listed in the MLS in Clallam County, including the Sequim and Port Angeles area.

    Owner Financing

    Owner Financing Homes in MLS

    You can see all the homes offering owner financing at Sequim Owner Financing. This link will be active no matter when you use it, although the number of homes included in that list will change as homes are sold or new homes offer owner financing.

    Owner Financing Terms

    The home above sold for $231,000 with a $45,000 down payment and owner financing included payments amortized over 30 years at 5.5% with a balloon payment in 5 years. Based on standard seller closing costs, the seller netted about $12,500 at closing. The buyers will pay a little over $1,000 per month in principal and interest. I share these numbers so you will have an idea of what the math looks like. A buyer will have to come up with a substantial down payment, and in this case that was $45,000, but it is often more than that.

    A buyer may ask a seller for owner financing if they have had a financial crisis in the past ten years that hurt their credit. That kind of thing can happen to good people as the result of a business failure through no fault of the business owner, or a pension may have been hit by poor investment advisor recommendations, or a family member may have defaulted on a co-signed note. 

    You can read more about how owner financing works at How Does Seller Financing Work? You can also read Are There Any Sequim Homes That Offer Owner Financing?

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    Who Says Homes Don’t Sell in the Winter?

    Who says homes don’t sell in the winter months? Many sellers say that, and as a result many sellers take their homes off the market during the winter months with the idea that they will re-list it in the spring. While the sales of homes typically does slow down a little in the dead of winter, it would have been a mistake to take a listing off the market if the assumption is that buyers are not arriving and buying homes in Sequim. Because they are buying homes in surprising numbers in the past few weeks in December and now in January.

    Homes

    Homes Selling in Large Numbers Suddenly

    I sold a home a couple of weeks ago for $279,500, and last week I sold a home for $309,000. A few days ago I received an offer of $600,000+ on one of my listings, another offer on another listing yesterday that was rejected by my client, and I sold a beautiful condo yesterday for $360,000. This afternoon I’ll be showing homes to another buyer. This is busy for the end of December and early January, and it’s a good sign. But this clearly demonstrates that it is a pure myth that homes don’t sell in the winter months, and sellers who have taken their homes off the market may have missed a buyer.

    Homes Listed

    If you are a regular reader of this real estate blog, you know that the inventory of the best homes in the best areas has been shrinking. Supply and demand is an unemotional economic reality, and with supply shrinking and buyers arriving in large numbers, the prices of homes are inevitably going to be pushed upward. To search for your ideal home, filter the results and save your favorites, and to receive email alerts of brand new listings, I recommend you use this powerful and easy-to-use Sequim MLS (and Port Angeles MLS) site. You will find it at Sequim Homes For Sale.

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    Homes With Acreage

    It’s hard to find homes with acreage in the Sequim area. If you want 5 acres or more, even if price is irrelevant (and it never is), it will still be hard to find a home with 5 or more acres. I recently sold this home to buyers who were looking at homes with acreage, but couldn’t find the perfect property until we found this one. This one is between Sequim and Port Angeles in the hills to the south. This was a rare find.

    Homes With Acreage

    Homes With Acreage

    Homes with acreage, if priced decently, tend to sell fairly soon after they are put on the market. The listing period or DOM (days on market) will normally increase as the price gets higher, but that’s because as price gets higher, there are fewer buyers. For example, a home on five acres that is priced under $250,000, like the one in this photo, will sell within six months and often within weeks of going on the market. But a home on 20 acres that is priced above $400,000 is more likely to be on the market for 6 months to a year, or even a little longer.

    Homes With Acreage Often Remote

    The trade-off for homes with acreage is being further from town. Remote is a relative term of course. One person thinks living 13 miles from downtown Sequim is “way out in the boonies,” while another person thinks the privacy and quiet is absolutely perfect.

    You can have fun searching all the Sequim homes with acreage (and Port Angeles) by using the “Basic” search for 4 or more acres. I used 4 rather than 5 because some properties are slightly under 5 acres. Here’s a link for homes on 4 or more acres priced from $200,000 to $440,000:  Sequim homes with acreage.

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    Looking at Homes with Big Garages

    Yesterday I showed a buyer homes with big garages in both Sequim and Port Angeles. It was a lot of fun, because when you’re out looking at homes you never know what you will find. Look at enough homes and you’ll see the “unique home,” the nice home, the odd floor plan, the funky home, the stunningly beautiful home, the perfect home on the wrong lot, the perfect lot with the wrong home, and there will be some surprises (good and not-so-good). And then there is what I call the “pleasant surprise.” The pleasant surprise is the amazing home in a great location and listed at a very reasonable price. It is the sleeper on the market that most people miss, and that you stumbled upon at just the right time.

    Big Garages

    Big Garages and Man Caves

    One of the homes we looked had an incredible shop and talk about big garages. You could park a large motor home in it and still have room for a big vehicle or a boat on either side with room left over for a wood shop. So was the house perfect too? No. That was the disappointment. The floor plan was kind of strange. The living room made you feel like you were in a big box, and the master bedroom was quite small. A king sized bed would never fit, but even a queen did not leave much room. Then we looked at a home on a wonderful private lot in a quiet area, but the home was . . . not the best style and floor plan. And we found a home that was like brand new, completely remodeled with a modern kitchen and plenty of property, but the neighbors were too close. 

    Big Garages in MLS

    You can search for homes with big garages on Sequim-Homes.com. On the “Advanced Search” tab select your city, and if you want more than one hold your control button down as you select multiple locations, and then select “Barn/Shop” under the “Additional Features” drop down. Here’s a link to properties with big garages in Sequim and Port Angeles in the price range of $200,000 to $400,000: Big Garages.  Of course you can change the price range, the acreage, or any number of other parameters. Frankly, the perfect property, the ideal house, and big garages are hard to find.

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  • Filed under: Homes and Land
  • Homes Are Selling

    Wow, Sequim homes are selling. We are approaching what I would call a hot market. It remains to be seen if this is a short term or long term trend. For now homes are selling better and faster than they have during the entire six year recession. 

    Homes are Selling House2 House3 House4

    Homes Are Selling

    Many homes are selling in Sequim and in Port Angeles, and these four are pending. The selling prices of these four homes ranges from $292,500 to $670,000. Prices appear to be creeping upward because of the demand. We are a long way from being able to say that we are in a long term recovery in the Sequim real estate market, but since homes are selling so much quicker and in larger numbers than in many years, I think it is fair to say that we appear to be in the early stages of a recovery.

    What This Means – Homes Are Selling

    For buyers this means that when you find the ideal home, draft the offer and get it submitted. Don’t dilly dally, and don’t play hardball with the sellers on minor details. Negotiate your best price, but beyond that, be careful about trying to press the seller to repair small items that show up on the home inspection report, because the seller may have one or two backup offers at higher prices, and the seller may actually be hoping you terminate the transaction.

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    Should I Use Craigslist to Find My Home?

    Craigslist is popular for almost everything, including real estate, but should you use Craigslist to find your home? There’s nothing wrong with looking at Craigslist. There’s nothing wrong with looking everywhere when it comes to searching for your dream home. By my last count there are over 100 online sites that buyers like to use, but less than one dozen that get most of the eyeballs, and Craigslist is one of those. In this article I will share why using Craigslist is not safe and why it is not the best way to find your ideal home.

    Craigslist

    Craigslist for Real Estate

    Real estate brokers are always asking, “Where is that magic advertising space that will sell my listings?” And home sellers are relying on their brokers to do a good job advertising their properties. Everyone wants to know where the buyers are searching and how to find the qualified buyers. The bottom line is that buyers are using a dozen major sites, and buyers will briefly visit many other online MLS sites, most of them national syndication sites. For local real estate searches, like the Sequim and Port Angeles area, buyers periodically will take a look at Craigslist.

    First, the obvious–Craigslist does not have all the Sequim listings. In fact, the real estate posts on Craigslist probably include less than 1/100th of the local listings. This means that the best home or your ideal home at the best price in all probability will never show up on Craigslist. 

    Second, the less obvious–there are local Sequim MLS sites and Port Angeles MLS sites that do include 100% of the local listings, and it is very easy to search these MLS sites. Using one of these local MLS sites means you will not miss that ideal home, and you will be able to review the entire inventory of homes and land.

    Third, let’s dispel a myth that you might find the needle in a haystack by searching Craigslist. If a real estate agent posts a listing on Craigslist, it quickly slides down the list as it gets older, and Craigslist makes it very hard to keep posting the listing without violating complicated Craigslist rules and getting banned. Getting listings regularly exposed on Craigslist becomes a game of cat and mouse for the listing broker.

    Craigslist and FSBOs

    And if a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) posts a property, it quickly disappears until it expires in 45 days pages deep where you won’t see it. By the way, FSBO’s have not had much luck selling on Craigslist either, and don’t forget there is also a safety risk in dealing with a stranger who posts on Craigslist. Craigslist has a history of fraudulent users and a host of criminal activity that has hurt many good people. But here’s the bigger point. If a real estate broker is posting a listing on Craigslist, it is already in the local MLS, where all the other local listings can be easily found, too. 

    There is an alternative to Craigslist for Sequim and Port Angeles real estate listings that is 100% accurate, includes all the listings, is not fraught with fraud and criminal activity, and which is very easy to navigate. That site is found at Sequim Real Estate Listings. Use it and then come back and leave your comment here to let us know what you think. Now you know why using Craigslist might be fun but not very effective when it comes to finding your perfect home.

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    Don’t Forget Your Sequim Internet Connection

    When you buy a home in the Sequim area, do not forget your Sequim Internet connection. A good high speed Internet service is almost as essential as electricity today. Who doesn’t use the Internet? Now that videos are so popular and streaming movies is also big, high speed and plenty of bandwidth is mandatory. Not all areas and not all homes have a high speed Sequim Internet service. There are so many things to think about when you look at Sequim homes, it would be easy to forget about doing your due diligence on Internet services. (Century Link sponsored the Seattle Seahawks stadium, so I could not resist including a subtle reminder of our recent Super Bowl victory in the context of writing about high speed Internet.)

    Sequim Internet

    Credit for Photo: Jeff Wilcox

    Sequim Internet & Other Checklists

    Checklists can be helpful, if they are good checklists. They can help you avoid a mistake, and in the case of buying a home, they can help you avoid a major mistake. I’ve put together checklists for buyers on every important aspect of buying a home or land. For example, here’s a checklist for buying a home in Sequim: Buyer’s Checklist.

    And here’s a checklist for buying vacant land, which I first put together back in 1994: Land Checklist.
    And here’s what you need to know about home inspections: Sequim Home Inspections.
    You may have a septic inspection if your home has a private septic system: Septic Inspections.
    Here is a full explanation of what is involved with a well inspection if you will not be on a public water system: Well Inspections.
    And here is a chronological checklist of the entire home buying process in the Sequim and Port Angeles area: Home Buying Process.
    Most buyers don’t know exactly how to find and interview their real estate agent, so here is a good Real Estate Agent Interview Checklist.

    You might want to bookmark this article with all these checklists for future reference.

    Sequim Internet Checklist

    A fast Sequim Internet connection is critical for anyone running a business out of their home, and many retirees do consulting work, writing, or other work that requires use of the Internet on a daily basis. Even if you only use it for email and watch Netflix movies or Youtube videos of your kids, you need something faster than dial-up. The Sequim and Port Angeles area has a number of high speed Internet services, but they seem to have their own geographic coverage areas, and while many Internet services overlap on a map with other companies providing Sequim Internet service, some areas only are served by one company, and some by none. So this is now something to add to your due diligence checklist.

    You can call Sequim Internet companies and give them the property address, and they will tell you if that is within their coverage area. The companies operating here include Wave High Speed Internet, Comcast, Olympic Wi-Fi, Nikola Broadband, Frontier, HughesNet, and CenturyLink. Beware that there are companies advertising on T.V. and on the Internet in a way that would lead you to believe that they are Sequim Internet companies, but many are not. The Internet is both wonderful and dangerous when it comes to looking for services and products, right? Dish advertises on T.V. that they provide high speed Internet for Dish customers, but when you call you find out they do not have Internet services for Sequim Dish customers.

    I personally use Century Link, because I find their speed at my location extremely fast and their rates are the lowest for this kind of Sequim Internet connection.

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    What is the Biggest Mistake in Real Estate?

    What is the biggest mistake in real estate?  What mistake do buyers and sellers make that is so big and is repeated regularly and has been for decades?  If I just told you without setting the stage, it might not mean much.  You might not even believe me.  You might think it is just hype, or cheap sales talk.  But it’s not.  I stretch myself every single day to help buyers and sellers avoid mistakes in real estate and to make wise decisions for their own futures.  So what one mistake is at the root of many mistakes? 

    Biggest Mistake in Real Estate – Teacups Included

    Biggest Mistake in Real Estate

    Last night my 17 year old daughter had a friend over.  While they watched a movie, texted on their cell phones, and watched a Youtube video on her Macbook Pro all at the same time, they also sipped on tea. Here’s where it got interesting.  They set their tea cups full of hot tea next to the laptop, one cup on either side.  I paid $1,400 for that laptop, and you can imagine my nervous glances at those two tea cups.  My mind created a short Youtube video of its own.  In it the girls were laughing real hard and one of them inadvertently overturned one of the tea cups, and hot tea covered the keyboard, smoke rose instantly from the keyboard and a few sparks crackled and popped before the laptop went dark.  Somehow that mental video was set to replay.  Being a responsible father, I suggested they move their tea cups away from the keyboard. As if on queue, they both moved their cups two inches.  My inner self was not comforted.  (Hold on, this is related to my point about the biggest mistake in real estate.)  (more…)

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    How to buy a home you can sell . . . what kind of title is this, and why on earth would you want to buy a home you can sell?  So glad you asked.  This question is far more important than most people realize.  In fact, many people don’t even think about selling when they are buying, but when you buy you definitely want to know that you can sell your home if you ever need to.  Let me explain why this article could put $10,000 or even $50,000 in your bank account some years from now.

    How to Buy a Home in Sequim

    How to Buy a Home

    How to Buy a Home You Can Sell

    You may be buying your last home, or at least you might phrase it that way as many retirees who move to Sequim do.  You might be thinking that you want a home that is your personal idea of the perfect retirement home.  That’s all good, so why should the question about how to buy a home even come up?  Because the reality is that many retirees don’t live in Sequim the rest of their lives.  The number one reason people sell their homes in Sequim is to move closer to their children and grandchildren.  That often happens after 4 to 7 years, and that means you really do need to be able to sell your home, should you decide to move.

    The other reason people sell their homes in Sequim is because of health reasons or because of the death of a loved one.  Don’t you want to be sure that your spouse can sell her home if she needs to should you die first?  We can all answer that in the affirmative, but it is amazing how many buyers design and build a home that no one else will want to buy, or they buy a home that is not readily sellable.

    How to Buy a Home That is Sellable

    You really can buy (or build) a home that is sellable.   This morning I showed a couple a home on five acres with an old barn that is still in excellent condition.  There is a nice mountain view and this is a great location.  The problem is the home.  The prior owner, who I suspect is a carpenter or contractor, remodeled an old one bedroom farmhouse.  While the quality of his workmanship is unquestionably great, the floor plan today in the remodeled state is a disaster.  No retirees want to pay over $500,000 for a one bedroom home that is only 1,000 square feet.  While this might be an extreme example, it makes the point.  Don’t buy a home with an unusual floor plan that 95% of retirees will never buy.

    How to buy a home is a question that I urge you to consider as you search for your Sequim retirement home.  You may live here the rest of your life, but many retirees end up trying to sell their homes.  Right now there are literally hundreds of Sequim homes on the market that retirees cannot sell, because the homes are so unique they don’t appeal to the vast majority of qualified buyers in this market.  What buyers want is not that complicated, but this is why hiring a local full time and experienced real estate agent is a good idea.  I’ve written many articles on this blog describing exactly what the majority of buyers are buying in Sequim.

    If I can help you resolve the question about how to buy a home in Sequim that you can sell if you need to, just email or call.

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  • Filed under: Homes and Land

  • This Sequim log home is precisely midway between Sequim and Port Angeles off Blue Mountain Road.

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  • Filed under: Homes and Land
  • sequim-high-speed-internetNearly everyone uses Sequim high speed Internet now in their homes.  In fact, buyers of homes and land are now asking their Realtor, “Does this property have Sequim high speed Internet access?”  This morning as a buyer’s agent I drafted an offer on a five acre parcel in Sequim with a stunning panoramic view of the Olympic mountains.  In an addendum my client ask me to include this language:

     

    Buyer shall have as part of the feasibility study, an opportunity to confirm that parcel xx currently has Internet available through either cable (WAVE Broadband), or DSL through telephone lines.

     

    Sequim High Speed Internet

    In years past buyers of either homes or land never gave this a thought, but we are living in the Internet age, and Sequim high speed Internet has become a vital research and communication tool.  The Internet is important to almost everyone for research on products or services, and it is often the quickest way to order and receive a product not easily found on a local store shelf.  Consumers are shopping for the best prices, too, and the Internet is very friendly to consumers.  And buyers are definitely using the Internet to search for homes and land.

    In the Sequim and Port Angeles areas you have some options, depending on where the real estate is located.  WAVE Broadband has installed cable in many areas here, which can include not only high speed Internet but also T.V. and even telephone.  Where you don’t have WAVE cable installed, you most likely will have high speed DSL Internet over a regular telephone line with Qwest.

    Sequim High Speed Internet – The Fastest Service

    UPDATE 2/6/2012 on Sequim High Speed Internet:  I compared CenturyLink DSL with WAVE cable, and found CenturyLink only offers a maximum of 1.5 megabytes download speed with about half that for uploads, and they charge about $49 per month as of today.  WAVE offers cable high speed Internet with 18 megabytes download and 2 megabytes of upload, and WAVE offers it at about $49 per month as of today.  No comparison.  I’m going with WAVE.  If you like to watch videos or movies, or if you are a daytrader and need reliable high speed, I recommend WAVE.  They are the fastest in Sequim.

    One way to find out if WAVE has installed cable on a vacant lot is to look for their cable box.  It is typically located adjacent to the large electrical box, which is usually on the corner of a lot.  It is a light green colored container about two and a half feet tall and about nine inches in diameter.  These boxes are not labeled.  It doesn’t say WAVE or cable.  But inside the box is a cable about 5/8″ in diameter coming out of the ground and connected to a little junction box with standard cable threaded connections.

    Sequim High Speed Internet Important

    Of course, if you are buying  a home, it probably already has Sequim high speed Internet and you can see that immediately, but with vacant land, unless there is a neighbor who already built a home and can tell you what their high speed Internet service is, you may have to do some due diligence, and maybe even include a clause like the one I drafted above in your offer.  Let’s face it, if you’re buying a lot in Sequim or Port Angeles, it would be a major disappointment if you bought the land and built a house but found out the only Internet you could get would be dial-up.  Eghad!  We all need Sequim high speed Internet!

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  • Filed under: Homes and Land
  • Location is everything when it comes to homes and land.  At least that’s what I learned in real estate long ago.  You’ve heard the cliche, “What are the three most important things in real estate?  Location, location, and location.”  It must be true because my buyer clients almost all tell me the very first consideration is location.  They want a nice location, a nice piece of property, and then they want their dream home on that location.

    Clients know when the location is bad.  In the few minutes we are driving up to a home, they immediately have feelings that are positive and warm, or negative and uncomfortable.  The location is either great or good, or it is unforgivable.

    Here's a Chicago home that would be a remarkable find except for the location, packed like a sardine between skyscapers.
    A Chicago home that would be a remarkable find except for the location.

    You could have the most incredible home on this side of the Mississippi (and since we are west of Seattle a couple of hours, that would include a lot of homes), but if you have an unforgiving location, no buyer will want it.

    True story.  A man with more money than “cents” decided to build the ultimate luxury home and sell it.  He put a price tag on it that was so far beyond the local market that it shocked even the Realtors who handle expensive homes in the area.  After a couple of years the home was still on the market with no interested buyers, never got any offers, and a foreclosure looming on the horizon.

    What happened?  Location, location, location.  He picked such a poor location for this mansion of a custom home that no one in that price range would apparently consider actually living there.  For that price a buyer could build or buy a gorgeous one-of-a-kind custom home on a mountain top with a panoramic view of International waters and the lights of Victoria shining from Canada at night.

    The owner justified the high price with vociferous arguments about the costs he incurred to build it, and he explained how a professional appraiser came from the big city and published a 42 page color glossy masterpiece proving its value.  He could talk for hours about this feature or that feature and how extraordinary it is, and about dozens of little expensive features that most people find interesting but would not pay for.  He was truly caught up in what a masterpiece he had created, and he did not comprehend why the world wasn’t beating a path to his door with blank checks.

    Buyers don’t care how convinced the owner is that his home is Shangri-La.  They might like the architecture and the custom features, but if they do NOT like the location, they are gone.  The reality is that consumers are in charge of their buying decisions, and a fundamental economic concept rules in this market–supply and demand.

    In Sequim and Port Angeles location is everything when it comes to homes and land.  If buyers love the home and hate the location, there will be no sale.  End of story.

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  • Filed under: Homes and Land
  • Port Angeles homes and land appeal to so many retirees because of the serene and peaceful country setting on the Olympic Peninsula away from traffic nightmares and high crime rates of the great metropolises   The Port Angeles countryside, the open fields, the grazing cattle, the mountain views, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the mild climate all make this an ideal place to live with “quality of lifestyle.” I know.   I live and work here and have since 1994.

    Port Angeles Homes and Land

    In this photo taken between Port Angeles and Sequim, we are looking to the south to the Olympic Mountains and behind this photographer to the north is the Strait of Juan de Fuca with its stunning panoramic water views.   The Olympic Peninsula has evolved over the past 100 years from an agricultural economy, hence the fields and grazing cattle seen throughout our county.   There’s something peaceful about grazing cows, horses, and sheep.

    If you’re considering retiring to the Port Angeles or Sequim areas and you’d like to see more photos and available homes and land for sale, you can easily search the entire MLS here for Port Angeles Homes and Land or Sequim Homes and Land.

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    Sequim Real Estate – Land

    Buying land in Sequim or Port Angeles is something that really begs for local professional help. This is true especially if you have been living in another state or outside our area. There are unique traps for the unwary in different parts of the country when it comes to buying vacant land. I’ve included a link above to my due diligence checklist for your perusal. These are some of the issues to watch for.

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    Chuck E. Marunde, J.D.

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

    From Los Angeles

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

    From Seattle

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

    From Florida

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

    From Gilroy California

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

    From Corona California

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

    From Bakersfield California

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

    From Los Alamos New Mexico

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

    From Sun Lakes Arizona

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

    From California

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

    From Sequim

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

    From The Netherlands

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

    From Fremont California

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

    From Fontana California

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

    From Tacoma

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

    From Wendell Idaho

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

    From Sequim

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

    From Seattle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Intro by Chuck Marunde

    From Sequim to California

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

    Who is Chuck Marunde?

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