Sequim Real Estate in Sunny Sequim, Washington

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Archive for the ‘Professional Incompetence’ Category

Real Estate Bankruptcy

I’ve written elsewhere about real estate bankruptcy and how to buy a home out of a bankruptcy. The purpose of this article is to share a true story about how a homeowner got hoodwinked into filing a bankruptcy, and it cost him his dream home. Bobby (not his real name) owned three homes. He had a successful career as the sales manager of a large organization, and he had done quite well, but he was laid off in the recession.

Real Estate Bankruptcy

Real Estate Bankruptcy

He was in the middle of building his dream retirement home when he lost his job, so the construction came to a halt. His two rental homes went into foreclosure. All that he had worked for his whole life was at stake, and at 57 years old, it would be hard to start all over, especially in a recession. So he went to see a bankruptcy attorney, who promptly told him he must file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, even though Bobby’s total debts were only $60,000 outside the real estate. So Bobby wrote the attorney a check and proceeded with what he thought was sage legal advice on this real estate bankruptcy.

Real Estate Bankruptcy – Bad Advice

Forward the calendar one year. Bobby’s two rental homes were foreclosed after the banks got relief from the automatic stay, and his dream home is being sold by the bankruptcy trustee, who under Federal law is in charge of all of Bobby’s assets, the sale of those assets, and the distribution of net proceeds. Bobby told me he has since gotten advice from wiser attorneys, who said he should never have filed bankruptcy. He could have let his two rental homes go into foreclosure, kept his retirement home and eventually finished it over time. But his dream home should not have been sucked into the black hole of bankruptcy under his circumstances, according to Bobby, in a real estate bankruptcy.

I was a real estate attorney for 20 years, so I can say this, “Be careful who you hire for professional advise.” In Bobby’s case, bad advise about a real estate bankruptcy cost Bobby and his wife their retirement home and arguably their future.

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What are you looking for in a Realtor?

How would you find a good experienced and professional real estate agent in Sequim or Port Angeles? Someone you could be sure was both competent and trustworthy? Who is the best Realtor in Sequim or Port Angeles?

The following are true stories from somewhere in the U.S. Only the names have been changed to shield the guilty.

True Story #1. An out of town couple hire a real estate agent to find their dream home. Their agent shows them a number of homes. They purchase and close on one they love. Later they discover the home is infested with pests, and the wood under the house in the crawl space is rotting because of excessive moisture and standing water. Their agent knew about this but did not disclose it. The buyers paid for the repairs out of their own pockets.

True Story #2. A widow purchases a home that turns out to have asbestos, but she has no recourse against her own real estate agent nor against the inspector.

True Story #3. A couple listed their land with an agent they found through a popular advertisement. Their land was listed for over a year but never sold. Out of frustration the couple did not renew the listing and decided to sell it themselves.

True Story #4. A couple listed their home with an agent, but months passed by and they didn’t hear from their agent, didn’t have any activity on their home, and didn’t see any advertisements. They withdrew the listing, listed with another agent and sold the home within a matter of weeks.

What are you looking for in a Realtor? Do you know how to identify what you want in a Realtor? Or will you end up disillusioned with your agent?

By the way, the photo above is me . . . many years ago. Wow, I look so young. Looking for a competent and trustworthy Realtor? Interview me and ask me anything you want, and you decide. I don’t have all the hair I had in that photo, but I do have the experience you might be looking for.

Email me at chuckmarunde@gmail.com or simply call me anytime at (360) 775-5424.
Website: SequimPortAngeles.com
Blog: SequimRealEstateNews.com or
PortAngelesRealEstateNews.com

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Port Angeles Homeowner Asbestos Victim

A Port Angeles homeowner recently discovered asbestos in the material used in her popcorn ceilings. When she purchased the home that was built in 1975, she had no idea that the home had health endangering levels of asbestos.

People who have been exposed to asbestos in factories and shipyards and who have inhaled high levels of asbestos fibers are subject to an increased risk of lung cancer, including mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity, and asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue. The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibers is greater for those who smoke. People who get asbestosis have usually been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time. The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos.

How could this happen to a home buyer?

The homeowner said she had a real estate agent representing her, and she paid for a home inspection, but she felt like “no one was watching out for her interest.” Estimates for cleaning up the asbestos and making her home safe to live in start at $5,000. After the down payment, loan costs, other closing costs, and with the “surprises” that already have cost her $10,000 before she could move into her home, an additional $5,000 is taking a tremendous toll on her.

Who is watching out for a buyer? Here are two traps for the unwary purchaser:

  1. State law takes the real estate agent off the hook as far as the seller’s representations in the Form 17 (Seller’s Disclosure Statement) are concerned (and in estate sales like this one, a Form 17 is not required), and
  2. Home inspectors have an escape clause in their contract, which states that they are not liable to the purchaser for such things.
This means a homeowner, like this woman, who relies upon professionals to protect her, may find herself the victim with no one else liable. Why do I write about this subject? Is it because I have a great interest in consumer protection? Not so much. It is because I have a soft place in my heart for widows who get victimized while everyone involved makes money off her.

Under the law real estate agents and inspectors in a case like this may have no liability at all, meaning they may in fact have complied with the law and done all that is required under their ethical codes. But under such a scenario as in this case, the homeowner gets thrown off the cliff, and everyone else gets a free pass. From the home buyer’s perspective, something is wrong with this picture.

How can I emphasize enough the importance of working with professionals who are competent and trustworthy, and who in fact watch out for the client’s best interests? In this case, it would only have cost $75 to test the ceiling for asbestos, but no one told the home buyer prior to closing. While the real estate agent and the inspector may not have been legally or ethically bound to tell the home buyer this, wouldn’t it have been in the client’s best interests to let her know her options? And where was the inspector in all this? Did he not consider the age of the house and the potential for asbestos? As between the parties, who has all the knowledge on these issues–a widow or a professional inspector or agent?

Be careful who you hire. You could end up a victim with no recourse, just like this widow.

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Chuck E. Marunde, J.D.

Founder and Broker of
Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate dba iRealty Virtual Brokers
143 Higgins Lane, Sequim, WA
(360) 775-5424
ChuckMarunde@gmail.com
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Who is Chuck Marunde?

Chuck's background includes real estate sales going back 37 years, including 20 years as a real estate attorney. He has closed hundreds of real estate transactions, authored thousands of articles on Sequim and Port Angeles real estate, and written several books on real estate. He has lived in Sequim for almost 20 years. Buyers from around the country seek Chuck out and retain him as their buyer's agent. Chuck was the number one individual selling agent of single family homes by volume in the county for 2013.

How to Search the Best MLS

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.
Sequim Real Estate Market Report

From Florida

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

From Gilroy California

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

From Corona California

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

From Bakersfield California

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

From Los Alamos New Mexico

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

From Sun Lakes Arizona

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

From California

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

From Sequim

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

From The Netherlands

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

From Fremont California

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

From Fontana California

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

From Tacoma

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

From Wendell Idaho

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

From Sequim

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

From Seattle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intro by Chuck Marunde

From Sequim to California

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