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Is Another Real Estate Crash Coming?

Is another real estate crash coming? Our last real estate crash happened in 2007, and we had a long recession with a short recovery over the past two years. Now we are seeing signs of a looming market crash. The bond market is precariously hanging by a thread according to bond experts. The stock market is in a classic balloon according to many financial advisers. The U.S. dollar is rapidly losing its position as the International currency. The economies of China, Japan, Iran, are Venezuela are all at risk, and if one country’s market crashes, there will be an International collapse of dominoes. 

Real Estate Crash With Market Crash

Real Estate Crash

A war in the middle east would surely cause a real estate crash nationwide. A major earthquake on the west coast could be the fall of the first domino nationwide. 

The Federal Reserve, which is not owned by our Federal government, is an independent organization in control of our money, and they have been printing money and controlling interest rates for their own private shareholders, most of home are not in the U.S. They are currently pushing interest rates up, and the real estate market has already been hit hard across the country. 

And if you haven’t heard, President Trump is at war with the Federal Reserve, and there are indications he intends to end their independent control of our money supply and monetary policy, just like his favorite President, Andrew Jackson, did during his presidency.

The Democrats are at war with Republicans, and it is a war that goes deep and wide, and it is far from over. Whatever your political affiliation, the reality is that this war could be the cause of economic chaos, political chaos, and even a constitutional crisis that could bring the country to a standstill. 

Real Estate Crash Coming?

Why would I write about a possible real estate crash? Because if you are planning to sell a home in California or Colorado or Florida or Texas, and move to the Northwest or to any safe place in the country, I would not dilly dally. If there is a real estate crash, you will not be able to sell your home, and your dreams of moving to a safe place to retire will be over. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not a pessimist. If you knew me, you would know that I am one of the most positive thinking and happy people you will ever meet. I love life. I love my clients. I love God. But I’m not ignorant of economic realities and economic cycles. All the signs are on the horizon. Are you watching the signs?

You may want to read an article I wrote last February: The Real Estate Crash, and another article I wrote last August: Is The Real Estate Market Turning? Homes are suddenly not selling in previously hot California markets, and we all know that California is always our leading indicator.

Do your own research, but be careful who you take your advice from. Many of the financial advisers out there are all saying the same thing, “Oh just because the market is crashing doesn’t mean you should sell. No, it’s actually a buying opportunity.” Right. With your money and no risk to them, except they make money as long as you leave your money in the market.

Volatility is a Sign of Danger: Here’s something your financial adviser is probably not talking about–the danger and meaning of extreme volatility. The kind of extreme volatility that we are seeing now in the markets that is so visible in the DOW Jones Industrial Average (DJI), is a historical sign of great danger, specifically that the market is potentially on the verge of a major move, either up or down. The DJI has been up and down by 800 points, 500 points, 200 points, 300 points, and 400 points in single days. This is extreme volatility. One of the keys to success in life and investing is avoiding the traps for the unwary. You can be successful for years, but one big mistake can destroy all that success and hard work. Extreme volatility is another sign, among many signs, that we are in risky territory.

Is a real estate crash coming? Yes, but I cannot tell you precisely when. I can only say that my lifetime of experience in real estate and economic cycles is sending me warnings that it’s time to liquidate assets at risk and get settled into a safe home in a safe area like Sequim, Washington, and get debt free as quickly as possible. Your retirement home (real estate) is the safest place to hold a portion of your wealth. I hope and pray there will be no real estate crash, but it is nearly inevitable based on current national and International developments.

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Affordable Real Estate Disappearing?

Affordable real estate has been an American dream for decades. Economic policies, tax rules, credits, and special loan programs have encouraged home ownership for all Americans, and there have been some periods in which many have been able to buy starter homes, and others have been able to trade up. But there have been some cracks starting to show in the vast financial network that makes up the mortgage industry. There are some data points that indicate legitimate concerns regarding home sales and affordable real estate.

This affects retirees moving to Sequim, because if you cannot sell your home where you are now, you probably will not be able to move to Sequim and buy a home. There is some trouble on the horizon.

Affordable Real Estate Data

Affordable Real Estate

Affordable Home Prices

[Source: The Economist Magazine]

Affordable Real Estate and Home Prices

Home sales have slowed down dramatically around much of the country. [See many recent articles from around the country at Housing Market Slows Down.] In Canada, the Vancouver market has dropped a dramatic 30% in volume this past month over last year. There is a huge real estate crisis brewing in Australia and in New Zealand. China is said to be on the verge of an economic crisis. Of course, Venezuela is in a massive currency devaluation and their economy has already collapsed. 

I’ve been saying for several years that interest rates are artificially low, and now suddenly mortgage interest rates have popped and are on the way up after years of historical lows. Combine this with another important long established qualification for buying a home, and we have a problem. It has long been the rule in the mortgage industry that the formula for buying a home is a price that is two to three times a person’s annual income, but because of the increase in housing prices, that formula is broken. In order for a couple to buy a home now in some parts of the country, they have to buy a home ten times their annual income. We are losing the whole concept of affordable real estate. [I recommend this video: The Looming Housing Crisis.]

Put all this together, and we see some cracks forming. Low housing inventory in some areas, prices that have continued to escalate without a commensurate increase in income, sudden increases in mortgage interest rates, the lack of affordable real estate for the entire millennial generation, and economic threats on the horizon around the world, not to mention our own debt crisis in the U.S., and we can no longer be sure that things will continue as normal. The honest answer is that things are unlikely to continue as they are.

You can see in the graphic above that Seattle home prices have nearly doubled since 1994. And in San Fransisco that increase was 154%. Millennial incomes have not kept up with these increases, and not just millennials. We are once again at a place where people cannot afford homes. I don’t have young couples buying homes in the Sequim area. My buyers are typically people with substantial net worth and a lot of equity to liquidate in their current homes elsewhere, again because prices have gone up for them. But if these buyers suddenly don’t have buyers for their homes, the music stops, and you can only hope you’re not left standing by yourself. Dreams of retiring in a place like Sequim will go “poof.”

No one knows what the future holds. Even Peter Schiff who has been forecasting an economic crash, does not know for sure. I certainly am not an alarmist, but here’s something to consider, and take this with a grain of salt. If there is one major crisis somewhere in the world, because of our interconnectedness, it is likely to create a chain reaction of events that we will all feel.

For example, a war event of any major kind would set off a series of economic consequences, including reverberations in International markets (stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, commodities, futures, currency exchanges, and so on). There would be reactionary fiscal and monetary policies, sudden shifts in national policies, and central banks around the world would re-evaluate their next move and possibly pull back for safety. Travel could be restricted and many people would just hunker down for the remainder of however long it takes to get back to normal. Buying and selling real estate would come to a screeching halt. No one wants to think about war, but the middle east clearly is poised for war. Russia, Turkey, and Iran are experiencing severe economic crisis (meaning they are getting desperate), each have military forces and equipment ready for action, and they are staunch allies in their desire to destroy Israel. On the subject of war, the world is on thin ice.

If we had a major earthquake that caused great damage in a metropolitan area, the same chain reaction of events would occur across the world and the United States. Most people do not know that earthquake activity on the ring of fire has dramatically increased. [I recommend Dutch Sinise who has a channel on Twitch.TV.]

If there was a volcanic eruption of epic proportions, the same chain reaction will affect us all. If we have a celestial event (a solar event on the sun, or a meteor event, or a shift in magnetic activity), we would see the same chain reaction. More likely than any of these would be a economic crash in China or elsewhere, and that would cause a chain reaction of catastrophic events affecting home buyers and therefore home sellers. Retirees’ plans to move to Sequim most certainly would be put on hold.

I hope and plan for the best myself, and I have many great buyer clients coming from around the country to retire and buy their dream home in Sequim. No matter what the future holds, I am absolutely convinced that Sequim is the safest and one of the best places to live anywhere in the world. I have lived in Sequim for 23 years, and I love living here. Like many others who live here, I say that I have no plans to ever move anywhere else in the world. Why would I?

I want to leave you with this thought. If you are planning to sell your home now and buy a home in the Sequim area or on the Olympic Peninsula, I would not wait too long. A gentleman was in Sequim a couple of weeks ago who just lost his home to the Redding fire. It is unknown whether he can rebuild in Redding, or whether his insurance will cover the full cost of rebuilding, and if he can and does rebuild, will anyone buy a home in the Redding area now? His dreams of retiring to Sequim may be over forever. My point is that if you have a plan you have long been dreaming of implementing, don’t wait too long. You just don’t know what the future holds.

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Is the Real Estate Market at a Bottom?

Is the real estate market at a bottom?  This is a question I get periodically.  In this video I discuss the real estate market and prices and whether we are at a market bottom.  I believe the market is bifurcated, and the segment of the market that retirees are looking at is a small percentage of the current inventory.

Real Estate Market

Real Estate Market is Bifurcated

Real Estate MarketThe larger segment of the market consists of perhaps 95% of the current inventory, and includes homes that are not in the best areas, homes without great water or mountain views, homes that are old, homes with odd or outdated floor plans, foreclosures, and homes that are two or three stories or simply have too many square feet (i.e. 5,000 sq.ft.).  Retirees are not in the market for homes in this segment of the market.

Real Estate Market – Nice Water View Homes Hard to Find

The smaller segment of the market, perhaps 5% or less of the current inventory, are the beautiful newer custom homes, mostly on one level (sometimes on two levels), gorgeous water and/or mountain views, and reasonably priced before negotiations.

The larger segment may not be at a bottom in terms of prices, and the smaller segment is limited in supply and this is where most of the buyers are.  This smaller segment has reached a market bottom in my opinion.  Which market segment are you in?  Now you can answer the question:  Is the real estate market at a bottom?

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Real Estate Prices Nationwide

As you ride this roller coaster, notice that periodically the year will show up in the bottom right corner under the YouTube.

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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