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Seller Disclosure Law in Washington

The seller disclosure law in Washington has many buyers and sellers confused, but the more surprising story for me is that so many real estate brokers are confused. I’ll focus on the one issue that seems to confuse Realtors more than any other issue in the Form 17 Seller Disclosure Law.

That issue is whether a buyer is obligated under the law to return an acknowledged copy of the Form 17, aka the Seller’s Disclosure Statement, to the seller. Almost every broker I know thinks the buyer must by law acknowledge and return the Form 17 to the listing agent, but that is not true. I’ll explain.

Seller Disclosure Law in Washington

Seller Disclosure Law

The law requires that the seller provide a Form 17, Seller’s Disclosure Statement to a buyer when they sell a property. But there are two parts of the law in America. The first part of any law is the requirement in the law, the mandatory part, and the second part is the consequences if the mandatory part is not completed. In other words, there is the requirement of the law, and then there is the remedy if the requirement is not fulfilled. We have many laws on the books around America that have virtually no remedy if the law is not obeyed, but we also have many laws with extensive remedies spelled out. Remedies are like punishments, and if the law does not define a remedy, there is no punishment or no consequence. (more…)

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Basement Flooding Not Disclosed

Basement flooding is a nightmare if you are a buyer who discovers after closing that the seller knew about the basement flooding but did not disclose that knowledge. I got a call yesterday from a gentleman who lives across the pond in the Tacoma area, and that’s exactly what happened to him.

Basement Flooding

Basement Flooding Nightmare

In Washington, as in every state, a seller must disclose any known defects when selling a home. The seller’s disclosure statement, or Form 17 as it is known in Washington, consists of six pages of questions a seller must answer. A seller must answer truthfully, but the problem for a buyer is always proof. How do you prove that a seller knew something in his head but did not disclose it in writing? 

In the Tacoma case, the seller was also a contractor who remodeled the basement to make it look perfect. Shortly after closing the young buyer couple who were excited about having bought their first home, suddenly had a basement flooding. Normally that might be hard to prove, but this buyer got lucky.

His neighbor just happened to have rented the house the previous year, and she knew from personal knowledge that basement flooding was a periodic event. But it gets better. She had saved emails between her and the seller complaining about the basement flooding.

Basement Flooding Evidence

This is one case where all the evidence stacked up against a dishonest seller & contractor. Unfortunately, all of this is a tremendous hardship on the young buyers, because they don’t have the money to repair the basement right away, and they don’t have the money to hire an attorney.

I’ve never seen the Seller’s Disclosure Statement actually help a buyer. You cannot legislate honesty. Someone who would cheat a buyer is also someone who would lie on a Form 17 about basement flooding. I always recommend that a buyer also hire their own home inspector, who will examine a house from top to bottom for any sign of problems. While a home inspector might not discover a defect that has been covered up intentionally, like basement flooding, due diligence is always a good idea before you close.

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Seller Disclosure Statement and Buyer Beware

The Seller Disclosure Statement is required in the state of Washington.  The seller must provide a buyer of his home or land a Form 17 Seller Disclosure Statement.  The disclosure is an attempt to help consumers (buyers) avoid intentional seller misrepresentation.  There is also an attempt to address unintentional seller misrepresentation, which is tort law rather than contract law.  You’ll see in this video how this seller disclosure statement has not helped consumers very much, if at all, and there is a better answer to help buyers find out about defects in a property.

Seller Disclosure Statement

Seller Disclosure Statement Issues

Sellers can answer questions on the seller disclosure statement with a “yes,” “no,” or “don’t know.”  Of course, the vast majority of sellers answer all the questions honestly and to the best of their ability.  But let’s not be naive.  Not everyone in the world is perfectly honest and not all homeowners are going to tell a buyer about some minor (or major) defect that could destroy the potential sale of the property.  As an attorney I did litigate seller misrepresentation issues in many trials, and I can tell you that there are in fact a few dishonest people out there.  But this seller disclosure statement does not solve seller misrepresentation.

Seller Disclosure Statement Disclosures

The seller can avoid liability in most cases by simply marking “don’t know” on any question that he might deny he knew and that could chase a buyer away. The challenge is that if a seller wants to hide an important piece of information, and he marks “don’t know” on the seller disclosure statement, it is almost impossible to prove that he did know in a court when you are subject to the restrictions of the rules of procedure.  You can’t get in someone’s head, and so it is a practical impossibility to prove the seller knew and intentionally withheld that information to the buyer’s detriment.

Seller Disclosure StatementAs I suggest in this video, the answer is to do what all wise buyers have always done and continue to do:  Buyers should conduct their own due diligence of a property with the proper addendums and contingencies, and that involves hiring professionals to examine and find any defects in the property, inside or outside.  Buyers should carefully read the seller disclosure statement the seller gives them but should do their own due diligence.

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The Washington Seller Disclosure Statement is a huge failure since it’s passage on January 1, 1996.  Why is this important?  If you are a buyer, you might expect that you are protected by the Washington Seller Disclosure Statement, which requires the seller to disclose all defects of the property.  Having practiced as a real estate lawyer for 20 years, I can tell you that this law and this Form 17 Seller Disclosure Statement does not protect you from seller misrepresentation.  But a new development in the law is fascinating, and you ought to know how you are effected as a buyer or as a seller.

Washington Seller Disclosure Statement

Washington Seller Disclosure Statement

Washington Seller Disclosure Statement Law

When the wise politicians of the state of Washington passed the Washington Seller Disclosure Statement law in 1996, I remember saying, “This law will have no beneficial effect for buyers at all.” The reason I said that was because you cannot legislate honesty. Our courts are just as full of seller misrepresentation lawsuits today as they were before this law.  If a seller is going to lie about a defect in the house that is not clearly visible to a buyer, that same seller will simply mark “Do not know” on the disclosure statement on that question.  By answering “Do not know” the seller eliminates the buyer’s ability to prove they did know.  The rules of evidence do not help.  You can’t prove what someone knew or did not know in their head.  This is a no brainer. Unfortunately, the politicians who passed the seller disclosure law and the lawyers around the state of Washington who continue to support new laws and subtle nuances to contract language addressing seller disclosure are . . . “smart by half” as the saying goes. As I have said in other articles, one should be cautious about people who claim they are going to protect us, especially when those people are politicians and lawyers.

Washington Seller Disclosure Statement Issues in the P&S

In an earlier post I wrote extensively about the requirement that Washington real estate forms (the NWMLS forms) include a line 9 in the Purchase and Sale Agreement with an option for a buyer to sue or not sue a seller for the tort of misrepresentation. Lawyers around the state decided that the NWMLS needed to include a line 9 in the Purchase and Sale Agreement in which the seller agreed or disagreed to be sued by the buyer for what could be unknowing or unintentional negligence about some aspect of the property. Leave it up to the lawyers to come up with a check box in which a seller can agree or disagree to be sued!  This was a huge legal boondoggle that confused real estate agents (not to mention buyers and sellers) around the state and generated more lawsuits for lawyers.  Read my full analysis of line 9 and seller misrepresentation at Washington Seller Disclosure Statement.

Now we have a new case, which is forcing the NWMLS (Northwest Multiple Listing Service) to delete line 9 in the Purchase and Sale Agreement.  Two recent cases decided by the Washington State Supreme Court have given the NWMLS the opportunity (or obligation) to delete line 9.  Line 9 required that the parties negotiate whether or not the buyer could sue the seller for negligence in completing Form 17.  The new Court decisions now require courts to analyze the facts of each case and decide whether or not the buyer has a claim for negligent misrepresentation against the seller, rather than barring such a claim automatically under the “economic loss rule.”  This whole issue of seller misrepresentation and disclosure is a pot of gold for lawyers and legislators. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, but not to consumers, not to buyers. Buyers don’t benefit at all. Amazing. And the whole justification of the law is to protect buyers.

For buyers there is a way to avoid this whole nightmare of whether or not a seller is misrepresenting the property.  It is not to rely on a form with simple questions and checkmarks that can be evasive.  It is not to assume anything or to be forced to rely upon the word of a seller you don’t know.  The key is to hire a good real estate buyer’s agent and to hire a good home inspector.  Then experience and wisdom will guide you and your professionals on any red flags or potential issues of concern.  In other words, if there is a problem with the property, you need to find it yourself with professionals to assist you.  That is truly the best and most effective way to buy a home and be protected.

The Washington Seller Disclosure Statement does not protect buyers as intended but buyers can still protect themselves with honest, experienced, and professional advice.

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The Seller Disclosure Statement in Washington (aka Form 17) is a mandatory form all sellers must complete and give to their buyers.  It creates some confusion for both buyers and sellers, and here I answer a buyer’s question, which is basically this question, “What about some of the answers that indicate there may be a problem, and what about all the “Don’t Know” answers?  What am I supposed to do with the seller’s answers, and how can I find out more information?”

You can see the entire form with all the questions online in RCW 64.06.020:  Seller Disclosure Statement

The Form 17 is a state mandated form, and the seller only has three options:  Yes, No, and Don’t Know.  If a seller answers “Yes” to any question, they have just guaranteed that the answer is an absolute yes, which is the same in the law as an insurance policy on which you could sue them if the answer turned out not to be 100% true.  If they answer “No” and the real answer is anything less than 100% no, again they could be sued.  If they answer “Don’t Know” they are answering with the safest answer, but it may also be the most truthful answer.  After all who knows that a particular condition of the house is either 100% yes or 100% no?  Who would be willing to be sued if they were even slightly incorrect?  When a person answers “Don’t Know” they reduce the possibility of being sued almost completely.  Part of the reason is that it may be the most truthful answer, but even more importantly it would be very difficult to come up with actual evidence you could use in a courtroom under the strict Federal or State Rules of Evidence that they knew inside their head.  Unless there is external evidence, there is virtually no way to prove what someone knew or didn’t know inside their own mind.


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Disclosure Statement for Sellers

Sequim or Port Angeles home sellers, starting on July 26, 2009 you will need to start using the new Form 17 Seller’s Disclosure Statement, which is mandatory in Washington.   This is RCW 64, and right now you can review the history of the bill at New Seller Disclosure Form.

Here’s a quick highlight of the changes in the law and the form.

  • There’s a new question regarding defects in the operation of the water system (e.g. pipes, tank, pump).
  • There’s a revised question:  Has the roof leaked?  is now Has the roof leaked within the last five years?
  • There’s a new question regarding wood burning appliances and whether the appliances are certified as clean burning appliances.
  • Some questions in the Environmental section have been changed regarding flooding and standing water on the property.
  • There are revised questions in the Environmental section regarding fill dirt and waste.
  • The Environmental section clarifies that the seller need only answer yes if there is electrical utility equipment on the property that does not provide service to the property.
  • There’s a revised question in the Environmental section regarding radio towers interference with telephone reception.
  • And there’s a new question asking for the contact information for a representative from the homeowner’s association who can provide association documents to the buyer. Please note that the failure of the association to provide requested information does not constitute the seller’s failure to provide Form 17.

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Seller Misrepresentation

The hot topic of the day is the new change in the Purchase and Sale form in Washington and the seller’s disclosure requirements. [Read the previous article explaining the law and issues of negligent misrepresentation] A Realtor asked if the Form 17 Seller’s Disclosure Statement offers any real protection against negligent misrepresentation.

Good question. My thinking is that it offers some, but very little.

When the law was passed back in 1995, I remember saying that it won’t have any effect on whether a seller misrepresents the condition of a property. A person who lies will also lie on the form 17, and a person who tells the truth will not lie on the form 17. But that didn’t change the law governing seller misrepresentation; it only required the seller to complete a formal questionnaire about the property, which supposedly would give the buyer adverse information if there was any. The form 17 also didn’t have any effect on buyer remedies (although that was the intent), whether the suit was against a seller for intentional or unintentional misrepresentation. The same prima facie elements must be proven now in the same way as before the form 17 was required.

So what has changed? Read more to find out.

Here’s what has changed.

The form 17 gave buyers another document to use in court against a seller, even if the seller was totally honest. For example, there’s a question that asks if the septic system is entirely within the property boundaries. Normally an owner would have relied upon a licensed surveyor, if he had a survey done (not required in Washington to buy or sell), and normally an owner would have hired a licensed septic system installer (if he was the one who had the system installed). If the seller answers, “Yes,” and it turns out years after closing that the surveyor screwed up and the septic system is on the adjacent property by six inches, the seller made an unintentional misrepresentation on form 17. In court (or in a deposition or interrogatory), the seller gets nailed by the question, “Did you answer this question ‘Yes,'” and after he responds that he did, the next question, “You know now that the septic system is actually six inches on the neighbor’s property. Right?” Then after the “yes” answer, the killer question, “So your answer on the form 17 was incorrect, right?” The only answer for the seller on the witness stand under oath is, “Yes.” Of course, there is a lot of hemming and hawing by the witness, but ultimately the judge will force him to answer yes or no to all these questions.

A sharp lawyer will want to interject in this discussion that the form 17 is only the seller’s reasonable understanding of the condition of the property, not a guarantee. That’s a good discussion for a law professor in a classroom, but not in the real world where finely tuned legal arguments might get you off the hook. Believe me, in a real trial, the above guy gets nailed to the cross.

So, how would a reasonable seller who does not want to get sued long after closing the sale answer such a question about the septic (and many other issues)? He would have saved himself much stress, attorney’s fees, and perhaps the entire lawsuit if he had simply answered the question with a “don’t know.” Then he could have added a narrative explanation, if he wanted, that explained he did not personally know if the septic system was “entirely” within the boundaries, that he hired experts to do the work, or that he purchased the property as it is, but that he personally has no absolute knowledge of the correctness or incorrectness of the boundary lines, or words to that effect. Of course, in public attorneys cannot and would not advise clients to do anything but tell the truth on the form 17, but in private behind closed doors, they must have a confidential conversation about what telling the truth could do to them. Telling the truth in this current legal environment in Washington could get a person crucified in court, even if they never lied in their entire life and did not lie on the form 17. Remember, it is unintentional and completely innocent misrepresentations that I’m talking about here, and a seller could find himself getting raked over the coals in our injustice system for several years. So in his confidential discussion with his client, the attorney will hint that the seller is well advised to fudge and answer with a safe “don’t know.” No attorney would admit this, but if you were giving a client honest and confidential advise, would you not have a duty to discuss this with the client, and of course, leave it to the client to decide how to answer his form 17?

It’s a bit ironic that the state statute creating the form 17 states that the form 17 is not part of the parties’ contract to purchase the property, yet it is used in trial all the time in misrepresentation cases, and the new purchase and sale agreement incorporates the form 17 into the contract (not with the words “incorporates here” but certainly by reference and creating contract and tort remedies for a buyer against a seller by using the form 17).

It’s always been difficult to prove actual knowledge and the intent of a seller in a misrepresentation case. What the seller did or did not know must be proven, and you really need extrinsic evidence, since you can’t get inside a seller’s head and lay that evidence out at trial. The form 17 was an attempt, feeble though it is, to protect consumers, but it has failed and only created more confusion and litigation.

As with most bad law and good intentions, the only real winners here are the lawyers. I made tens of thousands of dollars myself as a lawyer litigating misrepresentation cases. That reminds me, there is a silver lining in all of this. This latest brouhaha about seller misrepresentation and the new Purchase and Sale Agreement will turn out to be silver for practicing attorneys. On behalf of those attorneys, I would extend a hearty thank you. Attorneys will ponder that eternal question again, “Let’s see, what kind of boat do I want?” ( P.S. I’m really glad I’m retired from law practice.)

If I may offer some sarcastic humor with a rhetorical question, wasn’t it attorneys who created the form 17 statute, and wasn’t it attorneys who decided Alejandre v. Bull, and wasn’t it attorneys who came up with line 9 in the new Purchase and Sale Agreement, and isn’t it attorneys who are going to litigate this issue in the months and years ahead? Hmm. Shakespeare had a humorous solution regarding lawyers, which I’m afraid of quoting here, lest I get sued. Hint: Google this exact clause without the quotes “Shakespeare lawyers” and read to first result, but if you tell anyone you got this hint from me, I’ll deny it under oath.

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Seller Disclosure Statement

Negotiating May Be Like a Cat and Dog Fight Now

There’s a new Washington Supreme Court case that changes the way buyers and sellers will negotiate. The case is Alejandre v. Bull. This case addresses the hottest issue right now in the State of Washington for Realtors, buyers and sellers. It involves the issue of unintentional misrepresentation by a seller and what remedy a buyer will have. This is especially hot, because the brand new Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) Form 21, which is the Purchase and Sale Agreement used in almost all of Washington effective October 15, 2007, includes a check mark to include or not include a remedy for the buyer to sue the seller for unintentional misrepresentation.

The actual language is, “Disclosures in Form 17: Buyer will ___; will not ___ have a remedy for Seller’s negligent errors, inaccuracies, or omissions in Form 17.” Form 17 is Washington’s Seller Disclosure Statement.

Some have mistaken what this is all about, which is indicated by a response you will hear today by many in and out of the real estate business, “Well, seller’s should not be allowed to lie.” Another response is, “If the seller isn’t lying, what’s the problem?” That’s NOT what this is about. Those kinds of statements miss the whole point. Of course, seller’s should not lie. If the Alejandre case and the new language in the Form 21 was just about catching liars, we would all be rejoicing.

This issue casts a very large net, and will capture honest and completely innocent sellers who never lied and had no way of knowing about a hidden defect or problem inside their septic, or inside a wall, or under their foundation, and so on. You get the point. But this new language gives them the right to sue, and maybe win a huge judgment against an honest and completely innocent seller.

This ought to be a happy negotiating item between buyers and sellers, thank you very much lawyers and the NWMLS. (I’m a retired real estate attorney, but I would not have included this new remedy in Form 21.) There is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion about what this case means and how to handle the new Purchase and Sale Agreement. Realtors are challenged on how to explain this new option to buyers and to sellers.

Now a seller has to agree in writing with a buyer that he can be sued not only for breach of contract, but also “in tort” for unintentional misrepresentation. A seller may not actually have been in side his septic tank, and he may not actually know if there is a latent defect. Now, if the seller agrees to allow the buyer to sue him for any defects, even those he didn’t know about in his septic system (or elsewhere), he can be taken to court and everyone can pay the attorney’s $30,000 to $70,000. What fun!

My guess is that sellers will NOT agree to this (why would they?), so we will simply go back to the contract without this additional remedy for the buyer. The other amazing consequence of all this (as if it wasn’t predictable) is that sellers are going to make sure they don’t commit themselves to a “yes” or “no” on the Form 17 Seller’s Disclosure Statement if there is any possibility they may be sued. The safe answer may simply be an innocent “Don’t Know,” which oddly enough will actually help a seller from being held liable for misrepresentation. How’s that for gutting the State Legislature’s intent in creating the disclosure law?

Here’s my prediction:

  1. Sellers will fudge on Form 17 statements, marking “Don’t Know” whenever they can to protect themselves; or
  2. Sellers will simply require the buyer to waive the Form 17 or they won’t sell the property to that buyer ; or
  3. Sellers will not agree to a buyer’s demand to check line 9 on the P&S giving the buyer the right to sue for unintentional misrepresentation; or
  4. Sellers will do both 1 and 3 above.

How’s that for consumer protection! You’ve got to hand it to the lawyers and the NWMLS for destroying consumer protection in such a creative way. On top of that, they have confused the heck out of Realtors, buyers and sellers, and everyone in between. Even the lawyers across the state are in a frenzy writing each other legal memorandums, politely calling each other names.

Who has the toughest job in all of this? I’ll tell you who. The Realtor. How does a Realtor explain any of this to his buyer or to his seller? May I wish all you Realtors good luck in coming up with a script that will keep you out of jail. (Oops! I am a Realtor! Eghad!)

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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

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