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Pending Sales in Sequim and Port Angeles

Pending sales are way up in Sequim and Port Angeles. We have 125 pending sales. This helps explain why buyers are having trouble finding their perfect home. Some are saying, “There’s no inventory left,” although that would be an exaggeration. There is still inventory, but the inventory for the 3 bedroom, 2 bath single level modern home on a nice piece of property is almost non-existent. If it does appear on the market, it’s gone quickly. You can pull up pending transactions at Sequim-Homes.com

Pending Sales

Pending Sales and Price Increases

This means prices are finally starting to go up significantly. This past 12 months we have seen increased sales and upward pressure on prices as homes were selling at full list prices, and some were selling for slightly above. But now we are seeing homes selling for more than previously established Fair Market Value (FMV). In other words, supply and demand is now dramatically effecting the sales price and sales numbers, so we now have more pending sales than ever before.

Some buyers are feeling desperate, because they can’t find what they want. If and when they find something that they decide would be a workable compromise, the list price is often higher than they feel it’s true FMV is. Here’s a real life example.

I showed a couple a home that had been on the market for over 700 days. In other words, it is a home that no one has wanted in two years on the market. It has been vacant the entire time, and it appears the seller has been doing virtually no maintenance. It’s an older home, and the floor plan is not all that attractive. There are some other features of the property that are attractive, but this is definitely a home that retirees moving to Sequim did not find appealing. The seller kept the price way too high, and it was clearly overpriced the entire time. This is the classic example of a very stubborn seller who refuses to acknowledge the laws of supply and demand by setting the price artificially high and just sitting on it despite the fact that so many buyers had walked away from it over such a long time period.

Pending Sales Push Offers

In my opinion, and the opinion of my buyer clients, this property had a FMV of $275,000 to $285,000. I show and sell a lot of homes, and the comps indicated a value in that range. But the seller had it listed for much more, $345,000. There was just no way that the home was worth that much. There were no comps supporting that, and far too much work was needed on the home. The entire kitchen needed a major upgrade. Some of the basement rooms were rather odd.

My clients decided to make an offer of $285,000, and after some counteroffers back and forth, they came up substantially more than they felt was justified to $315,000. They couldn’t find another suitable home in the inventory, and so they were willing to pay $15,000 to $20,000 more than it was worth. But the seller would not come below $335,000, which was way more than this old house was worth.

While my clients were considering whether they should walk away forever or pay even more, the home went under contract and became one of our statistical pending transactions. We don’t know the sales price yet, because that doesn’t become public information until it has closed, but it would appear this home sold for $335,000 or something close to that. This means this home sold for about $50,000 more than it’s historical FMV. Of course, once pending sales actually close, they become the new standard and establish FMV.

That is proof that prices are finally going up significantly when you add this to the 125 pending sales we have now. I have buyers who cannot even find a suitable home in the inventory. It is my opinion that supply and demand is finally catching up with Sequim, and now we have proof with all the pending sales.

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Stock Market Volatility Dangerous

This stock market volatility is scaring a lot of people, including fund managers. When the Dow is up and down over 400 points on consecutive days, it’s not a good sign for the weeks ahead. The Dow is down already 1,900 points in the first two weeks of 2016. Not a great start for the year. If you have a large retirement account invested in the stock market, riding a market roller coaster is a very uncomfortable feeling. This has already impacted how some people near retirement are thinking about the timing of buying their retirement home, and how much of a retirement home they can afford.

Stock Market Volatility

Stock Market Volatility History

If you look at the history of the stock market, substantial moves are often preceded by stock market volatility over a period of weeks, but even this is not a guaranteed indicator of a market decline. So what is a person to do in the uncertainty?

We are watching oil prices drop to surprising levels, and this has big implications for International markets. The reason Al Jazeera just went out of business in the U.S. a few days ago is because oil prices dropped, and the owner, which is the country of Qatari, cannot afford to subsidize Al Jazeera anymore. The drop in oil prices is causing middle east countries to liquidate sovereign wealth funds, and that means billions of dollars in selling on International markets. Add to that the declining China market, the struggling Japan economy, the unstable middle east, the grave uncertainty in the U.S. economy (and political scene), and people are understandably nervous.

Here’s my pet peeve. In every market decline (if we have one, and I’m not saying we will), Registered Investment Advisers and Fund Managers all say the same thing, “Now is not a time to sell. We always tell our clients that they should invest for the long term. If you look at markets over a 50 year to 80 year time period, stocks go up. In fact, we are advising our clients to buy on the dips. Dollar cost averaging is the key to a long term strategy.” If you’re planning to retire in a couple of years, this kind of advise for the next 80 years is not reassuring. 

Stock Market Volatility and Advisers

Many investment advisers have been saying in the past few days that they expect the market to decline “some more,” so many are admitting they see a decline coming. Despite this, why would they not recommend that you liquidate some of your account? If most advisers told their clients to liquidate some or all of their stock holdings, the markets would crash, and we can’t have that, can we? I suspect many investment brokerages prohibit their advisers from advising clients to liquidate, because of the market chaos that could create. Here’s the problem with that. You personally get sacrificed for the sake of the market as a whole! Even if your adviser believes it would be in your best interest to liquidate some or all of your account because he sees stock market volatility as a sign of a major decline coming, he will not tell you. So you are sacrificed for the sake of the many. 

In past market declines I have heard from people who watched their retirement accounts lose 30% or 50% or even 70% in one case. All the way down their advisers kept saying don’t sell. That’s easy for them, because fund managers get paid 1.25% of all funds under management, so they make money no matter what, as long as you don’t pull your money out of the market. Of course, selling would incur taxes and penalties for you, and that’s a big concern. But for all those clients who lost 50% of their retirement account in a market decline, how many would have gladly paid the taxes and penalties and still have been way ahead?

Stock market volatility is a warning sign. Of what . . . remains to be seen, but it is a red flag, and ought to cause everyone who has a lot of money in the stock market to pause and seriously think about where their money is safe. I would be cautious about taking advise from a man or woman (or who has a fund manager) who makes money based on “funds under management.” They have no motivation to see you liquidate, and every motivation to see you stay in the market even if you lose your life’s savings. I agree with them when they say that you should not panic. On the other hand, if panic means saving you hundreds of thousands of dollars in a declining market, maybe a little panic thinking can motivate a person to do something that turns out right.

Is liquidating some of your retirement account and investing it in a retirement home a good idea? I’ll leave that up to you, but this is a valid question for your perusal. At the least, stock market volatility should make you rethink what your adviser is telling you to do.

Disclaimer: This is not a recommendation to either sell or buy stocks, bond, or any other investment. Talk to your expert for advise. While I was an attorney and Registered Investment Adviser at one time, I am not an adviser now, nor do I give investment advise. But stock market volatility of this kind can make anyone nervous.

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Home Sales Best in 8 Years

Home sales are better than they’ve been for 8 years according to the National Association of Realtors. The NAR reports that home sales increased 3.2% to an annual rate of 5.49 million homes, the highest level since February of 2007. This accounts for the brisk sales in the Sequim market this year. In an earlier article (Sequim Home Sales) I compiled this data showing how sales have increased in Sequim and Port Angeles.

Home Sales

Home Sales Way Up

This year home sales are up nationally 9.6% from a year ago. Where do buyers of Sequim homes come from? From all over the United States, so when home sales increase elsewhere, we see an increase here. And the chart above shows how dramatic that increase has been. It follows the national trend, but it’s even more impressive. Home sales for the first 6 months of each year in Sequim have been increasing accordingly, but notice on the chart that so far in 2015, sales are better than they have been since 2005. That’s impressive.

Home Sales and Buyers

We are shifting from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market. I’m not saying it is definitely a seller’s market, because it isn’t, but we are making the shift in the current market. The inventory of nice homes is limited, sellers are now getting full price on many homes, and retirees have continued to buy homes in Sequim every day of the week. Home sales are good.

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Real Estate Market Report June 2015

The Sequim real estate market report for June of 2015 confirms the trend of an improving market, but alone this report doesn’t tell us anything startling. Probably the most interesting data is the increase in the number of homes sold in June.

Real Estate Market Report

It’s been a very interesting real estate market this year. Sales have picked up and the inventory is way down. In June home sales were 26% higher than in May and 35% higher over June of last year. That’s a big increase, and it indicates buyers are more aggressive this year than in past years. Many listings are selling at full price, and there’s now some competition among buyers on many properties. 

Real Estate Market Predictions

The data doesn’t tell the whole story about buyers and their motivations. Many buyers are not finding their ideal home. I believe if the inventory wasn’t so limited right now, we would see even higher sales numbers. That would place us at about the same total sales numbers as we had in our peak year, 2005. I believe we have some pent-up demand that will mean continuing and maybe increased sales in the months ahead.

I created showing sales from 2005 to 2015, which you can view at Sequim Real Estate Market Trends.

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Sequim Housing Inventory

The Sequim housing inventory is as low as it has been in many years, and buyers arrive every day to search for their perfect retirement home. Buyers moving here tell me there are no storage units available in the Sequim area. That’s never happened before, and it’s another indication of how tight the housing inventory is now. 

Housing Inventory

Housing Inventory Tight

We have several major economic factors that are all coming together to make it harder on buyers. First, as I’ve said, the housing inventory is low. Second, interest rates are going up. For every quarter point the interest rate goes up, you must make another $100 a month in income to qualify for the same loan. Third, the rental market for homes is very tight in Sequim. It’s almost impossible to find a nice 3 bedroom, 2 bath single level home in a nice area for $1200 a month, and landlords are requiring one year leases at a minimum.

Housing Inventory & Finding Your Home

Use Sequim-Homes.com to search for your home, but I highly recommend that you work with a Sequim Buyer’s agent to help you filter through homes and represent you as your boots on the ground, so to speak. Assuming you are from outside the Sequim area, you need someone who knows the area, the market, and has the experience to represent you in negotiating and in the due diligence process. Learn more about Buyer’s Agent Chuck Marunde.

Searching for and finding the ideal retirement home is a bit more challenging in this tight housing inventory.

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Sequim Real Estate Market Report May 2015

The Sequim real estate market has been doing much better this year, and as you may know from reading some of our earlier articles, some buyers are having a challenge finding their ideal home in the small Sequim inventory of homes in the MLS.

Sequim Real Estate Market

Active listings are down 21% in May over last year, which affirms the dilemma of not having enough homes in the inventory. Sales of homes are up 19% in May over last year, and that’s an indication that more buyers have been coming to Sequim and pulling the trigger on the purchase of their retirement homes.

Real Estate Market Reports

Keep up with Sequim real estate at the largest real estate blog on the Peninsula with over 1,800 articles written for buyers. You’ll find that blog at Sequim Real Estate Blog. You can see all our Sequim Real Estate Market Reports at Real Estate Market Videos

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Real Estate Market Report April 2015

This real estate market report for April of 2015 is brought to you by Chuck Marunde and iRealty Virtual Brokers, registered locally as Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate.

Real Estate Market Report

There isn’t any exciting news about this April real estate market report. The data is not impressive and neither positive nor negative. The number of active listings was down 3% from one year earlier and up 9% from the previous month. The median listing price for April was just under $310,000. Compared to last year the average days on market (DOM) before being sold was up 39%. In a small market like the Sequim market, this doesn’t really tell us anything definitive. The median sales price was just under $310,000.

Real Estate Market Report and MLS Updates

Keep up with new listings by watching the best Sequim MLS site online at Sequim Real Estate. And you can watch our video presentation on how to get the most out of your online MLS search at Sequim MLS Video. We hope this real estate market video has been entertaining.

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Real Estate Prices

I received this question about real estate prices today, “Am curious regarding your opinion as to higher priced home sales. It seems to me things are much slower in that market.” And that is correct. Look at this chart showing the distribution of sales based on price so far this calendar year.

Real Estate Prices

Real Estate Prices and Price Distribution

The data used in this chart represents all homes sold in Sequim and Port Angeles priced above $150,000 from January 1 to April 30, 2015. The price ranges represent $100,000 ranges. For example, 19 homes sold in Sequim from $350,000 to $450,000, and 6 sold in Port Angeles. Now here’s where it gets interesting. Notice that 91% of all homes sold in this data sold for less than $450,000, and only 1% sold above $450,000.

Real Estate Prices

This means only 1% of buyers are buying homes priced above $450,000. That’s a small percentage, but then again, this is not an area of high real estate prices. One of my clients told me that the home they are selling for $1.75 million outside of Thousand Oaks, California, can be replaced with a comparable home in Sequim for $700,000. And you can buy an amazing home in Sequim for $450,000 to $700,000.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers? This means selling an upper priced home is harder than selling a home priced below $450,000, and it means buyers who can afford a more expensive home are still in a buyer’s market. Reasonable real estate prices in Sequim and Port Angeles are a strong attraction for retirees.

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Sequim Real Estate Market Video March 2015

This is the Sequim Real Estate Market Video for March of 2015. The number of active listings was up 7% from one year earlier and up 11% from the previous month.

Sequim Real Estate Market Data

The median listing price was $320,000. Compared to last year, the average days on market before selling was up 11%. The median sales price was $240,000. The number of homes sold increased 73% year over year and 44% month over month.

Sequim Real Estate Market Doing Well

The one statistic that is most interesting is the increase in the percentage of homes sold, an increase of 73% over last year at this time. Wow! That’s a nice stat. But it’s no surprise. This has been a very active year so far, and we are just entering the spring market now. I am predicting that 2015 will be the best year we’ve had in eight years in terms of home sales. That’s a good thing for the Sequim real estate market.

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The Sequim Real Estate Market – Hot?

The Sequim Real Estate Market is hot. I recently talked with two homebuilders, and they both are busier than they have been in 8 years. This is amazing, because homebuilders have not been building at all for 8 years, and now suddenly they are building again. As a Realtor, I am seeing more buying activity of existing homes than I’ve seen in 8 years. There’s no doubt the Sequim real estate market is hot. It’s been a long recession, but maybe it’s over. (Emphasis on “maybe.”)

Sequim Real Estate Market

Sequim Real Estate Market

Many factors are coming together at the same time, causing buyers to make the decision to buy now, and here they are. 

  1. The current inventory of nice homes in nice areas is getting smaller every day, meaning some buyers can no longer find the home they want;
  2. Buyers are arriving in larger numbers early this year, ahead of spring;
  3. Homes that are reasonably priced are selling at full listing prices;
  4. Some homes are now selling above their listing prices;
  5. Some buyers are finding the home they want, but when they decide to make an offer, they are very disappointed to find out it just sold;
  6. Interest rates are still below 4%, but with recent changes in monetary policy announced by Janet Yellen, interest rates are going to start rising in the near future after being held down artificially for 8 years, and buyers know this so they are buying now;
  7. The seriousness of the drought in California, Nevada, Arizona, and elsewhere is driving more buyers to the Northwest and to the Sequim area than ever.

Sequim Real Estate Market

Sequim has not had a shortage of housing and large numbers of buyers arriving like this since maybe 2005. Based on the economics of supply and demand, it is inevitable that the Sequim real estate market is going to see prices begin to go up in the coming months. And many buyers are going to be forced to build a new home if they cannot find what they want in the existing inventory. The Sequim real estate market appears to be hot once again.

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Sequim Real Estate Market Video January 2015

The Sequim real estate market continues to slowly improve. The average days on market (DOM) was down 17% in January compared to last year. The median sales price was just over $250,000. The number of homes sold decreased 9% year over year and decreased 5% month over month. Active listings were up 6% from one year earlier, and the median listing price was just under $280,000.

Sequim Real Estate Market

Buyers continue to arrive in Sequim and Port Angeles to look at homes, and they are buying, albeit slowly and steadily. We don’t have a large inventory, and this is a small rural community, but that also makes it a challenge to find the perfect home. There are not a lot of homes to choose from, and when a home is sold, there is not always another coming on the market to replace it. I recommend you plan ahead many months before you come to look at homes, and filter through the Sequim homes on an accurate MLS site, like Sequim Homes for Sale, filter and build your short list to see when you come.

Sequim Real Estate Market Videos

Sequim real estate market videos are brought to you by iRealty Virtual Brokers, dba Sequim and Port Angeles Real Estate, and by Chuck Marunde. You can watch the series of videos at Sequim Real Estate Market Videos.

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Sequim Real Estate Market Report December 2014

The Sequim real estate market for December 2014 is interesting. Most Decembers tend to slow down, because closings in December are from sales in October and November, and those months slow down. But the last two weeks of December got very busy at th end of 2014, but those closings will show up in the January real estate market report.

Real Estate Market

Active listings in December were up slightly from last year (6%), and the number of days on market before selling was down from last year. Sales did drop slightly (9%) year over year. With all the buyers who arrived in late December and early January, we are likely to see a pick up in our next Sequim real estate market report and the reports to follow.

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Real Estate Market Report for November 2014

This is the Sequim real estate market report for November 2014. I love creating these real estate market reports on video. If you like them, let me know. Videos are easy to watch, and these are short and to the point.

Real Estate Market

The Sequim real estate market is doing okay for the middle of winter, although some stats are down from last year at this time. Active listings were up 1% from one year earlier and down 11% from last month. The median listing price was $307,000 compared to $292,000 last year. The average days on market before being sold was up 8% from last year.  The number of homes sold decreased 30% year over year and decreased 30% month over month. 

The Seasonal Real Estate Market

The winter season does slow down a little, but in this real estate market report we compare November of this year to November of last year, so we are doing an apples vs. apples comparison.

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Here is the Sequim real estate market video for October of 2014. This report does not reveal anything extraordinary in the cold numbers, but it may be extraordinary because it does show a continuing trend toward an improving Sequim real estate market. That is a story in itself.

Sequim Real Estate Market Numbers

In an improving market we will see consistent improvements in some of the stats, including a decreasing number of days on market (DOM) over the previous month and over the previous year, and there are several other stats of significance. Supply and demand factors include the increasing or decreasing number of homes in the listing inventory, and how many buyers are buying homes. If inventory is shrinking because sales are increasing or the inventory is not being replaced fast enough, then prices will inch upward. Prices react slowly and sometimes erratically over the short term to supply and demand factors, so prices may increase one month over the prior month and decrease the next. The more important time period involves many months or year over year analysis.

Sequim Real Estate Market

What is encouraging from this Sequim real estate market video is that when you put together all the information, we see the market is improving. For example, the number of listings is down 3% from one year earlier and down 6% from the previous month. This is not so great for buyers, but it is for sellers. The median listing price increased a little, the average days on market is down 13% compared to last year, and sales increased 12% year over year and 12% month over month. This is all good news for the Sequim real estate market which continues to improve slowly but steadily.

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This real estate market report covers September of 2014 and compares listings, volume, and prices to the prior month and prior year. We continue to see the small Sequim real estate market get stronger, albeit slowly and steadily. The inventory continues to shrink for the ideal retirement home, prices are creeping upward, and homes from month to month are selling in shorter time frames.

Real Estate Market Report on Video

Real Estate Market

The number of active listings was down 20% in September compared to last year. The median listing price was up from $314,000 to $338,000. The median sales price was was also up from $205,000 to $270,000. And the time on market (days on market) was down 7%. These are all strong indicators of an improving or stronger real estate market.

The Sequim real estate market seemed to plateau about two years ago, roughly, and has been showing signs of strengthening since. In an earlier article I wrote that Sequim Real Estate Prices Are Still Undervalued. No one knows what the future holds, but based on the home sales history in the Sequim area, we bottomed out years ago and have been on a slow upward move.

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Sequim Real Estate Market Video July 2014

This is the July 2014 Sequim real estate market report with more continuing evidence that the Sequim real estate market is improving. These statistics are encouraging.

Sequim Real Estate Market on the Upswing

Active listings were down from one year earlier. The time it took to sell a listing was dramatically less, and the average listing price was up substantially. The number of days it took in July to sell a listing was down 50% from one year ago. Sales increased by 10% year over year. These are pretty darn positive housing statistics.

Sequim Real Estate Market Slow But Sure

The Sequim real estate market is not burning hot, we do not see real estate prices leaping tall buildings here, and multiple competing offers above the listed price are quite rare. But we are a slow and steady market, stable, and with promise for consistent appreciation in the months and years ahead.

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Sequim Real Estate Market Report May 2014

The Sequim Real Estate Market Report for May of 2014 shows a continuing trend of increasing sales and prices. Homes are on the market for a shorter period of time measured by Days on Market (DOM), and prices are creeping upward slowly from month to month, and May is more proof.

Sequim Real Estate Market

Showing buyers homes. That’s the rule for me lately, and buyers are well informed on the Sequim real estate market. I find that buyers do their online research for many months, and some buyers are doing their research one, two, or even five years in advance of retiring to Sequim. By the time my clients arrive in Sequim, they understand the local real estate market, and they have a very good grasp on home values. After filtering their list down to a short list of homes to view, and after looking at the short list, buyers know whether they found the right home, and they know how much they want to offer. We draft the offer and negotiate the lowest possible price.

Sequim Real Estate Market Trend

I expect the real estate market to continue to be strong between now and the end of September. June through September are the four strongest months in the Sequim and Port Angeles area for home sales. Our inventory is shrinking, so if demand continues as strong as it has in these past few months, prices will begin to move up the supply and demand curve.

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The Real Estate Market

The Sequim real estate market has picked up this spring much more aggressively than in the past six years. This chart shows what has happened in the first three months of this year compared to the prior two years. January and February were not unusual, but March and April took off for Sequim homes selling above $100,000.

Real Estate Market

The Sequim Real Estate Market

In March of 2012 only 18 homes sold, and that increased to 29 homes in 2013 and again to 40 this year. And in April of 2012 only 21 homes sold, but that increased to 28 in 2013 and to 38 this year. Those are huge leaps in volume, especially in a small real estate market like Sequim’s.

Recently I had clients email me their list of six homes they would like to see when they arrive, and three of those homes just sold before they could see them. I have another couple coming who had a dozen homes to view, and four of those homes just sold. Last week I sold a home for full listed price, and the week before I sold a home for $10,000 above listed price. What does all this mean?

What This Real Estate Market Means for Buyers

It just means that the market is improving, and homes are selling once again. From a buyer perspective, it means when you find the ideal home, and you’re sure it is the home you would love to own in your retirement years, write the offer, or someone else may buy it. Wisdom does not get in a hurry, so patience and due diligence are the rule, but when you do make that decision to make an offer on a home, I don’t recommend procrastinating in this real estate market.

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What is the Demand for Homes?

The demand for homes in Sequim and Port Angeles has been increasing, and this chart tells the story from the first quarter of 2005 through the first quarter of 2014. (Sequim is blue and P.A. is green.)

Demand for Homes

Demand for Homes Increasing

In 2005, which was really the peak year for real estate here (prices didn’t start declining until 2007), 102 homes sold in the Sequim area and 65 in the Port Angeles area. Then in 2013 spring sales picked up (showing the first three months of the year), and now in 2014 sales are increasing over last year. I suspect that April will show even more increases for this spring.

Demand for Homes, Inventory, and Prices

What does all this mean for buyers? It means that with the demand for homes increasing and the inventory shrinking (home builders have not been building for 6 years), we will at some point begin to see a slow but steady increase in prices. All of this just goes back to the basic economics of supply and demand. As the demand for homes increases, watch prices start to increase.

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The Whole Real Estate Business is Changing

The real estate business is changing dramatically right in front of our eyes, and don’t believe for a second that it isn’t changing for consumers like you. It is. Many of the changes are obvious to buyers, like being able to use the Internet to search for real estate, and being able to do so much advance research online before you ever decide to move to a community or hire a Realtor. But there are major changes behind the scenes that consumers are quite unaware of, and many of these changes are compromising your best interests. There are a few things I think you might want to know. I’ve written a book on this subject, The New World of Marketing for Real Estate Agents, but here I want to share just two changes that have a huge impact on you.

Real Estate Business

Real Estate Business Change No. 1

How buyers search for real estate is now full of traps for the unwary. Yesterday I got an email from a buyer who found a home on Trulia. Trulia showed it as an active listing, and she was excited and wanted to know more about it. The information on Trulia is quite limited, but I had to tell her that this listing was already sold. Trulia did not show that. This is true of Zillow, too. I had some clients who found a home on Zillow, but it was sold two years earlier. Oops. I also sold a home that Zillow misrepresented at half its value (based on the actual sales price). For nationally syndicated sites like these, the rule is caveat emptor (buyer beware). The real estate business is changing and not all the changes are good for consumers.

What’s the answer? Use an online site that is 100% accurate and includes 100% of the Sequim and Port Angeles listings. I designed and programmed such a site for buyers, and you’ll find it at Sequim Homes for Sale. You’ll find a video on that site that shows you exactly how to search for and find your dream home.

Real Estate Business Change No. 2

How buyers hire their agent is another way the real estate business is changing. Buyers are driving this change, and I think it’s great. But there is a second trap for the unwary consumer when it comes to selecting a buyer’s agent. If you’re searching a national real estate site, do not assume the best buyer’s agent is the one whose photo is in the right margin or at the bottom of the listing. Do you know why their photos are there most of the time? Because they paid to have it there. That means any agent who can write a check can have their photo there. Any agent. Thank about that. Advertising and lead generation on the Internet for Realtors has gone wild, and whose watching out for you? As the saying goes, “Follow the money.” What’s the answer for buyers like you? Choose your Realtor carefully, and I recommend this Agent Interview Checklist.

The real estate business has been changing dramatically, but who is watching out for consumers like you? I am. Every day. With professionalism, knowledge, experience, and integrity. I never stop working to do a good job educating prospective clients like you with free information and tools, and I never stop working hard for my clients. I’m aware of how the real estate business is changing, but my clients are still at the center of the Universe no matter how the industry may sell its soul.

By the way, the image above, iRealty Virtual Brokers, is my dba. We are Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, and we are also iRealty Virtual Brokers. Even our real estate business is changing.

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Chuck E. Marunde, J.D.

Founder and Broker of
Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate dba iRealty Virtual Brokers
435 W. Bell St. Suite A, 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
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

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