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Sequim Schools

If you’re planning to retire in Sequim, the quality of Sequim schools is probably not at the top of your list of topics to research, but it has more relevance than most people might think. The quality of the community, of the people, and the values and behavior of the children is a large part of what determines the culture of a community. Let me share why Sequim schools are a reflection of the amazing quality of people living in Sequim.

Sequim Schools

Sequim Schools

Last night our Sequim Schools (the graduating class of 2014) celebrated Scholarship Awards. The Sequim High School has about 1,000 students, so it is a relatively small school. Yet last night the 300+ graduates received a total of almost $3 million dollars in scholarships covering their next four years. Over $350,000 represented local donations from generous Sequim residents, and the balance came from college and university scholarships and grants. Such generosity and such incredible support for our kids was very moving. It reflects the amazing generosity of our Sequim residents and community organizations, and it also reveals something important about our kids.

Sequim Schools and the Students

Retirees in Sequim who demonstrated such generosity are the kind of people who have vast experience in life, and in their wise judgment Sequim high school students earned their generosity by virtue of their hard work throughout four years of getting excellent grades, being involved in extracurricular activities, and giving back to the community through volunteer activities. These kids are incredible. All four of my children have gone through Sequim schools and graduated from Sequim High School. In fact, the quality of Sequim schools and the safety the community offered were the reasons I moved my children here in 1994. This year my youngest daughter, Sabrina Marunde, is in the graduating class. She received scholarships, too, for which I am very grateful, because I will be making up the difference as she attends Westmont College in Santa Barbara. Colleges today can easily cost $60,000 per year, an unbelievable expense compared to the cost when I attended the University of Alaska in the ’70’s.

Why do I share this on a real estate blog? Because this is a reflection of the character of Sequim residents. Sequim is not just a wonderful place to retire because of the famous Sequim Blue Hole, the beautiful Olympic National Forest, or the fishing and boating in Sequim Bay. Sequim is a wonderful place to live because of the people, and nowhere have I seen such a powerful demonstration of their kindness and generosity than last night’s Awards Celebration. Sequim is a wonderful place to live, and our Sequim schools are another major reason this is so true.

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  • Sequim – Agricultural and Small Town Rural

    Sequim is an agricultural community and has been for well over a century. Sequim is off the I-5 Corridor and two and one-half hours from Seattle. This is a rural area far from the hustle and bustle of the Seattle-Tacoma metropolis. The lifestyle reflects this rural backdrop and people often comment that living in Sequim is like going back in time 20 or 30 years to a time when people were friendlier, there was less crime, and there was time to pause and smell the roses.

    Sequim

    Sequim is Agricultural

    Sunny Farms is a family owned organic grocery store in Sequim that is so popular, you can almost guarantee that you will be bumping carts with other shoppers in the narrow aisles. Actually, it is much more than an organic grocery store, and you can see the nursery in this photo. The deli is also very popular, because we have so many retiree couples and singles who just want one quart of homemade soup or a special sandwich that is healthy, and Sunny Farms sells small or custom quantities of everything. The fresh organic fruit and vegetables are almost as fun to look at as they are to eat. Sunny Farms is one example of what makes the Sequim lifestyle so great.

    Sequim is Modern Rural

    We are very fortunate because while Sequim has a rich agricultural history, we are also a modern rural community. Sequim has become a vortex of economic activity which is seen by all the big box stores building in Sequim. For example, we have a Home Depot, Pet Depot, Office Depot, Walmart, Starbucks, Costco, Safeway, QFC, and many locally owned speciality stores. All of this is just frosting on the cake since Sequim is most famous for its Blue Hole or Rain Shadow. 

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  • Sequim Crabbing

    Sequim crabbing is very popular. That’s not exactly a real estate subject, and most of the 1,600 articles on this site are about buying real estate in Sequim. But while you are here visiting and looking at homes, you’ve got to have some fun, too. There are many things to do, but Sequim crabbing is definitely a favorite activity.

    Sequim Crabbing

    Don and his lovely bride having far too much fun in retirement.

    Sequim Crabbing Rules

    Sportsmen catch more than a million pounds of Dungeness crab, using pots, ring nets, and for those who are wading or diving, with their bare hands. That’s a lot of crab. In the areas of East Juan de Fuca Strait, Port Angeles Harbor, and Discovery Bay the season is open from Thursday, July 3rd 2014, and remains open through September 1st 2014 (Labor Day). Crabbing is only allowed Thursdays through Mondays each week during the summer season (closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). You can learn more from the Washington Department of Fish and Widlife at Sequim Crabbing.

    Sequim Crabbing

    Here’s what one visitor said about his Sequim crabbing experience, “Went crabbing out to Sequim last Wednesday and the family had a blast. Weather was great, caught lots of crab and did a little camping. Fished my pots a little deeper at about 120′ to 140′ and really nailed the crab. One pot had 16 dungeness and only one was not legal. Usually it is the other way around for us. Had a feast at the camp ground and came home and fed the extended family & friends. Family outings like we had are priceless. As I  (and the kids) get older I am savoring them more.” Come and visit Sequim and try your luck at some Sequim crabbing.

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    Another Day in Paradise: Sequim WA

    Yesterday was another day in Paradise. It was a beautiful sunny day in Sequim WA. So I showed homes to buyers from around the country, and one couple from Idaho bought this home in the photo. Another couple is from Montana, and another from southern California.

    Another Day in Paradise

    Another Day in Paradise in Sequim WA

    I’ve lived in Sequim for 20 years, and I regularly say to myself, “Another day in paradise.” Here’s proof that I’m not the only one who loves Sequim and has no plans to live anywhere else on the planet. Retirees rarely move from Sequim. Even when they do, it is usually for one of either two reasons. The first is that after 10 to 15 years of living in Sequim, they want to be closer to their grandchildren. The second is that after 15 to 25 years, hubby has gone on before his bride, and she decides in her 80’s after living alone for a couple of years to move closer to one of her daughters. In both cases, these folks almost always say to me, “If it weren’t for that, we would never leave Sequim.”

    Another Day in Paradise for Buyers

    As you can tell from some of the articles on this blog, buyers are arriving and keeping me and other Realtors busy. This is good news for sellers, although prices have not increased much in response to the increased demand. It may take a little while before supply and demand begin to balance again. This morning is an example of the increased activity of buyers. I received a signed counteroffer on one home, and submitted two other offers for other buyers. This market has definitely picked up. Oh, did I tell you that today it rained? What can I say? How about this: Another day in paradise.

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  • Sequim Carpet Cleaner

    I recently met a great Sequim carpet cleaner, and when you meet someone who is really good at what they do, it’s worth sharing. I don’t get impressed very often by a service like this, but this company impressed me. Imagine a carpet cleaning system that does not use water or steam that requires hours to dry out. Who hasn’t done that? Use too much water (steam), or clean too slowly, and your carpet gets drenched. It can literally take days to dry out. But there’s another popular cleaning method that uses chemicals, which can have adverse health consequences, too. So what’s the answer?

    Sequim Carpet Cleaner

    Sequim Carpet Cleaner

    This Sequim carpet cleaner uses a totally natural process with a fraction of the water. I love the way he describes the process:

    Carpets will dry in one to two hours versus a couple of days.  This eliminates reappearing stains, mold or mildew growing in the pad, shrinkage of the carpet, damage to the flooring underneath, and dirt-attracting residues left behind.

    The fact that this cleaning process does not use dangerous chemicals really appeals to almost everyone today. 

    This is all non-toxic and enzyme-based, making our process safe for anyone with sensitivities, children, or animals.  You do not have to vacate the house.  There is minimal noise and no odor.

    Sequim Carpet Cleaner Sets New Standard

    Who is this Sequim carpet cleaner? I get no referral fee at all for this article, but after talking with this man and finding out about the process he uses, and after finding out about his background in law enforcement, I knew this was someone I would like to hire, and why not tell others about his business? His name is Aaron St. George, and you’ll find his website at Sequim Carpet Cleaner. He even has some coupons posted on his website.

    If you plan to get your home ready to sell, this is a great way to clean the carpets, and if you are buying a home, you still may want to hire this Sequim carpet cleaner.

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  • What Do Sequim Teenagers Do for Fun?

    Sequim teenagers are all above average. No, they are exceptional. I know this is a real estate blog with over a thousand articles about buying real estate, but let’s take a break from the heady stuff of contracts and due diligence. Let’s take a little bunny trail today and talk about what Sequim teenagers do for fun? After all, this is one vignette of what Sequim is all about. If you retire in Sequim, you might like to know what the kids are like. I took this video of the girls while they were practicing in my living room.

    Sequim Teenagers Living the Good Life

    From left to right are Sydney, Sabrina, and Bailey. The middle one is my daughter. All three love music, and they spend their time practicing and practicing. When they aren’t working on their music, they are studying or in a school play, or traveling to New York with the Sequim Choir to sing at Carnegie Hall. You can imagine how excited my daughter was to sign at Carnegie Hall. The only thing I know about New York is what I saw in the movie Coyote Ugly, but my daugher assures me that there is much more to the Big Apple.

    I’ve written before that the Sequim School District is one of the best in the country. Maybe that’s because Sequim teenagers are all above average.

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  • The Famous Sequim Castle

    This Sequim castle is proof that Europe has nothing on Sequim. You can’t help but stop and gawk at this Sequim castle or Troll Haven as it is called. It is just fascinating. 

    Sequim Castle

    Sequim Castle is Fun Sight

    Sequim is a major attraction for retirees, and one of the benefits of having people from all over the country (and even Europe), retire in the Sequim area is the variety of architectural preferences. We are fortunate we don’t have subdivisions where all the houses and yards look the same. Not in Sequim. We have a wonderful variety of homes and a variety of landscaping preferences. But we only have one Sequim castle.

    Sequim Castle Inhabited by Gandalf and Company

    This Sequim castle was built by one of Sequim’s colorful residents, Gary Bandy. I had the privilege of talking with Gary on a few occasions many years ago while I was still practicing law. Gary became a very successful businessman and after a great career he retired to Sequim from Los Angeles. He purchased property on Discovery Bay, and he built some houses, including this Sequim castle. You’ve gotta love it, too! I’m not certain, but as I took this photo, I thought I saw a hobbit peeking out of the upstairs window, but I could be wrong.

    When you come to explore Sequim, notice the variety of architectural styles, but take time to drive by our famous Sequim castle.

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  • Why I Love Living in Sequim

    Living in Sequim is a dream come true for many of us. I moved here 20 years ago and finished raising my children here. That was the best decision of my life. If you talk to dozens or hundreds of retirees who have lived here for many years or decades, you will hear all of them talk about why they love living in Sequim. There are many reasons, but I thought you might like to know why so many of us love Sequim.

    Living in Sequim

    Love Living in Sequim

    In the early 1990’s I was stationed at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, and my three boys were young. My oldest boy was in middle school, and gangs were moving into Vegas from Los Angeles. Fights, knifings, and even shootings at the schools were not unusual, and I decided I needed to find a safe and healthy place to raise my family. I also wanted to live in a rural area that was beautiful and with a nice climate. After much research, I found Sequim. I practiced real estate law in Sequim, and we had the lifestyle in Sequim most only dream of having, but growing up in Sequim was the best thing that could ever have happened to my children. The school district is one of the best in the country, and Sequim was a safe and conservative community with good family activities for my family. Living in Sequim has been good to me and my family.

    Living in Sequim is Paradise

    Now that my children are grown up, do I still love Sequim? Absolutely! I love the peaceful community. I love the friendly people, more friendly than any place I have lived in three states. I love the climate and the famous Sequim Blue Hole, and I love the recreation here, including my personal interests–kayaking, hiking in the Olympic National Park, jogging and bicycling on the Discovery Trail, walking my dog and breathing the fresh breeze that comes off the ocean.

    I also love writing and technology, and Sequim has very fast Internet speeds, so while we are in the country, we are well connected with the rest of the world. Many have retired after a long successful professional career, and now have a home based consulting business using the Internet. Some retirees have stumbled onto a delightful discovery: when you do what you love, you often make a lot more money than doing what you have to.

    Seattle is only a two hour trip from Sequim, and I can either drive all the way or take a ferry across the Sound. There are so many reasons that living in Sequim is wonderful, I have written thousands of articles and several books on the subject, and I even put together a list of 100 reasons. For your amusement, you can read the first 25 reasons at Why Living in Sequim is Wonderful.

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    Bell Hill in Washington is one of the wealthiest communities in Washington. “Based on per capita income, one of the more reliable measures of affluence, Bell Hill ranks 21st of 522 areas in the state of Washington to be ranked. It is also the highest rank achieved in Clallam County.” This comes from the United States Census Bureau. [Read Bell Hill on Wikipedia.] What is the significance of this to retirees moving to Sequim and buying their home in the Sequim area?

    Bell Hill

    Bell Hill Homes

    Not very many retirees choose to buy a home on Bell Hill. Bell Hill is Sequim’s most prestigious hilltop overlooking Sequim and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Not all homes on Bell Hill have stunning water views, but many do, and because the land and homes on Bell Hill are in the upper price range of homes for sale in the area, it is where some of the wealthiest congregate, at least on a per capita basis.

    Sequim has also been the city of choice for the major big box stores on the Olympic Peninsula, major stores like Home Depot, Office Depot, Costco, WalMart, Petco, Ross Dress For Less, and Fred Meyer (apparently coming). More are undoubtedly examining Sequim. All of these major corporations have done their demographic studies for the long term, and they have chosen Sequim, not Port Angeles (P.A. does have a Walmart). You know what that means? All of these multi-billion dollar companies have done their independent demographic studies and concluded that the best growth would be in Sequim, not the neighboring communities.

    Bell Hill Plus Corporate Demographics

    When you consider Bell Hill and it’s high per capita income and the large corporations’ conclusions that Sequim is the place to be for economic growth over the next two to three decades, retirees ought to be greatly encouraged when thinking about buying a home in Sequim. The economic strength and projected steady growth of the Sequim area bodes well for real estate appreciation into the future. Appreciation may not be the primary reason you buy your Sequim home, but isn’t it nice to know Sequim is much more than just the Home of the Rain Shadow. It’s one of the best places to buy a home for the long run, even if you don’t buy a home on Bell Hill.

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  • The Myth of Traditional Retirement

    Traditional retirement planning is no longer what it once was. Sequim is a major destination for retirees. Many retirees of the past three decades have relied on traditional retirement planning for their dream years in Sequim, but the world has been changing and financial planning is not what it used to be. Traditional retirement advice basically went like this. Work hard for a corporation or the government for 25 to 30 years, and between your employer contributions and your own IRA or 401(k), and with what is left of social security, you should have enough to retire for the rest of your life. This traditional retirement planning is no longer viable.

    Traditional Retirement

    The future is going to be different than the past, and that is certainly true when it comes to traditional retirement planning. First, having a guaranteed 20 to 30 year career at Boeing or any major corporation today with a retirement plan is virtually impossible. Even Microsoft has gotten away from “employees” and hires “independent contractors” so they don’t have to pay retirement benefits. Working for the Federal government is just about the only guarantee left. But there are even bigger reasons traditional retirement planning is dead.

    The Myth of Traditional Retirement

    When I retired from 20 years of real estate law practice in 2005, I was recruited by a national investment brokerage. I was told I could make a large six figure income, and since I had always loved investing, I became a registered financial adviser. I went to work on the “inside” of one of the nation’s foremost investment advisory services. I thought I would learn all about investing wisely in the stock market and mutual funds and bonds, and so on. I thought I would be using my years of estate planning, business succession, and asset protection experience to help clients plan and build a nice retirement with traditional retirement concepts. I was wrong, and here’s why. (more…)

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    Answers to Sequim Real Estate Questions

    As a buyer you undoubtedly have real estate questions, maybe a lot of real estate questions. Of course, you can read over 1,500 articles on this blog specifically addressing common real estate questions. This is the single largest resource on the Internet about buying Sequim real estate. There is no question that goes unanswered here, and if you have a question and you cannot find the answer in one of these articles, you can email me, and I will gladly answer your question. If it has appeal to other buyers, I will write an article and post it here. But there is another site with short questions and short answers, and many buyers find it super convenient to use.

    Real Estate Questions

    Sequim Real Estate Questions

    The site is called Sequim Real Estate Questions and Answers, and you can find it at Sequim Real Estate Q&A. You not only can find many short answers to your questions, you can also submit your own questions. Why do we do all this? Why this blog and the Q&A site and all the other online information, books, and videos? Because our job, my job as a broker and retired real estate attorney, is to help you as a buyer get all your concerns addressed and to facilitate your buying research so you can come to a wise decision. 

    Real Estate Questions and Free Answers

    I hope you find value in these sites and in these resources. If you do, please let us know from time to time by leaving comments. Meanwhile, we will do our best to answer all your Sequim real estate questions.

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    Sequim Organic Restaurant

    I’m excited to tell you about a new Sequim organic restaurant, which I think is the perfect place to enjoy a healthy meal when you come to look at real estate in Sequim. If you’re in your 50’s or 60’s and considering retiring in Sequim, you may also be conscious about eating healthy organic meals, as so many of us in our age group are. Yesterday, I enjoyed an incredible salmon and organic salad with fresh local vegetables, and like anyone who discovers something really exciting, I want to share this Sequim organic restaurant with you. It’s called Nourish Sequim.

    Sequim Organic Restaurant

    Sequim Organic Restaurant

    I met one of the founders, Tanya, who came out to chat with me at my table. Her passion for healthy food and good nourishment for the body lit up her face as she talked, and I learned there is much more to this Sequim organic restaurant than you might expect. Tanya said it better than I could on her website with this appetizing sentence, “Nourish specializes in creatively prepared salads, soups and other healthy entrees, as well as freshly baked goods, lovingly made from all-natural, organic ingredients. The menu will include options for vegetarians and gluten-free. Nourish features catering, to-go meals, a selection of coffee beverages, natural juice blends, hot and cold teas, sparkling wine cocktails, and a nice selection of local beers and wines.” Are you getting hungry? Now do you see why I am urging you to check out the number one Sequim organic restaurant?

    Sequim Organic Restaurant a Delight

    There’s much more than just a delightful eating experience at this Cafe, as if that isn’t enough. Nourish Sequim also prepares wholesome take home meals, which you order in advance for a day or the whole week. Even if you prepare your own healthy meals at home, it’s hard to match the healthy meals Chef David can prepare from his gourmet kitchen.

    You can learn more about this incredible Sequim organic restaurant at their website, which is appropriately called NourishSequim.com.

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  • Sequim Travel Advisor

    Your unofficial Sequim Travel Advisor here to share how easy it is to visit family from Sequim. This past weekend I visited my two sons who both live in Las Vegas. My trip was very pleasant, surprisingly short, and inexpensive. The same scenario applies whether you travel to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Boise, or many other cities on the west coast or in the midwest. This Sequim Travel Advisor would suggest that even trips to the east coast are easily accessible from Sequim, although flight time is longer of course.

    Sequim Travel Advisor

    Sequim Travel Advisor to SeaTac

    A trip from Sequim to Vegas starts with a two hour drive to SeaTac. Parking is easy, and I recommend a secured parking lot I have been using for years, MVP Airport Parking. They will park your car and drive you to the airport which is only a few minutes away, and they charge $10.95 per day. SeaTac is a beautiful airport, and if you plan ahead and get their early, you’ll find some nice restaurants after you get through security. This Sequim Travel Advisor finds the journey an adventure. Why not make it a fun trip? The flight to Vegas was only an hour and twenty-nine minutes (we had a huge tailwind). The cost of flying round trip to Vegas is typically $225 to $250.

    Sequim Travel Advisor to Vegas

    In this photo above riding on a ski lift, I’m in the middle with my son, Bristol, on my right and my other son, Brady, is on my left. We drove to Brian Head Ski Lodge in Utah just across the border and spent the night in a condo, ate a delicious steak dinner, then soaked in the hot tub and caught up with great conversation. I started my sons skiing when they were very young, and we made it a Marunde family tradition to hit the ski slopes every winter, so we have fond memories of all the great times (and even some of the hilarious crashes). Of course, I never fell myself. My oldest son, Jesse, was missing on this trip as he went home to be with the Lord a few years ago, but my time with my sons this weekend was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. My sons are incredible men now, men of good character, hard workers, and great family men. I’m very proud of them.

    This is what you can expect if you retire in Sequim. You can travel to visit your family and enjoy your trip. But most of all you can enjoy your children and grandchildren. What a blessing! This is one perspective from your friendly Sequim Travel Advisor and Realtor Chuck Marunde.

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  • Sequim New Year Tips

    These Sequim New Year Tips could change your life. If one of these tips is helpful, then this short article will have achieved its lofty goal of giving you something that could improve the quality of your life in Sequim.

    Sequim New Year

    First Sequim New Year Tip

    We are very fortunate that Sequim has a low crime rate, and I believe Sequim is one of the safest retirement communities in the country. I moved to Sequim 20 years ago, and I know how safe and secure it is. Having said that, it is still a good idea to have a measure of security for your home and property. The first and perhaps the best security you can have will be a good dog that will warn you of any trespassers. A dog that barks scares would-be bad guys away. 

    The next great security device for your home is a 24/7 electronic security system. ADT is one that is pretty good, but it is also expensive. Another one that I will mention that is a fraction of the cost but does an outstanding job is SimpliSafe.com. The system is totally wireless and can be installed throughout your entire home in 20 minutes. You can buy the system for under $400 and you do not have to pay a monthly fee unless you want to have the police notified of alerts. You can have a smartphone alert you immediately if there is a breach. I love that. This is peace of mind.

    Second Sequim New Year Tip

    Here’s a Sequim New Year tip you might not expect here, but it is so important for your health and well-being, I want to share it. (more…)

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  • Sequim Real Estate 2013

    It’s been a very good year for Sequim real estate. The Sequim market picked up substantially over last year and real estate sales were the best they’ve been during the past many years of this recession. Thank God for that. Of course, that means we also had an equal number of new residents move to Sequim. Why were sales so much better in 2013?

    Sequim

    Sequim Real Estate Sales Up

    At the end of December I’ll post a full graph showing Sequim sales for 2013 and compare that with previous years, but here I want to share what I perceive as the driving forces that gave Sequim such a boost in 2013. Many retirees from around the country made their move in 2013 to Sequim. Buyers told me repeatedly that this recession has lasted six years, and they simply were not going to put their lives on hold any longer. Fortunately, home sales did pick up in 2013 many parts of the country, which means buyers had cash to buy in Sequim. 

    Sequim Buyers Arrived in 2013

    Buyers moving to Sequim are very smart. They have been telling me interest rates are going to rise, and they were right. For those who might get loans, this has been a motivator to buy in 2013 rather than later. They also have had the insight to know that Sequim real estate prices are at or near a bottom. Several of my buyers purchased homes in 2013 even though they won’t be retiring and moving to Sequim next year.

    There are many reasons people are retiring to Sequim and Port Angeles. Sequim has been voted one of the 10 Best Place to Retire in the U.S., and it is surprising how many people around the country talk about Sequim. As a result of all this and more, 2013 has been the best year in real estate sales in Sequim in many years.

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  • The Dungeness River

    One very hot summer day three boys who lived on a farm near the Dungeness River could no longer resist their boyish inclinations, and even though the river was cold, they spent the afternoon swinging from a rope and jumping into the river. Their laughter and hoots were sounds of music along with the steady gurgling of the river. The scene was a piece of Americana, a scene you might see in a movie about a family living in the country in the 1950s. Healthy, happy, engaged in outdoor activities, and creating good memories for life. Those are good memories for me. You see the boys are mine, and I raised them for a while on a farm on the Dungeness River. Moving to Sequim in 1994 when my boys were young was the best decision I ever made.

    The Dungeness River, also known as the Sequim-Dungeness River, is Sequim’s major river attraction. It’s popular for it’s beauty, for fishing, and even for swimming on the hottest summer days.

    The Dungeness River

    The Dungeness River

    The Dungeness River comes down from the Olympic Mountains to the south of Sequim. I took this photo way up in the mountains. The air is fresh up there, and the only noises you hear are sounds of trickling water, birds, and an occasional squirrel. 

    Dungeness River is Life

    The Dungeness River feeds the valley and has for hundreds of years. Farmers have relied on the water and the extensive irrigation ditches that feed the precious river water to thousands of acres of farmland. Fish and wildlife depend on the water. It’s been said throughout history that water is life. The Dungeness River is unquestionably a source of life in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley. And good memories.

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  • Sequim Schools Are The Best

    Sequim schools are the best, and I’ve seen a few school districts in three states. I even worked in one as a high school teacher long ago in Alaska. Of course, the vast majority of buyers moving to Sequim are retired, and that means the kids have flown the coup. So your thoughts may not be on Sequim schools and how good they may be, but I thought it might add to the aura of Sequim if you knew that the Sequim Schools are some of the best in the nation.

    Sequim Schools Are Outstanding

    I recently attended a Sequim Choir event at the Sequim High School Auditorium. I am constantly amazed at the talent our kids have, but equally amazed at the skills of the high school teachers and their leadership qualities. My boys are grown up (all graduates of Sequim H.S.), but I have a daughter who is a senior and participates in the Select Choir. Here’s an example of one song the kids sang on this opening choir night.

    Sequim Schools

    There are many great things about living in Sequim, and the kids are one of those great reasons. They are polite, considerate, generous, smart, and many are extraordinarily gifted. You may not have kids at home or in school anymore, but to live in a community with such great kids adds to the quality of life for all of us. When was the last time you went to a high school play or concert? What a great way to spend an evening, even if you don’t have kids of your own participating. I can testify that Sequim schools are the best.

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  • Florida to Sequim

    Who would move from Florida to Sequim? Believe it or now, a lot of retirees are moving from Florida to Sequim, as are people from Alaska, Montana, Texas, Colorado, and California. How about this–a couple who traveled in this motor home for 7 years and then moved to Sequim?

    Florida to Sequim

    Florida to Sequim

    Greg and Marilyn have been traveling for 7 years in their motor home, and after visiting every state in the Union, and after spending time in some of the most beautiful places in the world, they chose Sequim, Washington as their ultimate retirement home. What does that tell you?

    Alaska to Florida to Sequim

    Sequim has been written up in magazines for decades and called “One of the 10 Best Places to Retire,” and Greg and Marilyn apparently decided it was the number one place to retire. I love their story. I first heard from Greg and Marilyn when they were in Florida and checking out Sequim on the Internet Super Highway. Then I discovered they had spent time in Chicken, Alaska, which I know very well having grown up 60 miles from Chicken in Tok, Alaska. They even have a blog of their travels from Florida to Sequim (and from many other places), which is worth visiting at Moving to Sequim.

    Arizona to Alaska to Florida to Sequim

    Greg and Marilyn bought their dream home in Sequim, and you can see a photo of it at Sequim Log HomeI love hearing stories about how people discover Sequim and ultimately decide to visit and then buy their home in Sequim. If you have a story, please share it with me so others can read about it, too.

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    What is The Value of a Home

    There is a way to calculate the value of a home, aka the fair market value (FMV). If you know the FMV, you have very valuable information when it comes to making an offer. There are several methods to determine the value of a home

    Value of a Home

    The replacement cost approach is where I start, because it is always interesting to know what it would cost to build a similar home on a similar lot. If you can buy the lot and build a home cheaper than you can buy an existing home, you will probably choose to build. Of course, in a recession the replacement cost will be much higher than buying the same or similar home (20% to 30% in this market).

    The Value of a Home

    In a weak market, if I’m showing a home to buyers, and I calculate the replacement cost at $400,000, if the home is currently listed at $345,000, I can have confidence my buyers are not going to pay more than the true value of the home based on replacement cost. We still have to look at comps, of course, but the greatest fear most retirees have today when they buy their home is the fear of overpaying.  (more…)

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  • Why Do People Love Sequim?

    Why do people love Sequim so much? There are many reasons. Sequim is one of the premier retirement communities in the Northwest. It is surprising how many people around the United States are aware of or know about Sequim. Sequim has been written about in magazines for a couple of decades, especially retirement magazines. But it is absolutely amazing what word of mouth has done for Sequim. People sit in coffee shops in San Diego, Denver, Dallas, Naples, Phoenix, Anchorage, and Seattle talking about Sequim, only to be interrupted by someone at the next table who knows Sequim.

    Sequim

    What makes Sequim such a popular topic of conversation in coffee shops around the country? Probably the same thing that makes Sequim such a popular place to retire. Sequim is a wonderful place to live, and I’m going to share why. I moved to Sequim 20 years ago, finished raising my children here. I’ve also talked to hundreds of people who moved to Sequim and bought a home. Here’s why Sequim is so popular.

    I suppose there’s no such thing as perfect, but Sequim comes close. Sequim really has a rain shadow, and with only 16 inches, it rains only 1/3rd as much as our neighbor Seattle. Sequim is uniquely nestled between the beautiful Olympic Mountains and the gorgeous Strait of Juan de Fuca. With plenty of sunshine, a panorama of nature’s glory on all sides, and pristine air coming gently off the ocean, Sequim is definitely unique.  (more…)

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    Chuck E. Marunde, J.D.

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

    From Los Angeles

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

    From Seattle

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

    From Florida

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

    From Gilroy California

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

    From Corona California

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

    From Bakersfield California

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

    From Los Alamos New Mexico

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

    From Sun Lakes Arizona

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

    From California

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

    From Sequim

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

    From The Netherlands

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

    From Fremont California

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

    From Fontana California

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

    From Tacoma

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

    From Wendell Idaho

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

    From Sequim

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

    From Seattle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Intro by Chuck Marunde

    From Sequim to California

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

    Who is Chuck Marunde?

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