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Sequim Washington is Growing

Sequim Washington is growing even in this national recession.  How is that possible?  Sequim is a very healthy little economy.  One of the reasons it is a healthy economy is because Sequim has been a retirement community for decades, and the retirees who move here tend to be conservative financially, and have not refinanced their homes to buy toys and get further in debt.  Retirees have payed off their homes or have lived humble lifestyles within their budgets.  This means we don’t have a lot of foreclosures, and there is a solid financial base for all the related service industries (groceries, medical, dental, automotive, restaurants, recreation, etc.).

Sequim Washington Big Box Stores

Sequim Washington

Sequim Washington Demographics

Perhaps the biggest proof that Sequim Washington has a strong economic base and a promising future comes from all the big box stores that have been moving in and building in Sequim.  You know that before big box stores ever consider buying prime real estate in any community, they do extensive demographic studies.  It is not the neighboring towns on the Olympic Peninsula that are attracting all these big box companies–it is Sequim.

The latest big box stores who love Sequim’s retired population and the future of Sequim Washington include Ross Dress for Less and the Grocery Outlet.  There is a good list of big box stores who love Sequim’s demographics, including Costco, Home Depot, Petco, Starbucks, WalMart, Office Depot, and a number of restaurant chains.

Sequim Washington Real Estate

Why is it important to retirees that the big box stores have been building in Sequim?  Because the demographic studies they perform independently are all saying the same thing–that Sequim is a strong community with a very solid demographic base of financially stable retirees.  These studies show a stable real estate market, even though prices have been discounted in this market.  It is primarily the strength of the future economy and future real estate market that these demographic studies have examined, and the indicators are all good.

This is one of the reasons I have said that buying a home in Sequim Washington is a good move and a good investment.  While most of us would concur that the real estate market may not begin to recover for a couple of years or more, when it does, Sequim will be one of the strongest economies in the country.  That doesn’t mean houses will appreciate rapidly, because they won’t.  The appreciation will be slow, perhaps 3% a year, but of all regional real estate markets, Sequim Washington has a market with a great economic base and solid indicators for future growth.

Of course, another huge factor (which I’m sure is part of the big box studies) is that retirees continue to move to Sequim and buy homes, and have been doing so every single month during the entire recession, and that has picked up dramatically recently.  Sequim Washington is a strong economy and a stable real estate market, which is good news for retirees.

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Sequim WA in July

In Sequim WA the sun is out beautifully today after what seems like a long winter of rainy, cloudy and overcast skies.  Some of our locals reflected on what this summer sunshine means.

Sequim WA

From a septic inspector:  “I feel like a cave troll coming out of dark places into the light.”

From an appraiser:  “My appraisals should be a little higher now that I can see the houses.”

From a home inspector:  “Thank God it’s drying out.  Now I won’t have to wear hip boots under the houses.”

From a well inspector:  “Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.”

From a Realtor:  “Halellujah, the recession is over.”

From a roofer:  “Darn.  I’m probably the only one who prays for cool and cloudy weather.”

From a sheetrock crew:  “Now we won’t have to try to cover the framers crooked walls that got wet and warped.  Oops!  Am I supposed to say that?”

From a local politician:  “Sunshine is like Prosac for my constituents, and they’ll go along with almost anything I do.”

From a pastor:  “Hmm.  When the sun comes out in July, the sheep tend to go off to play, and my congregation shrinks (and so does the tithing).”

From a park ranger in the Olympic National Park:  “Love the sunshine, but it also means we prepare for the hippies from Seattle who get lost in the park when they’re stoned.”

From a home builder:  “Does this mean people will start building houses again?”

Welcome to Sequim WA in July.

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  • Sequim Cost of Living Comparisons

    You can compare the Sequim cost of living with the cost of living in your area.  This is a great tool, and many of my clients who decide to retire in Sequim use this online comparison website to help them decide where to retire.  Sequim is not the cheapest place in the country to live by any means, but it is one of the most stable and affordable communities.  Sequim is in high demand among retirees, and there is good reason.  When the quality of life, services, and beautiful properties are compared, Sequim comes out ahead, and now you can compare the cost of living with other areas easily with this site.

    Sequim Cost of Living

    Sequim Cost of Living

    Sequim Cost of Living

    You can go to the Sequim Cost of Living Comparisons and find out how it compares to your area.  For example, comparing San Fransisco with Sequim, you can see in the results above that Sequim is 52% cheaper than San Francisco, and housing is the biggest factor.  Housing is 75% cheaper in Sequim.

    Housing is not cheap in Sequim–it’s just that in some areas of California, housing is still grossly overpriced.  With all the talk of the housing recession, there are many areas of California where a basic three bedroom, two bath home is still one million dollars!  The same home in Sequim might be $250,000.  That’s 75% less than San Fransisco.

    Sequim Cost of Living Retirement Factor

    Retirees are calculating the cost of living, including housing and utilities, because they know that 10% or 20% or 50% in savings in the cost of living will add up over the years that they are retired.  I have clients in southern California who used this tool to narrow their focus and ultimately decide on Sequim.  They said they considered northern California, but the cost of housing and the general cost of living was still so much higher than Sequim.  But for them it was the implications of the cost of living for their quality of life.  Because the Sequim cost of living is so much lower, it will allow them to travel more and spend time doing the things they love.

    With the Sequim cost of living so much less than so many areas of the country, and with the cost of housing less than most areas, the final deciding factor for many retirees is the quality of life in Sequim.  The weather, i.e. the Rain Shadow, the short two hour drive to Seattle, the retiree community of volunteer activities, the extraordinary recreational opportunities, the fishing, boating, biking, hiking in the Olympic National Park, and so on, has created what has been published in many magazines with a title like this, “Sequim, One of the 10 Best Places to Retire.”

    Compare the Sequim cost of living with your area.

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  • What is Sequim Like?

    Sequim CraigslistWhat is Sequim like?  That’s an involved question, but here’s a little glimpse into Sequim’s lifestyle, a vignette, if you will, of a two-week span in the life of Sequim, represented by these “farm and garden” posts on the Sequim section of Craigslist.  Need I say more?  I love living here.

    Jun 23 – craftsman self propeled push mower, runs good –  $60 (sequim)  pic
    Jun 23 – Chicken Tractor An Affordable Coop – $250 (Sequim) pic img
    Jun 23 – 3 inch irrigation pipe with risers – $30 (Sequim Washington)
    Jun 21 – HORSE BOARDING – $400 (SEQUIM WA.)
    Jun 20 – SAVE THE DUMP FEE WE WANT YOUR METAL SMALL & BIG – (P.A. SEQUIM)
    Jun 20 – Pullets, Fryers, Cockerels – (Sequim) pic
    Jun 20 – 5 wine barrels – $60 (Sequim/PortAngeles)
    Jun 19 – Lawnmovers – $15 (Sequim, Port Angeles)
    Jun 18 – Good horse for lease – (Sequim)
    Jun 18 – WANTED EGGS – (Sequim)
    Jun 18 – guinea fowl wanted – (sequim)
    Jun 17 – Beautiful, Organic, screened Sequim Valley topsoil – $25 (Sequim)
    Jun 16 – Hydroponic Growing System – $250 (Sequim, WA 98382)
    Jun 15 – DR 10 hp Wood Chipper – $500 (Sequim) pic
    Jun 14 – Sheep Shearing – $8 (Sequim Wa)
    Jun 14 – Pigs – $2 (Sequim)
    Jun 12 – Pinzgauer Heifer – $800 (Sappho)
    Jun 11 – Dump Trailer – $4000 (Sequim WA)
    Jun 10 – HORSE BOARDING/LEASING – $400 (SEQUIM WA.) pic
    Jun 9 – Can I incubate some eggs for you? – (Port Angeles/Sequim)
    Jun 8 – Female PIG with FREE FOOD, good for 4H too! – $290 (Sequim)
    Jun 8 – Looking for Mini Saddle – (Sequim)

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  • When you take the ferry from Sequim to downtown Seattle, you’ll pass the Seattle shipyards.  Here’s a great view of the shipyards.  [Click on this photo to enlarge it.]

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  • It’s time for a break from Sequim real estate.  I don’t work all the time seven days a week on real estate.  I do have a life apart from real estate, and here’s a vignette of that life.  I spent the day with my daughter and her friends.  Imagine a daddy and five teenage girls who like to giggle and scream.

    We took a drive to Silverdale, a one hour drive, and had a great time.   Have you ever tried to order at the Dairy Queen drive-up window with a car load of giggly girls?  While the day belonged to the girls, I did make my mandatory stop at Silverdale’s Barnes and Noble bookstore.  Love that place.

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  • Sequim is home sweet home.  There’s nothing like traveling to another city in the country to remind me that Sequim is a great place to live.  I visited my son, Bristol, who lives in Las Vegas.  When he was young I was stationed at Nellis AFB as a Captain and JAG.  Nellis is in north Vegas.  The last time I was there was 1994.  As you might expect, there have been a few changes, like another half million homes.  Neighborhoods have changed.  Some have become gang and drug infested.  And of course there are entirely new developments–lot’s of them.

    Chuck Marunde with Son Bristol at Red Rock Canyon in Nevada

    Sequim doesn’t have gangs or major drug problems.  Sequim doesn’t have the traffic nightmares.  In Vegas, like Phoenix and Los Angeles, if you want to drive anywhere, it’s at least 45 minutes one way.  In Sequim, make that five minutes to any business or any friend’s home.  Give or take a few minutes.  Sequim has a few annoying billboards, but not like Vegas.  Vegas has got to be the billboard capital of the west, and guess what they are advertising in your face?  Let’s just say they aren’t pushing healthy lifestyles and whole wheat goodness.

    Sequim is green.  Vegas is not.  Sequim is a low crime city for sure.  In Vegas you need a security system, and you really ought to live inside a gated community.  Vegas has had a serious real estate crash.  Homes are down 30% to 70%.  Sequim prices are down, of course, but more like 10%, give or take.  Vegas is flooded with foreclosures.  Sequim is not.

    I will admit that the sun shines more in Vegas than in Sequim, even Rain Shadow Sequim.  And I’ll admit that we don’t have those incredible buffet lunches and dinners the Casinos sponsor.  They are good.

    Overall, I vote Sequim the winner–the best place to live, the best place to raise a family, and the best place to retire.  I enjoy visiting my son in Vegas and jogging in the desert, but I love living in Sequim.

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  • Sequim to Seattle

    I always enjoy the drive from Sequim to Seattle, because it’s a pleasant drive and only takes about two hours and 20 minutes.  There are four ways to get to Seattle from Sequim.  One is to fly from Fairchild International Airport in Port Angeles to SeaTac.  That’s okay if you’re flying out of SeaTac.  The second way is to drive south and around the the water and north to Seattle on the other side.  We fondly call that the other side of the pond.  That’s the way I normally go, because taking the Ferries doesn’t necessarily save time.  the third way is to take the Kingston ferry to Edmonds and then drive south on I-5 to Seattle.  The fourth way is to take the Bainbridge Island ferry to downtown Seattle.  This photos was taken from the Bainbridge ferry as we approached the Seattle dock downtown.  The loading and unloading docks for large ships is shown in this photo in the quiet dark of the evening.

    sequim_to_seattle

    The trip from Sequim to Seattle is always pleasant.  We don’t have much traffic, and even if you do end up on a holiday in rush hour, the traffic to and from Sequim is steady and rarely slow bumper-to-bumper.  If you want slow bumper-to-bumper, you’ll have to drive in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Kent, Edmonds or Bothell during rush hour.

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  • John Wayne Marina in Sequim, Washington is a special place, but not just for cabin cruisers, sailboats, and kayaks.   It’s also a special place to walk and enjoy the views and ambiance of autumn.   The leaves are changing colors, and there’s a chill in the early morning air.   The afternoons often warm up in the glow of the sun in our Rain Shadow as shown in this photo of John Wayne Marina.   Yes, that’s a couple in love on the beach.   Oh, to be young and in love again!

    There are many homes around and above John Wayne Marina, which makes the water view something to behold.   We are blessed here, because water views of this kind are a mere pittance in price compared to much of the California coast and even on the Seattle side.

    Read more about Sequim as one of the best places to retire and watch a video taken at the John Wayne Marina in Sequim.

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    Sequim Activities and Events

    The Best of Sequim
    [Yes, Sequim has a rain shadow and lots of sunshine.]
    (Photograph taken in the Olympic National Park by Chuck Marunde)
    1. City of Sequim
    2. Sequim Weather Right Now
    3. Sequim Schools
    4. Olympic Medical Center
    5. The Sequim Newspaper
    6. Dungeness Lighthouse
    7. Clallam County
    8. Sequim Senior Center
    9. Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center
    10. Dungenesss National Wildlife Refuge
    11. Olympic National Park
    12. Lavender Festival
    13. Irrigation Festival
    14. Washington State Ferries
    15. B.C. Ferries
    16. Homes-Land Magazine
    17. Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate Blog
    18. Sequim Churches

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  • Sequim Again Among 10 Best Places

    Sequim “merges culture and nature in the Pacific Northwest,” according to Newsmax magazine.   “Unique to Sequim are the magnificent lavender fields and festivals that delight the senses. Known as the ‘lavender capital of North America,’ Sequim (pronounced skwim) is just two hours north of Seattle, but sits in the ‘rain shadow’ of the Olympic Mountains. As a result, it gets just 16 inches of precipitation annually. Scenic adventures include exploring gorgeous Puget Sound and taking the 30-minute ferry ride to Victoria, Canada. Culture abounds with the Museum and Arts Center’s rotating exhibits and the Olympic Theatre Arts performances.”

    No surprise for those of us who live and love it here.

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    Adult Communities Reducing Age Limits

    With the real estate market stalled around the U.S., and with retirees unable to sell their homes in their retirement communities, will we begin to see a push to reduce the age restriction of 55 years old?   With a reduction in the minimum age there would be more potential buyers, and right now that sounds pretty attractive, not only to retirees who need to sell, but also to real estate developers who have built retirement communities but have been unable to sell out the projects.

    The Wall Street Journal wrote about this.   “The article focuses on the growing number of vacancies in the so-called active adult communities such as Century Village or Sun City. Typically, these enclaves require buyers to be at least 55 years old, and ban children under 19 as permanent residents. Lowering the age requirement is a way of expanding the market and reducing financial stress on the communities. The fewer the residents, the less money there is for mowing the lawn, cleaning the pools, and paying for the staff at the clubhouse. For people younger than 55, the attraction-along with the swimming pools, and the weight rooms unused by 80 somethings-is the comparatively reasonable prices of the adult communities. For example, in Century Village, Deerfield Beach, Florida, a two-bedroom condo goes for $40,000, quite a bargain even in the reduced state of today’s housing market.”   [Read quote from Psychology Today which looks at this issue from another perspective.]

    The Seattle Times published an article February 8, 2009, page E-1, entitled, A Youth Movement, about Century Village East in Deerfield Beach, Florida.   “Proponents of ‘age desegregation’ as it’s known in the industry, say opening the doors to those under 55 is the only way their once idyllic enclaves can stay afloat amid a worsening economic climate.”

    Leisure World in Mesa, Arizona, loosened its age requirements, and another, Arizona Traditions, is considering lowering its minimum age to 45.

    This is a logical move born out of necessity, so don’t be surprised if you see similar moves in Sequim or Port Angeles.

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    Why Are Californians Moving to Sequim?

    Sequim Medical FacilitiesMoving to Sequim is not just for retirees, but young families and singles.   Why move to Sequim from California?   That’s not hard to answer.   California was the dream of the west for decades, but not anymore according to many who are escaping.   Hundreds of thousands are leaving the Golden State.

    For Mike Reilly, “. . . years of rising taxes, dead-end schools, unchecked illegal immigration and clogged traffic have robbed the Golden State of its allure.   You see wages go down and the cost of living go up,” Reilly said. His property taxes will be $1,300 in Colorado, down from $4,300 on his three-bedroom house in Nipomo, about 80 miles up the coast from Santa Barbara. “The number of people leaving California for another state outstripped the number moving in from another state during the year ending on July 1, 2008. California lost a net total of 144,000 people during that period — more than any other state, according to census estimates. That is about equal to the population of Syracuse, N.Y.”   Barry Hartz, also from California said, “”The saddest thing I saw was the escalation of home prices to the point our kids, when they got married, could not live in the community where they lived and grew up.   Some people call that progress.”   [See Go East Young Man]

    Sequim’s low crime, sparse traffic, friendly community, low property taxes and reasonably priced real estate makes it a haven these days.   Of course, the rain shadow helps make this a sunny place to live with more gorgeous water views than almost anywhere you could life in the U.S.

    See Best Places to Retire:   Sequim, Washington
    Search the entire Sequim MLS for property for sale.

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    Best Places to Retire in the United States

    Best Places to RetireSequim, Washington has been repeatedly ranked as one of the best little towns in the United States to retire in. Having raised my own family here, I can testify to the fact that this is a wonderful little community away from all the crime and traffic congestion that drives most of us crazy.

    CNN Money Magazine named Sequim as one of the best places to retire.   “Located two hours north of Seattle, Sequim (pronounced skwim) offers a lower cost of living and an easier pace than its burgeoning neighbor to the south. For about $300,000, you can get a three-bedroom house there.”

    Sperlings Best Places [Sequim is the best place to live and retire]:   “I moved here from San Bernardino and San Diego, my uncle has lived here for 15 years and always bragged about it. So I checked it out. Best move I ever made. Beautiful, peaceful, deer, eagles, no crime. On the water across from Victoria Canada. Hiking, boating, don’t have to lock our doors at night, only downside is 25 mph speed limit, will drive you nuts. We have Walmart and Costco, Home Depot, and peace and quiet.”

    Sequim – Best Places to Retire Video filmed at the John Wayne Marina in Sequim.

    Sequim Resources website on Best Places to Retire – Sequim.

    Retirement Resources in Sequim – All FREE.

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    Sequim and Port Angeles Classifieds Upgrade

    The online classified ads service for Sequim and Port Angeles has received a major upgrade and is more user friendly and even fun to use. This service is great for anyone selling anything, including real estate, cars and trucks, furniture, appliances, dogs, farm animals, electronics, sporting goods, anything. Of course, it’s great for anyone looking to buy, too.

    This is a free service sponsored by Chuck Marunde and Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, LLC. “We’re in tough economic times, and this is one small way to help people and business owners in Sequim and Port Angeles connect with buyers,” said Chuck Marunde.

    Port Angeles and Sequim Classified Ads Online
    Port Angeles and Sequim Classified Ads Online

    If you’re a business, and you want to promote your business online free, just register and type your product or service description (with good persuasive sales script), and you can even include a photo of your business or your staff or your product, and don’t forget to include a link to your website!

    Asked how this compares to Craigslist, Chuck explained, “You also get a free service with Craigslist, but that is not a niche for our little area, and frankly most people don’t find Craigslist all that user friendly. It can be very hard to find anything on Craigslist with billions of ads, and now a lot of commercial spam on Craigslist. In addition, while many swear by Craigslist, talk to a 100 people in Sequim or Port Angeles, and you’ll find only a few actually use Craigslist on a regular basis.”

    Sequim & Port Angeles Classifieds is a great service, and because everything for sale is in Sequim or Port Angeles, it doesn’t get any more useful and searchable.

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    Sequim and Port Angeles home sales have slowed down–no doubt about it.   We see how much of the real estate market has crashed in other parts of the country, but Sequim and Port Angeles have some good news.   It’s not all so terrible here.   Take a look at home sales in the month of September for the past four years.

    This past month, September of 2008, 41 homes sold in Sequim and 35 homes sold in Port Angeles.   Not bad considering.

    [Source of Data:   Olympic Listing Service]

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    Sequim WeatherHere is an insider’s view of why Sequim is such a wonderful place to live.   I’ll share seven reasons I love Sequim, and why you might love it, too.

    1.   Sequim is a beautiful and peaceful community with water views, mountains, and old growth forests;

    2.   Sequim has retirement communities, lots and homes built to suit retirees in close proximity to shopping and community activities (but you can also buy a farm or 5 acres outside of town);

    3.   Sequim’s school district is one of the best in the country, and the children are all above average (4 of them are mine);

    4.   Sequim has an extremely low crime rate, and you’ll feel like you went back in time 30 years;

    5.   Sequim doesn’t suffer the traffic nightmares of most cities (do you love the country?);

    6.   Sequim has great weather and is popular for its rain shadow, meaning it gets about a third of the rain fall of Seattle; and

    7.   Sequim has an amazing variety of recreational activities, such as fishing, boating, bicycling, hiking, flying, marathons, dog shows, farmer’s markets, boat races, bird watching, hikes into the Olympic National Park, skiing at Hurricane Ridge, short ferry rides to Victoria, B.C., horse riding, lavender farms, great motorcycle rides around the Peninsula, more volunteer activies than one can list here, dozens of hobby groups and clubs, and just about anything you can imagine for every age group.

    [Photo by Chuck Marunde, John Wayne Marina in Sequim]

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  • Retire in Sequim – A Retirement Haven

    Retire in SequimSequim is a very popular retirement community.   We have the so-called “rain shadow” and pilots talk about the hole in the sky over Sequim all the time. Our sunny weather is wonderful, although it doesn’t rain in the northwest nearly as much as people think.   I’ve rarely been in Seattle when it was actually raining.   A few times yes, but many more times no.

    We’re away from the nightmare traffic of the I-5 and I-405 corridors of the Seattle and Tacoma metropolitan areas.   Since Sequim is on the northern Olympic Peninsula just over two hours drive from Sea-Tac International Airport, it is a rural or country setting.   Being on the Peninsula, we get less traffic, because we don’t get people passing through on their way from one place to another.

    We have the beautiful Olympic Mountains and the Olympic National Park with old growth trees in a natural and protected environment.   We have the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the John Wayne Marina, and water views galore.

    We have more recreational activities than almost anywhere in the country, biking, jogging, hiking, surfing, boating, sky diving, mountain climbing, fishing, golfing, incredible motorcycle roads around the Peninsula, restaurants you won’t forget, and the list goes on.

    We have more volunteers in various community activities than I’ve ever seen anywhere I’ve lived.   I was invited as an attorney to talk to a group a while back, and I was introduced to a few people, including a retired rocket scientist (yes, they really exist), a retired CEO of a large California company, a retired Army General, and a wealthy inventor, all of whom were great conversationalist.   That was just one little luncheon.

    There are so many activities, groups, and associations for retired people, I won’t take the space here to write about them, but you’ll find everything from gardening to building experimental planes.

    Retirees are happy to find land here where they can build their dream homes.   Right now Sequim has a large inventory of lots for sale.   Of course, the market has slowed down everywhere, and because a number of developers started their projects here several years ago, buyers now have a great selection of lots available, and at reasonable prices.   There are water view lots, mountain view lots, high bluff water frontage, gated communities, private acreage surrounded by trees, open farmland for sale, ranch property for sale, and let’s face it–this is a buyer’s market.

    I am seeing a very significant percentage of our buyers coming from California and Arizona, and many are professionals who know what they want.   I also have been enjoying working with people who are wealthy and/or famous who love the beauty and privacy they find here, and the anonymity they can have here.

    Sequim is a great place to retire.   No doubt about it.   Use my websites and blogs to read more about Sequim and Port Angeles.     See SequimPortAngeles.com.

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    Sequim – Close The Gates

    What is the future of Sequim? What is the vision for Sequim? Will Sequim have a robust economic plan for the future, with the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce facilitating a powerful mission statement?

    A recent letter from Ron and Susie Chapman to the Sequim Gazette raised this argument:

    “We moved from Juneau, Alaska, because the place we called home for over 30 years also ‘had a dream’ that envisioned cruise ships and the wealth they would bring to our town. . . . The last four years saw the number of tourists climb, some days there were over 10,000 tourists. The local people were run out of all our favorite places by helicopters, a never-ending line of smelly diesel buses and guided tour vans. . . . All the small grocery, clothing shops and restaurants that were once open year-round were bought up by big companies . . . It was really a sad sight; a once vital part of the community was gone because a few ‘had a dream.'”

    Interesting letter from the Chapmans. I think we can appreciate their point, but I do think that one of our great challenges is thinking clearly about challenging issues of the day, like the future vision of Sequim or Port Angeles. I think if we sat down with the Chapmans, they would agree with what I am thinking, but their letter does seem a bit lopsided without considering a more balanced and articulate argument. Here’s what I’m talking about.

    The rapid growth that they spoke of and that they did not like has many facets.

    First, if I had a nice retirement pension (or a large state salary and benefits, which is largely what Juneau is as the capital) and moved into a quiet little peaceful community, and it grew as the Chapmans describe, I too would be disappointed. But I have learned there is much more to the world than my small universe. There are others to consider, and the world does not revolve around me. I learned that the hard way, the school of hard knocks as they say. But I sympathize with the Chapmans. Still they were able to pick up and move to Sequim, which is not exactly table scraps for most of us. Living in Sequim is not what I would consider punishment or banishment from Juneau, Alaska. (I lived in Tok, Alaska. Imagine that!)

    Second, while the Chapmans have colored such growth in the most negative light, many hard working businessmen who support their families by catering to tourism and to all the related and effected service industries, have been abundantly blessed a 1,000 times over financially. And this blessing occurred while many in the world and in this great country are going bankrupt and their families are often torn apart in the ensuing chaos. Many are losing their homes to foreclosures. Would those of us who are caught up in such growth choose rather to curse the prosperity and end the blessings for those less fortunate?

    Third, the Chapmans argument is part of a much older argument that is made in small beautiful towns across America. It has been repeated in Sequim 1,000’s of times. “Close the gate and lock it! We don’t want any more people here!” But we do not have that choice. I would say, “When you have your own planet, you can make the rules. Until then, we must let people come.”

    Fourth, the Chapmans, in fact, had the freedom of choice to stay in Juneau, or to move to Sequim. Frankly, I’m glad they came to Sequim. This is a wonderful community, much better in a thousand ways than cold, land-locked Juneau. But most of all I’m glad such good people decided to join our community.

    Fifth, the Chapmans argument that someone who “had a dream” was foundationally responsible for the incredible economic growth that Juneau has seen is probably not a very good argument. Economic growth did not happen because someone like Martin Luther King had a dream. Having dreams or visions come in all sizes and shapes, and alone such dreams do nothing. The kind of economic growth that occurred was the result of 100’s of residents and business owners vigorously working to accomplish something very big. It was no accident such growth occurred, and it took a lot of hard work by many people over a long period of time. It cannot be dismissed by a simple statement that it was caused by someone who “had a dream.”

    Sixth, the Chapmans are assuming that such growth is bad. But are there others who would say, “We are so grateful for the growth that we have and the millions of dollars that are pumped into our little economy every summer, and thank God we all started talking years ago about how to attract more people to our beautiful city.”

    I guess my point is that simple statements often are really much more of a very personal reflection on one person’s lifestyle preferences, and so we ought to be careful when we throw a blanket of powerful reasoning on top of grand concepts held by others. A microcosm does not give us all the relevant data to build a macro-economic model. Examples of what has happened in other cities, such as Juneau, is instructive, but by no means the end of the subject. It is nothing more than one example of how some are negatively impacted by economic growth, seasonal or not.

    But, I think the Chapmans would agree with me. Their letter to the editor was limited by space. They did not have the opportunity to discourse at length as I have here.

    Chuck Marunde, J.D.
    Broker/Owner
    Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, LLC
    618 South Peabody St., Suite I
    Port Angeles, WA 98362
    (360) 775-5424
    chuckmarunde@gmail.com
    SequimPortAngeles.com

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  • Filed under: Sequim Future
  • Are Homes Selling in Sequim and Port Angeles?

    Are homes selling in Sequim and Port Angeles? In the first four months of this year sales are down. We all know that. I was going to write, “That’s not front page news,” but it still is. The market has taken a beating around the country, especially because of the mortgage fiasco. When sales slow down in California, Arizona, Texas, and around Seattle, our buyers have to postpone their plans to purchase their retirement homes here.

    But exactly how much is Sequim and Port Angeles down in home sales? Here I compare the first quarter of each year since 2000.

    This chart shows that home sales for Sequim and Port Angeles combined for January through April of 2008 are at pre-2003 levels. But let’s face it–the real estate market really took off in 2003 through 2005 with great residual through 2007.

    The market is down. No doubt. But consider this: in the first four months of this year 166 houses sold in Sequim and Port Angeles. Buyers are still arriving. That is good. Those who are at the retirement point and have planned to move here, are still coming, unless their real estate market is so slow they can’t sell their homes.

    The economy and the real estate market in the U.S. is amazingly resilient. I predict a reasonably good real estate market through the spring and summer in Sequim and Port Angeles. It is an excellent time to buy, and if you’re selling, a good home in a good area has not lost value in these past months. The threshold of value remains strong.

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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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