Sequim Real Estate in Sunny Sequim, Washington

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How To Negotiate Like An Expert

Whether you are buying or selling a home in Sequim or Port Angeles, you want the best price you can get. Of course, price is one of many negotiable terms, and you want a clean transaction that closes as soon as possible. Buying or selling a home is not like going to a garage sale where you might get that used paperback for 50 cents or 75 cents, but either price is acceptable. A typical 3 bedroom, 2 bath home can easily be priced at $325,000 or $600,000, depending on the location and the market, and the price you ultimately negotiate involves big stakes, perhaps the biggest you have ever played.

Knowing how to negotiate the price and each term of a transaction could mean 10 to 50 thousand dollars to you. This is no time for a garage sale mentality. The last thing you want to do if you are representing yourself as a buyer or seller is to go up against someone on the other side who has 20 or 30 years of experience negotiating. You will lose, although your opponent will make you think you won. By the way, if you have a real estate agent representing you, don’t assume your agent is a master negotiator. Most are not. It takes years of experience to acquire the skills.

One of my favorite movies is the classic, “The Princess Bride.” Early in the movie the two stars face each other in a thrilling sword fight. They are both extremely good, and leap and dance with grace and skill that is delightful to watch. At one point in the battle, one of the swordsman asked his opponent why he is smiling, and the response is, “Because I know something you don’t.” “What is that?” The answer from the left handed swordsman is, “I am not left handed. I am right handed,” at which point he quickly tosses his sword into his right hand, and the battle continues.

A master negotiator will smile while he negotiates, but he will not reveal he is a master negotiator. In fact, he may have practiced a bit of a stutter or slow talking, and he will appear so average. He learned not to seem too smooth. He also knows something you don’t. He knows how human nature negotiates. He knows the patterns. He’s seen the pattern hundreds of times, and your behavior is quite predictable, although you don’t even know that he knows how you will respond and counter.

You may say, “No one knows how I will negotiate. Even I don’t know yet.” Oh, but he does know. He is often able to predict with an accuracy of 70% to 90% how negotiations will proceed and what the final outcome will be. But of course, he will not reveal any of this to you . . . ever.

Here is a simple example, which actually occurs regularly, but there are many nuances that an expert negotiator learns. The nuances are a function of the parties’ motivation, experience, and financial status.

A home is listed for sale at $425,000. The actual FMV (fair market value) is only $405,000, but the seller thinks that he has to start high to negotiate down. Almost all sellers make that mistake. A lot of real estate agents do, too. The buyer happens to have an expert negotiator in his corner, and knows the FMV is in the range of $395,000 to $410,000. The buyer is not going to pay more than FMV, and would prefer a little lower price since the market has stalled and prices may drop a little in the months ahead.

The buyer’s negotiator writes the offer at $380,000. The buyer is willing to pay more, but his negotiator knows the seller will typically meet them halfway in a counteroffer, $400,000. While the seller is having all kinds of discussions at his end about how this is his lowest price, yadda yadda, the buyer’s negotiator doesn’t care, because he knows something the seller doesn’t know. He knows the seller typically will come down again.

Buyer’s counter now meets the seller halfway again at $390,000, and seller (after agonizing) counters at $395,000. Buyer’s negotiator had already prepared his client for this eventuality, so this has all played out just as planned for the buyer. Unfortunately, the seller thinks this is all new ground, and that he has everything under control. That’s precisely what the buyer’s negotiator wants the seller to think.

Are we done? No. The buyer’s negotiator had a discussion with his client in the very beginning about the carpet in the living room. The buyer would like new carpet. Continuing to implement their original plan, the buyer now counters one last time, accepting the price of $395,000, provided the seller gives the buyer a $2,500 credit for carpet in the living room. The seller now exhausted emotionally by this whole process, and having already gone through the negative experience of having his house on the market for 216 days with no offers, is not going to kill the transaction over $2,500.

The buyer wins, and the buyer wins precisely as his negotiator had coached him. To this day the seller still does not know how this was orchestrated, or even that it was. The seller found the whole experience very stressful, and of course it would be, because one of the greatest sources of stress is uncertainty. The buyer had a very pleasant experience throughout, because he knew what to expect and what he was willing to do, and he knew the outcome he wanted. He got that outcome, and so the buyer lived happily ever after.

Do you have a master negotiator in your corner? I hope so.

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Christmas Reflections: Blessings Overshadow Suffering

For most people Christmas is a time of celebration, gifts, and family. It is a time for good food, laughter, and recreation. Families gather from all corners of the country to crowd around a large dining room table, chit chat, reminisce, and tell a few stories. Children anticipate with excitement what it will be like to open their presents. A few impatient children have already stolen a peak at one or more of their presents, but they tell no one.
Parents rush about cooking and hosting, and some finish late shopping and wrapping. Grandparents sit back observing it all, basking in the glow of their progeny, the most perfect little grandchildren on the earth, the rewards of a lifetime of work and loyalty.

Alas, Christmas is not so joyous for many Americans. Millions are alone this Christmas. Many have lost a son or daughter in the war. When you lose a child, there are no words to express the sorrow. I know. I lost my own precious son this year. There are many around the country who have suffered great loss this year.

The unemployed, those who are losing their homes to foreclosure, families that are disintegrating, those who have lost everything because of a natural disaster, and the homeless all need our mercy and love during the holidays. There is nothing so lonely as to be without and all alone while others broadcast their happiness, their material blessings, and their great family gatherings.

If you see someone hurting, stop to encourage them; someone with an old coat, trade it for your Eddie Bower; someone who is hungry, take them to a restaurant and feed them until they are full, then buy them dessert. If you know of someone who faces their first Christmas after suffering a great loss, share your love with them in several small ways. Consider going to a senior citizens home to visit on Christmas eve or Christmas day, and take a few small gifts to give to the ones who seem most alone.

We all have so much to be thankful for this Christmas. While I have lost my son, I also count my blessings, because I have two incredible boys and the most beautiful daughter in the whole world. If you have been abundantly blessed, too, do not keep your joy to yourself. Share it by giving to those who are less fortunate than you. You’ll be glad you did, and this could just be the best Christmas you’ve ever had.

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Sequim and Port Angeles Traps for the Unwary

Real Estate Traps for the Unwary
By Real Estate Attorney Chuck E. Marunde, J.D. (Ret.)
Port Angeles, Washington, and Sunny Sequim, Washington

Trap for the Unwary #1: The Trespassing Fence
Trap for the Unwary #2: The Trespassing Driveway
Trap for the Unwary #3: Timber Trespass
Trap for the Unwary #4: The Good Samaritan
Trap for the Unwary #5: Encroaching Branches
Trap the the Unwary #6: Road Maintenance
Trap for the Unwary #7: View Easements
Trap for the Unwary #8: Speed Bumps
Trap for the Unwary #9: Private Well on Vacant Land
Trap for the Unwary #10: Shared Wells
Trap for the Unwary #11: Well Circles
Trap for the Unwary #12: Buying Vacant Land

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Real Estate v. Stock as an Investment

If you do a search on the Internet, you will discover that the majority of articles argue that stocks have smashed real estate as a long-term investment. They will quote statistics by various companies which are totally focused on stocks. The bias is blatant. While there clearly are years in which stocks have out performed real estate, one of the major reasons I argue real estate is a better long term investment is ignored in all these comparisons on the Internet.

This may be the best single reason to invest in real estate. Some retirees have lost much of their retirement fund in a crashing stock market (April 2001), many have lost much of their retirement as the result of tech hyperbole pushed by venture capitalists and major brokerage houses, and some have lost all of their retirement fund through corporate accounting fraud. This last one is the most important reason to invest in real estate, or at least not to put all your eggs in the stock market basket. This makes real estate not just a little better as an investment but 10,000 times better. How can you compare two investments where one can just disappear through economic disaster, fraud, or other criminal acts, and the other cannot disappear because it is a piece of the earth. Real estate simply doesn’t suffer the kind of fraud and non-economic tragedies of stocks.

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New Construction in Sequim and Port Angeles

New construction of homes in Sequim and Port Angeles has slowed with the pause in the real estate market, but exactly what does the volume of new construction look like recently, and how does that compare to the historical record? Here is the data. Click on Graphs to Enlarge.

For the same time period, the average sales price is represented by this graph:

New construction from 2000 through November of 2007, which gives us the bigger picture is represented by the following two charts, first sales volume and then average price. Click on Graphs to Enlarge.

Data courtesy of Real Market Data. One caveat regarding the definition of “new construction” in their data: New construction only includes first time sales of land and home together. In other words, new construction is when a builder owns the lot and builds a house and sells the package together. Their data does not include the construction of a new home on land purchased separately. That could include a significant percentage of the market in Clallam County as many people first purchase their lot and then hire a building contractor. Probably what is most significant about the data in these charts is the trend. The depiction of this trend is probably a good reflection of the overall new construction market.

Sales volume appears somewhat erratic from month to month, but that is because this is a small market compared to Pierce or King County. You will see one month at just over $1 million and another month over $3 million. The difference may be three or four houses, or it could be just one.

The longer history is probably the most revealing. Seven years ago the average price of new construction was about $150,000 and now it is about twice that at $300,000. The new construction momentum can be seen in this seven year volume history in 2004, 2005, and 2006. While we see a slow down in current months, 2007 was certainly respectable. It remains to be seen how this coming season of new construction going into the spring of 2008 will develop.

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How Important Are Photographs?
(Photo to left is an example of a great photo. Click on photo to see detail.)
True story. My clients arrived in town from another state, and they only had two days to look at homes. Of course, like 84% of all home buyers today, they already viewed many homes before they ever got here, all on the Internet.

The first day we viewed seven homes they had identified as possibilities from their Internet search. The second day, we talked at breakfast for a couple of hours, because the seven did not make it through their second set of filters. The photographs that the listing agents had posted on the MLS for each of those seven homes did not adequately represent the homes. You could not tell from the photographs what the area outside the homes looked like from different perspectives, you did not get a complete view of the exterior of the homes, and there were only three or four photographs of the interior of the home. Most of these photos were so poor in perspective and lighting, you definitely were not getting a good “picture” of the homes.

On the second day, we searched our MLS one more time before these good clients headed back to their home state. I decided to take them on a tour through a few of our neighborhoods that I thought might appeal to their interests. There was a listing in one of these areas that was within their general parameters, but the photos painted a picture in our minds of an owner built home with insufficient windows, and even a little ugly. The living room was dark and did not appear comfortable or welcoming. The RV barn looked like it might have been old with ancient siding.

Near the end of the day while driving past this last listing, we decided to give the owners a call and see if we could take a quick peak at it, expecting to see the house depicted in the photos. Alas, the home was not at all like the photos. In fact, the living room had a gigantic window with a gorgeous water view. Can you imagine that not being highlighted by a listing agent?

The rest of the house was so beautiful, I could go on and on, but I won’t. The RV barn was actually brand new, but the photo was so distorted, it made the exterior of the barn appear old when it was really beautiful. The Accessory Dwelling Unit for guests was the cutest little cabin my clients had seen in a long time, but it was never depicted in any of the photos on the listing either.

While my clients and I are pleased the photos were so bad, it probably discouraged many other ready, willing, and able buyers from even viewing the home, it is too bad for the owners. Most owners don’t know the importance of good photographs, and simply do not know whether their real estate agent has done a fabulous job promoting their home with great photos or not.

It is not difficult to learn to take good photographs, but for any owner who wants to sell their home and get the best possible price in the least amount of time, it is absolutely critical that their agent understands the importance of outstanding photos. After viewing thousands of listings over 30 years, it is my estimate that 70% of all MLS photographs are terribly insufficient and do not adequately promote the best features of the homes. If that one buyer never looks at your home, you still own it. It’s something to think about when you hire an agent.

Chuck Marunde, J.D.
Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate
Port Angeles, Washington

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The Neighbor From Hell

It is very unfortunate that good people often end up living next door to the “neighbor from hell,” which I’ll abbreviate as NFH. This NFH fights wrongly over boundary lines, road easements, view easements, survey markers, tree branches overhanging the boundary line, set backs, and on and on. I use the word “wrongly” because the NFH is not dealing with the facts truthfully.

What is really quite amazing is that the behavior of the NFH is incredibly predictable. You don’t have to be a psychologist to recognize an amazingly consistent pattern of behavior over 20 years of practicing law.

The reason this is so significant is because 99.99% of the clients who are in a conflict with the NFH do not realize the pattern of dysfunctional behavior, and as a result they get very frustrated and angry over what is actually quite predictable. Understanding this NFH is one of the keys to dealing with the frustration, but even more significant . . . it is one of the great keys to successfully dealing with the NFH. Lawyers who do not understand that will cost you a fortune in attorney’s fees on the litigation merry-go-round.

Here is the consistent Profile of the Neighbor From Hell:

  1. He is arrogant.

  2. He is aggressive.

  3. He is completely self-absorbed.

  4. He is an intimidator.

  5. He is obnoxious.

  6. He is totally unconcerned about any neighbor.

  7. The only thing that matters is that he can do what he wants.

  8. The rights of a neighbor are irrelevant to him.

  9. He will violate local zoning regulations and building codes without hesitation, but will report a neighbor immediately for any violation.

  10. He will lie and misrepresent facts to government officials or a judge.

  11. His wife is normally his doormat and has been for a long marriage.

  12. He will create nuisances for his neighbors and completely reject any polite requests to stop.

  13. He is a master manipulator.

  14. He has a PhD. in street smarts.

  15. He will always retain an attorney who is also obnoxious and will misrepresent the facts boldly in court.

  16. He is NOT reasonable or rational.

  17. He will NOT be reasoned with.

  18. He will often do things that good neighbors would never even think of doing, such as poisoning strawberry plants in the dark, removing survey markers when no one is around, shooting potted plants with a pellet gun, poisoning fruit trees with salt stakes, sending in pornographic magazine subscriptions for elderly female neighbors as though the subscriptions came from the ladies, stealing mail, putting large stones in one’s driveway, pouring paint in the driveway puddles, driving a vehicle over one’s new lawn and spinning out to leave damage, throwing beer bottles and other garbage over the fence, plugging up one’s irrigation line to cause flooding, tearing down one’s fence in the dark, letting the air out of a vehicle’s tires, and on and on and on. All of these scenarios come from actual cases I handled.

  19. He is a master at playing mind games, obviously.

  20. He thrives on ugly conflict, although he pretends not to.

  21. He is willing to spend thousands on attorney’s fees to satisfy his perverse whims in a fight with a good neighbor.

  22. He knows that judges do not understand that such dysfunctional behavior can be covered up with an honest and perfectly polite disposition in the court room. After all, he has been fooling people for his whole life, and it has been working the vast majority of the time. Judges are very easy to fool, although they pretend to be wise on such matters.

  23. His behavior is rewarded the majority of the time, and so he is boldly confident that he will once again win. And he often does.

  24. He knows good people often give up the fight early or before the end.

  25. He will trick his neighbor by saying or doing one thing and later completely denying that he ever said or did such a thing, and there are never any witnesses to support the good neighbor.

  26. His lies under oath are incredibly good, because they are lengthy, full of detail, supported by multiple consistent lies, and are stated with persuasive apparent honesty and openness. See Example.

Should you ever have to deal with a neighbor from hell, it is absolutely critical that your attorney understand human behavior and psychology enough to know how to deal with this kind of opponent. Simply dealing with a NFH from a purely factual and legal basis will cause you tremendous frustration, and a lot more legal fees than necessary.

The solution is not just legal. The solution is half psychology and have legal. It is unfortunate that there is no mention of human behavior or psychology in law school or in the continuing legal education courses required by State bar associations. Isn’t that interesting?

More Resources:

Neighbor Blocks Easement With Gate
Neighbor Installs Speed Bump on Shared Easement
Neighbor Drives Across Property Without Permission
How to Deal With the Neighbor

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Adverse Possession

When the United States was rapidly growing and land was plentiful, adverse possession was a public policy promoting the efficient use and development of land. That policy no longer seems to have any validity today, but the doctrine is still alive and well.

Adverse possession, like an easement by prescription, is a means of owning property by using it exclusively for at least 10 years. Here are the basic elements copied from a trial brief I did in a boundary dispute:

In order to establish her adverse claim, plaintiff must meet the burden of proof (a preponderance of the evidence) by establishing each and every element of adverse possession under RCW 4.16.020 and as defined in our state courts. The burden of proving the “existence of each element of adverse possession is on the claimant.” Hunt v. Matthews, 8 Wn. App. 233, 238, 505 P.2d 819 (1973). See also Lloyd v. Montecucco, 83 Wn. App. 846, 924 P.2d 927 (1996); ITT Rayonier, Inc. v. Bell, 112 Wn.2d 754, 757, 774 P.2d 6 (1989); Anderson v. Hudak at 404-405 citing Chaplin v. Sanders, 100 Wn.2d 853, 676 P.2d 431 (1984); Stokes v. Kummer, 85 Wn. App. 682, – P.2d – (1997); Bryant v. Palmer Coking Coal Co., 86 Wn. App. 204, – P.2d – (1997).

In order to establish a claim of adverse possession, there must be possession for ten years that is: (1) open and notorious, (2) actual and uninterrupted, (3) exclusive, and (4) hostile. ITT Rayonier, Inc. v. Bell, 112 Wn.2d 754, 757, 774 P.2d 6 (1989). See also Lloyd v. Montecucco, 83 Wn.App. 846, 924 P.2d 927 (1996); Anderson v. Hudak at 404-405 citing Chaplin v. Sanders, 100 Wn.2d 853, 676 P.2d 431 (1984); Stokes v. Kummer, 85 Wn. App. 682, – P.2d – (1997); Bryant v. Palmer Coking Coal Co., 86 Wn. App. 204, – P.2d – (1997).

A quiet title action is not always the answer to a boundary dispute, a claim of property or a claim of an easement. There are other causes of action and legal issues to consider as you can see in this Quiet Title Checklist.

In Washington you do not have to have a survey when you buy real estate. I’m not suggesting that we should. Claims of adverse possession are so common in Washington, it does make a person stop and seriously consider whether a surveyor should be hired and whether all boundary markers should be identified before committing to close on the property. Even doing all of this does not put you in the save zone, because there are so many incorrect surveys where the corners are wrong or the boundary is off so many inches or fees. There are also many cases where there are two surveys, an old one and a new and correct one, but the orange flags or markers of the original survey are still there marking what appears to be the true corners or boundaries. There is a tremendous volume of litigation in this area. Sequim and Port Angeles have more than their share of adverse possession claims.

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Elderly Couple Ripped Off By Contractor

Having a home built by a contractor can be a good or a bad experience. When it is bad, it is often very bad. The following story is a synthesis of many true client stories in Washington. I wrote this as part of a newsletter in June of 2001, but I could have written it yesterday.

Once upon a time there was a lovely retired couple who found their dream property on which they decided to build the home they had planned for many years. Every nook and cranny of their retirement home had been meticulously designed. This would be their dream come true. Her kitchen and pantry was perfect, and his garage had built in shelves. Already, they could envision their grandchildren playing in the back yard surrounded by the red, yellow, and purple flowers and luscious green grass and shrubs. In their imaginations, they had the garden planted and the furniture arranged in every room in the house. Excitement was building for the couple who had worked long and hard to save enough to build their dream. All their labor and patience would now pay off, and they would live happily forever in their little home, which they thought might some day be pictured in Home & Garden magazine.

They talked to the grocery store clerk about getting a referral for a good builder. The clerk was unable to help them so they sought a referral from a nice lady also doing her laundry at the local Laundromat. She suggested the yellow pages, which proved to be full of names of builders. Not knowing which one to choose, they picked one with the same last name as their best friends in California. The builder turned out to be very nice and quite knowledgeable. He readily agreed to bid lower than anyone else, and this only proved to the couple that he was in fact also the best builder in the area.

The lovely couple signed a one page agreement entitled “Bid” with their builder and gave him a large check as a down payment. They then went to the bank to arrange a line of credit so the builder could take out his draws as he built the house.

Many months after the home was to be completed and after many “extras” and other cost overruns, which the couple refused to pay, the builder walked off the job even though the house was only 93% complete. The lovely couple were quite frustrated and distraught. Not knowing what else to do, they sought a referral for a good attorney. After paying their new attorney a retainer and agreeing to pay large sums of money each and every month so long as their retirement pension should hold out, they went to live in their unfinished home, although it did not yet have an occupancy permit.

This story is all too often repeated in Washington. Anyone can apply and get a contractor’s license if they pay a small fee and obtain a measly $12,000 bond. There are many excellent builders, but a few who tarnish the industry’s reputation and destroy some people’s dream. The nightmare stories are endless. A Woodinville woman, who wanted a better home for her severely disabled son, said her house was $243,000 over budget. Another couple were presented with an extra bill of $150,000, which they promptly paid because they did not want any conflict. A Longview man said his wife suffered a physical and emotional breakdown. The Washington attorney general’s office said it recorded 9,000 complaints about builders since 1990. In a recent year there were 1,361 complaints, and there is no question that many people do not go through the trouble of filing a complaint with the attorney general’s office.

The problem can grow into the greatest nightmare a couple ever has, and it regularly does. Do not misunderstand the intent of this author. It is not to discourage you from building your dream home. It is not to malign builders, because out of the estimated 44,000 builders in Washington, there are many outstanding builders. My purpose is simply to help you practice a preventive approach, and with a little effort avoid a stressful nightmare.

The nightmare involves a series of traps for the unwary with implications most don’t even consider. Often the home is 90 to 95% complete when the builder walks off the job. The builder is claiming the owner won’t release the last draw from the bank, and so he won’t finish the house until the owner agrees to pay the builder. The owner is claiming the builder has made numerous mistakes in the construction of the house, that the builder has been rude and offensive throughout the process, that he has not paid suppliers and laborers and as a result there are now threats of liens by these suppliers and subcontractors, and that the builder wants $7,000 or $25,000 or $56,000 more because of “extras” which the owner never authorized and the builder never discussed with the owner.

The homeowner next sees an attorney. Letters and phone calls to the builder get nowhere, and a lawsuit is commenced against the builder. The builder has an attorney who files counterclaims against the owner, and the litigation that ensues is both expensive and time consuming, not to mention stressful.

Avoid litigation at all costs, because no matter the result, you will be unhappy. Homeowners rarely win their case entirely and rarely recover their attorney’s fees. It just doesn’t happen. The best practice is preventive. Be absolutely certain the builder you hire is competent and trustworthy. The lowest bidder is not always your best choice. Due diligence in finding the right builder is worth taking the time to do it right.

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  • Filed under: Contractor
  • Real Estate Excise Tax Fraud

    Some real estate investors may be committing fraud in King and Pierce Counties, as well as other counties throughout Washington. Real estate excise tax is due upon the sale of real estate in every county in the State. When an investor structures a transaction to avoid the excise tax without a legitimate excise tax exemption, he commits real estate excise tax fraud, a serious offense.

    Get ready for this. The state knows this fraud is occurring, and is collecting copies of suspected files for possible prosecution by the county prosecutors or the state attorney general. Real estate gurus who travel the country and tout their unique methods that can make investors rich quick are often teaching these fraudulent techniques.
    The Washington Administrative Code (WAC) in Chapter 458-61A defines how all this works. The tax is due upon the immediate transfer of real estate or any interest in real estate according to Chapter 458-61A-100. To make sure everyone understands exactly what a sale is, the state defines it in Chapter 458-61A-102. The excise tax is not due on an option to sell real estate.

    Many of the exemptions are found in Chapters 458-61A-200 through 217. A popular exemption is the transfer of real estate into a revocable living trust. This is a great way to avoid probate and maintain confidentiality of the estate inventory. However, some real estate investors have completed the Excise Tax Affidavit claiming the trust exemption when it is really intended to be a transfer from a troubled property owner to the investor. That is excise tax fraud. Another fraudulent approach is the seminar gurus’ concept of a “land trust.” The seminar gurus who teach this pretend they have a new concept. They recommend creating a land trust, and they get the owner to sign a deed transferring the property into the trust, but nothing is recorded or reported to the excise tax office.

    Whenever a property owner signs a deed, whether it is a quit claim deed, a special warranty deed, a statutory warranty deed, or any kind of deed transferring the real estate ownership to someone else or a trust (not specifically exempted in the WAC), the excise tax is due whether the deed is recorded or not. The deed must be recorded within 30 days or there will be penalties and interest. If the excise tax is avoided through investor shenanigans, it is excise tax fraud, and you could end up with a civil and possibly a criminal prosecution.

    Of course, the real estate investor is trying to purchase as many properties as possible with as little money as possible, and then flip the properties for a quick profit. Avoiding the excise tax is part of that plan. In Peirce and King Counties, buying foreclosure properties at the trustee’s sale has gotten so competitive, many properties are selling at or above fair market value. [I’ve attended these trustee’s sales (and conducted some), and the crowds and competition has almost destroyed the great investment opportunity this once presented.] Investors who are intentionally or naively committing excise tax fraud are doing so in the pre-foreclosure transaction. In other words, they find owners in distress, and cut a deal with them by selling them on the idea of saving their property from foreclosure, taking over the payments, giving the owner a token amount to help them move on, and then the investor does some cosmetics and flips the house for a small profit.

    Some investors plan to have the owner/seller sign original documents at closing when the investors sells the house to someone else, and the deed they had the owner sign was placed in their file as protection if the owner changed his mind. In this case the excise tax is paid when the original owner sells to the new buyer, and the investor is a middle man. Because a deed was signed by the owner to the investor, the excise tax should have been paid but was not. That is excise tax fraud.

    What should investors be doing? That’s fairly easy. When a property is purchased from a distressed owner and a deed of any kind is signed, the excise tax should be paid. It is the price of the real estate investment, and it is the law.

    Many real estate investors who have learned these approaches are no doubt honest with good intentions, but they should be aware that they may be prosecuted someday as the auditors collect copies of the documents, which I have been assured they are currently doing. The auditors are working now with the county prosecutors to determine how to proceed. My guess is that the investor with the largest number of fraudulent transactions will be first, their example to everyone else. I can see the headlines now in the Seattle Times. Eghad! Glad that’s not going to be me.

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    Real Estate Buyer’s Agent

    What’s behind the mask? If you’re buying real estate, is your real estate agent representing the seller, too, and acting in the capacity of a dual agent?

    Dual agency is legal in every state, provided there is full disclosure to both parties, and provided the dual agent does not compromise the special duties he or she owes exclusively to the seller and to the buyer.

    Here’s the challenge. A dual agent owes his client a duty of loyalty, obedience, disclosure, confidentiality, financial responsibility, and reasonable care and diligence. It’s easy to understand how all these duties would apply to an agent’s seller, or to an agent’s buyer, but to both at the same time?

    Imagine you are a buyer, and your agent is a dual agent, meaning he or she is also the listing agent for the seller who owns the home you want to buy. Because the agent owes special duties to the seller, there are things your agent cannot share with you. In order for your agent to work in your financial best interest and beat up the seller on either price or terms, your agent would have to work against the seller’s interest. That would violate the law of dual agency, and subject the agent to legal liabilities.

    In one case, the buyer closed on a unit in a co-op only to find out later that he could have purchased a unit in the same complex for 40% less, but his agent also represented the seller. Was the buyer upset? You bet, but it was too late, since he had already closed on the transaction. There are many other issues besides price that could be negotiated in favor of the seller to the detriment of the buyer if your agent is a dual agent.

    This is why a buyer’s interest are clearly best promoted when a buyer retains a real estate agent to act as their exclusive buyer’s agent. In this case, there are no divided loyalties, and you have an agent who has one client, you. You can be confident your agent is promoting your interests, and your interests only. This gives your agent freedom to withhold nothing from you, to help you negotiate the best price and the best terms, so you come out the winner.

    You wouldn’t go watch an NBA game if there was one coach for both teams? Can you imagine the coach running back and forth to coach the players on each team during time outs? What would he tell the players? How would he promote their best interests? Likewise, why would you hire an agent who represents the seller when you want to buy?

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    Sequim Real Estate Prices vs. Port Angeles

    Here’s a great visual of Sequim real estate prices and Port Angeles real estate prices in the first 11 months of 2006 and 2007. This is very revealing! Click on the graphic below to enlarge it.

    Total site-built homes sold in Sequim in the first 11 months of 2006 was 363, and in 2007 it is 318. Total site-built homes sold in Port Angeles in the first 11 months of 2006 was 334, and in 2007 it is 330. So all the negative news in the press does not necessarily apply to Sequim and Port Angeles, does it?

    Notice that the average selling price this year in both Sequim and Port Angeles has increased, NOT decreased, and Sequim sales are only down to 318 from 363, while Port Angeles sales are only down to 330 from 334. Obviously, Sequim having been “hot” for a time has seen its sales down in 2007 more than Port Angeles. Overall, this is still a very healthy real estate market.

    Note on Source of Data: These statistics come from the most reliable real estate agent database, Paragon, which is the primary source of all agent listings and sales in Sequim and Port Angeles. Some brokers also belong to the Northwest MLS, but since not all brokers belong to the NWMLS, and all brokers do belong to the Paragon MLS, Paragon is the only source of all listings and sales through brokers. There is a small segment of market data that is not included in either the Paragon system or the NWMLS, and that is the for-sale-by-owner listing or sale. Since that is such a small percentage of the market, the Paragon statistics are deemed the most reliable and statistically accurate.

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    Port Angeles Real Estate Prices – Beware Overpricing

    Port Angeles real estate prices are all over the map, including many homes that are overpriced even in this recession.  Many property owners believe that their property is worth more than the true current fair market value. There are serious downside risks for a homeowner if the property is overpriced.  The property may:

    • Not sell, and
    • The Seller may not get the highest possible price.

    Port Angeles Real Estate Prices and Overpricing Dangers

    Here are some of the dangers to overpricing your home:

    • The home may not appraise high enough for the buyer to get a loan.
    • It will take longer to sell, but not just that, it won’t sell at that price no matter how long it is on the market.
    • The property will have fewer showings, since the home at the higher priced is filtered out of many buyers’ lists.
    • The seller may receive very low offers, and the seller may be offended.
    • The property will help sell other homes, since buyers are astutely comparing prices and homes.
    • The sellers will have a much longer marketing time, which means paying property taxes and mortgage payments.
    • Once an agent sees an overpriced listing, they never forget it was overpriced, and they don’t go back to see if it was reduced.
    • Sellers end up selling for less than what they would sell for if the property was priced correctly in the beginning.
    • A listing that is overpriced often is looked at by the wrong buyers.
    • Sellers look foolish with grossly overpriced listings.

    Port Angeles Real Estate Prices – Time is Everything

    Home sellers who overprice their homes will find out after months or even two or three years that they have lost a lot of money by overpricing their homes.  Not only have they lost money and paid a lot in maintenance, taxes, and mortgage payments during the time first put it on the market and now, they also have had all the stress during the long listing period.

    My recommendation is that you talk with an experienced professional Realtor who will tell you the honest-to-God truth about how all this works and where you need to be with respect to Port Angeles real estate prices.  If you need help, email me at or call me anytime.


    Also on this blog see:
    Overpricing Your Home Can Be Costly
    , and
    Port Angeles and Sequim Real Estate Listings

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    Sequim Real Estate: Buyer’s Agent

    Looking for Sequim real estate?  If you’re from California or the Seattle area, or for that matter anywhere outside of Sequim, the most efficient way to search for real estate (homes or land) is to do what you are doing right now–using the Internet. The great challenge is finding sites that actually will give you what you are looking for. I promise to do that here and with my other websites, which have links from this blog. My services cost you nothing on the Internet, and here’s what you will find:

    Sequim lots for sale
    Sequim homes for sale
    Sequim water view lots for sale
    Sequim water view homes for sale
    Sequim farm land
    Sequim horse ranches
    Sequim mountain view property
    Sequim real estate market news
    Money Saving tips from a real estate attorney (ret.)
    And many Sequim real estate articles written by author Chuck Marunde, J.D.

    Browse this blog, and, and you’ll not find another site where you can get more useful information, and you can email me for even more specific information. As a retired real estate attorney and practicing Realtor, it would be my pleasure to email you answers to your questions or more relevant information on your property searches. Here are a few resources for buyers:

    Keys For Buyers Only:

    1. Key Links for Buyers Only: Buyers Only
    2. Get automatic emails of the latest listings with your specs: Latest Listings
    3. How does a Buyer’s Agent work: Buyer’s Agent Only
    4. How to save $10,000: Save $10,000
    5. Subscribe to the #1 weekly email newsletter for buyers of real estate in Sequim & Port Angeles at the Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate Blog: Go to Blog (and subscribe there)

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    Lot Sales in Port Angeles and Sequim

    This chart shows lot sales each month in 2006 compared to each month in 2007 in Port Angeles and Sequim. Click on the chart to enlarge it for better viewing. The number of lots sold is shown on the vertical axis.

    I find it interesting to see both last year vs. this year and Port Angeles and Sequim lot sales. With all the talk about the real estate market slowing, it is helpful to see the actual numbers.

    Possibly Related Posts:

    Buying Green Real Estate, Green Homes

    With all the talk about green houses lately, I thought it might be helpful to clarify what a green house really is. The color green has come to be associated with environmentally friendly construction and with energy efficiency.

    The most reliable way to know if a home is green is to see its certification from a reliable organization. While each certification is different, some of the factors include resource efficiency (making use of natural light and reducing energy use), indoor air quality, a home’s carbon footprint (how much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are emitted from the home), materials used to build the house, water efficiency and appliances, ranging from refrigerators to air-conditioning units.

    There are a number of green certifications out there, but there are three that I would mention here that have a good reputation for a strong checklist of requirements.

    1. Built Green: Developed by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, this program is a partnership with King and Snohomish counties and the city of Seattle. Through the nonprofit Built Green, builders can certify their homes based on features of their project, with five stars indicating the highest level of greenness achieved.
    2. LEED: Perhaps the most widely known program nationwide, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is offered through the U.S. Green Building Council. Similar to Built Green, it offers different levels of green certification, which are based on features in a development. Each project is certified by an independent third party, usually a local contractor of LEED, providing an unbiased review of the home. The program, developed in 2000, focuses on commercial development. The Green Building Council only recently launched a pilot home-certification program. That program is scheduled to make its formal launch this fall.
    3. Energy Star: Known largely for certifying products rather than structures, this program uses guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Homes have to be at least 15 percent more energy efficient than the 2004 national residential code to receive the program’s signature blue star of approval. You may recognize the name Energy Star, because it is on many appliances.
    Now you know about green houses. If you’re going to have a green house built, ask your architect and builder what they can do to help you go green.

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  • Filed under: Green Homes
  • Real Estate Prices Nationwide

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

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    How Much Is My Business Worth?

    Did you ever notice that the attitude of a seller of real estate is often substantially different than the attitude of a buyer? Sellers have been known to irrationally claim their property has more value than it does, despite evidence to the contrary.

    The buyer often sneers at the seller’s price, and claims the property is hardly worth buying, that the seller is crazy, and that as long as the seller thinks he has such a treasure trove, he can keep it.

    Now here’s where it really gets fascinating. All buyers eventually become sellers. Some well meaning folks will display both attitudes, first the buyer’s attitude when they purchase (This property is hardly worth buying.), and then years later when they are ready to sell, they display the seller’s attitude (This property is a hidden treasure worth far more than I paid for it, and any buyer would be lucky to have it.). I love to watch and learn about human behavior, and this behavior fascinates me.

    Let me bring this home to roost where the most eggs are laid. Small business owners. Many small business owners drive a hard bargain when they purchase their business. During the years they run the business, many don’t show all the income on their tax return. For example, it is commonly known that coin operated businesses are ripe with opportunities to skim coins off the top without reporting that as income. Another approach, within legal limits, is to deduct the heck out of everything and show virtually zero net income. And the Trap . . .

    Is that when it comes time to sell, they want more than they can justify, because they can’t prove to the buyer it really makes all that income.

    Key Point. When you purchase a business, always operate the business as though you intend to sell it to get the highest possible FMV. If you can’t prove income, you won’t get your price.

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    Real Estate, Estate Planning, and Asset Protection

    Traps for the Unwary Millionaire

    Over the the past 25 years, I’ve had many incredible clients as an attorney and Realtor, and some of those clients became millionaires buying, selling, and developing real estate. Several were home builders and are now worth ten to fifty million dollars net. A few lost everything once and earned it all back. I admire successful people. All of these people had some things in common: an intense drive to succeed, tenacity and perseverance, creativity, and each of them took massive action to get where they are now.

    There is one other thing most of them also have in common. Think of it as another Trap for the Unwary. Eight out of ten have done almost no estate planning to avoid probate and taxes, and they have done virtually nothing to shield their personal wealth from business liabilities. In this litigation fertile culture we live in, deep pockets are great targets for potential plaintiffs and their attorneys. A large portfolio of real estate is the ideal treasure chest, since it cannot quickly be liquidated and converted to a safe haven.

    May I suggest a wise course of action? First, find a professional who really understands business entities, business development and business succession, estate planning, trust planning, capital gains taxes, insurance devices, securities, real estate, and asset protection. Do not assume your average financial adviser or average attorney understands these subjects in depth. Most do not. I strongly recommend you do not let an inexperienced planner experiment with your life’s work. I could talk for hours on this subject, but I won’t.

    Second, get a good plan and implement that plan. And find a professional who is both competent and trustworthy. When you find that person, keep them for life. You will make more money even after paying their fees than you ever could taking short cuts.

    To read some of my articles, see one of my sites at: and
    for a review of the types of trusts that can revolutionize your planning, take a look at: and
    for a discussion of asset protection, see:

    Best regards,

    Chuck Marunde, J.D.
    Broker/Owner, (Retired Attorney)
    Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate
    618 South Peabody St., Suite I
    Port Angeles, WA 98362
    tel.: 360-775-5424

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    Are Houses Selling in Sequim and Port Angeles?

    With all the hullabaloo about real estate sales and prices being down, and with a media that likes to generalize and lump all states together, I like to look at our local stats to find out exactly what is going on. What is happening to Port Angeles real estate sales and prices? Likewise, what is happening to Sequim real estate sales and prices? Watch this blog for regular posts on this subject, and for vignettes of the market. Here is a vignette comparing October sales of last year with October sales this year.

    Okay, both Port Angeles and Sequim sales are down this October. P.A. sold 11 less houses, and Sequim sold 15 less houses. If you’re selling your home, consider this: 37 houses still sold in Port Angeles last month, and 45 houses sold last month in Sequim. We are far from a depressed market. It is alive and well, and those net proceeds could be yours.

    Now, if you are a FSBO, are you doing the right things to sell your home now? Is it priced right? Do you know where to find buyers? If you have a Realtor, is your Realtor on top of all this? This morning a friend told me she has not heard from her Realtor for months. Her Realtor has not showed their home, is not advertising it, and does not call or write. I sincerely hope you don’t find yourself in this position in this market. In a market that has slowed, and that is this market, you can no longer depend upon luck to sell your home, or a Realtor who does nothing but throws your property in the MLS and hopes someone sells it. Buyers are still buying, but fall into any of the many Traps for the Unwary, and you will still have a house for sale.

    Interested in a particular comparison or other market stats? Let me know, and I’ll pull the numbers, chart it and post it for you.

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    Search Sequim Blog

    Chuck E. Marunde, J.D.

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

    From Los Angeles

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

    From Seattle

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

    From Florida

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

    From Gilroy California

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

    From Corona California

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

    From Bakersfield California

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

    From Los Alamos New Mexico

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

    From Sun Lakes Arizona

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

    From California

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

    From Sequim

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

    From The Netherlands

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

    From Fremont California

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

    From Fontana California

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

    From Tacoma

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

    From Wendell Idaho

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

    From Sequim

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

    From Seattle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Intro by Chuck Marunde

    From Sequim to California

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

    Who is Chuck Marunde?

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