Sequim Real Estate in Sunny Sequim, Washington

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Divorce and Real Estate

Divorce and Real EstateOne of the big issues in modern America is divorce and real estate. I’ve had several clients who are selling their property, or wanting to sell it, and their wives announced that they want a divorce. In one case, they had already signed a purchase and sale agreement, and the husband was asking, “Can my wife kill the deal.”

Divorce and Real Estate

The simple answer is no. Assuming she signed the agreement to sell, if she refuses to sign the closing documents, she would be in breach, and the buyers could sue for specific performance. That could cost everyone a lot of attorney’s fees. It can be a nightmare scenario.  Of course, divorce can cause devastating financial consequences, not to mention broken hearts.

Divorce and Real Estate

When it comes to divorce and real estate, there are many traps for the unwary.  The legal issues should be handled proactively, and that probably means you need to talk to a sharp attorney who understands how to protect you.  But there is a major reason to handle the legal issues proactively, and it is not a legal issue.

Divorce and Real Estate

You may know what the biggest trap is . . . if you have been through a divorce yourself.  You think you know someone.  You may have been married 23 years and sacrificed much of your life for your spouse and your children.  You were loyal and always faithful.  But one day your spouse starts saying things that don’t make sense and seems to become a different person–angry and demanding and wanting a completely different life.

Some spouses, not all, will become vicious and hire a junk yard dog attorney to take you for everything you have.  This is the kind of dysfunctional spouse that also may seek to destroy you, although that is unbelievably mean and cruel beyond words.  But many have gone through this kind of experience.  It’s sad, and the spouse who goes off the deep end doesn’t seem to care that he/she is breaking their childrens’ hearts and imploding the entire family.

Handling the sale of real estate and actually getting the net proceeds voluntarily released by a bitter and unhappy spouse is no small victory.  Hire a good attorney.  Having your heart broken is bad enough, but not protecting yourself financially will have consequences for many years.  Divorce and real estate is one of life’s touchy and difficult challenges.

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Quit Claim Deed Disaster

I’ve had so many clients who made the mistake of doing their own Quit Claim Deed on their real estate.  They owned a vacant piece of property, and thought they would save attorney’s fees and accomplish their own estate planning by avoiding probate with a Quit Claim Deed signing the property to their two boys.  They signed it and recorded it.  Three years later, I get a call from this kind gentleman who is now wanting to sell the lot, because their plans have changed.  He is told by someone now that he cannot have his minor children sign a deed back to himself.  He asked me what he could do to sell his property.  I explained that it wasn’t his property any more, at least not since he deeded it to this children.  His children could not legally sign it back to him without a court appointed guardian, so he would have to hire an attorney to do a guardianship.  That could easily cost several thousand dollars before the dust settles.  That’s one example of how not to use Quit Claim Deeds.

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Alaska v. Sequim

I grew up in Tok, Alaska. It was great. Hunting, fishing, great wild country. Incredible mountains. Cold. I moved my family to Sequim in 1994 from Los Vegas, where I was a JAG in the USAF. Sequim is a great place to raise a family. My children thrived in the safe and healthy environment, and my boys participated in athletic events of all kinds at Sequim H.S. You may know my oldest son, who lives in Sequim, Jesse Marunde, who is a professional strongman. My other sons, Bristol, and Brady, live in Renton. I love Sequim and Port Angeles. I’m retired as a real estate attorney and now practice as an Associate Real Estate Broker. If you don’t live here, you should!

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Internet Listings

Kijiji is a site you may not have heard about before – it’s online marketplace eBay’s community based classifieds service. The site has been operating in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, China, Japan, and Taiwan since February 2005, and has now just launched in the US.

Much like craigslist, it aims to help people post and find advertisements in a number of categories including automobiles, jobs, personals, and, of course, housing.

For Realtors looking to market their listings online, Kijiji (whose name means “village” in Swahili) is just another option in a growing number of Web 2.0 sites looking to aggregate real estate listings; Google Base, Yahoo! Classifieds, Microsoft’s Live Expo, Edgeio (see Edgeio on InmanTV) to name just a few.

Jay Thompson, a Realtor who blogs at the The Phoenix Real Estate Guy, has given it a try and calls it “a snap”.

Keeping track of all these options can be overwhelming however. Web services like vFlyer and Postlets help agents by syndicating their listings to all of the sites in one shot and if you need some help sorting through all the options, read this post Craigslist Alternatives Compared from the site

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Hiring a Sequim Home Builder

Are you in the market to hire a Sequim home builder (or a Port Angeles home builder)?  I learned a few things about building houses and about contractors during my 20 years in real estate law. Let’s be very clear about this. There are many outstanding Builders and Contractors out there.

Sequim Home Builder

The problem, as with any profession, is that you only need to get one bad one to live through a personal nightmare. Use these practical rules to find and hire a good Sequim home builder, and you’ll save potentially $1,000s in attorney’s fees, not to mention other costs, stress, and even divorce.

Checklist to Hire Your Sequim Home Builder

  1. Do not simply open the Yellow Pages and pick a Sequim home builder.
  2. Do not choose a builder simply because he seems nice.
  3. Do get a reliable referral to a good Sequim home builder. That means the referral comes from someone who is known to be reliable and who knows the builder and the quality of his work.
  4. Do your due diligence on the prospective builder. Investigate thoroughly.
  5. Look at some of his houses, inside & out, and talk to previous customers. Be careful. You can still be fooled here. You can find one or two happy customers with every Sequim home builder.
  6. Check on his state license/registration, which can easily be done on the Internet by Clicking Here. Use the State’s checklist, also, but notice they don’t tell you what NOT to do, which is where many of the traps are.
  7. On the same State Internet resource, you can check the builder’s status, infractions, bond, and pending lawsuits. DO IT! Believe it or not, the vast majority of people do this only after they get into trouble with the Builder.
  8. Check your local county superior court clerk’s office for pending lawsuits against your prospective Sequim home builder.
  9. After all this, interview your prospective Builder/Contractor, and see if you like him. If you don’t, I strongly recommend you keep looking. Gut feelings are important. You’ve spent a lifetime learning how to read people. Don’t ignore that lifetime of experience now. Here you should judge the book by its cover.
  10. Ask for a copy of his standard contract and take it home to review it. Get a professional opinion on that contract. It seems every Sequim home builder uses a different contract, and many of them are grossly one-sided. There are several critical contract issues you want unambiguously addressed in the contract.

Choose Your Sequim Home Builder Carefully

I’ve referred to Sequim home builder here, but obviously this applies to Sequim and Port Angeles home builders.

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10 Biggest Real Estate Problems

Having practiced real estate law in Sequim & Port Angeles for many years, this is my list of the 10 biggest real estate problems in Clallam County. If you hover your mouse over some of them, you will notice they have links to more detailed articles, if your interested.

  1. Claims of Adverse Possession;
  2. Easement Disputes;
  3. Boundary Disputes;
  4. Disputes with Builders;
  5. Seller Misrepresentation;
  6. Purchase & Sale Agreement Breaches;
  7. Partnership Disputes;
  8. Homeowners’ Associations Disputes;
  9. Breaches of CC&Rs; and
  10. Probate Disputes (with Heirs/Claimants).

More detail on these issues can be found at: Legal Issues at

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Sequim Real Estate Market a Buyer’s Market

Sequim Real Estate MarketThe Sequim real estate market was a buyer’s market when I first wrote this article back on July 4th, 2007, and of course it still is today as I edit this article, and today is October 2nd, 2010.   I wrote then, “Is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? Of course, that depends on who you talk to, because we’ve had a few houses in the MLS that sold in 4 days, but we also have houses on the market for over 240 days. There are some houses that are over priced, and there are some that are undiscovered by the ideal buyer. The market is clearly much slower this year than 2005 when anything sold in short order. I think anyone coming from out of state is going to find some steals. More stats on this later.”

Sequim Real Estate Market Slow

We did not know in the summer of 2007 that the Sequim real estate market would be caught up in a national real estate recession that would continue for so long with no apparent end in sight.  As of this update (10/2/2010) there are homes that have been listed for sale in the Sequim real estate market for over 1,000 days.  One has been on the market for 1,559 days, another for 1,169 days, nine more for over 1,000, and 72 on the market for 500 days or longer.

Sequim Real Estate Market Bad for Sellers

Obviously, this is bad news for sellers.  But there is much more to the story.  Homes that haven’t sold for four years in the Sequim real estate market have issues.  I know, that’s a term we normally reserve for human psychology, but it seems to fit here.  What I mean when I say some homes have issues is that these homes have some major reason buyers have been repelled.  The issues are not hard to recognize when you walk through one of these homes.  For example, one home may be in an areas that doesn’t appeal to 95% of the buyers, like 25 miles west of Port Angeles, or with a gravel pit next door, or other less dramatic but similar problems.  In the Sequim real estate market we have homes that were built with extremely unique or odd floor plans, and these simply don’t appeal to the vast majority of buyers.  Sellers often say, “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

You may be thinking that the reason homes aren’t selling is because we are in a recession.  True.  We are.  But I’m writing specifically about homes that have been on the market for years.  These homes have issues in addition to the fact that the Sequim real estate market suffers.

Sequim Real Estate Market a Buyer’s Market

The Sequim real estate market is bifurcated.  In other words, there are homes that are selling within a reasonable period of time at reasonable prices (consisting of maybe 5% of the market), and then there is the rest of the market (consisting of roughly 95% of the listings).  Retirees are still moving to Sequim and Port Angeles and buying houses, not in the large numbers of 2005, but they are still buying.  But they are cherry picking the best houses in the best areas at the best prices.  The rest of the houses sit on the market for a long time, and the homes with issues are still on the market even beyond 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, and 1,000 days.

The Sequim real estate market is a buyer’s market for retirees who are qualified buyers and don’t have to sell their current homes.

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Elwha River Pics

Picture taken by Chuck Marunde of Lower Elwha Damn lake taken on a beautiful evening in July of 2007.

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Chuck E. Marunde, J.D.

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

From Los Angeles

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

From Seattle

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

From Florida

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

From Gilroy California

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

From Corona California

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

From Bakersfield California

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

From Los Alamos New Mexico

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

From Sun Lakes Arizona

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

From California

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

From Sequim

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

From The Netherlands

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

From Fremont California

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

From Fontana California

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

From Tacoma

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

From Wendell Idaho

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

From Sequim

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

From Seattle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intro by Chuck Marunde

From Sequim to California

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

Who is Chuck Marunde?

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