Sequim Real Estate in Sunny Sequim, Washington

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Homeowner Associations: Nightmare of Nightmares

Homeowner associations are a hot topic. Having dealt with them for decades as an attorney and as a Realtor, I think buyers like you might want to know what I’ve learned so you can protect yourself when you buy a home or condo.

I would classify homeowner associations in three categories. First, are the rural homeowner associations that do nothing. They may have a common road, but they have no club, no other facilities, and no dues other than a small annual road maintenance fee. Their board exists but doesn’t have to do much, and the President of the HOA (homeowners association) is a very nice person who willingly took the position but didn’t really want it. He took it because someone has to do it. My experience tells me that in a rural area, this kind of HOA makes up about 70% of the associations. I’m in a HOA like this, and I am so grateful for our president and the board members for all they do. I love living in my neighborhood, and the fact that contentious HOA issues are conspicuously missing is a huge plus for me.

homeowner associations

Second, are the busy homeowner associations with facilities and common property that needs to be maintained, and business that needs to be addressed every week or every other week. The president and the board members are a little more sophisticated than the small rural HOA that doesn’t have to do anything, but even these board members typically don’t have much, if any, experience related to running homeowner associations. They are usually people with professional careers, so they often have related experience and they learn what they don’t know. They are usually kind and truly want to help the homeowners enjoy life in their neighborhood. The president of this kind of HO is a nice man or woman who is a leader with some management experience and is very sincere in doing a good job for everyone. Like the president in the first group, this president is not selfish or arrogant. He or she  is a considerate person, and the homeowners are blessed to have such a president. I’m estimating that in a rural area, this group makes up about 25% of the HOAs.

Homeowner Associations Gone Wild

Third, and I’ve saved the nightmare for last, are the homeowner associations with a Hitler for president. This president could be either a man or woman, but oddly enough it is nearly always a man. Thank God this group in a rural area only includes about 5% of the total number of HOAs. Unfortunately, because this group tends to be larger, it typically includes and affects a lot more homeowners than the other smaller groups. What makes this one a nightmare?

In most residential neighborhoods, the vast majority of people are busy living their lives and minding their own business. They have families to take care of, careers to attend to, and even retirees find ways to fill their time every day of the week. Such good people are not thinking, “I want to be president of the HOA. I want to be in charge here.” In fact, that’s the last thing on their minds.

There is another kind of personality that does strive to become the next HOA president. He wants it. He needs it. He has a deep need for recognition, for power, for control, and he can be ruthless in pressing his agendas. I’ve seen this president in a number of homeowner associations over the past four decades, and it is so unpleasant for the majority of homeowners. I wish this kind of profile was not real, but believe me, this is a very real profile, and you probably ought to at least be aware of this president if you are planning to buy a home in a neighborhood where he is president.

There is a personality profile defined as the “narcissistic personality disorder.” Here is how the Mayo Clinic describes it:

Narcissistic personality disorder — one of several types of personality disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and the severity of symptoms vary. The Mayo Clinic continues. People with the disorder can:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
  • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
  • Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
  • Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
  • Take advantage of others to get what they want
  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them
  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office

At the same time, people with narcissistic personality disorder have trouble handling anything they perceive as criticism, and they can:

  • Become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special treatment
  • Have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted
  • React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior
  • Have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior
  • Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change
  • Feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection
  • Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation [Source: Mayo Clinic]

Far too many elderly couples, widows, widowers, as well as younger homeowners, have been subjected to homeowner associations with presidents that fit this description to a “T”. 

It’s a nightmare for homeowners when their president is suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. The president would never acknowledge that he has this mental problem, and who would tell him he suffers from the symptoms? If you did, he would probably take your head off!

This kind of president creates tremendous dissension and contentiousness over the term of his presidency. Get ready for the bad news. This kind of president wants to continue as president into the next term and the next. What a nightmare! By the way, this kind of president surrounds himself with board members who are sycophants and do whatever he wants them to do. Granted, he makes them think they are independent, but he is the master manipulator. If there are any board members who won’t join his dysfunctional team, he will eventually drive them off the board with all the dissension and viciousness.  Unfortunately, this kind of president also creates division by creating strong allies, and he divides and conquers within the HOA. He manages to turn some issues into heated issues and causes some homeowners to become enemies for life. Listen to me: this kind of president is poison to the entire neighborhood.

Homeowner Associations – What To Do?

So what can you do? First, be aware that there are such dysfunctional people running homeowner associations. Second, do your due diligence when you’re shopping for a home and find out what’s going on in the HOA and how the president conducts himself. Talk to some of the homeowners to get the inside scoop. Third, realize there’s nothing you can do if there is such a president. No one wants to run against them. No one wants to fight all the time with such a contentious person, who apparently thrives on such conflict. He may pretend he doesn’t, but he loves power and control, and any challenge to his kingdom will be met with an unpleasant personal attack.

Fourth, the only thing that really works is to vote against any inappropriate action he wants to take. Rally the homeowners to vote the way they feel is in their best interests, and be a support and encouragement to elderly folks who do not do well with conflict. 

If you live in one of the 95% HOAs, count your blessings. If you live in the 5% dictatorship, I have empathy for you. You’ll have to learn to live with it while you rally votes to stand against the dictator’s own agendas, which are often hidden and full of self-interest.

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The Key to Happiness

I’ve reflected on how it is that happiness is so prevalent in Sequim among so many retirees. I’ve written about how Sequim is the happiest place I’ve ever lived, and my own research in communicating with hundreds of Sequim residents who have retired in Sequim from all over the United States has proven that many others feel the same. A national survey by the Huffington Post concluded that Sequim, Washington is the Number One Place in the U.S. to Grow Old and Be Happy. [Read Happiness in Sequim.]


Happiness in Sequim

In an earlier article I wrote, “While the list of things in Sequim that contribute to our happiness are important, I think retirees who move to Sequim have figured something else out from a lifetime of conscientious learning and growing. I think they figured out how to answer the question, “how can I be happy?” [Read How Can I Be Happy?]

Years ago Sequim was named one of the 10 best places to retire in America in a national travel magazine. Here’s what I think. Happiness in a place is not just the result of a wonderful climate and weather, or great recreational opportunities, or one’s career work or retirement activities–it is also and primarily the result of a person’s deepest beliefs about happiness. Happy people have a way of thinking that is different than unhappy people. 

Happiness a Key to a Wonderful Retirement

Life’s journey is different for each of us, but I believe our elder years are meant to be the best years of our lives. Wisdom comes with age, if we are teachable and humble. There’s a peace and contentment that comes with a lifetime of experiencing life in all its dimensions. We gain a control over our emotions, and we have balance and moderation in our lives. There is more stability and predictability, less stress and uncertainty. We know what we want, how to live, and what not to do in order to be happy.

What I find amazing is how so many incredible people are retiring to Sequim. In what is almost mystical, Sequim is attracting extraordinary people, but I don’t think it’s coincidence or happenstance. These are people who know what happiness is, and how to live it, and they know how to find the ideal place suitable for a retirement that is full of happiness. These are people who are mature on every level, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. [I recommend my book Manage Your Energy Not Your Time.]

I’ve lived in Sequim for 22 years, and I am one example of thousands who find living in Sequim to be a big factor in my own happiness. And my work as a real estate broker representing buyers from all over the country brings me a great deal of joy. Working with so many genuinely happy clients is also a big factor in my own happiness.

What would you attribute to your happiness?

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Affordable Real Estate Disappearing?

Affordable real estate has been an American dream for decades. Economic policies, tax rules, credits, and special loan programs have encouraged home ownership for all Americans, and there have been some periods in which many have been able to buy starter homes, and others have been able to trade up. But there have been some cracks starting to show in the vast financial network that makes up the mortgage industry. There are some data points that indicate legitimate concerns regarding home sales and affordable real estate.

This affects retirees moving to Sequim, because if you cannot sell your home where you are now, you probably will not be able to move to Sequim and buy a home. There is some trouble on the horizon.

Affordable Real Estate Data

Affordable Real Estate

Affordable Home Prices

[Source: The Economist Magazine]

Affordable Real Estate and Home Prices

Home sales have slowed down dramatically around much of the country. [See many recent articles from around the country at Housing Market Slows Down.] In Canada, the Vancouver market has dropped a dramatic 30% in volume this past month over last year. There is a huge real estate crisis brewing in Australia and in New Zealand. China is said to be on the verge of an economic crisis. Of course, Venezuela is in a massive currency devaluation and their economy has already collapsed. 

I’ve been saying for several years that interest rates are artificially low, and now suddenly mortgage interest rates have popped and are on the way up after years of historical lows. Combine this with another important long established qualification for buying a home, and we have a problem. It has long been the rule in the mortgage industry that the formula for buying a home is a price that is two to three times a person’s annual income, but because of the increase in housing prices, that formula is broken. In order for a couple to buy a home now in some parts of the country, they have to buy a home ten times their annual income. We are losing the whole concept of affordable real estate. [I recommend this video: The Looming Housing Crisis.]

Put all this together, and we see some cracks forming. Low housing inventory in some areas, prices that have continued to escalate without a commensurate increase in income, sudden increases in mortgage interest rates, the lack of affordable real estate for the entire millennial generation, and economic threats on the horizon around the world, not to mention our own debt crisis in the U.S., and we can no longer be sure that things will continue as normal. The honest answer is that things are unlikely to continue as they are.

You can see in the graphic above that Seattle home prices have nearly doubled since 1994. And in San Fransisco that increase was 154%. Millennial incomes have not kept up with these increases, and not just millennials. We are once again at a place where people cannot afford homes. I don’t have young couples buying homes in the Sequim area. My buyers are typically people with substantial net worth and a lot of equity to liquidate in their current homes elsewhere, again because prices have gone up for them. But if these buyers suddenly don’t have buyers for their homes, the music stops, and you can only hope you’re not left standing by yourself. Dreams of retiring in a place like Sequim will go “poof.”

No one knows what the future holds. Even Peter Schiff who has been forecasting an economic crash, does not know for sure. I certainly am not an alarmist, but here’s something to consider, and take this with a grain of salt. If there is one major crisis somewhere in the world, because of our interconnectedness, it is likely to create a chain reaction of events that we will all feel.

For example, a war event of any major kind would set off a series of economic consequences, including reverberations in International markets (stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, commodities, futures, currency exchanges, and so on). There would be reactionary fiscal and monetary policies, sudden shifts in national policies, and central banks around the world would re-evaluate their next move and possibly pull back for safety. Travel could be restricted and many people would just hunker down for the remainder of however long it takes to get back to normal. Buying and selling real estate would come to a screeching halt. No one wants to think about war, but the middle east clearly is poised for war. Russia, Turkey, and Iran are experiencing severe economic crisis (meaning they are getting desperate), each have military forces and equipment ready for action, and they are staunch allies in their desire to destroy Israel. On the subject of war, the world is on thin ice.

If we had a major earthquake that caused great damage in a metropolitan area, the same chain reaction of events would occur across the world and the United States. Most people do not know that earthquake activity on the ring of fire has dramatically increased. [I recommend Dutch Sinise who has a channel on Twitch.TV.]

If there was a volcanic eruption of epic proportions, the same chain reaction will affect us all. If we have a celestial event (a solar event on the sun, or a meteor event, or a shift in magnetic activity), we would see the same chain reaction. More likely than any of these would be a economic crash in China or elsewhere, and that would cause a chain reaction of catastrophic events affecting home buyers and therefore home sellers. Retirees’ plans to move to Sequim most certainly would be put on hold.

I hope and plan for the best myself, and I have many great buyer clients coming from around the country to retire and buy their dream home in Sequim. No matter what the future holds, I am absolutely convinced that Sequim is the safest and one of the best places to live anywhere in the world. I have lived in Sequim for 23 years, and I love living here. Like many others who live here, I say that I have no plans to ever move anywhere else in the world. Why would I?

I want to leave you with this thought. If you are planning to sell your home now and buy a home in the Sequim area or on the Olympic Peninsula, I would not wait too long. A gentleman was in Sequim a couple of weeks ago who just lost his home to the Redding fire. It is unknown whether he can rebuild in Redding, or whether his insurance will cover the full cost of rebuilding, and if he can and does rebuild, will anyone buy a home in the Redding area now? His dreams of retiring to Sequim may be over forever. My point is that if you have a plan you have long been dreaming of implementing, don’t wait too long. You just don’t know what the future holds.

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Clallam County Faire 2018

It was a great Clallam County Faire this year, and as always there were plenty of animals, people, and food. Junk food, but still food. The horse show was great. Some of the horses were beautiful, and the young riders rode well.

The Clallam County Faire is located in Port Angeles, so it’s only a 20 minute drive from Sequim. I couldn’t resist taking some video clips for everyone who couldn’t be there. If you’re in California, you really missed out, but I have a bigger question for you. What are you still doing in California?

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Sunland Golf Course in Trouble Again?

The Sunland Golf Club is asking for financial help from the Sunland homeowners again. Have you ever felt like saying, “Here we go again?” Back on January 27, 2010, over eight and a half years ago, I wrote an article entitled Is the Sequim Sunland Golf Course Going Bankrupt?

Why that title? Because the rumor mill in Sunland was asking that question, and the local newspaper was asking that question, and everyone was getting nervous. I called the club manager and told him I was writing an article and wanted to make sure I had all the facts correct, and he refused to talk to me and said goodbye.

Sunland Golf Course Issues

So I wrote a very carefully researched article, interviewed the Sunland HO President and a couple of other involved Sunland residents, and I read the newspaper articles and gathered information about the golf club. That resulted in the article I wrote in 2010 about the Sunland Golf Club.

On April 10, 2012 I wrote an updated article in which I stated that it appeared that things had calmed down and the club was doing okay. I’m revisiting the subject today, because we are back to the Sunland Golf Club asking the Sunland HO Association for money. The idea being floated is that every homeowner be assessed an additional $300 per year to help the club survive.[Fred Smith, President of the SLHOA, reports that the proposed assessment is $354 over three years.] This is far more serious than most people realize, because in the attempt to get homeowners to agree to an increased assessment is a hidden threat.

The threat is the power of foreclosure. As assessment is not voluntary, and if you don’t pay an HOA approved assessment, they can get a judgment against you, and a judgment can be used to foreclose on a home. I know this because I was an attorney in Sequim.

In the 2010 article I wrote, “There are three logical resolutions to this dilemma: 1. all homeowners chip in, 2. Club members ante up and save their Club, or 3. The Club files bankruptcy and liquidates.”

We will dismiss the third option in this recent skirmish, because the club tells us they are not near bankruptcy. In a recent Sequim Gazette newspaper article dated August 15, 2018, the Sunland Golf Club apparently stated that they are not near bankruptcy, but that “finances of the club are on shaky ground . . . and uncertain.”

Isn’t it interesting that we are back to the first two options that were on the table 8 1/2 years ago, and the only viable option seems to be that “all homeowners chip in.” Deja Vu! Read the rest of this entry »

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  • Filed under: Sequim Golf
  • Buyer Expectations

    Buyer expectations are an important part of the algorithm for buyers coming to the Sequim area. This is also true for my buyers buying in Port Angeles, or Port Townsend, Port Ludlow, Port Handlock, or also Brinnon or Quilcene. I’ve seen buyer expectations that were not realistic, and that can really derail your plans if you want to buy a home and retire in Sequim. Let me expand on this, because as a buyer you may not be aware of this trap for the unwary buyer, and I’ve come to realize how important this is for buyers to understand.

    Buyer Expectations

    Buyer Expectations #1

    If you are coming from another area in the United States, which almost all of our retirees are, you may have been living in a real estate market that is totally different than the market in Sequim, and that can color your buyer expectations. I’ll give you some real life examples.

    I showed a couple homes over a two day period some time back. They couldn’t find their idea of the “perfect” home, so they had to compromise, and they decided to make an offer on the one that best suited them. Of course, there probably isn’t such a thing as the “perfect home” for anyone. We reached an agreement with the seller and proceeded to do the necessary due diligence. I attended the home inspection on their behalf because they went back to Temecula. The inspection report showed a few minor things that were normal in a home that was 22 years old, but nothing major. Nevertheless, the buyers decided to terminate the transaction because they decided it was too far out of town. It was a 22 minute drive to Safeway from the home. Apparently they were having conversations at home about that, and one of them felt that it would be too far to run to town for a half gallon of milk, because according to the wife, “By the time you go to town, shop for milk, and drive back home, it will take an hour.” 

    Apparently the buyer expectations for them involved being very close to convenient shopping. Okay, I get that. Why did they have those buyer expectations? They had lived within 7 minutes of a grocery store for the last 35 years. I terminated their transactions according to their instructions. They never did buy a home in the Sequim area. Interesting.

    Buyer Expectations #2

    I represented a man from Thousand Oaks, and he had lived in an expensive gated community for over 24 years. He was used to having everything in his neighborhood immaculate and maintained to perfection. He wanted to be up high where he could have both a view and some privacy in Sequim. When we looked at homes in the hills around Sequim, he expressed frustration that the driveways to the homes he liked were gravel and some were “steep” compared to the perfectly level roads he was used to in Thousand Oaks. He worried about being “remote” and getting in and out when it snows. His buyer expectations ultimately killed his move to Sequim. He now rents a small home in Edmonds, north of Seattle. Interesting.

    Buyer Expectations #3

    I had a buyer from a large metropolitan area, and after struggling for months, she finally found the right home. We wrote an offer and reached mutual acceptance with the seller. The home was in nearly perfect condition, and it was in a premium Sequim area. Immediately after the home inspection, she decided to terminate the transaction. Why? She shared that the home had been poorly maintained and there were too many issues of concern. The truth is the home was in extraordinary good condition, had passed the home inspection with flying colors, and the home inspector told me himself he had rarely inspected a home that was so clean and had so little to report. After 23 years in Sequim, I felt the same way. This was the perfect home, if there is such a thing, yet the buyer terminated. Why? Buyer expectations. She expected something that had no blemishes whatsoever, even though this was a “used home” and not brand new construction.

    I’ve also had buyers who did not have a good understanding of roofs, HVAC systems, concrete, septic systems, private wells, drainage, and so on, and yet they didn’t listen to my counsel or the inspector’s opinion. They assumed they had knowledge they did not have, and ultimately they made decisions that were not based on what is true and what I would call “reasonable practices.”

    There are many verses in Proverbs that say we should “surround ourselves with wise counselors.” I am a strong believer in the idea that we should surround ourselves with wise advisers who are also trustworthy. You need to collect all the relevant information you can, and then ultimately you must make the decision that you feel is in your best interests. So here’s my advice for buyers who want to avoid false buyer expectations.

    First, know what you want and what you can afford. Be realistic. Second, find the best Realtor you can with the knowledge and experience you feel will give you what you need. Third, make sure you’ve done your due diligence and that you know how to interview a Sequim buyer’s agent who is absolutely honest, has integrity, and is trustworthy. You would think all buyers would know this, but they do not. Fourth, once you have wise counselors in your corner (your buyer’s agent, your loan office, your home inspector, your well inspector), listen to them. It’s in your own best interests, right? Ultimately, you get to make your own decisions, but make sure your decisions are based on reality, on true facts, and on solid advice.

    I hope this helps you align your buyer expectations with reality and make wise decisions for your future. I’m here to help.

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  • Filed under: Buyer's Agent
  • Sequim Real Estate Podcast

    Sequim real estate podcast is now online for buyers, and you’ll find these podcasts full of a lifetime of real estate knowledge and experience that buyers like you can put to use immediately. If you could pay a real estate attorney and a long time real estate broker to record podcasts answering all of your questions, how much would that be worth to you? Well, guess what? We offer it free for you on a smartphone app you can download free, and the podcasts are free. Darn it, I wish we would stop giving away all these great resources for buyers. Books, thousands of blog articles, videos, photos, podcasts. When will it stop? Never, because we love helping buyers like you, and we’re good at it.

    Real Estate Podcast

    real estate podcast

    Chuck Marunde Real Estate Podcast

    Here’s how you get this free app for your phone. Just go to the app store, and download it. This app is available for iPhones and Androids. Once you have installed it on your phone, search for my last name, “Marunde” and you’ll find this real estate podcast, which is actually called “Chuck Marunde Podcasts”.

    I’ll be adding podcasts to this regularly, but if you want me to address a particular issue or you have any question, just shoot me a text to 360-775-5424 with your question, and I’ll record a podcast for you.

    Sequim real estate podcast. What will they come up with next for buyers?

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    I Want a Home With Chickens

    Chickens are popular in farm country, but what about Sequim? Yes, chickens are popular in Sequim, too. Sequim really is farm country, and some retirees moving to Sequim want a property with chickens.

    Chickens and the CC&Rs

    The key to searching for a property where you can have chickens or other animals is found in the CC&Rs, aka the covenants, conditions and restrictions. I share more about this in this podcast.

    Goats and sheep are popular, too, but some people with larger properties have their horses or cows grazing on the back 40. I’m a typical country hick. I have 2.58 acres all fenced for animals and two horse stables in a little barn. I don’t have any animals now, but I love my property with my panoramic mountain view. I do have a dog, and he does love his little kingdom. 

    If you’re looking at some properties in the Sequim MLS that you hope will allow chickens, email me and I’ll help answer the question.

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  • Filed under: Covenants
  • Sequim Traps for the Unwary Buyer

    When I was practicing real estate law in Sequim I periodically saw clients with a fence line problem. In a rural area like this with some old barbed wire fences from 1947 on boundary lines, you might expect some of those old fences would not be precisely on a surveyed boundary line. Depending on your neighbor, this kind of dispute can be serious or extremely serious. I’ve negotiated amicable resolutions, and I’ve had to litigate fence line disputes and boundary disputes, so I know this issue well. This podcasts is the tip of the iceberg on this subject, but it will help you to be aware of the issues involved.

    You can listen to more of my podcasts at Chuck Marunde Podcasts. I cover a lot of topics and will be adding many more podcasts in the weeks to come. By the way, you might love the smart phone app, which you can download free and listen to all my podcasts anytime you want, like when you’re driving to work on the freeway through L.A. Egad!

    Download the iPhone app at iPhone App.

    Download the Android app at Android App.

    To find me on the app, just search “Chuck Marunde Podcasts”. 

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    Is The Sequim Real Estate Market Turning?

    The Sequim real estate market may be turning from a seller’s market to a more balanced market, if not a buyer’s market. Let’s examine what’s happening in the Sequim real estate market now.

    Sequim Real Estate Market

    If you’ve been reading articles on this blog over the past 10 years or even the past 5 years, you would know that we had what I call a 10-year real estate recession, during which virtually no one was building a new home, and prices were pushed down by 30% or more and then went flat for years. But retirees continued to move to Sequim and buy homes, albeit in small numbers. Since they were still buying homes in a small real estate inventory, and builders were not building new homes, it was inevitable that there would be an inventory crisis.

    Sequim Real Estate Market Evolving

    About halfway through the recession, I wrote about the darkness on the horizon. I wrote that if retirees continued to move to Sequim and pick off the best homes in the best areas at the best prices, eventually there would be an inventory crisis, and that crisis hit us about about two years ago.

    The sequence of events went like this. Homes started selling at full listed price. Then we periodically got two offers on the same home. Then prices started creeping upward slowly. I would say that prices have increased by about 30% in the last two years, which is a dramatic increase for the Sequim real estate market.

    Meanwhile the homes retirees want [Read The Sequim Bell Curve] were selling within days, and now it’s hard to find one in the Sequim MLS.

    But there is a hint that the winds are changing. In a brand new report released today from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), “Home sellers throughout the Seattle region are experiencing a reality check and the days of multiple offers are days of the past.” 

    And this: “New figures from Northwest MLS show year-over-year improvement in inventory (up 6.5 percent), but modest drops on both pending sales (down slightly more than 7 percent) and closed sales (down 3.4 percent). Despite those drops, prices rose 8.64 percent across the MLS service area that spans 23 counties.” And, 

    In his comments about sellers experiencing a reality check, broker Keith Bruce-Jones suggested Seattle is experiencing a self-corrective shift in the market. “Many sellers are reaching for their dictionaries to understand the words ‘price reduction’ and ‘increased market time.’”

    It’s too early to draw a firm conclusion about the effect all this will have on the Sequim real estate market, but it almost certainly will catch up with us. Many retirees moving to Sequim are now opting to buy a lot and build a home, so that is another changing dynamic. And new home listings will inevitably come on the market in the weeks and months ahead.

    Sequim Real Estate Market Prediction

    My prediction is that prices have stabilized again, and this means the market is shifting away from a seller’s market toward a balanced market, and this will be good news for buyers. We will still struggle with a low inventory for a while, so this doesn’t mean it will suddenly get easy for buyers to find their ideal retirement home. If you’re a buyer, you’ve got to know how to navigate this kind of market. I advise my buyer clients what to do in this kind of market, and I help them do it.

    Meanwhile, keep watching the Sequim MLS, and stay tuned on this blog to keep up with the Sequim real estate market.

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    Sequim Buyer’s Agent

    If you could find a Sequim Buyer’s Agent with the qualifications that would assure you that you were well represented, would you hire that agent? Let’s assume you are retiring to Sequim and you want to find and buy your ideal retirement home. Doesn’t it sound like a good idea to find the best Sequim Buyer’s Agent you can possibly find after a great deal of due diligence? [See my Bonus Gift at the end of this article.]

    Sequim Buyer’s Agent

    Why am I asking this question? Because I’m sometimes surprised by how many retirees move to Sequim but do zero due diligence on their agent. I know I don’t have to remind you how much is at stake here for you. A huge portion of your life savings, a lot of stress as you work through the move from your current home to Sequim. You are leaving familiar ground, your grocery stores, your favorite restaurants, your church, and friends. When you get to Sequim, you start all over on all of these. Then there’s the financial challenges, because you’re trying to buy the best home you can while keeping your retirement account and savings to levels that won’t put you at risk years from now when you don’t know how much health care cost are going to increase.

    Sequim Buyer's Agent

    So here’s my rhetorical question, “Why do well educated and intelligent retirees hire a Sequim Buyer’s Agent without any interview or due diligence in advance?”

    I think the simple answer is that they don’t know they should. I think good people assume that all real estate brokers are the same, or that they all have the same real estate education, experience, competence, professionalism, and integrity. Of course, just by phrasing that issue like I just did will immediately make you say to yourself, “No, I don’t assume that.”

    Granted, you may not, yet many still hire agents without any idea whether they can protect their interests, negotiate the best price and terms, help them through the legal contracts, properly do all the due diligence necessary, and get to closing safely.

    Recently, a couple were in Sequim to visit because they were considering moving to Sequim. They were parked somewhere in Sequim and finished their business when the wife said to her husband, “Honey, there’s a real estate office across the street. Why don’t we see if they can help us?,” to which he replied, “Sure.”

    Sounds harmless enough, right? So they waltzed into the office, and sitting just inside the front entrance was a woman doing “desk time” at a clean desk with nothing but a telephone. She was watching the phone in case it rang. [I’m having fun here with my meager attempt at dry wit, so bear with me.]

    They asked the desk agent about homes, and she said she would take them out and show them some homes, to which they readily agreed. They had never met her, never talked to her before, never emailed with her, and did no interview of any kind. These folks did buy a home through that agent.

    Their agent apparently had very little experience in real estate or dealing professionally with other agents, because she made one huge mess, got everyone frustrated, even her own clients, and put the entire transaction at risk. If I told you the details, you would really understand the point even more. 

    A Sequim Buyer’s Agent I Am

    I’m not trying to pick on real estate agents. My goodness I am one! But this story I’m sharing is far too common all across the fruited plains, and guess who is responsible for hiring inexperienced agents? Buyers.

    Please don’t risk your peace and money by not doing your due diligence. I don’t plug myself a lot on this blog, although I notice that I have in a few recent articles. It’s taken me 10 years to post the 2,000 articles on this blog, produce the Sequim Buyer’s Video Series (and others), write many Sequim real estate books for buyers, record audios for buyers, and create the best programmed Sequim MLS sites for buyers.

    So after doing all this for buyers for a decade (and having 20 years as a real estate attorney behind me and sharing everything I know with buyers free), I think I’ve earned the right to toot my horn once in a great while. There’s not another Sequim Buyer’s Agent that does all this for buyers like I do. No one has worked harder or longer to earn your business than I have.

    I would appreciate your vote! Of course, what I mean by that is I would appreciate you hiring me as your Sequim Buyer’s Agent. I don’t charge you anything, and you get a lifetime of experience in your corner. Seriously, is that not a great offer? Why would a buyer not take me up on this offer unless you just don’t like bald guys?

    I respect anyone’s decision to hire whomever they want as their Sequim buyer’s agent. What I’m talking about here is a very fundamental concept. It is in your best interests as a buyer to find and hire a Sequim Buyer’s Agent based on their knowledge, experience, competence, professionalism, and integrity. No?

    You can interview me on the phone or in person. You can ask me any question you want, professional or personal. I am Mr. Transparent. There is no question I will duck, and you will know right away exactly what kind of person I am, and you’ll know whether you want to work with me or not.

    BONUS GIFT: I just published my new eBook with almost 100 chapters, all focused on buying a home in Sequim. It is entitled Sequim Real Estate for Buyers, Free eBook Updates Forever. If you plan to hire me as your Sequim Buyer’s Agent, I will email you my new eBook absolutely free. Just email me at and let me know what format you are reading, iBooks, Nook, Kindle, Kobe, or Google Play. Be sure to type “Send eBook” in the subject line. This book will be on for $9.95 shortly, but I’ll send it to you free.

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  • 1 Comment
  • Filed under: Buyer's Agent
  • California Fires and Escaping to Sequim

    California fires are once again driving people out of California to the Northwest. The total loss of one’s home and everything in it would be a nightmare of epic proportions for sure, but there’s much more that is driving people out. My California buyers are using almost the identical descriptions with phrases like these: forest fires, increasing crime, illegal aliens, political insanity, increasing traffic nightmares, increasing regulations and bureaucracies for business owners, increasing taxes, draughts, floods, and the looming threat of a big earthquake.

    California Fires Again

    California Fires Pushing People to Sequim

    What is happening in California is disturbing, and now the state is losing the middle class in a mass exodus. Why are many of these Californians moving to Sequim? Of the long list of nightmare phrases that explain why they are leaving their beloved California, Sequim has virtually none of these, with the exception of the potential big earthquake. California fires are just one of the major problems.

    In the case of a big earthquake, there is a dramatic difference between living in California and Sequim. If the big one hits California, the freeway on-ramps and exits will likely be down, electricity will be off, gas stations will be closed, grocery stores will be out of food within hours, municipal water systems will be down, cell phone service will almost certainly be down, and there will be mass destruction of buildings. You won’t be able to escape, because there will be no way of escape!

    And then, you know what would be coming next. As you huddled in your home or emergency shelter, the criminals would be out in force at night stealing food and anything else they wanted. Do you really want to be forced into a Wallmart FEMA shelter for who knows how long? The military will be guarding these FEMA centers, and there will be security fences and security gates so you cannot leave. Why? They will keep civilians in the shelters “for their own protection.” There’s no way they will let you come and go at your leisure.

    Contrast that with living in Sequim in a big earthquake. In my single level 1850 square foot home I would have some broken windows and some broken dishes, but that would be the extent of the damages. I have a private well and private septic, and I have a backup generator that runs on propane or gasoline. I have some emergency food on the shelves for a period of months. Of course, the area power would be down, there would be no cell phone service, the gas stations would be closed, and the grocery store shelves would empty of staple items within hours. While those consequences create a nightmare scenario in metro California, it would not here in rural Washington.

    Since Sequim is too far from Seattle/Tacoma and Olympia with the bridges down and no direct access (other than boat) for outsiders, Sequim would not suffer the onslaught of roaming criminals and masses of starving people. They would in Seattle, but not in Sequim.

    I would also point out that we have plenty of crystal clear water flowing out of the Olympic Mountains, and we have fishing galore, and we have masses of deer and wildlife. We also live in an agricultural area with a lot of organic crops and an untold number of beef cattle in the area. The point is, we have a lot of ways to survive here that Californians simply do not have. Many locals have their own organic vegetable gardens and many also have some animals, like cows and sheep.

    I’m not interested in going conspiracy theory on you, and I won’t because I’m not a conspiracy guy, but if you’ve read some of my 2,000 blog articles or any of my dozen books, you’ll recall this statement, “The answers you get are only as good as the questions you ask.” Too many people are not asking the right questions, so they never do get answers to some critically important issues.

    I was a forest fire fighter for the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska for four summers as I worked my way through college. I know how forest fires travel, what their limits are, and how they catch houses on fire. It is virtually impossible for a forest fire at 1,100 degrees to melt glass and steel like we are seeing in these California fires. It also does not make sense that houses are reduced to ashes with all the appliances and metal melted to nothing while there are still green trees standing around the houses. I speak from truth, since there are many Youtube aerial videos showing this exact reality. I don’t know the answers to the question, “What is going on with these California fires?,” but I can tell you as 30-year fire fighters in California have said, “Something is terribly wrong here.” I’m not answering the question. I don’t have that kind of knowledge and wisdom, but there are legitimate questions out there, and this video raises some of them. Please don’t jump to conclusions and assume that I am a conspiracy theorist. I’m not. I’m only raising questions, not answering the questions.

    Why are people leaving California? The California fires are one reason, but just one of many. Yesterday a Redding man who is in Sequim looking at homes told us that his home just burned up in Redding. How tragic! I wish he had sold his home long before the fire and had moved to Sequim before he lost his home. All of these reasons and the unanswered questions about the fires are legitimate reasons there is such an exodus from California to Sequim.

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  • Filed under: Sequim Weather
  • I Need a Realtor to Draft an Offer Now

    Do you need to draft an offer now on a home that just came on the market? You know there is a sense of urgency in this market with such a low inventory and high demand, but you want to make sure you do everything right, and you need a Realtor who can help draft an offer today.

    Beautiful Home

    Draft an Offer

    Call me on my cell phone at 360-775-5424, and I’ll draft the offer for you, but we will still need to do all the due diligence you would do if you were here. You can learn more about what is involved if you are going to draft an offer sight unseen on a home by reading Buying a Home Sight Unseen.

    I got a call from a buyer recently who said she and her husband knew the area and found a home in the MLS online that was ideal for them and which they thought was a good listing price, but the real estate broker she called did not answer her phone or call back. This buyer wanted to draft an offer right away without delay, so that’s why she called me.

    Draft an Offer and Due Diligence

    I always recommend that a buyer get a home inspection by a professional inspector familiar with construction, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and heat pumps, roofing, and so on. A home inspector will thoroughly examine a home and produce a detailed 20+ page report with descriptions of any issues or potential issues he found.

    Many buyers attend the home inspection, so that gives you an opportunity to examine the home yourself after you have a signed agreement with the seller. 

    I never would encourage a buyer to make a decision to buy a home before they are ready and certain that it is the right time and the right home for them, and I can facilitate the conversation on all the issues that should be considered. But when you decide it is time to buy a home, and when you have found the right home, call me or text me, and let’s draft the offer without delay.

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  • Filed under: Buyer's Agent
  • How to Buy a Home in Sequim

    How to buy a home in Sequim is a query of many retirees who are currently living all over the continental United States and Hawaii and Alaska. If you live in Temecula, Denver, Honalulu, Miami, or Fairbanks you will undoubtedly have many questions about the Sequim real estate market. Every market has its own unique real estate issues, and you can’t be expected to know what the traps for the unwary are in the Sequim real estate market. That’s my job, and that’s why this blog has over 2,000 articles written specifically for buyers, and it’s why I made my Sequim Buyer Video Series. Your need for information on how to buy a home in Sequim is also why I’ve written six books on the subject. Here’s a short video you might enjoy.

    How to Buy a Home in Sequim

    How to Buy a Home

    There are so many issues that you need to be aware of if you buy a home in the Sequim area. You don’t necessarily have to know it all yourself, but my book Sequim Real Estate: A Buyer’s Guide will be helpful in preparing for the transition. I also wrote Buying and Selling Real Estate in the Rain Shadow, which you might find helpful. As you may know, Sequim is known as the Rain Shadow or the Blue Hole because we only get 16 inches of rain per year, one-third that of Seattle.

    I recommend watching this short video, buy one or two of my books, and then you have me as a resource while you gather information and when you come to see homes. You can email me, text me, or call me anytime. I promise, I’ll help you unpack the whole issue of how to buy a home in Sequim.

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  • Filed under: Buyer's Agent
  • How to Sell My Home

    Why an article on “How to Sell My Home“? Because many retirees moving to Sequim, Washington need to sell their home first, whether that is in California, Colorado, Texas, Alaska, Hawaii, Florida, Arizona, Portland, or anywhere in the U.S. Many will use the Internet to research “How to Sell My Home” and will do their own due diligence on how to get the highest price in the least amount of time.

    How to Sell My Home

    But there is much more that sellers need to know, and again most are searching the Internet for topics like, “How to Find a Good Real Estate Agent,” or “For Sale By Owner,” or “Marketing a Home For Sale on the Internet,” or “How to Price a Home,” or “How Does The MLS Work,” and so on.

    How to Sell My Home

    If you are planning to sell your home anywhere in the country, this book, The Seven Myths of Selling Your Home, will be immensely helpful. I share secrets that real estate brokers don’t share with anyone. You’ll be surprised at the truth behind some of the common practices that brokers use to get you to list your home with them. Many are using ineffective marketing techniques to get you to think they have a great marketing system and that they are working so hard to sell your home, but in reality many of their approaches do not sell homes but help them reach more buyers. In other words, beware of the listing agent who uses you and your listing to get more clients for himself while your home sits on the market going stale.

    I’ve been in this business going back 40 years, so I could go on and on about what home sellers do NOT know about how the real estate industry really works, and I could go on and on about what marketing works and what marketing does not work. And I do go on and on in this book addressing “How to Sell My Home,” so you can make wise decisions for yourself. 

    When you’re done studying “how to sell my home,” and when you are ready to find your home in Sequim, Washington, let me know, because I have a free book for you entitled, “Sequim Real Estate: A Buyer’s Guide.”

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    The Sequim Bell Curve: Sequim Homes Hard to Find

    There is a Sequim bell curve in real estate, and after working with hundreds of buyers retiring to Sequim, that bell curve pattern has become clear.  At least 2/3rds of all retirees are looking for the same property, a single level, three bedroom, two bath home on a nice lot, preferably with a mountain or water view (but not if it costs a lot more), a nice modern kitchen, a two car garage, and not far out of town.  Anywhere from 1,800 square feet to as much as 2,600 square feet is good.  A low maintenance yard would be preferable.  Neighbors are fine as long as you have some privacy.  The more the better.  Does this all sound familiar?  Here’s what the Sequim bell curve looks like.

    Sequim Bell Curve Representing Buyer Preferences

    The Sequim Bell Curve

    Sequim Bell Curve Effect on Sellers

    No wonder a seller with two stories, 4,000 square feet, four bedrooms and three baths on a lot with houses 20 feet on either side is having trouble selling his home.  No wonder homes from the 60’s and 70’s with vintage kitchens are not selling to the 67%.  No wonder homes on commercial streets just sit in the MLS forever.  Homes on the outer margins of the Sequim bell curve are not in high demand.

    Sequim Bell Curve Effect on Inventory

    All of this is also very relevant to buyers, because the inventory of homes available for retirees in the center of this Sequim bell curve have been selling, and that means the inventory available has been shrinking.  See my previous article entitled, Sequim Home Inventory Shrinking.

    I’ve been telling my buyers recently, when we find the ideal home and the listing price is reasonable, don’t dilly dally.  Draft an offer and start negotiating, because you’re in the Sequim bell curve and that means someone else is gong to buy this home if you don’t.

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    City of Poulsbo

    The City of Poulsbo is an amazing little town, although compared to Sequim, it is not so little. Poulsbo is about an hour’s drive from Sequim. It was a Sunday afternoon, and the sun was out, and it was a gorgeous day. So I took a drive to Silverdale, ate lunch at the Olive Garden, and on the way back to Sequim I stopped at the Poulsbo Marina downtown Poulsbo, which is right on the waterfront. I only had my iPhone with me, but I decided to take some photos and video as I walked around. This video is my idea of an enjoyable Sunday afternoon. Leave comments if you enjoy it, and I’ll do some more like this of the area. You can enlarge the video to full screen.

    Poulsbo Washington

    Poulsbo is Fun to Visit

    You’ll notice in the video that I took some shots of my favorite bakery. I’m not a junk food guy, but this bakery in Poulsbo is one of the best bakeries I’ve ever seen, or should I say tasted. Everything they bake is so fresh, it’s irresistible. 

    Of course, there’s a lot of unique shops downtown Poulsbo that are really fun to walk through. And my favorite would be coffee shops, and there are plenty. And here’s the great news for those of us living in Sequim. We’re only about an hour’s pleasant drive to Poulsbo.

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    Sequim Water Front Home for Sale

    This Sequim water front home is absolutely extraordinary, and you won’t find anything like this in our Sequim MLS, especially in these times when the inventory is so darn low. But this really is an amazing home for a number of reasons.

    Sequim Water Front a Rare Find

    This home is on beautiful West Sequim Bay just minutes from the east end of downtown Sequim and on a quiet cul de sac. This lot is a little further out than neighboring properties, which means you get a 180 degree panoramic water view of Sequim Bay. Here’s the narrative description in the Sequim MLS:

    “This Sequim water front home is beautifully landscaped and impeccably maintained on Sequim Bay and includes separate guest quarters, large heated shop with room for a boat and RV storage, large landscaping shed, stairs to private beach, and a mooring! This property is a piece of paradise! Watch aerial video (embedded below) and three 3D virtual tours at: 1.) and 2.) and 3.) [Hint: copy and paste these URLs into your browser address to watch these interactive virtual tours of the main floor, the lower level, and the detached shop.

    Sequim Water Front

    I would say this aerial video of this Sequim water front home tells the whole story, but actually it only tells part of the story. You’ve got to watch the interactive three dimensional tours, and you really ought to see this home, walk the property and see the inside of this custom built home. 

    You can see the Sequim MLS listing information with more photos of the inside of this Sequim water front home at: Sequim Water Front Home For Sale.

    And if you would like to known more about this home or schedule a viewing, may I suggest you retain a buyer’s agent to represent you, and why not hire one of the most experienced buyer’s agents and negotiators in the northwest? Call Chuck Marunde at 360-775-5424 or text me at this same number. 

    And lastly, because the inventory is so low and this home just went on the market, it may sell very quickly. After all, it’s hard to find a Sequim water front home for sale. Update: SOLD – This home did sell for $1.25 million. 

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    Who is Daniel Binswanger?

    Daniel Binswanger is a real estate broker with iRealty Virtual Brokers, but since I work with him nearly every day, I thought I would share my answer to the question, “Who is Daniel Binswanger?”

    Daniel Binswanger

    I’ve known Daniel Binswanger for many years since he and his family moved to Sequim, and one of the very first things he and I had in common was his positive outlook on life, his faith, and his personal honesty and integrity. For me integrity is everything, and we’re living in a world where integrity is not exactly a priority in politics and business 

    Daniel has integrity, and that’s why he is working with my brokerage.

    But there’s more to the story. I have worked with many agents over the years, and I’ve had other agents working for me, and I thought at one point that I would just prefer working alone. I’m not much for babysitting agents who need constant attention, and from a brokerage perspective, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have an agent taking up real estate space in an office if they can’t generate business and close transactions while building positive long-term relationships with clients.

    Daniel Binswanger a True Professional

    Daniel Binswanger does all of these things exceedingly well. I’ve not seen many agents who could build such a positive and transparent relationship with clients so quickly as Daniel can. He has a gift for connecting with people. But there is much more to Daniel that I appreciate. 

    I am impressed with someone who has been successful in business, and Daniel Binswanger was very successful with his huge California business. He’s accomplished what few men have accomplished in a lifetime, so that kind of business savvy impresses me, especially because he operates with integrity and is very generous with everyone.

    Daniel has an incredible wife and his children are incredible, too. That doesn’t happen by happenstance. He is loved by a lot of people, and he has a lot of people who count Daniel as a “best friend.” That doesn’t happen out of luck either.

    Daniel Binswanger in Real Estate

    I enjoy working with Daniel on real estate listings, because we work so well together. I have some skills I bring to the table (ex-lawyer, Realtor for decades, author and Internet geek), and he has skills he brings to the table (marketing and sales, business development, and people skills), and between us, I honestly believe with great conviction that no team can do a better job selling a home. We have all the professional digital SLR equipment, a 9-lens three dimensional virtual tour camera with online interactive functionality (the only one here), an aerial video drone (and we have the only FAA registered drone pilot among Realtors here), and we have the largest online marketing system with staff pros who know how to reach buyers. Frankly, between us, we also have more real estate knowledge and experience.

    Daniel Binswanger is a critical member of this team, and I’m very glad he is on board. You can email him at Daniel Binswanger. []

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  • Filed under: sequim realtor
  • John Wayne Marina in Sequim

    Here’s John Wayne Marina in Sequim coming into the marina from a very pleasant tour of Sequim Bay on a McGregor owned by Kevin Elders. What an incredible day. The temperature was about 70 degrees, and believe it or not the water temperature in the middle of the Bay was actually 60 degrees. Unbelievable! Don’t tell anyone, but there was hardly anyone else at John Wayne Marina on this day. Here we are in Paradise in one of most temperate even climates in the world where Sequim is known to have the famous Blue Hole or the Rain Shadow because we only get 16 inches of rain each year compared to Seattle’s 45 inches, and hardly any human beings are taking advantage of this. This is incredible. If southern Californians knew about Sequim and about John Wayne Marina, they would get the heck out of crazy land and get to Sequim as soon as possible. But wait, maybe we don’t want the world to know how incredible it is here. Hmm. Well, I’ll share this with you, but don’t tell anyone else.

    John Wayne Marina

    John Wayne Marina

    John Wayne Marina is not only ideally located in protected Sequim Bay, but the facilities are top notch and there are hardly any lines to launch your boat, if you don’t have a slip in the marina already. The restaurant has some amazing sea food, steak, and the coffee is very good, too. I’ve lived in Sequim for 23 years, and John Wayne Marina is one of my favorite hangouts.

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  • 1 Comment
  • Filed under: Sequim
  • 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