FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
These FAQs are intended to be the short version of major questions and brief answers that many buyers ask about buying in Sequim. For more information and more detailed answers, you can search the 2,200 articles on this blog for almost every question that buyers have asked for the past 25 years, and I’ve been doing my best to post the answers for buyers like you. If you don’t find the specific answer you’re looking for to your question, email me at ChuckMarunde@gmail.com.
- 1. Finding a Buyer's Agent
- 2. How to Find Your Home
- 3. How to List Your Home
- 4. Negotiating Price
- 5. Due Diligence
- 6. Why Sequim?
- 7. Water Views
- 8. Cost of Living
- 1. How to Search Online For A Buyer's Agent05.09.19More
This is a good question, but believe it or not few people ask it, and fewer still know how to do online research in this day of fake news, exaggerated claims, sales gimmicks, and outright misrepresentations. It really takes a great deal of skill to know how what phrases to search, how to use the search engines, how to filter through the results quickly, how to recognize the good from the bad in the results, and how to adjust search phrases to get better results. I've written extensively on this subject on the real estate blog on this site, which you can search, and I've included interview questions on this site you can review. I've also written books with chapters on finding and choosing a good buyer's agent. But let me share this simple way to get started. Search various phrases in the search engines for Sequim Buyer's Agent and review who comes up. Then do more research on each of them. If all they have is an MLS site, or if the only places they keep showing up is on paid sites like Zillow, you need to look elsewhere. If they don't offer you substance with their own articles, videos, and photos online, they aren't doing anything to reach out to buyers like you. And then review their education and experience. Of course, you've got to know how to differentiate the boys from the girls, and then email and talk on the phone to your number one choice to make sure I'm the right one. Okay, that was my effort at humor--inserting me in that last sentence. Seriously, I really think I am the most qualified Sequim buyer's agent, and I hope you do your research and agree with me.
Here's an article I wrote in 2012, but it's just as relevant today: Finding A Sequim Realtor
and another article I think will be helpful: How to Find a Sequim Realtor
- 2. How Many Realtors Are in Sequim?06.09.19More
There are 169 real estate agents listed in the Olympic Listing Service in Sequim as of this date. Not all are full time, and my best guess is that only about 30% are full time Realtors who depend on real estate as their primary source of income. I would say that no one knows exactly how many are full time and how many are part time. Remember Sequim is largely a retiree population, so many people move here but want something to do, or they want a supplemental income, so the percentage of full time Sequim Realtors could be as low as 10% of the total number of Realtors licensed and calling Sequim their market area.
The majority of Sequim brokers, which is the new legal name in Washington for agents, are either 1.) retired from another occupation with a retirement pension, or 2.) they have a retired spouse with a retirement income. Many are retired and don't need the money, but they got bored and needed something to do. Of the 10% to 30% who are full time, my guestimate is that only half of them rely on their real estate commissions as their sole source of income and are also the only income earner in the family.
Most agents focus entirely on getting listings, and have not built an independent marketing system to buyers. The business models of listing agents and buyers' agents are different, the marketing is different, and how they spend their day is different. But this doesn't mean the majority of agents call themselves "listing agents." They focus their business on listings, but they accept buyers who call off their listings (which is their only marketing system to buyers), and they are quite happy to represent buyers when buyers fall into their lap. This difference is incredibly important but most buyers and sellers are completely unaware of the difference. More about this at:
- 3. 7 Reasons Why It Matters Who You Hire06.09.19More
Does it really matter who you hire, whether you are buying or selling a home? I will answer this question with 40 years of real estate experience, 20 years as a real estate attorney, and believe it or not, I’ll do it in just a few minutes. This should be fun, especially because I often tell people I’m trained as an attorney, which means it takes me 100 words to say what a normal man could say in three to five words. I lay out 7 reasons why it matters which Realtor you hire, and they are all big reasons, and you can go directly to that article at:
- 4. A Buyer's Agent Must Be a Negotiator06.09.19More
Your buyer's agent must have some fairly high skill levels in negotiating. It takes years and a lot of hard work to develop those skills as uniquely needed in the real estate industry.
If you want your buyer's agent to negotiate like a professional and get the best price and the best terms while protecting you throughout the due diligence process, you must be able to answer yes to all of the following questions:
Does he have a solid understanding of the local real estate market and values?
Does he have years of experience working with builders and contractors (or the equivalent) in order to judge the value of materials used in a home as well as the quality of craftsmanship?
Does he have an ability to recognize potential defects in foundations, garage concrete floors, electric panels, flooring, kitchen countertops, appliances, HVAC systems, property drainage, private wells, septic tanks and drain fields, irrigation systems, roofing materials, and siding?
Does he have a knowledge of legal language in covenants, easements, and contract language?
Does he have an ability to properly deal with contingencies?
Does he have negotiating skills on price and terms acquired over decades (not a few years)?
Does he have the experience to deal with a large number of objections?
Does he have an understanding of human behavior and motivation?
Does he know how to customize the negotiating tactics for a unique buyer or seller (what works for one will not necessarily work for everyone else)?
Does he have the knowledge and experience to accomplish the necessary due diligence?
A great buyer's agent doesn't cost you anything, because he gets paid half the commission from the listing side, but a great buyer's agent is worth his weight in gold to you.
- 5. Review Their Online Resume06.09.19More
You can learn a lot about a person by reviewing their online resume and their history and standing in the profession. I'm astonished, however, how few Realtors are actually using the Internet, and how many don't have a good resume online for buyers like you to read. For goodness sakes, whatever you do, do not hire someone whose online resume says something like, "My husband and I enjoy walking the beach with our poodle." What in the world that has to do with real estate experience I do not know, but if there's no other experience listed there, just dog and beach walking, move on in your search. I've created interview checklists and several articles you might enjoy, and you'll find all of them at:
- 6. Agent Interview Checklist
- 1. How Do I Search Online?05.09.19More
Searching online for your home is no small task, but I want to share a few brief tips here. Don't think for a moment that Zillow is accurate and that you can rely on the data or the Zestimate. Sometimes they get it right, but a broken watch is right twice a day, too. I won't go into detail here about all the data problems with Zillow. If you want to know more, search for the articles I've written about Zillow and MLS sites on my real estate blog. For now, I want to share with you a Sequim MLS site that is 100% accurate and includes all the local listings. I designed and programmed it myself just the way buyers want an MLS site in terms of information and navigation and the convenience of email alerts while still maintaining their privacy. I recommend this site, and you'll find links to it from my main home page, but it is Sequim-Homes.com.
- 2. Is Zillow a Good MLS?05.09.19More
First, Zillow is not an MLS (multiple listing service). Zillow syndicates listings from hundreds of local MLSs around the country, and the way they make money is by selling advertising space to real estate agents. Their primary client is the real estate agent, not you the buyer, and not the sellers either. They make their money from Realtors. Unfortunately, Zillow steals the listing information from local MLSs without permission, and they do that by scrapping the Internet. They scrape MLS sites, tax assessor sites, auditor sites, and many other online sites to pull the information into their own ecosystem and then they kick it out in the form of of what appears to be a listing, but their income is from the Realtors who show up in the right side of your monitor. So let's not tip toe around, Zillow is not a good moral company.
Second, a lot of my buyers like to use Zillow to look at homes, and I'm not foolish enough to tell people what they can and cannot do, so if you like Zillow, go ahead and use it. But when you want to look at Sequim listings that is 100% accurate and is designed specifically for buyers like you, I invite you to Sequim-Homes.com. Use as many syndicated sites as you want to (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and other brokers corporate sites), but to keep track of your favorites and your searches and organize your short list of homes to view when you arrive in Sequim, use Sequim-Homes.com. You can also use the links at Sequim-Homes.com to email me with your questions about particular properties. This is one of the services I offer my clients, all the answers you need about a property even before you arrive in Sequim to view homes.
- 3. Can My Agent Help Me Find a Home?05.09.19More
Yes, your buyer's agent can help you find a home, and should. But the Internet and email has changed everything and made it much more convenient for buyers to find a home and do research online. When I first started in real estate, there was no Internet and all my buyers had to browse a hard copy MLS book that was printed once a week. There were no photos, and we had to select some and go view them. Compared to what we do now, that seems like the caveman days.
Today, you can use Sequim-Homes.com to search for homes in the Sequim area, and if you want to search in Port Townsend or the Islands between Sequim and Seattle, you can use my second MLS site, LuxuryWaterViewHomes.com. I have found that it makes the most sense for my buyers to search the MLS themselves and then they can email me or call me to ask about specific listings. That is so much more efficient than me trying to browse listings based on the parameters that a buyer shares with me. Clients can see whether a thumbnail image of a home should be filtered out immediately, or whether they should dig deeper to learn more about that listing. Clients can watch a three dimensional virtual tour and know in seconds whether the home is a possibility or must immediately be eliminated from their list. Of course, I don't know what appeals to my clients eyes and personal passions, so it makes more sense for me to let my buyers search online, and then I can help filter from that point.
Once my buyer clients have arrived and we have looked at homes together, and having debriefed as we walk through each home, I will have a much better feel for what they like and don't like. Then after they've gone back home, if they call me about a new listing, I can preview it and know almost immediately whether it could be a good fit.
- 4. What is the Sequim MLS?06.09.19More
The MLS (multiple listing service) used in Sequim is called the Olympic Listing Service. A Realtor must be a member of the Sequim Association of Realtors (or the Port Angeles Association of Realtors) to be a member of the OLS MLS. This is our primary MLS in Sequim, but we also now have a second MLS service in the area called the Northwest MLS, which is based in Kirkland, Washington. The NWMLS is what Seattle Realtors use. I'm a member of both, and I have both MLS sites linked from the home page of this site.
- 5. How To Find Answers To Any Question On This Site06.09.19More
I answer a number of common questions about Sequim and buying a home in Sequim in this FAQ section, but you will want to get good at using the search tool on this real estate blog, because there are over 2,200 articles written specifically to answer every question buyers have been asking in this market for 25 years. That means it is highly likely the issue you want to addressed is already answered somewhere on this powerful real estate encyclopedia.
Allow me to teach you how to use the search on this site with three examples.
First, if you search for the phrase "buyers agent" [do not use apostrophes or grammar marks in searches] in the search field on the home page of SequimBlog.com in the top right corner, you would get 534 search results listing all the articles, which you can browse or open and read.
Second, you also type in this search phrase in a larger search field about halfway down the home page of SequimBlog where it says "SEARCH OVER 2,000 SEQUIM REAL ESTATE ARTICLES HERE".
Third, just below that search field is another one entitled "SEARCH BY CATEGORY". That's a drop down menu, and you can use it to go to the category "Buyer's Agent," and once again you'll get many articles at your fingertips.
Lastly, you could simply open your own browser and do a search in DuckDuckGo.com or Google.com or Bing.com, and you could search with the phrase "Sequim buyer's agent" just like that with the quotes this time and with "Sequim" in the search since you are not doing a global search, and you would see the results include many of these articles from this SequimBlog.com. You'll also get other search results that are not specific or do not address issue for the Sequim area. The best and most targeted search for any phrase is to use the three methods above, and you do not need to use quotes for those searches.
Notice how powerful this real estate blog is. The search for "buyers agent" returns 534 results. Search any of hundreds of other phrases, and you will also get dozens and sometimes hundreds of search results. This is why this is the most powerful and the largest real estate blog not only in Sequim, but on the Olympic Peninsula, in the State of Washington, and in the entire Northwest. And I created this for you, my buyers, and it is totally free for you and available 24/7, and you can use it anonymously.
- 6. Can We Find a Rental Home While Searching?06.09.19More
Probably not. The inventory of good homes buyers want is very low and has been for almost two years. This has effected the rental inventory, too, and it's almost impossible to find a decent single family home you can rent for $1,000 to $1,600 a month. You could rent a vacation rental unit or a B&B, but those are expensive if you need it for months. Some of my buyer clients park the RVs at a park, and that can work fairly nicely if you have a RV. You do have to plan way ahead, because RV parks are full all summer, and the nice once are booked well in advance.
- 1. What Do I Need to Know About Listing My Home?05.09.19More
This is an unbelievably important question, although most homeowners don't know how important it is. There are so many "secrets" within the real estate industry that agents never tell their selling clients. Here's the tip of the iceberg. Listing agents across the U.S. are so busy sending marketing material to homeowners, trying to get leads, and doing listing appointments, they only have time to input the listings they do get in the MLS, and that's essentially all they do to market a home. The vast majority of listing agents around the country list, list, list, and they don't have the time or the ability to build large and powerful marketing systems to highly qualified buyers. If you understand the implications of this, you will understand so much more about what listing agents don't do for their selling clients. There's so much to say on this subject for the sake of the truth and in the interest of being honest with homeowners about what does and what does not work, I wrote The Seven Myths of Selling Your Home. If you need to sell a home, I strongly recommend you read this book. One of my clients told me that he would have saved $50,000 had he read this book a few years before he met me. That book is available on Amazon.com.
- 2. What About Marketing a Listing?05.09.19More
This is the ultimate question. What is important about working with a listing agent is not whether he or she works in a big brick building, or whether he or she works for the largest brokerage in the galaxy, or whether he claims to be the number one selling Realtor in the world. None of those, even if they are true, are what sells a home most effectively. What sells a home today is connecting with highly qualified buyers, and guess what? They are not reading the newspapers. They are not walking randomly into big offices. They no longer care about branding, so they are not attracted to big brokerages. Radio and TV ads don't work for buyers today. In many markets, like Sequim, open houses don't work at all since the buyers are not here. The buyers in Sequim are retirees who live in states all across America.
The point is buyers today are using the Internet to search for their home and to connect with a buyer's agent they want to represent their interests. Marketing today is nothing like it was 20 and 30 years ago. Traditional brokerages are typically using 20 year old marketing approaches, and that's why it's so important to work with a Realtor who is using the most powerful and effective marketing tools today to connect with highly qualified buyers in a particular niche.
I'm the only agent in my market who uses the Internet to market to buyers extensively, and after 12 years I'm still the only one. It surprises me that my colleagues are so far behind in technology and marketing. I'm the only FAA registered drone pilot Realtor in my market. I'm the only one with a 3D virtual tour camera with nine lenses. I'm the only geek Realtor with the best digital SLR cameras and the best video cameras and editing software to market to buyers. I'm the only one who produced and edits professional quality videos for buyers, including my buyer video series. I also designed and programmed two MLS sites for buyers in niche markets. In addition, as you already know, I've published over 2,200 articles on this blog specifically for buyers coming to Sequim. Who does all this? A geek like me. But this is what powerful marketing is all about today.
The traditional business model in real estate brokerage is dead, but don't tell the big brokerages. Apparently they don't know.
- 3. Do People List With The Highest Bidder?05.09.19More
It's true. Most homeowners who want to list their home with a Realtor end up listing it with the highest bidder. Do you really think that is the best way to choose a listing agent? Of course not! The real question is what is the true fair market value of the home, and that's what it should be listed at, but it should be listed with a Realtor who has the knowledge, experience, and integrity to share that with the seller. Even that's not the end of the decision for the homeowner. Clearly the homeowner should list with the agent who has the best and most powerful marketing system specifically to buyers. Just putting listings in the MLS is not a marketing system to buyers, although that is precisely what most listing agents do. Of course, they don't tell their selling clients any of this.
- 1. How Much Should I Offer?05.09.19More
This is one of the most important questions for a buyer who is ready to have me draft the offer. Not very many buyers have a lot of experience making offers on real estate, especially a half a million dollar home. The person who has never bought a home has no idea, and the person who has bought and sold half a dozen homes thinks they know. If you played high school basketball, you would never suggest you know how to play in the NBA. There is so much to consider when making an offer. Here are some of the variables, and you need a buyer's agent who really understands all of these variables in the local market. The price you offer depends on:
The state of the local real estate market, the inventory and the demand.
For a market like Sequim, Washington, our buyers come from around the country, so the state of the real estate market in those other areas of the country will have a huge impact on the buyers coming to Sequim. If they can't sell their homes, they aren't buying in Sequim.
The homes at the top of the Bell Curve in Sequim will get the highest prices.
Location is big factor when it comes to price. Quiet, peaceful areas, and homes with great water views or panoramic mountain views will clearly demand higher prices.
The quality of the materials used in a home is another determinant of how much to offer.
The age of the home is a factor.
The floor plan is a factor.
How much natural light fills all the rooms is a factor.
The condition and size of the garage and whether there is a separate shop effects price.
The condition of the siding and the roofing are factors.
The landscaping is a major factor, because most Sequim buyers want nice landscaping that is also low maintenance.
Buyers coming to Sequim want single level homes, and stairs can reduce the price or kill a sale altogether.
How long the home has been on the market (DOM = days on market) effects the offering price.
How far the home is outside the Sequim Blue Hole can play a part in the negotiating.
How motivated the seller is will obviously affect what they are willing to do.
Whether there have been other offers previously is a factor.
Who the listing agent is will be a factor, especially if that agent has little experience or has not been properly trained (no matter how many years they've been in the business).
There are other factors, but you can see there is a lot involved in deciding what a "reasonable offering price" will be. You shouldn't just shoot from the hip, and you can't apply generic rules like, "homes sell for 94% of the listed price," so let's offer that. That's a kindergartener approach to what should be a much more serious and professional approach to making an offer at a reasonable price that stands a chance of being accepted or at least countered.
- 2. What If I Get A Counteroffer?05.09.19More
If you offer full price, you won't get a counteroffer. You'll get acceptance, unless the other terms in your offer do not match the seller's terms. Assuming you offer less than the full listing price, the seller can accept, reject, or make a counteroffer. If the seller makes a counteroffer, you can accept, reject, or counter again. This will require some careful conversation with you buyer's agent in order to respond intelligently and reasonably. You want the home for the lowest possible price, but dilly dally and someone else may buy it out from under you, and I've seen that happen many times in this past year in Sequim. As for how to determine whether to accept the counter or counter again, that's a fairly involved conversation, but you've got to have experience and professionalism in your corner, or it could all go sideways on you.
- 3. What If I Insult The Seller With My Offer?05.09.19More
There's a logical sequence of thinking on how much to offer and how to deal with counteroffers. The first step is understanding the true fair market value of a property. If a home is listed at $429,000, and you want to make an offer, the first question is what is the fair market value of that home? That's where we start. Do not make the mistake some buyers have made by saying, "Well, I want to make an offer, and I understand homes in Sequim are selling for an average of 94% of the listing price, so I want to make an offer of 94% of the listing price."
That is upside down and backwards. If the listing price is grossly over fair market value, forget about average percentages. What makes the most sense is to figure out true fair market value, and base your offer on that number, not the seller's listing price. Whether that offer insults the seller is of no significance to a buyer. You want your offer to be based on real values, not on the seller's emotions.
- 4. What About Days On Market?
- 5. What About Multiple Offers?
- 1. What Does A Home Inspection Involve?05.09.19More
After you've reached a full agreement on the price and terms with the seller, you have the opportunity to inspect the home, and most people choose to hire a professional home inspector for $350 to do that. He will spend a couple of hours at the house and email you a complete report with photos and his findings with recommendations. You then can ask the seller to repair some items within reason, or to give you a credit on the purchase price. Here's an article with a video that explains this much deeper.
- 2. How do I do my due diligence?05.09.19More
There's a lot of important investigative work to do before you make an offer, and much more after you have reached an agreement with the seller. Exactly what due diligence to do will vary around the country as the critical issues of concern are different around the country, and they are even different within a state and perhaps within a county. It's important for a buyer to tap into local knowledge, and this is why a long time local buyer's agent can be worth his weight in gold. There's the home inspection, the well inspection, the septic inspection, reviews of documents, including the preliminary title report, covenants, plats or surveys, the building permit file, the county records, insurance records, possible water issues, wetlands issues, and more. I recommend searching the 2,200 articles on this blog to find articles I've written over the past dozen years on all of the various due diligence issues that come up in the Sequim area.
- 3. What's a Septic Inspection?06.09.19More
As part of the due diligence when you buy a home is the septic inspection. You'll only have one done if the home is on a private septic and not a municipal sewer system. A private septic has a 1,000 gallon septic tank with a drainfield nearby. In Sequim it is traditional for the seller to pay for the septic inspection, and that usually costs about $250. If there is a problem with the septic system, as the buyer you can ask the seller to repair it, but the contract doesn't have language that obligates the seller to repair it.
- 4. What About A Well Inspection?06.09.19More
If the home you're buying has a private well, I always recommend you get a well inspection. This typically costs about $200 for the water flow test, which tells you how many gallons per minute the well produces, and you can also order a water quality test, which costs about $70, and tests for nitrates and bacteria. We are very fortunate to have good water in this area, but there are some wells that a low producers, meaning they only produce a few gallons per minute. Anything less than about 3 gallons per minute might require a 1,000 cistern, which is a storage tank. Most wells in the area produce 8 to 18 gallons per minute. But even 4 gallons per minute is more than enough and you're not likely to run out of water unless your watering fruit trees and flowers all day in addition to washing clothes, dishes, and taking showers inside.
- 5. Do I Need to Test Bluff Stability?06.09.19More
If you're buying property on a medium to high bluff, you will want to consider bluff stability. The location of the bluff, the angle of the bluff, and the vegetation all play a part in bluff stability. East of the Sequim-Dungeness Lighthouse spit is fairly stable for the bluffs. They are largely protected by spits and bays. But west of the spit is a different story. Between the spit and Port Angeles there are several unstable bluffs, some where the bluff has peeled off 25 feet or more. This was never an issue until about 7 years ago. A number of homes have been red tagged and some are so close, it's scary. I was surprised when a home recently sold where a 175 foot high bluff lost about 40 feet at the top, which put the bluff only 32 feet from the back of the house. It surely looked precarious, and there was no vegetation or tree root systems to stabilize the bluff any more. Someone came along and paid $445,000 cash for that home.
Bluff stability reports are too expensive for most people to have done by qualified engineers, so most buyers will have a learning curve as they look at properties on bluffs. I have years of doing this, so I do share what I've learned from engineers with my buyers, and I've read many bluff stability reports, so I know what to look for, or at least what indicia would raise red flags.
- 6. I Don't Want Covenants06.09.19More
I understand trying to get away from restrictive covenants, aka CC&Rs, and there are some properties in the Sequim area without CC&Rs. Not very many, but some that were not originally part of a subdivision. CC&Rs are going to be part of every new subdivision everywhere in the U.S., but you can occasionally find a property that is not part of a subdivision or was chopped off a farm property with a couple of other lots 20 or 30 years ago, and the old farmer didn't create CC&Rs.
With no CC&Rs, you won't have the common restrictions most properties have, like no chickens, no mobile homes, no commercial livestock, no shooting guns, and so on. Of course, you could still be in a land use zone that prohibits these things. You'll find an article on CC&Rs that you might enjoy at:
- 1. Sequim Weather is Wonderful05.09.19More
Sequim's weather is really great, but the reason in my opinion is not because it competes with Las Vegas where it is sunny every day, but because Sequim doesn't have extreme temperatures either way. Our summers are typically in the 60s and 70s, and our winters are in the 40s and 50s. We have many winter days that are clear and sunny and in the high 50s. We only get one-third the rainfall that Seattle gets, which is only 16 inches a year. We also rarely have snow, and we don't get much in storms. We have no tornadoes, no hurricanes, no floods to speak of, and no other natural disasters. The biggest threat is from an earthquake, but we all have that threat in America. Sequim is an amazing place to live, and after 25 years of living here, I have no plans to live anywhere else.
- 2. Traffic in Sequim05.09.19More
If you're tired of the freeway traffic in L.A. or Seattle, you'll love driving in Sequim. We don't know what traffic jams are, unless we have to drive to Seattle. That's a two and a half hour drive. SeaTac is a two hour drive from Sequim, and it's a pleasant drive, and most of us plan our flights out of SeaTac at times outside I-5 rush hour traffic.
- 3. Is Sequim Friendly?05.09.19More
I was driving a client around the Sequim area looking at homes, and as I passed people walking on the two lane roads, they all waved, as I did. Finally, my client sitting in the front seat asked, "Do you know all these people?" I told him I didn't, but people here are friendly. He replied, "Wow, you don't do that in L.A. In fact, in L.A. you don't look at anyone directly as you pass them on the sidewalk."
Here's why people in Sequim are so friendly. It took me years to come up with this explanation. 95% of all the retirees who move to Sequim fit this profile, at least 95% of my buyer clients over the past 25 years. They are successful but humble. They have done well financially, but they've also seen both good and bad times, and they are mature emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. They are well educated. They know what they want, and they're not chasing the pot of gold at the end of any rainbows. They know what they want, and they've found it in Sequim. They buy their ideal home, and they settle into it, content and mature. They've been married for a long time, and have traditional values. They are stable people, and they are wise in the ways of this world.
They are also service oriented. In other words, life at this phase is not about them. It's about serving others, and they do that by giving in the community, by serving in non-profits, churches, or in social causes. I've never seen so many well run clubs and associations than in Sequim.
You can see why they are happy and friendly. You won't have better neighbors anywhere.
- 1. Are Water Views Hard to Find?05.09.19More
Sequim is located on the North Olympic Peninsula between the Olympic Mountains to the south and the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north. Since we live on a peninsula, we are surrounded by water, and there are water views galore, from beachfront to low and high bluff views, to long distance mountain top water views. But that begs the question. A great water view is hard to find at any price. When people move to Sequim, they don't sell for 15 years, so the best properties are probably not available. Once in a while a gorgeous water view lot comes up for sale, but it's rare. And once in a great while an existing home with a stunning water view comes on the market, but you have to watch for those, because they won't last long if they are listed at fair market value.
Be careful when you're looking at photos of water views on an MLS online from far away, because we do have listing agents who will take a telephoto shot of what is actually a peek-a-boo water view, and make it look like a stunning panoramic water view. This is another reason to communicate with me before you come so I can help you filter out properties that are not what they appear to be online.
In terms of price, a nice one or two acre parcel on a high bluff with a beautiful water view will typically be listed at $300,000 to $400,000. Then build a home for $350,000, add excavation and utilities, and you're into it for about $800,000 before landscaping.
- 1. What Are Sequim Property Taxes Like?05.09.19More
Property taxes are not bad in Sequim and within our County, which is Clallam County. You could estimate property taxes by taking the tax assessed value, which is supposed to be fair market value (but is often low), and taking 3/4 of one percent and that would be the annual property taxes. If a home has a fair market value of $400,000, the calculation would be like this:
$400,000 x .0075 = $3,000 annual property taxes
- 2. What About Food Prices?05.09.19More
The prices at Costco and Safeway and QFC are typical here, but since we live in such a rich agricultural valley, many people love to have their own organic vegetable garden. There's nothing so good as salad, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers just picked out of the garden to mix a salad for dinner. Also we have many family owned farms here that sell fresh produce throughout the summer. Sunny Farms is a local Sequim all natural grocery store, and Port Angeles has Country Aire. Both incredible stores, and while they are a little more expensive than Safeway, there's no comparison to the quality of the food.
Many people here also like to fish and hunt, and that can bring the cost of a grocery budget down, unless you spend so much on boats and equipment that your savings are only imagined.
- 3. What About Electric Bills?05.09.19More
Electricity is cheap here, but the key is we don't have extreme cold temperatures in the winter, so our heating bills are very low. On top of that, many people like to burn wood in their fireplace or their wood stove, which can bring the electric heat bill down quite a bit. A heat pump is an added way to efficiently heat a home. As far as air conditioning is concerned, we really don't need it here, even though a heat pump has air conditioning as well as heating. It's typical to hear a homeowner in a 2,000 square foot home say their average monthly electric bill is $250 for everything. Not bad compared to southern California's electric bills.
- 4. Does Sequim Have HOAs?06.09.19More
HOAs (homeowner associations) are common in Sequim as they are all over the country, but here's one difference that you'll see in rural areas like this. Many HOAs may be authorized in the originating documents (i.e., the developers Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws), but most people don't move to Sequim to get involved in an HOA run by a dictator who loves to boss people around and raise assessments. This means many HOAs are authorized and exist but don't actually do anything, and many don't collect any dues either. Others collect a small annual fee to take care of road maintenance in a small neighborhood. Typical HOA dues can be several hundred a year, which my California clients tell me is nothing compared to what they pay. Road maintenance fees are typically small annual collections, if there are any. I pay $250 a year for road maintenance in my little neighborhood, and I'm happy to do so.
Where you'll see more annual dues or association fees is with condos. Then you might see $3,000 a year for annual HOA dues for the condo association which takes care of common properties around the units.