This is a great way to pre-qualify for a home mortgage online in minutes. If you plan to purchase a home and get a loan, you will need a pre-approval or pre-qualification letter to demonstrate to the seller that you are in fact able to get a loan and close the transaction. There’s another reason to get pre-qualified, and that is to know exactly how much you can qualify for, and what kind of down payment you’ll need. That’s important information to have before you make an offer on a home. You can simply go to this Pre-Qualify for a Mortgage Online page to complete the online form. Just click on this image and you’ll be taken to the Pre-Qualify page.
Why do so many retirees love Sequim? There must be a hundred reasons. It’s almost surprising how many people around the country know about Sequim. Sequim has been written about in retirement and travel magazines for several decades. People even sit in coffee shops in San Diego, Denver, Dallas, Naples, Phoenix, Anchorage, and Seattle talking about Sequim, only to be interrupted by someone at the next table who knows about Sequim, too.
Sequim a Wonderful Place to Retire
Sequim is a wonderful place to live. I moved to Sequim 20 years ago, finished raising my children here. I’ve also talked to hundreds of people who moved to Sequim and bought a home. Here’s why Sequim is so popular.
I guess there’s no such thing as perfect, but Sequim certainly comes close. Sequim really has a blue hole or a rain shadow, and it rains only one-third as much as nearby Seattle. Sequim is nestled between the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. With plenty of sunshine, a panorama of nature’s glory on all sides, and pristine air coming gently off the ocean, Sequim is a piece of Heaven.
Sequim is two hours off the I-5 corridor and far from the metropolitan traffic that so many hope to escape in their retirement years. Our crime rate is extremely low by any comparison. Our recreational activities are phenomenal, and that alone is a long list of activities. The stress level in Sequim is many levels below the hustle and bustle of most of America.
Sequim a Rural Community
Sequim is a rural community with an agricultural history going back over 100 years, but we also have our little subdivisions. Some communities have clubhouses and walking trails, and some have golf courses, like Sunland. Some communities are on hillsides with almost every home having a water view, and some communities specialize in mountain views. Of course, there Sequim has beachfront communities, too.
Some of my clients have dreamed of having a home in the country with acreage for a horse or two. Others want an organic vegetable garden where there’s plenty of sunshine and just the right amount of rain. And then there’s the woman who already knows exactly what her quilt room will look like while her husband is intent on having a large shop. We have those too.
The Sequim school system is one of the best in the country, and while your children may be all grown up, isn’t it nice to know that the kids are actually polite and considerate, and drugs and adolescent crimes are almost non-existent. School plays, musicals, and trips to Mexico to help build homes for the needy are common. Sometimes I feel like living in Sequim is like going back in time 20 or 30 years in terms of traditional values.
Then there’s the fishing, the hiking in the Olympic National Park, the old growth forests, kayaking, running and bicycling, many active clubs in Sequim, the Lavender Festival, and the Irrigation Parade. But I think maybe the best way for you to discover one of the “Best Places to Retire” is simply to come and visit Sequim. If you’re considering retiring here and buying a home.
Are you looking for a small horse ranch? You will see more than one horse ranch from Port Townsend to Sequim to Port Angeles, but a horse ranch for sale is hard to find for the discerning horse owner. This is one horse ranch with an ideal property and ideal horse setup. Here is an aerial video of this horse ranch.
Horse Ranch For Sale
You can learn more about this horse ranch, including more photos, property details, and a 3D Virtual Tour of the inside of the home by going to Horse Ranch, and you can look at every horse ranch for sale in the Sequim and Port Angeles are by going to Horse Properties. By the way, you may have noticed that no broker in the Sequim and Port Angeles area is doing these kinds of high quality aerial videos and extraordinary three dimensional virtual tours, except one–iRealty Virtual Brokers and its owner/broker Chuck Marunde. Why? Chuck says, “I think buyers want reality. They need to know exactly what a property looks like outside, and for a property like this horse ranch, there’s no better representation than an aerial video. And buyers also want to know exactly what the inside of a home looks like and where all the rooms are, and the 3D virtual tour gives them the reality of walking through the home online just as though they were there in person. Clients love this kind of reality.” Hence the name, iRealty Virtual Brokers.
Clallam County is farm and animal country and has been for well over a century. For those with a little acreage out of town, horses, cows, sheep, goats, and even chickens are common. One of the reasons Sequim appeals to so many people retiring is because it is a very peaceful community far from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life. Are you a horse owner in the market for a horse ranch? Email email@example.com and let Chuck know exactly what you are looking for in a horse ranch.
Buyers have a lot of Sequim real estate questions, and if you are a buyer wanting accurate and thorough answers to your questions, you need to know where to find those answers. What if there was a free online site or affiliated sites where you could find the answers to any of hundreds of Sequim real estate questions? There are two sites that do answer your questions, and these two sits answer literally hundreds of questions that buyers have been asking for two decades about Sequim.
Sequim Real Estate Questions
The first site is this Sequim MLS site, which is full of articles answering questions. As the best Sequim MLS site, it was designed and programmed specifically by me in exactly the way buyers have wanted. It is not only easy to navigate, it is very powerful and offers buyers many options on how to search for the ideal property. In addition to this site being a 100% accurate and powerful Sequim MLS site to answer your questions about all the properties listed for sale in the Sequim area, this site also has articles addressing primary concerns. And if that wasn’t enough, there is more.
Sequim Real Estate Answers
In the right margin of the pages, there are links to hundreds of more articles answering Sequim real estate questions. Those links lead to a second site, which is the largest Sequim real estate blog with almost 2,000 articles written specifically to answer Sequim real estate questions. That blog is found directly at SequimRealEstateNews.com.
In addition, you’ll find many links on these two sites to additional affiliate sites and online tools that answer Sequim real estate questions on nearly every issue that has been asked. Now, here’s a bonus. If you cannot find the answer to your question, you can get the answer, because the man behind these sites is a real veteran with over three decades in the business, 20 years as a real estate attorney, author of ten books, mostly real estate books (including books written for buyers, i.e. Sequim Real Estate: A Buyer’s Guide), and author of all the answers to these Sequim real estate questions. So if you cannot find your answer, you can email ChuckMarunde@gmail.com or call or text 360-775-5424.
There is no more thorough and authoritative source than these for all your Sequim real estate questions.
Today I share the best MLS sites you can use to search and find your home or land. I will tell you exactly why these are the three best Sequim MLS sites.
Best MLS Site #1
Our number one pick for the best MLS site in Sequim is Sequim4Sale.com, also known as Sequim-Homes.com. Unlike many MLS sites that are created and maintained by a corporation far away from Sequim, or other MLS sites that are awkward to use and not very friendly, this Sequim MLS site was designed and programmed specifically for Sequim buyers. It is easy to navigate, powerful in its search capacity, and you can save favorites and set up email alerts. 100% of all the Olympic Listing Service (OLS) listings are on this site. All local agents use the OLS, so this is where you will find all the local listings. There’s an introductory video, and a series of videos to help you get the most out of this Sequim MLS site. There is also a 24/7 technician standing by to help you if you have any questions. This is by far the best Sequim MLS site. Period.
Best MLS Site #2
Our second pick for the best MLS site in Sequim is LuxuryWaterViewHomes.com. This site includes all the Northwest MLS listings for homes and land in the Sequim area as well as most of the state of Washington, including the entire Seattle-Tacoma metropolis. Only 55% of the Sequim brokers are members of the Northwest MLS, so roughly half of the Sequim listings are in this system. But this site allows you to search a much larger area for other listings.
Best MLS Site #3
The last but very powerful Best MLS site is SequimForSale.com (as opposed to Sequim4Sale.com). This site includes all listings from both the Olympic Listing Service and the Northwest MLS, which makes it a very powerful site. Even Seattle area Realtors use this site to look at Sequim listings.
Use one or all three of these MLS sites, but if you are looking only at Sequim listings, we recommend our first choice at Sequim4Sale.com.
UPDATE: See the latest updated article on the NWMLS v. OLS last edited January 17, 2021.
Sequim real estate maps and documents are hard to find online. The Internet addresses for these Sequim maps are impossible to remember, especially the long government websites that don’t have logical names. I’ve collected some of the most useful links to Sequim real estate maps so you can easily find all the information you need on particular properties.
1. Tax Assessor’s Site is packed full of useful information on their Sequim maps where you can look up any home or vacant real estate in the county by address, name, or tax parcel number.
Sequim Real Estate Maps: Clallam County Tax Assessor’s Site
You may be interested in reading this article about How to Use the Tax Assessor’s Website.
2. The County Parcel Maps have a tremendous amount of information available at your fingertips. You can look at Sequim maps showing boundaries and dozens of selectable map features (roads, streams, lakes, tribes, DNR land, the Discovery Trail, city and county boundaries, etc.). By the way, the county programming on this Sequim real estate map will not load the map if your browser is sized too large. If it doesn’t load properly, reduce the size of your browser on your monitor. This is true for all the county online maps.
Sequim Maps: Clallam County Parcel Maps
3. The County Boundary Maps are where you can see many more specific pieces of information about a property by selecting options in the right margin, like which irrigation district a parcel is in, school districts, hospital districts, precincts, fire districts, and so on. This looks very similar to the last map, but they are different. On the last map, for example, you won’t see irrigation districts.
Sequim Real Estate Maps: County Boundary Maps
4. The Parcel Status is where you can see the complete status of a property on all county issues. You can find out on this page if the land is included in the Dungeness Water Management area. You type in the tax parcel number and hit search, and up comes a screen with a link on the parcel number, and when you go to that link, you’ll get a page full of more information and links on documents effecting that parcel. Copy and paste this tax parcel number (033029550130) into the page below, and you’ll have an excellent example of the information you can see. All tax parcel numbers in this system must be typed with exactly 12 digits. If you have more zeros, delete them.
Sequim Real Estate Status: Parcel Status
5. The County Auditor’s site includes all recorded real estate documents. This is where you can look at warranty deeds, deeds of trust, foreclosure notices (Notice of Trustee’s Sale), CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions), plats, and much more.
Sequim Real Estate Documents: Real Estate Recordings
These Sequim real estate maps are very useful when you’re thinking about buying a property. You need to know about the property restrictions and what you can and cannot do. If your property will have a private well, you need to know if you’re in the water management rule that restricts residential use to 150 gallons per day for an entire family. If you will have a mini-farm or animals, you may want to be within one of our irrigation districts so you can have access to more water from April 15 to Sept 15.
There’s no way to memorize these url’s. They’re too long and not intuitive, so be sure to book mark this page for future reference.
Do you know how to intelligently search for a home? In other words, do you know how to effectively search without wasting time on poor websites or syndicated MLS sites with inaccurate information? Do you know how and where to search for answers to your questions an area or buying a home, and do you know the difference between credible information and unreliable information?
Why is this important? When you’re retiring, the last thing you need is a nightmare that costs you money and creates tremendous stress for you! I don’t doubt your ability as a buyer to make wise decisions for yourself and your family, provided you have accurate information and you get good advice from your Realtor. But this is where many buyers fall down. They don’t know where and how to get good and accurate information and credible advice when buying a home.
For example, many buyers are using Zillow to do their home search. I have written elsewhere about the grotesquely inaccurate information on Zillow. The list of problems with Zillow is well known across the country, but buyers still use it. [Read Bad Zillow Information.]
I strongly urge buyers to use a Sequim MLS site that includes all the local listings and that is 100% accurate because it pulls all its information from the source listings.
The single most reliable real estate information on questions buyers ask all the time is found at the largest Sequim real estate blog. If you are on a mission to search for your retirement home, you definitely want accurate and reliable information about buying Sequim homes. You’ll find thousands of articles written for buyers at Sequim Real Estate Blog. These are carefully written by a Sequim real estate attorney (ret.) and broker who has lived in the area for 20 years.
There are multiple links to other reliable and accurate sources in the right margin of that real estate blog. In addition to all these accurate resources, Chuck Marunde is available as your personal advisor, and that means you can be assured that you are getting honest and professional advice you need to avoid a nightmare scenario. It also means you will be equipped to make wise decisions as you search for a home.
Home sellers who want to sell their homes have major decisions to make. The challenge for the vast majority of home sellers is that they have not had a career in real estate, and there is much they do not know about how the real estate industry really works, the differences between listing agents and selling agents, and they don’t know the gimmicks that listing agents use to get listings. Having been a real estate attorney and now a real estate broker, I have a passion to protect consumers and give them the absolute truth. This book will show sellers what they need to do to get their homes sold, and what they should avoid. There are so many traps for the unwary.
Listing Agents Are NOT The Same as Selling Agents (aka Buyer’s Agents)
Most home sellers do not know the dramatic differences between a listing agent and a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent is always a selling agent, because they always sell listings. A listing agent will only be a selling agent when they also represent the buyer as a dual agent. It is rare for a listing agent to sell one of their own listings, but they do periodically, maybe 5% of the time. Most home sellers believe that a listing agent and buyer’s agent are essentially the same profile with one cohesive philosophy and business model that serves buyers and sellers equally, but they are not. Listing agents and buyer’s agents might as well be two mixed martial arts fighters in a cage. They are two people with dramatically different purposes and goals.
Today listing agents focus on getting listings, as they have for decades. The more listings they have, the more money they can make, because other “buyer’s agents” will sell their listings for them. It’s a broker’s focus that determines their business model and who their business really serves. Over the years the real estate industry became bifurcated as advertising and technology became more powerful, and business models became primarily listing models or buyer’s models. That meant agents specialized in either getting listings or marketing to buyers, but not both.
Buyer’s agents are the agents who market directly to buyers, and it is buyer’s agents, not listing agents, who spend the time and money to create large marketing systems directed to buyers. Listing agents can have large marketing systems, too, but they are marketing to sellers to get more listings. Home sellers typically expect listing agents to have large marketing systems, and in their listing presentations to homeowners, listing agents lead homeowners to think they have massive marketing systems to buyers. But that just isn’t the way the industry has evolved.
Sales is often more about perception than reality. So important is public perception to listing brokers, they will perform all kinds of gymnastics to appear to be more successful than they are just to get homeowners to list with them. For example, it was listing brokers who came up with the idea of a “team” of agents to list properties. The team approach puts all the listings under one broker at the top of the pyramid, so to speak, so that all the listing and sales data in the MLS are attributed to one broker even though there are many brokers on the team. I know of a Seattle area broker years ago who ran commercials boasting that he sold 500 homes a year, and many homeowners listed with him because they thought he was a superman of a listing broker. Actually, he had about 20 agents all working under him at the time, but they put all the listings and sales under his name alone. They will argue they don’t put all the listings and sales data under that team leader’s personal name–they put all the listing and sales data under the name of the team. Right. The team is typically named “The John Doe Team” or some variation of that individual’s name. The perception is that this is one individual with some assistants. You’ll never see “The John Doe Team Consisting of 200 Agents.” That kind of disclosure would not be nearly as impressive if you’re trying to get people to sign listings.
By the way, please do not be fooled into thinking that any “team” approach means the entire team of 200 agents, or however many agents are on the team, are all going to be working for you. One person works for you. Your listing agent. That’s it. And your listing isn’t sold by a team–it is sold by one real estate agent. And your listing isn’t sold by a corporation or a franchise. It’s sold by one agent. The idea that a large franchise brokerage can help sell your home better than smaller companies may actually be the opposite of the truth. For example, if your agent has more knowledge and experience and professionalism than any member of the so-called teams in the area, than the teams are less helpful to you than the more experienced individual broker.
If such a gimmick (or deception) isn’t bad enough, the Code of Ethics and the MLS rules allow a listing agent to count as a personal sale any home he listed but was sold by another buyer’s agent. In other words, he listed it, another agent sold it, but he still gets to tell homeowners in his listing presentations that he sold that home, too. As the TV infomercial used to say, “Wait, there’s more!” If a listing agent acts as a dual agent and also represents the buyer, he gets to count the sale of one home as two sales in his listing presentations and advertisements. Double dipping anyone? Does exaggeration, gimmicks and less-than-forthright seem like the appropriate words here?
As a result many home sellers who are waking up to how this really works, usually after getting burned by a listing agent, are deciding to list their homes with a selling agent who actually does everything a listing agent does to market a home, including putting it in the MLS, but a whole lot more when it comes to marketing. Granted, then we do have a buyer’s agent who is listing homes, but this is a hybrid of sorts, a very unique and very talented kind of real estate agent. Such a person is the exception, not the rule.
Why The Two Business Models Are Different: Listing Agent vs. Buyer’s Agent
I don’t want to take you too far into the weeds on the differences in the business models of listing agents and buyer’s agents, but some people need more of an explanation to comprehend the significance of why listing with a listing agent may not be what you think it is in terms of marketing to qualified buyers.
Why is a listing agent’s business model different? A listing agent’s business model involves “listings, listings, listings” as they like to say. In other words, their goal is to get a large volume of listings in their inventory. To accomplish that goal, they have to create a business model that will capture large numbers of sellers as listing clients. This means they have to create a business model that markets to hundreds and even thousands of homeowners via mailings, advertisements in print media, signage (including listing signs on lots of yards), and they need to be active in the community at social gatherings and associations and clubs in order to meet lots of people constantly to hand out their business cards and schmooze people. They might run local radio ads and purchase advertisements on grocery store carts. Running a regular display ad in the local newspaper is also popular among traditional bricks and mortar brokerages, all of whom are focused on listings, not buyers. Of course, listing agents put together impressive looking listing presentations with promises that would impress the Queen of England. They practice their listing presentations, because the success of their whole business is measured by how many listings they have. It’s a competitive business, because the vast majority of all brokers are competing against each other to get a limited number of listings in their market.
If the listing agent doesn’t really have a marketing system to highly qualified buyers, how might a listing agent represent his marketing system to prospective listing clients? The answer is, “when my listings show up in the MLS, buyers often call me directly to learn more about the listing.” Believe it or not, that’s what listing agents could consider their most effective marketing system to buyers. “Wait,” you say, “this is what I’m going to pay the listing agent $35,000 in commissions for? To put my property in the MLS and wait for a buyer to call, or wait for a buyer’s agent to bring a buyer?” Yes. That’s correct! Beware, a listing agent who has learned to overcome objections from sellers might say, “Well, any method to connect with a buyer is legitimate, including a buyer calling off the listing in the MLS.” True, but then why do we need the expensive listing agents? The rhetorical question might be, “If the most effective, and sometimes only thing, a listing agent does is input a property into the MLS, why not ask a buyer’s agent to input your property into the MLS? After all, it is the buyer’s agent who markets directly to large numbers of buyers.” Novel concept, isn’t it?
But here’s a bigger point: A listing agent who acts as a dual agent representing you and the buyer of your home is not necessarily a good idea. It is an apparent conflict of interest, of course, but it can be overcome provided the agent knows exactly how to handle dual agency without compromising either you or the buyer, and most do not. Breaches or negligence by dual agents have been the cause of many lawsuits. The bigger problem, however, is that listing agents’ primary clients are sellers, not buyers. Don’t miss this point please. All those years of chasing “listings, listings, and more listings,” did not build a repertoire of knowledge and experience to represent the best interests of buyers.
Why is a buyer’s agent’s business model different? A buyer’s agent’s business model involves connecting with as many potential buyers as possible. What does that look like in terms of a business model? It means an agent has to have something to offer potential buyers. For example, this model would need to create lots of free online resources directed specifically to buyers for that real estate market. How would buyers find this buyer’s agent when these highly qualified buyers live all over the country? The best way to do that is with well written content-rich websites full of articles, outstanding photographs, and excellent videos, all optimized for the search engines with SEO (search engine optimization). Of course, this buyer’s agent must connect with “highly qualified buyers,” not just any tire kickers. This means he not only must show up where these buyers are searching on the Internet, but when they find his resources, he needs to be so good at writing sales narrative with rich content that they don’t just move on after 5 seconds, but stick around to read or watch something they feel is worth their times. This buyer’s agent must be far above average in SEO, in writing sales material, and must have a depth of knowledge to write good content that is original for buyers in his market. He must also either be really good at building his own websites, blogs, and videos sites, or he must pay someone a fortune to do all that for him. In addition, he must manage all the security for his sites and be available 24/7 to repair a site after a breach, because of the constant hacking that comes with using the Internet to reach large numbers of people. And he must have an efficient way to stay in touch with his prospective clients and actual clients, but consumers hate annoying CRM (consumer relationship management) systems that pester them with emails and messages and alerts. This means he must learn ways to develop loyalty from his clients without high pressure sales techniques or cheap gimmicks. It should be apparent that these are not the kinds of tasks that listing agents spend their time doing. They don’t have enough time to do all that a listing agent must do to generate listing appointments and actually get listings (which is a bit of a number’s game as we say in sales), and at the same time do all the writing, Internet work, video creation, SEO, and content creation required of a successful buyer’s agent. Do you see why a listing agent and a good buyer’s agent cannot fit in the same body?
These are two totally different business models. You can see just from these two paragraphs describing the listing agent and the buyer’s agent how dramatically different their models are, how they each spend their time and money, and how they focus on the needs of two different groups. I can tell you that listing prospects do not respond to the same advertising mediums that buyers do, and buyers do not respond to the same advertising mediums that listing prospects do. For example, you might run an ad in the local print newspaper if you’re trying to get listings, but you wouldn’t run an ad in the local Washington paper to reach buyers from Newport Beach. And you might post an article that is optimized for the search engines to reach buyers in Newport Beach who are considering your local Washington market, but you wouldn’t expect local listing prospects to discover your blog article about how great you are as a listing agent based on their use of the search engines.
It’s almost a mystery, but local homeowners who want to list their homes do not typically search the Internet to learn how to hire or find a real estate broker. This means online marketing to get listings doesn’t work on a local level, at least I’ve found that to be true in rural areas. The deception in the industry comes from this reality: A listing agent who does not have a large enough team to have specialized brokers who exclusively create a massive marketing system online for buyers must lead listing prospects to think that he does have a large marketing system directed to buyers. One example will make this point clear. I once showed a home to my buyers that was owned by an elderly widow who couldn’t leave the home when I showed it. Normally, she wouldn’t be there, but it was fine that she was, and she was quite talkative on her own. She volunteered this fascinating statement, “My daughter who lives in California told me I needed a listing agent who has a big Internet system to buyers, so I asked my listing agent if he is on the Internet, and he said, ‘Oh yea, I’m all over the Internet. I’m everywhere on the Internet. Oh yes.'” I didn’t respond to that nice lady’s statement, but I knew her listing agent, and the only Internet activity I ever saw by him was when he put one of his listings in the MLS. That’s it! I can assure you that putting a listing in the MLS is not itself considered “all over the Internet.” That poor woman had no idea she had been lied to just so the agent could get her to sign a listing agreement. I won’t get into it here, but another gimmick listing agents use to get listing prospects to sign a listing agreement is to bid for listings. The idea is the listing agent with the least amount of integrity who is willing to quote the highest value will get the listing, knowing they will have to reduce the price once or twice or three times before the price finally gets to true fair market value and becomes sellable. I explain this in greater detail in my book, 7 Myths. It’s an extraordinarily dishonest way to get listings.
List Your Home Right and Save Yourself Stress & Money
If you are going to list a home for sale anywhere in the United States, I strongly recommend you read this 7 Myths book first. It will save you from making some potentially big mistakes, which could mean tens of thousands of dollars for you, not to mention delays for months and all the stress. I could bore you with story after story of how listing agents have made a mess of listing and negotiating for a seller. Believe me, and I know many of my clients or prospective clients already know this from personal experience, there are many agents out there who are incompetent, dishonest, or just stupid. I’ve seen too many in my long career to ignore or deny that. What do I do with this knowledge? I share what I know and teach buyers and sellers how to protect themselves, and in my own representation, I protect my clients and help them get the best price and the best terms and get to closing with the least amount of drama. If all agents knew how to do this, or if all cared enough to do it, I wouldn’t need to write books and articles like this.
You can learn more about how to list a home by going to Amazon at 7 Myths of Selling Your Home.
List Your Home and Save Tens of Thousands in Real Estate Commissions
I’ve started a new service that home sellers around the state of Washington are likely to love, and it is a flat fee listing service that will save sellers tens of thousands of dollars in commissions. I’m very excited about this, because I know how to actually help sellers with every aspect of listing, marketing, negotiating, due diligence, and getting to closing without any nonsense.
I spent an entire lifetime pursuing knowledge diligently so I could serve the best interests of my clients. I’ve worked hard to master every aspect of real estate. Novel concept? Shouldn’t be.
If you would like a quick peek at my education and experience to validate what I’m writing here, please go to Chuck Marunde’s Experience. And you’re welcome to call me on my cell phone to talk with me or interview me at 360-775-5424.
In a book I wrote in 2010 entitled, “The New World of Marketing for Real Estate Agents” I predicted the slow painful death of the traditional real estate brokerage, because everything was changing. Not only did technology and the Internet revolutionize the industry, buyer demand changed how business must be done. I’m surprised at how long it is taking the traditional brokerage to die, but that business model is dying, no doubt about that. It’s just a matter of time. And it’s a matter of time for the development of new business models to serve buyers and sellers. I created a new business model for buyers here over a dozen years ago, and my buyers were the happiest of all buyers by the time they get to closing. But what about sellers?
Alas, I finally created a business model for sellers to list and market their properties, and it’s an incredible service that will save them tens of thousands in commissions, and they still get the benefits of an honest, experienced, competent, and loyal real estate professional, meaning me. Here’s an interesting quote from a past client of mine who wanted to sell his home but knew I was an exclusive buyer’s agent at the time. He said, “Chuck, you have the largest marketing system online with more resources and help for buyers than any other broker or brokerage, bar none. You reach more buyers than all the other listing agents. Since you reach more buyers, why can’t you list our home?” And he turned to his wife and said, “Honey, I know what we’ve been doing wrong. We thought we needed a listing agent to sell our home, but what we really needed was someone who reached the most buyers, like Chuck. In other words, we need to list with a buyer’s agent.” He had a novel way of phrasing the issue, didn’t he? I did list his house, and I sold it.
An Excerpt from “7 Myths of Selling Your Home”
It doesn’t seem that long ago when we were still dialing numbers on a rotary phone. Remember that? And it wasn’t very long ago when fax machines first became popular, and then cell phones, and computers, and the Internet.
When I was in law school at Gonzaga University in the early 1980s, John Stockton was playing college ball in the campus gym, and no one had ever heard of Bill Gates. In 1985 Larry Page, co-founder of Google, was 12 years old, Steve Chen, co-founder of Youtube, was 7 years old, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook was only one. Now they are all billionaires. Google is old among technology companies today, and even Google was only founded in 1998.
Now people all over the world are using the Internet and smartphone apps as though they’ve been around forever. We have online services of every kind and software in the clouds. We have social media used by billions of people, and we can communicate instantly with friends all over the world. For the first time in the history of mankind, time and distance have been rendered irrelevant.
We have seen advances in the past 10 years that most of us would never have anticipated. As the saying goes, “The only constant is change itself.” But what we’ve been witnessing is not only change as a constant, but the acceleration of change. The real estate industry has been right in the middle of these extraordinary developments.
This book focuses on a very narrow aspect of all these changes—selling your home today. I will drill down to the most relevant changes that affect you as a home seller. Because many of these changes have snuck up on us, most people are still thinking like they did 20 years ago with respect to advertising and selling a home. But the world has changed. Buyers have changed. It’s time for home sellers to catch up to The New World of Marketing.
Much of what has been said about how to sell a home today is clothed in myths. Sometimes I hear home sellers repeat these myths, and I wince politely. The challenge is that myths are hard to recognize. Selling a home is not a process you can put in a laboratory to define the exact formula for success.
It is possible to do everything wrong and still sell your home, if you get lucky. But selling your home should not be about luck. It should be about implementing the most effective strategies to reach the most qualified buyers. Even if you do everything right, there is no guarantee you will sell your home quickly for the price you want.
It’s interesting how myths get started. Rumors that are repeated enough often become “facts,” and information passed on from person to person can get lost in the translation. To make matters more interesting, even with honest and intelligent people, things can get a bit complicated, because what you knew to be true about selling real estate in the last decade is almost certainly not true in this decade. So even if you used to be right, you may be wrong now.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a myth as, “an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true.” We all know myths abound in science, history, and religion, but I can tell you that myths abound in real estate, too, especially for home sellers today. And these myths trap home sellers into making bad decisions. If you, as a home seller, are going to make wise decisions, they must be fully informed decisions, and that means getting past myths to get the whole truth. Making important decisions with partial truths can have devastating outcomes.
If you decide to try a new restaurant, and it turns out to be a bad decision, it’s not a big deal. You may have wasted $20.00. But when it comes to selling your home, you could lose tens of thousands of dollars with a bad decision.
And you could lose a year or two of precious time. At the age of 65 or 70 what price would you put on a year of your life? What value would you put on a one year delay of precious plans to live somewhere else, perhaps closer to the grandkids? If you are fully informed about what it takes to sell your home, you can make wise decisions, get your home sold as soon as practical, and net the most money possible from the sale of your home. But you’ve got to be able to separate myth from fact. This book will help you do that.
There’s so much to know and learn about selling a home in today’s market. Several years ago I wrote a book specifically for real estate agents entitled The New World of Marketing for Real Estate Agents. In that book I made my best arguments to my colleagues in the real estate industry that we need to adapt our business models to meet consumers where they are, and to better market our listings to the most qualified buyers using the most powerful marketing tools.
I was not bashful about being critical of old fashioned and outdated practices, but I was writing directly to my fellow Realtors® around the country. That book received some high praise, including a strong endorsement from a well known national real estate instructor and motivational speaker, Tom Hopkins.
For Home Sellers Only
This book is written directly to home owners who want to sell their homes now or in the near future. So the focus of this book is to help home owners think through the issues that are most important when it comes to selling a home, issues like marketing and advertising, reaching qualified buyers, negotiating, handling the due diligence issues, and hiring a real estate agent.
I spend a lot of time on what you need to know when it comes to hiring a listing agent. This is important, because I have learned that the vast majority of home sellers do not know what to look for in a listing agent. Few have developed a good interview checklist, so I have done the hard work for you and included one in this book. You should not be looking for the perfect Realtor, because there’s no such person. But you definitely want to find a really good one, and there is an intelligent way to go about that. I’ve included my 26-Point Interview Checklist to help you formulate the questions and concerns you can discuss with the agents you interview for that job.
Traps for the Unwary
There are many traps for the unwary homeowner who wants to sell his home, and traps are usually hidden or disguised, which means they catch many people by surprise. I’ve spent a lifetime helping clients avoid these traps, and it’s been quite an education. Thousands of home sellers get caught by traps that they could have avoided if only they had known. Why isn’t all of this well known and publicized? The answer will not surprise you.
People who get burned in real estate or who had a bad experience with a real estate agent don’t like to spend money to hire an attorney, and they rarely file written complaints with regulatory agencies or associations. In addition, newspapers have no stomach for investigating and reporting problems in the real estate profession, because a major source of their revenue is from brokers. The result is that home sellers like you never hear about all the people who have experienced nightmares.
The answer for the vast majority of home sellers who have been caught by a trap for the unwary is not to pour a lot of energy and money down a black hole with no resolution. Holding someone accountable for bad advice is almost always a dead end in real estate transactions, and we all know the justice system is broken.
In addition, people who have had a bad experience often feel guilty about their part in the decisions that were made, and they experience a combination of emotions, including frustration, anger, guilt, and remorse. Instead of sharing their experience to educate others and help them avoid the same nightmare, they decide to quietly move on with their own lives. This is not a criticism. The truth is, it is probably healthier to move on and not dwell on the negative experience.
Save Yourself Time and Money and Stress
My point in often referring to traps for the unwary in real estate is that I have spent a lifetime in real estate as a broker and as a real estate attorney, and I’ve seen thousands of good people get caught in traps for the unwary. I’ve watched sellers make wise decisions, and I’ve watched sellers make disastrous decisions. In 37 years, I’ve seen all kinds of good and bad decisions, and I’ve seen far too many good people get caught in traps that end up hurting them financially or causing long delays in their plans.
And then there is the stress. What price can you put on unbearable stress? When I was practicing law, after one to two years of litigation with a trial at the end, clients would often tell me it wasn’t primarily the $20,000 to $40,000 they spent on legal fees and costs that really bothered them. It was the tremendous stress that lasted so long and never let up until the end.
Save yourself from the costly and stressful lessons from the school of hard knocks, and simply take my lifetime of experience and use it for your own benefit. I’ve been helping clients avoid the traps, and teaching them to separate myth from fact for decades. I love what I do, and I’m passionate about helping people. This is what qualifies me to write so boldly about myths in real estate.
I’ve written thousands of articles and published them free for consumers so they can apply the lessons of many who have gone before them. I’ve written several real estate books, and I give them away to prospective clients to help them avoid the mistakes others have made.
In real estate sales, myths abound. It is in the lack of knowledge and experience that myths are born. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard myths repeated by well-meaning people concerning how to sell a home, how to advertise it, how to negotiate the price, how to handle due diligence issues, and so on. These myths are believed and repeated by very intelligent and successful people.
Spielberg Killed a Dinosaur
Not very long ago, a lot of people were angry with Steven Spielberg when they saw an old photo of him leaning against a dinosaur prop from the movie Jurassic Park. The prop appeared to be a dead dinosaur. Apparently many people sincerely thought Steven Spielberg had killed a dinosaur. I don’t know what to say about that, except our public education system is sorely lacking. In real estate the myths are usually more subtle and far less dramatic. But that only makes them harder to recognize.
Even if the average person is not wrong about what they know in regard to marketing and selling a home today, their knowledge and experience is still very limited if they have not been a real estate professional for decades. It takes at least 10 years2 as a full time professional to become an expert, and it really takes much longer to digest a large amount of knowledge and experience through several real estate cycles, and apply that experience consistently with wisdom.
An experienced professional will also gain the experience of thousands of his clients over the years. I should add that the number of years in the profession do not an expert make. One must be teachable and constantly learning in order to grow personally and professionally. One could be in the business for 20 or 30 years and still lack knowledge and wisdom.
Even a homeowner who has bought and sold a few homes is far from an expert. It is normal to gain a false sense of confidence after a few successes. Many homeowners do have a strong foundation of knowledge on some aspects of buying and selling. But even a room full of homeowners who have each mastered some aspect of selling real estate still may not put it all together in a comprehensive way.
Remember the legend of the blind men who described an elephant? The story is worth recalling here.
Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.” They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided to go and touch the elephant so they could figure out what an elephant is.
“The elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched a leg. “Oh, no! It is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail. “Oh, no! It is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant. “It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant. “It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant. “It is like a solid pipe,” said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.
If six homeowners watched the sales process of the same home from beginning to end, each of them would almost certainly tell a different story. Based on their individual knowledge and life experiences, they would focus on different aspects of the process, and they would emphasize different parts of that process as most important. Each one would probably walk away with a different lesson on selling homes, but even those beliefs would be limited by their abilities to accurately interpret events.
I’ve heard homeowners explain how they would advertise to qualified buyers, but then listened while they talked about advertising in all the wrong places. I’ve talked to other homeowners who knew exactly where they would advertise if they had the ability, and yet they did not have a clue when it comes to negotiating. I’ve talked to homeowners who knew precisely how much their home should be listed for, and others who insisted on listing for $100,000 more than it was worth.
I’ve talked to homeowners who knew how to compare real estate agents, and others who thought they did but clearly did not. I’ve worked with homeowners who did everything right, and others who sabotaged their own sale. Here’s what’s so fascinating, and one of the compelling reasons I wrote this book. All of these homeowners were equally convinced they were right. Every single one.
What is The Goal of Every Home Seller?
I can’t reach every homeowner who thinks about selling their home, but I can help some who read this book, and I can help them achieve their goal.
What is the goal of every home seller? It is to sell their home for the highest possible price in the least amount of time. Myths can hinder that process or even kill the chances of selling a home. But I’ve learned that there is one more unspoken goal of every home seller. It is to get their home sold with the least amount of stress. No homeowner wants to experience nightmares and extreme stress, but many of the common myths can contribute to nightmare scenarios and stress.
You can learn more about how to list a home by going to Amazon at 7 Myths of Selling Your Home.
The purpose of this book is to save you time and money and stress as you list and sell your home. I sincerely hope that my experience in real estate will help you make wise decisions that will enrich you as you move into the next exciting phase of your life. If you do find this book helpful, please email me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Did you know there is a Sequim Video Youtube site all about buying real estate? There are Sequim videos on the real estate market, videos on the area, and instructional videos about how to find and use some powerful Sequim resources online.
Just go directly to Sequim Videos, and you’ll see a home page with some videos, but you can also go to “Playlists” which you will see near the top under the banner, and there’s a link to all the videos, too. If you’re in the market for a home in Sequim or Port Angeles or Port Townsend, you will find many videos on how to find and use the best MLS site for the area and how to get the most out of that MLS site.
Sequim videos are just another service offered to buyers courtesy of iRealty Virtual Brokers and Chuck Marunde.
Where are Sequim buyers coming from? Sequim buyers come from every state in the union and a few foreign countries, but we do have a lot of Sequim buyers coming from the hot southern states, like southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas.
Sequim Buyers Coming From Everywhere
I’ve sold homes to Sequim buyers from about half the states in the U.S. and from the Netherlands too. I’ve had buyers from Alaska and from Texas. People from the north who are retiring are thinking they don’t want to live in 40 or 50 below zero anymore, and folks from the southern hot zones are thinking they’ve done 110 degrees long enough. In this photo above, my son and daughter are enjoying the sights of Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas. We had a great hike that day. But Nevada can get hot.
Sequim Buyers Love the Weather
Sequim buyers are attracted to Sequim for many reasons, but one of the major reasons is that Sequim does not have temperature extremes. Read all about the Sequim Blue hole. The Sequim weather is almost too good to be true, but it is true. If you’re coming from a hot southern state, let us help you find your home. This Sequim MLS site may be the most accurate local MLS site, 1,000 times more accurate than Zillow or Trulia, which have thousands of listings with defective and incorrect data. Wherever you are coming from, if you are like other Sequim buyers, you will love visiting Sequim.