Property Search

Like most, you are likely to begin your search online. Once you refine your vision to an area, type of property, and price range, it can be helpful to engage a Realtor® as your eyes and ears on the ground.

In the beginning, you can by visiting my community resources page, the PT Guide or Enjoy PT websites. My community videos page offers a look at the many people, facilities, and activities that help make this such a special place. You can also subscribe to one or both of our local newspapers, the Port Townsend Leader or the Peninsula Daily News. Both offer print and online subscriptions. Happy searching!


Looking At Property

You may already have a sense of the market and particular areas or homes of interest. Your local real estate professional will be your best advocate and resource in the process.

Making contact in advance of your visit is best for planning, or just come to get a "sense of place."

You will know if this is your destination. I can always help further define the options and help you find your land or home.


Financial Game Plan

In real estate, time is of the essence, and buyers who are in position to act have the best chance to win the day.

A local lender can be significant in that our market is somewhat unusual and diverse. Often, sellers look more favorably on transactions that are supported by a local lender.

Contact me for some super options on local lenders.

If you are first-time buyer, or have not purchased real property for several years, you may have access to free homebuyer classes that offer certificates that can help reduce your closing costs.


Making An Offer

You may have seen a lot of properties, or just a few, but have found just the right one. It's time to make an offer. Having a Realtor® working with you as your advisor and confidante, facilitating the buying process for you, is one of your keys to success.

It's important that all the parties in a transaction are considerate of one another. There are many things that pop up during the offer negotiation and the subsequent escrow process that require everyone being reasonable in making it all work. A reasonable and considerate approach between the parties never takes anything away from the end result, but adds to it.

As your Realtor®, I bring clarity to the offer process, facilitate negotiations with the seller, help you identify and work with local professionals, and manage the transaction to and through closing.

While there is no crystal ball for real estate success, things tend to unfold to your benefit when doing the right things for the right reasons. This has led to many successful transactions for my clients over the years.


Earnest Money

A deposit of earnest money is part of most real estate purchase and sale agreements. As the buyer you offer to deposit money, in earnest, towards the purchase of the property you have chosen. The money is in the form of a personal check, bank wire, or cashier's check made payable to the escrow company managing the transaction. The escrow company makes the funds liquid and holds them in an escrow trust account that is applied to the sale at closing.

How much money you put forward toward the sale price depends on many factors, including but not limited to the purchase price, the area, the type of offer, or other circumstances that may apply to your transaction.

People often bring their own understanding and past experience to the process. It's very helpful to discuss your thoughts and experiences with your Realtor® during the process, so that the amount of earnest money you propose to bring to the table will be attractive to the seller. In our market, we often see earnest money in the range of 1-2% of the purchase price deposited into the escrow account.


Seller Disclosures

The State of Washington protects real estate buyers by requiring sellers to provide a completed seller's disclosure as specified by Chapter 64.06, Revised Code of Washington (RCW) to the buyer after reaching mutual acceptance on an offer to purchase property. This multi-page form is completed and signed by the seller, and includes check box answers to many questions about the property.

As helpful as the disclosure form is intended to be, some of the questions can be confusing. When the seller may not know the answer to a specific question, the "Don't Know" box may be checked. If your review of the disclosure brings questions to mind, you should ask them immediately, because you only have three days to ask after receipt of the form to bring your questions forward.

If the disclosure form is incomplete or you present questions that need to be answered and request an amended form within the three day period, the review period begins again once you receive the amended form.


Inspections & Contingencies

Inspections and contingencies allow for due diligence and clarity on the condition and suitability of the property for the buyer, and are part of the escrow process. In our market, it's generally the responsibility of the buyer to arrange and pay for inspections, which are performed on the buyer's behalf. In Jefferson County, the septic inspection is the exception, and is generally arranged and paid for by the seller.

Some of the inspections for residential property include, but are not limited to:

  • Home inspection.
  • Pest inspection (often done by a home inspector also licensed as a pest inspector).
  • Well inspection.
  • Septic system inspection (EES) in areas not served by a municipal sewer system.
  • Sewer line inspection in areas served by a municipal sewer system.
  • Geotechnical evaluation for properties with potential geological hazards.

As part of the purchase and sale agreement, the buyer is generally required to provide written notice of any disapproval by a specific date. These dates are a significant part of the escrow process and I provide a timeline that pertains to each transaction.

If you are purchasing undeveloped land, there's an opportunity for you to set a feasibility period to learn about the viability and costs for developing the parcel to meet your goals.

This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Feasibility of installing a septic system or hooking up to a municipal sewer system.
  • Determining the cost of bringing electrical power to the parcel.
  • Determining the cost of drilling a well or connection to an existing water system.
  • Feasibility of developing driveway access for parcels without already developed access.
  • Environmentally sensitive/critical areas assessment.
  • Determining the cost of building and other required permits.

Development regulations vary by jurisdiction, and the feasibility period provides time for you to learn about the regulatory framework that applies to the parcel(s) you are making an offer on.


Closing On Your New Property

Once all contingencies are satisfied, your transaction will fund and close, based on the timeframes established in the contract between yourself and the seller. Closing involves recording the sale at the county courthouse so that the deed can be transferred. The escrow officer is responsible for filing the documents, and an original copy is then mailed to the new owner(s).

The buyer and seller often sign their closing documents several days before the actual recording and closing. The timing of this depends on whether or not there is a lender involved and where the signing parties reside. Your escrow officer and I will work with you to determine the best method and timing of getting the documents properly signed and returned to the escrow company.

Closing day is always exciting and special to me, even after hundreds of transactions. It also marks new beginnings for the departing seller and you as the new owner.