The one thing about Bozeman, which everyone agrees on, both tourist and local, cowboy and college professor, is that our real estate prices are very high. The market is tight in many tourist towns, but in Bozeman, listing seem to disappear the day they are listed, leaving many prospective homeowners in the dust. The quality of life we enjoy here, is reflected by the high real estate taxes in town also. The city’s planning boards are dedicated to buying more and more parkland, and developing it into open space, and rehabilitating the land in some cases, in an effort to meet the demand by families moving to the Gallatin Valley, from all over the country, for a clean safe place to live and raise our families.
Before we digress any further into the idyllic aspects of Bozeman, let’s touch upon the real estate market in the valley, and how you can purchase land, or a home, or an investment property. Being in the valley for over 10 years, we have seen a few swings in the market already, with the most notable being around 2008, where we saw MANY realtors and contractors just vanish and move to greener pastures. While it was a turbulent time, Bozeman’s real estate market remained largely insulated from that of the continental economy, due in large part to the powerful economic driver of tourism, which helped prop up our faltering construction and real estate markets in the toughest of times. It seems as if Bozeman is always a few years behind the economic upswings and downturns of the rest of the country, and we never get hit hard enough to really cause any sort of negative growth. The ONLY thing which will cause that is a lack of demand for housing. As you drive around the valley, hopefully it will become obvious to you that there is no shortage of demand for housing and investment in this thriving community. This is where we can help you make some tough decisions.
As licensed property managers and real estate agents, we can help steer you to the right property. While the property you have in mind may look good on the internet, or on paper, and indeed may make you some money right off the bat (if it’s an investment) there are many pitfalls which can trip you up in real estate, and many of these are idiosyncratic with whatever region the properties are located in. This is where we can help. Being in the real estate business, we are intimately tied to the fluctuations in the market, and always have our eyes on a few key properties. Based on your desires, we can help guide you to the right neighborhoods, give you a local’s perspective on the school system, can run an analysis on a prospective property, and do some due diligence to make sure you are not going to buy a money pit. While not home inspectors, we have remodeled a few homes in the valley, and can spot problems which will cost (lose) you money. Our main goal is to give you a detailed analysis of the property you are considering purchasing, and then we want to help you weigh the pros and cons of the property, so that your decision is effortless.
As for families moving to the valley… Good luck. It is well known that there is a lack of affordable housing in the vicinity, and our starting salary wages in Montana are notoriously low, which creates a division between the types of people living in the valley. On the one hand you have multi-million dollar homes, and on the other, you have overpriced single family homes which all seem to be over priced, many of which are in disrepair. Where else can you buy a fixer upper for $300,000 in Montana? It only takes a few minutes to compare prices between homes here and elsewhere in the country. Some quick research should show you that even our basic, older single family homes seem to be inflated in price. This is a reflection of demand as well, and as people flock here to raise their families, they become aware that the city itself is struggling with building affordable housing, and the county properties are climbing in price dramatically. Where can a small family (like ours) make it in this town? How can a family, relocating from out of state find a home worth the time and investment? It takes many tricks, mailing lists, internet forum reading, and research to keep ahead of the crowds watching the real estate listings. Contact us if you are looking for a home, and we can help you find the right place.
Are you a parent with a college kid attending Montana State University? Why not make money during college, since you are going to have to donate a kidney in order to pay for it? It does not take a genius to figure out that a small investment in a property, while your son or daughter is in school (make them manage it and learn some real world skills!), can help not only pay for college but also can make a nice tidy sum when they graduate. When it comes time to sell your property, you will be pleased to see how your money has worked for you. Let us manage the property if you are too busy, and we will make sure that it does not depreciate due to neglect, and we will set up your property in a way in which it will become profitable when it comes time to sell it. We are intimately familiar with the rental markets in this town, more than anything else, as we have managed property in Bozeman for the past decade. Let us guide you to the right property, and then let us manage it, and we will assure you that you will enjoy your investment when it comes time for you to retire.
As we look to the future of growth in the Gallatin Valley, the County Commission will be forced to develop strict zoning regulations in regards to new subdivision development. The neighborhoods which will be designed in the future will have a much smarter development plan involving increased density and increased open space at the same time, better treatment of rain runoff by developing (instead of draining) wetland and riparian habitat in the subdivisions, and increasing the trail connectivity within each neighborhood. These ideas came to us from other parts of the country, such as Boulder, CO (which is what we use an example of how we do NOT want Bozeman to end up) where we can see the future, and make changes to stop the type of suburban growth which has spread across our western landscape like a cancer. Sure people need a place to live, but now we can see that our development practices are not, and never have been, sustainable. In our community, we are already seeing benefits to these development plans, as the development of riparian and wetlands in the communities, not only treats much of the runoff (and thereby takes a huge burden from our VERY expensive wastewater treatment system), and at the same time, creates large tracts of open space, and provides habitats for migrating birds (of which the Gallatin Valley is a major stop for them). The trails which are being implemented in these neighborhoods offer a relaxing change to the hustle and bustle you find on the main thoroughfares in town, and if anyone is wondering if our tax money should be going to pay for these trails, they can just step outside, take a walk on the trails, and see many of smiling faces using our trails systems. If the commission has done anything right 😉 in the past, it is these two development practices that are two of the most important. Bringing nature back into our communities will increase real estate values, connect our communities together (instead of building walls around our neighborhoods as we see elsewhere in this country), and offer our citizens a break from suburban life, so that they can take their families, walk down a tree-lined trail along a creek, and then have a picnic in some beautiful native grasses, on any given day of the week… All just by walking out the door and onto a trail in town. Our family would not live here if it were not for the open space we can enjoy. If you stay at our guesthouse, you will see exactly what we mean.