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New Pedestrian Trail Added in Northeast Bozeman

by Sean McSpadden

The city of Bozeman, in conjunction with Gallatin County, began construction on a new trail from North Rouse to Seventh Avenue. The city expects the project to cost $264,596 dollars and should be finished in the next few weeks. Ideally, the trail will greatly increase the safety of bikers and pedestrians in Northern Bozeman. As most trails run north to south, the east-west running trail should markedly improve transportation ease in the city. In addition to the trail on Rouse, the city has recently added trails along Norris Rd. as well as from Cougar Dr. and Cottonwood Rd. south of town. Reliable, safe trails can be a lifesaver for young families while keeping bikers off of busy main roads. Bozemanites can now look forward to relaxing evening walks or morning runs with more comfort and confidence.

Schattauer, Erin. "New Oak Street Trail Creates County-City Connection." Bozeman Daily Chronicle (2014): n. pag. Web. 11 Jul. 2014.

Three new hotels are sprouting up in downtown Bozeman.  The first hotel, named the ‘Etha’ will be an eight story, 102 room hotel above the historic National Guard Armory at 24 W. Mendenhall.  It will be viewed as much a community gathering place as a hotel with a 10,000 square foot ballroom to attract bigger groups than the hotel itself can fit.  One key to the success of the Etha will be professional management by LaTour Hotels and Resorts, a San Diego based company that specializes in operating ‘boutique’ hotels.  Most of the boutique hotels operated by LaTour are in major markets such as Salt Lake City, Seattle and Washington, DC.  Bozeman, being a small town, is unique among small markets for this concept.  But as CEO Thomas LaTour quoted  ‘Bozeman does not act or react like other small markets. There's something unique going on there. Just look at the airport. The airport activity given the size of that town is really out of whack.  When those doors swing open, it's for Bozeman.’ he said

The Etha is expected to open in the early fall, 2015.  Next month will focus on the ‘other’ big downtown hotel project.

Both Big Sky and Bridger Bowl Resorts both set records for skiers.  Bridger Bowl saw 217,000 skiers this season overturning the previous mark by 3%.  Big Sky saw more than 450,000 skier visits overturning the previous mark by over 100,000 skiers!   Snow fell early and often with snowpack levels well above 100% levels in all areas in Big Sky and the Gallatin Valley.

    Montana State University has been listed as one of the best colleges for veterans. Out of the 234 universities on the list Bozeman's MSU made it. The rankings were published in the magazine U.S. News & World Report to help veterans receive a college education. 

    According to Brenda York, director of MSU Disability, Re-entry and Veteran Services, “Montana State University has been diligently working for years to provide support to our student-veterans and help them succeed. We’re very proud of this important work, and we are pleased that our efforts have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report.” 

    To qualify for the rankings, universities and colleges had to be certified for the 9/11 GI Bill and participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program and Service members Opportunity Colleges Consortium. The rankings have information on universities that have federal benefits, such as, tuition and housing assistance to veterans and active service members. All of the schools that were ranked had good scores in graduation rates, faculty resources, reputation, and categories of academic excellence.

-Broker Broker Tim Hart

New Hotel in Place of Kenyon Noble Building in Downtown Bozeman

by Tim Hart

    The empty Kenyon Noble building is to be torn down and have a hotel put into its place. The building has been empty since 2006 when the business relocated to Oak Street. 25 East Mendenhall Street in Bozeman, Montana is the address of what is soon to become the new hotel. A proposal was filed for an upscale 104 room hotel that is nationally branded, however, the brand has not been released at this point in time. Kenyon Noble originally moved locations to make it possible for a performing arts center to be built but these plans were canceled shortly after. The vacant lot has finally found a viable real estate plan, the hotel is now in the proposal stage. Our home in Bozeman is growing rapidly.

-Broker Tim Hart 

Allowing MLS to Take the Lead

by Tim Hart

  

“The power balance in the real estate world is shifting faster than ever. Travel titans, search engines, investment oracles and government entities all want to change the way we do business. Most just want to control a larger piece of the pie.” (Source)

 

In the everyday functioning of a real estate office, attracting and retaining agents is a top priority. Real estate, although a volatilemarket, is a rather stable numbers game when it comes to the number of agents entering versus retiring. With that being said, the ability of a broker or agent to increase sales production and income often comes at the expense of competing agents and brokers.

The common element in this competitive personal marketplace is the multiple listing service [MLS]. “The multiple listing service could be called the referee for our regional activities.” (Source) MLS standardizes practices and creates/enforces a plethora of rules. Some agents appreciate the consistency. Some agents loathe the rules impeding into their business. That very tension is where the greatest value of MLS is hidden. An authoritative entity used for the creation of industry wide standards is crippled if it is not also give the ability to enforce. Because of this, MLS is a uniquely powered organization. Realtor organizations, a variety of brokerages, part-time and full time agents, and the MLS staff all work together to generate consistency within real estate listings—the driving force for all real estate movement.

As the real estate industry is becoming increasingly more technologically driven, the tech driven entrepreneurs within the agent community seem to be leaning more toward unified solutions grounded in the network already in place—MLS.

 

The future of MLS may very well be a more regulated national oversight service. Many pressures on the real estate community are encouraging MLS to get more teeth. The alternative would be that brokers could forge different agreements with the same portals like multiple buyers competing for a home. Everyone could begin undercutting everyone else. There would be no uniformity of goal. So keep your eye on the real estate Multiple Listing Service… I am interested to see where this goes. 

Investing Options: Tapping into Your Home’s Equity

by Tim Hart

When the housing market is in a full swing recovery like it is today with interest rates still historically low and inventory changing daily, it is a good time to see how you, the ‘happy in your current home and not looking to move,’ can tap into the market through investing.

Usual Methods of Real Estate Investment: These include: financing a new purchase with a mortgage or selling some stocks and bonds, taking money out of your IRA or from your 401(k). These are hit and miss and sometimes turn out to be not-so-smart moves but they seem to be the methods by which most investors fund their second (or third, or fourth…) purchases.

An Unusual Proposal: Some investors have begun to start using the equity they have built up in their own home as the launch point for an investment property! Home equity, the difference between what a person owes on their mortgage versus their home’s market value, rises with the strengthening real estate market. The increasing value of your home’s equity can be monetized through a home equity loan (a call-out refinance) allows home owners to use their current home’s value to pay for a second home. This, like the methods above, does has pros and cons to it.

  • Pros: Lenders are more willing to lend on more favorable terms because the home owner has more skin in the game. The costs on borrowing will be lower as well since this form of loan does not involve paying for title searches or the transactional cost of a new mortgage.
  • Cons: Your monthly payments will increase and if you cannot pay, you may lose your primary home to foreclosure. In addition, this is an eggs all in one basket approach—you will be investing in one type of asset.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/16/pf/expert/home-equity/index.html

New Chapter In Housing Market Recovery

by Tim Hart
 

The nation experienced a 5.24% decline in housing inventory this July. At the same time, the national median listing price increased by 5.27%.

“The recovery is entering a new phase where inventory shortfalls are no longer the driving force behind changes inhousing prices in many markets. Larger inventories, especially in the hotter markets that experienced rapid price increases in the spring, are expanding buyers’ choices and helping to moderate price increases,” said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move, Inc. “This month’s report also underscores the uneven nature of the housing recovery and its dependence on the strength of the local economy.”  

This new trend boasts the following highlights:

  • No More Year-Over-Year Inventory Declines

  • Local Markets Inventory Declines Decrease Leading to Slower Price Growth

  • Mortgage Rates Rise/Plateau

 

Source: http://www.realtor.com/news/housing-inventory-declines-are-easing/

Eminent Domain Plan and Real Estate

by Tim Hart

Freddie Mac is making a bold move by threatening legal action against the city of Richmond, CA because they are planning to use eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages.

  • Richmond’s Stance: In offering to buy troubled loans at below market value from mortgage companies, they are then able to write down the loan balances for the new home owners and refinance the loans into government-backed mortgages. IF the mortgage companies refuse to allow them to buy the loans, they city will play the eminent domain card and seize them. This whole plan is theorized to help residents curb the loan debt and avoid foreclosure. Circumventing the federal government in this process is the key point. Richmond officials hope this new method will speed up the currently stagnantly moving foreclosure aid assistance. “We’re not willing to back down on this,” says Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. “They can put forward as much pressure as they would like, but I’m very committed to this program, and I’m very committed to the well-being of our neighborhoods.”

Richmond is not the only city considering this option for their residents. About two dozen local and state governments — including Newark, N.J., Seattle, and several other cities in California — have been considering similar uses of eminent domain. 

  • Freddie Mac’s Stance: Voicing cautionary rhetoric, Freddie Mac feels the loan sales will be made only under pressure instead of being clean, tidy, and voluntary as assumed by Richmond. Freddie Mac and its backer, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, are considering taking legal action against such a plan.

This new method of circumvention may threaten real estate recovery. "We are concerned that the proposed use of eminent domain would slow the return of private capital to the housing finance system, and threaten our fragile housing recovery," writes California House Republicans John Campbell, Gary G. Miller and Ed Royce in a letter to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. "We do not believe this is appropriate public policy, even if this use of eminent domain were to survive the inevitable legal challenges that would follow any decision to seize mortgages.”  

Freddie Mac Considers Legal Action to Block Eminent Domain Plan

http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/06/13/congress-hud-eminent-domain-proposal-threatens-recovery

http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2012/06/13/can-eminent-domain-be-used-take-over-mortgages

Back to School and the Real Estate Market

by Tim Hart

After the thralls of summer begin to fade into the dry grasslands that signal in fall, parents start thinking about the school season. In fact, a recent realtor.com survey found that school districts impact 60% of home buyers. This carries so much clout with some buyers that are willing to spend more in order to buy within a the district they want their children to belong in. This oftentimes takes a higher priority than parks, trails, and other amenities.

A majority of the home buyers surveyed said that school-district boundaries will have an impact on their buying decision:

  • 23.59 percent would pay 1-5 percent above budget
  • 20.70 percent would pay 6-10 percent above budget
  • 8.98 percent would pay 11-20 percent above budget
  • 40.33 percent would not go above budget

For home buyers who said that school-district boundaries will have an impact on their decision, the majority rated the boundaries as an “important” consideration:

  • 90.53 percent said school-district boundaries are  “important” or “somewhat important”
  • 2.04 percent were “neutral” about the importance of school-district boundaries
  • 7.43 percent said school-district boundaries are “unimportant” or “very unimportant”

 

Data Source: http://www.realtor.com/news/back-to-school-home-search-tips/

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 123

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