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Norway-based Company Develops Smart Home Technology to Monitor Radon Levels

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Did you know that radon causes more deaths from lung cancer every year than both carbon monoxide and house fires combined? The scariest part is that you don’t have to travel far for radon to affect you— it could start in your own home. In fact, recent surveys have shown that 1 in 5 homes in the US have elevated radon levels.

What Is Radon?

Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that occurs naturally in soil. It can be released from rock, soil and water, and when it decays, solid particles begin to form and can cling to water molecules, dust, or even directly to lung tissue.

When the interior of a home is warmer than outside (most nights year-round), the home draws soil gas out of the ground to replace lost air that escaped out of the top, thus increasing overall radon levels. While radon detectors have been around for years, the tests can take days to come back from the lab and since daily radon levels tend to fluctuate, the tests aren’t always the most accurate.

New Technology On the Horizon

Airthings, a Norway-based company, has developed the Airthings Wave, which utilizes digital sensors and smart home technology to measure a home’s radon levels over an extended period of time, rather than just a moment in time. Since the system is all electronic, homeowners are now able to monitor radon levels 24/7. The indicator light on the device will either turn green (healthy levels), yellow (temporary high) or red (unhealthy levels).

Source: https://airthings.com/wave/

Installation is easy— simply use standard AA batteries and a single screw to attach it to a wall or ceiling. Homeowners can also check radon levels and receive notifications through a free app that keeps track of both short and long term data. If radon levels are detected as being dangerous for more than 48 hours, the app will notify the homeowner and recommend next steps.

Experts recommend hiring a contractor to implement a radon reduction system if radon levels are high. A reduction system will reduce levels by up to 99%. The cost for installing this system typically ranges anywhere from $800 to $1,200, though it will usually cost more if the home has a completely finished lower level or a crawl space. Additionally, the Airthings Wave retails on their website for $199 and arrives at your doorstep within one month of ordering.

It can take years for those exposed to radon to begin showing symptoms. While there are many controversies about radon levels in homes and whether they’re actually linked to increased cancer risks, the old saying “better safe than sorry” may carry some weight for those homeowners who want to take precautions and don’t want to risk it. 


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Bozeman Montana Becomes Hot Spot For High Tech Companies

10 Best Trails Around Bozeman

by Hart Real Estate Solutions


Nestled in the middle of Montana’s great mountain ranges, Bozeman offers adventure seekers almost limitless trails to explore. Here’s 10 of our favorite trails around Bozeman, Montana.

Sourdough

Located within close proximity to town, Sourdough Trail, also known as Bozeman Creek Trial, is popular among Bozemanites. Following the Bozeman Creek, it has an easy grade, and the distance you hike, bike, or cross-country-ski on this 10 mile trail is up to you. The trail ends at Mystic Lake, with interconnected logging trails and roads to continue your adventure.

Lava Lake Trail

Following the Cascade Creek under a thick evergreen forest canopy and through open green meadows, this trail will take you past waterfalls and a lake settled in the middle of granite walls, with clear views of the Spanish Peaks in the distance.

Drinking Horse Trail

This is a short, yet steep, 2.2 mile looped trail gives you a great vantage point for views over Bozeman, Bridger Canyon, and the Gallatin Valley. This is a relatively easy trail to take the family. 

Palisade Falls

This paved, one mile trail is easy for taking the kids on a stroll through beautiful scenery with towering rock walls and a tall waterfalls at the finish line. 

“M” Trail

Taking you up to the signature “M” embedded on the mountain North of Bozeman, this trail is popular among the locals. There are two ways to the top—one with a short steep climb and the other with an easier, moderate climb. This trail offers gorgeous views over Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley.

Baldy Peak Summit

Going above the "M" trail, this hike takes you through forested areas to an exposed ridge with panoramic views high above the surrounding areas. With 4,000 feet of elevation gain over 7 miles, this is a difficult trail for the ambitious hikers.

Sypes Canyon

This trail takes you 6.2 miles up 1,656 feet on the North side of Bozeman. It follows a river through the canyon and opens up to another beautiful view of Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley.

Hyalite Creek Trail

In route to Hyalite Lake, this 5.5 mile moderate grade trail takes you past beautiful waterfalls, high mountain walls, fast flowing creeks, meadows, and wildflowers before rewarding you with the crystal clear lake at the finish line.

Pine Creek Lake Trail

Meandering 5.5 miles through forest trees up 3,400 vertical feet to Pine Creek Lake, this trail in the Absaroka mountain range offers stunning views of the valley below, colorful trees, a series of waterfalls and streams, and a beautiful clear lake at the top.

Storm Castle Peak

This beautiful hike is located south of Bozeman in the Gallatin Range. This trail is a great one for a calf workout, taking you 2.5 miles up to 7,170 feet elevation. Surrounded by interesting geology with swirling patterns of dark and light rock along cliffs, the spectacular views are worth the punishment.

 

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Some Big Names You Probably Didn’t Know Live In Montana

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Apparently, Montana is the desired place to be among the rich and famous. There are quite a few American icons living among us. So who are these people, and where are they?

 

Michael Keaton lives somewhere in the Big Timber area near Livingston, but his exact location is unknown. Helena’s Independent Record article from October 1986, reported that he owns a 565-acre ranch south of Big Timber. You might find him fishing with Tom Brokaw and relaxing on the great rivers of Montana. 

 

Tom Brokaw, is a former broadcaster for an Omaha radio station, KMTV, and better known as the NBC’s anchor from 1982 to 2004. He now works as a Special Correspondent for NBC News, as well as making documentaries for other media outlets. Mr. Brokaw found his interest in Montana when he came to shoot a documentary and speak for The Montana Bar Association in the 1980s. The only fee he charged for speaking was to be dropped off “at a trailhead and picked up five days later.” After being brought back a second time a few years later for more work, he didn’t want to leave, leading to his purchase of West Boulder Ranch near Livingston. He was so committed to stay that he made the journey to and from New York for weeks at a time, which turned into months as the years rolled on.

 

Dennis Quaid was a famous movie star who came about in the 1980s, starring in a variety of drama and comedy movies. Some movies he plays in that you might recall are The Rookie, The Day After Tomorrow, The Parent Trap, and a number of other box office hits. In the late-80s, Mr. Quaid bought a ranch near Livingston that was jointly owned by the actor Warren Oats and director Sam Peckinpah. His home was unique in that it had hardwood floors recovered from the Great Fire of Chicago of 1871. Sadly, he sold this beautiful $14 million estate in 2011.

 

Huey Lewis, a popular lead singer of Huey Lewis and the News from the 1980s, found his way to Montana in 1987. He bought a 500-acre ranch outside of Stevensville, where he lives comfortably today. Mr. Lewis has been known to contribute to the community in a variety of ways, one being his funding of the Missoula Jazz band. You’d also find him, as well as with many others on this list, fly-fishing along Big Sky’s rivers and streams.

 

You know David Letterman as a famous talk show host, but what you probably didn’t know that he is another fellow Montana lover. He owns a huge 2700-acre ranch located 35 miles outside of Choteau, Montana, neighboring Glacier National Park. He also owns a ranch in Ruby Valley, which is closer to the southwest corner of the state. Although he spends most of his time in Salem, New York, he shows interest in settling down in his Montana home as a permanent residence when he retires. 

 

Another well-known name among Montana residences, but is sadly no longer with us, was Chet Huntley, the founder of what is now the largest ski resort in the nation, Big Sky Resort. Born on December 10, 1911, Chet Huntley passed several decades ago. He will be remembered as he contributed to a large part of the lives of many winter enthusiasts who come to enjoy the many slopes of Big Sky Resort. Chet Huntley attended the local college at Montana State University, from which he transferred to University of Washington and graduated in 1934 with a degree in both speech and drama. He then began his career at a Seattle radio station, moved around as he climbed the ladder, and then found his way to NBC news in 1955. With his love for skiing, he returned to Montana in summer of 1970. He then began work on the project skiers and snowboarders came to appreciate him for, the opening of Big Sky Resort. Sadly, Mr. Huntley wasn’t able to stick around to see the magnificent work he built. He passed away at 62 in March 1974, three days before the grand opening.

 

A list of other names can be found in the private community of the prestigious Yellowstone Club, tucked away in the mountains of Big Sky, Montana. This club was reported to have about 250 members, each of which are required to pay a minimum of $250,000 to join, in addition to the price of their $5 million to $25 million mountainside home. Notable members include a number of American celebrities & icons such as Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Warren Miller, Phil Mickelson, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, Dan Quayle, Greg LeMond, Jack Kemp, Tom Brady, Jeff Bridges, and of course, Bill Gates. 

 

Apparently, Montana is the place to be. Justin Timberlake and his wife chose to move to a quiet place in Big Sky where they can raise their child away from the busy, big city life. There are a number of other unaccounted celebrities that live in and appreciate the beauty of Montana. When such icons as these all move to the same area, you know it must be a great location!

 

4G LTE Reaching Montana's Countryside

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

It looks like Montana is becoming more connected to the modern world. Governor Steve Bullock just announced on Oct. 6 that T-Mobile is paving the way for spreading its high-speed wireless broadband reach across Montana. This will bring 4G LTE to a wider range of rural areas, reaching out to about 1.1 million people of both Montana and Wyoming.

Governor Steve Bullock has shown his enthusiasm for this development, stating in his recent letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “Increased access to high-speed internet and enhanced mobile coverage will further strengthen our state’s business climate and enable Montana businesses to thrive in a global economy and create more job opportunities for hard-working Montana families.

T-Mobile has demonstrated its commitment to this plan with the purchase of three licenses from Charter Communications to allow them to build on this broadband connection in nearly the entire area of Montana east of I-15, as well as four northwestern counties of Wyoming.

This may be groundbreaking news for those who question living out of town for the sake of losing their beloved cell-phone and Internet connection. It looks like the joys of living in a quiet country-side home will be getting even better without having to sacrifice your high-speed reception.

Storage Units Outperform Other Commercial Real Estate Sectors

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Property investors might be surprised to learn that storage units have performed extremely well since the recession, offering their owners a great return on investment. Rents are high and most storage companies are reporting low vacancies. With the recession keeping new storage facility construction down, competition is also low, opening the door for investors across the United States.

While most other real estate commercial sectors have fallen flat in 2015, some storage companies have reported seven percent increases in rental income. Many investment firms have moved to constructing new storage spaces themselves to get their piece of the pie.

Publicly traded storage companies have also performed very well on the stock market. Extra Space Storage reported a 33% increase in their stock over 2015. They also reported that 94.5% of all their spaces in the United States were occupied, up from 92.1 percent.

Storage units may provide great rental income to investors while also helping buffer them from market volatility. Storage units generally stay in demand, based on deaths, moves, divorces etc.—all reasons that tend to not follow housing market trends. Storage unit values have held true since the recession and have since recovered better than other commercial sectors.

 

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/10/14/real-estates-hot-new-sector-storage-units

 

 

How Lasers Affect Real Estate

by Tim Hart

This month, I wanted to highlight an investment Bozeman made in 1993 that now seems to have impacted Bozeman’s economic outlook for the better. We never know where our hard work might pay off down the line and how it might change Bozeman’s future.

I read a great article this month by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle about the growth of Optics Technology in Bozeman. The optics industry works with lasers, high tech cameras and other similar technologies to create better products, medicines etc.  In 1993, the first real investment into Optics Technology in Bozeman was made. Local companies, the State of Montana, MSU, and the National Science Foundation teamed up to raise 3 million in optics research in Bozeman. By 1995, MSU had its own Optics Technology Center.

Since then, MSU has had 15 spinoff companies come directly from their programs, whether through new technologies invented on campus or by students who trained at the University and began their own company. According to the Bozeman Chronicle, there are now 30 optics companies in Bozeman, employing some 500 people most of whom earn higher than Bozeman’s average wage. Without the investment made in 1993, it is hard to say whether any of the growth of Optics Technology would have been possible. It is much easier to say that the growth of these local companies have provided an economic boost to Bozeman.

But the best news continues to be that Bozeman has worked hard to reinvest back into the sciences and that similar breakthroughs might be possible in Bozeman’s future.

Both the state government and the National Science Foundation again have offered major grants to MSU for continued scientific development in the area.

The National Science Foundation awarded a 3 million dollar grant to expand the nanotechnology center at MSU. The grant will give MSU the ability to put all of their associated labs in one location. Currently MSU has 5 nanotechnology labs. The money will be distributed over 5 years will also provide funds to upgrade and buy new equipment.

On top of this, MSU received 4.6 million in grants from the State of Montana. In total, MSU scientists have won 8.9 million of the 12.9 million that has been offered this year, with only 2 million dollars left outstanding. MSU worked very hard to achieve the grants they received, putting in 150 of the 200 proposals reviewed by the state. The 4.6 million in grants will go to infectious disease research in both humans and ranch animals, mental health research, energy research and research to better recover metals from wastewater.

Continuing to win grants like these and continuing to pursue them with the veracity seen in 2015 will help keep Bozeman on the forefronts of technological advances. It seems pretty apparent that research like this can drive future economic prosperity. Economic prosperity will help drive more people to Bozeman. So although lasers and nanotechnology feel very far from real estate, they might be closer together than people might initially think.

 

 

Sources: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/economy/optics-research-industry-blossom-in-bozeman/article_249ce589-75a7-5796-a2e7-e6b238fbd155.html

http://www.sunherald.com/2015/09/21/6426247/national-science-foundation-awards.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/msu-scientists-win-million-in-state-research-grants/article_54d210c0-18d8-5adf-a819-0b0880b71988.html

 

 

 

 

Average Single Family Home Requires 22 Subcontractors

by Tim Hart

When faced with putting down 200k plus for a new single family home, some buyers may wonder if their builder is walking away with huge profits. Although the builder may very well be making a good profit on the home, many buyers forget the organization and costs required to subcontract out the work needed to build the best home possible—tasks best done by experts in a specific industry. Buyers want to know that their home has been wired, plumbed and floored with the best of them, but having that guarantee does come with a higher price tag.

Builder’s use of subcontractors is clearly as strong as ever. Now, according to the National Association of Home Builders, builders hire (on average) 22 subcontractors to build a new, single family home. Not only that, 70 percent of homebuilders use at least 11 and sometimes use up to 30 subcontractors on a given home.

16% use 0 to 10 subcontractors

36% use 11 – 20 subcontractors

34% use 21 to 30 contractors

9% use 31 to 40 subcontractors

4% use 41 to 50 subcontractors

2% use 51+ subcontractors

Even if a builder does not subcontract a job on a specific home, he may subcontract that task on the next one. Two thirds of builders said they generally subcontract 75% of the construction costs in a build.

So for homebuyers, remember that homes, like many human inventions, have a lot more subtlety and work put into them than what first appears to the untrained eye. Although home costs appear high, sometimes those profits are split among a wide group of people. It is up to the builder to determine how those profits are split and how much help he needs to build a quality home, while remaining competitive in the housing market.

 

Source: http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/09/it-takes-22-subcontractors-to-build-the-average-home/

http://www.nahbclassic.org/generic.aspx?sectionID=734&genericContentID=247385&channelID=311&_ga=1.172104608.2035328351.1438375934

 

 

Seattle’s Famous ‘Up’ House Set to Move

by Tim Hart

The home that many believed inspired the Disney movie Up will officially be on the move—though not by balloons. The ‘Up’ home became a symbol for anti-development groups, naturalists and crusaders alike as the 600 square foot home and its owner stayed put despite mass commercial development around it. For those who don’t know, the home’s past owner Edith Macefield turned down $1,000,000 to be moved from her small lot she had owned for a near half century. Once developers were spurned, they went ahead and built their project around her.

Her home became iconic for standing firm in the face of progress and was used as a symbol by many groups. Now, after a complicated series of bids to purchase the home, it will now be taken in by OPAL (Of People and Land), a Seattle land trust. The home, due to its complexities and age, will be moved from its current location to Orcas Island and added to an affordable housing project OPAL has headed.

There were efforts to have the home turned into some form of historical landmark, but the home had been fully renovated and therefore did not have historical significance in that sense. Now Seattle developers will be able to incorporate the gap and the small lot will more than likely be filled by a small retail store or coffee shop.

 

Source: http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2015/08/up_house_finds_a_home_edith_ma.html

 

Commercial Real Estate Sale Breaks Online World Record

by Tim Hart

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a 96 million dollar property sale in Manhattan Beach, California has become the most expensive online real estate transaction ever.

The property itself, a two building 300,734 square foot office space, sold in an online auction on auction.com. In any industry, that transaction is now the biggest e-commerce transaction ever.

Personally, I think its clear that this sale will not hold the world record for all that long—so I think what makes it important is the marked shift in how real estate will perform as an industry moving forward. Up till recently, major real estate transactions have been in the realm of pen and paper. Deeds in particular almost don’t feel right aesthetically if they are not printed. Even if for peace of mind, many people still prefer to ink their signature and have extra copies on paper. Eventually, even this may be a rare occurrence. Doing transactions online will help keep wasted time to a minimum and so long as everyone’s personal security can be guaranteed, the shift feels inevitable.

You never know—even the richest men might not have two pennies to rub together in the future simply because their money is always in the digital realm. Obviously we have a ways to go until that happens but it is very fascinating to see all industries adjust to our slow shift into the digital world. Real estate will have a lot of growing to do, but even in a digital world, real estate will always be on the market.

 

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/08/05/commercial-sale-breaks-online-auction-record

Local Restaurant to be On National Cooking Show

by Tim Hart

For anyone who loves the Cooking Channel, they will get to see a Bozeman restaurant featured on one of its national shows. The Western Café, a steadfast of downtown since the 1930’s, was selected to appear on the channel as a great mom and pop operation that also utilized local Bozeman ingredients.

The café will appear on the Cooking Channel’s show, Pizza Masters. In this case, the Pizza Masters were apparently less interested in pizza, because they asked the café to show them how to make the café’s famous cinnamon rolls along with their biscuits and gravy. The Pizza Masters chose the location for its great food, décor and local atmosphere.

For any non-local visitors to town, the Western Café can be a great place to enjoy some old-time western cooking. As Bozeman has grown, it has done a great job keeping the small mountain town feel that has become so attractive to out of state visitors.

 

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/story/29644437/local-restaurant-to-be-featured-on-national-cable-network

 

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