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Bozeman Education Taxes to Dip Slightly

by Tim Hart

New construction, continued growth in Bozeman and a larger tax base have allowed the City of Bozeman to lower property tax rates, but still spend more money on education. The Department of Revenue reported that the elementary district has grown by 2.74% while the high school district grew by 2.97%. These numbers reflect the positive growth in Bozeman over the last couple of years, as both construction and real estate seem to have fully recovered from recession. With a larger tax base, Bozemanites can expect to see lower property taxes, yet the schools should be able to hire up to 12 more teachers or counselors for this coming fall semester. The education budget has asked for 70.4 million to spend this year, which is up 1.8% from previous years. As more and more people move to Bozeman looking to raise families in the right schools, Bozeman schools have continued to shine. They have shined so much so that they continue to attract more families, bringing in more money to improve schools, which again attracts more families. Hopefully, this positive trend continues, and Bozeman can help foster the next generation of smarter, more creative leaders.

Bozeman has set up plans to add a 4 bay Tesla recharge station at the local Hilton. Tesla wants all of its drivers to be able to travel across the United States for free, a daring goal, considering rising gasoline prices. Tesla is building stations across major roads in the US and Bozeman seems to have fit the bill. Billings also added a Tesla station about a week ago. These super chargers can recharge a Tesla Model S in 20 minutes compared to an hour from a normal outlet.

Plans have been handed over to the city-planning department and they are waiting for approval. By adding the station, Bozeman can attract a wider variety of people into the city. Tesla owners crossing the country would have to go to Bozeman or Billings (if not both) if they wanted to go through Montana. And for local Bozemanites, owning a fully electric car has become much more feasible. Anyone looking to move to Bozeman now has fully electric alternatives to gasoline.

City of Bozeman Buys Land for Future Sports Complex

by Tim Hart

The City of Bozeman finalized the purchase of an 80-acre piece of land to build a new sports complex. They paid 2 million dollars for the land and will spend 7.5 million dollars in total to build the necessary infrastructure for such a complex. Bozeman plans on building 10 or 11 fields on 40 acres for the first stage of the project, followed by 7 or 8 more fields in the second phase. If private donors are able to raise enough money from private donations, then one of these fields would be turned into a turf field. The sports complex will cost half of the Park and Recreation Department’s budget, the most bond money given to any project like it. The sports complex will be in the same area as an aquatics center that has also been approved. The city will also improve the nearby roads to deal with future traffic, widening both Baxter Lane and Flanders Mill Road. Local residents can now look forward to a new place to pass the football, shoot hoops, or throw a Frisbee.

US Forest Service Acquires Sourdough Trailhead

by Tim Hart

The Sourdough Trailhead has new ownership. The US Forest Service, and specifically the Gallatin National Forest, has acquired the trailhead after seven years of negotiations. The previous owners, the Gallatin Valley Land Trust, donated the 5.9 acre piece of property containing the trailhead. Since 2005, they had put almost $200,000 into the infrastructure of the trailhead, improving recreational facilities and safety issues. Now, trail-goers will have unlimited access into the Custer-Gallatin National Forest from that trailhead because of the ownership change. In addition, putting such a trail under forest service watch will guarantee the preservation of Sourdough Trail for many years to come. One of the most popular trails in Bozeman, the trail sees a plethora of daily visitors and has become part of the lifestyle of all homeowners in the Sourdough/Kagy area. Visitors may not notice a difference between ownership. But they may notice their own peace of mind, knowing the land is now public, and that it won’t be in danger of development anytime soon.

In early June, the Bozeman City commission approved plans to partner with the YMCA to build a new aquatics center in Bozeman. The YMCA plans to build the land at Vaquero Parkway, a piece of land they already own. City commissioners approved the partnership, voting 3-2 in favor. The city also had the choice of either building the aquatics center at Rose Park with the YMCA, or without them, but instead chose to partner with them and build it near Regional Park. Regional park also provides locals with amazing opportunities such as the Dinosaur Park, two ponds, a beach and other facilities. The new aquatic center will only add to the fun and utility of this Bozeman park.

New Pedestrian Trail Added in Northeast Bozeman

by Tim Hart

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.

Top Students Choose MSU

by Tim Hart

Top Montana high school students, who received a Montana University System Honor Scholarship, continue to choose Montana State University and Bozeman over any other college or university in the state.The MUS Honor Scholarship rewards students for exceptional academic excellence at the high school level, requiring applicants to maintain a 3.4 grade point average after 7 semesters of high school. MUS Honor Scholars can receive free tuition for up to four years based on this GPA coupled with their SAT and ACT scores. At MSU, this converts to around 5,300 dollars annually. Yet, even with high competition levels between Montana schools, sixty-eight percent of these students have applied to MSU, reflecting a higher percentage than all other Montana universities combined. MSU beat its own numbers this year, up five percent from the previous year. High quality programs continue to attract young ambitious thinkers, while its university culture and a positive relationship with the city of Bozeman continue to spur these numbers forward. Intelligent students in higher numbers can only be a positive sign for Bozeman’s future.

 

Reinhardt, Tanya. "MSU Remains School of Choice for High Achieving Students." Bozeman Daily Chronicle (2014): n. pag. Web. 7 July 2014.

 

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/

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 110

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