Bozeman Montana Real Estate Information Archive


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Is Your Stone Siding Causing Water Damage?

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

You’ve probably seen a lot of houses with stone siding, or even own one yourself, and admired how natural it looks and that it must be durable. It has been a trend in the market to favor this stone siding wrapped around house exteriors—it gives homeowners a sense of stability of their home. Unfortunately, this stone siding may not be as stable as it looks, in fact, it may not even be stone.

Faux stone is a fabrication material that commonly substitutes for actual stone. This material is light weight, can be manufactured in a variety of colors, and most importantly, it’s less expensive. Both builders and homeowners have favored faux stone in recent years, contributing to its double-digit sales growth. However, home inspectors have noticed a problem—widespread water damage from poor installation.

Trace Inspections out of Nashville, Tennessee have claimed that nearly 9 out of the 10 homes they’ve inspected with this fabricated stone siding had been installed incorrectly, resulting in a number of problems. Years after installation, homeowners have reported water seepage behind the siding, leading to mold and rotting walls.

It seems as if faux stone is repeating the same issues that came with the synthetic stucco (exterior insulation finish systems or EIFS) from the 1990s. Synthetic stucco is similar to faux stone in that it was cheap, easy to install, and was a favored alternative to the traditional material. Like the fabricated stone, synthetic stucco also had water damage issues. Seepage through small openings around windows and doors caused irreversible damage requiring expensive repairs. Affected homeowners sued the manufacturers, who in turn offered large settlements.

The American Society of Home Inspectors are addressing this issue by encouraging homeowners to be aware of the problems costs associated with the improper installation of exterior siding, pressuring them to closely inspect the siding for signs of seepage.

What signs of damage should you look for? You may see trim boards start to warp and separate, or a slight discoloration of hardwood floors. Another obvious indicator is if the siding was installed without sealants or backer rods around large windows, which would lead to water running down the inside of the walls and lead to mold and rot. Another simple check is to tap the stone to feel any give. Anything that feels loose while tapping is an easy indicator of water damage that dissolved the glue from behind the siding. Another thing to look for is under windows or door frames, where the stone veneer should come up to with only a half-inch gap, which should be filled with a foam rod and a flexible sealant. Water may settle in these areas and cause rotting and mold growth. Check to see if these areas are properly caulked and sealed.

Unfortunately, problems often exist behind the stonework and are out of sight until it is too late. For this case, specialized equipment may be necessary. Moisture meters and infrared cameras can be used to detect problems beyond the reach of the naked eye.

To minimize the likelihood of water damage, preventative action is encouraged to limit the amount of moisture around the siding. Keeping foliage away from exterior siding is a simple, yet necessary, first step. Plants warrant unnecessary moisture, attracting insects and animals that may find their way through the walls. Keeping gutters clean is another step that is often undermined by homeowners. If gutters are clogged, causing water to back up, there is potential of water damage to exterior siding. It is recommended to check and clean gutters at least twice a year.

With proper installation and preventative measures, however, these problems wouldn’t exist. Faux stone is a worthy alternative to real stone with its affordable, lightweight design, as long as it is installed properly. Inspectors advise homeowners to pay close attention to the quality of their builders’ work to make sure the siding is installed as it should, and prevent any future damage with costly repairs. These factors should be kept in mind when buying a home with this fabricated stone veneer. It would be best to hire a home inspector with specialized training for the peace of mind of not having any costly surprises in the future.

Affordable Condos Coming To Bozeman

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

As housing prices are on the rise, affordable housing in Bozeman is running scarce. Lower class families and individuals are being pushed further out of city limits as these housing options become limited. Countering this issue, the Talbach House project is providing Bozeman with a three-story condo building in a great location of a quickly developing area of the city.

The most appealing aspect of these condos is that their affordable price would not be sacrificing quality. Bitnar Architects have designed these condos with a high-end interior and European-inspired elements, such as large windows. One bedroom units will hold 625-square-feet, starting at $172,000.

Other condos of the same size are priced between $285,000 and $800,000, and the median price of single-family homes in Bozeman last year was $337,000. In this comparison, this Talbach House project is looking like a great deal for affordable housing.

The goal of this building project, stated by the developer of Cadius Partners, is to satisfy the needs of affordable housing for the “growing population of younger people” who are not yet committed to settle down and get married, before moving in to a single-family home.

Being the neighbor of the new Oracle campus, another opportunity is evident to house its growing staff. These condos would be a convenient option for the company’s employees. There are few chances in one’s career to have a walking commute.

September 2016 Real Estate Market Report

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

The Gallatin County real estate market is still growing strong. According to the Gallatin Association of REALTORS®, both average sales volume and total sale price has shown significant growth through September 2015 to September this year.

The increase in average real estate price from $358,997 last year to $460,957 this year, estimates an astounding 36% housing appreciation. Average sales volume has also seen substantial growth by 30% in this area.

These numbers demonstrate positive implications that the Gallatin area is steadily climbing in the real estate market. As the GAR President stated, “our local market is in strong shape.”

The statistics comparison between September 2016 and 2015 are as follows:

Residential Sales-Units:

  • September 2015: 226
  • September 2016: 217

Residential Sales- Average Sales Price

  • September 2015: $339,194
  • September 2016: $460,957

Residential Sales- Total Sales Volume

  • September 2015: $76,657,952
  • September 2016: $100,027,807 

Bozeman's Plan For Its New Law & Justice Center

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

With all this growth in the Bozeman area, city and county officials are looking to upgrade their law and justice center to accommodate for the larger population. At the discretion of the county’s voters, the construction of a new facility is proposed for $71.5 million. The petitioned project is designed with two buildings, one would be a 61,300-square-foot law enforcement building, and the other would be a 126,000-square-foot courts building. These two structures are intended to replace the current 59,000-square-foot criminal justice system located on College Street.

This $71.5 million bill would be shared with a 30-70 split between the city and county taxpayers. This designation is based on the size of each jurisdiction. Consequently, city taxpayers alone would be responsible for $21.5 million of the cost, while county taxpayers, who include city homeowners, would account for the other $50 million. In other words, over the course of 20 years, an average property worth $240,000 would be projected to see roughly $50 added to its annual property tax, while those inside city limits would share the entire portion of the costs with $108.

The law enforcement facility would be suited to house the Bozeman Police Department, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the regional drug task force and SWAT team, while leaving room for storage of evidence and records.

The other larger courts building would house all of the departments of this districts court system, including:

  • Gallatin County District Court, with three judges ruling on felony criminal cases and civil legal matters.
  • Gallatin County Justice Court, with two justices dealing with misdemeanor crimes that occur outside city limits.
  • Bozeman Municipal Court, which, as the name suggests, holds jurisdiction over misdemeanors within city limits.
  • Clerks responsible for managing records of each court.
  • The county attorney’s office, which is designated for prosecuting cases in the district and justice courts.
  • City attorney prosecutors for municipal court cases.
  • Youth probation officers, for supervising juvenile offenders.

And last but not least,

  • Victim services, where violent crime victims are provided with support.

Once built, these buildings are proposed to provide enough space for 25 to 30 years, and with their design to accommodate for possible expansions, new additions would extend its lifespan to roughly 50 years.


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.

Job Growth in Gallatin County

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Good news for Gallatin County homeowners, the U.S. Census Bureau just released that we are ranked 24th among the fastest growing counties in the nation. Population in Gallatin County just breached 100,000 residents as of July 2015, with estimating a 3,500 increase over a one-year period, and a 1 percent increase in population growth rates.

This rapid growth provides the Bozeman area with positive implications in development and business opportunities, followed by job growth. Not only is this county seeing wide spread job openings in construction, retail, and restaurants, but more importantly, high-tech jobs as well. With Montana State University drawing in such educated talent, high-tech companies such as Wisetail, Elixiter, and RightNow Technologies, which was bought by Oracle, are showing interest in the employment prospects of the Bozeman area.

It is exciting to see these opportunities opening up as tech-based businesses are moving in. The entrance of the high-tech industry introduces higher salaries ranges, which in turn, supports local businesses and the real estate market. 

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6