Bozeman Montana Real Estate Information Archive


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Spring Housing Trends

by Tim Hart

High Competition

Housing affordability is at its highest in years (highly impacted by falling home values and low mortgage rates). Now, inventory is dropping while the demand stays high. The result is fierce competition. Investors are pouncing on the good prices with the upper hand of doing cash only deals while traditional home-buyers can only watch or get ready for a head-to-head battle.

Renter-to-Owner Shift

"Rents are going up, and as long as there are properties at the level where investors can get the positive cash flow, they will continue to invest," says Jed Smith, managing director of quantitative research for the National Association of REALTORS.

Homes are becoming more affordable than monthly rent. Only 59.5% of tenants intend to renew their lease for the year to come.

Raising Mortgages

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA have raised their loan fees which results in pricier mortgage rates. "Those who don't have credit scores in the high 600s to low 700s may be forced to go the FHA route," says Ed Conarchy, a mortgage planner at Cherry Creek Mortgage in Gurnee, Ill. "And they will be stuck with the higher fees."

Read about more trends expected for the spring selling-season. 

Source: “5 Mortgage and Housing Trends in Spring 2012,” (April 21, 2012)

Read More

Low-Income Renters Struggle to Find Affordable Housing

The Year Ahead: Real Estate's Best Bets in 2012



Latest News in Distressed Sales

by Tim Hart

JUNE 15th, 2012—That is the day that is supposed to change the distressed sales market altogether. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans are to have a decision within the first 30-60 days. If more than the initial 30 days are needed to process a loan, the potential borrower will receive weekly updates and the decision will be reached by the 60 day mark.

This more regimented time-line will benefit both the servicers and the borrowers by increasing the overall accountability of the approval process. Servicers may counteroffer and expect a reply within five days. Borrowers and servicers alike will both know where in the process the transaction is and the timeline will serve as a tool of evaluation for the distressed sales system as a whole.

Edward DeMarco, acting director of the FHFA, says the GSEs new borrower communication and timeline requirements for short sales “set minimum standards and provide clear expectations regarding these important foreclosure alternatives.”

What do you think about this change to come?


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Three Nonprofits Join to Transform Vacant REOs into Future Residences


Real Estate Market & Short Sales

by Tim Hart

The short sale trend is still surging. In fact, short sales are passing foreclosures in frequency because banks see it as a better route when compared to foreclosures. In addition, mortgage servicers are increasing the pace of approving short sales in order to move away from the stereotypes short sales have acquired of moving too slowly through the process.

The rate of short sales increased33% this last year and "[We] believe 2012 could be a record year for short sales," says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. So cross your fingers that the process will be sped up and this year will continue to bring positive news to the market.


Source: “Short Sales Expected to Surge This Year,” CNNMoney (April 19, 2012) and “Short Sales Start to Outpace Foreclosures,” REALTOR® Magazine Daily News (April 19, 2012)


Home Buyer Turn Offs

by Tim Hart

Dirt: "The No. 1 biggest mistake is not getting the home in the best possible condition. That's huge," says Goldwasser. "I won't even represent sellers at this point unless they are fully aware of how important it is to get their home in the absolute best condition that they've ever had it in." Steam cleaning, carpet cleaning or even replacement, and attention to detail will change the first impression. (

Old Fixtures: Updates on fixtures are not too pricey but newer lighting will bring a world of difference to your rooms.

Odors: The old trick is to bake cookies on the day of a showing and this comes from the need to have the home smell welcoming when buyers-to-be walk in.  Pets are a biggie in the scent department (READ MORE DOGSCATSOTHER). Smokers ought to be similarly handled.

"Interestingly, next to the kitchen, the smelliest room in the house is actually the living room," Dana says. "That's typically the room that has the most fabric, so that is where odors get absorbed."

Popcorn Acoustic Ceilings: This trend is long past and dates a house so much that it can be lethal to the selling vitality. Even in the 60’s and 70’s, this style was a hit or miss with home buyers. They are a pain to remove, but it has to be done. Most buyers will not want to stomach the expense.

Neighbors: If you are in a residential area, be sure to schedule showings at a time that best represents the surrounding neighborhood. Snoopy neighbors, music blasters, and even new construction in the area all add or detract from the ambiance so try to use it to your benefit.




Buyer’s Language versus a Seller’s Language

by Tim Hart

When selling or looking to buy a listing, the verbiage used to describe the space matters. For example, if a seller tells the agent they love their home because

  • Seller’s Translation: It has been in the family for years. There are so many memories in every room.
  • Agent’s Translation: Comfortable living, well loved home. Ideal for raising a family.
  • Buyer’s Translation: Lots of room, but clearly well worn. Things probably need updated.

Words are important. There is no way to remedy these alterations in interpretation, but it is an agent’s responsibility to clarify as much as possible.

Photos, photos, photos. If the pictures online accurately represent the space, then the pre-conceived notions a possible buyer may have are clarified or debunked. Furthermore, instead of office assistant’s screening calls for possible showings, take the calls yourself in order to answer detailed questions on the listing. The selling starts at that moment.

Any other suggestions to help the language gap between buyers/sellers?

Read more:


Comic-Con Bozeman Style

by Tim Hart

Comic-Con is an event that traditionally takes place in San Diego which promotes the newest cutting edge displays of technology as well as paying homage to the classics of comic book legends. This year, Chantell Bury, director of films for the Associated Students of Montana State University, has brought a spinoff of that tradition here to the Procrastinator.

Costumes are highly encouraged, the original Tim Burton Batman will be showing, and artists Stephen Downer and Chris Turbuck will be featured in an art show. (click here for an example of Downer’s work) Turkbuck uses a camera with a timer to capture images and then uses that as a template to recreate the body movements on paper.

“Comic books are a medium rather than a genre, just like you can use prose to tell any story,” Downer said. “It’s almost limitless in the story you can tell.”

Find out more by showing up tonight!

More Info

The Beige Book--The Fed's Survey of The Housing Market

by Tim Hart

Fed: Economy Sees Steady Growth

The Beige Book is the Feds survey of the housing market and it is showing continual signs of strengthening. The Federal Reserve described it as moving at a “modest to moderate” improvement rate. The only grey cloud is the rising gas prices. Since the economy is a complex structure of interwoven concerns and markets, high prices at the pump may translate into restriction in the flow of overall money as everyone’s confidence in the market stands on the thin ice.

But for now, the news is positive. “Residential real estate activity also improved in most districts, with Cleveland and San Francisco remaining outliers with lackluster real estate activity,” HousingWire reports on the Fed’s report.  

"In general, the demand for commercial and industrial loans remained steady, while several districts reported an increase in commercial real estate lending activity," according to the Beige Book.

Source: “Fed Survey Shows Growth, Improving Hiring,” USA Today (April 11, 2012) and “Loan Demand and Real Estate Activity Levels Improve: Beige Book,” HousingWire (April 11, 2012)

Read More

6 Housing Markets Gear Up for a Rebound



Online Marketing: Raising The Bar

by Tim Hart

Online marketing is not only a budding industry, it is full out sprinting. Blogging, facebook pages, we have all heard it all, but what about keeping it traditional. Build a website specifically for a listing! This is a simple but brilliant way to link a site to all the other marketing you do on the listing and instead of taking you to a Trulia, Zillow, ect page set up for all your listings, this strategy is focused on one listing alone allowing it to shine in the spotlight. On this site I have included things from specific letters from the prior owner sharing why they had bought/built the home as well and specific neighborhood information.  What are your thoughts? 




Bidding Wars of Real Estate

by Tim Hart

Trends of the real estate market have shifted from “seller’s market” to a “buyer’s market” and with those shifts have come dramatic change in pricing. When foreclosures anchored the prices of homes at lowered prices, buyers began to view overall value of the average house to be lower. With that mindset, buyers are low-balling offers and the offers are coming in at a higher frequency.

Inventory of homes are all an all time six-year slump. Low supply mixed with a heightened demand due to employment rates rising means buyers feel overly confident and eager when they enter the market.


Existing-home sales and pending home sales are up more than 8 percent compared to a year earlier, the National Association of REALTORS® recently reported. Trulia Inc. also reported that falling home values and low mortgage rates have made home buying a better deal than renting in 98 of the 100 largest metro areas.”

Source: “Bidding Wars Erupt as Supply of Available Homes Shrink,” Bloomberg News (March 31, 2012)

Read More

February Existing-Home Sales Slip But Up Strongly From a Year Ago

Buying Is Cheaper Than Renting in Nearly All Major Cities


True Test: Real Estate’s Spring Market

by Tim Hart

Like testing gold in fire, the spring time real estate market it the substantial means of testing the recovery of the real estate market. The next few months will reveal which markets are thriving and which are still struggling. The predictions are that the places where the housing supply has dropped the most will end up being the most balanced after the flood of foreclosures and falling home values.

Tim Hart


At Home In Bozeman--Tim Hart



Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11