Bozeman Montana Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14

Veterans and Real Estate

by Tim Hart

First Time Military Home-Buyers

Those Eligible: Active Duty, Veterans, Retired Members, Employees of the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security

Eligible to Receive What: All the above are eligible to apply for up to $5,000 in down payments and closing costs applied to a mortgage from any financial institution during the purchase of their first home. Military members tend to put off buying their first home due to the direction their career—often mandating numerous moves throughout the country and the world—goes before settling into a home. This program will add instant equity into their home when they do decide to buy.

Receiving Comes From: The Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation in conjunction with Dream Makers is initiating the momentum behind this new program.  click here for more information.

Fourth Week in Row, 30-Year Rates Reach Records

by Tim Hart

Home buying got even more affordable this week as mortgage rates continue to ride low, breaking records, and increase home buyer affordability. 

For the fourth consecutive week, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, the most popular choice of borrowers, reached a new all-time low while 15-year fixed-rate mortgages held steady at its all-time low set last week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey. 

"Mortgage rates were virtually unchanged this week with fixed-rate loans remaining at record lows and helping to drive home buyer affordability,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. 

Indeed, housing affordability reached an all-time record high in the first quarter, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ Housing Affordability Index

Here’s a closer look at how mortgage rates fared for the week ending May 24, according to Freddie Mac: 

30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged a new record of 3.78 percent, with an average 0.8 point, dropping from last week’s previous record low of 3.79 percent. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.60 percent. 

15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.04 percent, with an average 0.7 point, holding steady at the record low it set last week. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 3.78 percent. 

5-year adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.83 percent, with an average 0.6 point, also unchanged from last week’s average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.41 percent. 

1-year ARMs: averaged 2.75 percent, with an average 0.4 point, dropping from last week’s 2.78 percent average. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 3.11 percent. 

Source: Freddie Mac


Market Stabilizing? Home Inventories Fall by Nearly 20%

by Tim Hart

Home inventories of for-sale listings continue to fall, which may help raise overall housing prices as demand picks up.

Inventory of for-sale single-family homes, condos, townhouses, and co-ops dropped by 18.85 percent in April compared to a year ago, according to housing data of 146 metro markets tracked by

“These key indicators continue to suggest the housing market may be at a turning point and headed towards a broad-based recovery,” notes in a release on its April housing data. “Lower inventories, combined with faster moving markets and relatively stable median listing prices are indicative of the kind of balanced housing market that has not been seen in many years.”

On a national basis, the median age of inventory dropped nearly 12 percent year-over-year. 


Market Overview – Bozeman, Big Sky

by Tim Hart


This story overviews recent trends in real estate for Bozeman (and surrounding communities) & the Big Sky market.

Bozeman has been interesting to follow for the Spring/early summer market.  If you have a home priced right under $300,000.00, it has not taken long to find a buyer.  The number of distressed properties  (bank owned and short sale properties) has also decreased with most going under contract quickly.   

Here are a few positive trends in Bozeman:

  • Median sales price has increased to 283,400 in 2012 from $251,000 in 2011
  • Total units & total volume also increased
  • For condos & townhomes, total sales volume up with days on market shrinking drastically from 152 in 2011 to 90 in 2012
  • Land in Bozeman is starting to catch fire.  Between pending and sold data for 2012, if all close as scheduled, total volume for 2012 has almost matched the full year stats for 2011! For 2012, 91 units($6.92 M volume) have sold and 92 are pending ($7 M volume) as compared to 190 units sold ($16.7M volume for all of 2012)
  • Sub-division land has become hot as builders are building ‘semi-custom’ pre-sold spec homes where buyers can pick finishes and do minor floor plan modifications.  With the distressed properties slowing, the builders are coming out of the ground more frequently and price increases are anticipated.


For Big Sky (including Gallatin Canyon & West Yellowstone):

  • Overall, the market is still seeing opportunistic buyers looking for excellent value.
  • As a whole, total volume for the region is trending about the same as 2011 but the optimism of Big Sky agents is on the rise with increased showing & contract activity.


Summary - Bozeman is really starting to fire on all cylinders, Big Sky is still ‘revving’ up.  For a complete overview of statistics for Bozeman, Big Sky and the Gallatin Valley, e-mail us @


Condos In The News Today

by Tim Hart

FHA is set to change the current controversial condominium rules that have greatly limited the accessibility for the agency’s low-down-payment insured mortgages. The expected revisions will reduce the number of obstacles that have created the great reduction of FHA condo approval/recertification in the last year and a half.

“Christopher L. Gardner, managing member of FHA Pros, a national consulting firm based in Northridge that assists condo boards in obtaining FHA approvals, said barely 25% of all condo projects that are potentially eligible for FHA financing are now approved. That is despite the fact, Gardner said, that FHA financing is the No. 1 mortgage choice for half of all condo buyers and is crucial to many first-time and minority purchasers.

Among the limitations that are under pressure to change are: non-owner occupancy, delinquent association fee payments, and nonresidential space usage. Now, the FHA is expected to clarify personal liability language and make other modifications. Cannot wait to see this come into fruition. 


Distributed by Washington Post Writers Group.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times



Bank of America Offers $30K to Short Sale Owners

by Tim Hart

To curb the rate of foreclosures, BofA is offering $25,000-30,000 of assistance in relocation fees if they are willing to complete the short sale instead of foreclosure. Why? Banks are seeing short sales as a money saving avenue than if a homeowner falls into foreclosure. The difference between the two processes is simple; short sales tend to give the bank ownership of the home more efficiently leaving the condition of the property optimal for a speedy turn around on the selling end with low fees. In addition, data reveals that short sales bring in more money than foreclosures in the long run.

With that information at hand, banks have started to put forth special offers for homeowners struggling to enter into either short sales or foreclosures. BofA ran a pilot program in Florida and JPMorgan Chase piloted a similar program with the same incentive.

"This program can help customers make a planned transition from ownership when home retention options have been exhausted or they have made a decision not to keep the home," says Bob Hora, a Bank of America executive.

Source: “Bank of America Offering up to $30,000 for Short Sales,” CNNMoney (May 15, 2012) andBank of America

Read More

BofA Starts Writing Off Borrowers' Mortgage Debt

Abandoned, Deteriorating Homes … Just Let Them Burn?




Standard & Poor’s Rating Services based on first-quarter 2012 data has produced its estimates. Regional procedural variations on judicial/non-judicial have provided much information on how much time is needed to clear the backlog of nonperforming loans.

“S&P includes in the shadow inventory all outstanding properties on which the mortgage payments are 90 or more days delinquent, properties in foreclosure, and properties that are REO. The agency also includes 70 percent of the loans that became current, or “cured,” from 90-day delinquency within the past 12 months because S&P says these loans are more likely to re-default.


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Elections and Real Estate

by Tim Hart

It has not seen much of the spot light yet, but perhaps that is changing. 
Real estate and the individual presidential hopefuls’ feelings on home ownership will surely be one of the many issues the public will need to base their final decision on. It is predicted that middle-aged women without a college degree are the key demographic that will cause waves when election time comes. One core value to these women as well as the rest of Americans—home ownership. In fact, ¾ of voters see owing a home as being a keystone to achieving the American Dream.

No politician wants to get on the wrong side of this rather centrist issue. The current president’s term has seen mortgage modifications, standards, and incentives totaling close to 5 million modifications in all. Furthermore, the last few years have seen a push towards refinancing, and much more. It has not been a passive term. So if indicators are correct, it will be interesting to see how the HOME OWNER will vote this upcoming November. 




Top Producing Agent Habits

by Tim Hart

This is a nice and (I think fun) checklist that can be used as a self assessment to seewhatareas need some work and which I am doing well in!

  • Prioritize: Journalist’s deadlines, lawyer’s legal jargon, and an athlete’s energy are all needed for the job of a realtor. Knowing exactly what needs to be done each day is a MUST. The more transactions in the fire, the more on your toes you need to be. Balance big income boosters with the less monetary beneficial side of managing an office, marketing, and staying involved.
  • Minimalist: Remove as many distractions as possible in order to enhance focus on one thing. Phone, emails, clients, appointments, and other agents are your constants. Beyond that, try to keep distractions at bay.
  • Affirm: It is easy to get worn down, grow weary, and flat out feel pretty low about you when deals do not come to fruition. Positive self affirmations will do wonders to making sure your top priority is at its prime—you.
  • Know Oneself: Sleep some, work when you are productive, and TAKE A BREAK when you are not. Everyone needs breathers and yes, I know putting things down is the biggest challenge of my life. In addition, surround yourself with people who inspire you and know when you need some weight taken off your shoulders. Keep healthy.
  • Goals: Daily, weekly, monthly—if you see it, it will happen (one way or another). Use calendars, sync them, make notes, and anything you need to do to keep on top of your game.
  • No Ruts!: Many people like routine and are afraid/nervous/too comfortable with how things are to shake them up. This sucks imagination, creativity, and ultimately they dry the motivation of agents out. So keep things fresh, think of news ways to wow clients, and have fun with it! 

More Reasons to Buy v. Rent

by Tim Hart

“Conditions are coming together to encourage people to want to buy homes,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. “Americans’ rental price expectations for the next year continue to rise, reaching their record high level for our survey this month. With an increasing share of consumers expecting higher mortgage rates and home prices over the next 12 months, some may feel that renting is becoming more costly and that home ownership is more compelling house choice.” 

Are you part of the 73% increase of people who think that now is a good time? With home prices and rental prices estimated to rise in the months to come, any hesitation may detriment a buyer-to-be’s chances as securing the deal they want.


Source: “Americans’ Expectations Align to Encourage Home Buying,” RISMedia (May 6, 2012)

Read More

Buying is Cheaper Than Renting in Nearly All Major Cities


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14