Bozeman Montana Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 24

MSU may have played a crucial role in the development of an experimental drug that possibly saved the two American medical workers in Africa. Techlink, a department within the University, made the crucial connection between a US Army lab and the small San Diego company, Mapp Biopharmaceutical that ultimately created the medicine.

Laurel Halfpap, Senior Tech Manager at MSU’s techlink, helped Mapp Biopharmaceutical with the necessary applications and licensing to get access to an mouse antibody that treated ebola. The company became aware of the ebola treatment the army possessed, but with only 10 employees, they needed all the help they could get. As the Army lab was also understaffed, connecting the two together fell to Halfpap. After more than year of work, she attained the licensing for the San Diego company.

From there, the company took the antibody, adjusted it so humans would not react to it and combined it with other antibodies to create the drug ZMapp. The two Americans working in the Ebola ridden zone were in the most critical of conditions when they decided to try the medicine, despite knowing it hadn’t been fully tested on humans. The two recovered and were moved back to the states for further testing.

Without Halfpap and Techlink, it seems unlikely the Army and Mapp Biopharmaceuticals could have made their important connection. MSU can add that feather to their cap, adding to their building prestige and pedigree.




The Montana Department of Transportation will donate $2.1 million dollars throughout the state in order to purchase additional vehicles and equipment. Both Bozeman and Big Sky were chosen to receive additional funding. Funding was awarded through a competitive grant application, ranking applicants by need and fund availability.

The Human Resource Development Council of Bozeman is receiving money a new 40 passenger bus as well as a new 17 passenger bus from the MDT. The agency currently runs the streamline bus service in Bozeman, a free public bus system that  has routes throughout the city. The agency also runs Galavan, a service providing transportation specifically for the elderly and disabled.

Reach Inc., a non-profit organization in Bozeman that provides a myriad of services to aduts with developmental disabilities, will receive a 5 person van.

The town of Big Sky will receive funds for a 45 passenger motor coach.

Sixteen communities in Montana will receive funding in total, including Missoula, Helena, Butte, and Whitehall. Additional facilities and carports will be built across the state with the remaining money. Earlier this year, the MDT had given $7.8 million across the state to deal with the operating costs of these transportation agencies.

For local Bozeman residents, the addition of two new busses will help alleviate logistical concerns for both Streamline and Galavan. Additional busses only add to a solid infastructure, creating a more reliable, punctual transportation service. Citizens reliant on public transportation in Bozeman can only see the additions as great news, helping to better (sorry for this one) streamline the bus system and improve its reliability.

Source: Chronicle Staff. “Agencies Receive Money for Transportation Improvements.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle. 28 September 2014.

Tim's Know Your Homes 101 - Victorian

by Tim Hart

Victorian architecture is unique in its presence and design. Victorian homes are almost always asymetrical, multi story buildings. Victorian homes are the essence of beauty over function. The roofs are always very steep and the home is decorated with all the bells and whistles including gables, bay windows and overhangs. Victorian homes are stately, with complex designs and ornate trim. On the interior of a Victorian home, expect to find intricate ceilings, chandeliers and mirrors, all harkening to the renaissance and (obviously) Victorian eras. If you are trying to uncover whether a house may be Victorian or not, dead giveaways include the castle-like tower or its long, wrap around porch. Purchasing a Victorian home can be expensive, but local and national progams exist to help subsidize attempts to purchase and restore such homes.

Wealthy Buyers Paying Lower Mortgage Rates

by Tim Hart

Wealthy homebuyers in the US are receiving cheaper loans in higher numbers than other homebuyers also applying for mortgages. These deep pocketed buyers are paying lower average rates on high dollar value loans known as jumbo mortgages. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that the average rate of jumbo loans for houses above $417,000 or $625,000 in high priced areas averages around 4.24% interest. However, a normal buyer, paying an standard 30 year fixed mortgage can expect to pay interest rates of 4.36 percent.

Now, lenders are accepting smaller down payments and even waiving mortgage insurance. Down payments on the big loans can be as small as 10% of the value, compared to the standard 20 percent. Banks have even begun lowering the credit standards that they use to underwrite such loans. Before, a jumbo borrower would be expected to maintain at least a 700 credit score to even be eligible. Now, lenders have given out loans to people with scores as low as 650.

Why though? Well in general, banks are willing to give these friendly loans, not for the profit they make themselves, but oftentimes on the capital the can use with other clients. Banks take that capital to use in brokerage accounts or retirement funds, where such capital can exponentially increase profit margins. Then, they can turn to prospective clients and show them the investment potential of that bank. Keeping those big loans on the books allows them to invest and lend more, adding to their clientele and prestige.

Now may be the perfect time for big buyers to do just that—buy big. Mortgage rates are low, the market is stabilizing, and as banks continue to make jumbo loans more appealing, wealthy buyers can take full advantage.



I read a great article in the business journal of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle today. In it, Steve Hample of Hample and Peck ( a trust/banking organization) outlined what may have set Bozeman apart from the rest of Montana on its road to recovery from the fiscal collapse in 2008.

Hample began with the standard reasons for why Bozeman may have been more likely to recover from economic decline. Such reasons included the scenic area, our clean air, the low crime, the good schools, the presence of MSU and a continually growing tourism industry. I’d agree with these reasons, but I appreciated how Hample took the story farther than the obvious.

Over the last two years, Montana has ranked first on the “Index of Entrepreneurial Activity.” The index correlates the ratio of new businesses formed compared to the size of the population. Now granted, Montana always does very well or very poorly in most surveys based on per capita, so I thought maybe this one was similar.

However, Hample noted that the other two states that have always ranked close to us in this index were Colorado and California. Both have respectable populations, as well as the great mystery to any Montanan, cities. Hample suggests, then, that our number-one ranking is not due to the rural aspect of living in Montana, but instead the quality of the individuals coming to Bozeman.

Now, of course, what came first? The chicken or the egg? Does a scenic area, clean air, low crime and good schools attract better, smarter people, that then leads to a better, smarter town? Or do these factors actually create better, smarter people, that then lead to improvements in the latter. It probably is both and probably doesn’t really matter either way, so long as the improvement continues!

But what I loved about the article was how Hample suggested that we may have actually already passed a specific tipping point for continued economic success and less hardships in the future. Hample pointed to the presence of Right Now Technologies in Bozeman, which attracted many high-tech individuals and support-staff who would not have been in Bozeman before the business started. Some of their staff went on to start their own tech based companies and so on.

Our airport has now become the biggest in the state. With such good skiing and proximity to Yellowstone, it’s surprising it’s taken this long! But having such an airport at our disposal attracts more people, and who knows who may stick around after their visit? Now, the obvious factors, good schools, low crime etc., almost see their influence increase with the increased exposure to higher numbers of people

Essentially, Hample states that we have ascended into a different league, “like a football team moving to a higher division.” It took a lot of work to get over the barrier, but since Bozeman has, it now has access to a myriad of benefits that other towns simply cannot access. I hope we can continue such a trend and potentially hop another one of these economic barriers as Bozeman continues to grow into the future.

Hample, Steve. “Enjoying Success.” Business Journal for Southwest Montana. 23 September 2014.

Big Sky Tourism is growing and growing quickly according to new numbers assembled by Visit Big Sky, a destination-marketing group in the area. The group compiled numbers based on the city’s total lodging tax collections because they indicate accurately the number of people staying overnight in the town. In general, the lodging tax reflects the ups and downs of the tourism industry pretty accurately.

According to these numbers, the growth rate in Big Sky is nearly 3 times as high as the rate of Montana overall after the first half of 2014. Over the last three years, lodging tax collection totals have increased by double digits. In 2013, tax collections hit 4 times the total of the state and 10 times the National Average. The Big Sky Visitor Center also noted it has seen its international traffic increase, up nearly 20 percent. The visitor center claims that international visitors are expected to spend about seven times more per day than a domestic visitor.

As tourism increases in the area, its hard to see there not being growth in other sectors as well. Big Sky has always been an ideal vacation home rental destination for property owners looking to supplement their income. Now, as tourism continues to increase, a larger market only suggests larger pie slices for all involved.


Trees can add a lot to any property. Most times, homeowners are not thinking about the addition of dollar bills to their wallet when they are looking to landscape a home. However, planting trees in a well thought out manner can save a homeowner a lot of money in the future, while adding value to his/her property.

Trees can provide economic benefits, helping surround your home and keep warmth in during the winters. According to the US Department of Energy, homeowner’s who landscape for energy efficiency can expect a return on investment in under 8 years. A well landscaped outside can add thousands to the value of a home. Sometimes it’s more about the initial impression of a home that drives a sale, rather than its form and function. Trees can also reduce soil erosion around the home, keeping it that much safer if any natural disaster or similar event took place.

Northwest Energy provides some great tips and tricks to plant trees effectively for your property. I’ve added the ones that stuck out to me below:

1. Choose a tree that’s appropriate for your climate and space.

2.Plan where you plant. Homeowners should make sure to consider the entire life-span of a tree when they plant. Northwest energy states that on average you should plant trees 15 to 20 feet from your home and powerlines. Trees that grow taller than 40 feet should be planted at least 35 feet away. A misplanted tree could damage your siding, roof, or windows in the future when it grows too big and rubs against the home.

3. Trimming is a homeowner’s responsibility, but any homeowner can still call Northwest Energy and they will stop by to make sure it is safe.

4. Call 811 for underground utility lines at least 2 days before you dig and plant at least 25 feet from such lines.

Trees add initial home value but they can also take away from future expenses. They’re always a pretty addition to a home’s exterior and, of course, they keep our oxygen fresh and our water pure. What’s not to love about them? With a little planning, any homeowner can be adding value to their property with a few tall, green additions outside.



October Market Update: Gallatin Valley Townhomes and Condominiums

by Tim Hart

This month, we will highlight condominiums and townhomes in the Gallatin County from the first two quarters of 2013 compared to the first two quarters of 2014.

Here are a few stats for all of Gallatin County for condos and townhomes:

  • Units increased in the first two quarters by 27.5% (244 sold in 2013, 311 sold in 2014)
  • Dollar volume increased in the first two quarters by 55.8% from $56,339,593 in 2013 to $87,800,977 in 2014
  • Average sale price also increased from $234,833 to $280,586
  • For 2014 through 8/31/2014
    • Sold volume already at $117,936,021 and 438 units

Summary – based on increases across the board in the first two quarters from 2013 to 2014, the 2014 market continues to shine, looking to surpass 2013 annual totals easily.

Montana State University had 15,421 students enroll at MSU for the 2014-15 school year, its highest in its history. That was the 8th time in 9 years that MSU has set a new personal record for enrollment. 127 more students enrolled this year as oppose to last, a 1% increase.  The university has increased enrollment by 2,657 students, or 21% in the last 5 years. Currently, MSU is still the largest campus in the state, and the additional students could add more than 1 million dollars in additional tuition money. MSU officials pointed to new, coming buildings to deal with the influx of students. A new college of business building will open next year, adding additional classrooms and the school has invested $2.3 million into instruction and adding more classes to help students graduate on time.

For anyone considering purchasing a home in Bozeman, the prospect of more students means more tenants. A cheap college rental can really help with monthly bills, and if you read my previous article, there currently is next to no rental spaces available in the city. Feel free to give me a call if you’d like to discuss the potential of such a rental. 406-570-5730


Belgrade to Improve Roads

by Tim Hart

The Belgrade City Council agreed by unanimous vote to chip seal seven miles of street in Belgrade. They have struck a deal with a Bozeman based contracting business and the agreement is not to cost more than $47,100. The City of Belgrade is taking an unprecedented step to alleviate construction costs down the line. They have chosen to forego a traditional chip seal and go ahead with a new product that could improve the life of the road. The product is more porous and is better at filing in low spots, potholes and cracks. According to the contracting team, after completion, this chip seal should look and act like a new layer of asphalt. The product will supposedly last 30 to 40 percent longer than a traditional chip seal.

Residents of Belgrade can look forward to hitting a few less potholes when driving around town. The construction should improve the quality of life in Belgrade in the long run and save residents money on fixing their personal cars and fixing the public roads.




Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 24