Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 26

New 15 year Mortgage with No Down Payment Unveiled

by Tim Hart

A non-profit company is testing a new mortgage idea that could impact mortgages from here on out. The company is offering low to moderate income home buyers a 15 year mortgage with little to no money down. The loan, called the Wealth Building Home Loan, differs from a traditional 30 year fixed rate loan because income is weighed much more heavily than in a traditional loan. The WHBL gives a generous credit requirement and allows buyers to build their equity much faster than a standard mortgage.

But the loan truly differs from a standard loan because it focuses on paying off the principal first, not the interest. According to its creators, in the first three years 77% of each monthly mortgage payment pays off the principal, creating huge amounts of equity for home owners looking to sell in a short period of time. For a standard 30 year loan, in those years 68% of the payment goes towards paying the interest, leaving buyers with little equity comparatively.

Now obviously, there has to be some take to the give in this loan. Due to its short term and focus on principal, a WBHL will always have higher monthly payments than a standard mortgage. But the return on equity and 15 years less of monthly payments may be a worthy trade off for higher payments initially. The WBHL will have its first test run in Charlotte, North Carolina, which was chosen as the initial test market.

More recent articles on mortgages:

Mortgage Rates Below 4%

Wealthy Paying Lower Mortgage Rates

Americans Overpaying for Mortgages?



Bozeman Awarded 3.3 Million for Mental Health Programs

by Tim Hart

The Bozeman School District received 3.3 million dollars to run a new program designed to help students dealing with mental stress and health issues, greatly increasing the scope of Bozeman’s programs and services in this area. The grant came from the National Institute of Justice’s program called the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. The NIJ chose 24 projects out of 200 proposals.

The Bozeman School District will now work with University of Montana researchers  to better learn what a comprehensive mental health system can do to improve a struggling student’s outlook and future. The University of Montana will be watching the program unfold in  Bozeman to see if it will improve discipline, attendance and academics  in its students.  U of M will watch how the grant affects or improves Bozeman’s system, and then create a system that can be implemented elsewhere.

The 3.3 million dollars will be used to hire specialists who already work with struggling students. Bozeman will also hire a parent liaison to act as a better bridge between families and teachers. The school district will also have their teachers be trained to become “trauma informed.” They want to help teachers empathize with their students and help them recognize that divorce, the loss of a family member, abuse, even health conditions can drastically affect the behavior and success of any student.

Bozeman’s continued discipline towards fixing problems before they start has been showcased again in this case. Although Bozeman has never had any school tragedy, its nice to know that they are taking steps to prevent one in the future. It is wonderful knowing that the school truly cares for its students and their families and want to see them thrive in and outside of school. When I sell real estate, I always notice how diligent some buyers are in making sure their home is within Bozeman’s districts. This grant is a great example why people continue to move to Bozeman—because they see their faith rewarded with hard work and great schools.



City May Annex Cannery District for Commercial Hub

by Tim Hart

The city of Bozeman may annex the Canner District into the city in order to expedite plan for a new business district on the North side of town. The district is 12.24 acres in size but it also sits directly in the middle of city and county land. Currently, the existing buildings in the district are on county land, but the planned new construction will take place in the city. The city has heard plans on whether to annex the whole district in order to make their commercial district but have yet to make their final decision.

In order to create a commercial real estate hub, the city has first started renovating the existing buildings. They will start with the four story Cannery Building, which is currently vacant, but had most recently housed an electronic/powder coating company. The city plans on renovating all the buildings on County land and then annexing the district afterwards. With the annexation, owners would then pay taxes to the city, in exchange for city fire protection and other city services.

Once the city has the land, they will build seven new buildings, all for commercial purposes. When finished, the city hopes to have 15 buildings totaling 180,000 square feet, all for new potential businesses in town. Anyone currently living near the district could see a rise in their real estate value. As more businesses move within walking distance, the district could foster both commercial and residential real estate growth.

To read more about the Cannery District Renovations, click here.



Story Mill Park Begins Development

by Tim Hart

Work has just started on a new park being built in the story mill area. Story Mill Community Park will be a 54 acre park near Bridger and Griffin Drive. The park is still in its conceptual stages but organizers hope the park will one day provide picnic areas, shelters, climbing boulders, playground equipment, fields, a splash pad, outdoor ampitheatre and a fenced dog park.

So far, workers have focused on removing buildings from the area and opening up more space. They have already removed a few mobile homes from the no longer functioning Bridger View Trailer Court as well as a few old farm buildings. They will also clean the East Gallatin River where they are adding vegetation and landscaping the river to look more natural.

Creators of the park hope to connect the park with walking trails in the area, better connecting the North and South side of town. Ideally, the park will also provide a 2.1 mile walking/biking path for those wanting to walk or bike to the “M” and drinking horse trails. The park would be open to the public starting summer of 2017 at the earliest.

Residents in the area will see a marked improvement to the look and utility of the area where the park will go. Proximity to parks can add a lot of value to a real estate listing.



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.

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.



New Subdivision Coming for Bozeman Real Estate Market

by Tim Hart

Construction workers are updating and extending both Ferguson Avenue and Cattail Street to make room for a new subdivision, the Four Points. Crews started work on both roads on Wednesday. Once finished, Ferguson will be the only road between 19th Avenue and Love Lane that will directly connect Baxter and Huffine Lane. The west side of Bozeman has become very popular due to the decent prices of homes in that area, coupled with its solid infrastructure and transportation. The Four points subdivision will be adding several muli-family units. The already existing Sundance apartments will be adding 195 new residences. Bozemanites should see improved access and better traffic distribution with the improvement to the two roads. In terms of real estate, Bozemanites should expect to see a lot of new homes and apartments, with many looking for new occupants.


New Affordable Housing Option Coming to Bozeman

by Tim Hart

I just read a really great article on this new affordable housing area off Cottonwood Road. Homes have been selling even before they are finished building. There are some great options regarding mortgages as seen in the article below. Some listings are still available. Feel free to Contact me at 406-570-5730 if you have any questions about them.

Here is the article:


Housing 2013: Predictions For What Is To Come

by Tim Hart

Liniger recently offered up some of his predictions for the new year:

  • More buyers and sellers return to the housing market. 
  • Home sales increase 6-7 percent while home prices increase 3-4 percent. 
  • Inventory of for-sale homes will hit bottom. 
  • Higher-priced listings begin to sell more. 
  • The number of distressed properties continues to drop. 
  • The shadow inventory continues to fall. 
  • Short sales rise, reaching a peak. 
  • Mortgage rates rise slightly by year's end from record lows. 
  • Lending remains constrained for home buyers. 
  • Home affordability remains at record highs.  

Watch Liniger’s video to learn more about his housing predictions.

Source: RE/MAX


Year to Year Outlook for the Gallatin Valley

by Tim Hart

The Year in Review:

Year to Year Outlook for the Gallatin Valley (Big Sky, Bozeman, Belgrade, Three Forks and Manhattan)

Stats for Improved Properties:


* Data is for period Jan 1 – Dec 31 – includes all improved categories except for mobile/manufactured.

Summary of Data for Improved Properties:

  • Bozeman is a shining star without a doubt up 222 units over 2011 with days on market down almost 20 days and median price rising by $10,000.00 plus.
  • Belgrade also picked up some steam up 8 units and median price up by $10,000.00  - this trend has continued into the new year
  • Big Sky is still stabilizing – units sold are down but median price improved by $20,000.00 and days on market shrinking
  • Manhattan is stable in units sold and $27,000.00 increase in median price
  • Three Forks has also gained ground after stagnating  – units up by 13 – but median price is down and days on market up

Stats for Vacant Land:

* Data is for period Jan 1 – Dec 31  – includes all land categories.

Summary of Data for Vacant Land:

  • More of the same for Bozeman in land with net increase of 234 units year to year
  • Belgrade is down about 5 lots
  • Big Sky is more positive than negative – up 20 lots – median is down but I see this as positive – sellers are getting more realistic about their land values and deals are closing successfully.
  • Manhattan improved in lot sales – prices are down
  • Three Forks is a negative trend  BUT both lot and house sales are now trending up in the first quarter of 2013 as Three Forks is being seen by many first time buyers as an affordable alternative.  I am bullish on Three Forks for 2013!  Our office, alone, will be representing developers in three large sub-divisions – activity is brisk!

Overall, the Gallatin Valley is seeing great growth with Bozeman being the shining star and booming.  I am fairly confident that this report at the end of 2013 will likely see all indicators turning to positive.




Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 26

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