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Walkable Communities Most Popular for Millenials

by Tim Hart

The walkability of cities and towns in the United States has become increasingly important for homebuyers – particularly its youngest generation. According to a new study released by the Transportation Research and Education Center at Portland State University, millenials show a strong preference to having a home that’s within walking distance of local amenities. These home buyers, those aged 18 to 34, preferred walking over driving by 12 percentage points.

All age groups saw walkability as a major asset in choosing a home—so much so that 48% of all respondents wanted a small home and yard within walking distance of activities, rather than a large home and yard that required driving to get to events and destinations—assuming prices were similar. Home sellers should keep this in mind when they go to list a smaller home with a great location—make sure not to forget one of the home’s best qualities!

Americans in general also looked for more transportation choices when choosing their new neighborhood. Eighty-five percent of American buyers looked for sidewalks to make sure their home would be walking friendly.

Women in particular showed a strong attraction to walkability, with 61% of those surveyed putting it as an important aspect of their home search.

For a smaller town like Bozeman, having close, walkable neighborhoods will continue to attract homebuyers to Bozeman. Not only can a person walk through the City of Bozeman in complete ease, but the city’s massive trail system provides even more options for the active homebuyer. Bozeman was ranked as the 11th most livable mid-sized town in the US, with transportation as a major factor in the rankings. It sounds like Bozeman is on the right path to keeping itself a walking friendly place that will continue to attract new residents to the area.

 

Source: http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/millennials-want-walkability/

http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/07/29/town-s-walkability-becomes-more-key

 

Local Restaurant to be On National Cooking Show

by Tim Hart

For anyone who loves the Cooking Channel, they will get to see a Bozeman restaurant featured on one of its national shows. The Western Café, a steadfast of downtown since the 1930’s, was selected to appear on the channel as a great mom and pop operation that also utilized local Bozeman ingredients.

The café will appear on the Cooking Channel’s show, Pizza Masters. In this case, the Pizza Masters were apparently less interested in pizza, because they asked the café to show them how to make the café’s famous cinnamon rolls along with their biscuits and gravy. The Pizza Masters chose the location for its great food, décor and local atmosphere.

For any non-local visitors to town, the Western Café can be a great place to enjoy some old-time western cooking. As Bozeman has grown, it has done a great job keeping the small mountain town feel that has become so attractive to out of state visitors.

 

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/story/29644437/local-restaurant-to-be-featured-on-national-cable-network

 

Library Receives 300k to Get Mobile Library Rolling

by Tim Hart

In late February, The Bozeman Public Library crafted plans to bring books to local residents who might not be able to make it to the library themselves. Now, with a 300,000 dollar donation, the library is 5/6 of the way to their fundraising goal. The donation came from a private person—really showing Bozeman’s community driven perspective in its essence.

The bookmobile will need anywhere from 9 months to a year to become fully operational and library staff will still need to decide the size of the new mobile library. Current plans include having a wi-fi hotspot along with iPads and laptops to create a true library feel. Of course, the mobile library will also have lots of books that they can distribute to those who cannot make it to the library themselves. Seniors and children have been pointed to as the main target audience.

Bozeman continues to be community focused—making sure the whole community gets access to the best Bozeman can offer. It’s no wonder that so many people continue to choose Bozeman as their top living destination.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/donor-gives-library-for-bozeman-library-bookmobile/article_38d0313d-faa0-5ba6-8d36-532fd7239aec.html

Land off Stucky Road Considered for Annexation

by Tim Hart

Bozeman City Commissioners will vote next Monday on whether to annex a piece of land off Stucky Road in order to zone it for apartment style residences. The commission has seen several bids to annex additional land into the city in the last year. Bozeman continues to find ways to add additional home inventory to keep home values reasonable.

The land off Stucky is currently set for agricultural use and nearby farms are concerned about adding more residential lots on high quality, useable soil. Both farmers and developers made their pleas to the City Zoning Commission and though the zoning commission voted 2-1 against rezoning the parcel, the decision ultimately rests with City Commisioners.

Bozeman continues to search for land and strategies to help keep the real estate in the Gallatin Valley affordable. The city has looked at narrowing lots and has given a high number of building permits to increase inventory. Bozeman will need to strike a healthy balance between keeping prices reasonable and growing in a healthy, planned out manner.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-commission-to-consider-stucky-road-annexation/article_5cd77da9-11f6-5bfc-93c3-f206be50835e.html

 

Plans are moving forward with the new College of Engineering Building at Montana State University. The Norm Asbjornson Innovation Center, named after the alumni who donated the $50 million required to fund the project, will be starting construction in Summer 2016 and is scheduled to be completed by Fall of 2018. The building is designed to be the new center of campus, with the sub directly across from it and the new parking garage close by.

The new building will help keep pace with MSU’s reputation as an excellent engineering school. The building will also help keep enough room for the rising enrollment in both the Engineering College and school overall.

The building will be 80 to 100,000 square feet, will have 10 – 15 classrooms, 12 to 16 Engineering labs in addition to faculty offices. Current plans are leaning towards creating a 3 story building w/ the $12 million dollar parking garage behind it. The building is designed to hold a 300 person presentation hall, which will be used for school and community events.

As MSU continues to have high enrollment and continues to attract great students, it seems only logical the school will continue to try to expand its reputation and its campus. MSU provides many real estate related opportunities and having a high prestige will make those opportunities more plentiful and more rewarding.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/msu-ready-to-design-new-engineering-college-building/article_d86f5962-0801-5e91-81f5-2fc1f50a1f89.html

Bozeman Awarded 1 Million for Solar Research

by Tim Hart

In late April, Bozeman planners and commissioners were exploring the possibility of providing solar alternatives to its residents. Early last week, Northwestern Energy awarded the city $1,000,000 to explore the benefits, the utility and likelihood for creating some form of solar program in Bozeman.

The city will team up with the Montana State University to go over potential options for a new solar program. One idea has been to allow customers to tap into a community-based solar system. For ‘opting in” to the solar program, customers will receive a credit on their utility bill without having to pay for expensive solar panels.

Other states, companies and individuals have also used other models and Bozeman will need to figure out which one works best for its unique situation.

Bozeman has tried to stay on the forefronts of technology. They recently approved a fiber-optic project to give Bozeman the highest quality internet available. Looking at solar alternatives will help keep Bozeman beautiful and sustainable.

 

Source: http://www.abcfoxmontana.com/story/29234099/city-of-bozeman-receives-1-million-award-to-research-solar-energy

 

Bozeman Safest Major Town in Montana

by Tim Hart

According to data released by the Bozeman Police Department, Bozeman has the lowest crime rate of any major town in Montana. Bozeman averaged 32.7 crimes per 1,000 residents, 16 crimes below the next closest town. Bozeman has now been honored as the safest major town in the state for 4 of the last 5 years.

Bozeman had the fewest homicides, 0; robberies, 3; aggravated assaults, 36; and burglaries, 71; in the state.

Bozeman has also been improving on its own standards. Bozeman’s overall crime rate dropped from 56.1 crimes per 1,000 residents seen in 2004. In 2014, more than 20 less crimes per 1,000 residents took place. Total arrests for Bozeman dropped 28 percent from 2,800 in 2008 to 2,189 in 2014. Traffic stops also dropped by 30 percent.

Despite Bozeman’s recent growth (nearly 12,000 residents since 1996), property related crimes like theft and burglaries have been going down. With more people living in the Gallatin Valley, it would make sense that property related crimes would go up. However, the local police department has done a great job in general of keeping people’s belongings and valuables safe.

The Bozeman Police Department attributed the low crime rates to the economic stability that has been present in Bozeman of late along with the hard work of local community members and organizations. The department also increased its total officers in 2008, a factor that has been highlighted towards improving local crime rates.

Bozeman continues to lead the way in public safety—one of the main attractors to both in-state and out-of-staters looking to move here.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/crime/bozeman-crime-rates-continue-decline/article_1f10cdbc-08a4-5e23-b83c-4d359e38d7c3.html

 

Potential New Development off Manley Road?

by Tim Hart

Tonight, Bozeman City Commissioners will decide whether re-zoning a piece of land out in the Manley Road area for residential use is feasible and makes sense for the city moving forward. If they decide yes, the owner of the land will move forward developing the area.

The 6.5 acre piece of land in question has had some zoning confusion to say the least—a very boring sounding topic that somehow can end up quite fascinating. Currently, the city has that land designated for future use as parkland. However, the County has the land designated for light industrial use (pretty mutually exclusive from parkland). The best part, neither have actually incorporated the land at all. The city would need to annex the land to develop it and moving to a residential designation would allow them to do so.

The piece of land is surrounded on 3 sides by city limits and access to the nearby recreation area and pond is protected by a permanent easement.

Now, if the situation didn’t sound complicated enough, this very same piece of land used to be used as a dumpsite from 1962 to 1970. Coupled with the poor recent history with dumpsites, what may have been a hard decision for the City of Bozeman got a lot harder. Environmental concerns will be a major factor on whether the new development is approved.

For this specific scenario, we can only hope the city makes a decision that will bring the highest benefit to its residents in the long run and that recent concerns, whether its the dump or current home inventory, will not affect the decision, no matter which way they ultimately decide to go.

From a real estate perspective, this story is a great reminder why its so important to cross every i and dot every t when performing due diligence on any information surrounding a property. How is it zoned? Are there any easements? How was the land used in the past? Some pieces of land (and sometimes homes too!) have had long, deep histories where others may have little to none. With as much land as there is Montana, we get the best of both untouched land and land with deep history.  Make sure you are buying what you want and that you have a realtor who can make sure you are buying a good product.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-commission-to-consider-zoning-change-for-development-near-old/article_8b0ccbac-2541-58e7-933d-3aeda25cb4d2.html

Bozeman Exploring Solar Alternatives

by Tim Hart

City leaders want to lower utility costs and make Bozeman a little greener by offering some form of solar program to its residents. The city wants to provide clean energy to all its residents-whether they rent or own a home.

Currently, a new community solar model has gained traction as the front-runner for how Bozeman may address solar needs moving forward. The community solar model allows customers to tap into a community-based solar system. For ‘opting in” to the solar program, customers will receive a credit on their utility bill without having to pay for expensive solar panels. Buying and installing a full solar system into a private home can cost up to $23,500.

Currently 22 other states use a similar model.

With that being said, it should be noted there are a couple other viable models that have worked very well in different places across the United States.

The first model involves putting solar panels on individual homes for no cost. The utility company then deducts energy that home produces from their overall utility bill. The company, in a sense, buys the power from the home and deducts that cost from the bill.

Another model follows a similar idea. In this model the utility company still places solar panels on the home. However, they set up a loan agreement, much like a home, for 30 years at a fixed rate. The homeowner will still receive a deduction on their bill but in this model they are also provided an opportunity to be a full owner of the solar panels (which would really cut down on costs!). The energy they produce can also be reinvested back into their loan payments.

I have written an in depth article about the last two models. If you would like to read more about them, click here.

All of the models have their own advantages and drawbacks. Whether its time, money or freedom of action, all the plans give in some areas and take in others.

Bozemanites should be appreciative of their elected officials' attempts to stay up to date with technology. With this solar story, along with city leader's recent attempts to establish a fiber optic network, its clear that one of Bozeman's goals is to keep itself technologically up to date. No matter what, having some form of solar program in place will help make Bozeman more sustainable, cheaper and keep it a wonderful place to live.

 

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/story/28924241/strong-push-to-expand-solar-energy-in-bozeman

 

Indonesian Woman Lists Herself with Home

by Tim Hart

For home sellers who have seen their local markets heat up in 2015, they will be happy to know the heat is limited to houses only. In Indonesia, one homeowner, Wina Lia, is trying to spice up her home sale by adding an unexpected ingredient to the mix – herself. Lia has offered an opportunity for her hand in marriage to any Indonesian buyer who chooses not to negotiate on the listing price of $76,500.

Homebuyers who prefer hot home deals in a more traditional sense are allowed to make an offer on only the home. Buyers looking for love over shelter may be disappointed to find out the home purchase only gives them the chance to ask for her hand, but does not guarantee her acceptance.

The real estate agent, Dian Purna Dirgantara, crafted the idea when the homeowner admitted she was also looking for a husband at the time. Since he produced the advertisement, he has received endless calls from viable buyers and the curious alike. Whether Dirgantara’s strategy will be picked up by other agents and homeowners looking to make a home sale is yet to be seen.

 

Source: http://time.com/3738528/house-indonesia-wife/

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 128

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