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5 Tips to Help Your Home Sell in the Winter

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

True or false- the best time to sell your home is typically during the spring and summer months— true. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t sell during the winter and still get a great price.

If you’re considering selling this winter, here are several tips to help you prepare your home:

  • Snow removal: In order to set foot inside your home, buyers have to get there first. Shovel the snow and use salt to melt any ice patches, and ensure that the path to the lockbox (if you’re using one) is clear for agents.
  • Curb appeal still matters: Even though people won’t be spending much time outside the home for several months yet, it’s still important to maintain the exterior— clean out the gutters and keep trees and shrubs trimmed to help buyers envision what your home will look like during warmer months.
  • Set the scene: Create a cozy feeling during showings— add blankets to the couch, light some candles and use tasteful Christmas décor if selling during the holidays. If you have a fireplace, use it to showcase both its ability to warm up a room and its added aesthetic to your home.
  • Light it up: Winter has a tendency to remove a lot of natural light. To combat this, open window treatments during the day and utilize lightbulbs and candles to create as much lighting as possible.
  • Keep on eye on the weather: Be prepared for delays due to bad weather— showings, inspections and even document transmissions can be delayed if a winter storm rolls in. 


Sometimes homes sell for more during the snowy months because there is less inventory to choose from, although the amount of time to sell is dependent on weather, which in turn is dependent on the number of showings you’ll get. Even though there are fewer buyers during the winter months, the buyers that ARE looking tend to be more motivated. While there are benefits to selling during the spring and summer, there are also benefits to selling during the winter as well. 


Related Articles:

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5 Areas to Focus On: How to Increase Your Home's Resale Value

Top Home Improvement Projects That Sell 

Bozeman Continues To Grow With New Proposed Airport Expansion

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

It comes as no surprise to most of us that Bozeman is quickly growing, in terms of both population and city development. In the past seven years alone, we’ve grown from 37,000 residents to more than 45,000. Last year was a record year for the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, which is located in Belgrade and is the busiest airport in the state— there was an 8.4% increase in the number of travelers in and out of Bozeman, and 29% of all air travelers in and out of Montana fly through the Bozeman airport.

To better accommodate those flying in and out of Bozeman, plans to develop more than 50 acres of land south of the airport have been submitted. These plans include a mixed-use complex that will hold hotels, retail stores and restaurants. A Connecticut-based developer, Charter Realty & Development, is currently in negotiations to purchase the property from its current owner Knife River, a construction materials company headquartered in Bismarck, ND. 


With both the number of new listings and pending sales increasing in Belgrade, this development may also be beneficial to Belgrade residents and those looking to relocate to the area.

While the median sales price for Belgrade sat at $279,900 last month, this is still lower than that of Bozeman, with its median sales price hovering around $369K. Dan Zelson, a principal with Charter Realty, states that with growth coming out of Bozeman and into Belgrade, long-term plans may include residential buildings. While this isn’t part of the current proposal, this development could take place as soon as next year, with its first tenants moving in by 2019.

The plan will be presented to the Belgrade City Council on September 18th. Whether or not lower median sales prices are encouraging some Bozeman residents to relocate to Belgrade, the area is indeed expanding and will likely continue to do so with such a busy airport nearby that continues to set new passenger records every year, as well as with the high population growth rates we’ve been experiencing in recent years. 


Related Articles: 

Black-Olive Proposal Denied by Bozeman City Commissioners

Bozeman's 4th Mid-Rise Building Proposed to Replace and Old Grain Mill

Bozeman Ranks Second as the Fastest Growing Small Town in America

Big Sky Is Booming: But What About Affordable Housing?

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Big Sky Resort is the third largest ski resort in America and attracts 500,000 skiers annually. After announcing a deal with CrossHarbor Capital Partners to merge Moonlight Basin into Big Sky Resort in 2013, the resort now boasts an impressive 5,800 acres of public skiing, with an additional 2,200 acres available to Yellowstone Club members, yet still remains fairly undiscovered. Although a whopping one million cars drive past Big Sky every year, most of that traffic is Yellowstone National Park bound.

The Housing Issue

Between now and 2025, the resort plans on spending $150 million on improvements. The community of Big Sky currently has a population of 2,500 and in recent years has added numerous shops and restaurants, in addition to a movie theater and a full-service grocery store in 2014. The following year, Big Sky Medical Center started offering emergency services and inpatient care.

Although the community is steadily growing and the resort itself has expanded, there is one issue that still raises concern— most of Big Sky’s workforce commutes to work due to the lack of affordable housing available to employees. Recent data shows that Big Sky is short between 900 and 1,200 units, and that roughly 83% of the entire workforce leaves at the end of the day to begin their commute back to Bozeman and other surrounding areas. (image credit: explorebigsky.com)

Is There a Plan?

David Fowler is an architect who has been working on this issue since 2013. He states that the most important thing to do in order to begin solving this problem and creating more affordable housing is the establishment of an organization to begin accepting donations in order to offset land costs. There is a plan in the works that includes the construction of an 18-condo development on a 4.14-acre parcel known as Sweetgrass Hills in the Town Center, but critics argue that 18 condos don’t count for much when the housing shortage is as high as it is.

Additionally, Lone Mountain Land Company (LMLC) is developing two properties in the Town Center that will be targeted for Yellowstone Club, Moonlight and Spanish Peaks employees. One building will contain 16 units (completion estimated at approximately one year) and the other will hold 32 units. Both buildings will likely be rental properties.

While these plans may not begin to take place in the immediate future, the resort plans on moving forward with its $150 million improvements. Last year two new high-speed chairlifts were added to the mountain, one of which has heated seats and plexiglass bubbles to shield passengers from the elements. A number of new restaurants are expected to be opening soon as well. Overall, Stephen Kircher (president of Boyne Resorts’ operations, of which Big Sky Resort is a part) says that both of these projects are early steps in a 10-year plan to add a European experience to the resort. The addition of more real estate and improved services in the Town Center will help his vision become a reality, though it may be several years down the road before we see any significant changes to the area. 

 

5 Areas to Focus On: How to Increase Your Home’s Resale Value

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

It’s the hottest time of year, and with that comes the hottest selling season. When aiming to sell, keep in mind that the littlest changes can often have the largest impact when trying to increase the resale value of your home. Here are a few ideas to get you started on preparing your home to sell this summer, while also getting a great price for it:

  1. Declutter

It is important to keep in mind that some of the changes you will be making may not suit your personal preferences and tastes— that’s okay! Packing away family photos and sports memorabilia will be less distracting during showings. Keep in mind that many buyers cannot visualize a space, and if you have too much “stuff”, this can overwhelm them and leave them with a negative impression of your home.

  1. Spruce up the bathrooms

42% of real estate professionals surveyed by Consumer Reports agree that bathrooms are one of the most important rooms in a home to have in good condition. You can invest as much or as little as you want into renovations and updates, but simple projects such as re-grouting the tile or replacing an old toilet could give you a potential increase in asking price of up to 3%.

  1. Update the kitchen

Millennials currently make up 34% of all homebuyers, and a “modern/updated kitchen” is one of their top criteria when considering which home to purchase. New or repainted cabinets, stainless steel appliances and a fresh coat of paint can completely transform your kitchen and potentially add between 3 and 7% to the asking price.

  1. Give the walls some TLC

Walls should be a backdrop rather than a focal point when trying to sell. Certain colors work better in some rooms than others and may have an impact on selling price. Homes with warm neutrals such as wheat yellow in the kitchen sell for $1,360 more on average. Comparatively, neutrals such as grey-beige win in the living room, adding an average of $1,104 to the selling price.

  1. Remember the curb appeal

The exterior of your home can easily be neglected when renovating the inside, but some potential buyers won’t even make it through the front door if they aren’t impressed with the outside. Basic landscaping, installing outdoor lighting and planting a few flowers can make a world of difference, and may bump up the asking price by up to 5%.  New roofs are also a huge bonus, as it shows buyers that the home has been cared for, and 31% of real estate professionals agree that the roof is an important part of the home to have in good condition.

In order to attract buyers and leave them with a positive and memorable impression, it’s important to spend a little time spicing up your home without going overboard. Researching which projects will suit your home best before spending money on unnecessary renovations will help to ensure that you’re only putting in what you’ll get out when offers start rolling in. 


Related Articles:

Looking to Sell? 5 Projects to Improve Your Curb Appeal

Top Home Improvement Projects That Sell

Expert Tips for Spring Cleaning: Improve Energy Efficiency and Air Quality of Your Home

Bozeman’s 4th Mid-Rise Building Proposed to Replace an Old Grain Mill

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman’s 4th mid-rise building is currently being scoped out for a site on the east side of downtown. This BG Mill building will have a little more character than the rest though, turning an old grain mill that has been vacant for decades into a 5-story, multi-use building with a mixed modern/rustic style architecture.

The proposed plan for the BG Mill project includes a parking garage and a small commercial space on the ground floor, 18,000 square feet of office space on the middle levels, and 10 condos on the top two levels. The project developers, Michael Ochsner and Chris Lohss, plan to integrate three silos from the grain mill into landscaping features and hopefully keep the “BG Mill” logo for the new building.

Although there has been a long, drawn-out debate over mid-rise buildings changing the character of Bozeman’s small-town charm, Ochsner and Lohss point out that the site, located on the southeast corner of Mendenhall Street and Broadway Avenue, is already surrounded by other existing commercial properties.

While residents are concerned that the Black-Olive project, another mid-rise building proposed for Bozeman, would cast a shadow over Bozeman’s southern historic downtown neighborhoods, the BG Mill project may not cause nearly the same issue.

Positioned between the south end of a neighborhood and the north end of downtown Main Street, the site seems to be better suited for its location where it wouldn’t obstruct views of the Bridger Mountains to the North—a major point in the argument against mid-rise buildings in Bozeman.

The project developers said they haven’t filed an application for the project yet, but plan to do so by next week. Once approved, construction of the BG Mill project is hoped to break ground this summer.

A public meeting will be held at the Bozeman Public Library on April 13 at 7 p.m. to discuss the project and gather feedback from the public.

All Current Proposed Mid-Rise Development Projects for Bozeman.

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Bozeman Ramps Up Development This Spring

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Looks like this spring is going to be a busy season for Bozeman, Montana. Aside from the many new residential homes and apartment buildings sprouting up around town, numerous new businesses are opening soon and development projects are breaking ground.

Here is a quick snap shot of some of the new development happening now in Bozeman.   

Restaurants

There are several new restaurants coming to town, and most are opening around the same time in April. Here are a few of them.  

The M Donut Factorylocated on Main Street, is set for a slow opening in April, and then a grand opening in June. The owner, a retired cop from California, is excited to share his love for donuts with Bozeman. He plans to offer all traditional doughnuts at first, then specialties, and eventually some gluten-free and vegan options. 

The M Donut Factory

Sweet Peaks Ice Cream will be opening in April, replacing the old Rockford Coffee shop on Seventh Avenue and Main Street. The ice cream shop will offer more than a dozen flavors, ranging from honey cinnamon to Madagascar vanilla, and homemade waffle cones.

Sweet Peaks Ice Cream

Stuffed Crepes and Waffles will be bringing a little piece of France to Bozeman on downtown Main Street, next to the Country Bookshelf. Sometime in April, this crepe and waffle joint will offer both authentic and non-traditional crepes and waffles, smoothies, ice-cream, and delicious parfaits.

Sidewinders is set to open on June 1st on Bozeman’s west side, off Huffine Lane. This family-owned and operated American grill will feature 8,000 square feet, with rooftop seating, a large bar, and even an arcade! The restaurant is popular for its chicken pot pies, French onion soups, and stuffed pretzels, while also serving burgers and steaks. The best part about this place? — a selection of more than 70 draft beers!

Taco del Sol will be catering to Four Corner’s growing appetite in April with a second location closer to home. On Shedhorn Drive, in the old Frugal Frame Shop, this new shop will be much smaller than the one on Main Street, with under 1,000 square feet floor space. The owner intends to cater to the “summer crowd” that passes through Four Corner’s, offering to-go cold wraps, snacks, bars and fruit in addition to its regular tacos and burritos.

Commercial Development

There are two new commercial development projects set for Bozeman, with one underway right now.

#1 A project has just started to turn 20-acres of the Opportunity Subdivision (south of Target and the City Brew on North 19th Avenue) into 6 developed lots—5 will be for shops and businesses, and 1 will be residential. Right now, construction of two roads is underway for this development, named Kimberwike and Max streets. The plan does not specify what the businesses and tenants will be for the commercial lots.

#2  There is also a 19-acre development project in the works for the Ferguson Farm development. The plan includes yet another restaurant and a 22,000-square-foot multi-use space that will host about nine businesses, including anything from brew pubs to coffee shops, and eventually a lodge and grocery. The project is planned to start sometime this summer.  

Office Buildings

Two new office buildings are being built across from each other on the intersection of 19th Avenue and College Street.

On the northwest corner, the old house currently sitting on the lot will be torn down to make way for a 17,000-square-foot commercial building. According to the planning documents, this space will be used for offices.

On the northeast corner, next to the Montana Skin Cancer and Dermatology Center, Excel Physical Therapy is constructing a two-story, 8,500 square foot building that the company plans to relocate to. The top floor will be rented out to a separate business.

More to Come

As a rapidly growing and thriving community, there is much more to come for Bozeman. The city has been attracting a lot of attention for its entrepreneurial activity and business success, making-up another great reason to move here than for just its beautiful scenery, outdoor recreation, and small-town charm. It will be exciting to see what the high-tech sector brings our town in the years to come.

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Related Articles:

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What is Parking Worth in Downtown Bozeman?

What is Parking Worth in Downtown Bozeman?

by Hart Real Estate Solutions


Downtown Bozeman

As Bozeman continues to grow, parking becomes a major impediment to development. Specifically in the downtown area, where an empty lot can be worth nearly as much as the average home in Bozeman, parking spaces are valuable real estate.  

Between the growing downtown community and Montana State University, residents in Bozeman’s historic downtown neighborhoods are finding their streets lined with parked cars. Some downtown residents are even having trouble parking in front of their own home.

The development proposal for the “Northside Lofts,” another five-story building with 41 housing units, was denied because of this issue. There is just not enough parking available for added housing.

Why Not Just Build More Parking Garages?

For the same reason an empty lot downtown is going for $345,000, a single parking space (18’ by 9’, or 162 square feet) costs roughly $7,400. Including the 12’ of additional space for backing out, the true land cost of a parking space runs at more than $12,000. These estimates don’t even consider construction costs.

And stacking up multiple parking spaces on the same parcel does not help either. The same sized parking space in a parking building would cost an astounding $35,000, according to a city parking consultant.

Why Would This Matter to You?

Of course, parking costs are passed down to your housing costs. By the city development code, all housing projects within most of Bozeman’s zoning districts are required to provide at least one parking space per bedroom.

Breaking down the math, for a condo worth $221,250 (the median price of a condo sold in 2016), the cost of two parking spaces on the surface would cost roughly 10.8% of the home’s value! Underground parking would be even worse, reaching approximately 30% for the same space.    

How the city plans to accommodate parking as Bozeman continues to grow will determine the direction of downtown development projects. Neighbors in the shadow of downtown’s mid-rise buildings are lobbying to city planners with concerns with not only the parking issue, but also that the scale of these buildings are out of place with Bozeman’s small town charm.

Interestingly, there may be possible solutions in the works with the up-bringing of self-driving cars and car sharing similar to Uber. While it may not be practical in far outlying areas, downtown may be a great place to implement a public transportation system to reduce, or possibly eliminate, the need for parking. 


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Montana's Economy Leads The Nation

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

How's Montana Real Estate Market? 

As we recover from the housing crisis, it's evident that Montana performed exceptionally well through the recession as compared to the rest of the country. National home prices finally broke-even with the pre-recession peak, but Montana already reached that milestone back in 2014. Montana's real estate prices are now about 10% above where they were before the housing bust.


 

Housing Price Growth.png


Before the recession, Montana's real estate prices were just under par with national averages. But when the housing bust hit, Montana had better resilience to price deflation than rest of the country. The housing bust wasn't nearly as harsh in Montana as other states. Since 2008, housing prices in Montana have stayed well above national averages.

Bozeman, in particular, had the most pronounced price growth of the state. Median sales price of single-family homes in Bozeman are now exceeding $350,000, higher than Montana's most populous cities.

How's Montana's Job Market?

The number of jobs in Montana are also growing at a considerable rate, with our manufacturing industry outperforming the national rate since 2010. From 2010 to 2012, Montana's manufacturing employment grew at an annual rate of 4% to 5%, while the nation's rate climbed by only 2% to 3%. 

Manufacturing Employment .pngEntrepreneurship in Montana

Much of the job growth can be attributed to a number of new establishments, rather than the growth of existing ones. Several of the largest contributors to Montana's rapid job growth through 2010 to 2015 were from fabricated metal products, beverage, and computer/electronic manufacturing. 

# of Establishments in Manufacturing Industry.png
Another achievement worth noting for Montana is the $4.6 billion Air Force contract won by S&K Technologies Inc., an enterprise headquartered on the Flathead Reservation in northwest Montana. While the enterprise has multiple offices in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, S&K returned more than $25 million in dividends to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). As shareholders of the company, the success of S&K makes a significant impact on more than 7,000 members of the Tribes.

The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana projected in a 2016 report that the high-tech and manufacturing companies would grow seven-times faster than Montana's overall economy. These sectors are expected to pay average annual salaries of $57,000—more than double the median wage in Montana.


Montana's Economic Outlook

Overall, Montana's economic outlook is looking robust. Housing prices are climbing, high-tech companies are growing, and more high-paying jobs are becoming available. Montana's real estate market and the high-tech sector will be two things to keep track of in 2017.


See More:

Gallatin County Leads Montana's Economy

 

Bozeman Airport Expands For Explosive Traffic Growth

 

Mid-Rise Buildings To Doom Bozeman's Small-Town Charm?

 

Mid-Rise Buildings to Doom Bozeman's Small-Town Charm?

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

 

There has been rising controversy in downtown Bozeman over development plans for mid-rise buildings in the heart of the city. City commissioners will soon make the decision whether to approve developer Andy Holloran’s proposal for his Black-Olive project, which will transform the south-east corner of Black and Olive Avenue into a three-story building with 56 apartments. 

Black-Olive Project(3-story building on black-olive avenue as of December 28, 2016 that the new apartment building is planned to replace.)

With the Element Hotel now built, the 5-West building already standing, and the Clark Hotel’s expansion underway, downtown residents are concerned that the Black Olive proposal is the breaking point that ushers “the final doom of Bozeman’s small-town charm.” Most members of the “Save Bozeman” effort are not entirely against development, but what they want is “balanced growth that benefits everybody, and not just developers.”


 

5 West Downtown Development

(5 West Project on Mendenhall Street under construction as of December 28, 2016.)

Several concerned residents have responded with the “Save Bozeman” effort. They made a Facebook page to coordinate their efforts and inform other residents about issues facing the community, and you might have noticed their yellow yard signs popping up around downtown neighborhoods. Stewart Mitchell, one of several coordinators behind the “Save Bozeman” effort, says their goal is to draw more members of the community into the city’s planning process.

What About The Housing Shortage?


To counter the opposition, there are some benefits of denser developments that may make the case for the Black Olive project. People want our Bozeman lifestyle, which can be credited for much of the county’s explosive growth in recent years. Unfortunately, with rising demand, comes rising prices. Housing inventory is being stripped away, and prices are climbing at such a rate that it may finally slow our city’s growth.

Having these apartment buildings spring up downtown may help to address our current housing shortage issue. More apartments will loosen up the market for renters, and keep prices within a reasonable reach. Even luxury, higher-end apartments may improve housing affordability. When luxury options are limited, wealthier renters may have to settle for mid-market options, and outbid lower-income residents who can’t compete. By meeting the demand for high-end housing, affordable housing would be left alone and made available for families who truly need them.

Another proposition to be made is that denser development may help preserve Montana’s countryside. Even if we build a financial wall around Bozeman, development would likely spread to outlying areas, encroaching further into the untouched territory that we value about Montana. “Building” up may be the alternative to “building out” with residential neighborhoods, like we’re seeing in the development of Bozeman’s west side.

State Your Opinion


There are many arguments to made on either side of this issue. Mid-rise developments will transform the city’s core, and may alter the course of the city going forward. The community deserves a fair debate over this matter. For those that are concerned and want to be more involved with the community, be sure to attend the city’s Community Forums held at the City Hall to state your opinions.


Related Article:

Development Projects In Downtown Bozeman


Source:

Saving Bozeman: There’s a generational divide on development in the heart of the city

Development Projects In Downtown Bozeman

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

 

With Bozeman continually growing, it looks slightly different with each passing year. To keep you up-to-date with what’s changing in our town, here are some big projects underway right now in downtown Bozeman.

5 West Project 

With much of its structure now built, the construction of the 5 West building is making progress in downtown Bozeman. Its developer, Andy Holloran, expects the building to be ready for occupancy in 2017.  

This 5-story building is designed with commercial space on the first floor, office spaces on the second, and condos for the next three stories. 

 

Change of Plans for the Black-Olive Project

The Black-Olive project is planned to replace the old two-story building located on the south-east corner of Black and Olive Avenue with a 5-story apartment building. 

Andy Holloran made adjustments to its exterior materials, adding brick facade, corrugated metal, and some wood siding. He says these new materials  emulates the style of his Block M townhouses on the north side of town.

Holloran says “It’s a material palette that is recognizable and, I think, comfortable for people.”

This revision also adds a two-bedroom apartment to the building, as well as adjustments to its parking arrangements with a reduction of parking spaces in its parking garage from 38 to 36, while adding the car-sharing spots from 3 to 4.  

Holloran and proponents of his project believe that this new look fits better with character of the neighborhood.

With the development of his 5 West and Black-Olive buildings, Holloran hopes to transform downtown Bozeman with these modern, mid-rise buildings. 

 

Lark Expansion  

A 29-room, 4-story expansion of the Lark Hotel is underway. Much of the construction will be done offsite. “Truck-sized sections” will be assembled in Trier, Germany, then staged in Four Corners before brought to the site. 

The Lark Hotel partner, Brain Caldwell, calls it “adult Legos.” This expansion is projected to be completed by spring of 2018.

 

Downtown’s Murals Refresh 

The walls of Downtown Bozeman are colored with murals painted by the local school kids of 2012 and 2013. Ellie Staley, member of the Downtown Business Association, says the murals “are starting to show their age.” 

Art teacher of Chief Joseph Middle School, Emma Laatch, plans to organize high school art club students to design the new murals, and have younger students paint it. Laatch hopes this project will be done by the next school year.

 

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Sources:

Construction begins on 5 West Project

Holloran submits revised design for 5-story Black-Olive project

Lark expansion set to break ground Monday

Plans afoot to refresh murals along downtown Bozeman blast sites

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