Bozeman Montana Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 12

5 Steps Toward Buying A Home

by Hart Real Estate Solutions


Buying a home can be a particularly stressful, painstaking process, especially for first-time home buyers. To prepare you for the real estate market, follow these 5 steps toward buying a home.

#1 Save Years In Advance

Down payment requirements depend on the loan program, ranging anywhere from 3% to 20% of the home value. Zero down payment loans are also available from the USDA or VA for those who qualify. Most buyers should expect to put a large sum of money down to buy a home, so it’s important to plan on saving years in advance. 

In addition to the down payment, is the closing costs. While it depends on the state, closing costs can add several thousand dollars on the cost of the sale. Some sellers may agree to cover the closing costs for the buy, so be sure to consult with a real estate agent to try to work that into the contract.

It’s also important to save for additional cash reserves after buying a home. Not only is it a requirement by some lenders, but is also financially safer to not put all your eggs in one basket.

#2 Estimate What You Can Afford

The next step is to determine how much you can afford putting into a home. The size of your approved loan will be determined by your income, the down payment you saved for, assets, and debts, liabilities, and other obligations.

The general rule of thumb for homebuyers is to stay within a price range that is no more than “three to five times than your annual household income”, or “payments under 36% of household income.” 

#3 Keep An Eye On Your Credit

To get a good loan with good rates, you need good credit. As the determining factor in the mortgage loans and interest rates you qualify for, it’s essential to keep a close watch on your credit score. It’s possible for errors in the calculation of your credit score, so be sure to check for mistakes and dispute it if one exists.

#4 Get Pre-Approved For A Mortgage

There are a couple of advantages of getting pre-approved before your home search. A pre-approval will allow to know exactly how much you can afford, as wells as put you a step ahead other buyers toward making an offer on that perfect home you come across. 

Before getting pre-approved, you will need to be pre-qualified. This is a simple process of providing your mortgage lender with your income, asset, and credit information. The mortgage lender will then determine how much you’ll be approved for.

Getting pre-approved goes a step further, requiring documentation of your W-2s, bank statements, pay stubs, and possibly your federal tax returns.

Once pre-approved, you’ll be ready for a mortgage loan. Having this pre-approval signals to sellers that any offer you make is serious. It’s a competitive market with today’s low inventory and high buyer demand for housing, so having this advantage over other buyers is important.

#5 Hire A Real Estate Agent

Hiring a real estate agent is single most important step to take before making an offer on a home, especially if none of the above steps were taken. A home, for most people, is the most expensive investment you will make in your lifetime. A good real estate agent will make all the difference in the successful sale of a home, whether buying or selling. 

There is a long list of codes and regulations associated with real estate, which changes every year, and can be complex to fully understand and abide by. Real estate agents are required, by law, to stay up-to-date with these codes and assure that nothing is violated. 

Being experts in the industry, real estate agents can also catch certain faulty features of a home that you may overlook. 

Hiring a real estate agent is worth the investment because real estate agents have the knowledge and experience in the local market to effectively negotiate a better sales price, while assuring the contract is without flaws or loopholes.


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First Time Home Buyer : The Late-2016 Guide to Buying a Home by Dan Green

For those still wondering if buyer confidence has returned to the United States Housing Market, they will be relieved when they read the new survey for released by Bankrate. According to their survey, real estate now ranks as the number one investment choice for Americans.

The company asked people how they would choose to invest their money if they had extra cash lying around. Twenty seven percent of Americans chose some form of property investment – the highest ranked answer of all other options. With signs of a normalizing real estate market, buyers are feeling confident that once again, real estate will turn in some high returns.

Buyer confidence has been climbing steadily in the last years. However, most articles discussing buyer confidence compared real estate confidence to previous years. This survey shows that confidence in real estate has now reached a point that it is also starting to compete (and beat!) other industries.

CDs and other cash investments, last year’s top answer, came in second at 23 percent. Seventeen percent of Americans would put their money in the stock market, 14% chose gold and other precious metals, and 5% chose investing in the bond market.

Coupled with low mortgage rates, high rental rates and low vacancy rates, its easy to see why an investor can see a lot of potential in real estate based investments.

Americans living in the West (35%) and urban (31%) areas showed the highest preference towards making a real estate based investment.

The South preferred real estate and cash investments. The Midwest preferred cash and stocks over real estate.




New Home Construction Rising

by Tim Hart

I read an interesting article today on new construction for July. More and more people are putting their faith in the housing market. Here’s what I took out of it.

New home construction continued to rise in July which should continue to boost the economy in the coming months. Housing start ups climbed 16% last month to an annual rate of 1.093 million units, showing a renewed faith in the housing market. July levels hit the highest level of construction since November. Construction on new apartments has seen the greatest increase in the US. Total home construction rose 22% all the way up through July, and building permit applications.

Resources for Distressed Sales Offered by U.S. Treasury

by Tim Hart

As it is well known, the housing market is uniquely bound to the U.S. Treasury. This is never more apparent than a policy found within the Treasury Department’s Office of Home Ownership. Laurie Maggiano is the architect of a plethora of the government-backed Making Home Affordable program, uniform guidelines for loan modifications, Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives short sales, and foreclosure prevention.

“Her work at Treasury has not only helped servicers and investors adopt HAFA short sales, but also led to new guidelines that include making deficiency releases and relocation money standard when it comes to these transactions. Maggiano and her team were also responsible for programs that have helped so many people across the country avoid foreclosure.”

The changes Maggiano will affect the tools provided to agents and consumers if they get bogged down in the midst of their short-sale process by:

  • adjusting short-sale timeline
  • change occupancy restrictions in addition to
  • an increase in payments to second mortgages and relation assistance to sellers.

Related Content: 

Beating the Odds on Short Sales

Expect Gradual Changes at Fannie & Freddie

FHA: Unsung Hero of the Recovery

Lenders: What’s Holding Back Loans

BUY A HOME NOW: 4 Undeniable Reasons

by Tim Hart
  • PRICE IS RIGHT- Single-family home prices are at a decade low with their median reaching $154,600 in January! During the house market’s peak, this same figure was $230,900.
  • BUYING V. RENTING BALANCE– As many of my blogs have been emphasizing, the balance that is ever shifting between home-ownership and renting is firmly on the side of home-ownership. Rents are on a sharp rise and home affordability is as well. Two trends that make a big statement.
Read more about this issue:
  • INVENTORIES– Inventories are shrinking. “When excess supply dries up, people start building more new houses, which has the virtuous effect of reducing the unemployment rate and increasing the economy generally,” according to a USA Today article.
  • MORTGAGE RATES– The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage (most popular choice for hoem buyers) is 3.59% just above the all time record setting rate of 3.49% that was recorded in July.
“It’s hard to argue against buying a house now, assuming you can get a loan,” writes John Waggoner, a columnist with USA Today. Sure, Waggoner says that getting a credit check for approval of a mortgage can be a “only slightly less intrusive than a CIA background check,” but for those who are able to qualify, a lot of analysts say that now can be a good time to purchase a home.
Source: “If You Can Pull it Off, a House is a Smart Investment,” USA Today (Aug. 9, 2012) 

Buying Continues to Trump Renting

by Tim Hart

Yeah yeah, we have all heard the pros of buying a home versus renting, but when it comes down to it; do consumers act upon all that advice? Yes.

A new study has shown that in more than 75% of metro areas in the US, home owners would start saving money after only three years of home ownership as compared to renting. This figure includes down payments, closing costs, mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and even maintenance costs. Three years is just the average. In Miami, the turn-over to benefit only takes 1.6 years where as in California the same figure is 8.3!

"Historic levels of affordability make buying a home a better decision than ever, especially considering rents have risen more than 5 percent over the past year," says Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist.

Source: “Buying Beats Renting in Most Cities,” CNNMoney (Aug. 2, 2012)

Read More

The Buy vs. Rent Debate: Why Buying Wins
Rents Keep Rising as Demand Soars



Trending News, Apartment Rents Rising! What does this mean for the Real Estate World?


Apartment rents in the U.S. climbed the most in almost five years in the second quarter as shrinking vacancies allowed landlords to charge more, Reis Inc. (REIS) said. This is positive news for the markets that have been struggling.

Supply Side: For the past year, new construction has been ‘quite weak by historical standards.’ But construction of both rental units and new home building are now seeing an upturn. It is estimated that next year, 150,000-200,000 new units will be completed in 79 metropolitan markets. Confidence in new construction is rising!

Demand Side: Demand for rentals jumped during the real estate slump due to insufficient income, bad credit, and lack of confidence in real estate. The national apartment vacancy rate fell to 4.7% in the second quarter, the lowest since 2001. Confidence in real estate is rising!


Top Reasons Real Estate Home Loans Do Not Get Approved

by Tim Hart

At Home in Bozeman Celebrates the Fourth of July


Before listing them all, I just want to comment on the importance of precedent. What you do in your life, financially and professionally, matters. Try to strive to improve in the areas you know you falter in.

Loan Approval Precedent

Disapproval of past loans stay on your history and will weigh into the decision of future loans. This does not mean if you were denied you will be again, but in the complex picture, it will play a role.

Lack of Full Documentation

Required documents are just that… required. The lender has a huge choice in their hands and little errors like forgetting documents will raise doubts about the honesty of the paperwork. Be transparent and fully disclose all needed documents.

Credit Score

One of the most important numerical decision factors is your credit score. Again, this number establishes precedent. How you have handled your monetary responsibilities in the past is a strong indication of how you will handle them in the future.

Employment History

Monthly income is used to evaluate your fiscal ability. Frequently shifting jobs, demotions, or a high incidence of being fired will paint the picture of an unstable candidate.   

Income:Purchase:Saving Ratio

We all have a baseline income. Where that money goes has a steady pattern. Expenditures and rate of saving develop a portfolio on what you prioritize. One common mistake made by those applying for a loan is the purchase of a large dollar item after applying for the loan. This instantly reduces you ability to quickly pay back the loan and to the lenders, the risk may seem too high.  

Dream Home

The listing you pick to be your home is evaluated just as the applicant is. The house must be legal by all standards for the investment to even be considered.

Avoid the possible mistakes and try to find solutions for the issues that might lead to disapproval. Devote good amount of time and take professional help to prepare your home loan application.


406.570.5730-call me, Real Estate Professional Tim Hart, if you have more questions or need assistance in purchasing  a home.


Tim Hart


At Home In Bozeman--Tim Hart

Today's Real Estate: It's A Race to the Finish Line

by Tim Hart

Real Estate always has its challenges. When it is doing poorly, buyers are struggling to finance their dream. When news turns positive, like in today’s market, when even with the market getting healthier by the day, the challenge is now high competition. A shortage of good homes in a market that is primed for buyers leads to intense multiple off situations in nearly every transaction.

“Would-be buyers are packing open houses and scrambling to make offers on properties before they are even listed. Bidding wars are erupting. And real estate agents are vying fiercely to represent the few sellers that do exist. Housing inventory has sunk to levels not seen since the bubble years. The number of American homes with a "for sale" sign hit 2.5 million in April, the lowest number for an April since 2006, according to the National Assn. of Realtors.

The sharp drop in inventory paired with the record low interest rates have proved to be effective in stabilizing some of the hardest hit markets in the US (Southland, Vegas, Phoenix, and Miami). Furthermore, the dreaded wave of foreclosures that was predicted to hit the market with a sucker punch has not yet come and with fewer and fewer borrowers entering default, it is starting to look like it may never materialize.

So on this Friday, exactly halfway through the year, remind yourself even as you struggle through highly stressful and competitive offers, this is a problem of a healthier market compared to where we sat last year.



REO Price Increases Bode Well for Overall Market

by Tim Hart


Recent price increases with bank-owned homes are helping to provide an overall boost to the housing market, a recent report from Clear Capital says. 

Prices of REOs nationally rose 8.1 percent over year-ago levels on a median price-per-square-foot basis, according to Clear Capital’s May housing data. 

“Strength in the REO-only price trends as well as some early indications of price gains spreading from low-tier sectors to the mid- and higher-priced homes is helping confirm that the country continues to make progress on its recovery,” says Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “We are expecting to see improvements extend over the next several months.” 

Clear Capital also reported quarterly increases to overall prices, rising 0.4 percent for the quarter, the first quarterly gain posted since November 2011. The West saw the most growth in prices, rising 2.7 percent, followed by the South, with a 1.2 percent quarter-over-quarter gain, according to the report. 

Source: “Improving Foreclosure Prices Drive Recovery,” RISMedia (June 6, 2012)



Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 12