June 29, 2020

Your Latest Montana Real Estate Market Update

Here are the latest trends to be aware of in our Montana market.

 

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With social unrest, COVID-19, and high unemployment, it’s hard to keep in good spirits, it’s hard to think of a way to make these times we live any more uncertain than they already are (though I should probably knock on wood when saying that). That being said, the best way to deal with uncertainty is to take control of the things that you do know for sure. Now, when it comes to real estate, the market is changing, but there are three main reasons why selling or buying makes sense right now if you want to maximize your level of control.

 

Cited below for your convenience are timestamps that will direct you to various points in the video. Feel free to watch the full message or use these timestamps to skip to topics that interest you most: 

 

0:23 — Interest rates will start rising soon, and our current high unemployment rate 

 

1:47 — Reason #1 to jump into the market now: low interest rates

 

2:55 — Reason #2 to jump into the market now: prices are at their peak 

 

4:38 — Reason #3 to jump into the market now: you’ll net more money today than you will in the coming months 

 

5:30 — An option for sellers who want to skip all of the rigamarole of selling 

 

6:20 — My thoughts on how the country can heal (taking my Realtor hat off for just a moment)

 

As always, if you’re thinking about buying, selling, or investing, or if you’re simply looking for a resource to answer your real estate questions, I’m here. Give me a call or shoot me an email, and I’d love to talk more about your situation (also, if you need a bad joke to cheer you up from the heaviness of the times, I’m your guy). Have an awesome day! 

 

Posted in Market Updates
May 12, 2020

Our Market Is Different, But Things Are Still Good

There’s no need to panic about our real estate market. Things have changed, but it’s still a good market.

 

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These are crazy times we’re living in, and I’m getting a ton of questions about our real estate market. Today I’ll give you the full update and hopefully alleviate any anxieties you may have. Our market is different, but it’s still good, and people have adapted. 

 

Cited below for your convenience are timestamps that will direct you to various points in the video. Feel free to watch it in its entirety or use these timestamps to browse specific points at your leisure: 

 

2:03—Inventory is low, showings are down, and internet buyer activity has skyrocketed

 

3:15—Why a spring rush is on the way

 

4:11—Why it’s important to support local businesses at this time

 

5:45—Why we’ll see more commercial space and buildings go up for sale

 

6:53—More and more people will be moving to Montana

 

7:25—Market activity under $400,000

 

8:33—Market stats from Missoula and Ravalli counties

 

10:32—Wrapping things up

 

As always, if you have questions about this or any other real estate topic, or are thinking of buying or selling a home soon, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m happy to help.

 

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 20, 2020

How to Win as a Buyer in a Seller’s Market

Even if you’re a buyer in a hot seller’s market like ours, you can still win. Here’s how.

 

Thinking of buying? Search all homes for sale on the MLS

Thinking of selling? Get a free home valuation

Our market in Missoula is insane right now. There are only 141 single-family homes for sale at the moment, which is an incredibly low number. Dave from Montana Family Mortgage joined me recently to discuss this lack of inventory, interest rates, and most importantly, seven different ways to help get your offer approved as a buyer in today’s strong seller’s market.

 

Here’s an outline of our full discussion, with timestamps so that you can skip ahead to the section(s) that interest you the most:

 

2:00- No. 1: Get pre-approved

4:09- No. 2: Don’t ask too much of the seller

4:35- No. 3: Offer more earnest money

5:30- No. 4: Make sure your current home is under contract before making an offer

6:18- No. 5: Sellers are able to be choosy, but an agent can help you craft the best offer

6:40- No. 6: Be quick and be decisive

9:15- No. 7: Write the seller a letter

9:25- Wrapping things up

 

To get in touch with Dave for answers to any mortgage-related questions, give him a call at 406 926 6388 today.

 

If you have any other questions for me, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Posted in Home Buyer Tips
Oct. 24, 2019

5 Reasons Why Now Is the Best Time to Sell

When’s the best time to sell? Right now, and there are five reasons why.

 

Thinking of buying? Search all homes for sale on the MLS

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Here are the five reasons you want to list your home now instead of waiting until next year: 

 

1. Inventory is very low. As of the recording of this video, Missoula has only 240 single-family homes for sale. As you know, fewer homes + more buyers = higher prices. 

 

2. The next couple weeks are your last chance to take great listing photos. Right now, the foliage looks great and the sky has a cool, crisp look to it. Don’t wait until everything is brown and dead to snap a few photos. If you list with us, we’d be happy to come out to your home at your earliest convenience and get this done for you. 

  "It’s a great market to buy or sell in."

 

3. Interest rates are in the low-to-mid 3% range. This means more buyers can afford your home. If you wait until next year when rates are between 4% and 5%, not as many will be able to afford it. It all boils down to supply and demand, and the higher rates climb, the less demand there will be for your home. 

 

4. There’s less competition. A lot of other would-be sellers are taking their homes off the market right now. I don’t know who told them winter is a bad time to sell, but regardless, when do you think you’ll be able to sell for more money: Right now when there are only 240 homes for sale, or next spring when that number doubles?

 

5. Next year is an election year. During election years, consumers are more indecisive (and interest rates can be more volatile). Put your home on the market before this indecision affects your sale. 

 

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of listing now or you have any other real estate questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you.

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 27, 2019

Questions to Ask a Listing Agent Before Hiring Them

When you’re looking for the perfect agent to sell your home, there are five questions you should ask.

 

Thinking of buying? Search all homes for sale on the MLS

Thinking of selling? Get a free home valuation

When the time comes to sell your home, you’ll need an experienced agent by your side to help make that happen. But how do you decide which agent is right for you? Actually, one of the best ways is by asking them a few key questions. We’ll cover each of these questions today. 

Cited below for your convenience are timestamps that will direct you to various points in the video. Feel free to watch the full message or use these timestamps to browse specific topics at your leisure: 

0:11 - Introducing today’s topic and offering a word of thanks to our clients

1:49 - Question No. 1: “How many homes did you sell last year?”

2:45 - Question No. 2: “How many of the homes you sold (if any) were ‘listing sold?’”

3:03 - Question No. 3: “Do you have a team or a full-time assistant?”

4:34 - Question No. 4: “What are you going to do to sell my home?”

5:16 - Question No. 5: “Are you a full-time agent?” 

6:17 - Concluding today’s message

 

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me or my team a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Real Estate Tips
July 25, 2019

What’s Happened This July in Our Western Montana Market?

Our market has slowed down significantly here in Western Montana. Here’s everything you need to know.

 

Thinking of buying? Search all homes for sale on the MLS

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People ask me all the time to explain what’s happening now in our Western Montana real estate market, so today I’ll do just that. 

This July we saw some fascinating changes take place in our market. For one thing, inventory is incredibly low. There are only 241 single-family homes available in Missoula right now. 

But, strangely enough, the average number of days homes are spending on the market in our area has actually gone up. This is partially due to the lack of buyers searching for homes in our area right now. Prices have risen by about 6% in the last year, which is still enough to deter some homebuyers, even though this rise still indicates a slowdown in appreciation rates. 

Some buyers simply don’t qualify to purchase a home at these higher prices. Their debt-to-income ratio is too great. 

Back on the subject of inventory, Missoula County as a whole doesn’t have much available, either. There are just 409 active listings available across the entire county. Currently, the average sales price is $589,000 and the average days on market is 142 days. This means properties are taking about five months to sell.

 

"For sellers, marketing matters now more than ever."

 

In fact, just 692 homes have sold in Missoula County year to date, with an average sales price of $366,000. 

As for homes currently under contract, there are 285 pending properties in Missoula County. These properties spent an average of 108 days on the market and had an average sales price of $391,000. 

So, as these numbers indicate, the low inventory hasn’t made it easy to sell, as you might expect it to. Instead, many sellers are forced to reduce their list prices to attract buyers, while buyers may find it difficult to find a home they like to begin with given the lack of available options. 

With all of that said, let’s move on to Ravalli County, where there are currently just 378 active listings on the market. However, given that Ravalli County has a lower population than Missoula County, this means there is a comparatively higher level of supply there. In particular, Ravalli County has a significant amount of high-end inventory available at the moment. This has skewed the average list price in the area (currently $911,000) significantly. 

Also, much like in Missoula County, homes are taking a long time to sell in Ravalli County: 267 days on average. The 144 properties that are already pending, meanwhile, have a lower average price ($467,000) and spent about 100 fewer days on the market (154 days on average). 

So in light of these conditions, what can sellers do to ensure a swift and successful sale? For one thing, sellers must take extra care to declutter, clean, and generally update their home. If there are any deferred maintenance issues you’ve been neglecting, now is the time to take care of them. Also, sellers must realize that marketing matters now more than ever.

You need an experienced, qualified, and knowledgeable agent by your side if you want to succeed in today’s market. As it happens, our team can offer just such an experience. If you have any other questions, would like more information, or want to know what we can do for you and your real estate needs, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Market Updates
July 3, 2019

3 Home Buying Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

There are three myths about the home buying process that you shouldn’t believe.

 

Thinking of buying? Search all homes for sale on the MLS

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I hear buyers tell me all the time that they’re just not ready to buy a home. Then when I ask what’s really bugging them, they oftentimes tell me they don’t know if they can get pre-approved. 

The problem is, there are a lot of myths surrounding mortgages and other aspects of the home buying process that people actually believe, and this prevents them from buying. Here’s the thing: If interest rates are at 4% today but they’re predicted to be at 5% in the near future, you’re much better off buying now because your mortgage payment will be way lower. 

That being said, I’d like to dispel three common home buying myths so that you can be more confident in your own prospects of homeownership.

 

"There are many options available, and the first step is to reach out to us so we can help you."

 

Myth No. 1: “I have bad credit, so I can’t get a loan.”

Truth: Perhaps you do have bad credit, but did you know that lenders can pull your credit and give you tips on how to improve it? These can include paying down your credit card balance to below 50% or 25%, or writing to your credit bureau that you have too many inquiries. You can also use Lexington Law, which is a popular credit repair firm that many of my clients have used. Remember: The higher your credit score, the lower your mortgage rate. 

Myth No. 2: “You need a large down payment to buy a home.”

Truth: There are many loan options out there that don’t require you to make a large down payment. For example, if you’re buying in a rural area, you can use a rural development loan that doesn’t require any down payment at all. You can also negotiate for the seller to pay your closing costs. If you’re concerned about saving for a down payment, give us a call and we’d be happy to put you in touch with lenders who can go over all of your options. 

Myth No. 3: “You have to come in with closing costs.”

Truth: I already touched on this myth in the point above, but if you’re worried you won’t be able to pay your closing costs, an agent who knows how to properly negotiate a home purchase will find a way to take care of this issue. For example, as I said, you can always have the seller pay the closing costs for you. Your lender can also help you in this regard. There are many options available, and the first step is to reach out to us so we can help you. 

If you have any questions about this topic, you’d like to know what’s happening in our market, or you’re thinking of selling a home, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you.

Posted in Home Buyer Tips
June 14, 2019

What’s Happening Now in Our Market?

What’s happening in our real estate market right now? Let’s explore this question in today’s market update.

 

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A lot of interesting developments have taken place in our local real estate market lately, and today I’d like to break down a few important trends. If you’re thinking of buying or selling this year, being aware of what’s going on is key. 

One of the most alarming trends I’ve observed is the increased number of “sale fails.” In other words, there have been a lot of transactions falling apart during escrow this year. This is perhaps due to the fact that lending standards aren’t quite as strict as they should be. 

Price reductions have also become more common. This, in combination with the fact that homes are taking longer to sell in general, is definitely a sign of a shifting market.

 

"There’s a lot of frustration circulating among people in our Missoula market."

 

Therefore, even though interest rates are still very low, there’s a lot of frustration circulating among people in our Missoula market—especially buyers.

Because of this, many are choosing to relocate to Ravalli County, where taxes are lower and you can get more bang for your buck when buying a home. 

So what should you do if you’re a seller? Well, I’d love to speak to you if you have questions about how to approach this market.

And if you’re a buyer, I’d get out into the market as soon as possible. If you need someone to help you navigate today’s conditions, my team and I would be happy to help.

If you have any other questions, would like more information, or want to know how we can help you buy or sell a home, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 29, 2019

Real Estate News and Trends to Know in 2019

The new year is here and it’s time for an update on the Montana real estate market in 2019. Here’s what you need to know.

 

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I’ve been doing research on the real estate market, and the experts agree that conditions are shifting down. Prices are flattening and sales are slowing: We were down 6.4% in sales from December 2017 to December 2018 and we’re going from a normal market to an abnormal market.

An abnormal market, like the one we’ve seen for the last few years, has low inventory, low interest rates, very quick home sales, and rapidly rising prices. Because rates were so low, prices kept going up and things were going swell for sellers. A normal market, like the one we have now, has a bit more inventory. This means that homes are taking longer to sell. We’ll also have higher interest rates.

Usually, it takes three to six months for everyone to notice and adjust to a market shift. Until then, we’ll see home sellers trying to overprice their homes, which will lead them to come down in price or end up failing to sell.

When there are more homes on the market, there are more options for buyers. They will be more strict about what they’re looking at and won’t let certain things slide like they used to. 

 

"Smart buyers and smart sellers are getting into the mix now."

 

However, there should be a sense of urgency if you're thinking of selling. Here in Montana, houses sell during every month of every year. If you have the choice of listing now when there are only 200 other homes on the market or in the spring when there are 600 homes on the market, the choice is clear.

As far as buyers are concerned, you can take advantage of the market, too. Once more homes come on the market, you’ll be able to get a little more aggressive on your offers because there will be so much more for you to choose from. A smart buyer is going to buy now as well before interest rates go up again as the year goes along. Be ready to get out there and start looking at homes today.

If there's anything that we can do to help you buy or sell a home in the next year, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We’d be happy to put our team’s expertise to work for you and help you accomplish your real estate goals. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Market Updates
Oct. 23, 2018

Buyers: Our Market Is Shifting

The market is beginning to shift toward a buyer’s market. What does that mean for buyers in our market?

Thinking of buying? Search all homes for sale on the MLS

Thinking of selling? Get a free home valuation

I’m back with your bi-weekly Western Montana real estate market update for the month of October.

In my last few videos, I’ve discussed information and tips for the sellers in our market; today, it’s all about the buyers. How can a buyer take advantage of this market?

Let’s face it: Buyers have had a rough time finding the homes they want in this market. There’s been very little to choose from, and those that are available have often had some patina on them. They’ve been combatting multiple-offer scenarios right and left, often giving up in the heat of a bidding war.

Now, however, the market is beginning to balance itself, shifting toward a buyer’s market. 

Our average days on market is increasing. At the moment, it takes about 140 days for a home to leave the market. We’ve seen hundreds of price reductions coming through the MLS.

Back in May and June in Missoula, there were about 200 homes for sale. Now, there are about 400 homes for sale—our inventory has doubled.

A year ago, our interest rates were around 3%, where they’re now up over 5% for the first time in seven or eight years.

 

"There’s so much more to choose from now than there was before, so don’t wait for prices to drop."

 

What does all this mean for a buyer?

Well, sellers that have had their home on the market for a long period of time are starting to reduce their prices, and are also anxious to sell their homes before the wintertime. They’re beginning to realize they can no longer get these pie-in-the-sky prices. That means you can get great deals on homes available in the market.

Interest rates are set to up again, so you should think about getting in the market before that happens. If the rates go up just one percentage point on a $300,000 loan, that’s an increase of about $300 on your monthly payment. Keep that in mind if you were thinking of waiting until spring to enter the market.

There’s so much more to choose from now than there was before, so don’t wait for prices to drop. If your credit isn’t where you’d like it to be, we can put you in contact with lenders who can help you formulate a plan to get approved for a home loan as soon as possible.

For sellers, I have only one sentence: Prices are dropping, so you can either sell now or wait for them to drop even lower before you sell. The choice should be clear.

If you have any questions or are looking to buy or sell a home, reach out to us. We’re the best team to work within the area.

Posted in Home Buyer Tips