Sotheby’s International Realty® Brand and New Story Partnership (Video)

The Sotheby’s International Realty® brand is proud to announce that it has partnered with New Story, a non-profit organization that puts 100% of donations toward transforming dangerous living environments into communities of safe, sustainable homes, for $6,000 a home.

Why did we choose New Story as a partner?

100% of donations go directly to the field. They operate with completely separate overhead cost so every dollar donated goes straight to building homes. Donors have the ability to see the exact family they’re sponsoring, along with the supplies and costs their donation is covering. In the beginning, the donor receives a photo of the family and their story. When the home is completed, they are delivered a move-in video to share in the excitement of this incredible effort.
They hire local labor and buy domestic materials to boost the country’s economy. New Story does more than build houses – they provide jobs and economic stability for the communities they service.

Meet the Guillaume Family from Haiti, the recipients of the Sotheby’s International Realty brand donation.

FamilyWith four young kids, dirt floors, and barely-there walls, it is difficult for Yphonise to keep her family healthy. She told us how both she and her children have been getting ill. “The house leaks, the wood is rotting. I do not feel safe.”

Shortly before a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, Yphonise optimistically moved to the seaside town of Bercy. “I wanted to be closer to my family”, she said. The home she moved into would be destroyed soon thereafter, along with almost every other home in her new community. To aid in short-term suffering, NGOs came to her town to distribute tarp tents. These tents were intended to last for a few weeks or months but temporary tent settlements have now turned into nightmarish slum villages in various parts of Haiti. Families like Yphonise’s have been living like this for nearly 7 years.

See the full story here.

Watch this video to get a closer look at New Story, who was just named one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies” for 2017 in their not-for-profit sector.


Women In Real Estate – Making A Difference

Making a positive difference in our communities is the foundation of Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty. Last week several of our Real Estate Professionals volunteered their time and construction skills to help Habitat For Humanity of Flathead Valley.

Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all.

Habitat 4

Did you know? Historically, women have been involved in real estate almost since its inception in 1794 and its establishment as a legitimate business in the 1840s. 58 percent of all REALTORS® are female. In 1996, women represented the majority of broker licensees for the first time. Source (

Here is what our Real Estate Professionals had to say:


“I’ve always enjoyed volunteering, I believe we all must give back to the community we are a part of. What I really enjoy about Habitat for Humanity is that everyone starts out with a small task and through teamwork a much larger task is accomplished. It was great to experience  the first walls of a house go up at the end of the day, walls that took 20 volunteers nailing various boards together to complete. It was a very rewarding experience and I will definitely do it again.” – Maggie Lee

Habitat 3


“I’ve always been a hands on person who loves giving back to my community. I grew up in Montana so it’s important for me to share the gift of living here with others. Prior to working at this build site I had bought from the Habitat For Humanity store to help support their awesome cause. One of my favorite moments was when one of the guys running the program told us about a kid who came up to him and was so excited that he was finally getting a home so he wouldn’t have to move anymore and he could play sports and be a part of a team. It made me realize what we are doing is not just providing a house for a family but also stability. I definitely look forward to volunteering with them again.” – Ashley Brunette 

Habitat 2

Sonja“Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity was a truly heartwarming experience. The most rewarding part was working as a team towards the goal of helping a local family realize the dream of homeownership. Giving back in this way, knowing that we helped a family build a better life felt pretty amazing. I will definitely take part in this rewarding opportunity again.” – Sonja Burgard

Habitat 6Cynthia“Even though it was 45 degrees and rained pretty much non-stop, I had a great time building with Habitat.  I felt a great sense of accomplishment by being a small part of something so big as building a home for a young family.  We were able to meet the mom and kids which made it that much more special.  As I drove away from the build site and saw the first wall standing that we helped to erect, I felt that not only were we helping to build their home but we were helping to strengthen the community by giving them a safe, comfortable place to live.” – Cynthia Dearing

Habitat 5

Functional & Elegant Commercial Space In Whitefish

This former residence in the commercial district of Baker Ave, Whitefish is now transformed into a functional and elegant small office–a perfect office for a builder, interior designer, perhaps an architect or lawyer.

2What the current owner has to say:

North Country Builders, Inc. of Whitefish has operated successfully out of this Baker Ave. office for the past eight years, after buying the residence and performing the remodeling in 2008.  The 865 square foot space now contains two individual office spaces with built-in desks, good storage and up-to-date wiring.  Additionally, the office contains a fully functional kitchen and ADA compliant bathroom.  One section of the office serves well as a conference room with a large, custom built conference table and convenient book shelves.  Nearby, a gas fireplace lends warm ambiance.  The office entry area offers two south facing banks of bright windows and can serve as a sunroom, display area or additional work space.  The office also has a full basement functioning as storage area and a small shop.

Structurally, the office is very sound.  The original wall construction is comprised of three horizontal courses of brick enclosed inside and out with plaster and stucco.  Remodeling included a complete new roof frame, architectural asphalt shingles and R-49 fiberglass insulation.  The original windows, though beautiful, were inefficient.  They too have all been replaced with historically accurate and super-efficient, Sierra Pacific, wood-clad, casements.


From the street side, curb appeal is extraordinary with the clean lines of a well-designed, craftsman style home, and the added amenity of a lovely stone and stucco chimney.  Enhancing the visual appeal of the office itself, professional landscaping includes a pleasant variety of trees, shrubs and two or three small flower gardens.  All the original old-growth trees have been carefully retained, which offer added depth to the lawn and gardens.  The paved driveway and parking area are bordered by an interesting stone wall, enhanced with a radius entry of cultured stone.  A “dry creek bed” composed of all the native stones unearthed during construction is another focal point from the street or sidewalk.


The office is located at the south end of Baker Avenue, in the transition area from residential zoning to commercial, and this office is an appropriate commercial use within this zoning district.  Baker Avenue is one of two main thoroughfares entering Whitefish.  While heavy, commercial truck traffic is not allowed, there is a steady stream of personal vehicles on the street and a well-used sidewalk that maintains the office in the public eye.  In fact, this little office has become a very pleasant transitional landmark from the commercial end of Baker Ave to the more relaxed residential end.

In short, the office that is now the home of North Country Builders, Inc. is perfectly located, beautifully transformed and fully functional as a small office—the sale of which is now a golden opportunity  for the next small-business owner.

Contact Hunter Homes 406.314.1417 or Cynthia Dearing 406.260.1201 for more details or a showing.


The Art Of Real Estate With Tracy Rossi

Though she grew up in Seattle, Real Estate Professional, Tracy Rossi finished high school in Seeley Lake – Montana, and quickly decided she wanted to be an influential part of her community.  At 18, she would go to her local real estate office daily asking if they needed any help.

“After weeks of stopping in they finally said, here is a stack of magazines, envelopes and stamps. Within two days I had everything mailed out, and asked, what’s next?”

It wasn’t long before Tracy became a licensed assistant and was on her way to writing contracts, creating marketing strategies and learning every aspect of the real estate industry.

In 2005, the desire to travel and explore inspired Tracy to move out to California to go to school for interior design. She would still come home to the pristine landscape of Montana every summer and though California proved to be a valuable experience Tracy moved back 3 years later.

“It was the time away that made me truly appreciate the beauty of Montana.” Tracy says.

Why is Montana Real Estate your calling?

“I wanted to be a part of people’s biggest financial decision. I love gaining the trust of a homebuyer & seller so they know I have their best interests in mind and I get to provide them with the best information, and walk them through the entire process. Recently, I worked with a couple who had a bad experience. They had been searching for a house for 18 months, worked through Zillow and other platforms, lost all their earnest money, upwards of $17,000 and then didn’t even get the house! Fortunately, a friend of mine referred them to me and I could tell they needed representation. With today’s technology, we are competing with computers, and I was thrilled to show them the power of having an agent.  Ultimately, I saved them time & money and they ended up closing on a house they love.”

Why did you choose to work with Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty?

“The team here felt more intimate and diverse, with a real emphasis on service. There are so many qualified realtors with this company who love their communities. We also have incredible opportunities with Sotheby’s International Realty to showcase Montana real estate all over the world.”

Tracy Listing

Featured Listing – 1290-1292 Birch Point Dr. Whitefish

Arguably one of the best views of Whitefish Lake and Whitefish Mountain Resort through floor to ceiling windows from this Birch Point Drive home, with guest house. Open floor plan with room to entertain, large decks, outdoor fireplace and boat dock.

Tracy exterior

What do you love about the Flathead Valley?

“The beauty and closeness of the communities. Each town is so different and there isn’t anywhere else that has this much to offer. We have so many lakes, Glacier National Park, two ski hills and diversity, all in close proximity.

If you could tell a homebuyer or seller one thing what would it be?

“To the seller – trust your agent when they provide you with your comparative market analysis (CMA). We truly do have your best interest at heart. To the homebuyer – be open with your agent about what you are looking for so they show you relevant properties and respect your time.”

Other than helping people achieve their real estate dreams, what are your interests?

I have a goal to get my passport stamped once a year. I’ve always loved traveling and seeing new places and learning about different cultures. I think these experiences help you grow as a person. This also allows me the ability to appreciate my own community and all it has to offer. “

What are words you live by?

“Give top service to everyone because they deserve it.”

Tracy has been involved in marketing and facilitating closings in over $200 million dollars in the Flathead Valley. She has worked every facet of resort real estate sales. She excels in marketing presentation, print, digital and verbal. Her technology skills are exceptional. She has been schooled in interior design and has an artist’s eye and attention to detail for staging and showing homes. She has written hundreds of contracts and knows the real estate document world intimately. There is a lot of detail involved from listing agreements to offers to executed Buy-Sells to inspections to title to closing. Tracy has significant experience at navigating the document world. She is an excellent communicator who understands the importance of how each client prefers to be communicated with. She has a very good sense of priority and expectations and is driven by her own pursuit of excellence. Tracy cares about and gives back to her community through volunteer work.

View More:

Contact Tracy Rossi  at 406.763.6808 or

Follow Tracy on Facebook, LinkedIn & Instagram

Sotheby’s International Realty Lists Ellen Degeneres & Portia de Rossi’s Romantic Villa (Video)

The Wall Street Journal recently announced that beloved stand-up comedian, television show host, bestselling author, and Emmy Award winner Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, Australian–American actress Portia de Rossi, have listed their storied Santa Barbara, California estate for $45 million USD.

When Ellen and her Portia first saw this elegant stone villa in the hills of Santa Barbara, they were immediately enchanted by the pure pastoral ambience of the Tuscan countryside that pervades it — the gentle sunlight, the rugged stone, and the reverence for the natural surroundings.

The property, known as ‘The Villa,’ is prominently featured in Ellen’s 2015 book Home and was purchased by the couple in 2012; the estate was expanded through the acquisition of two adjacent properties and now totals 16.88 acres.


“The surrounding gardens and olive trees are almost as wonderful as the interior. The house truly feels like it was built out of the landscape, rather than plopped on a plot. It feels ancient, like it’s been there forever. Like that hill was never without the house. This is a home that honors nature, and I love that.”
– Ellen DeGeneres


See the full Extraordinary Living Blog by Natalie Hernandez.

10 Easy Improvements To Enhance Your Home

There is something awesome about buying a fixer upper and doing the renovations yourself. Some people fix them up a bit at a time, using cash as they have it available. If you want to make a big impact by doing small things, here are 10 things you need to include.

1. Change Out the Lighting
Nothing says outdated like an old-fashioned gold chandelier. Lighting is something that can be updated easily and won’t cost a bunch of money. It is one of the smallest things you can do that will have the biggest impact.

2. Paint
There is an old saying that states “if a barn needs to be painted, slap some paint on it.” You will be amazed at what some paint can do to your home. A new hue can cover imperfections and give the room the blast of color it needs. Forget drab, white walls that are lackluster. Give your home a color makeover.

3. New Fixtures
Just like the lighting, the fixtures in the home become outdated quickly. Start with the kitchen faucet and then move on to the bathroom. You can update and upgrade a fixer upper by just adding these small touches.

4. Paint Cabinets/Add New Hardware
If you have new cabinets in the budget, then you should go for it. However, if your budget is limited, then you may want to try to paint them. Painting old cabinets and installing new hardware will give the kitchen a facelift. If the cabinets are old but sturdy, then you can bring them back to life. Painting is inexpensive and has a huge impact.

5. Rip Out Old Carpeting
Carpet is great when it is new; however, when it is old and dingy, it can really have a negative impact on a space. Hardwoods are the best option, followed by laminate floors. However, if you are stretched for money, you may try a bag floor or a penny style one. There are creative options online that allow you to do great things with your floors for less.

6. Add Curb Appeal
The curb appeal of the home is everything. It does not matter how great the inside looks if the outside is in shambles. Clean up any dead plants and add some new. Be sure to pick flowers and shrubs that bloom at different times. This will allow you to have color year-round. Add some shutters and a fresh coat of paint to the porch. Use decorative numbers to display the address. Finally, replace the mailbox if necessary.

7. Repaint Ceilings
Ceilings are often overlooked. They are usually white and the color is reserved for the walls. However, people do not realize how dirty these ceilings can be. A fresh coat of paint on the ceiling can really enhance the whole room. The walls are not the only thing that needs to be painted.

8. Upgrade the Exterior Façade
The biggest impact you can have on the outside of a home is to replace or paint siding. If you have it in the budget, you can add brick and stone accents. Most fixer upper homes have chipping paint and worn out siding. Splurge for some nice siding or paint a great color to update the home’s look.

9. Replace the Windows
New windows are expensive, but they are important. If you have old windows in your home, you need to spend the money to upgrade them. Windows are great for keeping the elements at bay. You will save yourself money in the long run by sealing off old-drafty openings.

10. Update the Heating and Cooling Unit
To help the process of heating and cooling a home, you need to make sure the home has an updated HVAC unit. The air filters are just as important as the unit. Filters with a rating of Merv 11, have “astro pleating” to help ensure no dirt or dust gets into your system. Extend the livelihood of your unit by selecting quality air filters.

By Cary Teller –

Montana Mansions “You have to see it to believe it.”

“Try explaining the towering mountain ranges, the wild forestlands or the sweeping ripples of Flathead Lake without infusing some level of hyperbole. You have to see it to believe it. The same goes for Shelter Island Estate.”

(Video credit GravityShots)

Currently, featured in the 2017 Spring edition of Flathead Living Magazine, “Montana’s Most Expensive Mansion” is an account of the history of Montana’s Shelter Island, the challenges it has faced and the prospect of a new owner.

“Construction of the grand estate began in 2001 and materials started arriving by the barge load, from African mahogany to Carrara marble. Every aspect of the three-story, five-bedroom main house, from the copper observatory overlooking the lake to the great hall with its 45-foot ceilings, was custom designed with craftsman skill.”

“While Shelter Island awaits a new suitor, several other high-end properties that emerged in the Flathead’s boom years of the 90’s and 2000s are also for sale. Including Shelter, five of the seven most expensive listings in the state are in the valley. Four are tucked along Whitefish Lake.”

It is Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty’s great honor and pleasure to represent the majority of these exceptional properties.

“Bill Foley, the majority owner of Whitefish Mountain Resort, Glacier Restaurant Group and a new NHL franchise, the Vegas Knights, has listed his 21-acre ranch with 11,500 -square-foot lodge-style home along the northern end of Whitefish Lake.” See video below! Click here for more property details & photos.

(Video credit Birds Eye of Big Sky)

“Next to Foley’s estate the Swift Eagle Ranch is listed for $20 million and boasts more than 500 feet of lakeshore frontage. The 35 acre enclave includes 4,868 square feet of living space surrounded by a mountain spring that feeds into ponds on the property.”

Swift Eagle

To view the digital copy of Spring 2017 Flathead Living Magazine and “Montana’s Most Expensive Mansion” article by Dillon Tabish click the image below.

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Contemporary Waterfront Living In Whitefish

Wake each morning to a serene setting surrounded by fresh water and stylish contemporary living. Enjoy unobstructed views to the east of the mountains in Glacier National Park, Badrock Canyon and the Swan Mountains. Views to the north of the Whitefish Range and the Whitefish Mountain Resort. Leave your kayak resting on the beach and go out on the waterways in “The Lakes” anytime you desire with 60 feet of your own waterfront beach. Kayak, stand up paddle board, ride your bike or walk to town on the Whitefish trail system for miles of adventure.



This Kevin Treece Custom Residential Design home built by Big Mountain Builders, features an open concept floor plan ideal for entertaining indoors and out. The covered screened porch has natural gas hookup to your BBQ for year-round outdoor cooking.

Master 2


This quality home offers 3 bedrooms plus an office, 3 baths and a vaulted ceiling with expansive windows to enjoy the beautiful views of the Flathead Valley. An oversized, finished 2 car garage, wine room, double sided see-through gas fireplace, central vacuum and security system complete this package. Master bedroom on the main floor with laundry facility in the master closet. No detail has been overlooked and no expense spared. The property includes membership at the Canoe Club to enjoy the swimming pool, hot tub, gym, media room and clubhouse.

Offered at $675,000

Exclusively by Cynthia Dearing 406-260-1201 & Hunter Homes at 406-314-1417 of Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty. Click here for more photographs and property details.



Shop Talk With Sonja Burgard


Sonja recently sat down with the team over at Western Home Journal and shared her journey about becoming a real estate agent in NW Montana.


I grew up in Kalispell and left to earn degrees from MSU in Bozeman and BSU in Boise. It wasn’t a tough decision for me to move back to the Flathead Valley in 2004. My husband and I had lived in Bozeman, Boise, and Choteau, and we were ready to return to the Flathead Valley and raise our family. I can’t get enough of the Flathead Valley.
I knew returning to my roots meant being surrounded by mountains, lakes, rivers, family, and great communities. I love spending time
in Glacier National Park. Sharing this love with my 12-year-old daughter is now even more joyful.


I have a master’s degree in art education, and I have taught, owned
a photography business, and owned and operated two successful restaurants.

Real estate is a perfect fit for me because I love helping people and I have a natural habit of connecting people with things they are looking for. I am fascinated by the real estate market, and I started buying and selling properties early. Truly, real estate is the ideal combination of my work and life experiences.


Families are typically looking for move- in-ready properties. Bonus rooms, two- or more-car garages, and a location close to schools top their wish lists.

Second homebuyers seem to desire privacy and views. They look for newer construction and often a waterfront location or large acreage. There is also a healthy segment of buyers who are looking for vacation condos for personal retreats or as a business investment.


A spirit of adventure, the overall quality of life, and the ability to get away from it all and find a slower pace—all these qualities are desirable. There is no doubt that the nearby millions of acres of undisturbed wilderness and Glacier National Park add to the area’s distinctive appeal. We have all of that, plus phenomenal city-like opportunities such as theatre companies, art galleries, and fine dining.

It is also a great investment. There are plenty of choices for real estate investment for all lifestyles and price points.

Our communities have craft breweries and distilleries, and we have boutique shops and farmers markets. All of these characteristics keep entrepreneurs wanting to invest.


I see myself as a source of information, and a local guide. Because I am from the Flathead Valley, I know the area very well and can help clients understand the differences between the areas, as well as the current state of the market. Like my other preceding jobs, I am in the service industry and I want the buying and selling process to be exceptional. I want to help people make connections. It’s just how I am.


One trend in building is that we are seeing smaller building footprints. There are new subdivisions being offered with covenants allowing for smaller totals of square footage. Whitefish Hills Village is a good example of this new trend.


Our inventory is smaller, making for fewer homes
to choose from. Narrowing down properties and finding the perfect place is the ultimate scavenger hunt!

– Sonja Burgard, Real Estate Agent, Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty

See complete Western Home Journal Publication online.

Want to know more about Sonja Burgard and her listings? Tour her profile and contact her today at 406.871.0372

Snowmobile Hill Climb Returns To Lost Trail

For the first time since 2011, the fast and furious sport of snowmobile hill climbing will return to Lost Trail Powder Mountain March 11-12.

The event, sanctioned by the Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Hill Climb Association, is expected to draw racers from as far as Canada, Minnesota and Colorado.

“There will be a lot of local racers there, too,” said Heidi Peterson of Wisdom. “It should be really exciting.”

Peterson and her husband, MD, helped establish the first snowmobile hill-climbing event several years ago as a memorial to their friend David Shepherd, who died in an avalanche.

That event ended in 2011.

Poor snow conditions further south offered an opportunity for the Lost Trail ski area to consider hosting another hill climb this year. A race at Cherry Peak, Utah was cancelled due to a lack of snow for that March weekend.

Snow certainly isn’t an issue at Lost Trail. The ski hill’s summit currently has a 55-inch base and there is 47 inches at the lodge.

Those snow conditions should provide for a very steep, technical course with deep trenches by the finals on Sunday, Peterson said.

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There will also be an amateur race if locals want to compete. There is a temporary membership fee to participate.

Races are scheduled to get underway at 8 a.m. both days. There is a $5 gate charge fee. Qualifying rounds are scheduled on Saturday with finals set for Sunday.

People can go online to for race information. Anyone with questions can call Peterson at 406-660-0641

Read complete article.

Photo cover credit Real Estate Professional Kelly Laabs.  Kelly is a native Montanan and lifelong outdoors man, Kelly satisfies both buyers and sellers with his tireless work ethic and attention to detail. After graduating from the University of Montana with a degree in Business Administration, he combines more than 15 years of proven sales and marketing experience to effectively engage with his clients. Kelly affably shares his passion for the Flathead Valley and all the joy it brings to each family living here.  Additionally, from growing up on the picturesque Swan Lake, to spending time in the great town of Whitefish where he currently resides, Kelly utilizes his intimate knowledge of the areas diverse real estate landscape to connect buyers with the property that best suits their particular needs.  Contact Kelly Laabs for a private consultation 406.890.5451