Category Archives: Seller Guides

A Let-Up On Real Estate Prices? Some Trends To Watch

Will housing market prices continue to increase or will we start to see them level out? 2017 was an exciting year for real estate and many are wondering if the top dollar buzz is going to continue.

According to a recent RISMedia article, new research from HouseCanary, indicates the markets are now stabilizing.

“Although the housing market is still strong, with home prices still increasing in many markets, there is clear evidence of a considerable deceleration in the pace of those price increases,” says Alex Villacorta, executive vice president of Analytics for HouseCanary. “The rapid price growth in high-end and luxury markets seems to have stagnated as affordability continues to put downward pressure on home price appreciation.”

What factors are fueling the trend? The demand/supply dynamic, for one. Buyers are out in droves, but inventory is lacking. The imbalance is pressuring prices—and affordability is suffering, in turn.

Affordability is also impacted by mortgage rates, which is anticipated to land in the neighborhood of 4.75 percent by this time next year—a change that could deter homeowners with lower rates from selling, exacerbating inventory issues. The average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate has been on an uptick since the start of 2018.

Price Recently Reduced Charming Bigfork Log Home on 10+ Acres.

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could have an effect on housing, as well, though how it could help or hurt the market is unclear.

The ever-changing mortgage rates & tax reforms buyers & sellers are faced with are just a few reasons why individuals should utilize an experienced Real Estate Professional. Please contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation so you can be certain you are making the best decision for you and your family.

To read the complete RISMedia article please click here.

Need a trusted Real Estate Professional? Click here to be connected to our Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty team!

Featured Property | 1138 Swan Hill Dr, Bigfork, MT | $499,000

You must see this charming log home with breathtaking mountain views just minutes to Bigfork & the Swan River nature trail; which is a great place to walk or bike ride to town. The expansive floor to ceiling windows frame the mountains, Swan Valley, & even Swan Lake. Remodeled kitchen, main floor master and loft/office. Even a new roof. Lower walk-out has 2 additional bedrooms. Sitting on the deck and taking in the setting is magical. This has a feeling of being ‘off the grid’ yet minutes from town. Swan Hill has a road HOA & year round access. The private road taking you to this special retreat winds through the woods & opens to the amazing views. Seller is aware that the acreage around needs a little parking out which would allow extra room for a shop or a garden. Priced to sell!

How To Get Your Home Ready to Sell – Realty Times

Prepping Your House For Sale

Although blind luck can sometimes play a part in helping a home sell quickly, most of the time it is the result of hard work and a well-developed plan. Since most areas usually have multiple homes for sale across a range of prices, attracting a buyer will require your home to stand out from the crowd.

The following tips will explain how to get your home ready to sell and help you complete the process sooner rather than later.

Make The Home Neutral

When potential sellers visit the home they want to envision living in the home. However, this can be a tough task if they are surrounded by photos and personal items that all reflect you and your loved ones.

Put away the personal stuff along with your heirlooms that speak to your personality and tastes.

The idea is to create an environment that a buyer looks around and thinks “it would be SO EASY to live here!” This means having only a few pieces of furniture in each of the major areas of the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms. People can picture their own items better if there are few distractions.

It is also a good idea to have neutral colors. Off white, tan or similar colors for walls make the place feel as if it could be changed easily to fit the buyer’s tastes.

Physical Actions to Improve the Appeal of Your Home

There are 3 main things to focus on in order to physically improve the appeal of the home.

Rearrange – closets and cabinets need to be organized to maximize space and allow future buyers to see how their belongings will fit in the confines of the new home.

Neatly arranged closets and storage spots will indicate to the buyer that you have taken great care of the home.

Here are a few ways to make order out of chaos.

  • Stack all of the pans and dishes as neatly as possible.
  • Hang pants together. Likewise, hang shirts together and facing all to the same direction.
  • Place the shoes in a neat line.
  • Align all the spice jars in alphabetical order.
  • Turn each of the coffee mugs so that all handles face a uniform direction.

Remove all clutter – The majority of people hang on to a number of things long after their usefulness has expired. Now is a time to get rid of the stuff that you no longer need.

  • Pull down all of the books from the various bookcases.
  • Items that are used every day should be kept in a box. The box can then be put away in a closet. Things like coffee maker, toothbrush, razor, comb, etc.
  • Put things that are no longer used in one spot. Sell them online or donate them if they are truly of no use to you any longer.
  • Gather all knickknacks, gifts, etc. and pack them up.
  • Clear off all the counters in the kitchen. Makes the room look bigger and more user-friendly

Store things in a temporary unit – Homes are usually easier to sell when they are not packed with furniture, clothes, appliances and the like. For this reason, it may be a good idea to remove a few items from the home and place them in a storage facility.

The books and knickknacks mentioned earlier can be stored away. Also, if you have a dining table with removable leaves, take out the extra leaves and store them away. Each room needs a modest amount of furniture.

This allows potential buyers to picture their own items in the various rooms without too much distracting them.

Take Some Time to Let Go

If you have been in your current home for any length of time, there are likely many warm memories wrapped up in the place. Moving away and leaving those moments behind can be emotionally painful. Here are some ways to help you make the transition.

  • Spend time in each room to reflect on the memories of those specific spaces. Then say goodbye to the rooms.
  • Keep repeating to yourself “the precious memories of this place will always live on in my heart and mind. The home is merely a place to be bought and sold.”
  • Consider the fact that a new owner(s) is looking for a place to create their happy spot and joyful memories.
  • Also, consider that you are enabling the new owner to develop a calm and peaceful place to call their own by selling your wonderful place to them
  • Now is the time to embrace a bold, new future

By physically and mentally going through the process of saying goodbye to your old home, it will make the sale easier. Instead of only being sad at the thought of change, you will be in a mindset that you are making an opportunity for a new owner.

Read complete Realty Times article here.

Blog pictures from Recently Sold Whitefish property by Listing Agent Patti Codiga of Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty.

Should I Sell My Home Now or Wait Until the Spring?

There are many questions homeowners ask themselves during the selling process. “How much will my home sell for?”  “How much should I list my home for?”  “Who should I select as a real estate agent to sell my home?”  “What if the real estate agent overprices my home?”  Last but not least, “Is this a good time to be selling a home?” is also a very common question that real estate agents are asked.

As with every decision in life, there are pros and cons, and choosing when to sell a home is no different. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before deciding when to sell a home. Many homeowners believe selling a home during the fall or winter months is not a good idea and that the spring is the only time a house should be sold. This is the furthest from the truth. Certainly most real estate markets across the United States experience a “spring market rush” every year. There is no doubt that the “spring market” is a great time to be selling and buying real estate, however, the fall and winter seasons may be the best fit for you for many reasons. Here are several reasons why choosing to sell your home now may be a better decision than waiting until the spring:

Less Competition One way that you can tell the spring real estate market has arrived is by driving down a street in your local community. In all likelihood there will be For Sale signs up all over the neighborhood! One great reason to sell your home now and not wait until the spring market is there is sure to be less competition.  The fewer number of comparable homes for sale, the greater the probability that a buyer will look at your home. Simply put, it’s the supply and demand theory. If there are less homes for sale, there are less homes that a potential buyer can choose from, therefore increasing the demand for your home. Not only will less competition increase the probability for showings, but it will also increase the probability that an offer will be received and you will get the maximum amount of money for your home.

Serious Buyers Are Out There Homes are sold and bought 365 days a year, period!  Many homeowners believe that buyers aren’t out there during the fall and winter months. This simply is not the case. Serious buyers are always out there!  Some buyers may stop their home search because it is the fall or winter, but serious buyers will continue to look at homes, no matter what time of year it is. The fall and winter months are also a great time for a potential buyer to see what a specific neighborhood is like.  Do any of your neighbors have any light displays for the holidays?  There are buyers out there who will look at these types of things when determining whether your home is in the right neighborhood for them or not.

Read the full RISMedia article by Kyle Hiscock here.

Featured Property

30541 Carney Creek Rd , Bigfork, MT 59911

Search available properties throughout Montana!

Record Sales in Flathead County

Through October there were 1,617 sales, which is up 14.8 percent from the 1,408 sales at this time last year. This is the highest number of residential sales that has ever occurred in the first 10 months. The previous high was  1,568 sales in the first 10 months of 2006.  At the current rate of sales, it is likely that 2017 will set a new high in Flathead County with year end sales of more than  1,900.

Mortgage interest rates continue to be about the same as they were last month. The current average 15-year rate at around 3.27 percent, compared to 2.8 percent at this time a year ago. The average 30-year rate at around 3.94 percent compared to 3.5 percent in November of 2016.

In the first nine months, 50.9 percent of residential sales were on small urban or suburban lots, 22.7 percent were on half-acre to three-acre lots and 14.9 percent were on three- to 20-acre tracts.   

See full Flathead Beacon article here.

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4 Signs It’s The Time To Sell – Dave Ramsey

Not sure when to sell your house? If you’ve been on the fence, we’ve got good news: It’s a great market for sellers! Limited inventory continues to drive home prices up, and the latest data from the National Association of Realtors shows that half of recently sold properties were on the market for just 39 days.

Of course, the decision of when to sell your home isn’t solely based on market conditions. You have to take your personal situation into account.

You’re Out of Debt With Cash in the Bank

If you didn’t have all your financial ducks in a row your first time around the home-buying block, you probably learned a few things the hard way. Like the fact that Murphy can smell broke from miles away. If it can go wrong, it will! Put those lessons to good use and be a money-smart home buyer the next go-round!

Start by taking a hard look at your finances. If you’ve paid off all your nonmortgage debt and have three to six months of expenses in your emergency fund, that’s a good sign you’re financially mature enough to purchase a home again.

You’ve Got Equity on Your Side

When the housing bubble burst, home values plummeted, sending many mortgages underwater. Thankfully, the tide has turned: According to CoreLogic, only 8% of homes with a mortgage had negative equity at the beginning of 2016. If you’re not sure where your equity stands, ask an experienced real estate agent to run a free comparative market analysis (CMA) to determine an approximate value for your home.

Your Home No Longer Fits Your Lifestyle

Another factor to consider is how well your home meets your everyday needs. Perhaps you could use another bedroom (or even two) to accommodate your growing family. Or maybe your kids have all moved out and you’re ready to downsize.

You Can Actually Afford the Move

Don’t get so carried away by the excitement of your next home that you forget to account for the cost of leaving your current one. Make sure you are financially ready to buy a home and know exactly how much you can spend on a house. Hiring professional movers? Save up cash to cover the cost of packing up and hauling your stuff away.

You should also invest a little to get your current place ready for prime time. Linda recommends focusing your home-improvement dollars on these areas:

  • Paint
  • Curb appeal
  • Kitchen and bath

To find out more contact one of our real estate agents today!

See full “4 Signs Now’s the Right Time to Sell Your Home” article by Dave Ramsey here.

Which Home Improvements Offer The Highest ROI?

With the many different projects reported annually in Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, not much has changed from last year…and that’s not a bad thing. The 29 projects found on this year’s report paid back an average of 64.3 cents on the dollar in resale value. Looking at the 24 most tracked projects (projects consistently tracked for the last six years), their payback for 2017 was also 64.3 cents—only three-quarters of a penny higher than 2016 projections.

Why the little change? Simply put: the differences in underlying numbers was minimal year-to-year. The average cost for those 24 projects rose a meager 3 percent, while the value that real estate professionals put on said projects only rose 4.2 percent. Minor gains, yes, but we’ll take what we can get.

Recent and long-time trends continued, reports Remodeling. Curb appeal projects like changes to doors, windows and siding garnered a higher ROI than work done inside the home. Replacement projects, like doors or windows, scored higher among real estate pros than did remodels.

Garage door

On a national scale, the top five projects with the greatest ROI in the report’s “midrange” cost category are:


  1. Attic Insulation (Fiberglass) (107.7% ROI)
    Average Cost: $1,343
    Average Resale Value: $1,446
  2. Entry Door Replacement (steel) (90.7% ROI)
    Average Cost: $1,413
    Average Resale Value: $1,282
  3. Manufactured Stone Veneer (89.4% ROI)
    Average Cost: $7,851
    Average Resale Value: $7,019
  4. Minor Kitchen Remodel (80.2% ROI)
    Average Cost: $20,830
    Average Resale Value: $16,699
  5.  Garage Door Replacement (76.9% ROI)
    Average Cost: $1,749
    Average Resale Value: $1,345

The top five projects with the greatest ROI in the report’s “upscale” cost category are:

  1. Garage Door Replacement (85.0% ROI)
    Average Cost: $3,304
    Average Resale Value: $2,810
  2. Entry Door Replacement (fiberglass) (77.8% ROI)
    Average Cost: $3,276
    Average Resale Value: $2,550
  3. Window Replacement (vinyl) (73.9% ROI)
    Average Cost: $15,282
    Average Resale Value: $11,286
  4. Window Replacement (wood) (73.0% ROI)
    Average Cost: $18,759
    Average Resale Value: $13,691
  5. Grand Entrance (fiberglass) (70.1% ROI)
    Average Cost: $8,358
    Average Resale Value: $5,855

Source:, read complete article here.

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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 –

Explore Homes On Apple TV

Announcing the launch of the Sotheby’s International Realty® Apple TV app, available now on all 4th generation Apple TV devices. The app showcases nearly 50,000 properties currently represented by the Sotheby’s International Realty brand worldwide, giving consumers the opportunity to explore homes on a screen larger than ever before.

App highlights include:

  •   The ability to explore properties listed by the Sotheby’s International Realty brand worldwide by city, state, country or lifestyle, either through entered text or Siri dictation.
  •   A powerfully visual experience, offering expertly curated high-resolution photography and high- definition videography.
  •   The opportunity to directly contact sales associates, share a property via email, save recent location searches and bookmark favorite properties.
  •   A Game Mode where players can view captivating property photos and guess the location of origin.

The ability to access Recent Searches and Favorited properties directly on the Apple TV home screen’s “Top Row.”“The Sotheby’s International Realty Apple TV app allows the process of finding a home to become a collective, interactive experience,” said Christian Russo, director of interactive marketing – media & platforms, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “We are committed to providing an elevated design that provides the best visual experience a consumer can have. With this app, we are inviting families to come together on the couch and immerse themselves in the home-buying conversation.”To learn more about the Sotheby’s International Realty Apple TV app, visit The app can be downloaded from the Apple TV app store by searching for “Sotheby’s International Realty.”

The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has more than 20,000 sales associates located in more than 850 offices in 65 countries and territories worldwide. Sotheby’s International Realty listings are marketed on the global website. In addition to the referral opportunities and widened exposure generated from this source, each firm’s brokers and their clients benefit from an association with the Sotheby’s auction house and worldwide Sotheby’s International Realty marketing programs. Each office is independently owned and operated.

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About Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC

Founded in 1976 to provide independent brokerages with a powerful marketing and referral program for luxury listings, the Sotheby’s International Realty network was designed to connect the finest independent real estate companies to the most prestigious clientele in the world. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. In February 2004, Realogy entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house. The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a full franchise system. Affiliations in the system are granted only to brokerages and individuals meeting strict qualifications. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC supports its affiliates with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Franchise affiliates also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744.

Time To Close Up The Vacation Home

Time to Close Up the Vacation Home

…tips for preparation

Vacation homes, snowbird migration, summer homes–it’s not just retiring baby boomers who have the luxury of living in two homes. Since homes sales peaked in 2006, the National Association of Realtors reports that vacation home sales are now booming again, over 50% of the sales being single family, with condo and townhome sale on the increase as well.  Guess which location is the most popular second home destination? Beach areas by 40%! The country brings in 19% of sales and a home in the mountains come in around 17% of sales.

A vacation home often becomes a family legacy. The summer fun, the hikes, barbeques and swimming–all become part of the family memory heritage. Now as the days grow shorter and the leaves start to turn, the time comes to close up the vacation retreat for the season. What steps should you take?

Although each property may require a different procedure, here are some general quick tips, a timetable and a checklist you can download to get your seasonal home ready to be vacant for a while. Just a note, as my children grew up, I had them help me follow the checklist for closing up our home for the season. Now as adults, they do it for me!


  • Have your heating system inspected and serviced.
  • Contract a licensed electrical contractor to inspect electrical system.
  • Have your roof inspected.
  • Clean the gutters.
  • Remove shrubs, limbs or trees that might damage your home in the wind.
  • Compile a list of local contractors you can call in an emergency.


  • Make the home look as though it occupied.
  • Install motion sensor exterior lights
  • To discourage prowlers, put interior lights on timer to come on and off at various times.
  • Make sure the mail is forwarded
  • Ask a friend or hire a local property manage to periodically check your home inside and out and pick up any door hangers, phonebooks or other items that collect outside.
  • Arrange for snow removal.
  • Check the alarm system.
  • Secure windows and doors with security locks.
  • Put valuables in an off-site location, like a safety deposit box
  • Do not post travel plans on social media


  • Clean your home thoroughly to help discourage pests and mold.
  • Empty, clean and defrost refrigerators and freezers.
  • Clean and close the chimney.
  • Check weather-stripping, insulation and exterior doors and windows.
  • Let the police department know you have left and provide contact information.


  • Unplug all unnecessary appliances.
  • Unplug the refrigerator and freezer and prop the doors open.
  • If possible, turn off the main water to your home (if you have a fire sprinkler system, don’t turn that off).
  • Turn off the water heater.
  • Drain and winterize your pipes and/or…
  • Set the home temperature heat to 55 degrees or higher to keep the interior from freezing.
  • Open interior and cabinet doors.
  • Lock doors securely and set the alarm.

By following these procedures, your vacation home will be safe and sound all winter and ready for summer fun when you return. Safe travels!

4 Cs of Home Staging–Clutter, Clean, Competition and Change.

Sellers, you are getting ready to put your home on the market. Before your Realtor comes over to list it, there are steps you can take to stage it for maximum buyer appeal. I have talked with home sellers who insist that the “buyer needs to know that my home is lived in and how I live. I’m not changing anything.” I going to tell you right now–that is wrong thinking. The buyer needs to imagine themselves in your home and that requires your help. There are thousands of tips on home staging but I’m going to boil it down to just a four steps with some stellar examples of each.

The 4 Cs of Home Staging:

Clutter, Clean, Competition and Change.

Clutter is most important and that means inside, outside, in every corner, in every drawer and especially each closet. Opening a closet and having your possessions spill out ala “Fibber McGee’s Closet” will definitely turn off a potential buyer. That may mean putting things in storage while your home is on the market. My mother in law used to say that three moves are as good as a fire. What she meant was after moving three times, you have pared your things down to the bone. Well, don’t wait until you move. De-clutter now before your home is listed.

Potential buyers don’t want to know anything about you. They want to imagine themselves in the home you are selling. If you have nick knacks, put them away. If you have family photos or religious symbols, put them away. Collections, you got it, put them away. Now does that mean that a charming collection of vintage suitcases or a beautiful rug can’t work? They can, but use them to stage and define the space. For instance, if your home is going to be viewed empty, a lovely area rug can define the space. A stack of vintage suitcases or an antique table with a single interesting book or vase of flowers atop it can be inviting. If you’re still living in your home, the same concept applies. The important thing to remember is: Take “your personal” out of it. Let the potential buyer imagine themselves in your space. This also means, putting rooms back to their original intent. Make sure each room has its intentionally defined purpose. If you are using the dining room for an office, put it back to a dining room.

Clean, clean and clean again. Corners, drawers, closets and yes, under the bed should be squeaky clean. That’s the most difficult part of home staging and keeping the home viewing ready. The cleaning is constant–no dirty dishes in the sink, laundry folded and put away, outside landscaping trim and clear of leaves and branches and windows clean. If you have pets, make sure fur is vacuumed daily and litter box is out of sight.

Competition.  There are a growing number of buyers in the market and your home is just one of many that the potential buyer will view. According to studies conducted by the National Association of Realtors, over 82% of all home buyers begin their search online. With that kind of competition, yours has to be staged right from the start. Whether you do a little staging or a major upheaval, make the changes that highlight the best features of each room. You originally bought the home for good reason and so will a potential buyer if you stage it correctly.

Change. The home selling process is a change and there is no way of getting around it. You’re changing, the potential buyer is changing and your thinking must change as well. Potential buyers are extremely judgmental and you can’t blame them. It may be the largest investment they may ever made in their lives and probably the largest source of debt, too. Selling a home is an educated chance by the Realtor, too. A good agent will try to find the perfect fit you and a potential buyer. They will interview them, find out their needs and guide them toward appropriate properties. In the end it is a change for everyone and you only get one chance to make a first impression. So make it good and make it sell.