2020 First Quarter Market Report

market watch
*Click Photo for Full Report
The 2020 First Quarter Market Report for Western Montana shows a robust market that is a continuation of the past several years.  We continue to see many of the transactions close that were written prior to mid March.  As expected, the Shelter In Place is a reality for most people in the State of Montana, which currently is in effect through April 24. Because of this, the stable market we have enjoyed in the recent past has slowed down as showing activity levels dropped over the past month. The good news is that Real Estate was deemed an essential business in the State; therefore, we are able to actively perform our duties to assist our clients during these trying times; while still offering the safety protocols that have been set forth. Technology has allowed us to work in very creative ways.   
Inquires and communication with clients show a continued strong interest in Western Montana’s real estate.  However, we are anticipating a softer beginning to our 2nd Quarter due to our current Shelter In Place for locals and Quarantine rules for visitors.  It is too early to predict how the market will be affected by the Coronavirus in the longer term although we are optimistic that people will want to be in our beautiful area.
As we move forward, we will continue to list and sell property based out of our home offices, as efficiently and safely as possible.  Feel free to reach out for a showing or meeting via video chat or go to www.glaciersir.com or www.sothebysrealty.com to preview our exceptional properties.  
We’re here and ready to assist with any questions you have regarding our market. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help you in any manner. We’re a community and we’re in this together. 
Stay healthy! 

Putting Down Roots | How to Settle in to a New Home

Boca Raton, Florida | John Poletto & Mark NestlerONE Sotheby’s International Realty

There’s a difference between a house and a home. It can take time to personalize the interior of a new house with your own sense of style and décor, making it a welcoming place that becomes a family’s central hub. To help give any new house a head start, or refresh during an extended stay at home, we’ve compiled a few simple tips to make your new property feel distinctly yours.

Start Organized

Bluffton, South Carolina | Renee MeighanCelia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty

The best way to start off in a new home? Make sure you’re organized from the get-go. To make unpacking a breeze, ensure boxes are clearly labeled and organized by room, and that any furniture is placed in its proper spot from the very beginning. You’ll receive an instant sense of familiarity when you walk into your new house and see all of your belongings close to—if not perfectly—where they’re supposed to be. If you’re having renovations done, like painting or decorating, schedule them in advance to avoid chaos as much as possible.

Add Some Greenery

Riverside, Connecticut | Steve ArchinoSotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage

Bringing a touch of the outdoors inside is a sure way to make a new space feel fresh and welcoming—and plants have the added benefit of purifying the air. To spruce up your new home, try large potted plants like palms and ferns to brighten entranceways and living rooms. And if you’re looking to instantly achieve that at-home feeling before you’ve settled on more permanent plants, add some fresh bouquets of flowers to the kitchen on your first day in your new abode.

Making Scents

Chicago, Illinois | Tim SalmJameson Sotheby’s International Realty

Smell is a powerful vehicle for nostalgia. Just a hint of a certain scent can transport us to a memory of a vacation or a moment with friends. Whether through a candle, incense, diffused essential oils, or your go-to soap, adding fragrance to your new space makes it even more welcoming. If you’re looking for new scents to christen your new home, try light florals in the living room, something fresh and herbal in the kitchen, and relaxing lavender in the bedroom to aid sleep.

Sounds Like Home

Singapore | Veniz KwongList Sotheby’s International Realty

It’s hard to resist a thrill when a favorite song comes on the radio. Bring that magic mood into your new home by listening to curated music as you settle in. Make a playlist, press play, and let the music of your life fill your new space as you decorate and adjust to your new environs. Creating new memories through sound can smooth the adjustment process.

Fill in the Blanks

Beverly Hills, California | Eric LaveySotheby’s International Realty – Beverly Hills Brokerage

Unless you’re planning for a minimalist design in your new house, blank walls can be a deterrent in making your space feel homey. That’s not to say you should rush to add permanent artwork: while you decide on your chosen pieces, adding family photos and favorite decorative items from another home can quickly make your new space feel comfortable in the meantime.

Turn on the Lights

Beverly Hills, California | Almila GozenSotheby’s International Realty – Brentwood Brokerage

Lighting is crucial for setting ambiance in a new home. Consider if you need to make any updates to the placement and types of lighting in your house before you move in, so that rooms are cozy and welcoming when you arrive. Lighting candles can also set the tone for those first special evenings in a new space.

Stock the Kitchen

Wellington, Florida | Thomas BaldwinEquestrian Sotheby’s International Realty

The kitchen is the soul of the house, so your new address might not feel like much of a home while it remains empty. Fill your fridge upon arrival, whether you pre-order for delivery or pick up fresh produce on the way. Cooking a meal in your new kitchen is also a great way to feel settled. Invite some family and friends over for a casual meal in the early days of your residence: a celebration with company can make any house a home almost instantly.

Moving into a new space, whether as a permanent residence or a seasonal getaway, is always an exciting time. You may be looking forward to a change of scenery or the chance to create more memories with familiar faces. Regardless of the type of property or how much time you’ll be spending there, these simple ideas go a long way towards making your new home feel like you’ve lived there for years.


Source: Putting Down Roots, Extraordinary Living Blog

Homeowners may delay mortgage payments up to 1 year due to virus

The move by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac came days after President Trump announced that delayed mortgage payments may be an option for borrowers amidst the coronavirus pandemic


Homeowners who are now struggling financially as a result of the coronavirus outbreak may be able to postpone their mortgage payments for up to 12 months, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced last week.

The move by the federal loan servicers came days after President Trump announced that delayed mortgage payments may be an option for borrowers amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cover about half of all home loans in the U.S.

Individuals who have experienced a loss of income due to the outbreak may qualify to make reduced payments or be allowed a pause in payments altogether. Under the new plan, borrowers will not incur penalties or late fees, and delayed payments will not be reported to credit agencies.

“Our thoughts are with everyone who may be impacted by COVID-19 and we urge you to stay safe and well during these unprecedented times,” Malloy Evans, senior vice president and single-family chief credit officer for Fannie Mae, said in a press release. “Fannie Mae, along with our lending and servicing partners, is committed to ensuring assistance is available to homeowners in need. We encourage residents whose employment or income are impacted by COVID-19 to seek available assistance as soon as possible.”

To get the delayed payment process started, borrowers will initially only need to testify over the phone to their lender that they’re experiencing financial hardship; documentation will come later. However, borrowers are responsible for reaching out to their loan servicer themselves. Payment relief can also apply to any type of property, whether it’s a primary home, secondary home, or investment property.

Throughout the loan forbearance period, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may reassess the borrower’s ability to pay the loan to ensure the plan is still necessary for that borrower. After this period is up, servicers will develop a feasible repayment plan with the borrower, including potentially extending the life of the loan.

Some banks are also offering mortgage forbearance periods for customers during this time, although, as of now, they are much shorter than 12 months. Fifth Third Bank, for instance, is offering borrowers a 90 day forbearance period on mortgages, and Ally is offering a 120 day forbearance period for mortgage customers. Bank of America also stated it will defer mortgage payments for borrowers who request it, although it did not specify a length of time.

“We don’t want people who have been responsible in making their mortgage payments to suddenly be declared delinquent and to lose their access to credit,” Chris Mayer, a real estate economist at Columbia University’s business school, told NPR. “Let’s fight the virus, and let’s hold people harmless for something that they didn’t control.”


Source: Homeowners may delay mortgage payments up to 1 year due to virus, Inman

Economists say consumers should lock in low mortgage rates now

Mortgage rates reached the lowest point in 50 years last week, and one economist predicted they could plummet even more this week


Mortgage rates reached the lowest point in 50 years last week.

The Treasury yield began this week by hitting a record low.

And one economist predicted they could plummet even more this week.

So should consumers consider locking in a mortgage rate now or, instead, play the waiting game?

“I would go ahead and lock in a rate,” Kapfidze said. “We don’t know how this is going to play out. Lending Tree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze said it’s hard to anticipate what rates are going to do, but if you’re a consumer and there are already savings on the table, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

Mortgage rates and treasuries are connected, yes, but rates won’t move downward as fast as treasuries.

“It’s possible that Treasury rates could go lower, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that mortgage rates will go lower,” Kapfidze said. “Lenders are hitting capacity and we’ve already seen that the spread between Treasuries and mortgages have widened since the financial crisis.”

How do you lock in a mortgage rate?

A rate lock, according to real estate tech giant Zillow, is “a guarantee from a mortgage lender that they will give a mortgage loan applicant a certain interest rate, at a certain price, for a specific time period.”

Essentially, if the rates go up in that time period, you keep the lower rate that you locked in. But if they go down, unless you’ve agreed to a “float down,” — in which the consumer pays a fee to allow the mortgage rate to come down, if the market moves that way — you’re also stuck.

Loan officers can help consumers shop for the lowest rate, then ask the lender if a rate lock is available, according to Zillow. But there are a few things consumers should look out for.

“First, you don’t want to lock in the rate too early on, as rate locks are usually only good for between a few weeks to 60 days, so if your loan doesn’t process within that period, your rate lock offer will no longer be good,” the company’s information guide reads.

“Therefore, you need to make sure that the duration of your lock-in will give the lender enough time to process the loan. To do that, ask the lender to share the average loan processing time and try to get the lender to lock-in your rate for as long as possible to protect yourself.”

There are also fees often associated with a rate lock, but if the rate is so low — and expected to rise — the actual cost could be negligible. Short-term rate locks — those of less than 60 days — range from free to roughly 0.25-0.5 percent of the total loan, according to Zillow. If you need a longer period, the rate goes up.



Source: Economists say consumers should lock in low mortgage rates now | INMAN

For Homeowners Across the Country, Spring Signals a Time to Sell

WSJ’s Seller’s Guide includes exclusive analysis of the top buyer’s and seller’s markets in the U.S., plus expert advice from real-estate agents and home sellers

20190814032009628226000000-o.jpgEagles Nest Lane, Whitefish, MT
Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty

Ready, set, sell. While all real estate is local, as the saying goes, the one constant is that February is the month when the spring market looms and sellers nationwide begin prettying their properties and readying them to list.

To help aspiring sellers prepare, The Wall Street Journal, with an analysis by Realtor.com, identified the top 10 luxury markets that currently favor either buyers or sellers. ( News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, also operates Realtor.com under license from the National Association of Realtors.) We then looked at the mavericks who eschew hiring a real-estate agent—with their attendant 5% to 6% commissions—and market their properties themselves. The result is the first Seller’s Guide, a deep dive into today’s market conditions, with insight, strategy and advice from sellers, agents and experts who have recently closed deals in every market condition.

Continue Reading Here…

What Your REALTOR® Brings to the Closing Table

…Much More Than Just a Sale

16-10-28 1204.jpg109 Hidden Hills Lane, Whitefish, MT

As the internet continues to permeate into seemly every facet of our lives, more and more industries are finding themselves competing with online counterparts for consumers’ business. Cashiers share a workspace with self-checkout registers, customer service agents work in tandem with automated customer care bots, and REALTORS® now compete for listings with iBuyers.

While these newcomers to the real estate business aren’t robots, they are relatively hands-off internet buyers. iBuyers, a term shortened from instant-buyers, are seeming to take housing markets across the country by storm. These iBuyers purchase homes without in-person contact, making the transaction much quicker but often presenting below-market offers. Major players in this game include Open Door, Zillow Offers, Redfin and Offerpad. The question is, are these virtual buyers really any competition for the level of service provided by an experienced, knowledgeable, and trustworthy REALTOR®?

In short, the answer is no. Professionals in the real estate business often times have spent years in the markets they specialize in and have taken the time to learn the ins and outs of various communities they buy and sell in. This knowledge is used to help match buyers and sellers with the perfect neighborhood, home, and environment for their individual needs. Understanding the housing market in a particular location also helps REALTORS® assist sellers in accurately pricing their homes. Both buying and selling a home is an important financial decision. Having a professional to guide you through the process could be the difference between getting your home’s full value or getting less money than you could have.

Further, the difference between a REALTOR® and just any old real estate agent, is that a certified REALTOR® is part of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). According to NAR, the Code of Ethics “is what separates REALTORS® from non-member real estate agents.” New members agree to abide by NAR’s Code of Ethics & Professional Standards, which outlines duties to clients, the public and to other REALTORS®. Members attend an orientation and continued education throughout their membership.

REALTORS® act as trusted advisors. The REALTOR® you use to buy your first home can also be who you use when considering investing in a second home. REALTORS® build relationships with their clients and help them locate the best neighborhood for their lifestyle, home for themselves or their family, or even the best sushi restaurant in your new town. Your REALTOR® is your personal consultant whose number one goal is to help you achieve your financial and lifestyle goals.

“Selling your home to an iBuyer is a convenience play. But this convenience comes at a cost, as the iBuyer business model is to pay sellers less than the true market value of their home, then re-sell it for a higher price,” says Diane Clow, a REALTOR® at LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. “Good REALTORS® have a real pulse on the market. They know what buyers are looking for and know how to best stage, photograph, and present your home, and know what price the market will bear for your property. An experienced REALTOR® can help you get top-dollar at sale time.”

The purchase or sale of a home is not something that should be taken lightly. Don’t take the risk of trusting an online entity to look out for your best interest. Only a professional REALTOR® can provide the level of service that all sellers and buyers deserve.


Source: What Your REALTOR Brings to the Closing Table – Much More Than Just a Sale, LIV Sotheby’s International Realty Colorado Real Estate Diary, Amanda Molitor

Market Watch

Curious about the market in Western Montana?

Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty puts together Quarterly and Annual Market Reports to keep current and potential real estate buyers and sellers informed.

Click the images below to see the 4th Quarter and Year-End Reports for 2019.

4Q`19 Market Reports_Final_Page_01


Year-End 2019 Report_Lakeside_Page_01

Should You Use Your Retirement Savings To Buy A Home? (FORBES)

First-time home-buyers are often surprised by the requirements of obtaining a mortgage, especially when it comes to the down payment. One way you can improve your chances of getting a home loan is by putting at least 20% down at the time of purchase. For existing homeowners like me, coming up with a 20% down payment usually starts with selling the home I’m in right now and using the equity to make a down payment on my next home.

But what about someone that may be buying a home for the first time? Coming up with a $50k down payment on a $250k home may take several years of aggressive saving, but your retirement account may not be a bad place to go for the additional funds needed to get you on the path to homeownership. In fact, the IRS offers certain breaks for taxpayers that choose to use retirement assets to purchase a first home. Here’s how it works.

Who qualifies as a first-time home buyer?

Interestingly enough, you don’t actually have to be buying a home for the first time in your life to be considered a “first-time” home buyer.  IRS publication 590 defines a first-time home buyer as any home buyer that has had no present interest in a main home during the 2-year period ending on the date of acquisition of the new home. In other words, as long as you haven’t lived in a home you owned for the last two years, you are considered a first-time home buyer even if you owned a home previously. If you are married, your spouse must also meet this no-ownership requirement.

Using your IRA

Most people know that when you take money out of a traditional IRA prior to age 59½, there is usually a 10% penalty for early withdrawal. However, the IRS offers an exception that allows you to withdraw up to $10,000 over a lifetime without penalty for first-time home purchases. Keep in mind that while the distributions are not subject to penalty, they are still subject to income taxes. $10,000 probably won’t be enough to cover your full down payment, but it can help.

Read complete FORBES article here.



4018 Whitefish Stage Road, Kalispell

Price Recently Reduced to $529,000

Newly remodeled and ready for endless possibilities. 4 bed | 2 full bath main home with a nicely appointed one bedroom over the over-sized double car garage, all on 2.55 acres. Whether you need a mother-in-law suite, rental income or looking for something with VRBO potential, this is it!


And start searching for your Montana property HERE!

The Spring Home Buying Frenzy – What’s Happening In Your Market?

It’s that time of year again. The spring market is in full swing and crowds of buyers are fighting over their dream house—or at least the closest thing to it, considering this year’s nationwide inventory shortage isn’t leaving many options.

Listings in good condition tend to get multiple offers this time of year, and buyers are putting forth their strongest submissions—cash offers, over-asking, fast closings, no contingencies, etc.

Cited from  RISMedia “Submitting Creative Bids During the Spring Market Frenzy” read the complete article here.

Across Western Montana, gross Residential and Land Sales are up.
Below are some highlights from our QUARTER 1, 2018 MARKET WATCH:
  • Bigfork Residential Gross Sales were up 97.6% 
  • Columbia Falls Residential Average Days on Market decreased from 145 days to 128 days
  • Kalispell had over $43.9 million in gross Residential Sales in Quarter 1 of 2018
  • Lakeside Gross Land Sales were up 185%
  • Whitefish Gross Residential Sales exceeded $40.4 million in the 1st quarter
  • Missoula Gross Land Sales were up 121%
  • Ravalli County Gross Residential Sales increased 73% 

Click here or the image below for the complete MARKET WATCH.


1171 Lake Pointe , Bigfork, MT 59911

Enjoy the unobstructed, ever-changing views of beautiful Flathead Lake and observe wildlife on the bordering wildlife refuge, all from the covered back patio of this custom-built Montana Modern home in the private, gated Lake Pointe Community. Rough-sawn hickory floors, a reclaimed wood barn door, and custom Knotty Alder cabinets and doors pair with a custom – made metal stair railing and modern chandeliers to produce an inviting home.

Click here for more photos and details of this property!

Across All Buyers, Millennials Have the Most Purchases (RISMedia)

Who’s driving the market? Millennials, according to the 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, recently released by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Millennials are accounting for 36 percent of purchases, ahead of baby boomers at 32 percent, Generation Xers at 26 percent, and the Silent Generation at 6 percent.

“REALTORS® throughout the country have noticed both the notable upturn in buyer interest from young adults over the past year, as well as mounting frustration once they begin actively searching for a home to buy,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, of the study. “Prices keep rising for the limited number of listings on the market they can afford, which is creating stark competition, speedy price growth and the need to save more in order to buy. These challenging market conditions have caused—and will continue to cause—many aspiring millennial buyers to continue renting unless more Gen Xers decide to sell, and entry-level home construction picks up significantly.”

Millennials are buying homes with higher values, but the same square footage: $220,000 for 1,800 square feet, versus last year’s $205,000 for the same size, reveals the study. They are close to family and friends, as well, and prefer to reside near them—an attribute in common with other generations.

2 bed | 2 baths well appointed Shiloh Condo. Hardwood floors, concrete counter tops, reclaimed wood & brick wall accents                                      $249,000, Whitefish, MT

“The sense of community and wanting friends and family nearby is a major factor for many homebuyers of all ages,” Yun says. “Similar to Gen X buyers who have their parents living at home, millennial buyers with kids may seek the convenience of having family nearby to help raise their family.”

Additionally, 52 percent of the millennials in the study have at least one child—an indicator of the likelihood of a move—and another 52 percent purchased in the suburbs. Eighty-five percent purchased a single-family; just 2 percent went with a condominium.

“While there is an overall trend among households young and old to migrate towards urban areas, the very low production of new condos means there are few affordable options for buyers, especially millennials,” says Yun.

All generations enlisted a real estate professional for their transaction, according to the study. Ninety percent of millennials are most likely to purchase through a REALTOR®, with 75 percent believing they can educate them about the process. Ninety percent of millennials are most likely to list with a REALTOR®, as well, and at least 84 percent of every other generation partnered with a REALTOR®.

“Especially in today’s fast-moving housing market, consumers of all ages want a REALTOR® to guide them through the exhilarating, yet nerve-wracking experience of buying or selling a home,” says NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. Read complete RISMedia article.

Start your home search here!