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! 

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

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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.

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ATTN HOMEOWNERS : May Is The Best Month To Sell

If you are considering listing this spring, now is the time.

May is the best bet for home sellers, according to an analysis by ATTOM Data Solutions, which found that the average seller gains 5.9 percent more than market value—the highest of all months—in the fifth month of the year.

June is profitable for sellers, as well, with an average 5.8 percent premium, with June 28, pointedly, reeling in 9.1 percent—the best day of the year. May 29 and May 31 are also high-returning, with an 8.2 percent premium and an 8.3 percent premium, respectively.

For homeowners, the key is timeliness. According to the analysis, the advantage drops off sharply after June, with a 3.8 percent premium in July, a 4.2 percent premium in August, and back down to a 3.2 percent premium in September. Through the remainder of the year, the average seller earns between 1.6 percent and 2.6 percent over market value—considerably less than had they acted during the May peak.

The analysis findings’ are reminiscent of spring 2017, when May 1 through May 15 was found to be the ideal listing window. The difference now is that inventory is tighter—down 7.2 percent year-over-year—and, although homeowners are getting multiple offers, there is the burden of buying another home at the record prices they are today.

Still, it is a seller’s market, and the numbers have it: In the first three months of 2018, the average seller recouped 29.5 percent, or $53,369 at resale.

Read complete RISMedia article by Suzanne De Vita here.

Featured image from NEW LISTING on Whitefish Lake.

707 Delrey Rd

Slow down and enjoy summer! This comfortable log retreat at the quiet end of Whitefish Lake rests on 2 acres and it’s shoreline spans 155 feet of natural, rocky terrain. An open floor plan, rock fireplace, and main floor master make living easy whether enjoying the privacy or entertaining guests. Sit outside and enjoy the fresh Big Sky air on the covered and uncovered decks or extensive outdoor rock work designed gathering areas. Call Ed Meek (406)270-4792 or Kelly Laabs (406)890-5451 or your real estate professional.

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CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION

 

 

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.

FEATURED LISTING

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!

High-Resale Value Projects You Can Tackle In a Weekend (RISMedia)

“There’s no place like home,” as the old saying goes. That’s especially true when it comes to an investment.

You live in and love your home, but there might come a time when you have to leave it. And when that time comes, you’ll want to get as much money as you can for your property so you can move onward — and upward.

In order to increase your abode’s value, you might think you have to put in a ton of time, effort and money, but that’s not entirely true. Instead, you can take on weekend projects over time to spruce the place up so when it’s time to sell, you have a completely updated property that’ll end up selling itself.

Ready to get to work? Roll up your sleeves and start on one of the following five weekend projects.

1. Repaint Your Kitchen Cabinets

When it comes to smart investment in your home, the kitchen is one of the best places to start. Buyers expect kitchens to be updated. Stone countertops, stainless appliances and sleek flooring all make a space feel modern. Obviously, these changes require a lot of money and, sometimes, a lot of time. That’s why you can tackle it in bits and start first with your cabinets.

(Photo from custom home with extensive remodel & expansion completed in 2006, for sale in Somers, MT)

Old wooden cabinets with equally dated hardware — think oak doors with shiny brass handles — don’t require a complete gut job. Instead, spend a weekend repainting them a more neutral hue. Finish the project off with new metallic knobs and pulls to complete the modernized look.

2. Make the Eye Go up With Crown Molding

Most homes have roughly the same ceiling heights, but there’s a little trick to make yours look bigger — crown molding. Yes, that white line at the top of your painted walls will draw eyes upward, making the room appear airier than it may very well be.

(Photo from a stunning 5 bedroom home with private, expansive deck near Iron Horse Golf Community in Whitefish)

3. Boost Curb Appeal — and Backyard Bonuses

No one will come in your home unless the first impression is stunning. Another DIY project should be a landscape overhaul of your front yard. It can be something as simple as adding a path of pavers to your front yard or sprucing up your flowerbeds with colorful blooms. All of this will catch the eye of potential buyers — and fatten up the bottom line of the offers they make.

Another easy fix — your garage door. If it’s street-facing, it’s another area for prospective buyers to look at, and it has a great return on investment.

(Photo from urban style home for sale in Somers, with 18′ insulated glass panel garage door)

You don’t have to stop with the front of your home. Especially if you live in a climate that permits lots of outdoor activity, you’ll want a backyard to match. Some may require you rent or buy tools for landscaping and other applications, but imagine the payoff with, for example, the beauty of a functioning fire pit in your backyard. Not only will you be able to enjoy it while you’re still living in your home, but potential buyers will easily be able to envision themselves sitting around a fire.

4. Beautify the Bathrooms

Bathrooms have a big effect on buyers. They expect clean, modern updates, just like in the kitchen. Overhauling your powder room is an easy weekend task that might require small swaps, such as a new modern light fixture over the vanity or a new vanity altogether.

Your full bathrooms will require a bit more attention if you want them to be up to snuff. Again, look in the familiar places:

  • Lighting fixtures
  • Cabinets
  • Hardware
  • Countertops
  • Tile

Feature photo from active custom renovated log home listing in Libby, MT!

To read #5 and the complete RISMedia article click here!

Search for your Montana property at GLACIERSIR.COM

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.

 See more...

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.