New Homes Billings MT
7 Reasons to Adore This Western Gem

Often referred to as the “Last Best Place,” Montana is a hidden gem tucked away in the northwestern region of the United States. It is a state filled with awe-inspiring landscapes, rich history, and a charming small-town atmosphere. 

If you have never visited Montana before and are looking for homes for sale, you are in for a treat. From the stunning Glacier National Park to the vibrant arts and culture scene, here are some of the top reasons you’ll fall in love with Montana.

 

  1. Breathtaking Landscapes

Montana is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. With over 30 million acres of public land, there is no shortage of opportunities to explore and enjoy the natural beauty of this state. 

Glacier National Park, often called the “Crown of the Continent,” is a must-see destination for any nature lover. This park has more than 700 miles of hiking trails, pristine alpine lakes, and majestic mountain peaks that will leave you speechless.

Another iconic destination is Yellowstone National Park, which spans across Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Yellowstone is a natural wonder that features the world-famous Old Faithful geyser and the vibrant Grand Prismatic Spring. 

In addition to these well-known parks, Montana boasts countless other outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, skiing, and wildlife watching.

 

  1. Rich History and Culture

Montana has a fascinating history that dates back to prehistoric times. The state is home to numerous Native American tribes, and their rich cultural heritage can be experienced through various museums and cultural centers, such as the Museum of the Plains Indian and the Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition, which passed through Montana in the early 19th century, is another significant part of the state’s history. You can follow in the footsteps of these famous explorers by visiting sites along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, such as the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the Pompeys Pillar National Monument.

Montana also played a crucial role in the American West’s development, with the discovery of gold in the 1860s leading to the establishment of numerous frontier towns. Today, you can visit preserved ghost towns like Bannack State Park and Virginia City to experience a taste of life in the Old West.

 

  1. Charming Small Towns

One of the most endearing aspects of Montana is its charming small towns. Each community exudes its unique character and history, making them perfect destinations for leisurely road trips, weekend getaways, or retirement living. 

Explore the eclectic art galleries and shops in Livingston, immerse yourself in the western atmosphere of Miles City, or relax in the natural hot springs of Chico. No matter which town you visit, you’ll be greeted with warm hospitality and a laid-back vibe that makes it easy to fall in love with Montana’s small-town charm.

 

  1. Wildlife Encounters

The diverse ecosystem of Montana provides a home for an incredible variety of wildlife. The state is home to the largest migratory elk herd in the U.S., as well as bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and moose. In the national parks, you may be lucky enough to spot a grizzly bear or a pack of wolves. 

Birdwatchers will also be delighted by Montana’s abundant bird species, including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and sandhill cranes. With its vast open spaces and commitment to conservation, Montana gives unparalleled opportunities for wildlife viewing.

 

  1. Vibrant Arts and Culture Scene

Montana may be known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation, but it also has a thriving arts and culture scene. There is always something happening in the state, from local galleries and theaters to music festivals and cultural events.

Missoula, the state’s second-largest city, is particularly renowned for its vibrant arts scene. Home to the University of Montana, the town boasts a variety of cultural institutions, including the Missoula Art Museum, the Montana Museum of Art and Culture, and the historic Wilma Theatre.

The annual Montana Folk Festival in Butte is another fantastic event that showcases the state’s rich cultural heritage. Featuring music, dance, and storytelling performances, the festival celebrates Montana’s diverse traditions and history.

 

  1. Delicious Local Cuisine

Montana’s culinary scene is as diverse and delightful as its landscapes. There is a strong emphasis on farm-to-table dining and locally sourced ingredients, which offers a variety of delicious dining experiences. From mouthwatering bison burgers to freshly caught trout, Montana’s cuisine is a food lover’s dream.

One of the state’s signature dishes is the huckleberry pie, made from the wild berries that grow abundantly in Montana’s forests. Be sure to stop at a local bakery or diner to try this delicious treat during your visit.

 

Conclusion

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking at houses for sale, Montana has something for everyone. Its diverse landscape, rich history, and warm hospitality will capture your heart and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Are you looking for houses for sale in Billings, Montana? Look no further than the Trails West Subdivision, the perfect place to call home.

Our community offers new, beautifully crafted homes designed with your lifestyle in mind. Enjoy the comfort and convenience of living in a friendly neighborhood near everything you need. Contact us today!

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Cold Winter in Montana

Bundle Up! It’s Going to Be a Cold Winter in Billings, Montana!

Welcome to Billings, Montana – a place that can get seriously cold in the winter! If you’re planning to visit or live in Billings this winter, you’ll need to make sure you bundle up and prepare for the cold. With temperatures often falling below freezing, you’ll need to make sure you have all the gear you need to stay warm and safe in the winter months. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what you need to know about living in Billings, Montana in the winter.

The Weather in Billings

Winter in Billings, Montana can be a cold and unforgiving time of year. The temperatures usually range from the single digits to the low-teens, with occasional snow and wind chill that makes it feel even colder. The amount of snowfall varies year to year, but typically there are multiple snow events throughout the season, with one or two larger storms lasting multiple days.
It’s important to prepare for the winter by having warm clothing items like scarves, hats, gloves, sweaters, and a good coat. Layering is always best when dealing with Montana weather so you can take items off or add them as necessary. Also, don’t forget to keep your vehicle stocked with winter supplies like an emergency kit, a shovel, blankets, and other cold-weather necessities.
If you’re not used to the colder climate in Montana, it’s important to keep a close eye on the forecast so you know what kind of weather is headed your way. And when the snow does hit, it’s best to stay inside if possible and let the plows do their job.

All in all, winter in Billings isn’t for the faint of heart, but those who can brave the cold can experience some of the most beautiful winter landscapes in the country. So bundle up, be prepared, and get ready for a unique winter experience in Billings!

Billings MT Winter

What to Wear

Living in Billings, Montana during the winter months can be a chilly experience. With temperatures dropping below freezing, it’s important to make sure you have the right gear to keep you warm and cozy.

Layering your clothing is key for staying warm in the winter. Start with a base layer made from a breathable material like merino wool or synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon. These materials help to keep moisture away from your body, which is essential when temperatures dip below freezing. Layer on thicker, insulating fabrics such as fleece, wool, or down. Add an outer layer that will protect you from wind and precipitation. A waterproof coat, parka, or rain jacket is a great option. Add a scarf and hat for extra protection from the elements.
Be sure to wear boots that are insulated and waterproof. This will help keep your feet warm and dry, no matter how much snow or slush there is on the ground. Add a pair of gloves and mittens for extra warmth.

Living in Billings, Montana in the winter months doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or chilly. With the right clothing and layers, you can stay warm and cozy while enjoying all that the area has to offer!

How to Prepare Your Home

If you’re living in Billings, Montana during the winter, it’s important to make sure your home is prepared for the cold temperatures. Taking the time to adequately winterize your home can help prevent major problems from arising and will make sure you’re comfortable all season long. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Keep drafts at bay by caulking around doors and windows. -Install weather stripping on outside doors to keep warm air inside your home.
  • Add insulation (especially around pipes) so that they don’t freeze or burst when it gets too cold outside.
  • Ensure there are no leaks in your plumbing or pipes as this can cause major water damage over time if not addressed quickly.
  • Don’t forget about outdoor areas of your property like walkways, decks, patios, and stairs that need extra protection from ice or snow buildup. Add sandbags or other material that prevents debris from accumulating on these surfaces before they have an opportunity to freeze up and become slippery hazards.

How to Prepare Your Car

If you live in Billings, Montana during the winter, you know how important it is to prepare your car for the cold temperatures and hazardous winter conditions. Taking a few simple steps to winterize your car now can help you stay safe and avoid costly repairs later on. Here are some tips on how to prepare your car for winter in Montana:

  1. Check your antifreeze levels. Before winter arrives, be sure to check your vehicle’s antifreeze levels and top off if needed. This will help keep your engine from freezing and protect against any potential radiator damage.
  2. Switch to winter tires. Investing in winter tires can help you stay safe on the roads during Montana’s icy winters. Winter tires are designed to provide increased traction and grip in snow and on ice.
  3. Change your wiper blades. Another important step in winterizing your car is changing out your wiper blades. The cold weather can make your old blades brittle and less effective, so it’s best to replace them before the first snowfall hits.
  4. Check your battery and lights. Cold weather can take a toll on your car’s battery, so it’s important to have it checked before the winter season arrives. Also, make sure that all of your vehicle’s lights are working properly for maximum visibility during storms or heavy snowfall.
  5. Top off fluids. In addition to checking your antifreeze levels, be sure to top off your engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and coolant. These fluids help keep your vehicle running smoothly and protect it from damage during cold weather driving.

By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that your car is ready for whatever winter throws at it in Billings, Montana!

Winter Activities in Billings

Winter in Billings, Montana is an exciting time for outdoor activities. While the temperatures may be chilly, there are still plenty of things to do outdoors. Here are a few winter activities that you can take part in while living in Billings during the winter months. A walk through the Pioneer Museum’s extensive collection of historical and cultural artifacts, including working replicas of antique tools and farm equipment. Visit our gift shop and historic buildings where costumed interpreters will help you understand life on the Northern Great Plains.

And of course, if you are looking for a new home in Billings, MT be sure to give us a call or come on down to take a look at what’s available!

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Custom Home Builders in Montana

You’ve probably heard the saying home is where the heart is, but have you ever wondered what exactly that means? What does home truly mean to you? A custom home builder will help you define your dream home and build it with your vision in mind, down to the very last detail. If you’re looking to build or renovate a custom home in Montana, these tips will help you get the best experience possible working with your builders.

Take it slow

Building a custom home involves working with a number of different subcontractors and design decisions, which can be overwhelming. Because each project is unique, it’s important to trust your instincts when deciding on materials and solutions for specific elements of your project. Discuss all options thoroughly with your designer or builder—you might even have a completely different vision of what you thought you wanted! That’s OK; it’s better to find out sooner than later so you can adjust accordingly. Remember: You’re building something that will last many years into the future and bring generations of family happiness. If it doesn’t turn out exactly as planned, you’re still going to have an amazing space where you’ll love living for many years! Take advantage of every opportunity available (within reason) to make sure that happens.

Consider an architect

When you’re looking for custom home builders, it may be a good idea to reach out to an architect. Architects can not only help you create and customize your home but also guide you through zoning issues, advise on design elements that are legal and feasible, and even give suggestions on local resources—like suppliers or labor organizations—that will be invaluable during construction.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

A custom home builder will guide you through every step of construction, but they can’t tell you everything. As your house is being built, there will be questions that come up—whether it’s regarding paint colors or where certain pipes are run. It’s OK to ask!

Do your research

Whether you’re building a luxury home or a simple starter property, it’s important to work with a contractor who has experience and is licensed and insured. A custom home builder will be able to help you choose which materials are best for your space, as well as how much room you’ll need for large items like furniture and how much storage space you should include.

Prepare for a lifestyle change

Before you begin a construction project, understand that it’s going to be one of your most stressful endeavors as an adult. Change is usually difficult and uncomfortable, so make sure you’re prepared for what comes next. Recognize that you’ll have financial responsibilities after construction is complete, which means extra planning will be necessary once building begins—and don’t forget about life insurance if you have young children who rely on your income.

Get organized early

Custom home builders can help you design exactly what you want—but they need enough time to do it. So don’t be afraid to schedule several meetings over several months; their schedule is often just as full as yours, and they may not have time to stop by until a few weeks before your project starts. If possible, ask friends or neighbors who’ve worked with custom home builders for recommendations on companies they enjoyed working with.

Have fun!

It’s no secret that building a home can be stressful. After all, there are a lot of decisions to make, and every choice will impact your budget, schedule and ultimately your stress level. But don’t lose sight of what is supposed to be enjoyable: Making your dream home come true!

The True Cost of Living in Montana

The True Cost of Living in Montana: Why You Need to factor in these 5 Expenses

The cost of living in Montana depends on what kind of lifestyle you’re used to in your current city and how much you’re willing to pay to maintain that life style in Montana. After living here for two years, I can say that the cost of living in Montana isn’t as cheap as we thought it would be when we first arrived. Here are five expenses that you need to factor into your budget if you plan on moving here and staying here long-term (and not just on vacation).

Taxes

Property taxes are assessed by counties, not cities. But different counties charge varying rates. For example, property tax rates can go as high as $9 per $1,000 of market value. That's higher than New York City's highest-in-the-nation $7 rate! It is most expensive in Missoula County where an average home costs about $303K and residents pay a whopping 0.97% (or about 9 cents for every dollar) just for property taxes alone! If you have an average home with an appraised value of $250K then you'll be paying about $3300 each year for property taxes alone! And if your house is worth $500K? Well that would mean around a $5000 annual bill for property taxes alone. And that doesn't include other expenses like the sales tax on cars, annual car registration fees, or income tax rates on salaries! There are many factors at play when considering the true cost of living in Montana so make sure to do your research before deciding which city will suit you best.

Property Prices

Property prices in Montana are actually pretty low. The problem is that prices for the same kind of property vary greatly across the state and because property taxes are assessed based on the value, it can be a huge expense.

Montana does not have a sales tax, so consumers don't have to worry about that. However, when you buy something there is an excise tax which goes into effect if it's sold for over $100. It's currently 6% but will increase by 1% each year until 2020 when it will max out at 7%.

Montana has a higher than average tax rate, which is a common problem in areas with low property values. There is a broad based personal income tax that starts at 4% for earned income and goes up to 6.9%. Businesses are taxed at either 2% or 3% depending on how their income is calculated. That percentage could go up if legislation changes later this year. They also charge a gas tax as well as fees related to water use and solid waste disposal - both of which are determined locally.

Montana has one thing going for it though - its lack of sales tax! That means many people find themselves saving quite a bit here - even before considering any other factors such as lower property values or cheaper electricity rates.

(FREE) Download Our 13 New Home Plans and Warranty PDF!

Groceries

Montana is a beautiful state, with plenty of wilderness and mountains to explore. But how does the cost of living in Montana compare? The average annual salary in Montana is $46,930 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is just below the national average. However, there are many hidden expenses that might make living in Montana seem more expensive than you would expect. Groceries in particular can be a little more costly here than elsewhere.

Prices of groceries depend a lot on what you purchase. A 2011 survey found that Montanans spent an average $331.30 per month on food, compared to $381.40 per month for all U.S. households surveyed in 2012 by the U.S.

Rent

Rent in Montana is not as high as it is in other states. According to SmartAsset, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Montana costs $869 per month, which ranks 18th out of the 50 states. The average monthly cost for a three-bedroom apartment costs $1,275, with the national average being $1,465. That said, rents in the state have risen at least 3% in recent years due to low vacancy rates and increasing demand. If you're looking for a more affordable option then consider living outside of Billings or Missoula where you can find an average two-bedroom apartment for as low as $636 per month. For example, if you're just passing through the area, Laurel offers a variety of rental options from studios to five-bedrooms at prices starting from $975 per month. It's also worth considering buying your own property if you are planning on staying in Montana for long periods of time; one bedroom condos start from just under $200,000 while four bedroom houses start around $300,000.

These figures were determined prior to the housing explosion of 2021-2022, in Montana.

Utilities

Montana has some of the lowest utility rates in the country. Electricity is cheap at an average cost per kilowatt hour of 7.76 cents, and natural gas is even cheaper at an average price per therm of $1.10. The downside? These low costs are based on consumption levels, which means that your energy bills might be higher if you use more than a normal amount of power. If you’re going to need to heat your home for six months out of the year, then it will make sense for you to buy fuel ahead of time or switch providers altogether.

There are no mandated broadband service packages in Montana, so consumers can sign up with any provider they choose and still get speeds comparable with those offered elsewhere. On top of this, providers can offer special deals that bring monthly prices down by as much as 50%. Residents often have access to fiber optic networks when they move here which provide high-speed internet connections over cable lines; though many people prefer satellite because it's less expensive. Regardless of your preferred provider, all Montanans are entitled to either one gigabyte (GB) download per second or 500 GB upload per second, whichever is greater. When comparing broadband options, keep in mind that internet service may not be bundled with other utilities like electricity and gas. All Montanans have the right to voice their opinion on whether or not net neutrality should exist through ballot initiatives and referendums.

Water and trash services are not necessarily provided through city utilities. Many Montanans find that it makes more sense to arrange for their own water service because prices can vary drastically between providers and many residents opt for septic systems. Trash removal is fairly cheap though, with average monthly fees ranging from $10-$15 a month. Depending on where you live, your trash may be collected weekly or once every other week. With some parts of urban areas having poor air quality, many people choose to burn natural gas instead of traditional wood-burning stoves. They’re a bit more expensive up front but they pay for themselves quickly and can help improve air quality by limiting air pollutants that are usually released when wood burns during home fires.

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Know if a Home is Move in Ready

Buying a house is a big investment and usually a big step in anyone’s life.

The home that you choose to live in will affect nearly every aspect of your day-to-day life, so you want to make sure that the decision you make is the right decision for you and your family.

You don’t want to come to regret your decision later on. Because there are so many options on the market in today’s day and age, it is a very good idea to know the industry so that you can easily identify whether a house is right for you or not.

Move in Ready
Move in Ready

The first choice you will have to make is if you want to purchase a move in ready home or new construction.

There are several factors to take into account with each option and while there is no right or wrong answer, one or the other will probably make more sense for your specific situation.

A new construction home (unless you are building fa custom home from the ground up) will generally simply be a shell of a house that is waiting to be finished. The outside may be fairly complete, but the inside will have no plumbing or wiring yet. The walls, for the most part, will not be framed in. The reason for this is to give the buyer ultimate flexibility in being able to choose the layout of the house.

Where the bedrooms go, how many bathrooms there are, which walls are load-bearing, are all decisions that the buyer can make to customize the home as much as possible.

(FREE) Download Our 13 New Home Plans and Warranty PDF!

By contrast, a moving in ready home will simplify the buying process significantly. Because everything will already be in place, from the flooring to the kitchen counters to the bathroom fixtures, a buyer will save a ton of time (as well as decision making) when it comes to their new house. If time is of the essence, a move in ready home is probably the best option.

The biggest factors when deciding between a move in ready home and new construction is usually time and cost.

Obviously if you are relocating for work and need a new home immediately, you will not choose new construction. It simply takes too much time to finish off the house if you need a place to live right away. You might wait 4-6 months depending upon the schedule of the builder, before your house will be inhabitable.

Plus, there are always delays that inevitably happen, such as an appliance being out of stock, or an electrician who can’t make it on a certain date, etc.

By contrast, purchasing a move in ready home can take as little as a few days to a month to move into. You will not have the options that you would have by choosing new construction, but you can still control things like location and neighborhood.

You will also not have the complexity of having to make so many choices as you would with a new build.

Overall, choosing a move in ready home or a new construction home probably depends strictly upon each individual’s needs. If you don’t have the time to wait and also to make every decision that comes with new construction, then a move in ready home is probably the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you want to have the ultimate in flexibility and customization, new construction is the way to go if you are not in a hurry. Knowing the differences between the two will help you to make the most informed decision for your given situation.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about finding your new home in Montana!

Hiring a Local Home Builder

Custom building your new home can be (and should be) an extremely exciting and rewarding process.

However, for many people, it can also be more than a bit intimidating. It is a big project with a lot of moving parts, so making sure you hire the right builder is crucial to keep your dream home from turning into your nightmare home.

If you are getting ready to build your own home, or even just thinking about starting the process, here are some things to consider when hiring a local home builder.

Local Home Builder
Local Home Builder

The biggest reason to hire a professional home builder is simple: expertise, experience, and knowledge. A good builder will have all three.

If you have not gone through the process before, (and lets face it, most of us haven’t) then you need someone you can rely on to help you over the various hurdles that you will face. With a good custom builder, you will be hiring a whole team of experts who each have knowledge and expertise in their particular arenas.

Don’t worry about all the things you don’t know. Hire a professional and let them worry about it!

Custom builders will also often have much better buying power than you would on your own. They will have long term relationships with suppliers and manufacturers so that they can get the materials and fixtures that will go into your new home at the best possible prices. Imagine having to go to the lumberyard to buy all the lumber for your house. Your builder will not have to do that and will be able to order whatever is needed at a far better price than you would ever find on your own.

These savings will then be passed on to you, and even better, you don’t have to worry about what every little thing costs.

*Be sure to learn more about Trails West 2-10 home buyer’s warranty!

(FREE) Download Our 13 New Home Plans and Warranty PDF!

Hiring a home builder will also preserve your time spend.

Building a custom home takes a lot of time and effort. Managing such a process on your own will more than likely leave you quickly overwhelmed and with zero time to live the rest of your life. Take a load off your mind and hire a professional who will then free you up to do the things you normally do. This will take the stress off your shoulders and allow you to do the things you normally do rather than spending every waking moment worrying about the new home.

Local Home BuildersHome builders will also be able to streamline the processes in ways that you may have not even thought of. Worried about when the concrete will get poured? Don’t worry about it with a custom home builder. Your builder will have a time line of when everything gets done and be able to move from phase to phase with minimal issues, simply because they have seen and done it all before. There will not be any surprises for a good custom builder who has tons of experience.

They are not going to see anything that they have not seen before and that will come in handy for preserving your own sanity as you build your custom home.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about finding your new home in Montana!

Show Me Homes

A realtor can offer a wide range of assistance to prospective home buyers. Choosing the right one can save you a great deal of money and secure you the home of your dreams.

Is Every Real Estate Agent a Realtor?

The quick answer is no. Therefore, you need to be sure you are working with a professional realtor. It is important to be clear about definitions.

* Real estate agent: Anyone who earns a real estate license can be called a real estate agent. They need to attend classes and pass their exams.

* Real estate broker: This is a real estate agent who has taken further classes and passed a broker’s license exam. Brokers can work alone or hire other agents to work for them.

* REALTOR®: A realtor is a real estate agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, and must therefore uphold the standards of the association and abide by its code of ethics. https://www.nar.realtor/

Find a realtor first. Then determine if this is a person you will feel comfortable dealing with. A good realtor can soon start to seem like a member of the family.

(FREE) Download Our 13 New Home Plans and Warranty PDF!

Showing You Homes

Showing you possible homes will be a key part of their job, but they need to get to know you and your family as people so they can help find a home that will suit your tastes and needs. They also need to have a good idea of your price range and overall budget.

Get You Pre-Approved

A good realtor should have a reliable network of trusted lenders and professionals commonly involved in the many details related to you buying a home, and they will help the sale go through smoothly all the way to closing. The first step is to get a mortgage pre-approved so you can start shopping.

Note that pre-approval means that the lender has gone through all of your financial paperwork, such as proof of employment and income, and assessed your credit report. Be sure to get a pre-approval letter if you have been shopping around on your own before working with your realtor.

What does a realtor do besides show me homes

Give Advice about the Local Housing Market and Neighborhood

Some neighborhoods have a certain character, and are more desirable than others. Not all four-bedrooms are created equal, therefore. Be sure to inform your realtor of any special requirements from the outset, such as being close to an elementary school or high school, near public transportation and shops because you don’t drive, and so on.

They will also know what similar houses have sold for recently and might be able to connect you with a bargain house that needs to be sold quickly, or which has just reduced its asking price significantly.

Negotiating Your Offer

Leave this to the pros and they should be able to get the best price for you. It will be contingent on what the house inspection reveals.

Connecting You with a Reliable House Inspector

Your realtor will want you to be happy and not stuck with a "lemon". They will recommend reliable inspectors they trust. Based on what they find, the house valuation may be lower, in which case you can adjust your offer accordingly.

They will also advise you on whether the price is in line with the neighborhood. The last thing you want is an "underwater mortgage" in which you will owe more than the house will ever be worth.

Attending the Home Inspection

A good realtor will be willing to attend the inspection and take part actively. Two pairs of eyes will always be better than one. They can then report back their honest opinion as to your next steps and negotiate as needed.

As you can see, the right realtor can make a real difference to the house-buying process and will help you find your dream house.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about finding your new home in Montana!

Choosing a Custom Home Builder

If you happen to be in the market for a new home, one thing you may want to consider is building your own custom home rather than buying a pre-existing one.

There are obviously many aspects to be considered if you choose to go down this path, but the first one will be to choose a custom home builder that fits your needs. Choosing a builder is probably the most important decision that you can make since you will need to trust the builder to see your dream home come to fruition.

Custom Home BuilderEven if you are looking at builder a townhouse or condo, a home in a nice subdivision, or a custom built home out in the country, finding a reputable builder that fits your needs is all part of the process.

Once you have in mind what type of home you are looking to build, you will want to compile a list of custom home builders in your area. There are a number of ways you can accomplish this task from checking with a local home builders association to going through the newspaper or even using Google or Craigslist.

Local real estate agents should also be able to help with this decision, as many of them will have worked with builders in the past and have their own personal favorites. Word of mouth is a great way to find a custom home builder as well since there is nothing like personal experience to find out how a builder truly performs.

Once you have compiled a list, the nest step is to research the builders on it.

When you have your list completed, it is time to interview some builders. Talking to them and asking the questions that are important to you is all part of the process. Finding out how they will be to work with during the process of building your home is paramount to having a good experience rather than a stressful one. You will also want to take a look at their work, so visiting their recent builds is always an important step as well. Sometimes you may be able to even talk to the current homeowner who is living there and ask them what they like about the house and what they don’t. Again, personal, hands on experience is important in your decision making process.

(FREE) Download Our 13 New Home Plans and Warranty PDF!

As you are interviewing builders and talking with current home owners, there is nothing wrong with talking along a notebook of some sort to jot down some notes. You will have questions and some of the things you jot down will lead to points of discussion later on, so don’t be afraid to document your due diligence.

You are looking for quality and value and there is no need to be shy about it; this is a big decision for you and your family that will necessitate spending a large amount of money. Take it seriously in the beginning and it will work out better once you are actually in the process of building your home.

Overall, choosing the custom home builder that fits your needs is an important part of the process of building your own home. Much like interviewing a potential employee, this is a relationship that you need to be very comfortable with moving forward and you want to be confident that you will get the best possible result for your money.

changing your furnace filters

It’s that time of year again. You know; that time of year when the air starts to get cooler and you start thinking about all the things that need to be done around your home to get it ready for winter.

It never fails, there is always a lot to do around the house to prepare for the cold weather and most people have some sort of checklist to help make sure everything gets done and while cleaning the gutters and checking the windows for drafts is important, one thing you want to make sure you don’t forget is changing your furnace filter.

Dirty Furnace Filter
Dirty Furnace Filter

Changing your furnace filter is more important than you may think. This task may not top anyone’s list of things to do, but keeping a clean filter purifies the air that we breathe by removing dirt and allergens. Changing your furnace regularly not only keeps the air that you and your family breathe clean, but it saves you money on energy costs as well.

Overall, the benefits of a basic maintenance task that only takes a few seconds far outweighs putting it off and ending up with a dirty, clogged filter.

People who suffer from allergies as well as issues such as asthma will benefit from a clean furnace filter in the home. Two types of indoor air pollutants will affect our breathing: particle pollutants and gaseous pollutants. Particle matter can consist of things such as pollen, cigarette smoke, pet dander, dust mites, bacteria, mold, and cooking odors. Gaseous pollutants might include items such as paint fumes, adhesive products, building materials, pesticides, and cleaning products.

The way an air filter works is that it acts as a trap for all of these various pollutants. Regularly changing out your air filter will allow you to greatly reduce the number of polluted particles in the air that you breathe in your home, which is important not only for your family but also for your pets as well. Young people and older adults can particularly be affected by particles in the air.

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Air filters have different MERV ratings and the higher the MERV rating, the more particles you will capture with the filter. A MERV rating of 8 is common for most household furnace filters, but if you have people in your home who may be particularly susceptible to allergens in the air (such as asthma sufferers, etc.) then you may want to consider using a filter with a higher MERV rating such as MERV 11 or MERV 12.

Now that you know how air filters affect the air that you breathe in your home, you are probably wondering how they can save you money. When an air filter is not changed regularly, it accumulates all sorts of dust and debris. These foreign particles serve to clog up your filter and make it harder for air to pass through it. This in turn forces your furnace to work harder, using more energy and thus costing you more money. This increase in air resistance is a big deal because you do not want to have to make costly repairs to your HVAC system.

By simply replacing your furnace filter once every 3-4 months, you will greatly reduce the possibility of having problems with your system. All of us have better things to spend our money on than fixing our furnace, so an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in this case.

It is by far cheaper to replace a simple air filter regularly than it is to call a heating/cooling company to come to your house to make repairs to your furnace system!

It’s easy to see how doing a simple task like changing your furnace filter regularly has all sorts of benefits for you and your family as well as your wallet. A clean filter will grab foreign particles much more easily than a clogged, dirty one will, and it will allow air to flow through your ducts much more easily, saving you money.

Protecting your home from air pollutants is a great fall task to add to your list and it should be done several more times of the year as well. When the air starts changing from hotter to cold air, the environment changes as well and different pollutants can come into your home.

Take a few minutes to replace your furnace filter and you and your family will benefit from this simple fix. There is no better time than the present to take care of your HVAC system.

How Soon Can I Move In

One of the main questions new homeowners have is how soon they can move in once they spot the house of their dreams. The truth is that the process can take around three to six months from start to finish.

It's not as simple as just viewing the houses and falling in love with one and buying it. Unless you have cash in your pocket to buy it, you’ll have to deal with various stages of paperwork from opening to closing the deal, and getting the keys so you can move in.

Getting Pre-Approved for Your Mortgage

Getting pre-approved is key so you know your budget (roughly) and realtors will be willing to work with you. Get a pre-approval letter from your lender before you start to look.

Viewing Houses

Viewing houses can be the fun and also the frustrating part. It will depend on your needs and tastes. It will also depend on how soon you want to move. Expect the entire process to take at least three months.

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Making an Offer

If you decide you want to make an offer, do so through your realtor.

Giving an Earnest Money Deposit

Once you decide to make an offer, you will need to give an earnest money deposit of 1% to 3% of the price of the home. This will show you are serious, and the seller will then take the house off the market. Give the money to your realtor, who will put it in escrow for safekeeping until it can be used as part of the down payment for your house.

The House Inspection

The house inspection is essential in order to determine if the price is right, and if the house is in good repair. You can adjust your offer based on what the inspector finds. Once the list of repairs is completed, or you’ve agreed to a lower price, the sale can go ahead.

Finalizing Your Mortgage

Once you are clear about how much you need to borrow, you can finalize your mortgage.

Gathering Your Down Payment

Make sure your down payment is ready so you can hand it over as and when needed.

Decide on a Closing Date

Decide when you will have all the paperwork and money available to be able to close.

Determine a Move-In Date

If the seller is still living in the house, be sure to negotiate a move-in date before you close. If you are in a hurry, this could put you both under a lot of pressure. However, you don’t want to be paying rent and a mortgage at the same time, so the sooner you can move in, the better.

You should usually get the keys within a week of closing. If you can’t get the keys right away, be clear about the number of days of occupancy they are requesting, such as 30 or 60 days after closing.

What If They Can’t Move?

What happens if the seller hasn’t moved? This can happen if they are looking for their ideal new home too, and are delayed in completing their purchase.

Your occupancy date should not be changed once it is set. It is part of the entire legal agreement in buying the home. However, you could offer to rent the home to them for the price of the mortgage payment each month until they finally move. This is commonly referred to as a leaseback. It can be frustrating, but it will be worth the wait.

Keep in regular communication with your realtor until such time as you have the keys and are completely moved in. They can help you with any issues so you can all do your best to make sure your move-in date will go according to plan.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about finding your new home in Montana!

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