If you're thinking of buying a home in Montana but don't know the intricacies of the home buying process, this guide is for you.
From real estate trends to property prices and from calculating property taxes to paying closing costs, we cover everything that you need to know before making a purchase in Montana.
The real estate market in Montana currently favors the buyer. Prices are fairly reasonable and property taxes are also quite low when compared to other states.
So, buying a great home in Montana for a good price is relatively easy. It becomes easier still — financially — if you can make use of state grants and low-interest federal mortgage programs.
However, money isn't everything and you need to find a home that suits you and your needs. So, consider hiring an experienced real estate agent to help you find that dream home.
Irrespective of whether you're new to the real estate world or a seasoned investor, having a real estate agent by your side is invaluable.
How to Find a Great Buyer's Agent in Montana?
An experienced local real estate agent does a lot more than just look for homes. From paperwork to negotiation, real estate agents can help you at every step of the home buying process.
Every city has a unique real estate quirk or a feature. Some trends are local and apply only to cities or even just neighborhoods. Experienced real estate agents know these quirks and trends better than anyone else.
Your real estate agent can also help you with the paperwork. There are plenty of rules, regulations, and procedures to follow when you're buying a home. A great buyer's agent will take care of all that for you.
Having an agent becomes especially important if you're new to the real estate world or if it's your first home purchase. An expert real estate agent will make the entire process much easier.
One way to hire experienced local real estate agents is by getting in touch with a Clever Partner Agent. They are full-service agents who will help you through every step of the home buying process.
Clever only partners with top-rated buyer's agents in any given area. This way, you know that the person representing you is the best in the business. What's more, these top rated agents will also give you a free no-obligation consultation.
Montana Housing Market Forecast for 2019 — and Beyond
Even though prices in Montana are fairly reasonable, the fact is that prices are on the rise. So, if you're looking to buy a home in Montana, it's crucial to understand the real estate market there.
In the last few years, real estate prices have increased considerably in Montana. Last year alone, home prices went up by 8.3%. And this doesn't seem to be an aberration, according to experts. This year, prices are expected to rise again by about 4.8%.
This uptick in prices started about three years ago. Now, the forecast for the next few years show that the prices will only continue to rise.
So, if this forecast is true, sellers are better off in the long run. This trend is a result of increasing home demand, which in turn, is caused by the steady economic growth that the state has seen.
However, if you're a buyer or even an investor, this is an opportunity to make a very good investment. A median home in Montana costs $238,600. Given that the prices will only go up, buying a home now is an excellent idea.
This is especially true because there are many state and federal programs to assist buyers in Montana right now. If you're a first-time or low-income buyer, the number of programs that aim to help you are even more.
Best Time of Year to Buy a Home in Montana
Given that the prices are increasing, it's important to buy when the prices are low. Traditionally, in Montana, the last quarter of a year is the best time for a home buyer.
Property prices go down considerably during the last quarter. Lowest number of sales and the lowest price for homes are both recorded in November and December. The dip in the number of buyers is so sharp that home sellers routinely offer discounts during these months.
This trend continues till early January. After this, the prices start going up again. Real estate prices hit their peak during August in most years and the highest number of sales happen in the summer.
So, if you're looking for a great deal, November and December should be your target months. Given that the window is quite small, it's better to sit down and have a chat with your real estate agent.
Make sure that you convey all your needs and your wants. This will help speed up the home buying process for you. Also, if you're taking out a mortgage, get yourself pre-approved.
This way, when you find that dream home, you can just go ahead and close the deal rather than worry about the finances.
Calculate Your Property Taxes in Montana
Once you zero-in on your dream house, it's time to start thinking about the expenses. Property tax is collected by local government agencies and is an important and recurring expense. The tax amount is based on the value of the home. Land value is also taken into consideration.
The average property tax in Montana is currently 0.85%. That means, for a home that is valued at $230,000, the property tax will be $1995. However, it's important to note that this number can vary.
Property taxes can change from city to city. For instance, in Yellowstone County, the property tax rate is 0.90% while in Fathead County, you will have to pay 0.83%.
This is another area where your real estate agent will be able to help you out. Agents are up-to-date with these taxes and will know exactly how much you need to pay.
How Much Are The Closing Costs for Home Buyers in Montana
If you're a first-time buyer, it's important to know that saving up money for the down payment doesn't end your initial expenses when buying a home.
You will have to pay your home inspector. Then there are transaction fees, transfer fees, courier fees, and much more. All these fees together are called closing costs.
On average, expect to spend about 3% of the property value on closing costs. So, if your home costs $230,000, you'll have to pay about $6,900 in closing costs.
Sometimes, these costs are split between the buyer and the seller. In some cases, the seller might not agree to pay. However, the government is only concerned with what the purchase agreement states. So, if the seller does agree to split costs, make sure that this is reflected on the purchase agreement.
Or else, the burden of paying these costs will fall on you completely.
Therefore, make sure that you read the fine print of the agreement carefully. Also, hire a real estate agent who knows all the intricacies of the home buying process.
Clever Can Help!
Closing costs are one of the biggest expenses for a home buyer. By partnering with Clever, you can save on closing costs!
By hiring a Clever Partner Agent, you may be eligible to receive a $1,000 home buyer rebate. To qualify, you must hire a Partner Agent and buy a property that's worth more than $150,000 in any of the qualifying states.