Navigating High Prices and Few Home Choices in the Gallatin Valley


It’s a seller’s market in the Gallatin Valley, meaning the market is more favorable to sellers than buyers – more people looking to buy, fewer properties for sale and multiple offers on homes.

If you’ve been house hunting in the Gallatin Valley recently that probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. But finding your way in a tight housing market just takes a little insight and planning. In this blog, we’ll look at local data and talk about how to navigate a market with fewer homes and higher prices.

According to the most recent data from the Gallatin Association of Realtors and Big Sky Country Multiple Listing Service, the number of homes for sale and days on market were down in 2017 compared with the 2016 numbers. Prices are up. With unemployment low and wages improving slightly, it’s predicted that housing demand will remain high with more listing activity by confident sellers in 2018.

The median sales price for a single family home increased by 23.9% from $335,000 in December 2016 to $414,950 in December 2017. Inventory of single family homes decreased by 11.8% from December 2016 to December 2017.

If you’ve driven around town recently, especially on the west side, you’ve maybe noticed that there are new homes being built. Those are going fast too. It’s surprising if a house makes it to date of completion without already having a contract on it. People are flocking to new construction and they are selling fast. Already working with a realtor can put you in a good position to know about new construction when it starts and prepare you to make an offer early.

There are some other steps you can take to position yourself so you are ready when a house you love hits the market.

1. Set a budget. Have a number ready that you’re not willing to go over. This step also includes being preapproved by a lender so you know exactly how much you can spend. There’s more about that, including lenders I recommend, in my last blog post.

View Previous Blog Post

2. Establish wants and needs. Like I talked about in my last post, there are some things you want (like a giant back yard) and things you need (like more than one bedroom). Here’s a helpful list that will help you figure out what you want and what you absolutely need in a home.

View Wants + Needs PDF

3. Be realistic with negotiating. Because it is a seller’s market, you probably don’t have a lot of room to negotiate down from the asking price. Often a house will receive multiple offers in a short amount of time. The majority of properties in the Gallatin Valley are selling for 98.5% of list price.

4. Work with a realtor and be ready to hop on something you like. If you have a good realtor in your corner, he or she will know what your budget is, know your priorities based on your wants vs. needs list and alert you to properties that meet your criteria as soon as they hit the market. I work with an auto-alert system where I can feed in needs, wants, pricing and location then receive updates when something meets a client’s criteria. Make sure you have a good realtor working for you.

5. Stand out. If you have a pre-approval letter in hand and it’s clear that financing won’t be an issue, your offer will be stronger. You can also stand out in a crowd of offers by writing a personal letter to have included with your offer.

Even in a competitive market, finding your dream home can be a reality. You’ll have a better chance of getting there if you’re prepared and have a trusted agent on your side. Let’s get the conversation started so you can find your new backyard in 2018!

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