Weekly Survival Real Estate Market Update

North Idaho Update
I just had a call from a local Realtor informing me that a currently-approved retreat property just outside of Bonners Ferry, Idaho has just been reduced by 20%! This spectacular retreat has a large functional home on 10 sloping acres and is shielded from the small county road by a stand of timber. The home enjoys big views of the snow capped mountains and rates an overall 8.5 out of 10, relating to defensibility, sun exposure and water availability. List price has been dropped from the high $370,000 to under $299,000! Please email me for further information.

Viola Moss, our approved Northwest Montana Survival Real Estate Agent has the following report on the Montana market, thanks Viola! – Todd Savage

2007 Year End ~ Northwest Montana Survival Real Estate Update
Greetings fellow Preppers! Here is a report looking at our past and present real estate market in beautiful Northwest Montana.

We have a good news/bad news scenario. Of course, one’s news depends on if you are the buyer or seller. This news is very interesting in light of the rest of the U.S.A.
While number of sales is slumping and prices are being slashed in many areas of the country, our market remains stable. That is not to say that we don’t have issues and that the rest of the nation’s problems don’t domino effect us – because they do.

The biggest effect I see, is that there are many buyers wanting to come here but they have to sell their existing property to make that purchase.

Let’s look at the past two years in this market.

First, the good news. This area of the country is the #2 choice for buyers which is good for sellers and until lately, we have been a seller’s market. However, I see this beginning to be transitional.

Since 2005, even when most of the nation was experiencing the first signs of a crash to come, this desirable locale has enjoyed an increase in the average price of property sold, rising 9% in 2006 and another 23% in 2007 for a total increase of 32%. I see this finally leveling out. This is especially true if the market doesn’t get better for the rest of the nation.

Two items particularly affecting this is 1) having lenders make it easier to get loans (which they are increasing their requirements) and 2) the economy changing so that those who are trying to sell can do so at a decent price in order to relocate here. This would help the buyer. The domino effect will be, if buyers can’t make a purchase due to limited funds, then sellers will be forced to lower prices or take their property off the market.

In any case, have you ever asked yourself:

“What will happen if the majority of the people decide they want to move to the Northwest (Idaho/ Montana) or other more remote areas? Would this not further reduce the chances to sell my property as there will be fewer buyers in a market and economy that is fast declining?”

“What if there is a Northwest land rush?”

“What if a local/national/global economic or natural disaster destroys my job, property or town before I get around to putting my current house on the market? What will I have left then for funds to relocate or purchase a retreat?” [TS adds: every reason to walk away from the high life and live at your retreat with a self-sustainable home business.]

As we all know, these could very well be possible scenarios. It’s possible that you’re wrestling with “stepping down” in your comfort level and lifestyle only to later find yourself possibly in a more dire place of need and you would be “stepping up” from where you have landed as a result of such calamities.

Have you paid attention to the real news and note what doesn’t make the .GOV- controlled news regarding property being destroyed and people having to move to FEMA trailer camps? This is nationwide, not just on the coastlines. [TS adds: For real uncensored new and commentary from all over the world try Blacklisted News instead of the big four government propaganda media outlets, FOX, CNN, NBC and CBS] Having our property destroyed was a very possible scenario for us back in 2004 having had to dodge hurricanes, Charlie, Frances, Jean and Ivan living in Florida. Though we were in the process of selling and trying to relocate, as we headed for safe zones to let the wind blow over, we were never sure if we would have a home to return to and sell!

I took a few weeks at the time (just before selling and moving here to Northwest Montana ) and I worked for a subcontractor to FEMA inspecting and evaluating homes for qualification of repair funds. Many people had nowhere to move to other than out-of-state or a few hours drive away because there were so many homes destroyed and/or damaged. Many who were not moved to FEMA trailer courts were living in homes that continued to have mold growing, since insurance inspectors couldn’t respond for months and contractors weren’t available nor were materials available to repair them. Some of these homes were hit by more than one hurricane or storm and the damage continued to increase while they lived in the home! They didn’t have funds to go anywhere else and they were happy if they still had a job! Would you like living in a house with parts of the roof missing and/or mold growing along the ceiling and down the walls to the floor? Be prepared!

One might want to consider and ask themselves, “Do I really believe hard times are coming.? And if so, am I just going to think about it or am I going to do something about it?”

The thinking part will do one no good when the time comes. Also, consider, many are holding back because the rest of their family or friends who are not in the same line of thinking and won’t budge. Most likely they won’t want to leave but will put their heads in the sand. Those that decide not to make the big move because they just can’t emotionally leave their extended loved ones behind and not care for them will be in denial. I know, I’ve been there and done that, and I see it frequently with my clients.

By the way, after three years, my whole immediate family has finally moved here and prefer it to the comforts they had. I only have two brothers left to come to their senses and do something. They think and they know but don’t act.

Let me ask you, “If you really believe a day is coming of reckoning for this country, and you don’t relocate now — what good are you going to be for your loved ones? Though you may have to part from them now and it will bring you tears and heartache –how much grief, sorrow and remorse will you have when your loved ones will not have a place to run to – that being you and your new location?!” Sometimes we need to make pre-ordained moves knowing that we’ll need get ready to care for our family when the perilous times come

True, they may wait too late and never make it out. But if you don’t make your move now, they surely won’t have much chance, nor will you, short of a miracle and great mercy! Thus, you may have to make a hard choice now but it will bring great joy in the future and you may have a chance of having your family being a surviving remnant for future generations.

Back to the good news for Sellers. So the average price for your property here has increased and the average days on the market has decreased! Good news, now it takes only an average of 6 months to sell versus the 9 months that it took two years ago. Not bad considering the average number of properties sold has decreased 32% (down 15% for 2006 and down 17% for 2007.) This has resulted in a total sales volume decrease of 16% (almost an $8 million drop)!

Now for the bad news. The bad news buyers are already aware of , but Sellers are just now beginning to come out of their slumber. Prices have soared, banks are making loans more difficult to obtain, and the economy is keeping them from making a sale of their existing property or lowering their income in order to make that wanted purchase.

Point in case, this bad news for buyers is catching up and the Sellers here are beginning to feel the impact. So what are they doing?

One thing that really puts a burr under my saddle and yours whether you realize it or not is a new trend which I consider to be a major death to liberty and what made this country so great and this state for that matter. This trend is making it more and more difficult for me to cull through the listings and find you property in spite of more inventory, especially in newly subdivided land listings. Do you know what it is? Can you guess?

It is an ironic problem for the great, free and open Big Sky country. Her land liberties are quickly fading. This is a result of mostly baby boomer’s moving in and bringing their citified, suburban, “service me and don’t let anything be an inconvenience to me” liberal, socialistic mentality. This slaps in the face of the liberty loving, self-sustaining, mind your own business but do right to others mentality of most of the folks here.

Then we have the baby boomer locals who are ignorantly or knowingly being fueled by greed aiding this epidemic. They are exchanging life and liberty for “making a buck” now. These same people, those here taking advantage of the situation and those who are moving in with this mentality will one day be begging for their antics to be reversed and will be crying and wishing they had a neighbor who had a chicken that lays eggs (which might inconvenience them in the morning with a cackle or crow), goat, sheep, cattle, garden, etc. and even an extra dwelling or two for extended family or friends to have a place of shelter.

Surely, you have guessed my burr by now! Restrictive covenants! Somehow, I learned a covenant was to protect and provide for two parties for the good of all. Nowhere did I learn a covenant was for taking livelihood and liberty and controlling how one moral person should live. They should be called Gestapo tactics, fascists, communistic, controlling, whatever word you may want to choose. It is getting ridiculous. It could be funny except it will be heart breaking. It will become criminal to have your dog bark! Honestly, I just reviewed a new subdivision covenants for potential buyers and found the following wording:

“…no trade, craft, business, profession, religion , educational , commercial or manufacturing activity shall be carried on or conducted on any lot or from any single family residence.”

Do you see the problem with this? It is written in such a way that one could argue that you couldn’t sell Avon from home, have a prayer or Bible meeting, or home school! I know, some of you won’t see or understand this until you have become the victim of it.

Now, let’s skip all the other things that make me angry regarding whether you can have a fence, the size of your home, yada, yada, yada and get to the animal part.

“…no animals or livestock of any kind other than horse, dog, cat or bird shall be kept or maintained on any lot … All animals permitted by this section shall be contained within the boundaries [no problem with this as it is only courteous and being responsible] of their owner’s lot. Provided however, any animal that barks, howls, roams at large or chases vehicles …shall not be kept in the subdivision at any time.”

Let’s keep in mind that these subdivision rules are for parcels four acres or larger and that you can’t have fences or trees, etc. to block another’s view of the mountains or deter the wildlife.

Now, let me ask you, “Can you expect to have wildlife outside your back door and not have a dog bark?”

To bank on this new trend of silent dogs, I thought of opening a clinic to de-vocalize dogs but that would be a crime unless I had a vet’s license and then I would go to jail for animal abuse. Hey, I have an idea! Why don’t we tell the deer they can’t jump in the yard and the grizzlies not to eat our raspberries and cross our property? How about that mountain lion? Why can’t we restrict the wildlife so dogs can bark and men can work for a living cutting timber and mining, etc? Sarcasm intended. Reminds me of California!

Dogs have lost their rights along with people. Think about it – how far and which end of the scale of bizarre can we go?

Now, let me ask you, what good is having new parcels subdivided out of larger parcels if it becomes a crime to home school, have a prayer meeting, work from your home, not have a mini farmstead and your dog can’t bark?

In actuality, the basic restrictions required by the state of Montana are minimal and one of the reasons why I love this state. However, the sellers and developers think that by adding their covenants and restrictions, their property value will increase and protect them in the future. Oh what the loss! They do not see! And they think its all — for a dollar!?

I hope I see people refuse to buy these restricted use properties and demand properties that can be used as land should be. These types of properties could actually be of higher value due to the lack of inventory for such!

I have many buyers who would like to come to this wonderful neck of the woods but finding affordable property without covenants is harder to do every day. Though I may have 80 listings to cull through, only about 10 or less are not restricted wherein you could have a chicken, goat, sheep or garden to be a somewhat mini self-sustainable homestead. To further this burr, most listing databases I use don’t have a data entry box so I can sort through covenants. I have to research each listing individually. To further drive this burr in, some Realtors and sellers don’t make this information easily available and don’t want self reliant buyers.

So, buyers beware, though there are many properties that may appeal to you, be sure to ask the Realtor to research the covenants before you even waste your time and don’t make an offer without knowing the covenants and/or making it a contingency for them to be provided, reviewed and approved. If you find a property you like and want to move on it, move and make an offer! But reserve the right to approve the covenants as a contingency to the sale. Also, don’t rely on the Realtor or owner to answer this question – go to the courthouse and title company to double check. Even though I’m a Realtor, there have been times that the listing agent or owner I requested the information from told me, “There are no covenants or minimal ones.” Then I did further research and found out – it was not true!

Buying bigger parcels are usually not affordable for many people. So you may seriously want to consider getting together with other families and raise the funds to subdivide the property and not add on additional restrictive covenants in order to get what is needed for living as free as possible in these days. We may all very well be forced to come together out of necessity and not individual self comfort to find a place where we can continue to raise a family and have a future.

We are fast coming into more bondage in this country. It is not far off that we may have to provide our own straw to make the bricks for the homes we will never own. So, don’t wait too long to get out of the comforts you have now have before it is too late to make that move

[TS adds; One last note, for the ultimate in seclusion., privacy and protection ask Viola about listings in the Yaak River Valley, where less than 4% of the land is privately owned, perfect for the ultimate retreat!] If you would like more information on unrestricted land and homes here in Northwestern Montana please contact me! Viola K. Moss Phone 406-293-2939 E-mail: mtnmama@kvis.net