Bitterroot Valley Real Estate & Local Information

You’ll find my blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because I care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. I’d love to talk with you!

Nov. 12, 2018

Are You Smarter Than Your Home? part 1

In the year 1999, Bill Gates wrote a book titled “Business at the speed of thought” and made some predictions on where technology was headed in the next few decades. At that time, most of the predictions seemed like an exaggeration but less than two decades later, they have now become a reality. For instance, one of his predictions was how personal companions will be designed to interconnect devices in a smart way and help the user at home and at the office. The advent of the internet of things has now made this a reality – and one awesome application is in smart homes.    

What is a smart home? 

A smart home is one that integrates technology and services in order to give the homeowner a better quality of life. Different technologies are usually used to equip the home parts for a more intelligent monitoring and remote access. This leads to an influential harmonic interaction among the home parts in a way that normal house chores are automated with minimal user intervention. In fact, the user typically uses his remote access whenever their input is needed. Depending on what is available, the home services can actually be integrated to allow them to communicate with each other. In such a scenario, a single control can be used to control the different home systems as per the preprogrammed operating modes. 

Advantages of smart homes

Smart homes have numerous advantages. For starters, they are not only comfortable and energy efficient but are also very convenient to live in. With the smart home technology, digital nomads can keep an eye on their smart house even when they are halfway across the world. These houses can also be a great help to elderly people, persons with disabilities and anyone that needs assisted living. Making a home smart is also one of the ways of increasing the value of your house before putting it on the market.

                                                                   

Examples of Smart Technology

Door Locks- If you are handy with a screwdriver and have an hour of time, you are capable of installing one of these locks. Some systems will open the lock by a simple wave of your mobile devise…while others require a key/code. Most of these locks will send out alerts that let you know when somebody has entered/left your home and if the system battery is running low. These systems come in handy when needing to let in family/friends who don’t have a key. It can also help with service providers like house cleaning and dog walking services.

Thermostats- How many times have you left the house and wondered if you forgot to turn off the a/c or heater? Would you like it to be warm when you get home from work? These thermostats are programmable from your smart phone and can help you not only be comfortable but also cost efficient. If you have a short term rental property (and you live out of the area)  it can also keep your costs down when tenants check out.

Be sure to check out Part 2 for more Smart Home Technology.

Posted in Home Features
Oct. 29, 2018

Fly Fishing in the Bitterroot Valley

 

The Bitterroot Valley is one of the great natural wonders of Montana. These series of waterways stretches for 80 miles, with the Sapphire Range to the east and the Bitterroot Mountains to the east. It is no surprise that so many people come here to unwind and enjoy the great outdoors. Hikers can trek the forests while keen fisherman take advantage of the bountiful rivers.   

Where to fish in the Bitterroot valley. 

Lots of local fisherman will advocate a particular site as the best in the region. It all depends on the fish you are after and the experience you want. There are plenty of local lakes and rivers that offer a great chance of a good catch. The scenery and tranquil experience also makes up for any losses. Just make sure to play fair and abide by the rules here in Bitterroot Valley. The licensing and local fishing regulations are pretty fair here. Stick to designated sites and the ordinary high-water mark. There is no need to disrespect the land and its wildlife for the sake of one catch.   

There are 13 fishing access sites in total around the Bitterroot Valley, all of which are maintained by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. It is advisable to stick to one of these areas for the best experience. Most sites are well suited to all types of fishermen. A selection also have a boat ramp for access from the water. Chief Looking Glass and Hannon Memorial also have camping grounds, for those that want to make a night of it.   

Fishing by boat in the Bitterroot Valley.  

The range of terrain means that there are fishing opportunities for all kinds of fishermen. Many will prefer to stay on shore, while others look into boat rentals. Como and Painted Rocks are great lakes for those that want to fish by boat. These deep waters have well maintained fish stocks and great views. Visitors can rent a boat and try their luck, but just be aware that other visitors may rent jet skis here too. Also remember that the water levels can decrease quite a bit in the height of summer.   

The valley is home to lots of species of fish, as well as other enchanting residents.   

So what type of fish can we find here? For many fisherman, it is all about the trout. Cutthroat and Bull Trout are the most plentiful, but there are also Rainbow and Brown Trout too. The trout are ideal for dry fly fisherman as the skim the tops of the rivers and stream. Elsewhere, other fisherman enjoy the chance to catch the Mountain Whitefish and Pike that occasionally appear in the valley.   

It is not just the fish that make the Bitterroot Valley such a joyful place to fish. The bird life here is plentiful and there are lots of opportunities to get a good view of some of the natural predators of the fish. Eagles and ospreys may come down and take a few while you enjoy your time on the riverbank. Great Blue Herons give us all a lesson in patience.   

When should you come and fish in Bitterroot?  

The beauty of fishing in the Bitterroot Valley is that you can come here all year round. Different species spawn and hatch throughout the year, giving a different taste to each season. Few try their luck in the depths of winter and wait for the stonefly hatch of March to kick the year off. A great time for trout fishing is during the vast hatches of the Skwala and Salmonfly in March and June. These insect swarm in large numbers and attract the attention of the fish, almost acting like a secondary form of bait! On the subject of bait, most would recommend using fry flies for an easier approach. The trout love to go for these critters at any time of year.   

Whenever you come to Bitterroot, you are sure to have a great time exploring the local rivers and lakes. If you land a great catch then that is just the icing on the cake of a great experience. Take some time to read up on local regulations and designated areas. Also, don’t underestimate the power of local knowledge. Bitterroot Valley has a lot to offer and you won’t leave disappointed.

Posted in Lifestyle
Sept. 10, 2018

What are the benefits of an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

A new trend in real estate is Accessory Dwelling Units (or ADU's as they are called). What is an ADU? It is a small second home that is placed on the property that already has a primary residence. 

What types of ADU's are out there? These smaller living spaces can be an apartment added over an existing garage, a basement accessible apartment or even a tiny home. The size, look and location of these dwellings could be dictated by your local planning & zoning office or even the documents governing your existing property. 

Why add one? There are several good reasons:

1) If you have an aging parent you can have one built so that they are on your property...but not necessarily in your home. These types of dwellings are often called "Granny Flats." Another spin on this type of housing would be to keep the aging parent on their existing property and having family move into the main home. This helps keep the parent in the same neighborhood for familiarity. 

2) Rental income is another reason to add a unit to your property. Be sure to check any rules governing your property before attempting this. With the popularity of VRBO and Airbnb..this could generate some extra revenue for you. Whether you occupy the smaller unit and rent the main house or vise versa it can help some afford to live in a more expensive neighborhood than they would have been able to do otherwise.

3) If you have an adult child that wants to move in with you....you might need an ADU! If you enjoyed having an empty nest, this is the way to go to keep your home that way and still have your adult child taken care of. Heck, you might even be able to collect some rent. You may, however, still have to do their laundry. 

Adding this type of living unit can also add some value to your home when it comes time to sell. And we all want that...right?

                 

Posted in Lifestyle
July 23, 2018

Local Resources

Bitterroot Guide Pic

When you are new to an area (or thinking of moving to an area) it always pays to have access to local resources. Of course there is the internet...but it's much nicer to have all of the resources in one place.

I recently discovered the 2018 Community Resource & Relocation Guide for the Bitterroot Valley. This guide first came to me in the print booklet form. It has been a handy resource for me since I came to the area a year ago. It offers phone numbers to local post offices, newspapers, Police Departments and where to get your driver's license. 

There is even "fun" stuff like area recreation activities and local events. And for the "not so fun" stuff there is school information and healthcare. 

For the statistical minded...there is information on the different communities, community profile and climate/topography.

I just discovered all of this information is easily available electronically...here is a link to the booklet.

I hope this helps!

Yvonne

Posted in Lifestyle
May 26, 2018

Take a Hike!

It seems that no matter where you live in the Bitterroot Valley you are just a short distance from an amazing hike. In an effort to build up my endurance (and help strengthen my heart) I have vowed to take a hike once a week. Like most days I work or find myself doing things around the yard to get things growing for the season. Since it stays light until after 9pm...I find myself taking a short hike after work. 

Mill Creek Trail is only a few miles from where I live so I can run home, wipe off my makeup, and get laced up in my hiking shoes. It's a moderate trail that does have it's hills but it's kind of hard to think about how heavy my breathing is when I hear the roar of Mill Creek just off to my right. 

In just about a half mile you come to a nice wood bridge that crosses over the creek. It is fun to stand in the middle of the bridge and feel like you are standing on top of water...just sayin'. At the bridge there are some benches to sit if you need to. After you cross the bridge, at the 3 mile mark, you come to some water falls. I haven't made it there yet (small steps) but it is my goal to get there by the end of June.

I thought I would share a few pictures of the journey up to the bridge. There are some pretty wild flowers along the way. 

I hope to see you out there!

Mill Creek Bridge                Mill Creek Peak View            Mill Creek Wildflowers

Posted in Lifestyle
March 26, 2018

Here's to Your Health!

Living in the Bitterroot Valley opens up a HUGE world of activities for you if you like to do things. Whether you enjoy hiking, water skiing, biking, fishing, running, walking, hunting...or whatever....it's all here. 

Into cycling? There is a plethora of bike trails for you to explore. It doesn't matter what your fitness level is...there is something out there for everyone.

Bitterroot Bike Trails

The map above shows 20 trails in the Bitterroot that range anywhere from 2.58 miles to 106.35 miles. Each trail has it's own page where you can see where it starts and ends. It also gives you the elevation levels so you can see the gain in elevation. You can even download the trail onto your smartphone. Here is the link to the trails. 

Want something more simple? There is a 51 mile paved bike trail that starts in Missoula and ends just south of Hamilton. Bitterroot Trails ... this trail isn't just limited to biking. It's for any form of recreation that is not motorized. I once saw a horse riding on the trail! This trail runs just along Highway 93 and will change from one side of the road to another. Along the trail you get to lay your eyes on both the Bitterroot & Sapphire Mountain Range. There will be many creeks and rivers to take a quick water break at if you need one. There are plenty of Park & Ride lots along the way so you can pick and choose where to park your car for the start your excursion. You can also plan your trek to coincide with points of interest (like restaurants, brewers or other fine establishments).

I will try to bring more reports on activities that can help you with your pursuit of healthy living. Who knows? I may even see you out there?

Happy Trails to You!

Posted in Lifestyle
Nov. 13, 2017

Why I Chose to Live in Montana

I recently moved to the Bitterroot Valley from Northeastern Arizona. It had a similar climate, topography and lifestyle. I uprooted a 14 year real estate career to start all over…I knew nobody in the Bitterroot Valley. People thought I was crazy to make such a drastic move and to recreate a business from scratch. But I did. And I couldn’t be happier!

The question I kept getting was,”Why move?” My answer was, “Because I can!” That was the best I could come up with. I like living in the small town of Hamilton. The people are friendly and helpful. When somebody honks at you it’s because they are saying hello…not the other reason. I like knowing that Missoula is only 45 minutes away in case I need “Retail Therapy.”  Bottom line…I like knowing where my food is coming from. The Farmer’s Market (which runs from May-October) offers more food than “art”. It is organically grown with no pesticides. There are multiple farms where you can buy stuff on your way home from work (just leave your money in the cigar box…really?) I can say that I met the farmer or rancher that put the food on my table. I think that is cool!

 

Yes, there is the hiking, fishing and hunting that happens here, too. I am working on that. Driving around town and seeing the snow-capped mountains and rivers that run along the highway put a smile on my face. I feel less stressed out and happy to be going wherever it is I am going. At home I enjoy the deer and turkeys that roam my front and back yards. This is where I am meant to be. I recently saw a picture about how people perceived Montana…I agree with the last one…this is where I really live…pinch me!

Posted in Lifestyle
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates