Moving to Montana- around Kalispell (Billings: houses, income, living)
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If you're going to check out Sanders Ct (Thompson Falls and Plains in particular), then perhaps you'd want to expand your search to the Libby/Troy area, Lincoln Ct. Not much work to be found, but once you're there, pop over to Bonners' Ferry in North Idaho--it may be exactly what you're looking for. A nice, small town with a variety of religious communities in the vicinity, beautiful scenery between two mountain ranges, a large spectacular river (the Kootenai), and easy access to the amenities of Sandpoint. Property values are generally somewhat below what you'll encounter in NW MT, and the climate is similar to Kalispell.
East of Kalispell are the tourist towns - US2
West of Kalispell is Libby - US2
South of Kalispell is Somers & Polson - US93
Southwest of Kalispell is Bigfork (MT85), then Swan Valley and Seeley Lake MT83
I lived in the latter three, of those Seeley Lake was the best
Thanks everyone! I'll do more research of the Troy, Libby, & Thompson Falls areas. They really sound like what we're looking for. I just hope & pray a mechanics job might be able to be found in one of those area's. I'll also research a little on the Bonner's Ferry area in North Idaho. All I know is that we have had 5 days in a row now that the temps have been well into the triple digits & with the humidity it can be a killer. My husband can not stand another summer of this. And personally I'm not looking forward to another winter here. We not only have very cold temperatures, but instead of snow we get lot's of ice & lot's of freezing wind. Nothing is worse than stepping outside to winds blowing 20 plus MPH with temps in the single or negative numbers. Anyways, Lord willing, we'll be in a northern state come next spring.
FYI, Libby is an EPA Superfund cleanup site. Deadly asbestosis is a horrible problem there and new contamination keeps coming to light.
If you're also considering northern Idaho, Sandpoint and Coeur d'Alene are nice. CdA is more touristy, but being right on the interstate and close to Spokane, Washington, it might mean more jobs in the mechanic field (I don't know). Good luck in your search!
I just got back from Kalispell/Whitefish. (I'm from Southern California... you can stop rolling your eyes now .)
My brother-in-law purchased 20 acres with a 1,800 square foot mobile home in Whitefish for $175,000 about 3 weeks ago. (WHAT A DEAL/STEAL! ) I traveled with him last week to Montana to paint the interior, replace some fixtures and spruce up the exterior a bit. We also furnished the house to get it ready for renting out to tourists. Though I didn't get to explore the area that much due to the long hours remodeling I have to say Kalispell and Whitefish is gorgeous. Beautiful scenery and the locals are very nice and friendly. So many beautiful and fit ladies- wink, wink.
Like others have mentioned in this thread its unfortunate that the area is going through some bad times economically. The unemployment rate is high and I noticed most stores, especially The Home Depot and Lowes (a graveyard) and a few restaurants that I visited were dead. I talked to a few service guys that went over to the house to perform some things and they also mentioned that the area is hurting. Construction is virtually non-existent at this time. Its true that tourism is really helping this area stay on its feet. I got a realtor to start looking for some land for me outside of Kalispell and Whitefish. A little cheaper in the outside area. I don't mind driving into Whitefish.
I especially liked Missoula and I would consider moving there. I need a city close to me . The mountain biking in Montana kicks a55. Thank you Montana for your hospitality. I can't wait to return.
I read your posts and I just wanted to comment on your wonderful optimism. I believe that is how a move is made, by believing in small steps and then god will bless the rest.
In my prayers
Thank you for the compliment & the prayers! I firmly believe that God will open & close doors to direct our feet. All we can do is walk forward. With the extreme heat of this summer, I'm praying even more to be Northwest next year.
Just wanted to let you know; the nights DO cool off in Montana, but the days are still HOT. I know, unexpected, but true. The native Montanans love the "but, its a dry heat" tag line. I'm here to tell ya, it's still HOT. dry heat or not. To the point that the mountains are frequently on fire, leaving the surrounding area "smoky" and hot. And remember, shade is not as prevelant out "west".
But it's still better than this god-awful east coast humidy/heat any day, IMO.
I dont know if you have moved up to The Flathead yet but I thought I would send you my thoughts. We moved to The Flathead August 8 2011 and moved out March 15 2012.
We rented long distance before we got there from CoRental Property Rental, our move in was 1600.00 with app fees ect. We rented a Mobile in Somers, which is ten miles out of town. We moved out in December, due to a plethora of things encompassing it as an inadequate winter rental. It was quite an ordeal to legally get out of the lease and was not by any stretch of the imagination an easy task. The rental we had was overpriced by at least 2X its actual value, it was a liability, and there were no laws either local, regional, or state wise that had any barring on our situation. Montana's landlord-tenant law, is tricky, well-it is not well defined there are many many grey areas. SO, like buyer beware-renter beware. A short course in home inspection should do the trick, because as we know, a lease is bound by Contract Law above all else.
Our next rental was in line with its value and this one held the heat, however for this we had to move 20 miles out of town from Kalispell going east. Which now brings us to a 40mi round trip for necessities instead of 20. This rental lasted until Feb 2012, upon when we went into town to pay the owner rent and was informed he was being foreclosed on,that we would need to be out by April 1 2012.
We have 1 small income in our family that is home based, but there is always room for more.
During the time we were there I made application at the local distribution centers however was not able to get on(Beer) anywhere. While everyone still takes paper applications, there are not any positions, or there aren't any that I was ever called for. I stopped looking around Xmas.
While there was not tax, it was still at least 2.5 times the price you would find at Winco, and at least 2 times what you will pay at Food 4 Less. Choices for food are not competitive at all, I spent about 4 years in Phoenix-the grocery chains in Phoenix I would say are firmly competitive.
The Library there is wonderful, it is a saving grace for any homeschooler. We were there weekly, as we too are homeschoolers.
The winter roads ruined the underside of our truck, the salt that they use on the roads I think, but it is going to take alot of sanding to get it off hopefully no damage was done.
There was a great decrease in the amount of daylight hours. This seemed to have begun in mid October and began to taper off sometime before we left, with the sun coming up around 9am and going down around 430pm. Lots of folks use those florescent lights, but I am unable to tolerate them as they bear for me headaches.
Our first rental cost us so much in upkeep that was not specified until after the fact that we didnt have enough money left to buy food after all of our monthly expenses. We lived out of the Flathead Valley Foodbank and shopped out of the thrift stores for clothes. It wasnt until we moved into our second rental that we could pay more than minimum payments AND buy food.
So around Xmas we made our first trip to Super 1 Foods. Overall we found this store to have the best deals without compromising our nutrition any further than we already had.
On the days when we went to town to run errands, we made it early enough to stop at the salvation army and eat lunch. They are very well organised and have showers if need be as well.
We have not ever had to do that before. So after careful consideration (due largely in part of this experience) we decided to leave the world of traditional housing all together. We left the state, moved in with family and have been hard saving since March 2012. As of 2 weeks ago we became proud owners of our first 5th wheel and everyone has a room. We basically devised a plan to re-allocate our money we spent on housing, totalling about 1600-1800$. If it had not of been for the move to Montana we might have never realised just how overpriced and volatile housing has become.
So, while this worked for us because we live simple, it may not be possible for others. This is our freedom though, we now have enough $ for our vitamins, curriculum, a $600 food budget, and can pay double on all our bills if we want and still have gas money left. We also will not be foreclosed on, we no longer face having to come up with move in deposits, calling property management when something needs fixed, signing a lease for a pre-determined amount of time....all the stuff that arises with today's housing. Our next goal, is to save enough to buy in cash a small chunk of land with a mobile or cabin on it and pay for it in cash (mid west), so all that's left to deal with is yearly taxes. You will hear "you can't eat the trees"..... This is what is important to us-Good luck may you have a better experience in The Flathead than we did.
Last edited by capitalkid_1; 07-22-2012 at 05:36 PM..
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