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Old 09-18-2007, 03:43 PM
 
14 posts, read 31,094 times
Reputation: 13

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Hey folks -

In the process of being interviewed for a job in Missoula. If things work out, I'd hoping to settle there and stay put. My pops is getting older, and I'm the last of the last in our little happy fam, so as he ages I'll need to look after him. He's thinking of coming up and joining me, if things go through and I end up in MT. He loves to hunt and fish, and is retired.

Questions start here:

I'm looking at the potential pay, and thinking - holy crap - will I be able to ever buy a place? I'm not rich, just an average Jane. Since I know there are plenty others in MT that fit the same description, how ARE you doing it? Seems tricky with a single income. It's seems painfully obvious that real estate, from what I've read you all type about, and seen on various real estate sites, is inflated in the immediate area. Without yet having had the chance to dig more into the area in terms of where to buy, and the general prices, I'm wondering would I ever be able to buy? Basically it's just me, and then my dad, but he'd buy his own place (and he's retired, and not rich either). So single homes, basically. I'd -like- to be able to have a couple acres, as I am going to own a couple horses. BUT, if that's not doable, in reality, what are the options? I have a friend there in the Flathead who owns a house, and then rents some land to run his horses on. Is this feasible around Missoula (not in town, obviously, but close enough to commute)? I'll pester my friend some on this, too, but thought I'd ask some of you to get some other opinions. I don't want to board the horses - I'd like them to be outdoor, really. What would options be for me to get a place and be able to have them on the same property, or else lease nearby, if it came down to brass tacks, in commuting distance from Missoula? And what towns would be good, in that case?

Any thoughts, ramblings, suggestions, advice, etc. would be much appreciated. I'll have to be making a decision in a couple weeks, if things go through, so I'm hoping to have a more realistic idea of things before then!

Thanks alot for your time, especially since I know how tired you are of this sort of topic....(I got a headeache just reading all the posts on the subject, myself, I must say).
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Old 09-20-2007, 11:03 PM
 
33 posts, read 69,398 times
Reputation: 19
Regarding wages and realestate - that is going to vary in the area you choose. How we make it here with low income?? We raise our own pork, chicken and buy beef from a farmer. As to horses, you may want to consider the grazing rate of horses for the area you want to purchase pasture in. Some places it is horses/acres and in others Acres/horse. In my area west of Butte the stocking rate is 20 acres per horse. While just over the rockies in Whitehall it is more like 10 horses per acres. However Hay is currently going for about $85 ton many do deliver for a small fee. If you feed hay, you have to figure about 1/2 a ton/horse per month (depending on size). Boarding can cost between $50 (pasture, own feed and own care- but that means shucking yourself out each day before and after work to feed and or haul water) to over $250 (full board with all the goodies) As to commuting - many people from smaller towns regularly travel 30-45 miles each way to work (that is 20-30 mins for you city folks) However you will have to be able to drive in the worst weather as most bosses dont take kindly to someone not coming in because "the roads are bad" lol
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:12 PM
 
14 posts, read 31,094 times
Reputation: 13
Thank you!! This is great information. Really really helps on the planning front! Been trying to chew my friend's ear out there about this, but he's either out of town or M.I.A. right now, so haven't had a chance to really get into these kinds of details with anyone. I kind of figured as much in terms of raising pork, chicken, etc. Kind of what we always did when we lived out of town when I was young. The food's better this way, anyway, right! Flying solo, I'd probably try to find somebody I could buy from and/or split down the middle with, like you say, rather than raise my own. I've also thought that between me and my dad, we could pitch in and sort of split it down the middle, too. That's if he decided to come up there, too (assuming I get there, myself).

As for the traveling to/from work (thanks for the city folk translation, lol), I assumed as much. You'd have to, really. Don't see any way around it. As an aside, it's pretty comedic what happens over here in Seattle when it snows (and that's usually only a couple inches twice a year). Granted, the big hills you can't get up at all here with snow on 'em. But it's not all hills at that straight up incline. And they really don't know what to do. They actually close offices. Another thought - do you all use block heaters in western MT? I'm guessing so.

I guess I'm just sort of wondering, if after all the things I'd be doing to make up for the low wage, if I'd be able to afford a place to buy. Seems like even doing all this, you'd be hard pressed, without a significant other's second income, to make it work. Hot water heater goes out, or anything needs to get fixed, and your screwed. All your money's going to the mortgage. I guess I don't REALLY need to buy, being a 'single', lol. But at the same time, eventually I'd want to, whether I was single or not. Paying rent gets real old.

Anway...the thoughts of a madwoman... Thanks again for this info. I really do appreciate it!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Morganpony View Post
Regarding wages and realestate - that is going to vary in the area you choose. How we make it here with low income?? We raise our own pork, chicken and buy beef from a farmer. As to horses, you may want to consider the grazing rate of horses for the area you want to purchase pasture in. Some places it is horses/acres and in others Acres/horse. In my area west of Butte the stocking rate is 20 acres per horse. While just over the rockies in Whitehall it is more like 10 horses per acres. However Hay is currently going for about $85 ton many do deliver for a small fee. If you feed hay, you have to figure about 1/2 a ton/horse per month (depending on size). Boarding can cost between $50 (pasture, own feed and own care- but that means shucking yourself out each day before and after work to feed and or haul water) to over $250 (full board with all the goodies) As to commuting - many people from smaller towns regularly travel 30-45 miles each way to work (that is 20-30 mins for you city folks) However you will have to be able to drive in the worst weather as most bosses dont take kindly to someone not coming in because "the roads are bad" lol
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Old 09-30-2007, 04:01 PM
 
33 posts, read 69,398 times
Reputation: 19
Definately! - never seee a snow day here in MT lol It has been a bit less snow than when my Hubby was growing up - butIi remember near Xmas about 8 years ago when it dropped 3+ feet in one nite- it was over the waists of my elementary school age kids. They sure had fun. However all the kids had school anyway.

We have a long driveway which is not maintained my the county and we had to park at the bottom of it and walk to the house. They up hill neighbors usually plowed the road but it was too much for their truck. Eventually the county had to plow the road anyway because our neighbor was on oxygen and the delivery truck couldn't get to her house.

However, temps are usually around zero degrees and in Jan we get about 2-3 weeks of minus 40 or more. In the summer the Butte area gets about 80 days frost to frost and you can extand gardening to about a month either side with a greenhouse.

Although the wages are low, so is cost of living - except for !*electricity*! Reasonable omes sell for about $50,000 and mostly you can get owner financing. We purchased out unfinished log home on 11 acres in 1985 for $10,000 - $500 down and $200 a month in escrow for 10 years. It is now taxed value at $50,000 and the taxes are around $700 a year.
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Old 10-11-2007, 02:53 PM
 
14 posts, read 31,094 times
Reputation: 13
So you're telling me I might have to deal with some snow, then? ha-ha-ha.

I lived in northern Colorado years ago, and remember the temps getting down to -60 with a -9 windchill. COLD. Still went to school and work...begrudgingly, but everybody went.

Lived in New England in the last few years, so I saw plenty of snow there. I used to laugh about the reports on the Weather Channel. "STORM OF THE CENTURY"....about every few months when we got a blizzard we'd hear that, and I'd just laugh. Seems we were in the unique position of being on the receiving end of the Storm of the Century every few months....lol. Had the same predicament as you, in that I'd find myself parking on the road at the bottom of the hill and walking up. It was a tiny road (it WAS New England...), and they plowed, but only after the storm had come and gone and there was upwards of 4 feet of snow on the ground. The last one, I remember, they ultimately had to have the town come out with a bulldozer-type deal and dig us out, because the plow trucks couldn't do it - too much had accumulated. Winter Fun for One and All!!!!

Thanks again for all of your input. Much appreciated. May end up coming in handy. Looks like the latest employer may be interested enough to make an offer I can't refuse. I'd end up somewhere near all ya'll's favorite town (Missoula). ha-ha-ha-ha.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Morganpony View Post
Definately! - never seee a snow day here in MT lol It has been a bit less snow than when my Hubby was growing up - butIi remember near Xmas about 8 years ago when it dropped 3+ feet in one nite- it was over the waists of my elementary school age kids. They sure had fun. However all the kids had school anyway.

We have a long driveway which is not maintained my the county and we had to park at the bottom of it and walk to the house. They up hill neighbors usually plowed the road but it was too much for their truck. Eventually the county had to plow the road anyway because our neighbor was on oxygen and the delivery truck couldn't get to her house.

However, temps are usually around zero degrees and in Jan we get about 2-3 weeks of minus 40 or more. In the summer the Butte area gets about 80 days frost to frost and you can extand gardening to about a month either side with a greenhouse.

Although the wages are low, so is cost of living - except for !*electricity*! Reasonable omes sell for about $50,000 and mostly you can get owner financing. We purchased out unfinished log home on 11 acres in 1985 for $10,000 - $500 down and $200 a month in escrow for 10 years. It is now taxed value at $50,000 and the taxes are around $700 a year.
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Old 10-11-2007, 06:04 PM
 
121 posts, read 361,632 times
Reputation: 73
Default MT wage examples

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morganpony View Post

Although the wages are low, so is cost of living - except for !*electricity*! Reasonable omes sell for about $50,000 and mostly you can get owner financing. We purchased out unfinished log home on 11 acres in 1985 for $10,000 - $500 down and $200 a month in escrow for 10 years. It is now taxed value at $50,000 and the taxes are around $700 a year.
You're dreaming if you think you can buy a home for $50,000 anymore. Try $150,000 at the least. I've been looking for several years and the only places you can still buy houses for $50,000 that AREN"T tear-downs are small houses in very small towns with NO JOB OPPORTUNITIES.

As for wages, here are some examples from yesterday's job service. Compare these wages to wages for the same jobs in other areas of the country and then note our housing prices and you will see why IT IS SO HARD TO LIVE HERE.

These require Bachelor's Degrees,yet look at how low the pay is-
Computer Systems Analyst: $19,000/year
Graphic Designer: $8/hr.
Marketing Coordinator:$8/hr.
Executive Director: $26,000/year (Master's preferred)
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:27 PM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,549,626 times
Reputation: 15493
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenzebel View Post
You're dreaming if you think you can buy a home for $50,000 anymore. Try $150,000 at the least. I've been looking for several years and the only places you can still buy houses for $50,000 that AREN"T tear-downs are small houses in very small towns with NO JOB OPPORTUNITIES.

As for wages, here are some examples from yesterday's job service. Compare these wages to wages for the same jobs in other areas of the country and then note our housing prices and you will see why IT IS SO HARD TO LIVE HERE.

These require Bachelor's Degrees,yet look at how low the pay is-
Computer Systems Analyst: $19,000/year
Graphic Designer: $8/hr.
Marketing Coordinator:$8/hr.
Executive Director: $26,000/year (Master's preferred)
I can't disagree with you at all jenz, I was a network engineer when I retired a few years ago and getting around 80k + all the goodies and bonus. Here that job pays about 40k if your lucky and no goodies.
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Old 10-12-2007, 10:35 AM
 
16 posts, read 34,746 times
Reputation: 13
Default What location?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morganpony View Post
Definately! - never seee a snow day here in MT lol It has been a bit less snow than when my Hubby was growing up - butIi remember near Xmas about 8 years ago when it dropped 3+ feet in one nite- it was over the waists of my elementary school age kids. They sure had fun. However all the kids had school anyway.

We have a long driveway which is not maintained my the county and we had to park at the bottom of it and walk to the house. They up hill neighbors usually plowed the road but it was too much for their truck. Eventually the county had to plow the road anyway because our neighbor was on oxygen and the delivery truck couldn't get to her house.

However, temps are usually around zero degrees and in Jan we get about 2-3 weeks of minus 40 or more. In the summer the Butte area gets about 80 days frost to frost and you can extand gardening to about a month either side with a greenhouse.

Although the wages are low, so is cost of living - except for !*electricity*! Reasonable omes sell for about $50,000 and mostly you can get owner financing. We purchased out unfinished log home on 11 acres in 1985 for $10,000 - $500 down and $200 a month in escrow for 10 years. It is now taxed value at $50,000 and the taxes are around $700 a year.
Hey where about's you talking?? I need some land (acres) and a place to raise a family with the idea of being more self sufficient. Thanks, Chris
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:09 PM
 
6 posts, read 28,306 times
Reputation: 20
Oh my God, are you kidding?!!

These require Bachelor's Degrees,yet look at how low the pay is-
Computer Systems Analyst: $19,000/year
Graphic Designer: $8/hr.
Marketing Coordinator:$8/hr.
Executive Director: $26,000/year (Master's preferred)


I guess I don't understand why it's like that. Can you give me some idea of why?

Jane
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Old 10-12-2007, 10:59 PM
 
121 posts, read 361,632 times
Reputation: 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fired Up View Post
Oh my God, are you kidding?!!

These require Bachelor's Degrees,yet look at how low the pay is-
Computer Systems Analyst: $19,000/year
Graphic Designer: $8/hr.
Marketing Coordinator:$8/hr.
Executive Director: $26,000/year (Master's preferred)


I guess I don't understand why it's like that. Can you give me some idea of why?

Jane
Jane, first of all, I appreciate you asking.

Second, for those naysayers out there who will say I just picked the lowest paying ones on purpose and that most jobs in Montana actually pay much more--you are wrong/lying.

I think the main reason they pay so low is the employers here know they can get away with it, for a variety of reasons. There are exceptions of course, but very few.

Some people in this state , most real estate salespeople and some employers, spread propaganda :
"the cost of living is low here, the cost of housing is low".

People believe it because they want to--they are looking for "greener pastures". These lies, this propaganda, attracts many people especially those with unrealistic ideas about the way Montana really is (which covers many people that move here, unless they grew up in rural Idaho, Washington, Oregon or North Dakota then they tend to have more realistic ideas of Montana).

Low housing and cost of living--is just not true for the working person here today. Employers know how popular Montana is right now and everybody seems to want to be here. That helps feed the low wages. Employers tout the "quality of life" here. If you look at want ads for Bozeman, for example, many will mention all the wonderful outdoor opportunities etc. yet pay $10 or $12 an hour. What they don't mention is a person won't have a chance to do any of it. He or she would need to take another job to pay the rent because their job doesn't pay enough.

When the people get here, only then do they realize, gee we can't live off of what we're getting paid here, at least not comfortably or to the standard we're used to. Then they either stay and work more jobs and dream of the day they might be able to enjoy living here or they move on to their next "ideal state" or back to their former state. If they've carefully done their research, then they don't come in the first place because they realize they can't afford to move here.

Many Montanans, like me either stay or come back after college just because it is our home or for family reasons (mom or dad is dying, etc.) or both. I've worked in several professional positions. The pay here is half the pay I could make in say, Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York State, etc. I could buy a nice home in a rural area of any one of those states a lot cheaper than a house here costs and not have to work two jobs. So half the pay, twice the costs here in Montana. Why do I stay--because it is my home. And it is hard to give up on your home--even when it changes to where you hardly recognize it anymore. Some people don't have that sense of community in them. Many of those are the ones that move here from somewhere else, they've given up on their communities.

The low wages weren't a problem for a long time in Montana because at one time, the wages to cost of living ratio was decent. Montana was "discovered" with a vengeance and prices shot up virtually overnight. I am talking about the price of the least expensive houses on the market increasing in value 40-50% in a little over a year in some areas. When that happens, it is the working people that are already living here earning Montana wages (ranked 49th in hourly wages in the U.S.) that are impacted.

Another thing that happens is that retirees moving here discover that the cost of living is higher than they thought and they discover they need to work to make up the difference. They are able to work for less than what I would need to make, since I still need to make a living and they only need to make up the difference. Employers are really savvy about this and use that knowledge to their advantage. I've especially seen this in the Flathead Valley and in Bozeman. Heck I even lost a decent paying (for Montana) entry level job several years ago to someone who came in and convinced the employer to let her volunteer instead of hiring someone (just pay me a small stipend, she told the employer and it worked).
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