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Old 04-24-2019, 10:53 AM
 
12 posts, read 4,902 times
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I am sure this question gets asked an awful lot has it surely seems Montana is the new last Frontier where lots and lots of people are looking to move.

My wife and I just recently completed a road trip which culminated in Montana. Specifically Gallatain Gateway is where we spent most of our time at the 320 Ranch and the RVR Hous Bar and Grill. We spent our days there hiking, horse back riding and wishing I had all of our rock climbing gear with us to hit some of the local crags. We ultimately feel in love. Ended up meeting a handful of locals and made some great friends, I believe we fit in very well there.

My wife and I spend our free time enjoying activities such as Snowmobiling, Horseback Riding, Rock Climbing, Hiking, Fishing, Hunting and overall enjoying the outdoors. She works in the Land Preservation sector which through some quick searches seems like there is plentiful employment in that field for her. I am in the Construction Management line of work and with the loads and residential and light commercial going up in that area, it seems like finding a firm would not be terrible.

Now my concerns are the cost. I currently make a terrible 2.5hour commute each way to work to be able to afford to live in our area of New Jersey. Our desires for years have been to move out West and enjoy a slowdown, acquire a nice piece of land for horses and hobby farming, limit the commute to say 45minutes each way at Max and be in the mountains where we could ride our snowmobiles, horses, ATVs to back country areas for pleasure. Gallatain Gateway certainly seems to have all of that right at our fingertips, but the cost of a good size plot of land to be able to have horses and a hobby farm. Also with the short dry to work in Big Sky or Bozeman is ideal, but there is no way I could afford the multi-million dollar lots/homes in that area.

We were told to check out Ennis or Three Forks as these areas would be much more affordable, which it definitely appears to be. Though these areas look like to get to the mountains to hike or climb or trout fish, we would have to make a 30-45min trek out which is something I would like to avoid. It would be a dream to be able to stop at the trout stream on the commute home for work, or be close enough that after work I can grab the dogs and go for a good mountain hike. Galltain with the snowmobile running though the town easily allows us to pull the sleds out of the garage and shoot to the back country without having to load up the sled trailer and trailer an hour to a riding spot (same for horse back riding).


Would going further North to say the Whitefish area be better?

I would say at a minimum we would like to me in the realm of 20+ acres ( I would love more but would rather be close to outdoor activities and have lesser land than be in a remote area with 150 acres). Being my career we would be perfectly find building a home from scratch. I notice a lot of areas have "neighborhoods" or gated communities that consist of multiple 10-20acre home lots. I sort of think this would not work as if I wanted to shoot some trap or skeet in the afternoon I do not feel the neighbors would appreciate that sort of thing.

We plan on heading back to Montana around June/July this year for a few days to visit some areas, hopefully meet with a few realtors and of course get some hiking/climbing in.

I thank you all for your time and responses on helping us with a future!
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Old 04-24-2019, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
5,242 posts, read 6,073,542 times
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Everything close to Bozeman, (Aspen North) is going to be ridiculous pricewise, same for Whitefish. Those areas are resorts for the rich and shameless.
If you want a good place on the river for fishing, try Willow Creek near Three Forks. Buying land that butts up to forest or state land will be more pricy. For what you describe, look to Livingston or Clyde Park. A little further out, but lots of access to forest and state ground.

Be aware that you need to keep your dogs under control as dogs harassing livestock or wildlife can be shot. Trapping is legal here, and there are wolves that will kill a dog as fast as they find them, so don't just let your dogs run on public land, and keep them on your property to avoid problems.
Running a sled or 4 wheel ATV on state or federal land isn't a case of going anywhere you want, they are limited to permitted routes and areas. This isn't the wild west anymore. While less restrictive than New Jersey, there are still laws and enforcement.

Unless there are covenants, you can do what you like on your own property, but public land has limits. The closer to Bozeman you are, the less freedom you have. I was raised in Bozeman, and left because it was becoming more and more what people were moving here to get away from.

It's beautiful there, but you couldn't pay me enough to live there again.
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Old 04-24-2019, 12:16 PM
 
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Thanks Silvertip.

I could not believe that essentially everyone we passed on the hiking trail that had a dog, had it off leash. I am totally against that. Your dog may be friendly, but mine may not and its just a recipe for a disaster. Fully understand the dogs under control, we live in horse country here in NJ and well aware of keeping our dogs on our land, although some other resident do not seem to follow that route.

I would agree with your assessment of Bozeman as it currently stands. I would not want to be moving to an area that is more busy, wealthy and congested as where I am not. Like I said our goal is to have land, bring our horses and angus and be able to have a bit of slow down and not simply live to work to be able to afford anything like we are now.
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Old 04-24-2019, 02:55 PM
 
5,149 posts, read 4,381,897 times
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First off, Idaho or Wyoming will be less expensive for similar real estate (with exception of Jackson Hole & Sun Valley). Cody WY might appeal.

I would secure whichever job - prob land conservation one- that will be hardest to land & or pay the best. Then go from there. Come back here & we'll point you to good areas.

You might love White Sulphur Springs or Philipsburg.

Since you are a builder, I think buy raw land in area of proven wells or dilapidated place and build. I was in KS not long ago & saw updated 80k 3bd house for sale....that same house sitting in most anywhere MT would start at 375k.
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Old 04-24-2019, 04:46 PM
 
4,512 posts, read 4,461,643 times
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A lot depends on your budget for land and a house.


Gallatin Gateway might be good but check the prices and see if you can do what you want there.


If you consider Ennis or Three Forks, see if you can find the jobs you both want nearby. Most of the those jobs will be in Bozeman but you might be able to get or make things work on the periphery. or commute.


Whitefish will be fairly expensive for land. Even 30- 50 miles out is getting pricier on average but there can still be deals with sharp shopping, land / housing improvement skills, etc.




White Sulphur Springs is pretty poor on average. Some upscale houses but not that many. Philipsburg is kinda neat but small and reported has lost about 25% of its population in last 10 years.
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Old 04-24-2019, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
5,242 posts, read 6,073,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahoney86 View Post
Thanks Silvertip.

I could not believe that essentially everyone we passed on the hiking trail that had a dog, had it off leash. I am totally against that. Your dog may be friendly, but mine may not and its just a recipe for a disaster. Fully understand the dogs under control, we live in horse country here in NJ and well aware of keeping our dogs on our land, although some other resident do not seem to follow that route.

I would agree with your assessment of Bozeman as it currently stands. I would not want to be moving to an area that is more busy, wealthy and congested as where I am not. Like I said our goal is to have land, bring our horses and angus and be able to have a bit of slow down and not simply live to work to be able to afford anything like we are now.
Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on how dogs should be taken care of.

The dichotomy here is that there is good land, and reasonably priced land, but usually located a long ways from the high paying jobs, and the mountains. Most people coming here want a place that looks like Glacier Park, backs up to 10 million acres of national forest, is remote, but has a well maintained paved road to the house and is only 10 miles from a great job.
Not reality.

Most of the good reasonably priced land is out in the sticks and the eastern prairies. Unless you're working for an oil company, you won't be making big money there. Some areas like Roundup have decent land and prices, about an hour drive from Billings, and you can find picturesque places in the Bull Mountains, but it doesn't look like Bozeman or Whitefish.

That area has fabulous hunting, good fishing, and lots of accessible land for recreation. May be an area you could check out. My place is some distance west of there, but there were 7 head of pronghorn antelope in my yard this morning, I have a live stream on 160 acres, and I can see 6 mountain ranges from my house.

My best advice is look at the whole state, lots of land on the real estate websites you can look at, that will give you an idea of prices in an area. Most of the larger towns have a good building industry, then when you come back you'll have an idea of where to look on the ground. If I were to give you my best guess of where to start, I'd say if you want mountains, lots of public ground and jobs, check out Helena. Not as pretty as Bozeman, but in the mountains, lots of fishing, good game populations, decent jobs, and if you're more than 20 miles from town, you can still find ground a lot cheaper than Bozeman. Not cheap, but cheaper and with less headaches than Bozeman.

Good luck.
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Old 04-24-2019, 08:58 PM
 
5,892 posts, read 9,595,800 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by historyfan View Post
First off, Idaho or Wyoming will be less expensive for similar real estate (with exception of Jackson Hole & Sun Valley). Cody WY might appeal.

I would secure whichever job - prob land conservation one- that will be hardest to land & or pay the best. Then go from there. Come back here & we'll point you to good areas.

You might love White Sulphur Springs or Philipsburg.

Since you are a builder, I think buy raw land in area of proven wells or dilapidated place and build. I was in KS not long ago & saw updated 80k 3bd house for sale....that same house sitting in most anywhere MT would start at 375k.

Let me add to that: North Idaho is in a construction boom, and more hands and heads will probably be welcome. Sandpoint has Schweitzer MT ski resort, and straddling the Idaho-Montana border are the Cabinet Mountains, as wild as it gets in the NW. You should be able to find 20+ acres that fit your criteria somewhere in Bonner Ct, Boundary Ct (both Idaho), or Sanders /Lincoln Counties (MT). You might want to just drive through and see if the area appeals to you. I know you may only have a few days in June, but if you could squeeze in a road trip from Sandpoint to Helena/Ennis, you would get an excellent impression of scenery and availability. Pick up flyers in real estate offices along the way.

Quick suggestion: Fly into Missoula, take 90 west to Coeur d'Alene and go north on 95 (you might also fly into Spokane--that's usually cheaper than Missoula). Check out Sandpoint, and drive further north on 95 to Bonners Ferry. Then take Highway 2 through Troy, Libby and Kalispell to Whitefish and Glacier. Keep going on 2 to Browning, and then head south on 89 and 287 to Helena. From Helena you can continue on 287 to Three Forks and Ennis. Then head back (don't miss Virginia City) on 90 to Missoula. If you fly into (and out of) Spokane, the trip back can be spectacular. Take 93 north from Missoula, and head west on Highway 200 through Thomson Falls, Heron, Clark Fork and Hope to Sandpoint. 200 will take you along the Clark Fork River, with the towering Bitterroots to the south and the Cabinets to the north, and further along Lake Pend Oreille. Then back on 95 to Coeur d'Alene to Spokane on 90. (I love planning road trips! I do it every year! ) That is a 5-6 day trip, but I'd set a week aside if possible.

A shorter version would be taking 93 north from Missoula to Kalispell, over Glacier and Browning to Helena etc. That could be done in about 3 days, I guess.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:02 AM
 
12 posts, read 4,902 times
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Thank you all for the input. A long road trip wont be possible in June, Ill probably be only able to dedicate 4-5 days at it and I most certainly want to be out hiking and climbing as much as possible as compared to being stuck in a car!
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Old 04-25-2019, 03:56 PM
 
4,512 posts, read 4,461,643 times
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You can vacation, do recon on a relocation or both. They are sorta related but they are different and both take time. If you have 4-5 days and a lot of it is going to vacation, then not a lot of it is going to direct recon of a relocation.
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Old 04-29-2019, 11:15 PM
 
180 posts, read 148,188 times
Reputation: 336
I built my last home for a client in Marion Montana west of Kalispell in 2015. Last i heard it was for sale for $875,000. 3 bed 3 bath, nothing fancy on 40 acres of basically scrub. It nearly burned in a wildfire 2 years ago. After spending over 12 years in Northwest Montana i called it quits. Prices are RIDICULOUS and wages honestly suck. My business insurance as an independent contractor was getting close to 8K a year and that was WITHOUT work comp! Just 2 trucks and equipment. I pay right at $2,500 for the same policy limits here in Wisconsin. I would honestly look at Idaho if your hearts set on the west. Cheaper land and way more business friendly. Good luck!!
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