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Old 09-02-2020, 06:43 PM
7 posts, read 1,417 times
Reputation: 15


I recall walking through the neighborhoods of downtown Bozeman last year and thinking it would be a great place to live and raise a family. I know that housing prices are VERY expensive downtown and houses in decent condition go for $1 million+.

Other than the high prices, proximity to neighbors, and usual challenges with owning an older home, what are the other downsides to paying $1 million - $2 million for a home in downtown Bozeman?

Is there nighttime crime, rowdiness, drunkenness, noise, etc. in the neighborhoods a few blocks from Main Street or is it generally very peaceful?

Are there people who sell their places downtown and move to other parts of Bozeman, and if so, what are the common reasons?

Are there people in Bozeman who say "I'd never want to live downtown because _______" and what are the reasons?

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Old 09-03-2020, 02:26 PM
Location: NW Nevada - and the world
716 posts, read 251,703 times
Reputation: 869
I've not experienced that, at least not outside of one or two blocks from Main Street (Mendenhall and Babcock) which MIGHT get the occasional rowdy group making noise after the bars close. You might end up next to a rental that has college students, though many rentals in the downtown area have converted back to single family residences due to the market, and the kids rent all over, even in the new subdivisions. I don't think crime is any more prevalent there than anywhere else in Bozeman, what few burglaries or car clouting ever occur in the area pop up almost anywhere.

Many people end up buying outside downtown because they've given up finding one downtown that would work for their size and price range. I doubt there's many people who are selling and moving out to the new neighborhoods west of 19th. For one thing those densities are by design about the same as downtown, just with more garages and open space parks sprinkled around.

Me personally (married with younger kids but a little older myself, been coming and going in Bozeman since the mid 1990's, rented for a few months at a time downtown on both sides of Main St but never owned a home there), I would prefer living downtown because all other things being equal I really value walkability. My perfect spot would be south of Olive, between Wilson and Church. But now the prices are absolutely bloody ridiculous, and the pandemic has made them even more so. $449k for a 1 bed, 1 bath, 800 sq ft cottage, & north of Main St! Sheesh.

Last edited by alaskaflyer; 09-03-2020 at 02:34 PM..
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Old 09-03-2020, 02:42 PM
Location: NW Nevada - and the world
716 posts, read 251,703 times
Reputation: 869
Originally Posted by jphripjah View Post
Are there people in Bozeman who say "I'd never want to live downtown because _______" and what are the reasons?
"it's too expensive" (true)
"of the college kids" (no big deal, especially these days)
"they're building too many new condos and apartments" (true for the old timers, but not so many that most people would even notice)
"because I want a real garage" (true for most of the original houses, though many of the larger ones have old carriage houses/garages that could be renovated if they haven't already.)
"there's not enough parking" (true on some streets if you don't have a real driveway or alley-accessible parking on your lot.)
"I don't want to be close to awesome legacy city parks and the vibrant downtown because I hate life" (true!)
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Old 09-13-2020, 10:28 PM
186 posts, read 199,517 times
Reputation: 233
I have lived here for almost 20 years, own a few businesses in town, and am raising a family here. The more I look outside of Bozeman, the more problems I see almost everywhere else. With that said, there are some major downsides of living here.

This place has always been growing, and I can't remember a time thinking, man I should relocate to a larger city, as I may have more opportunity. There are so many ways to make money here for the small business owner. I actually grew my business up here to expand into much larger cities... We just have so many people moving here, that most services are in demand.

But to answer your question:

Politics: We have a lot of people escaping wherever they came from, and bringing all their problems with them. I manage properties so I get to know a ton of people. Most are coming from the coasts. Many of these people move here with the expectation that everyone here is conservative (they are escaping liberals on the coasts). But liberals are moving here faster than conservatives! They may be looking for something different, but it is really themselves they need to change to fully escape their old reality. Let's just get one thing straight, Montana and especially Bozeman is a PURPLE state/city, with a lean towards progressive libertarianism. We judge people by their actions, and respect authority, to the point that we love our police force. I have never had any problems with police, and I know minorities on the force. People please leave your messed up politics where you came from!

Thoughtfulness: This is very intangible. I see a lot of out-of-staters who just don't treat others like humans, and bring all their trash around with them. They will pollute our pristine forests with pallet fires and leave trash, all over the place. I attribute this to their older children and college kids who think we are one big spring break party out here or something. I live near campus, and these kids frequently throw parties until late at night. People who are moving here just aren't mindful of others as much as locals are. Maybe that comes with a sense of community... I see a lot of *******s honking their horns at people these days, when I don't even remember that being a thing in the past. A lot of smug faces, who don't look Montanan. How do I know they are not Montanan? They dress and act and look like their favorite IG influencer, and talk constantly about how in California, they have this and that. It gets sickening. Be more self-aware people, this isn't your previous home, and people here are humans. Many of the problems I see are from teenagers from rich out-of-state families. They drive like idiots, and act like idiots. I've gotten to know so many young kids in this town, who were born and raised here, and these kids have a vastly different kind of respect for nature and humanity. Raise your kids propely so they don't end up like the out-of-state kids. Take them into the mountains, show them the beauty of this place, maybe they will have some more respect for it.

Real estate: I work in real estate. I know everything about it. So let me explain the 20 years I have experienced so far. We are undergoing a heavy process of gentrification. This is because we have very nice things. Parks, trails, playgrounds, the best schools in the state, pristine fresh water from the Mountains, and low low crime. This begets more nice things at the ballot, and so taxes go up. Way up. My property taxes are over $5k/year. People, especially college kids who vote, don't understand that when they vote for a new climbing boulder, that will raise the rents as landlords try to recoup the tax money they need to pay. I add an additional $210/ rental / mth because of taxes. This is on top of the very high price of real estate due to Bozeman's desirability from everything I just mentioned. See the next point for why real estate is also artificially inflated here.

Winter: I don't have a problem with this as much as someone from anywhere south of the Dakotas, or outside a mountain state would have. It WILL get to -30, sometimes -40. In 2018, it was like below 0 degrees for 4-6 weeks. It was pretty unreal, and we were moving snow, removing ice, plowing sidewalks all day long, and I'm not even in the snow removal business. A few roofs collapsed on the MSU gyms (which are now inflatable buildings on campus). After the first snow hits, you will just see cars in the ditch everywhere you go. The city does a horrible job plowing, and my street doesn't get cleared for weeks after a big storm, so much so, that the ice is 6" thick, and will rut out once it starts to melt. 4WD/AWD is recommended, even on paved roads. Many people will move away after their first winter here. This transaction will inflate the value of real estate, as no owner wants to sell for a loss, especially in this town with real estate appreciating at 11% so far this year. Each transaction generates a premium, which is tacked onto the asking price. It's good for my business, but terrible for the homeowners and renters.

City/County administration: I don't know what the hell is wrong with our city council, mayor, and manager. We just had a scandal, a few days ago. The only competent city manager in my 20 years here left because the mayor was verbally abusive. The mayor then had to resign. I mean, wtf? In this day and age? Before her, we had this manager who was hiring out of state lobbyist firms to push their agenda, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. They accomplished nothing. So we forced him out... I think he moved onto Billings or something.

Drugs and drunks: Montana is notorious for drunk driving, and meth. We have billboards on the highways called the "Montana Meth Project". When I first moved here in my early 20's I was even worried. I ran into these drugs all the time doing property management in the early 2000's. It is pretty good in Bozeman, but you can still find methed out crack holes all over the state. There has also been a jump in meth related crimes in the past few years, mostly from the oil fields to the east, as oil rig fools with their giant pay checks come here for a good time on their days off causing all sorts of trouble. The Madison River Taskforce does a really good job busting shipments of meth and other drugs on I90. I am very thankful for them. The police are good in Bozeman, but I still worry about outsiders coming in to sell drugs like meth. Not worried about weed at all, just meth. Also, count the crosses on the way to Big Sky. There is more than 2 deaths per mile on average, not necessarily all from drunk driving, but many are.

Wildfire: This is my biggest problem. We seem to get all the winds from the west coast. They are funneled over the Snake River Plain, where the moisture drops on the high mountains of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and so create a semi-arid climate. Once a wild fire, or like this year the whole West Coast is on fire, we get all that smoke. I get migraine headaches from it, and the smoke particles must clog up my brain and I have trouble putting thoughts together on heavy smoke days. There is no escape from this, as it affects a wide geographical area.

Isolation: This may be solving itself, as we get more and more direct flights to bigger cities, but when I first moved here, I had to choose between driving 8 hours to SLC or Boise for "big city things", or fly somewhere with 2-3 connecting flights. I mean we are just far out. Tucked in the Northern Rockies far away from all the problems the rest of the country has. It may seem nice, but when you have to cancel your kid's eye doctor appointment bec you need to drive over 2 mountain passes in a blizzard really sucks. We are getting more specialists, setting up shop, but there are still major gaps in things like health care, and other services.

Childcare and preschool: Montana has some of the worst childcare in the country and no preschool program funded by the state like many other places. I pay about $500/mth for my daughter's preschool. I honestly don't have a clue as to how young parents are making it these days. The costs are outrageous for a family making $43k/year. If someone can shed some light on this please do... How the hell do you do it? The quality of childcare is like the second worst in the country from what I remember reading.

Wages: Very low. I graduated from MSU and used my degree to work for the CoB. I made $17/hour managing the water system for the whole city. Don't you think you'd want to pay someone responsible for a city's water more to attract a more responsible person? I just quit that and started my own business and lived happily ever after. Again, I don't know how wage workers are doing it. How can someone live here and afford it making a normal wage? What does everyone do? Honestly, everyone I know and work for, has their own business. I do some sales on the side, and routinely get clients who are like we want a home on 1 acre, with a 2 car garage, in a great school district, and I'm like ok, well you will need at least a $1M for that, I never hear from them again.

And I think that's about all I can think of. I hope that helps. I am getting fed up with Bozeman TBH. I don't like where it is headed, but I would never sell my property here. I have many spots in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming which I keep secret from my clients, and I hope they never find out about them. They will be my family's refuge once Bozeman becomes unlivable. Hope that answers your questions!

Last edited by MikeyMike11; 09-13-2020 at 10:40 PM.. Reason: more reasons
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