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Old 12-13-2009, 04:09 AM
 
Location: Pluto's Home Town
9,986 posts, read 12,419,864 times
Reputation: 5650

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Howdy,

Checking back in to the Montana locals. I posted a few weeks back about Bozeman, but had second thoughts because my wife is scared of the cold and I am afraid it is another overpriced boomtown. But everything I hear about the city suggests it is still a great place to raise a child and enjoy the outdoors. Once again, if I went there, I'd be teaching at MSU. So, I would have a good, but modestly paying, gig. My wife works in human resources.

So, the questions. How do you deal with winter there, and how would a couple S. Oregonians cope? I am guessing, we would deal with about two more months of winter, with more sun, and some bitter spells. True? And summers would be nice.

Also, is it possible to buy a home there yet without all the real estate bubble garbage keeping prices in the stratosphere? Are you still overrun by Californians? We certainly are here in Ashland, so I would not want to sell my tiny house here for another overpriced shack out there. Seems like that could be a risk. Ideally, I'd like to get a nice solid home in a good neighborhood for under $250k. Is that still possible? Also, is there more to the local culture than exurban poseurs? We are nearly completely overrun with Volvo-driving, yoga, buddhist, vegan, pagan, hippy types around here, telecommuting from their $700k feng shui palaces. I really don't mind them, but it would be nice to meet someone who did NOT make a killing in Coastal California. They live in a different reality from me, a working stiff. I just want a decent deal in a nice place, not competing with the bubble bandits.

In any case, if I get an offer from MSU, I will need ammo to convince the better half. Your advice is appreciated!
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Old 12-13-2009, 10:33 AM
 
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 12,611,631 times
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You need to bring her on a visit to check out the very different areas of Montana. No doubt she will fall in love with one of the areas you visit and will be pestering you to hurry up and move with her here.
Bozeman is a bit pricey but so is Whitefish and Bigfork.You can get modest fixers not shacks for less than $50k east of the divide (in small towns mostly). I know of a house that we may look at in a few days that is $25k asking price and if there is nothing really bad we may try and buy it.
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Old 12-13-2009, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Pluto's Home Town
9,986 posts, read 12,419,864 times
Reputation: 5650
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickers View Post
You need to bring her on a visit to check out the very different areas of Montana. No doubt she will fall in love with one of the areas you visit and will be pestering you to hurry up and move with her here.
Bozeman is a bit pricey but so is Whitefish and Bigfork.You can get modest fixers not shacks for less than $50k east of the divide (in small towns mostly). I know of a house that we may look at in a few days that is $25k asking price and if there is nothing really bad we may try and buy it.
Thanks rickers. I don't have too much choice about things. Bozeman is the only place with the professional (acadmic) job. I would love to come out that way, maybe this summer I'll head over for vacation. I agree, she would find it lovely.

Funny about the $25k house. I was chatting with a 20 something kid on the Pittsburgh forum a month back who paid cash for an $11k house. My kingdom for that type of opportunity! My primary concern with Bozeman is that, like here, house prices will have nothing to do with local wages. That, by the way, is my beef with the Californians. Nothing personal, I just cannot compete with funny money. And the in the inflated areas, valuations are not trustworthy. People will go on about how far they have dropped, but they still have little relation to local wages, IMO. Sounds like that is much less the case in E. Montana, which is good for you.

Last edited by Fiddlehead; 12-13-2009 at 11:19 AM..
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Old 12-13-2009, 11:56 AM
 
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 12,611,631 times
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Yes we were able to buy a mobile home in western Montana but only on the rez. It is really hard to pay off a property in western Montana on the regular working guy's pay rates. I moved to Montana with the two thousand bucks I saved up for years working as a machinist in San Diego. No saving account no CDs and no credit cards just the two grand in my wallet. Now we have one place paid off, 8 more years to pay on our commercial building, (it pays for itself) and now we are shopping for another rental property.
Get it while the getting is good, there isn't much time left until the economy cycles back up and the bargains will evaporate.
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:03 PM
 
Location: NW Montana
6,258 posts, read 13,485,475 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiddlehead View Post
Howdy,

Checking back in to the Montana locals. I posted a few weeks back about Bozeman, but had second thoughts because my wife is scared of the cold and I am afraid it is another overpriced boomtown. But everything I hear about the city suggests it is still a great place to raise a child and enjoy the outdoors. Once again, if I went there, I'd be teaching at MSU. So, I would have a good, but modestly paying, gig. My wife works in human resources.

So, the questions. How do you deal with winter there, and how would a couple S. Oregonians cope? I am guessing, we would deal with about two more months of winter, with more sun, and some bitter spells. True? And summers would be nice.

Also, is it possible to buy a home there yet without all the real estate bubble garbage keeping prices in the stratosphere? Are you still overrun by Californians? We certainly are here in Ashland, so I would not want to sell my tiny house here for another overpriced shack out there. Seems like that could be a risk. Ideally, I'd like to get a nice solid home in a good neighborhood for under $250k. Is that still possible? Also, is there more to the local culture than exurban poseurs? We are nearly completely overrun with Volvo-driving, yoga, buddhist, vegan, pagan, hippy types around here, telecommuting from their $700k feng shui palaces. I really don't mind them, but it would be nice to meet someone who did NOT make a killing in Coastal California. They live in a different reality from me, a working stiff. I just want a decent deal in a nice place, not competing with the bubble bandits.

In any case, if I get an offer from MSU, I will need ammo to convince the better half. Your advice is appreciated!
Hi FH
Ok here we go.
1. the weather: I can honestly say that coming from PDX I never thought I would be able to deal with this weather. However it is true that you adapt. You spend more time inside. You wrap up and get to where you need to go. You have common sense when driving.
2. Perhaps rent for a while. No reason to buy in an overinflated market.
3. Now honestly we had snow and ice up into May of this year. This is more than two months.
4. Winter sports are big, snow machines, sking, lots of driving in the good months.
5. Visit and visit more than once, good luck!
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:42 PM
 
Location: Pluto's Home Town
9,986 posts, read 12,419,864 times
Reputation: 5650
Thanks Seven of Nine,

I would guess Montanans would get bored with folks asking about whether it is cold..grin... Kind of like asking if S. Arizona is hot! Just trying to get different ways to think about it, and learn how people adjust.

I meant two months more than S. Oregon. We get snow down here, and a bit of ice, but only in midwinter (Dec.-Jan.). So I guess you would be talking 3 months more cold, at least.

Winter sports do look fantastic in the Bozeman area!
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Old 12-13-2009, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Orlando, FL
317 posts, read 994,351 times
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Bozeman winters are cold, no doubt about it. It is a dry cold which helps some. And it's sunny a lot in the winter. It might be -10 outside but a beautiful clear day. The sun helps out a lot too.

I graduated from MSU-Bozeman and it's a nice school. One thing I would encourage you to look at is housing prices. Some of my engineering professors complained that housing was too expensive.
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:23 PM
 
Location: SW Montana
352 posts, read 1,051,014 times
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Housing definitely sucks here, but there are a few "bargains" around lately and I bet more after we get into winter a bit. This winter's going to winnow quite a few out around here.

Best bet might be to drive a little; I-90 cuts through the center of the valley making a commute from Belgrade, Manhattan, or Three Forks a reasonable alternative. I have seen condos drop some, down (in some cases) below 150k which is still plenty for some of them. The real estate market here has been weaving and staggering; lots of names have disappeared from the roster. I haven't noticed prices dropping a lot, but that actually bodes well for a person getting a more reasonable price and having a chance at some appreciation over the years.

Spend some time on the MLS, visit once or twice, and get a feel. You're going to find some of what you have there, but there is a core of folks who are trying their best to hang onto the essence of what we care about. We've always had a mixed bag of people here, heavier on the newcomers as of the last few years. Many don't get out much or care to walk the less traveled paths, so remarkably there's still quite a bit that hasn't been trammeled by the J. Crew and sushi crowd.
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Old 12-13-2009, 11:14 PM
 
Location: Pluto's Home Town
9,986 posts, read 12,419,864 times
Reputation: 5650
Thanks for the candor folks! Yes, sounds like the best way to end up with with appointment with the judge would be to lie about the weather. It sound pretty nice to me. I love the rockies weather. I could grit my teeth and give her a $1000 winter wardrobe allowance for some great winter gear and she might go along. Desperate measures...:] All those LL.Bean and Early Winters catalogs I now try to throw in the recycling before she sees...How about the warm seasons. Looks like summer temps are pretty nice. How soon can you get up into the hills? Do you get some ripping thunderstorms? I miss those out here, but we get a few.

How do you all garden? Do many folks have a greenhouse/cold frame and plant out in early June? Can you squeeze out a tomato, or is that a dream? If not, what do you do? How about woodlots? Can you grow any trees there with a skiff of irrigation? Or is the water only for fightin?

And for outdoors, I am assuming you can head into the Bridgers right after work on some days for hiking, mountain biking, and running the dogs? Any other cool places nearby? I love to fish, but I am more into the catch anything these days with my 6 year old son. No epic flyfishing is needed, but might be of interest in the future. I don't presently hunt, but might be persuaded.
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:56 AM
 
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
1,154 posts, read 4,166,116 times
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Bozeman is utterly fantastic for outdoors. I don't hunt or fish but I do hike and there are trails all over the place. Trails in the Bridgers and Gallatins too - as well as 'urban trails' around town, which are a very nice touch. I suppose you could do some hiking even in the middle of winter although I wait until May.

My grandfather lived in Wisdom, MT and planted all sorts of stuff in a greenhouse. Wisdom is in one of the highest valleys in Montana and as such has a growing season of about one week... no joke or exaggeration. He seemed to do fine there so hey.

We do get thunderstorms although they're usually not much IMO. Did get a nasty one a couple summers ago that dropped golf ball sized hail. Snow is more of a regular thing - constant snowcover from Dec through March, with a fairly constant parade of little snow storms coming through during the winter months. Bigger but less frequent snows in fall and spring. Averages a bit under 100" per year - about the same as Buffalo NY. Starts snowing in late Sept or early Oct and snows straight through April/May/sometimes June. Belgrade, Manhattan, and Tree Forks get way, way less snow; avoid them if you enjoy snow. Our winters are longer than they are cold.

Last edited by NYMTman; 12-14-2009 at 02:07 AM..
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