Located in southwestern Montana, Hamilton is known for its local breweries and vibrant downtown. It is the seat of Ravalli County with a population of 4,723 based on 2019 census estimates. Its idyllic setting in Bitterroot Valley makes it one of the most desirable places to live in the state. Here’s what you need to know about the housing market and working with a Realtor in Hamilton, MT.
Brief overview of the Hamilton, MT real estate market
Bitterroot Valley is a seller’s market with incredible price growth and tight inventory. It’s a competitive market with buyers paying over the list price for the most desirable homes and making blind offers from out of state.
Median sales price increased from $302,000 to $435,000, up 44% in Q1 2021 compared to the same time last year, according to data from Ravalli County appraisers and agents. The housing market was in full swing with tight inventory and record-setting sales.
- The Bitterroot Valley had a month and a half of inventory, which translates to roughly 56 homes for sale each month. A balanced market typically has six months of inventory.
- Agents sold 167 homes in Q1 2021 compared to just 130 the previous year. It exceeds the previous record for the largest number of home sales in the first quarter, which was 147 homes sold in Q1 2018.
Homes are spending fewer days on the market. Some homes recieve offers on the day they’re listed. Most homes are being purchased by out-of-state buyers who make offers based on real estate photos.
Why now is a good time to sell your home in Hamilton, MT
This is an excellent time to sell in the Hamilton area because buyers are willing to pay over market price to clinch the deal. The most desirable and best priced properties receive multiple offers in the same day. The tight inventory partly contributes to buyers’ eagerness to offer over list prices.
There has also been more demand for high-end properties in the valley. Agents have sold 17 homes worth more than $1 million in Q1 2021 compared to just four in Q1 2020. 38 of 108 active listings in May 2021 cost more than $1 million, making 38% of the housing market. There were also 32 active listings in the $500,000 to $1 million price range.
In the Hamilton area, some of the lower priced homes fall between the $285,000 to $315,000 price bracket. There were roughly 100 home sales in the zero to 40-acre property size range with a median sales price of $350,000.
Vacant land prices are also going up. According to agents, empty subdivisions are filling up with new construction homes to meet the demand for housing. In 2019, there were 40 land sales ranging from one to two acres and a median sales price of $67,700. This year, there have been 31 land sales in the same size range and a much higher median sales price of $78,900.
Higher prices and strong demand are being driven by migration from the western states. Early retirement and the ability to work remotely during the pandemic have encouraged buyers to move to cities like Hamilton in the Bitterroot Valley.
Requests for relocation information were up 25% compared to 2020, according to a representative of the Bitterroot Chamber of Commerce. Many of these inquiries came from visitors hoping to move out of California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Washington State. The Chamber of Commerce received inquiries from 39 states as well as overseas locations like the Virgin Islands and Mexico.
One of the biggest draws of living in the valley is that it provides access to open spaces and public lands, which is not always available to residents in highly urbanized areas. Buyers are willing to pay a premium for the clean environment, natural scenery, and quality of life.
Why is it important to work with a Realtor in selling your home?
Although Hamilton is a seller’s market, sellers should plan ahead and make important preparations to maximize profits from the sale. This is why working with a Realtor in Hamilton, MT is crucial.
The role of a Realtor in selling a home
The main role of a Realtor is to facilitate the sale of your home and ensure a smooth transaction. They assist clients in the following areas:
- Pricing – Perhaps one of the most important roles of a Realtor is to help clients price their home accurately. Correct pricing will help you sell your home faster and help you avoid costly price reductions if the listing goes stale. A Realtor will determine the best price range for your home through a comparative market analysis (CMA). The CMA is a report that gives Realtors a better idea of the home’s market value based on recent relevant data.
A Realtor can also take other factors, such as unique property features and provenance, into careful consideration when determining how much to sell your home for. Working with a Realtor will help you stay objective when pricing your home. They will support their proposed price range with data and market reports to ensure accuracy.
- Staging – A Realtor can help get your home ready to sell. They can provide home staging tips and refer you to staging companies. While it’s possible to stage smaller properties on your own, it is more advisable to work with a professional home stager when selling larger high-end properties.
- Listing – Realtors will put up your listing while making sure that the property details are correct. They will also take charge of producing high-quality photos and videos to capture buyers’ attention.
- Marketing – Once your listing is up, the Realtor will make sure it’s visible on major real estate websites, the multiple listing services (MLS), and their own company site and social media accounts. This will help gain maximum exposure for your listing.
- Negotiations – Working with a Realtor will make it easier to choose the best offer. They will also protect your interests during negotiations. They will act as a buffer between you and the buyer to keep negotiations amicable.
Benefits of hiring a Realtor
A Realtor can help you make more profit from the sale. Agent-assisted home sales net more profit than for sale by owner (FSBO) transactions, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers states that agent-assisted listings had a median sales price of $295,000 compared to $217,900 for FSBO homes.
A Realtor will save you time and energy. According to NAR, homes spent an average of 39 days on the market, from listing to closing, in August 2021. Homes can spend fewer days on the market in in-demand areas like Hamilton. However, selling a home is a full-time job. A Realtor will make themselves available to buyers, answering inquiries and processing paperwork around the clock. This allows you to focus on work, business, or family while waiting for your home to sell.
What to look for in a real estate agent
When selling a home, choosing an agent is one of the first things you’ll need to do. Here are some of the most important steps to finding a Realtor in Hamilton, MT.
Steps in finding the right Realtor for you
Compare real estate agents online. A quick Google search will turn up some agents in your area. Look at their reviews to see how previous clients have rated them. Check their site to see the kind of listings they handle.
Get referrals. Ask friends and family for referrals if they’ve successfully worked with an agent in the past. They will be able to give you a more open and authentic review of the agent’s performance.
Check out the local housing market in person. It never hurts to do a bit of research. Checking out the local housing market will give you an idea of how much homes sell for. This allows you to match the information against a prospective agent’s marketing claims.
Interview at least three agents. Shop around for an agent and set consultations with your top three picks. Consulting with prospective agents will give you a better idea of their communication style. It also gives you the opportunity to ask questions about the selling process.
Ask the right questions. When interviewing a prospective agent, ask them if they’ve sold homes similar to yours and for how much. It’s also important to know whether or not they work full-time. A full-time agent can devote more of their time and resources to the selling process.
Explain your communication preferences. Everyone has a unique communication style. Tell the agent how you’d like to be reached, whether it’s through phone, email, or SMS. You can also discuss your expectations when it comes to sales-related communications. For example, you may want to get regular updates on the selling process, or perhaps you’d prefer to be contacted only when there’s an important development in the transaction.
Clarify your motivation to sell. Talk to the agent about your reasons for selling to help them come up with the strategies. For instance, if you’re flipping the home, you’ll want to secure the best price for it. But if you’re selling because of a divorce or death in the family, you may want to prioritize the quick sale of the home.
Discuss your selling strategy and home showings. Once you’re clear about your motivations for selling, you can discuss the best strategy for the sale as well as the schedule for home viewing. This will help you coordinate with the agent and ensure the quick sale of your home.
Agree on all the essential details. When working with an agent, it’s important to see eye-to-eye on the asking price, negotiation strategy, and timeline for the sale. It’s also important to discuss how much the agent will be receiving in commission as well as other fees for their involvement.
Sell your home in Hamilton and the Bitterroot Valley
The right agent will make the selling process less stressful and more rewarding. It takes a genuine and hard-working individual to help you sell a home in Hamilton’s housing market. I’m Lyric Johnson, a local expert. I’m here to help you find the right buyer in this market. You can reach me at 406.381.2245 or Sold(at)LyricJohnson(dotted)com for inquiries. I can’t wait to work with you.