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Intro to Bozeman

Realities of moving to Montana

by Liz Nitz

While searching around for comments on moving to Montana, I found this article from Smart Asset.  https://smartasset.com/mortgage/15-things-to-know-before-moving-to-montana

I think the points in this article are accurate and reflect our experience of moving from Seattle to Bozeman in 2016.  Give it a read and feel free to contact me to discuss more in depth!

 

Montana is known for its natural beauty. You may have seen scenes shot in Montana if you saw the films “A River Runs Through It” or “The Horse Whisperer.” Broad swathes of the Montana country is not just beautiful but empty. The state’s population density is the third lowest in the country, behind Alaska and Wyoming. If that sounds like the perfect escape to you, here are 15 things to know before moving to Montana. 

1. You’ll want to get out into nature.

Montanans tend to be an active bunch. Being an outdoor enthusiast is the norm here. Of course, many Montanans work outside, as ranchers, farmers or in the oil industry. But even those with office jobs jump at the chance to get outside for hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, canoeing and more.

2. Public universities are a good option here.

Montana State University (MSU) and the University of Montana are both well-regarded public institutes of higher education. If you have kids or you’re thinking of going back to school yourself, it’s good to know that the public options in Montana are a solid choice. If you’re moving to Montana for an early retirement, you can take university classes by obtaining Lifelong Education Status at MSU.

3. Population density is low.

Did we mention Montana has a low population density? If you’ve never lived in a sparsely populated state before, you’re in for a surprise. You can drive for long stretches on empty roads or settle down in a home that’s miles from its nearest neighbor. Depending on your preferences, that may sound ideal to you.

4. Skiing and snowboarding reign supreme.

15 Things to Know Before Moving to Montana

Winter sports are huge in Montana. The state boasts 15 ski areas and resorts, including the famous Big Sky Ski Resort, with 5,800 acres of ski-able land. The active Montana lifestyle doesn’t stop during the winter months. The big divide isn’t between skiers and snowboarders – it’s between those take part in winter sports and those who don’t.

5. Winters are freezing.

Montana winters are extremely cold and feature unpredictable temperature swings. Between November and March, Montana’s temperature swings between 50 degrees above zero and 50 degrees below zero. If you’re moving to Montana, it’s important to dress for the weather and keep a winter survival kit in your car.

6. Montana is politically divided.

There’s a big urban-rural divide in Montana and the divide shapes the state’s politics. The state’s three electoral college votes are solidly Republican, but Montana’s senior U.S. senator is a Democrat. Like many states, Montana has more conservative rural areas surrounding liberal cities.

7. Ranching is alive and well.

15 Things to Know Before Moving to Montana

Montana has more cows than people. Agriculture contributes roughly $4 billion to Montana’s economy and livestock makes up about half of that. If you’re moving to Montana in search of the cowboy lifestyle, be aware that ranching is a tough business with slim margins. However, you’ll be in good company if you decide to devote yourself to agriculture. According to the Montana Department of Agriculture, there are 28,008 farms and ranches across Montana.

8. Hunting and fishing are huge in Montana.

Even those who don’t work in agriculture may source some of their food outdoors, in many cases from hunting and fishing. Both are popular activities in Montana, where gun ownership and appreciation of the outdoors are strong cultural values. If you’re considering getting into hunting and fishing, be sure to obtain the proper licenses and store your firearms safely.

9. You’ll probably want a car with four-wheel drive.

Montana’s tough winters and chewed-up rural roads make a four-wheel drive more of a necessity than a luxury. You don’t want a car that will slide off the road during a blizzard or get stuck in your driveway when you’re running late for work. Whether you buy or lease, look for a car that can handle Montana’s winters.

Check out our cost of living calculator.

10. Housing is scarce.

It can be tough to find housing in Montana, which is why, if you’re moving to Montana, it’s a good idea to have at least a temporary rental lined up before you go. In many parts of the state, families and individuals struggle to find affordable housing. For example, according to the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce, about 83 percent of the workforce of the city commutes into Big Sky every day because they can’t find affordable housing in the city.

11. Wildlife is a part of life. 

15 Things to Know Before Moving to Montana

In Montana, run-ins with beautiful creatures like sandhill cranes (or dangerous creatures like rattlesnakes and bears) are par for the course. Managing the deer population is always an issue in Montana, too. If you’re buying a home with a garden, you may need to take steps to protect it from local wildlife.

12. It can take a while for trends to make their way to Montana.

That hot new ingredient the hip restaurants in New York, Chicago or San Francisco are pushing might not trickle over to Montana for a couple of years. The same goes for fashion trends, in part because practical, weather-appropriate clothing is more of a priority for Montanans. If you’re used to a lot of the amenities of big-city living and staying on top of trends is important to you, moving to Montana may require an attitude adjustment.

Related Article: The Cost of Living in Montana

13. Craft beer – including home brewing – is big in Montana.

15 Things to Know Before Moving to Montana

Like many Western states, Montana boasts a big craft brewing scene. According to the Montana Brewers Association (MBA), there are 53 licensed breweries in the state. The MBA says that the state’s breweries “employ more than 500 employees and have an economic impact of over $60,000,000 annually.” Home brewing is big, too, and kits are available throughout the state.

14. People are friendly.

Montanans wave to people they pass on the state’s country roads and chat with strangers in cafes and diners. If you’re moving to Montana from, say, the Northeast, you might be surprised by how warm and friendly the people are.

15. It’s wise to be self-sufficient in Montana.

15 Things to Know Before Moving to Montana

In Montana, particularly in rural areas, you might run into problems like a power outage after a storm or a car battery failure in freezing temperatures. It’s important to have basic survival supplies in your home and car (but you don’t have to go full-on doomsday prepper). But Montanans also rely on their neighbors, so don’t be surprised if you get on a knock on your door asking for help.

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2316 Gallatin Green Boulevard 17, Bozeman, Montana 59718

2316 Gallatin Green Boulevard 17, Bozeman, Montana 59718

3Bedroom(s)
2Bathroom(s)
1,530Sqft
Beautiful 3 bed 2.5 bath 1530 square foot condo with an attached 2 car garage. This unit features gray cabinets, white hard surface countertops, stainless steel appliances for a great modern feel. Wonderful location close to walking trails, parks, gym, Costco, Target, etc. 3rd bedroom does not have a closet but seller with work with buyer and show them options. AC is an available upgrade.
$445,000

3271 Warbler Way A, Bozeman, Montana 59718

3271 Warbler Way A, Bozeman, Montana 59718

3Bedroom(s)
1Bathroom(s)
2,614Sqft
Introducing Skyline Vista, a luxury condo community located on the park in Cattail Creek. With over 2600 +/- sq. feet of living space these 3 bedroom condos live large with a long list of premium upgrades. First floor family room provides a great multi purpose room or office.
$775,000

289 Heights Circle, Bozeman, Montana 59718

289 Heights Circle, Bozeman, Montana 59718

3Bedroom(s)
2Bathroom(s)
0.61Acre
2,011Sqft
Custom Home with Additional Income Apartment and a Separate Office Space on .61-acres across from a 5-acre park! This home, built by Dan Jones, has a vaulted ceiling with alder stained trim and door package. The extra-large kitchen has quartz countertops, ceramic tile backsplash, and stainless-steel appliances. The living room features large windows and a beautiful rock fireplace.
$990,000

2938 Warbler Way 16, Bozeman, Montana 59718

2938 Warbler Way 16, Bozeman, Montana 59718

3Bedroom(s)
2Bathroom(s)
1,392Sqft
Elkhorn Condos are designed by Locati Architects. This is an end-unit 3 bedroom condo located near shopping and public transportation, trails, ponds, playgrounds. All bedrooms are located upstairs. There is a one-car attached garage. The main level includes a galley kitchen that opens to the dining and living room.
$445,000

102 N Chouteau Avenue, Bozeman, Montana 59718

102 N Chouteau Avenue, Bozeman, Montana 59718

3Bedroom(s)
2Bathroom(s)
0.23Acre
1,920Sqft
This home is calling you! It's centrally located with great access to all things 'Bozeman'. This is where neighbors come over for a 'backyard movie night' and sidewalks are filled with chalk drawings and people chatting. The outside has very nice curb appeal. The lot has plenty of mature trees and garden boxes. AND, how about your own water well for lawn and garden irrigation.
$699,000

3124 Augusta Drive, Bozeman, Montana 59715

3124 Augusta Drive, Bozeman, Montana 59715

3Bedroom(s)
2Bathroom(s)
0.25Acre
1,948Sqft
Located between downtown and the Bridger Mountains across the street from the Bridger Creek golf course, this single level home backing up to open space boasts an open floor plan and vaulted ceilings. The spacious living room features a gas fireplace and large slider out to your back deck to enjoy the views.
$850,000

986 Cassandra Ln Unit A, Bozeman, Montana 59718

986 Cassandra Ln Unit A, Bozeman, Montana 59718

3Bedroom(s)
2Bathroom(s)
1,769Sqft
BACKS TO OPEN SPACE! This condo feels more spacious due to its ideal location. Easy access to trails, parks, schools, and shops! Unit has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths and a 1 car garage.
$610,000

120 Kimball B, Bozeman, Montana 59718

120 Kimball B, Bozeman, Montana 59718

4Bedroom(s)
2Bathroom(s)
2,433Sqft
This charming 4 bedroom, nearly 2500sq/ft, condo is not one to miss. The beautiful kitchen features granite counter tops, and plenty of entertaining space. The bonus room on the east side of the condo is a wonderful addition to the living space of this home. The 2-car garage has plenty of space for all your toys.
$695,000

3155 Cattail A, Bozeman, Montana 59718

3155 Cattail A, Bozeman, Montana 59718

3Bedroom(s)
2Bathroom(s)
1,535Sqft
Great end unit in duplex building, with all new paint and carpet. Located in an established neighborhood with open space, trails, parks, ponds, and views. This place is move-in ready and awaiting your personal touches. Great light with lots of windows in this open main level floorplan with half bath on the main level.
$499,000
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