Tipped Employees Can Purchase a Home in Bozeman – Here’s How!!

Yes, Tipped employees can purchase a home in Bozeman! Do you get a significant amount of your income from tips?  Do you want to own your own home but think you can’t qualify for a mortgage?  I have good news!!  With some planning and careful documentation, you can definitely purchase a home and even qualify for low down payment programs.  Following are the very important steps to get you on your way to home ownership.

Steps for Tipped Employees to qualify for a mortgage

  1. Track your income including all of those tips! Get in the habit of logging your tips daily and then depositing them in the bank on a regular basis.  Regular means daily or at the most weekly.  Your lender will want to see these regular deposits to verify your income.  Try and keep a log of your shifts worked and how much you earned in tips and then deposited.
  2. Pay taxes on all of your income including all of those tips! I know that you can probably get away with not paying taxes on everything (cash tips) but the income that you state has to square with the taxes that you pay.  No way around it.
  3. You will need to show a consistent work history. That means that you have earned enough money at your job for 2 years and preferably in the same job for at least six months.  So find a place that you like to work and that you earn enough money, and then stay there.
  4. Because the lender will look at your debt to income ratio, put off any other big purchases until your home is closed. That means no new cars…and while you are at it, pay off the credit cards asap.

There are so many low down payment programs out there to help you purchase your first home.  Some are below:


Low Downpayment Programs

There are VERY generous programs out there to help with qualifying the first time homebuyer for a purchase with a low downpayment.

  1.  FHA loan program: A loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Good for those with low credit scores and little money saved for a down payment.  https://www.hud.gov/buying/loans
  2.  USDA loan program: A loan program 100 percent guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for lower-income borrowers in eligible rural areas.  https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-guaranteed-loan-program
  3.  VA loan program: A loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs that allows no down payment for military personnel, veterans and their families.  https://benefits.va.gov/homeloans/
  4.  Good Neighbor Next Door buyer aid program: A HUD program that provides housing aid for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and teachers.  https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/reo/goodn/particip
  5.  Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan program: Conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac require 3 percent down. Good for those with strong credit.
  6.  HomePath ReadyBuyer Program: A program that provides 3 percent in closing cost assistance to first-time buyers. Must complete an educational course and buy a foreclosed Fannie Mae property.
  7.  Energy-efficient mortgage program: Backed by FHA or VA loan programs and allows borrowers to combine the cost of energy-efficient upgrades onto a primary loan upfront.
  8.  FHA Section 203(k) loan program: Borrow the funds needed to pay for home improvement projects and roll the costs into one FHA loan with your primary mortgage.

For daily information about mortgage rates, check out this site http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/

Currently, mortgage rates are super low and prices are still affordable so you can purchase a home in the Bozeman area.  Read more here about how Bozeman fared during and after the Covid closures.  https://movemetomontana.com/2020/06/15/bozeman-real-estate-rebounds-after-covid-closures

Tipped employees, this is your time to purchase a home in Bozeman!  Please reach out and schedule a consultation and start the process today!!

Posted on June 21, 2020 at 1:11 pm
Liz Nitz | Posted in Uncategorized |

Bozeman Real Estate Rebounds After Covid Closures

Wow Bozeman, what a month! No one was sure what would happen to the Bozeman real estate market during and after the Covid closures.  We found out this week that Bozeman real estate rebounded decisively.

Where we came from…April

In my April report, we saw the full effect of the Covid restrictions and concerns about what would happen to the market and home values.  Our single family home listings were down by over 50%. Pending sales were down 26.8% over April of 2019 and closed sales were down over 55% over previous year.  Prices however were still increasing.  Our inventory of homes to sell to buyers who were still looking dropped to 1.8 months.  More information on April here: https://movemetomontana.com/2020/04/14/bozeman-and-belgrade-real-estate-trends

And then May…Bozeman real estate market rebounds from Covid closures

With Montana starting phase around April 26, the switch flipped and as a result we have a very different picture reflected in our May numbers.  Our listings are still not what they were last year. But they have significantly increased and as reflected in the pending numbers, they were then put under contract pretty quickly.  Closed sales naturally are still running behind last year as that comes from the pended sales from March and April.



Where are we headed?

I did an open house over the weekend.  It was very well attended with qualified buyers.  Some were new to the area and some were current residents but wanted to buy property before prices went up even further.  I was amazed at how much energy there was about the growth of Bozeman and effect on housing supply and pricing.  Bozeman is voting tonight on whether to annex an area in South Bozeman.  While not many people are happy about development in that area, we are going to desperately need more housing for all of the people who want to live here. https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city-commission-to-vote-on-annexation-zoning-for-south-bozeman-development/article_bc701bb0-b9ae-5541-bb6f-57546483cd63.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook&fbclid=IwAR37M0klgSxFLxkGvVpDr8XIRV0PwoVv7-nEtOG8hd7H46K6rHT9wpGQ6rA

Please reach out to me to learn more about the market or the value of your home!

406 499 4218 or liz@windermere.com

Posted on June 15, 2020 at 4:27 pm
Liz Nitz | Posted in Living in Montana, Real Estate in Montana, Uncategorized |

Bozeman and Belgrade Real Estate Trends

I hope that this blog finds everyone well out there.  The people of Gallatin County have done a good job of being responsible with their interactions and keeping the Coronavirus at bay.  We have also done an even better job of reaching out to others and helping those who need it.  I have seen so many great examples of our caring community including food deliveries to those who have been laid off, people purchasing gift cards to support local businesses, even a man with a guitar singing to seniors outside their windows. Hopefully we don’t have much longer of our home isolation and can look forward to a great summer together.

Some of you are probably wondering, what has happened to the Bozeman and Belgrade real estate market?  Have home values dropped thereby decreasing your equity?  I know that after your health of yourself and loved ones, the economic consequences of this crisis have got to be paramount in your mind.

You may be surprised to learn then, that the real estate market is holding its own.  I have made some tables below to illustrate.  The categories for this blog post are single family homes in all price ranges and the three tables represent Bozeman City Limits, Bozeman Outside City Limits and Belgrade.


Bozeman City Limits

In this table, we see data from Bozeman inside city limits.  New listings for March are actually up over last year.  Closed sales are also in line with last year however most of those sales would have been signed in late January or February.  The slowdown here can be seen in Pending sales.  A few reasons for this – People are hesitant to look at homes now, sellers are requesting initial showings by video and we did not have the normal influx of out of towners for spring break and house shopping.   Our inventory has increased a little but prices have remained firm thus far.  We are still at a pretty low inventory level as real estate markets go.

Bozeman – Outside City Limits

Below are the statistics for Bozeman Outside City Limits.  This is a little different of a situation.  Here we see increased listings over last year and even increased pended sales in the month of March.  Closed sales have slowed slightly but the interesting number is that Days on Market has decreased by 30 days in March and is down even year to date.    Inventory is up a bit as I would expect due to our recent situation and the difficulty in getting out.


Next up is Belgrade.  Belgrade is just booming with development and home sales.  We see increased inventory over last year and increased pended sales and a year to date increase in closed sales.  Days on market has decreased reflecting plenty of buyer activity.

Thus far, real estate is still moving, thanks to Governor Bullock allowing us to continue our work with people needing homes.  Home loans are still available at good rates and we have not seen pricing decreases.  April’s numbers will be very enlightening as our sales will have been affected by the March stay at home time order.

Keep an eye on my blog at http://MoveMeToMontana.com for updates and more information about the Bozeman area.

Data is from Gallatin Realtors and Big Sky MLS.  https://gallatinrealtors.com/

Stay strong, stay distant and stay healthy!  We got this.

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 8:36 pm
Liz Nitz | Posted in Uncategorized |

Pricing Trends in Belgrade – Good news here!

As promised, I have put together a follow up to my post about Price trends in Bozeman and have applied a similar analysis to just single family, condos and townhomes in Belgrade. Compare these notes to my Blog about Bozeman Pricing trends published on 11/15.  I had to change the price parameters a bit because the majority of homes sold have lower prices than those of Bozeman homes.

In the first graph below which represents homes sold for 300K or less, we see townhomes and single family home prices leveling out a bit in the second half of 2019 while townhomes have actually taken a little jump in the past few months.  In the second graph which represents home pricing from 300 – 400 K, we see single family homes pricing fairly flat this year with even a slight decline.  Condos took a big jump at the beginning of the year and then leveled out.  In the last two graphs, there are no sold townhomes or condos over 400K and we see mostly flat or decreasing prices in single family homes over 400K.

An interesting note and juxtaposition to pricing as it relates to supply and demand, is how many homes are on the market in each category.  In the less than 299K category, condos and single family home listings for sale have decreased by 20 and 40% respectively this year but townhomes have increased by 25%.  In the 300-400K category, single family home inventory was at 39 homes which indicated a rise of 39.3% and perhaps leading to the softening of the market pricing in that category.  Inventory in the 400-550K category also increased by 66% however that means from 7 home to 15 homes available.  In the over 550K category, single family home inventory has increased by 10% but that’s only about 3 homes.  My advice to a buyer would be to utilize the VERY low mortgage rates right and go look at  single family homes.  There is enough inventory for sale that I think you would do well in a negotiation.

These numbers reflect sold pricing.  Remember that Montana is a non disclosure state so only licensed real estate professionals can access accurate data.  If you would like to dive deeper into market trends, please reach out and let’s have a conversation!  I hope you found this helpful – please pass it on!!




Posted on November 25, 2019 at 4:19 pm
Liz Nitz | Posted in Real Estate in Montana, Uncategorized | Tagged

3 Great Brunches in Bozeman – From someone who doesn’t love Brunch

While some people look forward to sleeping in on Sunday and then rolling out to a cushy brunch and imbibing bloody marys, mimosas, and tons of carbs, my family takes a more measured approach to Brunch.  Being self employed, it is hard to ever be completely “off”, but Sunday is a day for us where we usually get in our toughest workout of the week first, then go eat before moving onto the plan for the day or some work.  I know, we are so boring…

So we like the brunch drinks but we also need some decent protein to go along with those yummy carbs.  Following is my family’s list of favorite brunch spots that meets our criteria…

Tanglewood. https://www.tanglewoodmt.com/  We love this place.  It hasn’t really caught on yet as a brunch spot but it will.  We think there is a little something for everyone here – satisfies the traditional brunch person as well as someone looking for something a bit more savory and they even have a healthy option or two. There are fun drinks here if you want to fancy up a mimosa and the bloody mary comes with lots of yummy accoutrements. The atmosphere is inviting and lively but not loud which is lovely.  Our favorite dishes are the Salmon salad ( incredible, always perfectly cooked and a bargain for the price), the Liege waffle, and the duck sausage.

Jam. https://jamonmain.com/  Well Jam is the other end of the spectrum in terms of crowds.  Everyone knows about Jam and that includes people who are just passing through.  So unless you are there before 9 am on Saturday or Sunday, expect a wait.  The good news is that the Jam crew is really good and efficient at what they do so the tables will turn over and you will be seated in the time they tell you.  They provide coffee at the host stand so you can take a cuppa and go stroll Main street while you wait.  Jam only serves the breakfast menu on weekends but there are enough protein oriented and savory dishes to satisfy us.  Our favorite menu items here are the Mia Benedict, the Puerco Verde Crepes, Vegetable omelet and a personal favorite, the gluten free banana pancake.  Also have to give kudos to the daily specials and the bacon!  Fun list of drinks here – my personal favorite being the Pink drink but they also offer kombuchas and a nice selection of Townshends teas.


Barley and Vine. http://barleyvinemt.com  Barley and Vine is a cozy brunch spot – more appropriate for small groups than a large one.  Food here is always good and we tend to go here if we are more in the lunch mood than the breakfast mood.  We LOVE their burger, I think the best in Bozeman, complete with a homemade English muffin and served with real frites (skinny , crispy fries).  There are breakfast type items here including fresh made doughnut holes, omelets and a great chicken and waffle dish.  Beverages here include a great wines by the glass offering as well as mimosas and beers.


We love to try new places and we are somewhat critical as I was in the restaurant business for 20 years and our daughter is in the restaurant business with hopes of opening her own place here in Bozeman.  Our opinions are our own but we’d love to know what you think!  Reply back with your favorite brunch places and we will check them out.





Posted on November 8, 2019 at 10:43 pm
Liz Nitz | Posted in Living in Montana, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,