Earth Day at Home

By Tim Ford, Real Estate Broker

Since is first inception in 1970, many Americans have been celebrating Earth Day on April 22nd. There are opportunities to help with clean up activities around town and many use it as a time to reflect on ways to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle. As green grass begins to peak out, April can also be a great month to look around the home for some energy efficient upgrades. Not only will these upgrades help the Earth, but they can also add value to the home and decrease monthly utility costs.

NorthWestern Energy has been offering home energy audits for years, but now they’ve rolled out a new program offering the audits virtually. Called the E+ HomeEnergy Check, it starts with a free packet and includes a live video chat with an energy expert. A personalized report will include detailed tips on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency. For more details and an informational video, do an online search for NorthWestern Energy E+ HomeEnergy Check, or call 800-823-5995.

Depending on the age of your home, it may be worth adding additional insulation to the attic. When adding insulation to an attic, it’s also worth insuring there is adequate ventilation coming up from the soffits and exiting out through the ridge. This not only helps keep the home cooler in the summer, it can also prevent damaging ice dams in the winter.

Check for gaps or air leaks around exterior windows and doors and use spray foam, caulk, and weather stripping to seal up any openings. Not only will it help eliminate drafts and air leaks, it will also prevent moisture intrusions.

In addition to having the heating system serviced regularly to ensure it’s operating at peak efficiency, consider installing a programable thermostat. Make a note on your calendar to change out filters at their recommended intervals. And if you own rental property, remember to have the heating system serviced there as well. 

 As old lightbulbs burn out, there are a lot of new lightbulb styles, including LEDs, that use considerably less electricity than older types.

For those wanting to make some big changes, consider solar panels. Some experts believe they can be paid off in 7 years or less based on the money saved on electric bills. This number could actually be lower depending on the future costs of energy and doesn’t take into account any added value in resale. There are still tax credits in place, but they are decreasing.  Congress has been making changes to the credit, so be sure to check with your tax advisor, but the most recent info I could find is that for systems installed in 2020-2022, tax payers can deduct 26% of the cost, with no maximum. That number decreases to 22% in 2023. It is currently set to expire in 2024 unless Congress renews it.  There are also loan programs available where one might be able to line up the new loan payments with the amount they’re currently paying for electricity, which could effectively add solar with no change to monthly expenditures.

No matter whether you make small changes or big, its likely you can increase your home’s value, decrease your monthly expenditures and live in a more Earth-friendly manner.

As usual, I have included home sale data. In addition to the 91 homes sold during the first 2 months of this year, another 87 homes are currently pending, or under contract, as of the date of writing this article. This compares to 73 pending sales at this same time last year.

The included data reflects sales of single family homes in the greater Bozeman area, including Four Corners, Gallatin Gateway, Bridger Canyon, and Bozeman city limits. The data includes home sales reported through the local Big Sky Country MLS, and does not include private party sales, Condominiums, or Townhouses. 

2022 Real Estate Market Data

January 1st through March 1st, 2022 

Data for Single Family Home Sales

Data for trailing 6 months, Sept 1st through March 1st

  2020 2021 2022
Total Sales – Bozeman 420 509 440
Median Sales Price $500,000 $639,700 $815,000
Average Sales Price $628,578 $833,255 $1,162,060
Average Days on Market 64 49 27
Median Days on Market 29 8 11

Total Sales – Bozeman

January 1st through March 1st

Year # Homes Sold
2004 68
2005 81
2006 74
2007 68
2008 48
2009 38
2010 50
2011 59
2012 81
2013 83
2014 76
2015 95
2016 102
2017 116
2018 115
2019 97
2020 113
2021 106
2022 91