How would you describe the community and its residents?
Billings, to me, can best be described as a growing city with the small-town feel of Montana. I grew up in the ag community, and I can still feel its influence on Billings in the way folks treat each other, the way we do business together, and the way we help our neighbors.
As a growing city, it is not without its challenges, but I truly believe that the people of Billings aspire to make this a great place to work, live and enjoy. From friendly faces at my favorite coffee shops, breweries, and restaurants, to meeting new people moving here to start careers and families, I feel like there is no better place to be.
What has kept you in Billings?
For us, it has been being close to family, while still having the opportunity to grow in our professional lives. My wife and I were both raised in the area, and the majority of both of our families still live here. Jess has been able to grow and pursue her professional goals and passions within the non-profit community of Billings, and I have been able to start and grow a successful small business.
There may be other cities with different opportunities, but, for us, the ability or be close to our families while still finding professional success has kept us here.
What advice do you have to give to someone looking to buy a house in Billings?
Billings real estate has been historically stable, and that is one of the main points that I try to get across to potential clients. We may not see the highest % year over year growth as some of the other cities (Meridian ID average sales price has increased 94% from 2010-2020, Pueblo, CO has increased 57%, Rapid City SD increased 96%) Billings saw an increase of 32.4%, yet we also don't see the constriction in home prices that some of the other boom/bust areas have.
With the consistent, steady growth of the city, real estate is as safe a long-term investment in Billings as you will find anywhere in cities of comparable size.
What are the top 5 questions people ask you in your industry? How do you answer them?
Is it a safe investment? As with any investment, there is always a risk, but, historically, real estate in Billings has been a very safe, and profitable long-term investment. As we enter 2023, we have seen a slight pullback from the height of the market in 2022, as the average sales price year to date is $372,307, down from $377,670 during the same period of 2022. However, if we look at the growth from just 3 years ago, the average home price was $260,898. Barring a major economic turndown, there are much worse options out there than investing in real estate in Billings.
What areas of Billings are best to live in for young professionals? This is dependent on so many factors, but I always coach my clients through a pre-buying process that includes what they really want and need in a home. If it's walkability and access to downtown amenities, there are multiple areas that fit the bill. If someone wants to be a bit more rural, have chickens and goats and some land, there are options for them. The real estate offerings in Billings are diverse and offer something for every lifestyle.
Where is your favorite area of Billings to live? We have lived in, or very near Downtown since 2016. We love being able to walk down to festivals, food and events, having a ton of great parks nearby, and still only being 10 minutes from the far west end where Jess works.
What do you see happening in the next 3-5 years in Billings? I am very bullish on the future of Billings. I have seen some amazing plans and heard some amazing ideas for the continued growth of the city and area. The pandemic really shined a light on the importance of where you live, and I think Montana, and Billings, have benefited from that. Showing folks that you can have all of the access and amenities of a larger city while living in a town the size of Billings. As more and more people discover Billings, it will drive businesses to consider relocating and putting down roots here. I feel like we are 1 or 2 smart moves from some very very amazing things happening here!
For those newer to the community, what are a few best-kept secrets in the real estate market in Billings?
Another thing that I always coach my clients on is finding a home and putting down roots. Visit the local coffee shops and restaurants closest to you. Get to know the people operating in and around the place you call home. Every area has its hidden gems, and Billings is full of amazing people ready to help you.
For, me, personally, I don't want to spill the beans on everything, but we love hitting Roots Garden Center for the coffee and the gnome scavenger hunts. We love visiting different local shops and supporting small business owners, and we love spending free time with our amazing friend group, many of which aren't from here but have chosen to stay and put down their roots.
What sets Billings apart from other Montana cities?
This is a hard one for me because I haven't lived in many other places. It always comes back to the people and the places. Yes, every town has amazing people doing great things, but Billings feels like a small town with access to more. There are people doing great things in the arts, in business, and in life, and nothing, or no one, seems out of reach. If you want to get involved, there are always options to volunteer, network, or gain access to what is important to you.