Missoula Area Real Estate and Community News

Sept. 26, 2017

The Art of Negotiation - Gone Wrong

So, I'm not really a person to hold back what I think most of the time. While I do have good judgement in most cases when to bite my tongue, when it comes to doing my job and educating buyers and sellers it's a different story. We are hired to do a job, and with that comes expectations (at least in my mind) that we educated and guide our buyers and sellers. I'm saying this due to a REAL WORLD example that we had happen recently to one our buyers - they chose to negotiate and it did not work out in their favor.

Here's the situation:

1. We had a buyer under contract on a home in Missoula County under $250,000 on about 1.5 acres. It was their neighbor's home and they wanted it for a rental. Great situation as it was slated to produce about a 7.6% return. As you can see, homes under $250,000 with a minimum of 1 acre in Missoula County are very TOUGH to come by - Under $250,000 with 1 Acre

2. We submitted a full price offer on the 1st day, and were able to get our offer accepted! Easiest part of our jobs at times:)

3. Our buyer is very familiar with the home, however, we elected to still have an inspection done on it. There were some items that came up on the inspection - as with any home. 

4. At this point, our buyer wanted to negotiate on some inspection items and rightly so. There were some electrical issues that came up which were a pretty big deal. However, our buyers were TOO aggressive with how much they asked for on a price reduction. Let's just say the percentage of the price reduction asked for equated to 5.2% of the overall price - I told our buyers this was TOO AGGRESSIVE and you're going to make the sellers mad.

5. Meanwhile, this home was categorized in the MLS as "under contract accepting back up offers". Meaning other agents and buyers could still submit offers. Well it happened during our inspection contingency that they received another offer.

6. We had a deadline of 5PM on a Wednesday to come to agreement on terms. While we asked for 5.2%, the sellers had verbally countered they would do a price reduction equating to 1.7% of the overall price. Long story short, our buyer wanted more than that - closer to 2.5%. 

7. Our 5PM deadline came, and I did not hear anything from the other agent. Guess what happened? They received another offer and accepted it. Because we did not come to terms by 5PM, they had every right to do so as our transaction was terminated. Consequently, our buyers lost out on a great opportunity for an investment property.

I share this story because we see and encounter examples day in and out in our business. Going back to the art of negotiation, this is without a doubt an example of negotiation gone wrong. I literally spoke until I was blue in the face about "playing nice" and "this is too aggressive - you're going to make them mad". Our client did not listen to me, and as a result the deal fell apart.

Sept. 26, 2017

We Got a Hot Tub!

Ok, truth be told we've had a hot tub now for about 6 months. However, I wanted to just give some insight and guidance to those that might be looking for one. I grew up with my parents having one, and it always got a lot of use, so we were looking to have the same for our family. I pride myself on being an educated, diligent shopper, however I'll be honest I made one call and that was to Bull Frog Spas here in Missoula and upon talking with Ben the owner, I was sold on their product. Here's what sold me:

1. Jet Pack technology - it's easy to switch or adjust any of their jetpacks for comfort. 

2. Utility Bill increase - I don't know the exact study or the exact specifics behind the technology they use, but Ben told me that Bull Frog spas use about 90% less plumbing than conventional spas. I wasn't real thrilled about having to spend an additional $20-$40 a month on our energy bill. I'm told that annually our spa should cost roughly $100 which seems to be about right when looking at our energy bill and cost of chemicals and maintenance.

3. Lightweight - Because Bull Frog spas use 90% less plumbing, they are light compared to other manufactures on the market. Meaning, if we even move and choose to take it with us, that's a good thing! 

4. Bigger is better - At least it is for us. With 3 little boys and their friends that like to get into the hot tub, we want plenty of room. We actually initially purchased an R6, which is supposed to be rated for 6 people, but at 6'2" I feel it's more comfortable for 4-5 adults. So, we asked Ben about swapping for an R8, and he gladly did so. It's rated for 8 people, however, I feel it's closer to 6 adults and we're extremely happy with it!

Anyway, below is a picture of our tub, and if you're ever in need of one - Ben and his crew at Bull Frog Spas are the guys to see!

June 1, 2017

Recent Sold Properties - The Schaefer Team

When it comes to hiring a Realtor, or in our case Realtors to get your home SOLD, there are so many factors in place. We pride ourselves in getting top dollar for sellers in the shortest amount of time possible! With a team in place, along with systems in place which include tremendous technology - we're here to work on your behalf. Below are some recent sold properties that we wanted to share with you. If you have any questions on what we do, and how we can help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us - Contact The Schaefer Team.

March 7, 2017

Get Your Home Show Ready - 4 Days or Less

I wanted to share this information, as we recently went through it with our first home in Monroe, WA.  We purchased a home in 2005 as new construction, and as was typical with new construction, it did not come with any landscaping except for the front lawn had some sod laid down (square footage was minimal). Meaning, we were responsible for additional landscaping, interior painting, blinds and any additional improvements we wanted to make. In short, this home is near and dear to my heart because of all the work we put into it! I won't bore you with all of the details, but here's what I did in 4 days to get maximum dollar for our home. I ONLY had 4 days because I began on a Monday, our renters still had 2 days to move out, and we wanted to get listed by Friday! Mind you, we had renters in our home for the past 8 years, and I was not 100% sure what I was walking into, but overall they did a great job of keeping it clean. But the lesson here is there is a big difference between clean and SHOW READY.

  1. Before I get into everything, please understand I was able to do this on a vacant home without kids running around, so that allowed me to fully maximize my time. And it certainly helps with the finished product in keeping it clean!
  2. My first step was to take every light fixture off and clean them in the sink. Not something many home owners get around to often, much less ever. 2 hour project - minimal cost.
  3. I then took off all the bathroom fans and cleaned them in the sink as well. 1 hour project - minimal cost.
  4. I also took the time to clean and replace any wall outlets in the homes. Cracked or broken wall covers don't look good and they are so cheap at $.28 each. I replaced about 10 of them in our home. $3.00 cost.
  5. There were also several white heater registers on our floors that had noticeable wear and tear on them. These are easily found at Lowes and cheap as well. I replaced 4 of them. 30 minutes - $40 cost.
  6. Next I began with painting. This was by far the largest undertaking. We had a total of 9 rooms in the home, of which several had been painted by renters (which was not supposed to happen). Matching paint was by far the biggest challenge! I must have found 25 different cans of paint that had been used in the past 12 years. I knew the 10-12 colors we used, but finding the colors and matching the ones renters used was another story. Of the 9 total rooms, I completely painted 6 of them. 1 in particular took 3 coats of paint because it was a light blue color, and I wanted it to go back to a base white. Overall we painted the following rooms: 2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, and 1 bonus room. The other rooms we also had to use touch up paint for nicks and scratches. I spent a lot of time at both Sherwin Williams and Lowes getting paint. 20 hour project - $400 cost on new paint and paint supplies.
  7. Washing all windows and mirrors was the next step, and honestly I did not get to all of them as I wanted - mainly the exterior of them as well as the screens. Although, it was only a couple of them. 3 hour project - minimal cost.
  8. Vacuuming and then dusting all baseboards in the home was another project that I did. Having that shine plus the nice smell was something I found would be important. 2 hour project - minimal cost.
  9. I did hire 2 people to help me out, one of which was a hard working 20 year old. His job was to assist with the exterior of the home which included removing and hauling away branches that had fallen down, cleaning up any garbage that was around the home, and then sweeping the exterior where cob webs might be present. I paid him $150 for 10 hours of work and he did a great job. 10 hours labor - $150 cost.
  10. My other assistant was my brother in law, and he was a HUGE help. After we got the exterior cleaned up, I enlisted him to pressure wash the back deck (trex), garage, and driveway. This was probably a 4 hour project for him. He was also a huge help in painting the interior with me among many other items. 20 hours labor - $300 cost.
  11. We cleaned the entire kitchen (mainly refrigerator, cabinets, and oven). I always encourage folks when they get ready to list to look behind and under major appliances. You'll be surprised with what you find! One should probably do this more often than when you get ready to list your home too. We probably spent 3-4 hours cleaning the refrigerator and oven - both to be honest, were very dirty under them and took a ton of scrubbing. 8 hour project - minimal cost.
  12. The swiffer was one of my best friends. I did all of the laminate floors (kitchen/dining and bathrooms). A great asset when going to clean your home for show readiness. 4 hours labor - $50 cost.
  13. I purchased beauty bark for our backyard, and we put down 12 - 12"x12" pavers as well to enhance the look of the exterior. The pavers we had already purchased so my cost was just the beauty bark. 15 bags - $50 cost.
  14. I've been in lots of homes, and the smell is always something that I notice, and clients do immediately. There are a variety of smells obviously - pets, smoking, food, candles, fragrances, etc. I really like to try for a happy medium, meaning a nice smell of fragrance but not TOO much. So, I purchased 2 fragrance plug ins, and they had settings of 1 (least) to 5 (most) and I set them at 3. I did my best to find something that wasn't too overbearing. $10 cost.
  15. The last thing we did, and this is a must in my opinion is to have the carpets professionally cleaned. It took our guy 2 hours and was well worth the investment. $200 cost.

There were obviously many other items that went into the process, but these are the major items. Having not been in our home for 8 years, I quickly re-learned every nook and cranny within it, including the crawl space where I had stored some items. 

You can try and add up my time/labor/costs above but it's probably easier for me to give a rough estimate.

  • I was there for almost 4 days = 96 hours
  • Of those 96 hours, I rarely slept (the last evening I went to bed at 4AM and woke at 6:30AM). So, I probably put close to 80 hours of time into cleaning.
  • I estimate my cost of cleaning items and paint supplies to be $1,200
  • Labor cost was $450
  • One can add in my own labor, but I chose not to. However, expense was incurred due to meals and fuel, which I'll estimate to be $500 for my 4 days. I had free lodging so that helped out. 

Here's the best part! We originally spoke with our Realtors 6 months prior to listing, and had them send us comps once a month. We had thought of a listing price around $360,000, $370,000 or even $375,000. However, after 3 days of cleaning, and knowing the end was near and what our home would like, I spoke with Alana and our Realtors and told them this was a completely different home than when I showed up. $389,900 was even discussed as a listing price, however, we settled on $379,900. Our home was listed on Friday, and by Saturday we had multiple offers! We are now under contract ABOVE our asking price of $379,900 by quite a bit.

All said and done, while it took my body 2 days to recover from this endeavor, it's one of the best moves a home owner can do when getting ready to sell their home - prepping to be SHOW READY. There's a huge difference between a clean home and show ready home. In order to get maximum dollar, no detail should be spared to get the largest return. If I calculate my expenses - $2,150 and then think of the return on that - considering we were going to list at $370,000 or $375,000 and we're under contract shy of $400,000 - I will take that return on investment all day long!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read about our latest adventure. As always if we can be of assistance with your Real Estate needs, let us know! 




Feb. 19, 2017

New Listing Coming Soon!

Here's your chance to own an awesome home on 1.42 acres, which is conveniently located to Missoula on Highway 93 North by the Wye. It has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and approximately 1,632 square feet. The area also has NO covenants! Priced at $259,900, and going live in the MLS on Wednesday, February 22nd, this one is sure to draw a lot of attention in our fast moving market. Give The Schaefer Team a call for a showing today!


Feb. 16, 2017

1290 Thunders Trail - Coming Soon!

We will be listing this custom home on February 22, 2017. Located on 20 acres, it's the perfect combination of privacy and convenience being that it is a 30 minute drive to Missoula. With 3 bedrooms, 3-1/2 baths and over 3,200 square feet, it has tremendous appeal. There is also a brand new 24x24 exterior shop that has been built and can be utilized for a variety of purposes such as - wood working, a home office, or guest quarters. The list price of this home will be $700,000. Please see below for a variety of links including a virtual tour. If you'd like to schedule a showing, please contact The Schaefer Team!




Feb. 7, 2017

Missoula County Public Schools

We obviously work with a lot of families that have children who are in school, and therefore location can play a very important role when looking for a home in Missoula. There are some really great resources online that can be used from the Missoula County Public School District that we wanted to pass along. Please keep in mind, that as of the publishing of this post, most elementary schools in the district are at capacity. Thus, it is imperative to make sure you call the school district directly for more information about enrolling your child/children in a specific school. 

Here is link on the MCPS website that gives boundaries - MCPS Boundary Map

I personally prefer the following link. It allows you to put in the address of a specific home, whereby it will give you the elementary, middle, and high school that your child would be attending. Plus it has bus schedules and stops - MCPS Bus Schedules and Stops

Hope this helps, if there's anything we can do to assist, please feel free to give us a call - Contact The Schaefer Team

Jan. 20, 2017

Right Now Buyer Needs - January, 2017


  1. Married couple/empty nesters looking in the Missoula area - University DistrictSouth Hills/Pattee CanyonTarget Range, and potentially the WYE. Cash buyers up to $400,000. Looking to move within the next 6 months. HAVE SHOWN THEM 10-12 HOMES AND STILL SEARCHING
  2. Cash buyer looking for a log home under $300,000 in BonnerPotomacClinton, and potentially the Frenchtown/Huson areas. Would like to be away from neighbors and Interstate 90/Highway 200 within a reasonable distance. Ideally, the perfect place would be 20-30 minutes to Missoula. Ready to purchase immediately! STILL SEARCHING
  3. First time buyer qualified up to $200,000 who is looking for a minimum of 1 acre. Owns his own business and needs room to put equipment. Looking within 30 minutes of Missoula in towns such as FlorenceStevensvilleFrenchtown, Bonner/Turah/Clinton areas. Ready to purchase immediately! STILL SEARCHING
  4. Investor open to multiple options in the Missoula area - single family home, fixer upper, townhouse or condo (so long as they don't require owner occupancy). Looking up to $300,000 and will be buying within the next 6 months. STILL SEARCHING
  5. Married couple who moved here and looking up to $250,000. Prefer low maintenance townhouse or condo. Open to a variety of areas in Missoula. Will be buying within then next 3-6 months, they are currently in a short term rental. UNDER CONTRACT
  6. Up to $700,000 buyer looking for acreage near Missoula, no more than 15-20 minutes. Ideally the property would be set up with a shop and ready for horses, although the shop is not a necessity if one can be added at a later date per the covenants. Will be buying in the next 3-6 months. STILL SEARCHING
  7. Cash buyer looking in the $500,000-$700,000 price range anywhere from Hamilton to Missoula. Would like some acreage. Will be buying within the next 30-60 days. STILL SEARCHING
  8. Family of 5 looking for a single family home (4+ bedrooms) in Missoula - up to $300,000 but would prefer more in the $250,000 range. Not afraid of a little TLC or even slightly larger projects. Will be buying within the next 3-6 months. STILL SEARCHING
  9. Family looking for up to $350,000 home in Target Range or potentially South Hills/Linda Vista. Would like a property with mother-in-law suite or potential to convert. ADDED 1/20/17
  10. 1st time buyer looking for 2+ bed/2+ bath under $225,000 - open to various neighborhoods in Missoula. ADDED 1/20/17.

Alana and myself are actively looking for these clients, however, if you know of a home, or own a home that is potentially a match - please give me a call at 406.493.4262 or send an email to jason@missoulaareahomes.com.

Posted in Buyer Wants
Jan. 20, 2017

Missoula Market Update - January, 2017

I'm a numbers guy, and it's our job to educate our clients on what is going on in the market. Here is information pulled directly from our MLS and as reported by the Missoula Organization of Realtors:


2016 | 1,242 sales | $256,600 median sales price | 135 average days on market
2015 | 1,206 sales | $239,900 median sales price | 127 average days on market
2014 | 1,107 sales | $227,000 median sales price | 159 average days on market
2013 | 1,173 sales | $215,125 median sales price | 169 average days on market
2012 | 938 sales | $209,000 median sales price | 192 average days on market
2011 | 742 sales | $203,500 median sales price | 200 average days on market


2016 | 1,615 sales | $255,000 median sales price | 149 average days on market
2015 | 1,563 sales | $238,900 median sales price | 139 average days on market
2014 | 1,408 sales | $227,000 median sales price | 173 average days on market
2013 | 1,472 sales | $217,000 median sales price | 178 average days on market
2012 | 1,190 sales | $206,950 median sales price | 202 average days on market
2011 | 964 sales | $205,000 median sales price | 208 average days on market

If you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us!

Dec. 11, 2016

New Amphitheater In Bonner

Citizens of Missoula and those around Missoula got some awesome news today with the announcement of the KettleHouse and The Wilma partnering to build a 4,000 seat amphitheater in Bonner. 

I love seeing the advancement and creativity of small businesses in Missoula, and this is yet another example of it. Clients often ask us what people in Missoula do for work, and I tell them entrepreneurship is a large part of what make Missoula run and thrive.

If you've ever been to the Gorge in Washington or Red Rocks near Denver, they envision this setting to be similar, albeit on a smaller scale. Having been to the Gorge for several concerts in the past, I can tell you these amphitheater settings are truly awesome.  Excavation has already begun and concerts could begin next summer, where it's anticipated to host 15-20 concerts a year. It will have 3 tiers which includes room for 600 people standing, reserved seating for 1,050, and general admission can fill approximately 2,350. The permanent, outdoor structure will make it very unique for our state.