Down payment assistance available

The federal HOME down payment assistance program is now available to homebuyers in Big Sky. It’s been helping turn renters into homeowners in Bozeman for several years, but only recently came available to buyers looking to purchase Big Sky properties at a capped amount of $272,000 or less.

“If we can get them over the hump of a down-payment, they can afford the monthly payment,” said Brian Guyer with the Big Sky Community Housing Trust. He said many workers in Big Sky are paying more than $1,700 a month in rent, so they’ve shown they can meet the mortgage payment for the less expensive properties now on the local market. 

Guyer said there are around a dozen condos for sale currently in Big Sky and interested buyers could qualify for as much as $30,000 in down payment assistance. That amount is then rolled into a home loan and paid back as part of the monthly mortgage payment. 

Realtor Carrie Radtke with Big Sky Sotheby’s has 155 Aurora Lights Dr. Unit B16 listed for $264,000. It’s two bedrooms, two baths and 1,092 square feet. 

Radtke said properties like these attract locals in the workforce and outside investors. 

“A lot of investors are scooping up the low end too,” said Radtke, who’s seen these kinds of properties become nightly rentals on Airbnb. 

That’s a trend the Big Sky Community Housing Trust hopes to counter with efforts like the down

payment assistance program. Guyer said the trust is working with Big Sky Western Bank to create a similar program with the financing handled locally, instead of through the federal program.

Also in the works on the housing front is a final report based on the recent housing survey. 

“The response to the survey was overwhelming,” said Guyer. “We have over 1,100 responses.” When Vail did its survey, noted Guyer, it only received 600 responses. “It demonstrates how invested in affordable housing this community is.”

Standby for details about an upcoming public event presenting findings from the survey—possibly at the end of February.

For interested Big Sky homebuyers looking for down payment assistance, Roselle Shallah with HRDC in Bozeman said, “There are two stipulations that go along with this process—they attend a homebuyer education class and they meet with me one-on-one.” 

Classes will be offered at Buck’s T4 March 6-7, then again April 30-May 1. They include realtors, lenders and home inspectors sharing their knowledge as guest speakers and impart lots of helpful tips for rookie homebuyers.

“It’s so much more than having a good credit score,” said Shallah. “It’s what are you looking for when shopping for a realtor and a lender? What do you look for in a home inspector?”

Have questions or want to sign up? Contact Shallah at roadtohome@thehrdc.org or call (406) 585-4895.                                                                                                                                                                

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