What It’s Like Appraising During a Montana Winter

Now that spring is just around the corner, it has me reflecting on what it’s like to appraise homes during the winter months in Montana. While every appraisal job is unique, there are a few challenges that are specific to this time of year that can make the job more difficult.

One of the most obvious challenges is the extreme weather changes. Montana winters can be harsh, with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures making it difficult to travel from one property to the next. In some cases, I’ve had to reschedule appointments due to dangerous road conditions or extreme cold. This can be frustrating for both myself and the homeowner, but safety always comes first.

Another challenge is the impact that winter weather can have on a property’s  condition. Snow and ice can cover up important features of a home, such as the the roof, the patio, or landscaping features. It can also block entry into outbuildings, depending on how much snow buildup there is and whether or not the home has been maintained throughout the season. This can make it difficult to accurately assess the home’s overall condition, which is a key part of the appraisal process. Additionally, the cold weather can cause pipes to freeze, which can lead to costly repairs if not addressed quickly.

Just in general, it’s harder to get around the exterior of a house when there is snow and ice cover. Many homes are built into the side of the mountain here, and they often have multiple sheds to inspect, so you’re likely going to take a spill at one time or another down a hillside. Hopefully without an audience. I try to dress appropriately, but the weather changes so much from minute to minute, you could be able to get an inspection done in a t-shirt one day, and need hand warmers and plenty of layers the next day.

Overall, appraising houses in the winter in Montana can be challenging, but it’s part of the job and definitely keeps things interesting. By taking precautions to stay safe on the roads and being thorough in our assessments, we can provide accurate and reliable appraisals that help homeowners and buyers make informed decisions about real estate. The slower market in the winter can provide a good opportunity for buyers to negotiate a better price for a home.

If you’re looking into becoming and appraiser in the area, make sure you get yourself a nice pair of boots, proper clothing, and keep some emergency items in your car for long trips! And if you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the area, we have a team with three amazing agents who would be happy to help you with any of your questions. Reach out to us at Moving Montana!


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