How's the Market? My answer-What do you think?

Real Estate Agent with Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN

I'm really glad people relate to me as a Real Estate Person, at least I've been successful in getting that message out.  The message that's getting a little harder to communicate is the answer to the most frequent question I get asked-How's the Market?

I'm always wondering - why do you ask?  Especially before I blurt out an answer:question about the Billings Montana Real Estate Market

  • You want a local Real Estate Market opinion?
  • You're hoping I'll give you a different answer than what you think the market is like?
  • You want to know if I'm making any money?
  • You want to know if you can sell your home?

My answer right now is an attempt to get to the bottom of the reason for the question, and not to assume I know why the question was asked. 

So I ask right back "What do you think?"

In reality, most people want some reassurance that the home they currently own, didn't go down in value.  If they bought it in the last 4 years, maybe it did go down in value, maybe not, just depends, (doesn't it always depend?).

Our volume is down, anywhere from 20% to 40% of what it was 2 years ago. 

Some of that volume is easily attributed to the decrease in folks wanting to move to this wonderful place, Billings Montana, from some other part of the country.  Interestingly, when they sold their home, in some other part of the country, they made a killing on the sale and want to invest in our market, maybe even thinking it was the next little gold mine.

Well this is a gold mine, and yes our prices increased, maybe more than they should have, but we didn't have a whacko increase in prices, and I don't think we will in the future either.  And thank goodness for that! 

The gold is in them thar hills and valleys? it's the way of life, the romance and charm of "small town with really long streets".  A stable market makes this place even more attractive, and livable.

So how's the market you ask?  Well, I think it's just the way it should be, for now.  When people want something, they usually buy it, if they can afford it that is.


Posted by

The Quilting Realtor

Wanda Thomas

Many Dream Of Living In Montana

I'm One of the Lucky One's That Already Do!

Wanda Thomas

Call or Text 406-698-8640 for help with all things Montana.

Local MLS Search Link



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Carrie Sampron
Home Smart Realty Group - Highlands Ranch, CO
ABR SFR & Kathy Sampron (303) 931-3629 Highlands R

Wanda:  Love your perspective.  Carrie

Sep 12, 2010 12:24 PM #21
Wanda Thomas
Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN - Billings, MT
Billings Montana Real Estate

Woody, to hush and listen is really important, especially since sometimes I can really be a motor mouth.

So many times I feel I need to be "on guard" for "the sky is falling" and get my defensive hat on.

Sep 12, 2010 12:30 PM #22
Wanda Thomas
Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN - Billings, MT
Billings Montana Real Estate

Peter, to stay positive and focus on what matters to the person asking the question welcomes more conversation. 

Sep 12, 2010 12:34 PM #23
Wanda Thomas
Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN - Billings, MT
Billings Montana Real Estate

Bob, I think you're exactly right, engage the person asking the question in a positive way.

Marte, I love Priest River, what a beautiful place!  And you are so right about the affordability of a home.  This happened in 2 parts of our State of Montana to the extreme, the Flathead Valley and parts of Bozeman Montana.  Those areas have had the highest increase in prices and the steepest decrease in prices.  Luckily Billings just hangs in there, but prices could go down over the winter I think.

Sep 12, 2010 12:42 PM #24
Wanda Thomas
Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN - Billings, MT
Billings Montana Real Estate

Deborah, LOL the soup kitchen thing is exactly what some of my friends want to ask.  I think it's cause some people relate the Real Estate business to riches, therefore, if the business is down (and so newsworthy as you point out) we must be going broke.

Sep 12, 2010 12:48 PM #25
Wanda Thomas
Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN - Billings, MT
Billings Montana Real Estate

Pete, a question with a question seems the easiest way to get to the right answer!

Gene, I agree that it's hard to tell people what the future holds (check my crystal ball?).  There are some good buys out there though, and some deals to be made.  I hope buyers aren't saying "if only" in a year or two!

Randy, conversation yes, get the other people talking and you may find a way to help them or someone they know.

Stevie, I had a Real Estate Coach tell me to always have 5 facts ready to grab on a moments notice.  Preparing for those questions that may come right after the "how's the market"

Sep 12, 2010 12:54 PM #26
Steven Pahl
Keller Williams Tampa Properties - Tampa, FL
Real Estate Consultant Tampa, FL 813-319-6423

I always answer "It's Great! How can I help you?"  Then let them do the talking.

Sep 12, 2010 01:10 PM #27
Jon Quist
Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996

Answer a question with a question. What any good psychiatrist will do. And what do we do sometimes? Pretty much the same things. Discovering the motivation for a question is really important.

Sep 12, 2010 01:52 PM #28
Alan M. & Associates (
RE/MAX Crest Realty - Vancouver, BC Canada - Vancouver, BC

I'm with you when it comes to putting everything in perspective.  People buy and sell all the time.  Good times and bad times, life still happens. :-)

Sep 12, 2010 02:37 PM #29
Todd Anderson
You In Park City group - KW Park City Keller Williams Real Estate - Park City, UT
Park City | Deer Valley Real Estate


I love the Gold Mine analogy. I feel the same way about Park City, UT. Things that made people want to move here before the economy changed remain the same and if you add in the value of time in the equation, it may be even more desirable.

Sep 12, 2010 02:46 PM #30
Mike Mayer
Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC - Lafayette, LA

I would NEVER answer a question with a question. When someone asks me, "How's the market" I ALWAYS respond with, "It's dynamic" and pause. Usually the person asking will further the conversation and hint at the motive.

Sep 12, 2010 04:16 PM #31
Jayson Holland - Denver, CO
Jay Holland

Well what I would like to say is: "Hey don't point those loaded questions at me!"  But really the answer is a combination of most of the above, a comment on the low interest rates will usually generate more of a conversation as well. The goal of speaking to prospects is to get to the next level right? You want them to become a client, so you have to get involved in a 2-way conversation, develop some rapport, and find out what is motivating their asking you. Is it only casual conversation, or do they REALLY want to know?  I love that question! 

Sep 13, 2010 05:37 AM #32
Stuart Colvin
Royal LePage Meadowtowne - Georgetown, ON

Good idea for an answer, might get more out of them that way also.  I totally agree with you, its such a broad question...never know if peole are asking about me or the market.  But hey, talking to people is always good!  In Canada our situation is a bit different, people think it's slowing down here because August was quiet (typically slower) and we had such a crazy first quarter.  I find the media really blows things out of proportion and basically forecasts what is going to happen because they program it into peoples minds...this is why it's important to get info on a local level, not a national level

Sep 13, 2010 06:33 AM #33
Erica Keiter

I like that, I think it gets people to talk more, then you can find what they are really interested in

Sep 13, 2010 09:06 AM #34
Monica Atherton
eXp Realty - Georgetown, TX
Your Georgetown Real Estate Gal

By asking a question back to them, you find out what their motivation is for asking their question.  Are they buying, selling, now of someone who is looking to do either.....Your answer should vary depending upon the angle that they are coming from.  GREAT answer!

Sep 14, 2010 06:15 AM #35
Kathie Burby
Coldwell Banker Mother Lode Real Estate - Sonora, CA
REALTOR, SFR, Tuolumne County Real Estate Guide

Wanda - Great post. The post and comments have given me more ideas on how to answer the oft asked question "Hows the market?" Lately, I get the impression people expect me to say the same things they hear on the national media. When I don't they always act surprised! I explain how our market is so varied it really does depend on the what & where but homes are selling especially when priced correctly.

Sep 19, 2010 11:28 AM #36
Jenifer Lower
Bozeman Montana Real Estate .net - Bozeman, MT
Your Dream. Our Passion.

Great post and insight!

Sep 20, 2010 10:20 AM #37
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

Hi Wanda,

I respond with "It depends which market...if you want a condo in DC, then <status>, but if you're looking for a wonderul home in Alexandria, the <status>" and I can string that along for a few;

I'd rather they asked about the market than asking how I feel about the Washigton Redskins, because asking about the market allows for a conversation which can go in so many ways, to my benefit.

But I like Jim's(#1) response, which, is so correct. I'll have to always ask for an email so I can follow up to the verbal discussion.


Sep 22, 2010 02:41 PM #38
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Great post Wanda. I treat this question as an ice-breaker and lead the conversation from there. You have some really good comments!

Oct 15, 2010 05:21 PM #39
Wanda Thomas
Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN - Billings, MT
Billings Montana Real Estate

Thanks for the great comments.  I think we'll always have this question from our friends, family and clients.  It's good to listen first, to "get a clue" as to why the question was asked.

Oct 19, 2010 03:58 AM #40
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Wanda Thomas

Billings Montana Real Estate
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