Real Estate Terminology

Knowing real estate terminology before heading into a real estate transaction can help you communicate with your agent! Here are some noteworthy real estate terms:

Abstract of Title

A complete historical summary of the public records relating to the legal ownership of a particular property from the time of the first transfer to the present.

Agreement of Sale

Also known as contract of purchase, purchase agreement, or sales agreement according to location. A contract in which a seller and buyer agree to certain terms spelled out in writing and signed by both parties.


A professional appraiser’s estimate of the market value of a property based on local market data and the recent sale prices of similar properties.

Earnest Money

A deposit given by the buyer to bind a purchase offer, and which is held in escrow. If the property sale is closed, the deposit is applied to the purchase price. If the buyer does not fulfill all contract obligations, the deposit may be forfeited.


The value of the property, less the loan balance and any outstanding liens or other debts against the property.


Legal right of access to use of a property by individuals or groups for specific purpose easements may affect property values and are sometimes part of the deed.


Funds held by a neutral third party (a title company) until certain conditions of a contract are met and the funds can be paid out. Escrow accounts are also used by loan servicers to pay property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

A type of mortgage loan in which the interest rate does not change during the entire term of the loan.


The amount of money borrowed from a lender to buy a home, or the amount of the loan that has not yet been repaid. Does not include the interest paid to borrow.

Purchase Offer

A detailed, written document which makes an offer to purchase a property, and which may be amended several times in the process of negotiations. When signed by all parties involved in the sale, the purchase offer becomes a legally binding sales agreement.


The right to, and the ownership of, property. A title or deed is sometimes used as proof of ownership of land. Clear title refers to a title that has no legal defects.

Title Insurance

Insurance policy that guarantees the accuracy of the title search and protects lenders and homeowners against legal problems with the title.

Title Search

A historical review of all legal documents relating to ownership of a property to determine if there have been any flaws in prior transfers of ownership or if there are any claims or encumbrances on the title to the property.


Contact your real estate agent to start your real estate venture today!

Our Code of Ethics

The National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice

Over 100 Years Since Adoption

Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization. REALTORS® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership. They require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment. Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce. They impose grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty to which REALTORS® should dedicate themselves, and for which they should be diligent in preparing themselves.

REALTORS®, therefore, are zealous to maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share with their fellow REALTORS® a common responsibility for its integrity and honor. In recognition and appreciation of their obligations to clients, customers, the public, and each other, REALTORS® continuously strive to become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with others. They identify and take steps, through enforcement of this Code of Ethics and by assisting appropriate regulatory bodies, to eliminate practices which may damage the public or which might discredit or bring dishonor to the real estate profession.

REALTORS® having direct personal knowledge of conduct that may violate the Code of Ethics involving misappropriation of client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting in substantial economic harm, bring such matters to the attention of the appropriate Board or Association of REALTORS®. Realizing that cooperation with other real estate professionals promotes the best interests of those who utilize their services, REALTORS® urge exclusive representation of clients; do not attempt to gain any unfair advantage over their competitors; and they refrain from making unsolicited comments about other practitioners.In instances where their opinion is sought, or where REALTORS® believe that comment is necessary, their opinion is offered in an objective, professional manner, uninfluenced by any personal motivation or potential advantage or gain.

The term REALTOR® has come to connote competency, fairness, and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in business relations. No inducement of profit and no instruction from clients ever can justify departure from this ideal. In the interpretation of this obligation, REALTORS® can take no safer guide than that which has been handed down through the centuries, embodied in the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Accepting this standard as their own, REALTORS® pledge to observe its spirit in all of their activities whether conducted personally, through associates or others, or via technological means, and to conduct their business in accordance with the tenets set forth below.

Duties to Clients and Customers

Article 1

When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve REALTORS® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly.

Article 2

REALTORS® shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction. REALTORS® shall not, however, be obligated to discover latent defects in the property, to advise on matters outside the scope of their real estate license, or to disclose facts which are confidential under the scope of agency or non-agency relationships as defined by state law.

Article 3

REALTORS® shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in the client’s best interest. The obligation to cooperate does not include the obligation to share commissions, fees, or to otherwise compensate another broker.

Article 4

REALTORS® shall not acquire an interest in or buy or present offers from themselves, any member of their immediate families, their firms or any member thereof, or any entities in which they have any ownership interest, any real property without making their true position known to the owner or the owner’s agent or broker. In selling property they own, or in which they have any interest, REALTORS® shall reveal their ownership or interest in writing to the purchaser or the purchaser’s representative.

Article 5

REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide professional services concerning a property or its value where they have a present or contemplated interest unless such interest is specifically disclosed to all affected parties.

Article 6

REALTORS® shall not accept any commission, rebate, or profit on expenditures made for their client, without the client’s knowledge and consent. When recommending real estate products or services (e.g., homeowner’s insurance, warranty programs, mortgage financing, title insurance, etc.), REALTORS® shall disclose to the client or customer to whom the recommendation is made any financial benefits or fees, other than real estate referral fees, the REALTOR® or REALTOR®’s firm may receive as a direct result of such recommendation.

Article 7

In a transaction, REALTORS® shall not accept compensation from more than one party, even if permitted by law, without disclosure to all parties and the informed consent of the REALTOR®’s client or clients.

Article 8

REALTORS® shall keep in a special account in an appropriate financial institution, separated from their own funds, monies coming into their possession in trust for other persons, such as escrows, trust funds, clients’ monies, and other like items.

Article 9

REALTORS®, for the protection of all parties, shall assure whenever possible that all agreements related to real estate transactions including, but not limited to, listing and representation agreements, purchase contracts, and leases are in writing in clear and understandable language expressing the specific terms, conditions, obligations and commitments of the parties. A copy of each agreement shall be furnished to each party to such agreements upon their signing or initialing.

Duties to the Public

Article 1 0

REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Article 1 1

The services which REALTORS® provide to their clients and customers shall conform to the standards of practice and competence which are reasonably expected in the specific real estate disciplines in which they engage; specifically, residential real estate brokerage, real property management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage, land brokerage, real estate appraisal, real estate counseling, real estate syndication, real estate auction, and international real estate.

REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide specialized professional services concerning a type of property or service that is outside their field of competence unless they engage the assistance of one who is competent on such types of property or service, or unless the facts are fully disclosed to the client. Any persons engaged to provide such assistance shall be so identified to the client and their contribution to the assignment should be set forth.

Article 1 2

REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. REALTORS® shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional.

Article 1 3

REALTORS® shall not engage in activities that constitute the unauthorized practice of law and shall recommend that legal counsel be obtained when the interest of any party to the transaction requires it.

Article 1 4

If charged with unethical practice or asked to present evidence or to cooperate in any other way, in any professional standards proceeding or investigation, REALTORS® shall place all pertinent facts before the proper tribunals of the Member Board or affiliated institute, society, or council in which membership is held and shall take no action to disrupt or obstruct such processes.

Duties to REALTORS®

Article 1 5

REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or their business practices.

Article 1 6

REALTORS® shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other REALTORS® have with clients.

Article 1 7

In the event of contractual disputes or specific non-contractual disputes as defined in Standard of Practice 17-4 between REALTORS® (principals) associated with different firms, arising out of their relationship as REALTORS®, the REALTORS® shall mediate the dispute if the Board requires its members to mediate. If the dispute is not resolved through mediation, or if mediation is not required, REALTORS® shall submit the dispute to arbitration in accordance with the policies of the Board rather than litigate the matter.

In the event clients of REALTORS® wish to mediate or arbitrate contractual disputes arising out of real estate transactions, REALTORS® shall mediate or arbitrate those disputes in accordance with the policies of the Board, provided the clients agree to be bound by any resulting agreement or award. The obligation to participate in mediation and arbitration contemplated by this Article includes the obligation of REALTORS® (principals) to cause their firms to mediate and arbitrate and be bound by any resulting agreement or award.

Effective January 1st, 2020

Why Do I Need a Listing Agent?

You may be an expert in something, but it probably isn’t real estate; even if you have been through the process as a buyer. Here at Bozeman Brokers, we want you to have the best home selling experience possible! We believe that having individual real estate representation in the selling process helps you to get the most out of the experience. This list is here to clarify some of the ambiguities about using a Realtor as your listing agent.


The reasons you should probably use a listing agent-

Negotiation experience

The average years of experience for the Brokers in our office is over 25 years. Our agents are creative problem solvers and their negotiation experience can help guide you to a successful sale of your home.  

Network of trusted vendors, inspectors, lenders, and appraisers

Experienced Realtors have connections with quality vendors, contractors, and inspectors that will help the process move along as smoothly as possible. Agents know the vendor types necessary for a home to be put  into tip-top shape before listing the property.

Full disclosure

One of the largest percentages of lawsuits in real estate occur because of disclosure issues – when a buyer unknowingly adopts undisclosed negative aspects of a home. Experienced Realtors help you navigate disclosure issues prior to the sale of your property and therefore limit your liability. 

Interest advocacy

The top priority of a listing agent is to protect the best interests of the seller. Realtors are their client’s confidants. 

Broker Partner Dan Porter says “A seller or buyer needs to know they can trust their Realtor to represent their interest  with honesty and fairness at all times and maintain their confidence throughout the process.”

Market trend information

Montana is a non-disclosure state. This means Realtor and appraisers are the only professionals with access to real time market data. Third party realty sites like Zillow and Realtor.com do not have access to sales data in the state of Montana. Realtors give sellers a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of their home utilizing up-to-date sales data on the Multiple Listings Service (MLS).

Access to professional marketing materials and personnel

Bozeman Brokers Real Estate has a graphic design and marketing specialist in house. This allows for a timely, customized and professional marketing approach based on the individual needs of each client. 

Peace of mind

Real estate documents are contractual. Experienced Realtors can fully explain your rights and liabilities pertaining to each document in layman’s terms. Listing agent representation gives you access to a database of accurate knowledge enabling a greater understanding of the transaction. 


The reasons you may think you don’t need a listing agent but actually do-

“What is the value of a listing agent”

The average consumer does not buy or sell real estate daily. Realtors work on multiple real estate transactions each month. That experience may be the difference between a successful transaction and a legal liability. The experience of a Realtor is showcased in the guiding suggestions and advice prior to listing, while on the market, during prospective negotiations, while the property is under contract, and all the way through closing. 

“Middlemen are unnecessary”

This notion may be a common belief amongst many. In the case of real estate having an expert on your side can make all the difference in the world. 

Broker Partner, Patrick Resop, says “We have outside sources that either buyers and sellers may not be aware of, from lenders to inspectors, to appraisers and so on.  We are a terrific source of information to assist them in ending up with the end result that helps them achieve their goals.” 

“I’m not their only client, they won’t have time for me”

Good Brokers and Realtors are exceptionally talented at juggling multiple clients. In fact, the busiest agents are generally some of the best agents to work with. Our agents are full-time active Brokers in the local real estate market. So yes, we are in the know and we do have time for you.


Hopefully this has helped you come to the conclusion best for you, if you are still unsure contact us at the Bozeman Brokers office – 406-587-5900 – or shoot us an email – info@bozemanbrokers.com –  and we can walk you through the next steps of the home selling process.

By: Michaela Sherritt

Relocation Resources – Bozeman MT

Bozeman is is a thriving and welcoming community. For those preparing to relocate to the Last Best Place – you can use these helpful relocation resources noted below to simplify your move to Bozeman.


When planning a relocation to Bozeman Montana there are so many details that need your attention. To help your move not become overwhelming, we want to assist you to find important resources in this area that can make the move to your new home go as smoothly as you dreamed. Knowing where and how to quickly update your new residency information and essential services will ease your transition.


To help you get settled in your new Bozeman home and neighborhood, we have created a list of community information with government and business services to make your move straightforward. We welcome our new Bozeman community members sharing our Montana quality of life under the Big Sky.



Utilities – Gas and Electric

Northwestern Energy 888-467-2669


Government Services

City of Bozeman Services

Gallatin County Services



Gallatin County Schools


Montana Motor Vehicle Division

Driver Licensing

Contact MVD

MVD Bozeman Drivers Exam Station

2005 Gilkerson Drive, Suite B

Bozeman, Montana 59715



Healthcare Services

Bozeman Health


US Post Office

Office at 2201 Baxter Lane

Office at 32 East Babcock Street

Change of address form


Trash Removal Services

L&L Site Services 406-388-7171

Republic Services


Shopping and Entertainment

Downtown Bozeman





Century Link

Verizon Wireless

AT&T Wireless



If you have chosen your new home, that’s wonderful, if you are still looking to find that dream home in Bozeman you’ll need to work with an experienced Bozeman real estate agent.  Our seasoned agents are here to guide you to the perfect property. Now you can begin by searching Bozeman properties!

When is the Best Time to Sell your Home in Bozeman, Montana?

Why Bozeman?

There are many draws to Bozeman that make the city a favorable place to live. Beautiful views, safe neighborhoods, and outdoor activities galore. Yet, average home prices nearly double the national average. Many homeowners are finding that now is the best time to sell and capitalize on the active housing market. Working with a local agent who understands the market is often the best decision to maximize your profits.

Seller or Buyers Market

Selling your home at the right time can maximize the price of your property. Zillow.com suggests that we are currently in a seller’s market, but when should you expect to sell your home for the maximum value? What time of the year is most optimal to sell your home the fastest? Let’s look at some data and speed up your sale.

Bozeman Growth

Gallatin County is growing at a rate of nearly 10 new residents a day. It is growing faster than any other city in the state of Montana. From 2012 to 2018 Bozeman has grown 24% adding another 22,225 residents within city limits alone. Bozeman also has the strongest economy among cities its size across the United States, according to a Policom poll. This economic and population growth makes for a better market to sell your home.

Bozeman Home Prices

We are currently in a great seller’s market, with national trends rising steadily since 2012. From January 2019 to November 2019, Bozeman’s median single-family home prices rose ~ 7.23%, from $429,000 and rose to ~$460,000 by late November 2019. During the same timeframe, housing in Gallatin County saw an increase from $517,000 to ~$555,500.

Best Time to Sell in Bozeman

We’ve addressed the market, but when is the right time to sell your home in Bozeman? National trends suggest that February provides the strongest seller’s market, year-over-year. However, volatile Montana winters make February a very difficult month to prep your home for sale. Data from Realtor.com suggests that April is the best month to sell your Bozeman home, followed by March (2nd) and May(3rd).

There are some great benefits to selling your Bozeman home in the spring. Warmer temperatures make cleaning and prepping your home easier. Commuting to view homes is safer. Landscapes are starting to flourish. With 14x more property views and 5% less competition, you could sell your home up to 6 days earlier.

Let us help you sell your Bozeman real estate property this spring. Our brokers give you the advantage of experience and knowledge to provide you with successful negotiation and a smooth transaction. We pride ourselves on having well established, educated and experienced brokers.


Realtor VS Broker

Many questions arise when you first step into the Real Estate world. “Where can I find the Realtor?” may be your first question, but the first question you should ask is “Where can I find the best Broker?”


All Brokers are agents, but not all agents are Brokers.


A real estate Broker is a more experienced agent than a licensed Realtor. Brokers have a significant number of completed transactions, additional education, and have passed the State and National Real Estate Broker Exam. Brokers can own agencies and work without supervision. Licensed Realtors are required by law to work under the supervision of a Broker until they have met the previously mentioned criteria.

Choosing to work with a Broker gives you an advantage above other buyers or sellers without representation. Brokers have the experience and knowledge to guide you to a smooth transaction and successful negotiation.  This is why our 10 founders decided to start Bozeman Brokers Real Estate. We pride ourselves on our well established, educated, and experienced Brokers who can give you the best advantage in the real estate market.


Contact a Broker today to learn more about the services available through our professionals.

Things to Unpack First After a Big Move

When you’re surrounded by boxes,  you need a  strategy on how to tackle them to prevent feeling overwhelmed.

Congratulations on purchasing your new home! The hard part is all over, now it’s time to make this space your own… But where do you even begin?

First things first

No matter how much you want to get it over with, there are three important things to do before you can actually start unpacking.

  1. Clean and prepare your new home. It’s easier to wipe down shelves, clean windows and mop floors before your belongings are in place. Make sure your home-to-be is spotless when your items arrive. If you can’t get to your new place early enough to do a thorough cleaning, consider hiring professional cleaners to do the job for you.
  2. Inspect and organize your belongings. Check all the delivered boxes and household items against your inventory sheet to make sure nothing is damaged or missing. Then have each of your possessions taken to the room where it belongs. If everything was properly marked and labeled, sorting your items will be a piece of cake.
  3. Set major furniture and appliances. Position your large furniture pieces and bulky household appliances first. Then you can put any smaller items you unpack later directly in their rightful places. Plan your interior design well in advance so you don’t end up moving heavy pieces around several time

Tackle the necessities

What matters most when unpacking your items after a move is ensuring that your essentials are immediately accessible. So prioritize your belongings, and unpack only the necessities first.




You may not be able to unpack the entire bedroom right away, but you’ll definitely need at least the bed the day you move in. Reassemble the bed frame (if necessary), lay down the sheets, unpack the pillows and spread the blankets so you can get a good night’s rest — you’re going to need it

Provided that you have a change of clothes and some comfortable indoor shoes (as well as curtains on the windows to ensure your privacy), the rest of your bedroom items can wait until you find the time and the energy to deal with them.


Bathroom items

Without a doubt, your personal care items, toiletries and medicines should top the list of the most important items to unpack after your move. Put out toilet paper and soap, find your toothbrush and toothpaste, hang the towels and the shower curtains, and unpack any other bathroom essentials you’ll need to wash away the weariness and stress of moving.


Kitchen necessities

Kitchens tend to take a very long time to unpack and organize properly due to the large number of items that need to be sorted and carefully arranged.

As soon as you’ve hooked up the large appliances, such as the fridge and the stove, move on to your smaller kitchenware. Plates, silverware and glasses should be the first to find their places in cupboards and kitchen cabinets, closely followed by cooking utensils, pots and pans, and pantry items.



Kids’ and pets’ items

If you have young children, unpack some of their favorite toys, books, games and blankets during the first few hours in your new home. Keeping your young ones happy and occupied will let you concentrate on your work and finish it faster.

Of course, you should also take care of your pets’ needs immediately upon arrival. It’s a good idea to pack adequate pet food and some of your animal friends’ favorite toys in your open-first box.




Finishing up

When you’ve unpacked the three most essential rooms in your home (bedroom, bathroom and kitchen), everything else can wait a bit. There are no deadlines to meet, so you can set your own pace when unpacking and decorating your new place — just unpack in order of priority without procrastinating.

Remember, if you stay organized, set reasonable goals, clean after every unpacking phase and dispose of the packing materials in a safe and eco-friendly manner, your new surroundings will soon stop looking like a warehouse full of boxes and start feeling like home.

All the Best Cleaning Tips & Tricks!

  1. Clean Your Ceiling Fan
    Despite my rationalizations, ceiling fans get dirty and eventually need to be cleaned. Here is the most painless way to tackle a dusty ceiling fan:
    You will need:
    • A pillowcase
    • A ladder
    • Dusting spray (optional)
    Directions: Spray the inside of your pillowcase with dusting spray (this will help clean the blades AND help repel more dust from accumulating), climb ladder, and cover fan blade with pillowcase. Then, gather the top of the case together and slide it off of the blade, taking all the dirt and grime with you.
    Repeat on all fan blades. This chore used to take lots of time, effort, and paper towels.
  2. Clean and Freshen Your Mattress
    While it’s impossible to wash your mattress, this cleaning trick will have it smelling and feeling fresh in no time!
    You will need:
    • Baking soda
    • Essential oil (optional)
    • Vacuum cleaner with furniture attachment
    Directions: Strip the mattress of all bedding. Put a cup of baking soda into a container with a tight-fitting lid, add 4-5 drops of your favorite essential oil (I love lavender!), replace the lid, and shake! Now sprinkle the mattress liberally with the baking soda mixture. Allow the baking soda to sit on the bed for an hour or two. This allows the baking soda time to soak up any body oils. Then, use the vacuum’s furniture cleaning attachment to vacuum up the baking soda. Go over it several times, in different directions, to ensure optimal results. Your mattress is refreshed, and the lingering smell of the lavender essential oil will ensure a good night’s sleep!

View our PDF detailing 5 more great cleaning tips & tricks!

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