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Moving to Montana?  RSS feed

 
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From Oregon?
What should I know?
I'm looking for off grid 100-200 acres, or more. Cheap land.  I am looking to spend between $200k-300k,  I want to put a double wide or single wide, then build a large shop (40x60), and frame in one area as an office(12x20).  I want timber land, with slight hills, but enough area for growing and animals.  I want to buy a saw mill (electric or PTO), and I already have various tractors and a backhoe.  I was hoping off the grid with solar (10kw, with expected 1kw per day in winter) and a small diesel backup generator (2.5kw), and battery bank (20x100amp12v)

I want to do feeder cows, grow hemp seed, and medical herb (not marijuana). 

What should I know about Montana? What are the taxes like? What about water rights?  What about the "department of sad people"?  Are there property taxes? Do the regulators hassle you over small stuff like permits?  What's the freezing level in the soil? Whats the grow season like? I am planning on having a large greenhouse with starts, and putting them out whenever the lows hit 40s (which is what I do in Oregon) .  I see that the temperature in September starts at 90, and ends at 30.  Is the grow season basically over on Oct 1st? Is it basically May 30-Oct 1st?  Whats the snow load/pitch for buildings, and what is the R-value?  How much is gas a gallon, propane, a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk in rural areas?  What's the best time to come visit and explore and where should I go?

I am from Oregon obviously and currently have a homestead.

Oh also if WW3 starts, will Montana be blown to bits? Do I need a bomb shelter?
I need to be within 45minutes or an hour from a area with Walmart, because I need access to scrap metal and motor oil.  Are there harbor freights in Montana? What about fedex/ups and Amazon prime waaay out in nowhere?  How is the post office, do they lose your mail?  What do native Montana-ians think of Oregonians?   Are they generally welcoming? How do I be respectful if I move there?
 
pioneer
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Location: Missoula, MT
770
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Hi David! If you're from Eastern Oregon, the climate will be fairly similar to Western Montana.

There has been a lot of mining in Montana, so some advise that when searching for land, do a soils toxins test to make sure it's not been tainted with mine tailings.

Some counties have more building codes, and code enforcement than others. I don't have a lot of information on that, though a good real estate agent (buyer's agent) or real estate attorney should be able to help you there. There are property taxes, and a state income tax instead of sales tax (though you likely know this last part).

More stats about taxes (and other things) here:  cool things about Montana.
wheaton labs is near Missoula, so this info applies to Western Montana in general, though wheaton labs gets a bit more precipitation than Missoula:  wheaton labs weather

Yesterday, we picked up a boot (see the permaculture bootcamp thread for what that means) from Los Angeles, California, who said gas is almost 40 cents cheaper per gallon here. In general, I think wages are a bit lower, and housing and other costs are a bit lower than more metropolitan areas in other states.

We made several threads about cool things to visit in the Missoula area - see summer things to do and see in Missoula for a start. The first post in that thread also has links to threads about things to do in other seasons or with kids.

Western Montana ranked pretty high up on the top 5 or 10 safest places in terms of man-made and natural disasters. I can't recall the author's name who did the ranking.

We live in quite a rural location and the FedEx and UPS (and Amazon) deliveries are routine and excellent.

The post office is okay, in our location. We haven't lost mail per se, though our carriers are excessively particular about only delivering only to those registered with the post office to received mail at our location.

Montanans are a very considerate, polite and friendly bunch - especially in Missoula. Maybe not quite as hospitable as southerners, but close! Though they will often consider you an outsider, or the "new kid on the block" even after you've lived here 20 years.

Hope that's a good start for the information you seek. Good luck!

 
david james
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Thank you, that was a wonderful well thought out reply.  I appreciate you taking the time to respond!

 
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Western Montana ranked pretty high up on the top 5 or 10 safest places in terms of man-made and natural disasters. I can't recall the author's name who did the ranking



Probably Joel Skousen
 
Posts: 51
Location: Flathead, Montana
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> I'm looking for off grid 100-200 acres, or more. Cheap land. 
> I am looking to spend between $200k-300k,  I want to put a
> double wide or single wide, then build a large shop (40x60),
> and frame in one area as an office(12x20).  I want timber land,
> with slight hills, but enough area for growing and animals. 

The timber companies usually have a number of quarter sections (160 acres) available for sale in various locations across northwest Montana (Lincoln, Lake, and Flathead counties). You ought to be able to find one that meets your criteria, although the better sections, particularly those with water, tend to be over your price range.


> Are there property taxes?

Yes, but they are very low for timberland (you will need at least 15 acres to qualify) and agricultural land (you will need to gross at least $1500 per year to qualify).

However, they will tax the house and the surrounding acre at a much higher rate to pay for local services. (We had a huge increase last year because the State cut back on the money it normally gives the schools. Mine went up nearly 10%!)


> Do the regulators hassle you over small stuff like permits? 

There is no building department and thus no building permits are required for Flathead County (outside of incorporated cities and towns); however, you will still need to get permits for any mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work.


> What's the freezing level in the soil?

Depends. Four feet is a good average around here.


> Whats the grow season like?

Short.


> I see that the temperature in September starts at 90, and ends at 30. 
> Is the grow season basically over on Oct 1st? Is it basically May 30-Oct 1st?

In the Flathead Valley, we can usually plant out hardy crops around April 15th or so. Unfortunately, we can only count on a 90 day frost free window starting between June 1 and June 15 and ending between September 1 and September 15.


> I need to be within 45minutes or an hour from a area with Walmart, because I need access to scrap metal and motor oil.

There is a Walmart in Kalispell. But I don't shop there, so I can't tell you more than that.


> Are there harbor freights in Montana?

There is a brand new Harbor Freight in Kalispell. But I don't shop there, so I can't tell you more than that.


> How is the post office, do they lose your mail? 

No, but you may have to go into town to pick it up, particularly in the winter. According to the clerk I spoke with the official post office policy is: the carrier will not deliver packages to your house if 1) there is snow or ice blocking the driveway, 2) there is a loose dog in the yard, and 3) if your house is more than 1/2 mile from the mailbox. But in practice ... well, let's just say the old adage "neither snow nor rain" is not so true anymore.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Location: Missoula, MT
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You're welcome, David!

J Anders wrote:

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Western Montana ranked pretty high up on the top 5 or 10 safest places in terms of man-made and natural disasters. I can't recall the author's name who did the ranking



Probably Joel Skousen


Yes! That's the author! The 3rd edition out of his book came out in 2011:  Strategic Relocation: North American Guide to Safe Places (Amazon affiliate link).

A quick search pulled up this other forum that had a 2013 post here which summarized Skousen's review of Montana thusly:

Montana
Skousen's rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The climate is dry east of the Rockies. The northwest corner gets the most precipitation. Food production is poor, due to dryness. Dry land farms and ranches are more common. The population density is very low. Taxes are low. There is no sales tax. Water quality is excellent where fed from mountain springs, only fair where fed from wells. Gun liberty is excellent. No permit to purchase, "shall issue" state for concealed firearm permits. Open carry is allowed in the state, including cars. There is very good availability of alternative medicine. Much of the best land in the forests and mountains is federally owned.

Western Montana is where the best retreat sites are located, but there is a significant tension between the liberal, anti-religious segment of the population and the arch-conservative Christians who are drawn to Montana for liberty, especially the Whitefish area. The Democrats and liberals have had their way here for so long that they often react with hostility toward the conservative-Christian resurgence. Skousen states that Montana would rate 5 stars except for the wide area around Great Falls that houses the largest base of nuclear missiles in the nation. This puts a large portion of the state at risk for massive fallout. The only safe bet is to be west of this threat.


The few other states listed in the post were ranked at 1, 2, or 3, though Idaho was 5 and Florida was 0!! I'd disagree with some of this about Montana, though that might cross over in to discussing politics which is a cider press topic. Also, for what it's worth, I don't necessarily consider myself a "doom-and-gloom" prepper, though I did grow up in a significant earthquake prone region. So in my mind, being prepared for extended emergency situations (of whatever kind) just makes a whole lot of sense.



 
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Location: Stone Garden Farm Richfield Twp., Ohio
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You might want to check:

survivalrealty.com
blackriflerealestate.com
 
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