March 2018
Believe in Better:
Helena has seen its fair share of subfreezing temperatures this year. Thankfully the blankets of snow that have accompanied the cold will bring needed relief to last summer's near drought conditions that lead to an exceptionally active fire season. But when it comes to building, blankets of snow and freezing temperatures lead to a slowdown in winter construction as frozen ground plays havoc on excavating equipment. To address the issue of digging foundations in freezing temperatures, Mark Runkle, developer of the Mountain View Meadows mixed-use community in Helena, successfully bid on a Wacker E3000 Hydronic Surface Ground Heater on "Bidadoo" -- an online auction company specializing in the sales of used rental equipment -- this past December. Runkle had to send MVM construction crew foreman, Kris Baker, to Denver to pick up the ground heater, but it has come in handy during this particularly brutal winter. "Before the ground heater, our guys were digging foundations and pulling out Volkswagen-size chunks of frozen earth," said Runkle.  "You can imagine how difficult that is and what a strain it puts on excavation equipment." The Wacker E3000 allows the crew to literally blanket the ground with heat by first laying back and forth 6-12" apart 3,000 feet of hose filled with heat transfer liquid. The hose is then covered with a plastic tarp to seal the air and an insulated concrete blanket to contain the heat. The Wacker's 385,000 BTU per hour heating system powered by a 200 gallon efficient diesel fuel engine and Kubota generator results in thawing 3,000 S.F. of frozen earth approximately one foot deep per day. But even with the ground heater, freezing temperatures had to be taken into consideration before firing up the heavy equipment. "Our standard gauge for using our excavator is 10 degrees Fahrenheit because freezing temperatures can damage the hydraulic systems," explained Runkle. But with the help of the ground heater and enough favorable days, Mountain View Meadows' dedicated construction crew still managed to keep digging foundations for new homes throughout the winter.
Building a Better Community:
Beyond the Brickyard is the Archie Bray Foundation's 10th annual juried exhibition running from February 9th - March 24th. This exhibition is located at the Archie Bray North Gallery and is free and open to the public. Beyond the Brickyard is juried by past Bray Voulkos Visiting Artist, Kristen Morgin, this exhibition of 34 selected pieces from the Archie Bray's 10th annual international call for entries showcases a survey of ceramic art from around the world. "I was honored and humbled to be the juror for this year's Beyond the Brickyard exhibition. I  like virtuosity. I like well-crafted things. I like when artists show off what they do best. I like odd ducks. I like underdogs. . . I am a sucker for overall loveliness and that which delights," says K risten Morgin. The exhibition is also available online at www.archiebraygallery.org. The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts is a public, nonprofit, educational institution founded in 1951 by brickmaker Archie Bray, who intended it to be "a place to make available for all who are seriously interested in any of the branches of the ceramic arts, a fine place to work." Its primary mission is to provide an environment that stimulates creative work in ceramics. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Bray is located three miles from downtown Helena, on the site of the former Western Clay Manufacturing Company. Set against the wooded foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the 26-acre former brickyard is internationally recognized as a gathering place for emerging and established ceramic artists. The nearby mountains and brick factory ruins provide a backdrop for the creative environment; more important is the dynamic arts community created by the resident artists that come to the Bray to work, share experiences, and explore new ideas. The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts is located at 2915 Country Club Avenue in Helena, MT and can be reached at 406-443-3502. The grounds are open and free to the public year-round -- think about supporting the Bray and helping build a better community through volunteering, taking classes (children and adults) or going out and enjoying the beautiful artwork from all around the world.  
On Topic
To qualify for a mortgage, new homes must be appraised to assure lenders that the purchase price lines up with the home's value. But what exactly is it that an appraiser appraises? Bill Gasset, at maxrealestateexposure.com did his best to address that question.
"A visit from an appraiser is an inevitable part of selling your home," said Gasset. "Even if your buyer is happy to pay what you ask and loves the place, the lender will still require that an objective third party - in the form of a professional appraiser - come through the home to determine its value. Because the appraiser operates independently, his or her opinion will be based purely on the market and the state of your property."

While you may not be able to change the final appraisal, Gasset espouses that it is still worthwhile understanding how an appraiser determines the value of a home. The seller can help the appraiser by providing a list that includes improvements and extras and the seller or his representative should be available during the appraisal to answer questions honestly.

Elements the appraiser will use to accurately assess the value of your home include:

1.  THE HOME'S EXTERIOR: foundation, walls and roof. (Condition and materials)

2.  THE SIZE OF THE PROPERTY: Lot and home square footage; number of bedrooms and baths, etc. (The square footage figures significantly to the home's appraised value.)

3. INTERIOR: Condition of home including flooring, walls, appliances, lighting and other fixtures. New is best but improvements play a role in used homes.

4.  EXTRAS & ADDITIONS: Air-conditioning, fireplace, garage, pantry, owner's entry, office, landscaping, ceiling fans, outdoor living spaces, etc.

5. LOCATION: neighborhood/area.

6. COMPARABLE PROPERTIES: Homes of similar size, location and amenities.

There are those rare cases, however, when a home comes in at a value lower than it should.  This could be a result of a clerical error, such as a square footage miscalculation or that the appraiser missed something important such as number of bedrooms or the home's location. If an appraisal comes in low, go over the report with a fine tooth comb to make certain there are no errors. Check the comps as well to be sure they are truly comparable. If you find a mistake or believe the appraiser has misjudged the value of the location or in his/her choices of comparable homes, challenge the appraisal.

By understanding the appraisal process, a home owner or buyer can also avoid falling victim to real estate appraisal myths. These include that appraisers take into consideration a home's assessed value, which is a taxation tool, or that the appraiser looks at the Zillow value of a home. 

"Do you seriously believe a competent appraiser would ever look at what a computer thinks your home is worth," says Gasset. "In fact in many markets, they [Zestimates] are so far off you wonder why on earth Zillow would want to have such inaccurate information on an otherwise excellent site for providing real estate data."
Benefits and Updates:
1.  REMINDER! SINGLE-FAMILY HOA ANNUAL MEETING  7:00 PM TUESDAY, MARCH 6TH:  The meeting will be held at the VFW Meeting Hall at 117 W. Main St. in East Helena. Join your HOA officers and Board members for a casual "Social Hour" before the meeting from 6:00-7:00 PM. Nominations for new HOA officers and Supervisory Committee Members will be accepted during the meeting. Condo HOA members are welcome to attend.

2. WWW.MVMSFHHOA.COM: All single-family home owners at Mountain View Meadows can now access information online about their HOA officers, read meeting minutes, covenants and design standards, and communicate with officers and other members about HOA issues. HOA president, Dave Gates, will give a demonstration on the use of the website at the annual meeting on March 6 th . HOA members must set up an account on the website to access certain information and use the communication forum.
New Homes F or Sale: 
A choice of new homes to meet your lifestyle and budget are ready for move-in at Mountain View Meadows with more under construction.  Visit our Information & Sales Office at 431 S. Alice Street to tour our right-now homes, view plans to build and check out lot maps. Realtors are always welcome . Have your own plan? Give us a call at 406-449-0800 to arrange a meeting. The availability of new homes and lots is subject to change so check back often. Below is a listing of some of the new homes ready for move-in or currently under construction. 
Aspen Park at Mountain View Meadows
2930 Big Timber Loop: "The Open Range". NEW UPSCALE CONTEMPORARY CRAFTSMAN HOME has 2740 totally finished S.F. with 2460 S.F. of single-story living and an additional 288 S.F. finished bonus space above the garage. This home features a vaulted living room, corner fireplace, raised breakfast bar, walk-in pantry, den/office, wood floors, doors and trim, granite countertops, knotty-alder soft-close cabinets, "subway" tile backsplash, separate dining, and a gorgeous master suite with double vanity, tiled shower and soaker tub. An over sized garage, stone and timber exterior features, a concrete tile roof with a 75 year warranty, HardiePlank siding, a beautiful front porch entry and a huge covered outdoor living space are among the many amenities that set this home apart. Drop by the Information & Sales Center at 431 S. Alice Street to check out this brand new 3 or 4BD/ 2.5BA home -- an unbeatable value at only $429,900! MLS#300407.

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2883 Alpine View Loop: BRAND NEW SINGLE-STORY home underway. This beautiful home has 2254 finished S.F. including 4BD/2BA featuring a beautiful master suite, gas fireplace, granite countertops, 3-car garage, covered outdoor living space (front & back), HardiePlank siding, concrete tile roof, and stone and timber exterior accents priced at $399,900. Claim this home while there's still time to pick out colors/interior finishes! Stop by the Information & Sales office or contact Dawn Purvis, Century 21 for more information. MLS#300186. 

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Craftsman Village at Mountain View Meadows

2793 Alexis Avenue: "The Town Hall". Location, location, location--directly across from Mountain View Park with unobstructed mountain views! This beautiful 3BD/2.5BA classic craftsman 4-square home with 1914 S.F. features a full front porch, great room with fireplace, separate dining area, office nook, an upstairs loft (could be a 4 th  bedroom), air conditioning and a large 2-bay attached garage. Ready for move-in. Call 406-449-0800 for a walk-through. $289,900. MLS#300647.

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2809, 2811, 2815 & 2817 Twilight: Two brand new 1219 S.F. duplex single-story condo buildings under construction -- Absolutely perfect for the "downsizer" or the "first time" home buyer! Each condo features 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, a pocket desk, an attached 2-car garage and a covered outdoor living space. Design amenities include granite countertops, soft-close cabinets, water-resistant laminate flooring, tiled laundry and entry, and carpeted bedrooms. Electric range, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and garbage disposal included! Monthly condo fee is $130 and pays for sidewalk snow removal, mowing and landscaping care as well as exterior building insurance and maintenance. Priced at $229,900. Call now!

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2810 & 2812 Vista: Courtyard Condos. You asked for it... You got it! Now offering a brand new 1635 & 1660 S.F. condo plan. Not only is it bigger than our popular 1219 S.F. plan, but it comes with a rear patio/courtyard area that can be completely fenced for your personal privacy. The new 2BD/2BA  floorplans feature granite countertops, tile & laminate flooring, a vaulted master and great room, kitchen appliances, a 2-car attached garage and a flex room for hobbies, an office or 3rd Bedroom. Visit the MVM Information & Sales Center at 431 S. Alice St. for additional information. 

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2872 Stacia: "The Iris". Wow! What great architecture! New classic craftsman home under construction with front porch and rear entry 2-car garage. This 1808 S.F. Garden Home features a main floor bedroom and bath plus three bedrooms and two additional baths upstairs. Granite countertops throughout this new home under construction by Sierra Custom Homes. Other design elements include soft-close cabinets, laminate flooring and arched entryways. Side yard fence included plus free front yard and rear alley landscaping! Easy walking distance to Mountain View Park. MLS#300166; $279,900.

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2876 Stacia: "The Aster". New 2BD/2BA single-story craftsman garden home featuring granite countertops, soft-close cabinets, kitchen appliances and an attached 2-car garage. Comes complete with U.G. water system, front and carriage-lane landscaping and side yard fencing. Claim now to move in this spring! Contact Dawn Purvis, Century21, at 406-439-6380.   MLS#300112. $224,900.

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The Uplands at Mountain View Meadows
305 Elouise Cobell: "The Homestake". New floor plan for a new neighborhood at Mountain View Meadows. This beautiful single-story 3BD/2BA home by Sierra Custom Homes features laminate and tile flooring, granite countertops, soft-close cabinets, stainless steel appliances, an attached 2-car garage and a covered rear porch with plenty of room for backyard fun. MLS#300125. $289,900.

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317 Elouise Cobell: "The Monida". Located in "The Uplands" neighborhood just one block south of the new BCBS headquarters, this new 2003 S.F. single-story 3BD/2BA home currently under construction features a huge open great room, kitchen island, gas fireplace and an attached 2-car garage. There is still time to choose interior colors (exterior possibly as well) if you hurry! Homes in this new neighborhood sell fast! MLS#300221. $309,000.

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379 Elouise Cobell: "The Elk Park".  A new look for a new neighborhood. The foundation is just going in on this exceptionally attractive 1896 S.F. 3BD/2BA home including a 214 S.F. bonus room containing deep storage closets. The Elk Park features 9' walls with a vaulted great room and master bedroom. The Master ensuite boasts 2 walk-in closets, a double vanity and separate tiled tub and shower as well as a private "water closet." The kitchen features granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, an island bar, pantry and separate dining area while a gas fireplace sets off the great room. You'll enjoy both the distant mountain views and city lights from your covered front porch and have plenty of privacy for BBQ's and entertaining on your covered back porch. For pricing information, visit the MVM Information & Sales Center at 431 S. Alice St.

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311 Elouise Cobell: "The Logan". 3BD/2BA, 1769 S.F.  Granite, tile, soft-close cabinets and an oversized garage are just a few of the upgrades in this brand new floorplan designed and built by prestigious Sierra Custom Homes. You'll enjoy a spacious master ensuite with a walk-in closet, tiled shower, double vanity and water closet. Separate owner's entrance off the garage to tuck away your shoes and hang your coats. $299,900. For additional information, contact Dawn Purvis at Century 21. MLS#299745.

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Antelope Trace at Mountain View Meadows
2789 Favor Loop: " The Wise". Talk about a "wise" choice!  With 2414 totally finished S.F. this upscale home will provide you with all the space you need for single-level living on the main floor plus 2 bedrooms, a TV/Flex room, and a bath upstairs for family or guests. The master ensuite features dual walk-in closets, a separate tub and shower and a double vanity. You'll have plenty of time to relax on the front porch and entertain on the rear when you add low-maintenance landscaping. Be sure to check in early on this brand new floor plan conveniently located in the heart of beautiful Mountain View Meadows. Priced at $349,900.

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Mountain View Meadows | 406-449-0800 | Info@MVMeadows.com  | http://www.MVMeadows.com
431 S. Alice Street
Helena, MT 59601
In This Issue
The Best in Our
Every spring and summer we highlight the best examples of landscaping in your neighborhoods. In fall and winter we look for the best views from your front and back porches. During the holidays we photograph your best decorations and throughout the year we look for special touches you give to your homes or yards. We'd like to get you more involved, though. We know that there are people that go way out of their way to help a neighbor or do something that really keeps your neighborhood looking great. We want to hear from you so that we can publish "kudos to your neighbors." Send us a photo, drop us an email; tell us who you want recognized and what he or she did. Did your neighbor bring you dinner the whole week you had the flu? Did she walk your dog in the freezing cold for a month while your broken leg healed? Did he go around the neighborhood and pick up the trash scattered when garbage cans fell over on an exceptionally windy trash day? We're open to your ideas of what makes the "best" neighbor and will share your story here. Good news is the best news--and great neighbors make great news! Send your Kudos to Your Neighbor to Rryland@mvmeadows.com . Photos especially encouraged.
Welcome to the
Shauna Schmidt
Will soon move into her lovely new Craftsman style Townhome Condo built by Sierra Custom Homes!

Congrat ulations! 
And Welcome to the Neighborhood!
Fun & Fitness: 
The U.S. earned its first ever cross-country Olympic gold medal when Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins won the women's team sprint freestyle race at the Pyeongchang Games. Most local skiers head to nearby Great Divide to hit the slopes but not everyone is aware that there are other recreational skiing opportunities in Helena by way of cross-country skiing at the Bill Roberts Golf Course. The Last Chance Nordic Ski club, in partnership with the City of Helena's Parks and Recreation Department, grooms approximately four kilometers of skate and classic track around the perimeter of the golf course for several weeks each winter where skiing is free and all skiers are welcome. 
When laying out the concept for future open space and trails at Mountain View Meadows, Director of Design Rebecca Ryland brought up the potential for creating a cross country ski trail in the open space area south of "The Uplands" neighborhood and west of the future "The Peaks" neighborhood. Ryland still hopes to pursue this in the future and believes that the recent win by the women's Olympic cross-country team will increase interest in the sport. It's a great time to take a serious look at alternative recreational opportunities for Mountain View Meadows in this unique open space area that at some point will become part of the Helena Parks system.  
  Mark &  Rebecca
Mark and I jumped head over heels into work after our very much appreciated winter break. We felt just a little guilty for missing some of the worst weather. At least a little. But now the time away seems like a distant dream and we're back engulfed in the day to day duties of development. On Tuesday we met with Single Family HOA President Dave Gates in preparation for next week's annual membership meeting. We got into a discussion about what we can do to encourage residents to consider serving as an Officer or on the Supervisory Committee. It seems, we think, that most people may not understand the value of the HOA. They may not see the important role it plays in supporting a shared vision of creating and maintaining a "better" community. Keeping home values up is the biggest advantage of an HOA. Developing a real sense of community is another. How that happens long term is a responsibility that falls onto the HOA. Right now, says Dave, the HOA has an opportunity to work with developers who are committed to investing in the community. Becoming involved as an Officer now allows residents to learn from the ground up how the community works and what it takes to build and maintain shared amenities that make Mountain View Meadows different from other communities. HOA Officers meet once a month to go over finances, set goals, discuss issues, make recommendations and oversee concerns related to covenants. The Supervisory Committee, under the guidance of the Officers, talks with residents to resolve issues and meet as needed to identify problems and encourage residents to comply with covenants. During the annual meeting on Tuesday, the HOA Board of Directors will accept nominations for Officers and Supervisory Committee members. To be considered, nominees must be in good standing with the HOA. If more than one qualified resident is nominated for a post, an election will be held in April. As an incentive to becoming involved, we all agreed that a resident who actively serves as an Officer, attends monthly meetings and meets the responsibilities of the office will have his or her 2019 HOA dues waived. The same consideration will be given to Supervisory Committee Members who sincerely attend to the tasks charged to them by the Officers. If you cannot attend the meeting but would like to throw your name in the hat, please send an email to RRyland@mvmeadows.com or stop by the Information & Sales Center. Serving as an Officer or Committee Member is not a lot of work, but it means a whole lot.
Scott Owen, Galen Mann and Don Arkell work in the cold to put the new Wacker ground heater to task. Scott, Galen and Don are original members of the MVM construction team installing city infrastructure at Mountain View Meadows for over a decade. 
Before the ground heater, our crew dug out "Volkswagen-size" chunks of frozen earth.
Ah, thawed earth. 
Much easier to dig out!