House-Hunting for Pet Owners: Finding a New Home with Fido

This guest post comes to us from Cindy at

Remember Your Pet When Buying a New Home

Finding a new house to buy can be challenging for anyone, but pet owners often have additional hoops to jump through. Not only must you find a house that suits your lifestyle and falls within your budget, but you also need a home that can accommodate your dog — a nice yard, tough floors and even a pet-friendly neighborhood.

House Hunting in Billings, MT

So, what can you do to ensure your house-hunting project results in a win for you and your furry family? Here are a few tips on how you can ensure your family and pets are a priority in the home search.


Get a Realtor in Billings who understands your pets

New home for sale in BillingsBe sure to hire a pet-friendly real estate agent who truly understands and respects the kind of pet owner you are. Be sure they are up-to-date on your city and county pet ordinances, as well as the regulations for homeowners associations in the neighborhoods you’re hunting in. It’s important that your agent knows which neighborhoods are good for pets so that you aren’t searching in areas that would only waste your time or disappoint.

You’ll also want an agent who knows if the houses you’re looking at had previous pet owners. It may not seem like an important matter, but if the house and the pets weren’t well cared for, you could be purchasing a flea trap or worse.

Know your needs and wants — now and in the future

Real estate in BillingsYou know what your pets need now, but are you planning for the future? For instance, if your dog is a breed that might suffer from hip dysplasia, you may want to consider a one-story house or one that doesn’t have many stairs to the front and back door.

Will you bring home new pets eventually? If you plan on getting more than one dog — or currently have several — you may want to have open spaces where they can play, both inside and outside. According to, slick hardwood floors might hinder play, and your pup’s paws might also give it extra wear and tear. Also consider how far away your new home is from work, in case you want to come home for lunchtime bathroom breaks.

Speaking of bathroom breaks, you may notice your dog reverting to puppy behaviors — like indoor accidents — when you move into a new space. For that reason, you should spend some time and be strategic about introducing your dog to your new home. Remember, consistency is key.

You’re buying more than a house — you’re buying into a neighborhood

Tour your potential new neighborhood to see if people are walking their dogs. Explore nearby shops and restaurants to see how many are pet-friendly. You can make your new place a home for your pet, but notes that your new neighborhood is a different story. If you enjoy walking your dog, you’ll likely want an area with nice, clean sidewalks or a park with an off-leash area.

While you don’t necessarily need a big backyard, think about how Fido will feel all cooped up during the winter months when those nice long walks are no longer an option. A big back yard gives them plenty of room to run and play year-round.

Purchasing a new home comes with its own stressors, but when you add a pet into the mix, you can find a lot more to worry about. You’re a good pet owner; you want to find a home that your dog can thrive in, so keeping these tips in mind when you’re on the search will help the process go much more smoothly for you and your four-legged family members.

Homes for Sale Billings

9 Ways to Raise the Value of Your Home

Build Equity Before you Sell

If you’re planning to sell your home, you may not be looking at getting involved with too many projects.  You will be out soon, so why put in the time and money to make it a nicer living space?

Real Estate Billings MT selling your home

The answer is that by putting some time and money into the home, you can sell it faster, appeal to more buyers (potentially start a bidding war), and command a larger premium.  People want to move into a home that they know won’t have any issues for quite a while.

As a Realtor in Billings, I want to make sure that you know of 9 ways that you can raise the value of your home, and sell it faster when you do put it on the market.

Replace the Windows

Depending on how old your house is, your windows may not be doing their job properly.  Sure they’re letting in light and allowing you to see outside, but are they keeping the cold air out in the winter?  As much as 35% of your home’s heat could be seeping out through inferior windows!

Replace old windows in Billings

Replacing windows is one of the quickest ways you can appeal to a new buyer.  Even if you can’t afford to swap all of the windows in the home, try replacing just the main floor so that the future owner can expect a comfortable living quarters.

Put On a New Roof

Having to put on a new roof can be a big endeavor.  The final cost depends on how big your house is, how many peaks and valleys, and a variety of other factors.  You can get a rough estimate (and basic understanding of roofing) by checking out the RoofingCalc cost guide here.

Sell your home in Billings

An asphalt roof is the cheapest, but it’s not the only option.  Depending on your budget, you may benefit from upgrading to a metal roof; one that will be a more permanent solution for those who are looking to purchase your home.

Paint the Drab Walls

Believe it or not, paint wears out.  It gets scuffed, chipped, dinged, and otherwise damaged.  It also fades over time.  Fortunately, it’s really easy to update the paint in your home.  And it’s incredibly affordable!  For $50 you can repaint a room or two and make them “pop” for prospective buyers.

Billings Real Estate

When you’re planning to paint, don’t go too crazy with the colors.  Your style is going to be very different from those looking at purchasing your house.  While a bright red kitchen might be your choice, a more neutral color will appeal to a wider customer base.

Plant Flowers and Landscape

If you’re going to be selling in the spring or the summer, put some sweat equity into your landscaping.  Most projects are cheap for the materials, but the labor is what drives up the price.  $200 on flowers can transform any yard from plain into a vibrant space alive with color.

Homes for sale in Billings

Make a plan for the flowers so that it doesn’t look thrown together.  Check out which flowers will attract hummingbirds and butterflies and create a garden just for them.  Have fun with the landscaping, but don’t go crazy with permanent features (like fences, ponds, and sculptures) that might turn off buyers.

Swap Light Fixtures

How old are the light fixtures in your home?  If you’ve been there for quite a while, there’s a chance that they’re outdated.  Even for those that are just a little handy, swapping light fixtures isn’t actually that hard to do (unless you’re getting into three-way switches or some other crazy electrical issues, in which case an electrician is in order).

Realtor in Billings

Visit a local lighting store (one that specializes in lighting will provide better information and service), and choose some modern fixtures.  Spend an afternoon replacing the bedroom and living room lights, and your buyers will thank you.

Swap Power Outlets

As long as we are swapping out electrical components, take a good look at the outlets in your home.  Are they drab?  Do they have paint splatters on them?  Do they look like they’re from a few decades ago?  A buyer may not notice the new ones, but they will definitely notice if they’re old.

Real estate agent in Billings MT

While you’re replacing them, consider putting some outlets that have built in USB chargers in bedrooms and offices.  Making life easier for the potential buyer is a sure way to win them over.

Update the Kitchen

A full kitchen remodel sure would be nice!  But spending $30,000 (and recouping $20,000 when you sell) doesn’t make a whole lot of financial sense.  Fortunately, you don’t have to remodel the entire room to update it.  You can start with buying matching appliances, swapping cabinet hardware, and potentially re-facing those cabinets.

Homes for sale in Billings

If you’ve upgraded one appliance, but not the others, they may no longer match.  A few hundred dollars to make the kitchen have a nice uniform look will keep buyers from being turned off.  Updating the hardware on the cabinets is even cheaper, and it’s actually not that hard to re-face your own cabinets.

Improve Storage Space

Older homes have terrible storage space.  Maybe people just didn’t have as many clothes back in the 40’s?  If you are going to be selling your classic home, you want to make sure that the buyer has ample space to store their stuff.  And that’s as easy as putting in some shelves and hangers in the closets.

Realtor in Billings


Any home improvement store will carry some wire or laminated shelving.  The project will take a couple of hours to hang it and make sure it’s all level.  Then, when your agent in Billings shows the home they can show off how the storage space is more than adequate.

Throw in a Throw Rug

If you have bare hardwood floors, buyers might not be able to envision their beauty when the room is fully furnished.  They may even be tempted to carpet over the tops of them.  Don’t let the natural beauty be spoiled with carpeting!

Best realtor in Billings

Pick out an area rug that fits the room, and include it in the sale.  It may cost a few hundred dollars (for a high quality one), but the worst that will happen is that the new owner will give it away (or sell it) because they want one with a different pattern.  You might even consider leaving a receipt so they can swap it with a different style that they like more.  You can shop local, or you can find a bigger selection of home decor online.


Selling Your Home in Billings

Selling your home shouldn’t be hard.  But sometimes you have to do a little work now to encourage buyers to pay what you believe the home is worth.  These are 9 ways you can improve the value of your home before you sell, but there are many others (and a lot that just require time, like cleaning thoroughly), for a few more tips, check out Gaby Creates’ blog.

When you’re ready to put your home on the market, get in touch with Western Skies Real Estate, the number one boutique real estate company in Billings!

Western Skies Real Estate Billings, MT

Here is What’s Going On This Weekend In Billings September 22nd-24th


Family Fun Night: Hobbit Day
Fri. 09/22, 6:30pm
Billings Public Library
Celebrate Hobbit Day with fun, games, and trivia about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
more info map

Ales for Trails
Fri. 09/22, 5pm-10pm
Dehler Park
Enjoy live music, six regional microbrews, unlimited beer/wine tasting, food trucks, and more.
more info map

Fri. 09/22, 8am
Squire Lounge & Patio
THE MAX plays spot on renditions of a wide variety of choice danceable rock and roll covers.
more info map

Evening Under the Big Sky
Sat. 09/23, 5:30pm
Montana Audubon Center
Evening Under the Big Sky features a dinner reception, no-host bar, live music, and silent and live auction. $75
more info map

Billings Symphony presents Montana Splendor
Sat. 09/23, 7:30pm
Alberta Bair Theater
The Symphony’s 67th Season opens with Zoltan’s Kodaly’s Dances of Marosszek, and Montana’s own Eric Funk’s Symphony No. 2 Montana.
more info map

Pump-N-Run for Recovery
Sat. 09/23, 8am
Rimrock’s Pump-N-Run for Recovery adds a unique twist to the average fun run by measuring both strength and endurance. Athletes will have the option to take 30 seconds off their race time for each bench press prior to the race. $22.50-$27.50
More Info map

Saturday Live 2017
Sat. 09/23, 10am
Pioneer Park
Saturday Live is an all day, outdoor, family-oriented carnival featuring face painting, dunk booths, a haunted house, inflatables, and more.
more info map

Music Night with Jessica Lecnher.
Sat. 09/23, 7pm
Yellowstone Cellars & Winery
With amazing covers ranging form Brandi Carlile and Grace Potter, to the Beatles and Johnny Cash, Jessica can do it all.
more info map

Free Crossfit Workout
Sun. 09/24, 4pm
Telos Fitness
Coaches will be available to walk you through every step of the way during this 30 minute workout.
more info map

Run For Her 5K
Sun. 09/24, 5pm
700 Front St.
Run For Her 5K is a Her Campaign event with proceeds going to help in restoration for victims of human trafficking. The evening will include entertainment, games, and fun. $35
more info map

Fall Hill Climb
Sun 09/24, 9am-4pm
Billings Motorcycle Club
This Hill Climb is an annual autumn Billings Hill Climb with hundreds of competitors from the region.
more info map


Weather (Extended Forecast)

Friday                              Saturday                             Sunday
Rain                                Showers                            Partly Cloudy
44º/37º                          48º/37º                          57º/37º


Showtimes and Tickets In Theaters                                    Rated
The Lego Ninjago Movie                                                                     PG

Kingsman: The Golden Circle                                                            R
Logan Lucky                                                                                      PG-13

New DVD Releases                                                                    Rated
The Big Sick                                                                                         R
The Hero                                                                                               R
The Mummy                                                                                         PG-13

Pro Sports

Pro Rodeo


College Sports

MSU Bobcats

@ North Dakota
09/23 @ 1:30pm
Women’s Volleyball
@ Eastern Washington
09/23 @ 3:00pm
University of Montana Grizzlies

vs Eastern Washington
09/23 @ 6:00pm
Women’s Soccer
vs Southern Utah
09/24 @ 1:00pm
Women’s Volleyball
@ Idaho
09/23 @ 8:00pm

High School Sports

Laurel Locomotives

@ Belgrade
09/22 @ 7:00pm
Boys Soccer
vs Park
09/23 @ 12:00pm
Girls Soccer
vs Park
09/23 @ 2:00pm
Central Rams

@ Park
09/22 @ 7:00pm
Boys Soccer
vs Belgrade
09/23 @ 12:00pm
Girls Soccer
vs Belgrade
09/23 @ 10:00am
resumes in 2 weeks
Senior Broncs

@ Bozeman
09/22 @ 7:00pm
Boys Soccer
@ Butte
09/23 @ 11:00am
Girls Soccer
@ Butte
09/23 @ 1:00pm
Dickenson Invitational
09/22 @ 2:00pm
09/23 @ 9:00am
Billings West Golden Bears

@ Skyview
09/22 @ 7:00pm
Boys Soccer
vs GFH
09/22 @ 3:00pm
vs CMR
09/23 @ 10:00am
Girls Soccer
vs GFH
09/22 @ 5:00pm
vs CMR
09/23 @ 12:00pm
Dickenson Invitational
09/22 @ 2:00pm
09/23 @ 9:00am
Skyview Falcons

vs West High
09/22 @ 7:00pm
Boys Soccer
vs CMR
09/22 @ 3:00pm
vs GFH
09/23 @ 10:00am
Girls Soccer
vs CMR
09/22 @ 5:00pm
vs GFH
09/23 @ 12:00pm
vs CMR
09/22 @ 5:00pm
vs GFH
09/23 @ 1:00pm

Hello Fall!

 More To Do!

                 September 23 & 24



Courtesy of:


You’re Only One Person And You Can’t Be Everything For Everyone!

                  Words of Wisdom

Words of wisdom from someone who has BEEN THERE!….

What is the hurry? ….. I find myself getting anxiety thinking that I have to do everything right now while the getting is good. I have to keep this boat rowing with momentum down the river, or actually UP the river it seems most of the time.

I am always looking for the next sale, always looking for the next client or the next listing because there is this fear in me that theses opportunities might not always be here. So I convince myself that what I have to do now is capitalize on everything that comes my way because there is going to be a day when these opportunities are not here and then what am I going to do???

It is this limiting belief mentality that we have in this industry but who taught us this? Is it because of something we experienced on a personal level or is it because this is what our colleges are telling us?

But in all reality what is the hurry? Why do I feel like I have to do it all right now? Be a mother, a wife, a sister, a best friend, and team mate, a leader and a million dollar producer all in one? Life is a marathon and if you try to make it a 100 yard dash instead, then we are going to wear ourselves out and it is all going to be for nothing. The consequence will be that we will never be able to look back and enjoy anything that happened along this journey in the last 365 days.

So the question is what is the hurry? I have learned to have faith in myself, in God and in this Universal timing. I trust that when it is going to happen, it’s going to happen. And when it does happen I am going to enjoy every single minute of that moment. I am going to love whatever it is that I’m doing at that moment. But in order to do that I can not accept and play the lead role in everything at once.

Give yourself a break. Despite what we tell ourselves in the mirror every morning we are not super hero’s. I have learned to not accept every client and every listing that comes my way. I choose to only take on things that serve my greatest good and my highest purpose. Life seems to go a little smoother and easier this way. And despite what this competitive industry of limiting belief tells us, trust me, there is more work out there than we would even know what to do with even if we had it.

Choosing to accept clients that energetically align with me has not all together eliminated but has definitely limited the anxiety, chaos, stress, and unmet expectations in my career. The key is to sit back and relax and TRUST that God-This Universe, is going to put in front of you the clients where YOU can make a difference in THEIR lives.

You’re only one person you can’t be everything for everyone and at the young age of 42 🙂 I am finally OK with that. So next time you get worried about where that next sale is coming from ask yourself, “What is the hurry?” Take your time and build a foundation that is unbreakable.



Tannis Kramer
(406) 671-4619

Make money with your house

Why Do You Need to Avoid Overpricing Your Home?

Why Do You Need to Avoid Overpricing Your Home?

One of the biggest mistakes home sellers make is what I like to call the overpricing issue.

While it’s tempting to put a high price on your home and either negotiate down with a buyer or test the market, you really want to avoid doing so.

Overpricing your home will deter buyers from coming to view your home and has the potential to overexpose it to the market as well. Luckily, there are some cures to help you get through the overpricing process so that you can get the top value for your home:

  • Check the Comps: Comps are real estate lingo for comparable sales. You want to look at homes that are very similar to yours and see what they’re selling for.
  • Get inside the minds of the buyers: Buyers look for homes online that fall in a very specific price range, so if your home is priced above its actual value, you won’t get the right buyers to look at it!
  • Visit competing open houses: Go to homes that are fresh on the market. The homes that have been lingering on the market for a very long time are not worth what the sellers are asking for either, which is why they’re still available.
  • Get your home inspected: A home inspection gives buyers peace of mind that you have done your due diligence and that you really care about your property. It also helps possibly get things fixed for even less than what a buyer’s inspector might estimate.

As you can see, overpricing your home won’t do you any favors when selling. If you would like help putting the right price on your home, don’t hesitate to give me a call or shoot me an email. I would love to assist you!

hundred dollar bills y'all

4 Lending Misconceptions Keeping You From Buying Your Dream Home

4 Lending Misconceptions Keeping You

From Buying Your Dream Home

Are you a renter who is looking to purchase a home of your own? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

By now, you know we only partner with the best. Our preferred lender, [COMPANY], makes buyers dreams come true by meeting with them in person and finding out what is the best fit for them. They are the best independent mortgage lender in America and have a great spread of loan programs, low interest rates, and a fantastic team to help fulfill your loan in the easiest possible way.

Many of our clients have said to us that they wish they would have made their purchase years ago, instead of renting for a long period of time. With interest rates as low as they are, we want to encourage all the renters out there to buy now! Low rates mean you have more spending power as a buyer, which is perfect for first-time home buyers looking for the right fit.

Many potential home buyers are waiting until they save up for a large down payment to avoid paying Private Mortgage Insurance. The fact is, you don’t need to have 20% down to buy. There are many great low down payment packages out there, such as FHA loans (3.5% down) or conventional loans with as little as 3% down. One of the most popular packages is a 5% down conventional loan with no mortgage insurance!

Nowadays, it’s very common for people to monitor their credit. Many people don’t want their credit pulled until they are absolutely ready to buy because they fear their score is going to be impacted. This is another misconception – there is no set formula detailing how much your score is impacted by being pulled. If you have pretty good credit as it is, the impact of having a lender take a look at it is going to be minuscule because you’ve already proven you can manage your own credit risk. If your credit isn’t great, give [COMPANY] call and they can help you manage it a bit better.

zillow logo

Zillow’s Home Evaluations!

Why Should You Take Zillow’s

Home Evaluations with a Grain of Salt?

More and more people head online to find real estate information nowadays. Zillow is by far the most popular – but is it accurate? Can Zillow really put an accurate value on your San Antonio home?

The short answer to those questions is no. Zillow pools a lot of data from different sources and comes up with a very good ballpark number of your home’s value. However, there are many factors Zillow can’t take into account, such as neighborhood details and any updates you have made to your home.

Zillow readily admits that it is often off by 5%-15%. If you have a $300,000 home, they could overprice or underprice your home by as much as $45,000! That’s why it is absolutely essential to have a real estate professional assess your home. They will note the differences between your home and other homes that are selling in your neighborhood, and will account for other details that Zillow has no way of accounting for.

If you have questions about the home valuation process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to help you get top dollar for you home!

Movies in the park hosted by Western Skies

Movies In The Park!!

The Real Estate Agents at Western Skies Real Estate have decided to sponsor and host the “Movies In The Park” series this summer in order to keep it a FREE family event for the Billings community!


MARK YOUR CALENDARS!! Come out to Pioneer Park this Saturday on July 15th for some FREE Family Fun!! The movie will start just after Sunset. Western Skies Real Estate along with Askin Construction is bringing you Food Trucks, Entertainment, Face Painters, and much more. All vendors will all be there by 6:00 pm So Come EARLY to claim your spot in the grass and enjoy the FUN!!!


Come hungry! We will have Sandee’s Hamburgers, hot dogs from Dickies, and Bailey’s Frozen Novelties!


Paying It Forward – Each movie night there will be some fantastic prizes raffled off, ALL of the proceeds raised will benefit some amazing charities here in our community!


June 2  – Yellowstone County Relay for Life

June 16 – Boys and Girls Club

June 30 – Friendship House

July 15 – The Parks and Recreation Youth Scholarship Fund

July 28 – Prader-Willi Research

Aug 11 – Her Refuge

Aug 25 – Ramsey Keller Memorial


For the July 15th movie, Finding Dory @ Pioneer Park, How would you like to win ​a Yett​i Cooler​, some Finding Dory DVD’s and also a 50/50 Drawing?

So don’t forget to Buy a raffle ticket (or a few) before the movie starts for a chance to win! Proceeds from the raffle go directly to The Parks and Recreation Youth Scholarship Fund.


Here is the summer movie schedule in case you missed it.

June 2  – Moana @ Veterans Park

June 16  – Sing! @ Sacajawea Park

June 30 – Storks @ Optimist Park

July 15 – Finding Dory @ Pioneer Park

July 28 – The Lego Batman Movie @ Rose Park

Aug 11 – The Secret Life of Pets @ Pioneer Park

Aug 25 – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story @ Castle Rock Park

Western Skies motivational

Dream Big!

Just about every dream worth pursuing seems completely impossible when you first have it.
But when you stay focused on it and repeat it to yourself over and over again you start to believe that maybe it could be possible.
So then you learn a little bit and do a little bit and realize you’re closer than you think.
So you learn more and do more and get even a little closer.
Until one day you wake up and realize there is actually a chance of that dream coming true.
And when you look back you realize it wasn’t the result of huge grandiose decisions but of small moves made consistently over a long period of time that made the difference.
And you realize that strategy is universal.
You take take insurmountable odds and disassemble them one step at a time.
#thinkbig #dreambig #success #achievement.

I want to give Credit to my Mentor Rory Vaden!              

13 Things NOT To Do If You Want Your Dream Home!

Looking To Purchase A Home This Year? 

Here Are 13 Things NOT To Do If You Want To Get Your Dream Home


1. Do not change or quit your job during the process and Do not change your name before closing.

2. Do not buy any large ticket items (like five dollars or more) Seriously! 

3. Do not Make David Copperfield deposits. All funds need to be traceable and show proof of where they originated from. 

4. Do not talk to the Sellers directly (loose lips sink ships)

5. Do not lie to your lender about your child support, alimony, wage garnishments or any other payroll reductions. It will eventually come out and will effect your ability to get your home.

6. Do not call the owner on a “For Sale By Owner” sign. Let your agent contact them to set up a showing and request more information in order to keep professionalism and your protection in place.

7. Do not choose a lender off the internet only because they offer a 0.001 interest rate. A good lender is so very crucial to your process and they can make or break your ability to get a home. 

8. Do not wait to find the absolute PERFECT house. You will always be limited by income, zoning, inventory at that time, and even property taxes. Think of every home to be an investment and choose wisely with your mind and not necessarily with your heart. Understand the 80/10/10 Rule If you find a house that has 80% of what you are looking for, 10% of things you can change and 10% of things you can live with, then it’s a keeper!

9. Do not co-sign for even a candy bar! Do not even go window shopping and let people pull your credit!

10. Do not order Direct TV, Cable, Telephone or any utility that will pull a credit report unless you want to write a letter of explanation about the credit report to the mortgage company

11. Do not give away your negotiation power by speaking frankly in the house during a viewing. (always assume you are being recorded)

12. Do not shop for your new home before being FULLY approved for a home loan. Nothing hurts as much as finding the house you love and then you loose it when someone else beats you to it because you were not completely ready to make an offer with a pre-approval letter.

13. Dying before the transaction closes (this really messes things up, BIG TIME! Please don’t die before the closing… 🙂