You might remember, from last year in Bozeman, a man wearing a cardboard sign, begging people to help him buy a house. Sean Hawksford's life has changed a lot in the year since we last spoke with him.
"We were so driven towards the goal of getting a house," says Hawksford, "We ended up making it happen in a way that we never could have seen coming."
Hawksford was a renter in Bozeman for 10 years. As he and his wife were expecting their first child last year, they were desperate to find a home to start their family. Hawksford took matters into his own hands by asking for help with a cardboard sign.
"It was a wild ride. We made 20 offers unsuccessfully and that ultimately led me to hold a sign up asking someone to sell us a house," says Hawksford.
As of October 16, 2022, Gallatin County sales prices have increased 25.9% compared to last September, jumping from $690,000 to $869,000.
Last year, the Hawksfords were working with a budget around $500,000. A homeowner whose family had recently experienced tragedy and loss reached out to the young family, insisting they buy his home. Hawksford says he understands the struggle of people on the hunt in a hot market.
"For people who are in our shoes, there's still not a lot of options just because the prices have gone up and stayed up," he says.
Through his experience in the Gallatin County housing market, Hawksford now helps people in the same shoes he was in a year ago.
"As part of this entire whirlwind of things that happened in buying this house and doing a bunch of new stories and stuff, I connected with people and I'm now a financial advisor with Edward Jones and so people are asking me these kinds of questions like, what can I do?" says Hawksford.
Hawksford has some advice for people struggling to find a home in this housing market.
"Try to have a good attitude even when it's difficult," says Hawksford, "Keep your eyes open for opportunities and then make a plan."
Throughout this whole experience, Hawksford couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity a seller gave him.
"It's meant stability for us in a really wonderful way," says Hawksford.