Tag Archives: buying a home in Dickinson North Dakota

Overpriced Houses In Dickinson, North Dakota

During the past year, nearly half a dozen times I have been tempted to write this blog post article about overpriced houses for sale in Dickinson, North Dakota. I was even thinking about writing a weekly or bi-weekly article titled, “This Week’s Award For The Most Overpriced House In Dickinson”.

What got me going, was that there was a 5br/3ba house for sale in Dickinson that was listed for $600K. I thought, $600K? $600K for a house in Dickinson? Who are these people, where do they think they are, and what are they thinking? Did the real estate agent talk them into this?

Before I go any further, I need to explain to readers who live outside of this area, that Dickinson experienced the North Dakota oil boom from 2007-2015. During the first several years of this oil boom, housing prices and rents doubled. But by 2011, housing prices and rents had quadrupled.

When the price of oil went from over $100 per barrel in 2014, down to less than $50 per barrel in 2015, that killed the North Dakota oil boom. Oil companies began to shut down oil wells that were producing, and cease drilling operations because they could not make any profit on oil when the price was below $60 per barrel.

Initially in 2015-2016 there many oil field workers and even many non-oilfield workers who were let go from their employment. Many of these workers left, because these people could not see that there was any work for them in this area. This exit migration of people at the end of the North Dakota oil boom created an instant surplus of housing for sale and for rent.

Beyond 2017, it became more and more clear every day that the oil boom was not coming back to North Dakota. More people continued to move away from this area, which caused the local economy to shrink a little more.

In this area of western North Dakota, it is sparsely populated, with barren vacant grasslands where the wind sometimes exceeds 100 mph, and the temperature in Winter falls below -50 degrees Fahrenheit. This is not a desirable place to live for most people. In North Dakota, there is no beach, professional sports teams, car racing, motorcycle racing, horse racing, or hardly any kind of entertainment or place to go.

With the exodus of people from the Dickinson area after the end of the oil boom, the surplus of housing, most of the high paying jobs being eliminated, no one wanting to live here or move here in the first place, how could someone try to get $600K for their 5br/3ba home, that was not even very nice?

I was going to mock and ridicule this homeowner and the real estate agent who listed this home for $600K, but I wanted to look into this situation a little more to find out what was going on. I am glad that I did look into this more closely, because what I found was that this wasn’t just a matter of these people being stupid, it was also a matter of the homeowner being desperate.

I used the address of this home for sale, to find out who the owners were. Once I found out who the owners were, I looked them up on the internet, including the North Dakota court repository. Unfortunately, when there is a divorce/child custody/child support court case that gets contested and moves through the court of appeals, many of the details get reported in the public record. This was the case here.

I was able to find out that a young, newly married husband and wife in their mid to late twenties purchased this home early in the North Dakota oil boom, around 2009-2010 I think it was. The husband had an unusually good job for someone his age, with an oil company here in Dickinson. I believe he was earning about $125K per year.

Off the top of my head, I think that this couple separated and filed for divorce in about 2014, just before the end of the oil boom, that no one knew was coming. His child support assessment was something like $30K per year. Then in 2015, due to the price collapse of oil, he lost his job, and the oil company the he had been working for filed for bankruptcy.

This ex-husband who was now in his early 30s, who had lost his job with an oil company, he was not able to find another job. He began the process of legally appealing his child support determination, because he had very little money, no income, and probably a large amount of legal fees.

I was glad that I found out who these home owners were, so that I didn’t mock and ridicule them in a blog post article. Their circumstances required them to try to get as much as possible from the sale of their home. However, still, what the fuck were they and their real estate agent thinking? Who in Dickinson has that much money? Maybe a medical doctor, but why would a medical doctor want to spend $600K on a house in Dickinson that isn’t even very nice?

What this particular real estate listing did at that time, was immediately inspire some other dumb-ass in Dickinson to list their rather ordinary unappealing older home for $600K. Some people in Dickinson thought that this was a “thing” now.

I would kind of like for homeowners and real estate agents in Dickinson to paint a picture for me of the imaginary buyer they have in their heads that is going to race from Los Angeles straight to Dickinson with $600K in cash. Why Dickinson?, in North Dakota?

Some time has passed since I became discombobulated by the $600K house “thing” in Dickinson. Until today, when I looked up a house that just went for sale around the corner from where I live. Where I live, a year ago I was able to buy a small, plain, one hundred year old house on a double lot for $50K. The larger house that I had looked at a few blocks away was $85K. A few months ago, a very nice 4br/2ba home one block away from me, the asking price was dropped to $80K. So I wanted to know, how much was the house that was just listed for sale near me?…….Over $400K! What!

Why does this matter to me? I have asked myself why this matters to me, why does this bother me, and I have realized four of five reasons. My first reason, is that I have seen this kind of thing before where everyone begins to believe that their house is worth double, which mostly just results in first-time home buyers needlessly being excluded from buying a home. It doesn’t result in everyone being able to sell their house for double, it results in very few people being able to sell their house, and first-time buyers not being able to afford any house.

Reason number two, between the 1940s to the early 1980s, single-family homes in blue-collar neighborhoods cost on average, twice the annual family income. Once real estate investors and real estate agents began to normalize grabbing up and trying to profit off of normal human beings trying to live in a home, not only did they cause the single-family home to cost on average three-four times the annual family income, mom had to begin working full-time, then by the 1990s both mom & dad had to work overtime in order to afford a single-family home.

Reason number three, real estate agents are not the smartest people in the World, they are often so greedy that they can’t even think normally or rationally. If a real estate agent really thought this situation through, where there is a nice 4br/2ba home a couple of blocks away for $80K that hasn’t sold in the past several months, several other nice 4br/2ba homes nearby at less than $150K that have not sold, and a couple of huge, 2-story, nice looking, recently updated homes at $400K that haven’t sold in over a year, why would a real estate agent think that there is a demand in this area, buyers in this area, or buyers with money in this area?

Reason four, I can’t understand why a home owner would go through the effort of listing and trying to sell their home, and create a situation where a sale is almost impossible. If the home owner wants to move away and start a new life somewhere else, needs the proceeds from this house sale to pay for a new house somewhere else, or needs to sell this house to pay off debt, why would they sabotage themselves by setting the price so high to make a sale impossible?

Lastly, I wonder what goes on in other people’s minds. What is their understanding and perception of reality? Do they know and understand that the oil boom is over? Do they know that very, very few people in this area earn over $100K per year? Can they look around and see the houses that surround them, that almost all of the houses that surround them are less than $200K houses? Even if there was a medical doctor who could afford over $400K for a house and was looking, why would this doctor purchase a house in this blue-collar neighborhood where the houses range from $50K-$200K?

I Understand More Now The Hostility And Why People Are Not Wanted In Dickinson North Dakota

Because I have written about many different subjects which caused readers to find my website for different reasons, some new followers of my blog post articles may not know why I am writing about Dickinson, North Dakota.

I had lived in Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Texas, Utah, Arizona, and Idaho before I travelled to North Dakota when I was in my early 40s to work here during the 2007-2015 oil boom. For people who were not here, they may have no idea what this oil boom was like.

Prior to 2007, the two largest towns in western North Dakota, Dickinson and Williston, each had a population of about 15,000 people. By 2011 both Dickinson and Williston had each added about 10,000 male workers from out-of-state. Rent and housing prices doubled, then quadrupled. Housing was at over 100% capacity, people were paying rent to sleep in tents in people’s backyards.

I had never been around people who were so hostile, unfriendly, uncooperative, not helpful, nasty, un-Christian and usurious as the local people in Dickinson, North Dakota, especially the women. Initially, and continuing for years afterward I have tried to understand why the people in Dickinson were like this.

Some of my early understanding of the people in Dickinson was valid: The local people in Dickinson were descendants of German and Ukrainian immigrant homesteaders who were historically not friendly people; These Catholic immigrants had been indoctrinated by the Catholic Church principles such as the supremacy of the Pope, the importance of Mass and Communion, but not Christian principles such as treating other people with kindness; Due to the very harsh and barren conditions in North Dakota, charity and hospitality was something that the local people could historically not afford to offer.

I probably need to explain to readers who have never been to North Dakota, that the landscape is primarily empty grassland prairie with very few trees, or badlands filled with almost barren sandstone hills. The immigrant homesteaders who arrived in the 1890s and early 1900s had to build their small houses out of stacked grass sod, and burn dried buffalo dung for heating and cooking. Survival was so difficult, food and supplies were so short, that the practice of charity and hospitality was not possible, and not passed down to this day.

Very soon after arriving in Dickinson in 2011, I realized that there were very few attractive women here. During the next several years I began to understand that attractive women had not made the trip to western North Dakota during the homesteading immigration years of the 1890s through early 1900s. Attractive women were able to escape this fate by employing their charms either back in Germany and Ukraine, at the port of entry cities on the east coast, or somewhere else along the way like Minnesota prior to reaching North Dakota.

Still to this day, attractive women will not come to western North Dakota. If an attractive female is born in western North Dakota, they leave this area after high school, because larger cities are more appealing to them and offer them much more opportunities for higher education, employment, dating, socializing, entertainment, and shopping.

After living in Dickinson for more than several years, I began to realize that its makeup was about 10% white-collar, 30% blue-collar, 40% semi-skilled labor, and 20% naer-do-wells. About 25% of the people in Dickinson have had a history of Meth use, and about 25% of the people in Dickinson have been arrested before. With more than half of its population below the blue-collar level, the Police in Dickinson treat everyone within Dickinson like inmates in a prison work camp, subject to being stopped and questioned at any time.

During the oil boom when out-of-state workers were lured here by false claims that everyone was making $100K per year in the oil field, most of these individuals did not stay for more than a year because it was so difficult and unpleasant living here. Housing was very difficult to obtain and it was very expensive, the climate was extremely cold and windy, the local people were unfriendly and hostile, co-workers were uncooperative and undermining, there were no attractive women, there was nothing to do except go drink in a bar, and the Police circled the bars and restaurants waiting for people to leave in order to give them a DUI.

When the oil boom ended in 2015 due to the price of U.S. oil dropping below $60 per barrel, most of the out-of-state workers left western North Dakota. I thought that North Dakotans were very stupid for blowing the chance to have permanent long-term growth and a larger improved economy. Why would you treat people so shitty, that no one would want to live here? If North Dakotans hadn’t tried to rip these people off so bad with quadrupled housing prices, many of these people would have tried to become permanent residents.

In 2018 I began seeing in the news, more and more articles about people leaving California in large numbers in order to relocate to places like Arizona, Texas, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. The people in California were trying to get away from severe traffic congestion and long commutes to work, high housing prices, high property taxes, high state income taxes, crime, drugs, a large homeless population, excessive government over-regulation, and an abandonment of traditional Christian family values. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to leave California, it’s turning into a disaster.

In 2019 I was a little surprised to see more and more articles about the quickly rising housing prices and housing shortage in Boise, Idaho due to Californians moving in. At first, Californians were paying cash for the asking price of houses for sale in Boise, but by 2020 Californians were in bidding wars with each other, making competing offers above the asking price for houses in Boise. Local people in Boise could not afford to buy a house anymore, they were outbid by Californians.

Boise is not a spectacular city, the things that it offered were low crime, low cost of living, no serious traffic congestion, no pollution, and normalcy with traditional Christian family values and civility in the people who lived there.

I thought to myself, if only the people in Dickinson had not tried to rip-off the out-of-state workers so bad, been so hostile and unfriendly, arrested them for DUI, practically tried to run them out of town, Dickinson could have had growth like Boise and Bozeman. What a shame.

A couple of months ago I had to return to my home in Idaho after having been gone for a year and a half. The reason why I had to leave Idaho in the first place was because there had been a slow-down in the economy in Idaho following the 2008 housing-crises/mortgage-default nationwide downturn cycle. The economy in the small town where I lived and the larger town close by offered few employment opportunities and very low wages, but the quality of life was very good. It was peaceful, laid-back, with low crime, and simple outdoor activities and recreation.

When I was travelling on the interstate highway to get home in March, there was very little traffic in Idaho, the least amount of traffic that I had ever seen. However, when I entered the rural county where I lived in mid-morning, this was the most traffic that I had ever seen on this rural county highway. There was new development everywhere, I was shocked.

When I got to my house, I saw that the 80-acre farm field directly across the street from me had been developed into 1/2-acre lots with large $500K houses. In this small town, there were hardly any people who could afford houses like this, these houses were for Californians.

For the next several days, when I drove into town to handle business at the county office complex, get things at the hardware store, buy groceries, pick up take-out food, I noticed that everyone was in a hurry, pushy, aggressive, driving fast, equal to how people in Phoenix and Salt Lake City behave where there are over a million people, but this town has less than 5,000 people.

I could read the writing on the wall, this rural small town was changing, it didn’t take much, just a hundred Californians moving in. The area where my house was situated in the county, my neighbors to the west, north, and east had lived on their 5-acre or larger properties for twenty years or more. These were rednecks who were truck drivers, heavy equipment operators, building contractors, and mechanics. In my yard and in their yards were work trucks, hobby cars, equipment, travel trailers, truck campers, even horses, cows, and drag-line cranes. How long would it be before the $500K house Californians to the south of us began complaining to the county that we needed to get rid of everything on our property?

I began to feel that it was pointless for me to plan on returning to my home in Idaho to live, it was quickly changing into something that I never wanted it to be, or expected to happen in my lifetime. Even as fucked up and unpleasant as western North Dakota is, I felt that at least there isn’t any traffic, development, or change happening.

It began to dawn on me, that even though I hardly ever gave North Dakotans any credit for being intelligent, I mostly saw them as backward, ignorant, uneducated, short-sighted, and not seeing the big-picture, maybe North Dakotans had the right idea to treat people like shit and try to run them off.

About five months ago, there was a local man named Schmidt in his 90s who left a couple of mean nasty comments explaining to me that many North Dakotans did not want out-of-state people here, that they were going to mess things up, and that in the long-term the local economy could not sustain very many new people here due to the nature of it being primarily rural and agricultural. That the oil boom brought people here, who could not do well here after the oil boom went away.

I will acknowledge now, that even though people in western North Dakota are not very educated, and they didn’t explain themselves very well, somehow they knew that they had to try to discourage the out-of-state workers from thinking that they were going to move here permanently, because once the oil boom went away and there were too many people living here, it would be impossible for all of these people to survive in a simple small-town rural agricultural economy.

The other thing, that the not very educated, not very articulate North Dakotans didn’t explain very well, but knew, is that they didn’t want their way of life to change. By being mean, usurious, unfriendly, hostile, unhospitable, uncooperative, not helpful, and having ugly women, they kept people from staying here or wanting to come here. No new development here, don’t come here.

I used to write that by me pointing out what was wrong with Dickinson, by writing the truth about Dickinson, that if I could get people to see this, that this would be a step towards change for the better. I have begun to accept the reality that I do not like people, I don’t want to be around people, the fewer people that I have to deal with the better. By the people in Dickinson being so mean, hostile, and unfriendly etcetera, this has caused people to leave this area and not want to come to this area. Previously I thought that this was a mistake, but now I don’t think so anymore.

Property Line Disputes On All Sides At My New House In Dickinson, North Dakota

If you the reader have seen more than ten of my blog post articles, you would conclude that I don’t like the Dickinson area, and you would wonder why did I buy a house here.  I will explain why.

Even though the oil boom in western North Dakota has been over since 2015 when the price of oil continued to stay below $50 per barrel, and many oil field jobs have gone away, there are still some oil field/industrial projects that are being completed.  The wage rate in western North Dakota remains much higher than in my home state of Idaho, because of the shortage of workers in western North Dakota, due to no one wanting to come to and live in North Dakota.

After living in a low-rent apartment in downtown Dickinson for the past three years, I became very, very tired of the drug dealing, drug addicts, theft of my truck, theft of my property, attempted thefts, living in the ghetto, and the Police trying to stop me all the time as if I was a criminal, on probation, or in possession of drugs.

I wanted to keep my job that I like and that pays well, for the next couple of years, even though Dickinson is a bad place, and the neighborhood that I was living in was terrible.  I was looking at small, low-priced homes, in order to be able to get out of the crime infested Dickinson ghetto, so that my life wouldn’t be so miserable.

In May when I purchased a small 3br/1ba home on multiple lots in the Dickinson area, it seemed so good, that it was too good to be true.  For me, it was like getting out of prison.  One of my friends who is in his sixties, he told me, “Don’t do it, don’t do it!  Those people will cause you so much trouble, you have no idea how much trouble they will cause you!”  Sounds crazy, right?

Initially, this move seemed too good to be true.  My own house, my own kitchen, my own bathroom, my own laundry room, my own yard.  What a relief.  Such a drop in tension, stress, and misery getting out of the downtown Dickinson meth-addict ghetto.

This new peace, tranquility, and happiness was short-lived.  It ended when two Police Officers arrived at my house to question me.  I have never been accused or charged with any crime in my life, and when the two Police Officers arrived at my house to question me, I had not committed any crime.

Without going into the details at this time, I will say that this visit from the Police was because of the North Dakota law “You Are Not From Here”.  Because I have been in North Dakota for over seven years now, I realized that it doesn’t matter if you have not committed any crime in North Dakota, you will still be arrested, charged, prosecuted, convicted, imprisoned, and have your property stolen by corrupt asset forfeiture laws.

The Police could have caused me to lose my good job, my home, and all of my property through being incarcerated, legal defense fees, and asset forfeiture.  Please note, in North Dakota you don’t have to be convicted of any crime before your property is permanently seized, the Police can just take it from you immediately, and not ever give it back, even if you are never convicted of any crime.

Within a few days, I called my Dickinson ghetto apartment landlord to say that I wasn’t moving out of my apartment by the end of June, could I please keep renting my apartment through July and August.  I now wanted to keep my apartment in order to have a different place to stay if the Police were going to continue to try to harass me at my new house.  But this is a digression and going off on a tangent story, I just wanted to explain why I was no longer very happy anymore.

At my new house, I was aware that my neighbor to the south had built a fence that was approximately three feet onto my property, for the entire length of the property line.  This neighbor had done this, because his yard was so small in total, and this side of his house would not have had any usable yard.

My neighbor and his wife were very concerned that I was going to ask them to move their fence.  I told them that their fence was O.K. where it was.  ( I knew that there are laws concerning customary/established use of land, which could cause me to lose legal ownership of this three foot strip of land by allowing their fence to remain where it was.)

My neighbor to the east, he had become accustomed to planting a 50’x50′ garden on the northeast corner of my property.  He claimed that he had been doing this for the past thirty years.  I told him that he could continue to use this corner of my property for his garden.  ( I believed that this neighbor might have had a good chance of winning some kind of customary/established use of land legal action that could grant him use of this land if I tried to stop him.)

My neighbor to the north, she was an 85 year old widow who lived alone.  I was glad to have an enormous hedge along the entire length of my north property line which acted like a privacy fence, blocking visitors, sight, and noise.  When I realized that this 85 year old woman lived alone, with apparently no one to help her, I went onto her side of the hedge in order to trim it back away from her garage to create a six foot wide alley-way.

After more bad shit had happened, I was mowing my lawn today, which took about two hours because I had to stop to move things and deal with other distractions, when I heard some woman yelling, Hey!, Hey!  I looked up from mowing and saw some woman in her mid-fifties standing in my yard with the 85 year old widow woman.

I walked over to them, and the fifty-five year old woman was saying that she wanted me to look at the north property line with them.  She was asking me if I knew where the property line was.  ( The seller of the property had told me that it was approximately down the middle of this hedge.)  I knew from talking to the 85 year old woman previously, that she had lived in her house since 1955, her daughter had been born in this house, and she grew up in this house.  The property line is probably still in the same place that it has been for the past sixty-five years, I was thinking sarcastically.

Why did this fifty-five year old woman, who no longer lived in her mother’s house, now have such an interest in discussing with me exactly where the property line was located within this enormous, six foot wide hedge?  Neither myself, nor the 85 year old widow woman ever ventured into this hedge, or tried to build anything within this hedge, so why does this matter?

I knew what this fifty-five year old woman was trying to do, pretty much the same thing as my neighbors on the south who had their fence three feet onto my side of the property, and my neighbor to the east that wanted to use a 50’x50′ corner of my property, she wanted to try to get something from me.

I said to her, “This hedge has been growing here for the last twenty to twenty-five years.  I have been here for two months, are you trying to get me to now take all the responsibility for this hedge?”  The fifty-five year old woman did not answer this question of mine, she continued to act like she was interested in determining the location of the property line.  I knew that this did not really have anything to do with the property line, it was all about trying to get me to do something with this hedge.

Then, she began to complain about how the hedge had grown so close to her mother’s garage.  I explained to her, and I showed her, that I had cut this six foot wide alley-way beside her mother’s garage a month ago, because her mother was elderly, and because she lived alone, but I was not obligated to do this.  The fifty-five year old woman continued to say, “We have got to find out where this property line is?”  I said, “Why?”  She didn’t answer.

I knew what she was trying to do, and I was very angry about it.  She was trying to find some way to make me cut this hedge way back, hire someone else to cut this hedge way back, or she could hire someone herself and make me pay for it.

For the past twenty to twenty-five years she and her mother could have trimmed this hedge, or hired someone to trim this hedge on their side of the property, however they liked.  Now, since I bought the property next door, they were going to try to find some way to see if they could force me to pay for what they had neglected to do themselves for the past twenty years.

What this woman was trying to do, was trying to somehow get me to be legally responsible and obligated to perform or pay for having this hedge trimmed regularly to their liking.  I yelled at them, “I am so sick of you North Dakotans, just go ahead and take me to court!”  And I walked away.

After I talked to some people about this and calmed down quite a bit, I looked up and read the laws concerning hedges/trees on or near property lines, from more than half a dozen attorneys.  Here is a summary:

In general, for hedges/trees on or near a property line, each homeowner is responsible for what is on their property or over their property line, at their own expense.

In general, whatever limb, branch, root, or trunk that is located on their property or over their property line, they can trim it or remove it up to the property line, so long as it does not kill the hedge/tree on someone else’s property.

In general, it is the property owner’s responsibility to perform, hire, or pay for the trimming of limbs, branches, roots, trees on their property or over their property line.

Almost always, the owner of a tree or hedge is not responsible to perform, hire, or pay for trimming of a branch, limb, or root that crosses over onto someone else’s property.  The only exception is a dead or broken tree branch that is hanging over someone else’s home that is a danger.

I was so angry about this, because I felt like each of my neighbors was so obviously trying to take advantage of me, and I got tired of it.  I felt like and I thought about putting a “For Sale By Owner” sign in my front yard tomorrow.

These people in North Dakota are unashamedly nasty and primitive in their inability to distinguish or know basic right and wrong.

Banks Don’t Want To Lend, Or Own Property In Dickinson, And It Is Causing Real Estate Prices To Fall

Banks in Dickinson, North Dakota do not want to loan money on property, and end up owning property in Dickinson, and it is causing real estate prices to fall.  No matter what people in Dickinson say or think about the economy in Dickinson remaining steady or improving, the Banks think the opposite, as demonstrated by their current lending practices.

The Banks don’t want to loan money on property in Dickinson because of the following doubts about Dickinson:

  • The Banks believe that real estate prices in Dickinson will continue to fall.
  • The Banks do not want to have loans on properties that are depreciating, which people would walk away from when they owe the Bank more money than their home is worth.
  • The Banks believe that the economy in Dickinson will continue to decline, with fewer jobs, lay-offs, businesses closing, and wage rates continually decreasing.
  • The Banks do not want to loan money based on people’s income history in Dickinson, because they believe that many people will lose their job, be unable to find another job, and their wage rates will continually decrease.
  • The Banks believe that people in Dickinson will default on their home loans, because they will get laid-off, be unable to find another job, their wage rates will drop, or they will find out that they owe more money on their home than it is worth as its value depreciates.
  • The Banks believe that they will likely end up owning many properties in Dickinson because of people defaulting on their mortgages.  The Banks believe that these properties will be depreciating in value greatly, they will be unable to find qualified replacement buyers, and the Bank will be responsible for paying insurance and high property taxes on these properties for many years.

In order to not have problems, the Banks are trying to not lend money on houses in Dickinson, because they don’t want to end up owning many, many houses in Dickinson.

The Banks don’t care, that the depreciation of home values that they are so worried about, they are perhaps the primary cause of this right now.

I will give two quick examples of home buyers who were willing to pay the seller’s asking price, but the Banks would not loan money to any of the buyers, so the home price dropped 10% to 20% in less than one year.

A friend of mine who has lived in Dickinson for 35 years, currently owns a home with $20,000 remaining on his mortgage.  I believe his current mortgage payments are $300 per month or less.  He is single, and a couple of years ago he no longer had to make child support payments of $700 per month or more on his two children, as they are now grown.  He has worked at the same company for over eight years, and his take home pay after all taxes is at least $3,000 per month. He owns several vehicles, which are paid for.

He agreed to purchase a neighboring house for $134,000, which was less than the current appraised value.  He thought that he would have no problem getting a mortgage for this house, based on his income, his employment history, his large equity in his current home, and having no car payments, credit card debt, or other debt.  But the Banks in Dickinson denied him a home loan.

If you use an on-line mortgage payment calculator, the mortgage payment for the $134,000 house would be less than $900 per month, plus his current mortgage payment is $300 per month.  For a single male with $3,000 per month income after all taxes, with no other debts, why couldn’t he afford $1,200 per month total for home payments?

The Banks did not want to make a home loan to him with payments of less than $900 per month, but for twelve years on his income he had paid nearly this much every month in child support.

Within less than one year, the seller’s asking price for this home that he agreed to buy for $134,000 had dropped to $120,000.

This second story is about my experience.  I own a home in Idaho which is paid for, but I have been working in Dickinson for almost six years.  For about three years, I was a roommate of a home owner in Dickinson, where I paid about $480 per month.  Once the Oil Boom ended, and so many out of state workers returned to where they came from, apartment rents in Dickinson decreased greatly, and I rented an apartment for less than $400 per month.  However, I wanted to get out of this apartment, because I had some bad neighbors.  I saw a very inexpensive manufactured home for sale in Belfield, on its owned land, so this was something that I was interested in buying:

A trucking company in Idaho, that was doing business in North Dakota, wanted to buy housing for three of its truck drivers, so this trucking company purchased a 3-bedroom single-wide manufactured home in Belfield on its owned triple lot, for nearly $50,000 in about 2014.  This trucking company completely furnished this manufactured home with everything from furniture, to appliances, beds, bed linens, cookware, and utensils.

This trucking company in Idaho, no longer does business in North Dakota, so they wanted to get rid of this manufactured home, just like it is, with all of the furnishings.  Six months ago, they were asking $25,000.  I went and looked at it, and it was fine with me.  The property taxes were only about $100 per year.  The mortgage payments, would be much less than I had been paying in rent for the past six years in Dickinson.

I went to or spoke to four or five Banks in Dickinson, and they each had their own excuse for not wanting to lend any money for this manufactured home, such as “We have been instructed to not lend money on any manufactured home whatsoever, no matter how new it is, or how much land is involved.” or “We can not lend money because the land is zoned commercial.”

I thought that this was ridiculous, I have very good credit, this was less money than a new vehicle costs, and the Bank could place a lien against my paid for home in Idaho if they ever needed to collect their money.  I was seriously considering putting this home purchase on my credit card, which has a credit limit of $35,000.

Many other people looked at this manufactured home in Belfield, and tried to buy it, but none of them could get a loan from a Bank.  A few days ago, the real estate agent sent me a text message, stating that the seller’s asking price is now down to $20,000.  This is a 20% price drop in six months.  I would have been happy to pay $25,000 with a home loan from a Bank.

I know one other person in Dickinson now, whose take home pay after taxes is at least $3,000 per month.  He is single, in his forties, and he has been employed with the same company for several years.  He recently applied for a home loan with a Bank in Dickinson, for a home owned by a relative of his who is willing to sell it to him for less than $200,000, even though the appraised value would be closer to $250,000.

This Bank informed him that they would approve him for a mortgage of up to $70,000.  Which means they don’t trust him to be able to make monthly payments of more than $400 per month.  If a single person’s take home pay after taxes is $3,000 per month, why wouldn’t this person be able to afford mortgage payments closer to $1,000 per month, and a mortgage of up to $180,000?

What I am explaining, is that Banks in Dickinson right now are being very restrictive on home loans, because for one thing, they expect home values to decrease.  The funny thing is, these Banks’ lending policies are the primary cause right now for why home values are decreasing.  They won’t loan money even when buyers are willing to pay the sellers’ asking prices.

Banks’ Role In The Coming Real Estate Collapse In Dickinson, North Dakota

In this blog post, I am going to explain the Banks’ role in the coming real estate collapse in Dickinson, North Dakota.  I believe that the Banks will be 20% of the cause for the coming real estate collapse in Dickinson.

The price of oil dropping from over $100 per barrel down to $40 per barrel in late 2014 and early 2015 is what caused the oil boom to come to an end in North Dakota.  The oil companies did not want to pump oil out of the ground, perform exploration, and drill new oil wells if they could not make a profit.  The number of operating oil drill rigs in North Dakota went from over 250, down to less than 50.

About 70% to 80% of the oil field jobs went away in North Dakota after the end of the oil boom in 2015.  70% to 80% of the out-of-state workers returned to the states where they came from.  I believe that the end of the oil boom in North Dakota will be 30% of the cause of the real estate collapse in Dickinson, North Dakota.

What North Dakotans should realize, is that 20% of the cause of the coming real estate collapse in Dickinson, is how local people treated the out-of-state workers.  There are some things that North Dakotans never understood.  From 2007 through 2014, many areas in the United States were in a recession.  It wasn’t the prospering people with jobs who came to North Dakota during the oil boom, it was the people who were having financial difficulty or were completely broke.

The majority of people who came to North Dakota during the oil boom, they didn’t have very much money or any money, that is why they came in the first place.  When they got here, old one bedroom apartments that had recently been $300 per month, were now $1,500 per month.  Many people slept in their vehicles at Wal-Mart, Tiger Truck Stop, and Patterson Lake.  Many people slept in the bushes, under bridges, along the railroad right-of-way, and on canal banks in Dickinson.  There was no homeless shelter in Dickinson.

Stark County residents, politicians, business owners, and property owners did not want Man-Camps, temporary oil field housing, in Stark County, so they were not permitted.  These temporary portable housing units, could have been set up in a matter of months to alleviate the housing shortage in Dickinson.  It appeared that the end goal of the local people, was to force the out-of-state workers to have to rent, lease, or purchase the existing locally owned housing, or new housing that they would build.

The new apartments that were built in Dickinson, they rented for $2,000 to $3,000 per month.  That’s $24,000 to $36,000 per year in rent, that wasn’t even for something they would own, that money was just gone.  All of the out-of-state workers felt like they were being gouged.  The cost of rent, and the way that the out-of-state workers were treated by the local people, the local company owners, the local co-workers, the local Police, made the out-of-state workers make up their minds that they would leave North Dakota, and always think badly of North Dakota.

Another way to put it, is like this, thousands of out-of-state workers who left where they came from because they were making little or no money, would have willingly made North Dakota their permanent home, if they would not have been gouged so bad on housing, and been treated with hostility by local people.  The funny thing is, the desire of the property owners to make a killing in a hurry, is one of the primary reasons why there is going to be a real estate collapse in Dickinson, they drove everyone away.

Something else that is funny, is that because Stark County did not permit Man-Camps, temporary oil field housing units, and instead wanted there to be construction of new apartment buildings, town homes, and houses, the occupancy rates at the new apartment buildings and old apartment buildings is now about 50%.

If Stark County would have permitted temporary Man-Camps to operate for three years, and then not renewed their permits when the oil boom was over, the occupancy rates at apartment buildings in Dickinson might now be at 80%, with higher rents, and a higher demand for houses.  I am going to put 20% of the cause of the coming real estate collapse in Dickson on the refusal to permit temporary Man-Camps in Stark County, which has led to an over supply of apartments, town homes, and houses in Dickinson.

So far, I have listed the causes of the coming real estate collapse in Dickinson as:  30% end of oil boom;  20% gouging and mistreatment of out-of-state workers which drove them out of North Dakota;  20% denial of temporary Man-Camps which resulted in an over supply of apartments, town homes, and houses.

I began this blog post by stating that 20% of the cause of the coming real estate collapse in Dickinson will be the Banks.  The Bank owners know that the oil boom has ended, that 70% to 80% of the oil field jobs have gone away, that 70% to 80% of the out-of-state workers have returned to the states where they came from, that there is an over supply of housing in Dickinson, and that the occupancy rates at the new apartment buildings, and the old apartment buildings is now at about 50%.

Despite what the Chambers of Commerce, politicians, business owners, real estate agents, real estate developers, property owners, and other spokespeople say, or what newspapers, trade journals, and magazines write about the oil boom coming back, or the local economy growing, the Bank owners have a different view, which they aren’t openly sharing.

In my previous blog post, I wrote about my recent experience, and my two neighbors’ recent experience in trying to obtain a home loan with local banks in Dickinson.  Even though my two neighbors could demonstrate the required income level, income history, and a stable job history in Dickinson, they were still turned down for a home loan.

In other parts of the country, myself and my two neighbors would have been given a home loan based on income level, credit history, and purchase price of the home.  What is different about Dickinson, is that there is an over supply of housing, and Dickinson is just coming down from an oil boom.

The owners of the local banks in Dickinson, in my case for instance, where several local banks told me that they were instructed to not loan money on any manufactured home no matter how much land was involved, no matter what, indicates to me that the local bank owners expect to be facing a great deal of home loan foreclosures.

Getting to the point, if you don’t already see it for yourself, is that if the local bank owners in Dickinson don’t want to grant many or any home loans, what do you think that this will do to the real estate market?  Who is going to be able to sell their $100k, $200k, $300k, $400k home in Dickinson, if no bank will grant a home loan to a buyer?

Will it matter if your home is appraised at $200k or $300k, if no one can buy it?

End of oil boom, 70% to 80% of out-of-state workers leaving, over supply of housing and occupancy rates of 50%, and Bank owners not wanting to grant home loans, what do you think is going to happen to the price of housing in Dickinson?

Nice Lower Middle Class Neighborhoods In Dickinson, North Dakota

I moved from north of Dickinson to downtown Dickinson about two months ago.  Throughout the several city block area in my neighborhood, there are a few houses and yards that are a mess, but the majority of the houses and yards are so well kept, that overall the neighborhood is pleasant and attractive.  And my neighborhood is probably a bad neighborhood in comparison to the adjacent neighborhoods.

I often criticize the local Dickinson residents for being uneducated, ignorant, hostile, hateful, unfriendly, not helpful, and uncooperative.  I am not going to take any of that back.  However, it does amaze me that these local people living in the lower middle class neighborhoods in Dickinson maintain their homes so well that the nicest looking areas in Dickinson are these vast neighborhoods in the downtown city blocks.

Although there is one corner of downtown Dickinson that has more affluent people, and this neighborhood is fairly nice, with dead-end streets, private drives, some larger yards, and even an $800,000 house with a swimming pool, this neighborhood is not as well maintained as many of the lower middle class neighborhoods in Dickinson.  This is very strange to me, and might be a unique situation found only in Dickinson.

I have thought about why this may be the case, that the lower middle class neighborhoods in Dickinson are so nice looking.  I believe that there are four main reasons.

  1. Putting aside the oil booms of the 1950s, 1978, and 2007, the growth of Dickinson has been slow and steady.  There did not occur the creation of vast new suburbs outside of Dickinson, and the abandonment of downtown Dickinson.  Downtown Dickinson has been continuously occupied, and has always been a fairly desirable location to live in, by the local residents.
  2. Putting aside the oil booms of the 1950s, 1978, and 2007, Dickinson has not been a town where many people became rich or affluent.  There were not tremendous numbers of people in Dickinson that made so much money by the time they were in their late thirties, that they needed to have a “McMansion” built.  Nor were there tremendous numbers of people that were making so much money that they looked at their first home as a “starter home”.  Now that I am writing this, I think that the fact that most home buyers in Dickinson believed that, “This is it, this is the only home we will ever have.”, made the homeowners take care of their homes.
  3. Due to the recent oil boom that occurred in 2007, home prices in Dickinson literally doubled and tripled in just a few years.  Homeowners in Dickinson that might not have even had significant pay increases in their line of work, would have had easy access to home equity loans to make home repairs, renovations, additions, and improvements.
  4. Due to the recent oil boom that occurred in 2007, many home owners in Dickinson did have significant increases in the amount of money they were earning.  With home prices literally doubling an tripling within just a few years, it would not have been appealing for local homeowners to buy a better house now that they were making more money.  It would make sense to repair, renovate, add onto, and improve the home that they already owned.  Many local residents did do this.

Not only do these lower middle class neighborhoods in Dickinson look very nice, they currently do not have very much crime in these neighborhoods, and they are fairly quiet and peaceful.

Real Estate agents and homeowners in Dickinson currently believe that their homes in these lower middle class neighborhoods are worth $225,000 to $380,000, which is ridiculous, for several reasons.  A family would have to expect to make at least $70,000 per year for the next thirty years to be able to afford that much money, which very few families can expect to do now that the oil boom is over.  There will be many houses for sale now that the oil boom is over, there are fewer jobs, and people have to leave Dickinson.  House prices will become lower, and lower, and lower.

These neighborhoods do look nice though.  Many, or most of these houses have new vehicles parked in front of them, which I think is an indication that the homeowners did well financially during this most recent oil boom, or they took out home equity loans when the housing prices doubled and tripled.

What Other Researchers Found About The Cost Of Housing In Dickinson, North Dakota

There are many people who do not believe what I write about Dickinson, North Dakota.  So I wanted to write some blog posts that show what other people write about Dickinson.

In mid January 2017 I wrote a blog post titled, “How Excessive Land Greed Has Hurt Dickinson For Ever”.  In that blog post I explained that during the Oil Boom the price of housing in Dickinson quadrupled.  There was not a scarcity of land around Dickinson, there was more vacant unoccupied land around Dickinson than just about anywhere else in the United States.  Though the local land owners, local property owners, property managers, and real estate agents may have been able to gouge the out of state workers from 2007 through 2014, this made the out of state workers make up their minds that they would never be able to make Dickinson their home.  They all planned on leaving when the Oil Boom was over.

If you do a Google search for “relocating to Dickinson, North Dakota”, you will find an article from the Inforum.com website titled “Survey: Most out-of-state oil workers not interested in moving to ND”.  This article was written by Mike Nowatzki of Forum News Service in February of 2016.

Two North Dakota State University researchers named Nancy Hodur and Dean Bangsund surveyed 15 firms representing 8,100 employees in 2014 and 2015.  These two researchers presented their results at the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency annual conference in Bismarck in February 2016.

Here are a few quotes from this Inforum.com website article:

“More than 80 percent of nonresidents working in North Dakota’s oil and gas industry don’t want to put down roots in the state, while those who want to relocate see housing costs as a major barrier, researchers found in a survey released Tuesday.”

“When asked if they would like to move to North Dakota, only 19 percent of nonresident workers said yes.

“I thought that was one of the more startling statistics out of this,” said Hodur, an assistant professor in NDSU’s Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics.

Those workers most frequently cited the high cost of housing and the fear that home values would someday fall below current prices as factors affecting their ability to relocate.

“It’s not because the weather’s too cold. It’s not because they think North Dakota’s a lousy place to raise a family” or that the state’s schools are lacking, Hodur said in an interview. “It’s because it’s too expensive.””

I encourage readers to go read this Inforum.com website article.  You can see, that I am not making this up, the high cost of housing in Dickinson made out of state workers decide that they could never live here permanently.  What the land owners, property owners, property managers, and real estate agents did during the Oil Boom is going to hurt Dickinson for ever.

Advice To Wealthy People From Out Of State Regarding Dickinson, North Dakota

If you are a wealthy person living in a different state, and you are considering moving to Dickinson, North Dakota, I have some advice for you and some warnings.  You can buy a new custom home just outside of Dickinson on 10 to 40 acres for approximately $450,000 to $700,000.  These homes will have large modern kitchens, custom cabinetry, wood floors, five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a three car garage, and probably a large shop building big enough for a tractor, or motor home.  These houses were built by local people who owned land and began receiving oil well revenue money in about 2008, these houses were built by people who had successful oil field service companies, and these houses were built by high paid oil company managers.  If you pick up one of the free local real estate guides, you will see several of these houses for sale.

At any of these new custom homes outside of Dickinson, you will have a good view of undeveloped grasslands.  Most of these new homes will probably not have “wind break trees”, which are rows of trees planted close together not far from the house in order to block the wind.  Once you move in, it won’t really matter what time of year it is, within about a month, you will discover that the wind often blows across the grasslands at about fifty miles per hour.  A new homeowner might think, “Wow, that’s a strong wind”, and it will not fully dawn on them that that’s what it’s going to be like, most of the time.  If you had pictured yourself sitting out on your deck in the mornings, leisurely reading the newspaper, you may now see that your deck chairs and table have tumbled into a barbed wire fence at the end of your property.  At least you have a modern home, with tight fitting double pained glass windows.  You won’t have as much dirt blowing in through cracks around windows and doors, and you won’t hear the wind constantly gusting and buffeting your house, hopefully.  Thank God you have a garage that you can drive into and shut the door behind you, otherwise you would have a hard time getting into your house if you had anything to carry like groceries.

You will be able to sit inside of your modern home with your family, and watch television via Dish Network, and use the internet, if you don’t want to be out in the wind.  There are some days in the summer when the weather is moderate, when you can get out and mow the lawn or have a cook out.  You really need to get outside and fully appreciate the nice summer days when they are here, because there are not many of them.

If you come to Dickinson with a Jaguar, Mercedes, or BMW and try to take it somewhere to be serviced, Dan Porter Toyota may or may not be willing to change the oil.  You may have to take your vehicle to Bismarck, Fargo, or Minneapolis to get any work done.  You will start to notice more and more, that even the housewives drive big four-door pick-up trucks and Suburbans.  After your first winter in Dickinson, you might start to realize that the people who can afford it, get for their wife and themselves, the biggest four-wheel-drive vehicle they can.  Driving into Dickinson, you can hit a deer in the road.  It is sometimes fatal for the driver of a car when the deer goes through the windshield.  You are safer in a big truck because the hood is higher than the deer.  Also, in the winter when the roads have not been plowed, or the roads are icy, you can get into town better in a big heavy four-wheel-drive truck, and you can survive an accident better if you are in a big heavy truck or Suburban.

For entertainment or sport, some people like to go deer hunting and pheasant hunting.  Hunting, hunting…deer and pheasant stand beside the road when I drive by, or run back and forth across the road in front of me when I am driving into town, like retarded children.  They are right there, just like the neighborhood dogs, cats, and rabbits.  So I don’t see any entertainment or sport in hunting deer and pheasant in Dickinson.

Entertainment for women, they can shop at Menards, Wal-Mart, a few shops downtown, and the Prairie Hills Mall.  The Prairie Hills Mall has a JC Penny and Herbergers.  If the women want more than this, they will have to drive to Bismarck.  The West River Community Center has two indoor pools, one outdoor pool, two indoor tennis courts, indoor track, weight room, and exercise equipment, so there are things for women, moms, and kids to do.  There is a golf course in Dickinson, which I believe is supposed to be O.K.

I have written many blog posts about restaurants in Dickinson.  My frequent complaint is that most of the servers are disgruntled troubled women from out of state, and being a waitress or bartender and serving people is the last thing in the world that they want to be doing, and they let you know.  Don Pedros Mexican restaurant has good food, and pleasant courteous staff.  The Brickhouse Grille is supposed to be the upscale restaurant in Dickinson, and it is in a way, however it is not upscale enough.  At any restaurant in Dickinson, at any time, you can have a group of male out-of-state workers, that work in construction or the oil field, and they want to go out to eat and have some fun.  The restaurant owner and managers can spot these workers a block away, and they can tell that they are White Trash or very nearly White Trash, but they don’t know if they are going to behave or not.  The following is what typically happens.

An educated, professional, well-mannered person or persons will go to a restaurant in Dickinson, be seated at a table, and place an order.  Even at what is supposed to be a nice restaurant in Dickinson, a group of White Trash or nearly White Trash workers will arrive at the restaurant.  To the waitress, who lives in a trailer park or an apartment, likes to smoke pot, crack, and meth, these White Trash workers are her kind of people.  The waitress couldn’t be happier to seat these White Trash workers at the table adjacent to a professional husband and wife.  If the educated, professional husband and wife, chose to stay, they would be treated to construction worker tales of sex with ugly women, drunkenness, fighting, arrests, DUI’s, and other conversations that they might hear if they were in jail or prison.  This is exactly how it is.  So most of the wealthy people in Dickinson do not go out to eat at restaurants in Dickinson, to neither be in the company of low class disgruntled waitresses, or White Trash workers.