How to Win in a Multiple Offer Situation

The real estate market has a 30% shortage of listings on the market. So if you're a home buyer right now in a hot marketplace, you may find yourself in a multiple offer situation. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First, and here are my tips on how to win in a multiple offer situation. Be sure and stick around to the end because the last tip is about the escalation clause. It's a game changer. Let's go.
My first tip for winning in a multiple offer situation is to pay cash. If you can pay cash on that home, go for it. You're eliminating two big contingencies, financing and appraisal. So if you can pay cash, do it. If not, do a conventional loan. Those are a little bit easier to get through than the other types of loans. If four offers walked into a bar all dressed up and looking pretty, cash, conventional, VA and FHA, the guy sitting down at the end of the bar is going to buy the drink for the cash offer.
If you are a FHA or VA or USDA and there's no other type of financing you can do, just know that you're going to have to persevere and you may have to make offers on multiple properties before you finally win, because as long as there's an offer that's as good or better that's cash or conventional, the seller's probably going to choose those.
My second tip is don't be afraid to go above the list price. The multiple offer situation is not the time to try to get a steal on a house. So go above the list price. You may have to go 5 to 8% higher to win. My third tip is pay your own closing costs. Pay as much of them as you can. If you're not in the market yet, or if you keep losing in multiple offer situations, then take a step back and save up some money. The more that you can pay on your own, the less concessions as seller has to make, the better your offer is.
Number four is find out what is important to the seller. Do they have a preferred closing date? What's their moving situation? Do they really love their curtains and wish they didn't have to leave them behind? Find out. If I'm your realtor, I'm going to ask those things. But if I'm not your realtor because you're not in this market in Oklahoma city, then have your realtor ask what is important to the seller, and then be sure and put that in your offer. If you're interested in more information on Oklahoma city and on the real estate market, then subscribe to my channel. I post a video here every Friday.
Number five is add extra earnest money. So at the end of the day, earnest money is not that big of a deal. But a multiple offer situation is not the time to put in $500 earnest money. Show them that you're really all in and that you're really serious. So pay $1,000, pay $1,500, pay $2,000, not 20. Now, if you're in a higher price range, if you are in half a million and up, then I expect to see $5,000 to $10,000 earnest money. So put in a higher your amount of earnest money than you originally intended to.
Okay, this is the one you've been waiting for, the escalation clause. So it's being passed around a lot right now, and it goes like this. Let's say there's a $200,000 listing. You offer $200,000, but attached to your offer is this document. Dear seller, I'm offering you $200,000 on your property. However, if you have a higher offer than this one, I will pay you $1,000 more than that offer up to $210,000. So what that does is that keeps you from having to overpay as a buyer because as if your offer at $200,000 is the best offer on the table, then you win the house.
If somebody else offers 205, then you get the house for 206. If somebody offers 209, you get the house for 210. If somebody offers 212, well, then you miss out. But it gives you a greater opportunity of getting the house, not necessarily overpaying, but giving you a better chance of winning in the multiple offer situation. So get out there and write a really good offer on a property. If you're in the Oklahoma city market, then call me and let me represent you and help you make the best offers that you can. Thanks for watching, and if you want more information, then check out this video that has more home buyer tips.

Real Estate Lingo #2: Realtor and Contingent

Welcome to my class, Real Estate Lingo. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City, and today's two terms are: one, what is my career choice actually called? And two, three different types of contingencies. Let's get started.

Realtor, R-E-L-A-T-O-R. R-E-L-A-T-E-R. R-E-A ... R-E-A-L-A-T-E-R. Realtor. Realtor, real tour, reala tour. What is it? What actually are you called? The term is realtor. R-E-A-L-T-O-R. Two syllables. There's no uh the middle. It's realtor. Now the English language is super confusing. So like photographer ends in ER, but doctor ends in OR. Realtor also ends in OR. We think we're as fancy as doctors, so therefore we should have an OR at the end of what we're called. We are realtors. We act in real estate transactions.
So not every real estate licensee is a realtor. So you get your license and you're a real estate agent, but then you choose to join an organization called the National Association of Realtors. And when you join the Association, then you are a realtor. A realtor versus a regular real estate agent, abides by a strict code of ethics. We are more involved in our communities, locally and nationally. We are more involved politically, locally, and nationally. We have lobbyists who push agendas that help keep benefits for homeowners like property tax deductions, mortgage insurance deductions. We lobby for things that help homeownership continue to grow.
We also are offered more training, so therefore we have more expertise because we are realtors. And so when you are asking someone who is a realtor how their business is doing, you say, "Do you like being a realtor? How's it going?" And we are impressed when we hear you saying realtor. Are you a realtor? How is that going? Or if you're in the market and you're looking for one, you can say, "Hey Joe, do you have a realtor you like?" And there'll be impressed. So the word once and for all his realtor. R-E-A-L-T-O-R.
Our second word for the day is contingent. So in regards to real estate, contingent is when an action is subject to certain terms being met. Maybe you having a good hair day is contingent upon the humidity level in the air. There are tons of contingencies in a real estate contract, but there are three that are the most popular. I'm going to take you through those three briefly.
The first contingency is an inspection contingency or a home condition contingency. So if you're using the Oklahoma state contract, these contingencies are already built into the contract and the paperwork. If you're using a builder's contract or you're making up your own contract, which I don't recommend, but if you're doing that, you want to make sure that these contingencies are in your contract. Like I said, the first is property condition. So when you use the state contract, it says that you are buying this property subject to having home inspections and a investigation period.
It's typically about two weeks here. But you, as a buyer, you go in and you pay for a home inspection, termite inspection, you look up anything and everything that could possibly have to do with your property, looking for anything that could possibly make you not want to purchase the property. And so you're saying, "Home seller, I want to buy your house contingent upon the property condition working out for me." Now, if you have inspections that turn up something that make you not want to buy the house, as long as you back out in the designated time period in the contract, you can get your earnest money back and back out with no problem.
If you find this video slightly interesting, if you think listening to me is not too awful, please hit subscribe. I post a video every Friday about real estate or living in Oklahoma.
The second contingency in our contracts is contingent upon financing. "Dear home seller, I will buy your property if I can get acceptable financing." Now, as a buyer, you're going to go make an offer on this property already pre-approved for your mortgage. You're going to have your lender selected. And you're going to have already turned in some paperwork and filled out a questionnaire to make sure that you can move forward with the property. But the contract states that within 10 days of going under contract, you will fill out the full loan application, turn in all the documents needed, and then you'll know if your loan terms are acceptable or not.
If you are denied the loan or you decide that the loan terms aren't good enough for you, that you can't meet the down payment, or the interest rates aren't right, or the payment's too high, you can back out of the contract and say that your loan terms were unacceptable.
The third type of contingency is making your home purchase contingent upon selling the home you currently own. So that one is one where if your house is on the market and it's already under contract, you go and you make an offer for a new home. You put in the form that says, I want to buy your house. It's contingent upon my home selling. And oh, by the way, my home is under contract and set to close on this day. Home sellers have no problem with that form. They will work that offer and negotiate with you and you can purchase their home.
Now, there is another form that says, I want to buy your home contingent upon my home selling, and my home is not even on the market yet. Or my home is on the market, but it hasn't gone under contract yet. Sellers are more reluctant to accept that contingency. It just depends on the circumstances. But either way, you can make an offer contingent upon your home selling, and it's up to the seller on if they want to work with you or not.
Did you actually make it all the way to the end? You made it to the end. I couldn't even make it to the end. That was tough. If you made it to the end, would you comment below and give me your name and address because I will add you to my Christmas card list. That is impressive. And if you liked that and you made it to the end, then you should watch this video. This is episode number one with more real estate lingo.


Real Estate Lingo #1: Earnest Money & Escrow
Now, if you're looking on the MLS for an SFH, you're not going to see any FSBOs. But if you're paying cash, you do need a POF, not a preapproval. And if it's an REI, you're going to need an LLC, and I'll help you make sure you get a good ROI. Got it?
Welcome to the first video in my new series, Real Estate Lingo, where I'm going to be teaching you all the important terms you need to know so that whether you're at a dinner party with a realtor or find yourself in a real estate transaction, you can feel smart and confident. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First, and today's terms are escrow and earnest money. Welcome to class.
Our first term is earnest money. Who is earnest, and who's given him any money, and what's it all for? Well, earnest money is a check a buyer writes when they make an offer on a property. It's a show of good faith that says, "I'm sincere about wanting to buy your property, and I intend to fulfill all my obligations in making this transaction happen." It is typically about 1% of the sales price, and after you go under contract, it gets deposited and held in a trust account that does not bear any interest. No one makes money off of it. But it is held there until you close on the property, and it goes towards the buyer's down payment and closing costs.
The amount of earnest money is not a set rule, but I've never seen it be lower than $500. And the higher you are in price, the higher you're expected to give. So that's earnest money for you. A deposit in good faith at the beginning of a contract to show you are serious about wanting to buy a property.
Escrow, now, escrow has several meetings and several different ways it's used, and it gets thrown around a lot. Here's three of the most common uses for the word escrow. First off, if you are getting a mortgage, you're going to have an escrow account. So, when you close on a property you're buying, and you're getting a mortgage, the lender is going to set up an escrow account. We might call that money prepaids or reserves. But, basically, the mortgage company is going to take a whole lot of insurance and several months' worth of taxes upfront, and they create an account that goes along with your mortgage.
That way, every month, when you make your monthly payment, a portion of your payment is taxes and insurance, and it goes into that account. Then when those come due, for taxes, it's December, and for insurance, it's the month that you buy the house, the mortgage company pays those for you out of that account. The reason they do it is so that you don't get lazy, and if you forget to pay your taxes and insurance, then a lien could be filed on your property. They don't want that to happen. Or if something happens and you stop making your payments, or you go into foreclosure, then they can at least pay your taxes and insurance.
The second way it's used is we'll say, "We're holding this money in escrow," and what that means is in an agreement, in a transaction, there might be some money held back in an account by a third party. In real estate, it's usually the title company. The title company will hold funds in escrow. Whoever is holding your earnest money is holding it in escrow, and when the contract is completed, the escrow, the money in the escrow, will be given back to you towards your closing costs. Or let's say there's a house that needs some repairs, and they didn't get done before the closing. Then maybe, the money will be held in an escrow account. If the roof's getting replaced, the seller will give the title company the money. It's held in escrow. And when the roof gets replaced, and everybody says, "It's all good," then they'll release that money. So, sometimes, money is held in escrow until the completion of the transaction, and when the parties agree, it can be released.
Depending on where you're from and where you live in the United States, some people will say that your closing is called the closing of escrow and that the title agent is called the closer of escrow or your escrow agent. Here in Oklahoma, good old Okies, we just say your title agent and your title company. But they might say, "At the close of escrow," which is when all the obligations are met and all the funds are released, and everybody signs. So it's the same as closing when they say, "Close of escrow or your escrow agent is also your title agent." Well, there you go. Feeling smarter already? Your first two terms escrow and earnest money are completed. Come back next week, where I discuss the term realtor and how to spell it, and also the word contingent. In the meantime, watch my playlist videos on tips for buyers. See you later.

What We Dislike About Living in Oklahoma City

There's a lot to love about being an Okie, but if you're planning to move here, I want you to know the things that we love and the things that we may not like so much about being in Oklahoma City. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First and last week, I interviewed five of my girlfriends and I asked them what they dislike about living in Oklahoma City. Check it out.

Okay. So we want people to know the good and the bad about living here in Oklahoma City. So just so people know what they're getting into, share with me something you dislike or hate about Oklahoma City. And all these girls have lived here for decades, so-
We're not that old.
Well, I'd have to say that the weather can be interesting in Oklahoma. So summers can be a little unbearably hot, very humid. Sometimes our winters are just super icy, we don't get a lot of just fluffy snow, but that can vary. It's not always the case. The weather is constantly changing and that's kind of fun. We do often get tornadoes, which some people love it and some people hate it. I kind of like extreme weather, but for some other people that might be scary.
Audrey, what do you think? Or Christina, how about you answer for Audrey? She doesn't know yet.
Audrey says the roads are bumpy.
And not all of the roads are great. Some of the roads are fantastic, others are not so much. So the roads. And she wants everybody to know that if you want to fly somewhere, you should just plan to fly through Dallas. So there's very-
Sure. There's very few direct flights anywhere.
From here to anywhere. But Dallas is a nice airport. That's fine.
Southwest is cheap.
Layovers aren't that big of a deal.
Layovers aren't that bad.
I get direct flights to Chicago
That's good.
Speaker 2:
They're expensive.
Well, and that makes our airport smaller and it's really easy navigating.
Our airport is so easy.
And it's awesome. There's 16 gates.
Super easy.
There isn't any getting to the airport two hours before your flight to get this-
And our airport's named after a guy who died on an airplane.
Both of them are.
Yeah. Both of them are. Yeah. We're smart like that here. Okay.
They also have bears at the zoo named after them, too.
I know, Will and Wiley. 
We have such a great zoo. Oh sorry, it's things we hate.
Oh yeah, we have a great zoo, but that's not what we're talking about. Okay, Jenn, what do you hate?
I hate that we're not closer to the ocean. I'm just going to put that out there. I mean, everybody knows that, but that's just me. I wish we were closer to... It's pretty here, there are definitely beautiful pockets in Oklahoma. If you live in this city, there's a lot really flat places, you have to drive a little bit to find it.
So that's not my favorite, but.
Yes, to find interesting landscape, you have to drive a little.
You do.
But we have it.
Yeah, it's here.
We do, just not in necessarily in the city.
And one of the things that I love kind of goes along with one of the things that I hate, interestingly, but coupling with the not close to the ocean, we're also not close to big, beautiful mountains. We do have the Wichita Mountains and Quartz Mountain and-
We have four mountain ranges.
Yeah, we do. And they are the oldest parts of the Rocky line.
So it's the end of the Rocky Mountain line and it's like the skeletal system of the Rocky Mountains and they are gorgeous and if you're a rock climber, it's some of the best granite in the world to climb on from people that I know that have climbed around the world. So, but yeah, to go to Colorado, it's not a terrible drive, we went a couple summers ago, but yeah, we just don't have that grandiose epic mountain scene.
Yeah. Our highest mountain is still under 5,000 feet, so. Tonya, what about you? What do you dislike?
Well, kind of along the same thing that was mentioned about the weather. I mean fall, I think is my favorite season and I love the early fall when you get that mild crisp weather. It just doesn't last long enough.
It just goes straight from summer, you're miserable and then you get that little bit of time in between and then you're bam, into the crazy winter stuff. I just wish it would last a little longer. And I was going to jokingly say, throw in, there's no ocean.

Want to know more about Oklahoma? Well, check out this playlist, Living in Oklahoma, where I talk about what we like, what we dislike, the weather, whatever you need to know. I post a video here every Friday. Do you like watching videos about real estate and want to know more about Oklahoma City? Please subscribe to my channel. Thanks.

Are you considering a move to Oklahoma City? Are you searching for the pros and cons of living here? Well, on this channel, I do have videos where I share what I think are the pros and cons of living in Oklahoma City. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First, and here is a video that I took of my girlfriends when we were hanging out. And I asked them, "What do you think the pros are for living in Oklahoma City? What are the things that you like?" Check it out.
Okay. So, my first question is, what is your favorite thing about living in Oklahoma City? And it's okay if you have the same answer as someone else, just maybe elaborate on what someone else says. So, anybody want to go first? Who already has one? Okay, Liz. This is Liz. Liz, what's your favorite thing about living here?
Well, growing up around the Chicago suburbs, in the Chicago suburbs, I like that Oklahoma City is urban, but it's also kind of spread out, where people aren't just on top of each other and the traffic's not epic. You can get most places within 15 minutes, especially if you live close to highway access. But so, yeah. I enjoy that part of Oklahoma City.
Cool. What about you, Jen?
I lived here a long time. I really enjoy ... As a family of six, we enjoy traveling kind of outside of Oklahoma City because everything's pretty close. So, if we want to go to Red Rock Canyon, or we want to go up to Tulsa for a day trip, or Lake Keystone or whatever, we can just get in the car and go. That's why being centrally located is really helpful in that way. It's just nice, as a family, it's really helpful.
So, for people who don't know, what's Red Rock Canyon?
A state park. So, yeah.
There's several state parks that are lovely in our area.
Christina and Audrey. This is Audrey in Christina's lap.
Yes. I would expand on what Liz said, is you have an urban feel, but you also kind of have a small town feel. And if you drive 15 minutes in a certain direction, you're probably going to find a lot more rural area and countryside or 15 minutes, and you could be in the heart of downtown with art museums and Broadway shows that come through town. So, there's lots of opportunity for a little bit of everything.
Crystal, what is your favorite thing about living here?
Gosh, let's see. There are quite a few things. I think really kind of just to reiterate what the ladies said, there's such a great feeling about Oklahoma City because it's growing drastically. I've lived here all my life, so we're talking 40 years ago the city was just a very small, underdeveloped area. And since over the years we've had Bricktown that's come in and it's been developed. We now have a huge baseball and basketball team, so there's a lot to do here.
Good. Tonya, what about you? What's your favorite thing about being here?
Well, I ditto everybody else basically on how there is ... You get both the urban feel and the city feel and you have just the variety of choices. And I also like how we have several nice parks within just a few minutes of me. I have a distance, so Lake Hefner and some of the others. So, Martin Nature Park and the Memorial. So, I like the variety. I like the choices.
Good. And now all five of these ladies live in Northwest Oklahoma City. And so, Lake Hefner, tell everybody what's at Lake Hefner.
Lake Hefner, well, it's of course the walking trail that circles the whole lake. And you can go out there and you sometimes see people out there on the water. What is that, parasailing?
Or are they wind surfing?
Wind surfing. Yeah. I don't do it, so it's cool to watch. So, fishing -
And there's sailboats on the lake and you're within ... You could walk to a restaurant. There's some restaurants right there on the lake, so it's pretty cool.
There's all kinds of things. You catch killer  sunsets.
There's some playgrounds.
Photographers are out there all the time-
The lighthouse.
Sunsets in Oklahoma are killer.
They are.
There's several restaurants right on the lake where you can sit outside and watch the water, watch the sunset. A couple of them will even let you bring your dog, so before children, we would take our dog out and sit on the patio at Loui's and watch the sunset and have dinner.
They have concerts out there too.
Also,  you get a lot of people that will actually bike around Lake Hefner, or even run or walk around Lake Hefner and then just take a pit stop at one of the restaurants and then stop there and have an afternoon drink, or dinner, or anything like that.
Yeah. And then Crystal, what were you saying, it's a plus for living here?
Oh, I forgot about that. I really like the Mexican food here. I think we have a little bit more authentic Mexican food that you can get on a lot of the coast, especially the East coast.
For sure.
So you can't necessarily get the best seafood because we're landlocked, but there's some really good Mexican restaurants.
And when you go to a Mexican restaurant here, they give you salsa and chips and cheese sauce very often for free.
Fried jalapenos and onions.
Oh, fried jalapenos and onions.
Onion and carrot relish.
Oh yeah, that stuff's so good.
Tortillas, all for free.
Tortillas for free.
And then, sophapillas at the end.
Thanks to my girls for being good interviewees. Come back next week, where we discuss the things that we dislike about living in Oklahoma City. And in the meantime, watch this video, moving to Oklahoma City where I interview my friend and client, Patty, and she tells the things that she likes about living here.


9 Reasons Not to Live in Oklahoma
There are lots of great reasons to live in Oklahoma, but today I'm going to share with you nine reasons not to live in Oklahoma. So if you need a reason not to live here, check out this video. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First.
One reason not to live in Oklahoma is that people are just too damn nice here. I mean, if your car broke down on the side of the road, there's a good chance someone's going to pull over and offer to help you out. Or if you take your dog on a walk at the park, all these people are going to smile at you and want to know your dog's name and tell you that it's cute. If you are walking along somewhere and you drop something, chances are someone's going to pick up what you dropped and run up and give it to you so that you don't lose it. People here are just too nice and sometimes you just want to be left alone. So if you're one of those people who just wants to be left alone, you might not like living in Oklahoma.
Another reason not to live in Oklahoma is it's just too damn hot. I mean, we have sunshine about 64% of the year. And in the summertime, we have about 58 days or more where it's above 90 degrees and at least 10 days or more where it's over a 100 degrees. And that might not be too bad if you're in Phoenix. But here in Oklahoma City, the humidity is going to be in the 70 to 80% range in the summer so you will sweat. If you're against sweating, you won't like it here in the summer. I mean, thank God for air conditioning. We pretty much don't leave the house during the day all summer long for at least three months, only go out at night or early in the morning. So if you don't like the heat, if you don't want to sweat, you may want to make sure you have a vacation property somewhere in the mountains, over the summer.
So Oklahoma is becoming more and more popular for people moving from out-of-state, especially people on the east and west coast. And that's because we have a really great reasonable cost of living. All these people are moving here because they want to have a nice home, have a nice, comfortable lifestyle and feel like they can live somewhere where their family is safe. So if you don't like outsiders coming here, if you don't like Californians, if you don't like to get to know new people, than maybe living here in Oklahoma is not for you.
You'll need a car if you live in Oklahoma. If you're used to walking, riding a bike, commuting by train or subway, well, Oklahoma's a switch. You'll need a gas guzzler or an electric car if you want to live here because you're going to commute to work. And most people commute anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to work when they live in Oklahoma.
If you live in Oklahoma, you're definitely going to want to join a gym or fitness center of some type. Because here in Oklahoma, we love to eat. We have amazing barbecue, amazing Mexican food, steakhouses, even some fine dining and some vegan restaurants. And every social event has food involved. So chances are if you move here, you're going to have to exercise more because you will gain a few pounds if you live in Oklahoma.
So if you're a surfer or you love the ocean, you may not want to live in Oklahoma because we're landlocked. The nearest ocean is a 10-hour drive away. So it's a good thing we have more than 200 lakes in Oklahoma. We have over 11,000 miles of lake shoreline in Oklahoma and are really common pastimes for people to go to the lakes, to go fishing and skiing. But if you're a hardcore surfer and you really love the ocean, then maybe you don't want to live here, or maybe you should at least get a vacation home that you go to on occasion.
So if you love the mountains, Oklahoma does have four mountain ranges, but we are mostly flat plains and only 8% forest. Our four mountain ranges are not as high as the mountains in Colorado or New Mexico. So you're not going to go snow skiing in Oklahoma. Our highest mountain is just below 5,000 feet. So you would have to drive seven to 10 hours to go snow skiing outside of Oklahoma in New Mexico or Colorado.
Now, I know I mentioned that we have about 64% sunny days in Oklahoma, but our weather is unpredictable. If you are really serious about organizing your closet and you like to keep your summer and your winter clothes separate, you can't do that in Oklahoma. You need one big closet, because you might be in a tank top and flip flops one day and then the next day you're in a sweater. That's right. The weather can go from 50 degrees to 80 degrees in less than 24 hours. And it can go from rainy to sunny to windy, you never know what to expect. Here, we like to dress in layers and be prepared for anything.
So if my nine reasons not to live in Oklahoma don't sound too bad to you, then be sure and check out this video, 10 reasons to live in Oklahoma and see what you think. Thanks.


Tips for Buyers:  Know what you want and need in your next home!
Dear home buyer, don't get caught up in all the razzle dazzle of shiny countertops, beautiful new paint, wood floors, and gorgeous staged houses with beautiful pictures. Don't get caught up in the warnings of multiple offers and "You better hurry before it's gone. Buy before it's too late." How do you not get caught up in all that? You plan ahead and really know what you want and you need for your next house. I'm Natalie Bratton with Remax First in Oklahoma City, and here are six tips to prepare you to enter the real estate market, as a buyer.
Home buyers, the real estate market, right now, is moving fast. If you snooze, you lose, if you see a house you like. Interest rates are really low. And so, you may feel like you have to get in there and make a decision quickly. You're going to be able to do that better if you plan ahead and if you really know what it is you need and what you want in your next home before you get out there. It's easy when you get in a house and they have it smelling nice. They're playing music. The lights are on. They have a cute front porch swing and gorgeous new countertops. It's easy to get dazzled and lose sight of what your goals are and what it is that you really want and need. And then, especially, if you hear there's multiple offers coming in, then you might get anxious and you might pull the trigger on the wrong house.
So, before you get into the real estate market, as a buyer, here are some things you need to think about before you go out and look at properties. Location, location, location. There's a reason we say it three times. There is a reason it's a well-known saying, "Location, location, location." The number one factor for the home you purchase is the location. Don't fall in love with a home that's not in the location that you want to be in. If you haven't really thought about the location, that is the first thing you need to do. You need to narrow down where you want to live. Choose location based on your life, where your friends are, your family, what your hobbies and interests are, personalities, schools, whatever the things are that are important to you in your life. That is going to help you decide the location. Clearly, if you want to live out on land and you're a small town gal, you're not going to buy a house in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City.
I've had plenty of clients and friends over the years who buy a house for the house, and then call me two years later. And they're like, "We love our house, but we hate where we live. Everything we do is on the other side of town," or "We wanted a new construction house. So we bought a house over in this suburb. Well, all our friends and family live over in this suburb." Why did you do that? "We love our house, but we hate where we live." That's the worst. So, you need to narrow down and decide where you want to live.
Number two is make a needs list. Now, this is the most basic, basic needs. "I need how many bedrooms?" Do you need three bedrooms? Can you get by with two? Do you need four? How many bathrooms? Say, "I want two bathrooms." Well, can you live with one and a half? Or "I need a two-car garage." Do you need a one car garage, two, three? Like the bare minimum that you require. Do you want to live in a townhouse or a condo or a single family home? I'm talking basics, the location, the basics you need in your house, and then your price range. That is your needs list. It's going to be pretty short.
Now, number three is more fun. It's the wants list. Now, the wants list may be really long depending on you. The wants list is, "I want wood floors. I want a separate tub and shower in the master bath. I want a huge closet. I want granite countertops. I want a gas range. I want a huge backyard. I want a neighborhood swimming pool." On and on and on, the list can go on and on. That list can be long, but what I want you to do, after you make it, is go through and prioritize them, number them, one being the one you want the most down to the least. So, that way, when we're in houses and you're trying to decide if you like it and it will work for you, the higher it is up on your wants list, the more points it's going to get.
Number four should be obvious. And I'm not a marriage counselor, but if you are married, or you are buying this house with somebody else, confer with your partner, you need to each make this list and then share your list with each other and make sure each other knows what's important to you. And then, game plan and decide what things you can drop off, which things are more important. At least, make sure that when you go and you start looking at houses, together, you each know what's important to each other.
Hey, by the way, if you think that this is somewhat interesting and you were interested in real estate or living in Oklahoma, then please subscribe to my channel. I post a new video every Friday.
Number five, boots on the ground. It's time to do a lot of driving and going to open houses. If you live here, or yeah, if you live in a town where you're buying, then drive around neighborhoods, go to open houses. I will send you a list every Friday of open houses for you to visit, if that's what you want to do. Drive through your own neighborhoods and figure out what areas you like and what areas you don't like. So, that way, when it's time for us to get in the car together and go look at houses, and it's time for you to make a decision about which house you want to buy, you will be prepared.
Number six is set the right expectation for your house. This is not like House Hunters. I will never understand how you can watch House Hunters, and they'll be like, "This is Jack and Jill. Jill is a school teacher and Jack runs a nonprofit for homeless people. Their budget is $1,000,000 and they need 3,000 square feet and a four-bedroom, three-bath home with a three-car garage and a swimming pool." I don't know how they do that. Anyway, so, the more you prepare, you make your list, you drive around, you go to open houses. And so, once you realize what you can get, what you can afford, set the right expectations, so that when you are looking at houses, you can make the best decision possible, for you, at this time in your life.
Are you buying your dream home or is this a starter home? Are you downsizing? Look at the market around you and set real expectations of what you're going to be buying. If you're moving to Oklahoma from another state, our style of houses may be completely different than what you're used to. Like, we don't do basements. We don't like the woodwork colors and just things might be different than what you're used to. So, do the research, driving around, looking at pictures, so that you can set your expectations, so that in the end you will be happy with your decision.
One more thing. Here's a bonus tip. I would say, know your why? Why are you buying this house? Is it because you are starting an exciting new job? Is it because you are having a baby? Or you are newlyweds? Or you're downsizing because you're empty nesters? Or your spouse died? Know your why. Know the why and be compassionate towards yourself. When you're looking at houses and you're trying to make a decision, what is your motivation for buying this house? And then, hold onto that. Don't lose sight of that, especially if we get into rocky situations, multiple offers or frustration with the seller or the other realtors involved. Know your why. That'll keep you going, if it's difficult. The why will motivate you and help you make the right decisions for you and your family. Tell me your why, so that when you get anxious, I can remind you why you're buying this home.
Hey, for more information about buying a home, check out this playlist for home buyers, and don't forget to subscribe to my channel. Thanks.


Home Seller Anxiety?  Thinking of Selling AS-Is?
Are you thinking about selling your house this year? Maybe next year? Ooh, but you know that your hot water tank is old. Ooh, you know about that leak in your bathroom, or that outlet that's not working. Do you think about selling your house and the thought of having to endure a home inspection and negotiate repairs gives you heartburn? Do you think, "Well, I'll sell my house, but only in as-is condition"? Well, if any of those things are what you're going through right now, then you need to check out this video. My name is Natalie Bratton from RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. Here are some tips to help lessen the stress and the anxiety from home inspections while selling your home. Check it out.
The part of home selling that causes the most fear in the hearts of home sellers, that causes the most anxiety, is the home inspection and then negotiating the repairs. So much so that it's common that when I first meet with sellers they say, "Natalie, we are selling our home as-is. We are not going to do any repairs for anybody." That's coming from a place of fear or stubbornness, or just not wanting to have to deal with the drama and the conflict that can come out of a home inspection and repairs. But selling your home as-is may not be what's in your best interest as a home seller.
Typically, a home that is being sold in as-is condition is a home that is a foreclosure, it might be a distressed property, it may be a home that was inherited and you don't live where the property is, it's generally a home that's offered at a discounted price. So if you have a home and you're going to sell it, and you are willing to do it at a discounted price, if your goal is to sell it as fast as possible, then you can sell it at a discount and you can sell it in as-is condition. Or maybe you have a home for sale that is in rotten condition. Like, no one would live there. Then yeah, you offer it at a really low price, and you offer it in as-is condition. But if you're selling your primary residence, then most likely as-is is not the way to go if your goal is to make as much money as you can on the sale of your home. I have some tips to help you make it a little less stressful, a little less scary, when selling your home.
The number one thing you can do to lessen the fear of the home inspection and to calm your anxiety is to plan way ahead. If you know you're planning to sell your house in say three to six months, and if you are willing to spend the money, have a home inspection. You pay and have a home inspection. A lot of times my sellers are in a hurry and they're like, "We're getting our house on the market in a month." If that's the scenario for you, then you probably won't do this. But if you're planning ahead, and you are worried about negotiations on repairs, have a home inspection.
Depending on the size of your house, it could be anywhere from three to $500. A home inspector will come in and they look over everything, and they'll give you a list. And then we take that time between the home inspection and when you list your house and you do as many of those repairs as you can. And by you, I mean, if you're handy, you can do them. But you can also hire a handyman or a specific kind of contractor to do any of the repairs needed. So that on the day that your home buyer has a home inspection, you can sit back, relax, have some tea, and breathe easily because you know that they're not going to find anything disastrous when they inspect your house. Now, they'll find something. I mean, the inspector has to find something. But most likely there won't be any big surprises that are going to derail your transaction, or cost you thousands of dollars.
If you don't want to pay to have a home inspection, then you could at least have your heat and air serviced. That's generally about a hundred bucks, unless there's some repairs to be done. But you could have your heat and air looked at. If you have a plumber or an electrician, you could pay to have them come and look at everything in the house. So that way at least some of the mechanical features in the house you've had checked out, and pay for any repairs that are found there.
So, depending on if you want to have a home inspection, have certain contractors come look at your house, any prep you do to not just make your house look pretty, but to also update the mechanical features, plumbing, electrical, roof, heat and air, any of those big ticket items that you can get looked at and checked out ahead of time are just going to make your home sell better and faster. Because we can say, "Hey, guess what, future buyers, these sellers are so awesome that they spent the time and the money, not just making the house look pretty, but making sure it's in good shape." Any of those things you do are going to make inspection day less stressful for you as a home seller.
The second thing to know is you need to budget for it. Put at least a thousand dollars in your budget for repairs. Number three is know that I'm there to coordinate it all and help you do it all. It's not all on you to make this happen. You're paying me to help you negotiate the repair list, and then help make the repair list get done before closing.
If you find this video slightly interesting, if you think listening to me is not too awful, please hit subscribe. I post a video every Friday about real estate or living in Oklahoma.
I can't predict the future. I can't predict the personality or the emotions or the issues of your future home buyer. But as a home seller you want to set yourself up to be in the best position possible to sell your home for the most money in the shortest amount of time, and then with the least amount of heartache and grief. So, when possible, do all the things you can to make sure the home inspection day will not be stressful.
Occasionally there will be a bit of a quibble over what repairs should be done and shouldn't be done in a home transaction. Here's what the contract says, in Oklahoma here's what the contract says, "A defect is an item not in normal working order. The system functions without defect for the primary purpose or manner for which it was installed. A condition which is not decorative that will have a material adverse effect on the value of a system or component." That's what the contract says, but that doesn't necessarily help the emotions of a nervous buyer.
So, typically what happens is the buyer's going to ask for stuff that is broken, that is a safety hazard, that could become worse if not addressed. Those things are all typical, plumbing, electrical, or the big ticket items like the roof. Things that would keep a homeowner from getting home insurance coverage. Those are the things that are typically covered and what we call a TRR, treatments, repairs, and replacements list.
Thanks for listening. If you want to know more about selling your house check out this playlist, it's all tips for selling your home in Oklahoma. Thanks.

Home Insurance Tips for Newcomers to Oklahoma

There are a lot of great reasons to live in Oklahoma and a lot of things to brag about, about living in Oklahoma. But one thing not to brag about is we are number one in the cost of getting home insurance. We are the highest premiums in the country. That's right. We have the highest premiums in the country. We used to be like number five. And then in 2018, we crept up to number four. And this year in 2020, we are number one. We have the highest premiums in all 50 States.
If you're moving to Oklahoma, and you were going to be buying a home in Oklahoma, and you're thinking about your monthly payment, and your budget, know that your home insurance premiums will be higher here than they are where you are coming from. Unless you live in Kansas, or Arkansas or Texas, they're not going to be that much different. But if you're coming from Hawaii, first of all, I don't know why you're coming from Hawaii, but if you're coming from another state and know that your premium for your home insurance is going to be quite a bit higher, I do have some tips for you about shopping for home insurance. And you're there.
So the song, Oklahoma, Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plains. Well, that line right there, that's the reason we have high insurance rates. We do have a lot of wind sweeping down the plains. And so, the wind is the reason your premium will be higher. We get a lot of wind and sometimes hail. If you live in Oklahoma for more than 10 years, there's a good chance that your fence might get blown down. Your roof might get hail damage. And so, those are the reasons that insurance companies charge us a lot, because they know there is a likelihood that they will be replacing your roof or any wind damage that happens to your home.
If you are coming here from another state, know that your premiums will be higher. And so because of that, you're going to be tempted to have a really high deductible. Most people here do a 1% deductible. That means 1% of the value of your property, or what they term as the replacement value of your property, is what they charge you as your deductible. You buy a $250,000 house. Maybe to rebuild your home, they say it's going to be $300,000, if it were to burn down or something and you rebuilt it. So your deductible is going to be $3,000.
The temptation to lower your premium is to have a higher deductible at like $5,000, $10,000, which all seems well and good, if you are not cash poor. Because, what happens is you get hail damage and you need to replace the roof. Say you have a $20,000 roof. If your deductible is $10,000, then you're going to be out $10,000 to replace your roof, where if your deductible is 1%, you're only going to be out $2,000 or $3,000. In Oklahoma, the likelihood of having your roof replaced in 10 to 15 years is there's a pretty good shot. If you are cash poor, you need to make sure that you have a 1% deductible for wind and hail.
If you start getting estimates for home insurance and you're overwhelmed because it's really high, I want to encourage you to shop around. It's very bizarre, but you could call six different companies and the premium that you're offered could vary by thousands of dollars. You might have one company tell you it's going to be $2,000 a year, and another one's going to tell you it's going to be $4,000 a year. Don't be afraid to shop around. Don't be afraid to have conversations with the insurance agents and ask them for help. Ask them to explain it to you. Ask them if there's anything that they would change or do differently to get you the best quote that works for you.
They also seem to take turns year to year from who's going to be the most expensive, and who's going to be the cheapest. I don't know if they take turns like trying to get market share and go really cheap one year to get as many policies as they can. But that's what it seems like to me. Don't be afraid to shop around. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions.
If you find this video slightly interesting, if you think listening to me is not too awful, please hit subscribe. I post a video every Friday about real estate or living in Oklahoma.
Know that your home insurance does not cover floods and it does not cover earthquakes. If you are concerned about either of those, those are extra policies you can add on. Oh, oh yeah, we have wind and hail, and then you're saying I could have a flood or have an earthquake? What is going on in Oklahoma?
Well, okay, you don't necessarily need flood insurance unless you buy a home in a flood zone. That's something that you'll discover when you find a house. You'll ask, they'll tell you if it's in a flood zone or not. If you buy a home in a flood zone, then you need to get flood insurance for that. That's extra. If you are just extra nervous about floods for some reason, then of course you can get a flood insurance policy, if you feel like it needs it. If you're buying a home next to a creek, or a dam, or a lake or something, you might want to do that.
Earthquake insurance. Okay. We get earthquakes here, but they're very rarely over four on the Richter scale. Most of the time, there's not any damage. Now, every one of us here, we had a few years where we were having earthquakes every day, and we all have a couple of cracks here and there in our houses, but that has stopped, thankfully. The jury is still out on what caused them. Although, we all think we know. That's another topic.
Anyway, so I own three of them houses. They're in three different parts of the city. The house I live in is over a fault line, so I do have earthquake insurance on my primary residence. I chose not to have it on my other two houses because of where they're located. Earthquake insurance is super cheap. I think we pay like $30 a year or something. I don't know, but it's cheap. Anyway, because the deductible on earthquake insurance is really high. I think it's $10,000 because I'm only going to use it, if we have a big one and I have major foundation repairs that are needed. Earthquake insurance is not something that's going to help cover every little crack. It is only in case there's a big one.
So congratulations, Oklahomans, your state in 2020 has the highest home insurance premiums of any other state in the country. Woo-hoo. If you're moving to Oklahoma, plan and budget for higher premiums, than you've ever experienced before. Number two, get a 1% deductible. Get total replacement value, unless you are loaded with cash and want to live a riskier life. Number three, bundle home and auto so that you'll get a discount on your auto insurance. And number four is don't be afraid to shop around and ask questions. Thanks for watching. If this was helpful to you, watch this video, Tips For Buyers.


Should I add an inground swimming pool?
Let's talk in ground swimming pools. So do you look out your back window into your backyard and fantasize about what it would be like to be the hero of your friends and family after you install your luxurious in ground swimming pool? Are you like Clark Griswold? Well, right now you're thinking this Christmas I will announce to the whole family that I'm putting in a swimming pool. Well, here in Oklahoma, in July, it's 105 degrees outside, and a lot of us start wondering maybe we should get that swimming pool. Then a lot of you will call me or send me messages basically begging me to talk you out of it. But hey, I'm not anti-swimming pool. So are you thinking about putting in a swimming pool and want to know the pros and cons of putting in a swimming pool? I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma city, and here are some things to consider if installing a swimming pool.
So the main reason to put in a pool in the first place is for your own enjoyment and for that of your family and your friends. It's about being social. It's about having parties. It's about being the place where all your kids' friends come over. It's about spending time with your family. It's also about relaxing and being on your own, enjoying a quiet evening in the backyard in the pool to relax or having a loud ruckus, fun party with everybody you know. It's all about your own personal enjoyment. I'm going to give you a few items to consider, and if all of those things that I tell you to consider pale in comparison to the enjoyment you'll have with your pool, then go for it and install that pool.
So basically when you call me and you say, "Natalie, I want to put in a pool. What do you think?" You're asking me, "Natalie, how much will a pool increase my home value? How much of this expense am I going to get back someday when I sell my house?" The answer to that is 5 to 8%. Your pool will increase your home value by 5 to 8%. So depending on the cost of the pool and depending on where you live, it may or may not be worth it. If you live in a $200,000 house and you put in a really nice pool, let's give you the full 8%. 8% times 200,000 is $16,000, so when you install that pool, your home value will go up by $16,000. Ooh, putting in a pool cost you $40,000. So you may decide that it's not worth it if that money means that much to you.
Now, if you live in a half million dollar house, 500,000 times 8% is $40,000. So you will increase the home value 40,000. So if it costs you somewhere 40 to $70,000 to put it in the pool, then maybe you decide you can eat that cost and it's worth it. It's up to you to decide. The prettier and fancier your pool and your backyard are, you are going to get more up to the 8%. If you just put a slab of concrete and fill it up with water and your backyard is just concrete and a pool, I'd go more on the 5% side. So for those of you who have mega equity in your home, or you bought it at a ridiculously low price, or if you have paid your house off, this video is not really for you. I mean, you want to put in a pool and you have the money to do it, well go for it.
But this video is for those of you who are like most of us, you have a mortgage, you bought your house at market value, and now you're trying to decide if you should take on the expense of putting in a pool. So if you're planning to put in a pool, I would ask you as your realtor, how long are you planning to live in the house? If you don't see yourself living there very long, I would probably encourage you to just wait a little while longer and have a pool in your next home, because you do have to make up for the expense of putting one in. If you don't have a ton of equity in your home, and you're saying you're going to live there for two or three more years, and then you spend 40 to $70,000 putting in a pool, you may, if you end up trying to sell it two years later, you may not have recovered enough from that cost to get out of your house without being upside down or losing money.
Once you've installed the pool, you also need to consider the cost of maintaining the pool and taking care of it. You are going to have to decide if you're going to maintain it yourself or if you're going to have a pool boy come and take care of it for you. You could spend probably anywhere from 500 to $4,000 a year just maintaining it. You need to either learn how to do everything yourself, buy the chemicals, buy the stuff and do that and make sure that you have the time to do it. Or you need to pay someone to come out on a weekly basis and do it for you. Most people at least have somebody come out and help them get it opened up in May and then close it at the end of the summer. But you could have someone come out and do it all for you. So be sure that you get estimates for that and budget for that.
You also need to do acid washing and maintenance servicing on the pump and the vacuums and all the extra special mechanical parts that keep your pool pretty and clean. So don't forget in your excitement to budget in for those things as well. Let's not forget, you're going to want to buy all the fun stuff too. You want to buy more patio furniture. You want to buy more swimsuits and you want to buy all the floaties and the wraps and the noodles and the goggles so that everybody can have a great time hanging out in your pool. If you're not on well water and you have a water bill, know that you're going to have to pay a little extra during swimming pool season to keep that pool nice and full.
Let's talk design. When I met with buyers and we go in homes that have pools, it's, oh, it looks better if you actually have some grass in your backyard. If you walk outside into a backyard and it's all concrete and then a swimming pool in the middle, that's not great. People have dogs and their dogs need a place to go pee pee. People also have kids and they need a place to put their trampoline. Some people just want to have some trees and some greenery in their backyard. So when you're designing your pool, make sure that your yard is big enough. Is your yard big enough to have a pool? If it is, make sure that there's still some yard on the sides or in the back. Landscape it. Put some shrubs out there. Don't make it just a sea of concrete and then water. Landscape it, make it look pretty, have some grass.
I had big plans for this video. My parents have a pool and I was going to get all decked out, go to my parents' pool and lounge with a drink and do my video in a pool to be more hip and cool. Then I would have had to shave, exfoliate, lotion up and then find a position that's flattering and then pray I don't drop my phone in the water, and let's face it, I'm at work. I don't have time to go in the middle of the day and shoot a video in a swimming pool. So here I am, I'm sitting at my desk in a dress talking about swimming pools.
Does anyone else in your neighborhood have a pool? If other people in your neighborhood have a pool, then you are more likely to get that 7 or 8% increase in value if you add a pool. There are some neighborhoods where it's just kind of what you do. There's a neighborhood in North Edmond called Oak Tree, it's on a golf course, and in my 16 years of real estate, I think I have seen one house in there that wasn't new construction that didn't have a pool. I would bet it probably does now. Because in Oak Tree, if you want to sell your house, you need to have a pool, and not just a pool, but a big pergola and gorgeous landscaping and an outdoor kitchen, and it needs to be what we call in the real estate biz an outdoor entertainer's dream.
So yeah, if you live in a neighborhood like Oak Tree and you want to add a pool, go for it. You're going to get that 8%. But just know that it has to be more than just a pool. You've got to do the whole outdoor shebang, knock your socks off, make it pretty backyard. So but if you were in a neighborhood where nobody else has a pool, then when people are looking for a house to buy with a pool, they're not going to think of your neighborhood. Maybe the people in that price point or that part of town just don't think about swimming pools. If you're in a medium to lower price range neighborhood people, aren't worrying about swimming pools. They're caring more about having the interior of their home remodeled or maybe having a new roof.
Do you live in a neighborhood with a neighborhood pool? Now, just because there's a neighborhood pool, that doesn't mean you can't have your own pool. But again, most of the people who are going to look in that neighborhood are the kind of people that want to have access to a pool but not necessarily take care of a pool. Now I get it, the neighborhood pool, other kids swimming in it and people's kids pee in the pool. It's okay when your kid does it, but you may... If you're those kinds of people that want your own private pool so you only clean up your own messes, I get it. But a neighborhood with a neighborhood pool, that's just another factor to consider. Now we have a neighborhood pool in my neighborhood and I know of two of my neighbors have pools and I'm sure they love it. But it's just a factor to consider if you're on the fence about whether or not you should do it.
Okay so here's the ingredients I think you have to have to decide to install a pool at your home. You need to have a lot of equity in your house. You need to have a lot of money, the cash to do it. You need a plan to stay there long term and you need to have a big yard. If you say no to any of those, I wouldn't do it. Yeah. So speaking of holes in the ground, you should also watch the video I have on should I add a storm shelter? That's another hole in the ground that you could add to your house while you're at it. It's not quite as expensive. Check it out.


Tips for Buying Your First Home
Are you thinking about buying your first home this year? You're thinking about buying your first home? Well, it just so happens that I have 10 tips for first-time buyers entering the real estate market. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City, and here are 10 tips for you.
Here are 10 tips for the first-time buyer entering the real estate market, and if you make it all the way to the end, there is a bonus tip just for you.
Number one is pretty obvious. Choose to work with an experienced realtor. There is no reason to go it alone. The whole craziness of buying a house and the contracts and everything that go with it, pretty involved, so don't try to do it alone. Now, you may think, well, I don't understand compensation, how it costs. Can I afford you? Well, yes, you can afford me because when you are buying a home, you are not out any extra money for realtor fees. See, the seller, in almost all cases, the seller pays the realtors. They made an agreement with their realtor to pay them a certain amount of compensation, and then that realtor agrees to split those costs with any realtor who brings a buyer to the transaction, so you are not out any extra money for using a realtor. And of course, if you are buying in the Oklahoma City metro area, I would love to assist you in buying your first home.
Number two is get approved with a local lender for a mortgage. You could just go online to one of those big lenders, the big national lenders that have commercials that say, "Get approved in five minutes!" And all you do is you fill out some stuff online and you think you're good to go, but it's really a whole lot more complicated than that, and so you need to get approved with someone who has been referred to you, someone that's been recommended by someone you know or by your realtor who is local. See, what happens is lenders get reputations among realtors, and so when you make an offer on a house and you give those sellers a preapproval letter, you want it to be from someone reputable that we realtors know and trust and like. That way, the realtor on that listing is going to say to their sellers, "Hey, this is a great lender. These people are in good hands. You don't have to worry about the loan." So get approved with someone here locally, whom you can talk to on the phone, you could actually go sit in their office if you want to.
Number three is determine what you need and what you want and where you want to be. Now's a good time to start making a list of your must-haves, your wishes, and then most importantly, determine where you want to live. Now is a good time to start driving around neighborhoods and getting a feel for different parts of town. Once you determine a price range, then as a realtor, I'm going to start sending you listings on my website, and you're going to see those several times a week, and you're going to see houses that look good to you and houses that don't. Even if you're a few months ahead of trying to buy something, it is a good time to do a lot of driving through neighborhoods and parts of town, deciding where you want to be.
Also, it's good to really kind of look through that wants list and that needs list and see what's practical for your price range. What are you actually going to be able to get? So that way, when you start looking at houses, you'll be really educated, and you'll really know what you want and need and be able to make a good decision quickly.
Whether you are two months out or six months out or even a year out, number four is save money. It is time to tighten your belt and save cash. The more cash you have, the more powerful your offer will be, the better prepared you will be to make your first home purchase. Also, moving is expensive. So even if you get a really good deal on the home you're buying, you do have to pay for starting new utilities, moving expenses. You may want to buy some new stuff when you're home. You may want to paint. And so the more cash you have, the more fun it's going to be.
Moving is pretty stressful. It's a pretty common thing to hear people say, "I am never doing this again." So to help make it less stressful, number five is plan ahead by packing and getting rid of the stuff you don't want. Whether you're a couple of months out, there's no need to procrastinate, so get rid of the stuff that's trash. Donate the stuff you want to donate. Sell the stuff you want to sell. There will be a whole lot going on those last two or three weeks before you close on your new home, so if you've already done some of that packing and kind of going through everything, it'll be a whole lot easier on you for the move.
Okay, so you're ready. It's time to choose a house. You are ready to move in the next 30 to 60 days, maybe even 90 days. No, let's stick with 60, 30 to 60 day. You're ready to move. Now it's time to be diligent. If you are in a median price range or lower, our market is moving really fast, and you have a shortage of listings on the market. And so if a house is pretty, if it's nice, if it's priced right, if it's in a great location, it will sell very fast. It may even have multiple offers on it. So here's what you need to do.
Number six is be diligent. That means every day, when you get up, you open your email from me that shows you what the new listings are on the market, and if any of those look great to you, you let me know, and we go see it that day. And then if you like it, we'll do research really quick, and if you like it, you'd write an offer on it.
Number seven is have perseverance. In the market right now, it is not uncommon for you to have to make offers on two or three houses before you land on one and win. It is kind of a competition, so just don't lose heart and don't be discouraged. Just have perseverance and know that it might take a little while until you get the house that you need.
Therefore, number eight is don't play games. Now, I know that you want to feel like you're getting a good deal on a property, and you've heard in the past that you're supposed to offer low because they're listing high, and then you're going to meet in the middle somewhere. Well, that's not really how the market is right now. Right now, sellers, one, they can price the home a little bit higher than they want to, but they're being coached to price their home correctly and present their home in a way that'll get it sold in a short amount of time. So if you like a house and you see yourself living there, don't play games and try to low ball or ask for bizarre things just to see if you'll get it. You need to make a strong, fair offer the first time. And of course, I've done this before. I've been around a while. I'm going to be there to coach you and help you decide what that strong offer should be.
Number nine is one that may surprise you. Number nine is don't overshare on social media. So if you are one of those people that shares every meal and shares everything you do every day, you take the car selfie after you get your haircut. Like if you're that person, you need to pull back a little bit and don't overshare when you're in the middle of a real estate transaction. It is perfectly fine to go on there and say, "Hey, y'all, I'm looking for a house, and Natalie Bratton is my realtor. Ooh! Ooh!" That's okay. It's also okay to say, "Hey, I'm looking for a house in Edmond in this price range. Anybody have something coming? It'd be fun to buy a house from a friend." Like you may do that once.
But once you're out there in the market, do not share about your transaction. We are in a small world and those home sellers are also on social media, and if you're trying to buy their house and they think that in any way, you are belittling them or not loving their house, or if they think you're doing something inappropriate or rude, they may change their minds and not sell you the house, so don't overshare on social media.
Number 10 is a little bit sticky. Number 10. Yes, it's okay to take advice from family and friends. It is very common for a first time buyer to want to have their family along or to have somebody important to them come along and be a part of helping them make decisions. I encourage it. It's great. But I want to ask you not to take all of that advice as things you absolutely must do. Unless that person has recently bought a home, the market is different than whenever they bought their last home. The rules of engagement may have changed. The contract has certainly changed. We have things in it that change from year to year. The personality and the style of how we work offers and make offers has possibly changed since that person last bought a house. So take their advice, listen to it, absorb it, and then you decide based on your experience and based on your realtor's experience, what is the best thing for you?
You made it to the bonus tip. Ooh! Ooh! All right. Bonus tip is, if you like this video, then you need to watch this video. This video gives you more tips on being a buyer in today's real estate market. Thanks for watching.


What to Do When Selling a House By Owner
Are you considering
selling your house this year as a for sell by owner? There are pros and cons to doing it alone. And I'm happy to help and share with you some tips for selling your home. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First. Yeah, I am a realtor, so I'm a bit biased, but here are some tips to help you decide if for sell by owner is right for you. Check it out.

It's a sellers market, I know it. Houses are flying off the market. If they're priced right and they look great, buyers are running to see it. So why would I pay a realtor when I could just stick a sign in my yard, mark it a little bit, and buyers are going to come by my house? Are you listening?
Setting the price is a lot harder than just going on Zillow and picking out a good price and comparing it to other pictures of other houses. It's also not taking what you paid for the house and adding on all the money you've spent maintaining and fixing your house. That's not how you price a house. It's not, assuming that your house is appreciating by 3% every year and taking the time that you've owned the house and adding 3% every year to get a sales price.
Pricing is a lot harder than maybe it sounds. And one of the number one reasons people hire a realtor is because they have difficulty pricing their house and they don't want to get it wrong. You can't just look at what the house down the street sold and price it at the same, or say, "Well, my house is better than that house, so I'm going to list it $20,000 more." There's a lot more to it.
And so one of the number one reasons people pick a realtor is so that they price their home correctly. I am an expert at marketing, contract negotiation, administration, communication, and much, much more. Are you? Part of doing a real estate transaction means you need to be a Jack of all trades. So you need to know how to price your home, you need to know how to stage your home, how to decorate your home so that it will sell, how to do videography and professional photography and marketing. You have to do more than just stick a sign in your yard and put it on Zillow.
There is a whole marketing section of selling your home that comes into play. There's knowing the contract front and back. The contract is more than 13 pages. Have you read all 13 pages front and back, up and down, backwards and forward so that you know all the legal ramifications and all the details of the contract? Do you know what to do with the title company, inspections, repairs, closing, the lenders? Do you know which lenders are any good? Because some of them stink.
That's another reason that people hire a professional realtor, because a realtor who is an expert in all of those things and knows the ins and outs of handling each detail of the transaction. So if you're going to do it yourself, you need to read a book about staging, and look at lots of pictures online and lots of articles that tell you what to do for staging. You need to know what repairs and what updates to make to your home for the most return on your investment. You need to take a negotiation class and make sure that you're up to speed on professional negotiations. And you need to spend several hours reading over the contract to make sure you know everything that needs to be in it.
"Hey, y'all, let's just meet in the middle. We're 10,000 apart, let's just go five and have a deal." If that's your idea of being a negotiation expert, you've got a lot to learn before you put the house on the market. You need to become a negotiation expert to sell your house yourself.
One of the number one reasons people choose to hire a realtor is they want a negotiator on their side. So if you don't negotiate as a regular part of your daily life, if you've never taken a class or studied negotiation, then that's something you want to do before you put your house on the market. It's not just agreeing on a price and shaking hands, you are negotiating from the moment the buyers step foot in your house, all the way through to closing. There are little details all the time that have to be worked out and dealt with, so become a negotiation expert.
So you have to be a negotiation expert. That means you have to be unemotional about your transaction. So if you are very emotional about your house, this is something that you're going to have to work on. You're also, you need to get some training and learn negotiation, if that's not something you already do on a normal basis.
You don't want to get yourself in a situation with a buyer who is a negotiator, or even have a realtor bring the buyer. Which is a great deal because then you only pay half the compensation and they're pretty much going to run things till closing, but they're going to negotiate you up and down and all around from start to finish. And so you may end up at the end realizing that you gave away too much or you left money on the table because they out negotiated you and you didn't even realize it.
So negotiation is one of the number one reasons that people choose to use a realtor. That compensation they pay the realtor ends up typically being worth it if they had an expert negotiator on their side. Do you have a life? Number four is time. Do you have the time to devote to this? I mean, you probably already have a job, you have a family, you have people you care about, you have hobbies and interests, things you want to do. Do you really want to spend every waking hour of your life that's extra devoted to trying to sell your house? Maybe you should take a week off of work and just show your house and do the marketing.
I spend two to three days just setting up the marketing for one of my new listings. The paperwork takes several hours to get through. And if you have to read about negotiation, read about marketing, read about staging and read the contract front and back. You should probably just take some time off work and devote. Oh, you don't get paid if you're not at work? Well, is it worth it then to try to do it all on your own?
One of the main reasons I have clients who are deliberating to do for sell by owner, the reason they don't is because with the stress of moving, changing jobs, doing all the other things they have to do, adding on trying to sell your own house just doesn't seem as desirable as it did at first. That the money spent compensating a realtor is actually a plus. I'm providing you a service, I'm doing all these things for you.
And so then when you think about it, that money really isn't that bad of an investment to get your house sold in the easiest way possible for the most money in the shortest amount of time. But that is a big consideration. What's your life like right now? Is it already stressful? Because having to put your house on the market and sell it yourself and do all these things I've mentioned may just be too much.
11% of homes sell as for sell by owners, 11%. That means 89% people, 89 are like, "Why would I spend all that time?" 89%. So to recap things to consider when you are planning to sell your own home is, how much time do you have to devote to taking on an extra job of selling your house? Are you a Jack of all trades? Do you know how to do the marketing, the staging, the videography, the negotiations, the contract front and back, pricing? There are lots of details for you to learn to be able to do this well on your own. There is a whole lot more than just sticking a sign in the yard and shaking hands with somebody. There is a lot that goes into a real estate contract.
Number three, negotiation experts. Are you prepared to negotiate with another party unemotionally throughout an entire contract time? Not just the price, but all the little details. And number four is, do you have the time to devote on top of the rest of your life? Are you willing to give up your life for awhile so that you have time to focus on your real estate transaction? Those are four big things to consider when you're planning to sell your own home.

7 Tips for Moving to OKC

Moving is pretty stressful, even if you're just moving to another home around the corner. So I can imagine if you're planning to move to another state or across the country, it can be pretty overwhelming. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City, and I've been helping people relocate to the Oklahoma City metro area for 16 years. Here are seven tips that I've come up with to help you get started and to make your move a little less overwhelming. Check it out.
Here are seven tips for relocating to the Oklahoma City metro area. Number one, hire a local area expert to help you. I'm talking about a good realtor. Honestly, I'm talking about me. I'm a local area expert. You should hire someone to help you not just find a home, but help you figure out where you want to live in the Oklahoma City metro area. Oklahoma city itself geographically is pretty large.
It's over 600 square miles and there are cities within Oklahoma City. Then there's all the suburbs around Oklahoma City. When we say the Oklahoma City metro area, we are referring to 6,000 square miles of towns. Big and small and suburbs and exurbs. So if you are unfamiliar with the area, you really need to have somebody who can help you out. If you don't already know where you want to be based on the job or other people you know in Oklahoma City, then you really need to have a local area expert who's not just an expert at looking at houses and writing contracts, but also really knows the ins and outs of Oklahoma City and all of its suburbs. Number two, decide what you want and need in your lifestyle, not just your house. So when you make your list of all the things you want for your next home also include your lifestyle.
What are your hobbies and interests? What kind of area do you want to live in? Now I'm not talking about steering based on race or religion or anything like that. I'm talking about like, what do you like to do? What kind of neighborhood do you want to be in? Do you want to be in the middle of all the action? Do you want an urban area with a lot of walkability? Do you want a quiet suburb? Do you want a more country feel? Something a bit more rural and spread out? What kind of commute do you want in and out of the city for work? Those are all things that you need to think about. Then tell me, do you love to golf or you want to join a tennis club? Do you like to go bike riding or go to the lake?
Do you want to be able to leave your house and be at the nearest shopping center in five minutes? Do you want to be near all the restaurants and the retail? All of those things are important to tell me so that I can help you decide where you want to be located in the city. Are school really important to you? If that's the number one thing you need to tell me so that I can help you figure out what school district and what kind of schools you want to be in and what is the best fit for your family. So decide what's important to you share it with me so that I can help you. There are all these different suburbs and portions of the city that have different personalities and different things that they offer. I want be able to direct you to the area that you're most likely to enjoy and be comfortable in and like.
The worst thing is if you come here and you just pick a great house because you like the house and then a year later, you call me and say, "We love our house, but we hate where we live. Everything we do is on the other side of town." So it's important to consider all of those things up front, not just the size of the living room.
Number three, choose a local lender for financing. Okay if you're paying cash for your home purchase, don't even worry about this one. If you are needing financing for your next home, I encourage you to use a local lender. You don't have to, but here's the reasons why you should. Our local market right now is pretty competitive. If you were to pick a house and make an offer on it, you might have multiple offers.
If there are multiple offers the realtor for the seller is going to meet with the seller. They're going to talk about the offers. If you have a preapproval letter from a local lender here that we all know and trust and know does a good job, they're going to say, "Hey, seller. They're using this lender and they're great. So you don't have anything to worry about with the lender. That's going to be no worries." If you have a lender say in another state who is licensed in Oklahoma, they'll say, "We don't know this company. We don't know this lender. We don't know if it's any good or not." So it just helps if there's a lot of competition and it helps when a seller's trying to decide if they're going to accept your offer or not to know that they don't have to worry about whether or not you're going to have financing or not.
So I have a list of favorites I recommend. If you're moving here because you know, people here, you can take referrals from them too. I just really encourage you to consider using a reputable local lender here. Number four, plan your visits here for more than just two days. I know. I know you don't want to take a vacation to the town where you're moving. That's not really exciting or relaxing, but if there's any way to come to Oklahoma City for more than two days to get to know the area, then I highly recommend it. Whether you take several short trips or if you cram it all into one trip. The longer you can spend here, the better you're going to feel about your move. If you just come here and you're like, "I have 48 hours, I need to look at 50 houses and pick one."
You're going to be incredibly overwhelmed and exhausted. You're not going to have a good feel for what the city is like. Again, there are lots of suburbs, there are lots of school districts. There are many different sections and neighborhoods. So the hope is that we could narrow down to a specific area that you want to be in and then go look at houses. So I encourage you if you come. So let's say you were going to come for four days. The first day, you'd probably come by my office. We'd bump elbows and say, hi. I would give you an itinerary based on the things you've told me from number two, the things that you look for in your lifestyle, I would have some places that I would tell you to go get in the car, the rental car, and drive around and go to some of those places, eat dinner at some of our restaurants, go to a show or a movie, or take a walk at the parks that I send you to. Whatever it is you like to do, I'm going to send you to go to see those things.
I'm going to send you to neighborhoods and drive around in different places based on what you told me so that you can decide, narrow it down to maybe two different parts of town you want to be in. Then after you've done that, then we go look at houses based on where you want to be. So of course, you're going to find houses you love in all these different areas, but we want to be able to narrow it down. I want you to see what the city is like and what the suburbs are like, how they look and feel and do they have what you're looking for in your life. So that's what I encourage you to do. Not just kind of look at houses. I mean, if you can only come two days, then we make the best of it.
If at all possible, make several trips to Oklahoma City or make one long one so that you can do a lot of driving and a lot of searching so that when you do pick a house, you can be really confident that you're choosing not just the best house, but where you want to live for the long term. Number five, it's 2020. So we're going digital. Don't worry about having to be in town long enough to do all the paperwork and all that stuff, because everything is digital now. We can very easily send paperwork online for you to sign, and we can talk face to face and talk on the phone to discuss issues or questions you have about your offers. You don't have to be at the home inspection. It'd be great if you could, but all home inspectors now take digital photos and upload the reports and send them to you.
I will always be at the home inspection. So I am there to make sure that I can see what things are probably going to be important for you to know in your home inspection. Then closing. A lot of times, what we do for closing is if you're somewhere in the United States, we can send all your documents to a title company where you are located and you pay a small courtesy closing fee and you can sign at a title company there. Or even now we do have remote online notaries who could be anywhere in the country. If you are closing with them, you can close from your home on an iPad or a laptop with a screen and sign online for your closing. So I did it last week with a client. It was hilarious and it took a long time, but we got it done.
She closed remotely. So digital all the way. Even if you are overseas, there are ways to make closings happen even without you being here. Number six, speaking of closing day, you need to know how closing will work since you're moving cross country. So if you're coming into town for closing and you're staying at a hotel, just make sure that it's okay to have your moving trucks or your semi parked in their parking lot because here in Oklahoma, you do not get to move in before closing. There is no early occupancy, at least it's very rare. So you don't get to move in your stuff until after you've signed and funded everything. So when you come into town, you need a place to keep your stuff. Number seven, is my people are your people. So if there's stuff you want to do to your house, you want to have it professionally cleaned.
You want the yard mowed. You want someone to remodel it, paint, carpet, whatever it is that you need to help you get here in Oklahoma City know that my people are your people. I can refer you to just about anything you need. So when you get here and you're like, where am I going to go for this or that or the other? Know that I'm here to help you get connected to all the right people for everything that you need in your new home. So to recap, seven things you need to know when relocating to Oklahoma City. Number one is choose a local area expert and help you out. Number two, know what you want in a home, but also know what you want for your lifestyle. What things are most important to you when choosing what part of town you want to live in or what suburb?
Number three, use a local cool lender who is well-respected and has a good success rate. Number four, plan your trips here. Try to make it as many trips as you can or stay for as long as you can so that you can really feel good about where you choose to live. Number five is yes, we can do everything online now. So it's okay if you're not here for a lot of the process. Number six, closing. We don't let you move in early here. So keep that in mind when you're planning moving all your stuff across the country. Number seven finally is my people are your people. So I can help you get connected to whatever services you need to help you get settled here in Oklahoma City. If this is good for you, then I have a whole playlist on living in Oklahoma. So check those videos out and then contact me at my website, to get started on your relocation process. Thank you.


10 Tips for Oklahoma Real Estate Buyers in 2020

Are you planning to buy a home this year? Well, it's getting hot outside and this Oklahoma real estate market is hot as well. It is a sellers market here because inventory is low. So if you are planning to buy a home this year, get prepared and put your best foot forward. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First and here are 10 tips for future home buyers in Oklahoma.
Here are 10 tips for buying a home this year in Oklahoma. Number one, don't go it alone. Hire a local expert, a realtor to help you in your home purchase. I would be happy to help anyone buy a home in the local OKC Metro area. Why use a realtor? One, the sellers pay the compensation most of the time. So generally you're not out any extra money for using a realtor when you buy. We also have a large network with each other and with our own clients and customers. So a lot of times we know about houses before they even hit the market. We also know the ins and outs of how to get a good deal here, negotiations and resources. So don't go it alone. Hire a realtor. Number two, go ahead and get preapproved. Especially if you have a few months to go, go ahead and get everything checked out and make sure that you're in the best position possible going into your home purchase.
Also, I would recommend getting approved with a reputable local vendor. It's not that out-of-state lenders are always bad, but in a situation where there's multiple offers and the competition is high, the sellers are going to ask their realtor for advice and the realtors, see, we all talk about the local lenders around here, and we talk about which lenders do a good job and which ones don't always do a good job. And we talk about the big banks around the country and give each other tips and advice about lenders. So if there's multiple offers that I'm presenting to a seller, and I know that the lender on one of the offers has a bad reputation of closing late, or even dropping the ball completely and the buyer not getting their loan, I'm going to at least forewarn my sellers that that is a potential thing that could happen in the event they choose that offer.
So use somebody who comes highly referred to you by a friend or your realtor, and know that you'll be in good hands with somebody here and your offers will look strong when presented to sellers. Number three, save money. Save, save, save. The more cash you can bring into a transaction, the prettier you're going to be to a seller. Of course, paying all cash is fantastic. I would say to those of you who are cash buyers, in our market, that doesn't mean that you can go in and low ball a seller and just say, "Well, it's cash. Take me." You still have to be competitive in price and you still have to make a good fair offer. For those of you who need financing, you just want to look as prepared and ready as you can. So if you can pay your own closing costs, you will look great or at least pay some of your own closing costs.
See it's a permissible and even very normal and reasonable for a buyer to ask the seller to help pay some of their closing costs. But, if the going gets tough, they want to know that you have some cash that you can put into the game and also if there's multiple offers, then they're going to want to look at the person who is the most financially stable looking in the transaction. They want to know that, "Well, okay, they're making a down payment and they're paying their own fees. These people are legit," and that's how you want to look. You want to look legit to your sellers. Number four, start researching now. I know it's so much fun for a lot of you to look at houses online and that is exactly what you should be doing. You should be driving around neighborhoods, you should be researching areas, looking at houses online.
I know that I put my friends and my customers, I build them online searches on my website as much as a year in advance, so that they can know what houses look like in their price range and in the neighborhoods they like. Go to open houses, get a really good idea of where you want to be and what you need in your house before you step out there. Because number five, number five is be ready to act. When it's time and you're really ready to buy a house, when a house goes on the market and it looks like what you want, you need to go that day and look at it. And if it checks off enough of the boxes and you think you want to live there, you need to make an offer that day. You can't wait around and you'll miss out.
So especially if you're in a lower, up to average price range, you have to be ready to act as soon as you find that house that checks off the boxes and meets the criteria you want. When making an offer, think about maybe what the seller needs as well. So if it's a house where there's going to be multiple offers, and if it's a really popular area, there's a lot more to an offer than just the price. So if the house is vacant, they probably want to close as soon as possible. If it isn't, the realtor, a good realtor will ask, "What are the things that are most important to the seller? Maybe they don't want to close for six weeks. Maybe they really want to keep something and reserve something in the house." Just find out little things that could mean a lot to a seller before writing your offer.
Number seven, keep it simple. This is not the time to write really bizarre things in your offer. Keep it to the normal things that are listed in the contract. Don't ask for all kinds of extra stuff. Just keep it simple and to the point. The cleaner, we it cleaner, the cleaner the offer looks the better they're going to receive it from you. Number eight, write a love letter. If you find a house of your dreams, then it's okay to write a letter to the sellers and tell them what you love about their house and what you plan to do with it. Now, some people will tell you that they put pictures, like put a family picture attached to the letter. I personally don't do that. I think it's important for sellers not to know what the buyers look like when they are writing offers.
And I actually, when I present offers to my clients, I don't even give the people's names. Of course, when they sign the contract, they'll see the people's names. But at first I like for them to be anonymous. But when it goes the other way around, I do like for my buyers to at least write a letter without a picture saying what they love about the property and what they're going to do with it. It can create an emotional tie to the seller. So if there's multiple offers and it's really close, they will sometimes choose based on the letter. Number nine is persevere. You know, it's not uncommon for people to have to write offers on multiple listings before they get one. In a market like this, where everything is moving really fast, you may write offers on three or four houses before you get the one that you're going to buy.
So don't give up, persevere, and eventually you'll get a new home. Number 10, well, for the last one, go to my website, and sign in and set up your own home search. Or if you want me to do it for you, leave me a message on there, telling me what your criteria are and I'll set it up for you so you can begin that research phase right now. Oh, and by the way, in the YouTube description notes, I'm going to post my favorite three reputable lenders and I'll also post links to my website and to some other videos that will help you in your home buying process.


Moving to OKC?
Are you planning a move to Oklahoma city? Are you PCSing the Tinker Air Force Base soon? Would you like to hear an interview with someone else who's done that and hear what they think about living in Oklahoma city? Well, I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma city. And I would like to share an interview with you coming right up.
Hey, everybody. I am here with my friend Patti. And she is a friend and client of mine and she and her family moved to Oklahoma city. They PCS to Tinker Air Force Base in 2015. And she has agreed to let me ask her some questions so that we can tell you more about Oklahoma and what it's like moving to Oklahoma. So Patti, tell everybody some of the places y'all have been stationed.
So we have been stationed, goodness gracious ... everything for Pensacola Florida, Georgia, Texas, California, Japan. And then we've been here quite a bit, so yeah.
Okay. So honestly, when you found out you were moving to Oklahoma city again, how did you feel about that?
I was very nervous, because you don't know what to expect for Oklahoma. I think you're not quite sure, it's a big city, but you don't know how big and what it's going to have to offer. And are you going to get lost in that city or is it going to be ... because it is the Midwest city, you don't know quite if it's going to be a little bit like slower pace than some of the big cities living on the coasts. So, we were worried it wasn't going to have a lot to offer and it's actually not like that at all. It's a very big city and lots of things to do, lots.
Cool. So, for someone who's maybe PCSing to a new town for the first or second time, what are some things you've learned over the years to help make that easier for a family?
So I think finding what your one thing you and your family, the one thing that you really, really like or really, really need. For us, we have children that are school age. So finding good schools was our main thing and our main focus. And you can find really good schools like in the tens, I guess you rate it tens. Pretty much in any of the little cities around, we would call them suburbs, but y'all call them cities. Little cities all the way around Oklahoma city.
Okay. So for people maybe PCSing for the first or second time, what are some tips you've learned over the years and some advice you might give to families moving?
Yeah. So, I would say pick that one thing that you and your family are the top priority. For us having kids, was a good school systems and you can find those rated ten pretty much everywhere. So it's just really what you like. So then the second one would probably be, we wanted to be near shopping. That's also another really great thing about Oklahoma city. Because it feels like there's super Walmart's everywhere, super Targets everywhere and huge parking lots, where if you've ever lived in California or Virginia, you know sometimes parking is premium, so ...
And if you don't know what a super Target name means. It means, you walk in and there's a Starbucks and then you have the entire grocery store on one side and then a normal Target department store on the other side with a massive parking lot ... outside. And so it's all in one place. And Walmart, super Walmart, it's so the same way, except it's Walmart. And when you walk in, there's a McDonald's.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). If they don't have what you need at one Target, 10 minutes down the road in the next city, it's the next Target. And Oklahoma was great because you can pretty much get anywhere you want to get in 20 minute drive.
That is true.
So, that is really nice.
Yeah, and if you liked it, if you want an easy commute, you can live in any suburb around Oklahoma city and get downtown in 20 minutes.
So what are some of the things that you all like to do here in Edmond in Oklahoma city?
So, we've lived in Moore too. And we've lived in Edmond and both of them there's food trucks, there's sports, I know that the professional basketball team, the baseball league has changed a little bit.
So we're getting a lot more talent in that side. I mean, for the kids, there's all kinds of swim teams and lacrosse and soccer. And you can do Y, if you want to just do YMCA small, or you can do a little bit more, how do I say it? A little more intense where they actually have leagues, like my son plays flag football on Friday night lights. That one's a really great one. I mean, there's just a lot for kids to do and adults, they have the arts district downtown, they had the Riverwalk with all the restaurants and boutique shops. A lot of really, really good boutiquey restaurants too. You would be surprised at the food choices as well, a lot has changed. And then the Riversports complex with whitewater rafting and kayaking and you can rock climb. They have a thing you can do outside. It's amazing.
It's a lot to do.
A lot.
And then what made you all, you had lived on base for a while, what made you all decide to go ahead and buy a house here?
I'm not in our community when you live on Tinker that the community is an influx. People are moving in and out, it's a rental community and that's why we chose to buy so that we can invest a little bit more and also have a little bit more of that stable community, stable school, stable teachers, and stable neighbors, and get to know it that way. It makes it feel a little more like home, when things are the same, a little more comfortable.
Is there anything else you would tell someone moving into Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma city from anywhere else in the country, is there any advice you would give them?
Find a really good real estate agent. Somebody that knows the area and that somebody will listen to you and sometimes you might not know exactly what your priorities are, but they can help you weed through those ...
Pull that out of you.
Yes. And find what you need. Because there's some places I didn't think to look. And that my friend, Natalie, I'm not just saying that because of Natalie, but she's lived here before. She knows I'm having somebody guide you and pull this information out of your brain.
That is excellent advice Patti. All right. Thank you.


Have you served in the military and are thinking about using your VA eligibility for a home purchase? Would you like to hear six myths and six truths of VA financing? Well, I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. And I am ready to share with you just that, six myths and six truths of VA financing. Oh, and if you make it all the way to the end, I have a special guest, a handsome loan officer who can share with you some tips and advice for your home purchase. Stick around.

Here are six myths of VA financing.
Number one. I can only use my VA one time. Not true. You can use your VA eligibility over and over again as long as your entitlement is available.
Number two. I don't pay any closing costs, right? Wrong. You do have closing costs, just like any other mortgage. You have title fees, lender fees. Both of those are the cost of doing business. You have your prepaid taxes and insurance that go into your escrow account. Plus your home inspections and appraisal. Now you can ask the seller to help pay some of those costs, but they're not required to. So, if you can pay your own closing costs, you'll get a better price on the house, but you can ask the seller to help, if you want to save that money for something else.
Number three. I can use it for any type of purchase, right? Wrong. It has to be a residential home purchase. You can't use your VA entitlement for a land loan, and I don't recommend trying it on a foreclosure or a short sale or some sort of odd purchase. You can't buy a fixer-upper where the seller is not willing to do any sort of repairs. So, residential only, and it can be ugly, but not a true fixer-upper.
Number four. VA hires their own inspector, right? So I don't need an inspection. Wrong. You do have a home inspection and you hire the home inspector. What you're thinking of is the appraiser. The lender hires an appraiser to make sure the home is worth what you're paying for it. But, they have a special certification for VA loans. And they have a list of property conditions that have to be met for you to get your loan. That means if there's chipping and peeling paint, broken window panes, structural problems, and a laundry list of little things, if any of those things are broken or not working, the VA appraiser will write a condition. Those conditions have to be met for you to get your VA loan. That's why you don't want to buy too much of a fixer-upper or one where the seller says, "It has to be as is," because the lender will require those repairs be made before you get your loan.
Number five. VA loans just take too long. Well, that's because you're using the wrong lender. There are lenders out there that will tell you that a VA loan can take 45 to 60 days to close. Now, if I'm a seller and you're buying my house, I don't want you to take my house off the market for 60 days. But, the good lenders can close your loan from as short as three weeks to five weeks. Four to five weeks is typical, so if you talk to a lender and they say it's 45 to 60 days, they aren't doing a good job.
And six. I can't buy a house and use VA entitlement when I'm deployed. Wrong, you can. It's tricky, but you can do it. If you have a family member who is in the place where you're buying and they can go ahead and take occupancy, that's the easiest way to do it. But there are ways to work around it and do things virtually so that if you know you're coming home in a couple of months, there will be a home that you purchased there waiting for you.
6 Truths:
Number one. You generally get a pretty low interest rate. It's not always lower than conventional loans, but it's often a good rate.
Number two. No down payment required. That's right. You can get in with zero down payment and then all you have to worry about are your closing costs. However, you can make a down payment. In fact, if you make over 5% down, you will cut your VA funding fee and you can get a much lower payment.
No mortgage insurance. That's right. So how the government is thanking you for your service is you get zero down payment and no mortgage insurance on your monthly payment.
Four. There is a funding fee, the cost for getting the loan. So, on your first use, the funding fee is 2.3% of the sales price. And that you either pay in at closing, or it gets tacked on, on top of your sales price. And for the second time you use it, and any time after that, it's 3.6% of the sales price. So yeah, if you can make a down payment and help lower that, you'll feel a lot better about your monthly payment.
The loan amount caps off at 510,400. And that's for right now in 2020. It changes every few years based on cost of living. So if you buy a house that's more expensive than $510,400, any amount over that you're going to be paying as your down payment.
Credit score on VA across the board is 620 or higher.
Oklahoma. Here's, what's special about Oklahoma. If you are a disabled vet, you do get extra benefits based on the percentage that you have been designated as disabled. In Oklahoma, specifically, you will no longer pay residential property taxes and you get less taxable income from your disability. And there's other ways you get discounts on sales taxes as well. But also if you're disabled, no matter where you live in the United States, then your funding fee will be waived based on the percentage of your disability.
When does your VA eligibility start? Well, if you've been in active duty for at least two years, then you can start using your eligibility for a VA loan. If you're in the guard or the reserves it's six years. However, if you've been deployed for at least 90 days, then they go ahead and give you that eligibility.
Hey, everybody, I am back with Chad Bratton. He is not only my handsome bearded Abe Lincoln-looking husband, but he is a loan officer with Fairway Mortgage Corporation, which happens to be one of the top five lenders for VA borrowers. And on top of that, he has been an Oklahoma army guardsman for the last 19 years. And thanks to the COVID he hasn't had an in-person drill for a few months. Therefore, he can have a beard.
Virtual duty.
Virtual duty.
Okay, Chad, what would you give as advice to any prospective VA borrower out there?

I would say if
you can, if it's possible in any way, a five-year disability, you can be in the process, you could be just starting. Communicate that with me as much as possible because there are steps we can take, even if you're in process and we close on a home loan, but you can get it either refunded or do a principal curtailment at the end of it on the VA funding fee. So, that's step one. And then the other part of what I would say is, "Save, save, save." And Natalie will tell you, you want to bring cash to a transaction to make a competitive offer. VA is no different than any other home loan program that you would use in that respect.

So, if you want to save money, save money for paying down 5% down if at all possible, because you'll cut your VA funding fee. If you don't have an exemption on it you'll cut in less than half. And so at the end of it all, I would say, "Save, save, save." Just like you would any other homeowner purchase and then definitely keep tabs on your disability if you have any prospects at all in filing for VA disability.
So is VA lenient at all with credit, debt-to-income ratios? The income, that kind of stuff.
Absolutely. Yeah. Right now we only require a FICO of 620. And then the other thing I would say is on your debt-to-income, we often referred to as DTI, we can go, generally speaking, above 50% if you've got a decent FICO at all, we're talking mid 600s. It's very likely we'll be able to go above 50%. I've actually had a client having approved eligible through our automatic underwriting system up through 71%. To be able to do a non-contingent, home purchase and not sell their home. So VA has a lot of leniency. All that being said, you still want to pay your bills on time. You definitely want to keep your mortgage payments on time and keep your credit as good as possible. But yeah, it's certainly very, very lenient in that respect.
And what States do you do mortgages in?
So I am currently licensed in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and now Texas.
Whoa, that's impressive, huh? If you want to talk to someone about getting approved for a mortgage and have questions on VA loans, then I will put Chad's info in the description. Well.
Sounds great.
All right, thanks.



Yes, following the weather patterns in Oklahoma is a year round event. Did you know, there's actually a lot of great reasons to live in Oklahoma. Would you like to hear, say 10 reasons to live in Oklahoma? Well, I'm Natalie Bratton from RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City, and I'm happy to share those reasons with you right now.

Here are 10 great reasons to live in Oklahoma and I'm saving the best for last. Number 10, we are a land of opportunity. Oklahoma has always been a land of opportunity. Do you know our history, that in April of 1889, a bunch of people lined up on the border and a gun was shot at noon, and everybody ran or rode their horses or rode a train through Oklahoma and got the promise of free land. And so thousands of people wanted that opportunity for a new life in Oklahoma. And ever since that day, Oklahoma has always been a land where people can come and start over or reach their dreams. In fact, in Oklahoma, we have several fortune 500 companies that have settled here. We also are a great place to start a business. Here in Oklahoma, our cost of living is pretty low and the overhead to start a business is pretty low. So it's a great place to try and reach your dreams.
Number nine, we have all four seasons. That's right, winter, spring, summer, and fall, we have it all. And did you know that 64% of the year is sunny. Take that Oregon and Washington. 64% of the year is sun. We are pretty heavy on the summer. Summer and fall, with a little bit of spring and a little bit of winter. Our winters are pretty mild, but they're still there. And we have all four seasons.
Number eight, here in Oklahoma we like to eat. We're one of the fatter states, but that's because we have some great food here. If you like barbecue, if you like TexMex, we have some of the best. But we also have a lot of great, fine dining, French, Mediterranean, Italian, Korean. If you like that, we have it. We have a lot of great steakhouses and we have a little bit for everyone. So if you want to go out to eat on a Friday night, we've got a place that will be right for you.
Number seven is scenery. Okay, so we don't have the Rocky Mountains or the ocean. So we're not number one in the country or anything, but we do have some pretty scenery here. It's not all just flat plains. And oh, by the way, those flat Plains give you gorgeous sunsets where you can see for miles. But we do have a lot of lakes and those lakes have some walking trails and some pretty scenery. It's a number one pastime here, to take your boat out to the lake and go fishing and camping, water skiing. We also have some smaller mountain ranges, the Wichita's and the Washita's and some national parks. So there are some wilderness areas. There's a drive called the Talimena drive, that people take every year in Southeast Oklahoma, to see the fall foliage. So while we're not top in the country for this, if you're moving here, know that there's a lot of great places you can explore and have some adventures when you're not working.
Number six, let's have some fun. We can have fun here in Oklahoma. You know, we have Oklahoma City and Tulsa, have some great parks. We have some really nice museums. We are not devoid of culture here in Oklahoma. We have a professional ballet in Oklahoma City and in Tulsa. We have the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra. We have several museums in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. We have some great parks with walking trails and duck ponds. Well, Tulsa has the Gathering Place, which is this amazing park, which is a reason to go to Tulsa all by itself. We do have a pretty good live music scene. Back in my twenties, I was a member of the live music scene. I used to play from time to time, but we do have a lot of great live music and art. So if you're worried about coming to Oklahoma City and not ever having fun ever again, well, we're going to have fun here. We have a lot of great pubs, some breweries, like I already mentioned restaurants. So there's plenty to do here in Oklahoma city, if you look for it.
Number five, Oklahoma is a great place to retire. So if you're not going full blown snowbird and moving to Arizona or Florida, we are a great place to retire. We do have all four seasons, but our winters are pretty mild. And then we have good tax breaks for retirees. And if you happen to be a veteran, we even have special tax breaks for veterans. And if you're a disabled vet, you don't even pay property taxes here. We don't tax social security income. And so there's a lot of great things about retiring in Oklahoma. We are in the center of the country. So if you have family, either East or West or both, you can be right there in the middle. And our cost of living is low. So if you're on a fixed income, we are a great place to settle.
Number four, is a toss up between shopping and sports. I'm going to go with sports. We love college sports here. We have great universities, especially the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma State University, and the Sooners of Oklahoma. They have great college programs and we really get behind our universities here and also a lot of smaller universities and we love sports. We don't have NFL, but we're a three hour drive to Jerry's World in Dallas. If you like baseball, we are a six hour drive to see the Kansas City Royals. But we have minor league baseball and we have a minor league soccer. And then of course we have the Oklahoma City Thunder, our NBA basketball team.
But what most people don't know is in the last decade, we have become a huge venue for river sports. Our Oklahoma river, that runs through downtown Oklahoma City, has been converted into a boathouse district where we have rowing. So amateurs and professionals come here to train and live and race. We have major... Colleges, bring their teams to here to practice rowing. So we're a great place for sports, whatever you love to do. Tennis, soccer, golf, of course, we have tons of great golf courses. So if you love sports, we're a great place to be.
Here in Oklahoma, and in Oklahoma City, we like to say that we have big city living with a small town feel. And that's where number three comes in. In Oklahoma, you can have a really great commute to and from work. Now, here we Oakies, we think the traffic is awful. But if you're coming from another major city, you are going to laugh at our traffic and think that it's fantastic. You can easily have a commute to and from work, that's 30 minutes or less, and the traffic will not be that bad. Now our roads need a little work, but your commute can be fantastic.
Oh my, it's getting intense. The suspense is killing me. What are going to be the top two things about living in Oklahoma? Well, number two is our cost of living. We are the fourth most affordable state in the country. Our cost of living is approximately 14% lower than the national average. So here, come here, raise your family, start a business, do whatever it is you want to do and know that you can do it affordably. You can own a home, that is fabulous, for less than what you're paying now on that little tiny home you're living in. Come here and you can shop and buy whatever you want and have a nice way of life and live comfortably without going broke. Number two is the cost of living.
Number one, is we are the friendliest. You know, you ask anybody who is from somewhere else and they moved to Oklahoma, they will tell you that they love the people here. Generally, we are laid back, nice people. Now, of course, we have some jerks, but for the most part, we are a generous kind people, who would help you out. We might talk to you in line at the grocery store. We will probably smile and wave at you on the track or on the walking trail. That might make you uncomfortable, but that's what we do here. And we will do anything to help each other, especially when times are tough.
If you come to Oklahoma and you love us and you let us in your heart, we will love you right back. Even if you have to move away. And when people move away and I say," What do you miss about Oklahoma?" It's always the people. They miss the people, their church family, their friends from work and school. The people of Oklahoma are what make it special. So if you come here, come with an open heart and an open mind and meet your neighbors, and don't be afraid to reach out and meet people when you go out. Because we will love you and we will take you in and we will make you one of our own. We don't care if you're rich or poor, if you're a famous NBA player or not. If you will love us, we will love you right back.
So if you're planning a move to Oklahoma, I would love to help you. I would love to show you around and I would love to help you buy your next home. So if you want more information about living in Oklahoma, then check here, this site. I have more videos in my series about living in Oklahoma, the good and the bad and the ugly. Look forward to more interviews with other friends and clients who live here to. Have a great day.


Do I Need a Storm Shelter in Oklahoma?
Hey, everybody. It's May 15th, 2020 here in Oklahoma. We are in the middle of our spring storm season. That pretty much goes from April through June. And then it occasionally pops up at various times of the year. But for those of you outside of Oklahoma, especially if you're from the coast or up North, there may be a few things you think of when you think of Oklahoma. One, maybe you remember the Murrah building bombing we had in 1995, where a 168 people died. Maybe, thanks to Netflix, you now think of Joe Exotic, Tiger King. Thanks a lot, Netflix. Maybe you think of the musical, Oklahoma. That's a great thing. But I know for a lot of people, when they find out they're moving to Oklahoma, they panic and think about tornadoes. Or they call their mom and they say, "Mama, I'm moving to Oklahoma." And they say, "Oh, no. Baby, you're going to die."

Well, it's really not all that. I mean, the movie Twister from 1996 is not fiction in its entirety. However, it's really not like that living here. So when people call me, and they are moving from Oklahoma, and I say, "What are you looking for in your next home?" They say, "Oh, we went three bed, two bath. Oh, and we have to have a storm shelter." Well, that is not a bad thing. And you can get a home with a storm shelter. But I want to just go ahead and break the news to you. We don't all have storm shelters. In fact, I would bet that less than 50% of us have storm shelters. And unfortunately I can't find statistics online that tell how many of us have them. I've been in real estate 16 years. And I would say that when I first started, hardly anybody has a storm shelter. But in the last seven years, we've had a lot of companies start installing them, making them more affordable. And it's becoming more common to see them in homes. So I would say that probably if I were just guessing, that 50% of us have storm shelters.

So if you're making that your must-have thing for your next home in Oklahoma, I want to tell you that you should start saving up some money, and to not make that the top criteria on your home search. Think of it more as the cherry on top. If you find a home you really like, and it has a storm shelter, bonus. If it doesn't, then you can plan to buy one after you get here. A storm shelter can go anywhere. It starts at about $2400 for the smallest, most affordable. And then it can go up however big and beautiful you want it to be. So typically most of us have a storm shelter that is made out of steel, and it's installed in our garage floor.

Those are the ones that start at 2400, and then go up to about 4000 depending on how much you want to pay, and how big do you want it to be. So most of us have those so that you don't have to go outside to get in your storm shelter. You just pull your car up a little bit. And then the door slides open, and you all go down into it. They're very small. But one thing you should know that when we're in our storm shelters, we're only in it for a few minutes. It's not somewhere where we're going to go hang out for a whole day. So maybe this will give you peace of mind. We are the number one state for meteorology. In fact, the University of Oklahoma, Boomer Sooner, has the number one meteorology school in the country so I've been told.

So when we have a storm day, it's like a major sporting event. It's like game day in the playoffs. We have the major news stations, all have their weather teams. And they go into work high-fiving and fist bumping. And, "How many lives are we going to save today? And we're going to be the fastest and the most accurate." And we watch weather all day and all night. So how you tell if your family loves you, or if someone loves you is if there's a storm coming, they call you or text you and say, "Hey, you watching the weather?" That is real love in Oklahoma. So you know when a storm is coming here, if you have the weather on, we know down to the minute when the storm is going to hit. So we get prepared. And five minutes before we go into the shelter. And when it's over, we leave.

So you don't need a big space, because you're not going to be down there very long. And I can tell you that in the six years that I've had a storm shelter, we've only been in it twice. And we've never been ... I've lived here my whole life. I am over 30. And I have never been directly hit by a tornado. I've seen several. But we have, if you are not wanting to crawl down into the garage storm shelters, we do have above ground safe rooms that are usually steel or concrete. People put them in their garages. Or if they have a big closet in their house, they can convert the closet into one. Those are more expensive of course. We have companies that make them outside, like what you see in the Wizard of Oz, where they go to an outdoor cellar. Those are a bit more.

And then of course, if you are a doomsday prepper, or if you're really neighborly and want to have the neighborhood parties when there's storms, you can do a massive bunker if you want to. And spend thousands and thousands of dollars. But if you're moving here and you find a house you love, know that you can add a storm shelter for as little as $2400. Some of our local banks and credit unions even offer financing for as low as 1% interest. So like I said, when you move here, if you're worried about moving here, storm shelters are not that expensive. Two, we are weather watchers. It is a major event on T.V. on storm nights, where you will know down to the minute when the storm gets here. We also have sirens very close by all over the state so that if one is coming, the siren will go off. And you will be aware, and you will have plenty of time to take shelter if you need to.

So I hope that helps. I Hope that gives you peace of mind. I'm happy to talk about it. Know that like I said, I've lived here my whole life, and I didn't get a storm shelter until just a few years ago. But they are good to have. They give you peace of mind. But it's not a criteria like, "I want a three bed, two bath house, and a storm shelter." It's something to plan for. And it's a bonus, a cherry on top of the cake. And I hope you enjoyed this video. If you want to know more about moving to Oklahoma, come back next week. Because next week I'm going to post more videos about what it's like living here in Oklahoma, and buying and selling a home in Oklahoma. Thanks.


Tips for Moving Day
 Here is the next installment of Tips For Home Sellers. So you've made it to closing day, all the details have been ironed out, everything is done, the only thing left to do is to consummate your transactions by signing the paperwork and funding the transactions. Whether done virtually or in person, those are some options, but that is not what I've plan to talk about today. Today, I want to talk about the stressful part of closing. Closing in itself is a glorious, wonderful day. The stressful part is moving. I want to talk about moving. Right, nobody likes to move. The easiest move in your life is either moving to a rental or when you move out of a rental into a home you buy because you can set it up so that you can gradually move over time. Where I want to talk about those of you who are selling a house and buying a house all at one time.

So there's a lot to work out and typically here in Oklahoma you will do back to back closings. We very rarely allow the preoccupancy, where you can move into the home before you buy it. The reasons for that are, first off, on the home you're buying, the sellers insurance does not cover your stuff or you, so if something unforeseeable happened, tornado, fire, robbery, your stuff is not covered by their insurance. They don't want to be liable for you. They also may still live in the house. So just like you're moving out, they're moving out. So there's nowhere to put your stuff when they're trying to get their stuff out. So those are the main reasons why we don't allow preoccupancies. Every once in a while you can sign an agreement to move your stuff into the garage or move in early, but those are a specific special circumstances and the seller of that house will charge you rent, so you're paying for that storage space and that move in. We only allow that in very special circumstances.

So you do back to back closings, meaning, you sell your house and you buy your new house all in the same day, you take everything from your house and you move to the new house, all in one glorious, long day. So here are some tips for that. Number one, if you are moving to an area nearby, like same town or next town over, if you can have both of your closings happen with the same title company so that you can go back to back and get it all done at once. If you have to move, if you're moving a little bit farther away, say Oklahoma City to Norman, 45 minutes or so, you're going to want to close on the house you're selling in the morning and do the house you're buying in the afternoon, and basically your moving truck starts out in your driveway and then when you sell you drive it to the new driveway. And don't forget to eat lunch in between because nobody wants a crabby home buyer. So make sure you schedule time to go from one title company to the next and still get everything done.

Okay, so you want to plan ahead, had to look at my notes. Plan ahead. Once your appraisal is done and back and the repairs are all negotiated, on the house you're buying and the house you're selling, so you know that everything's going through, pack, start packing then. Don't wait until the week of closing. I promise you, you have more stuff than you think you do and I promise you it's going to take longer to move out than you think it is. Plan ahead. Hire your movers or rent your truck ahead of time. If you're renting a truck and you're going to load it yourself, it's not the time to be cheap. Don't get it the day before closing and think you can load up your entire house in 24 hours. Get it two or three days before closing so that you have plenty of time to load. Even if you have strapping young men as sons and they're going to help you, give yourself plenty of time.

Also, get a bigger track than you think you need. There have been too many times when my clients have rented the small track and then they're crying and stressed out the night before closing because they don't have anywhere to put their stuff. Get the big truck and give yourself plenty of days to get it. If you've hired movers, hire movers and get them there as early in the morning as they will be the day of closing. And then also get the big truck and then have everything ready in your house. Don't be packing boxes while the movers are there. That's too late for that. Have everything packed. You're going to spend your last night in your house sleeping on the floor or on a mattress only with everything else ready to go for the movers to pick it up. Don't forget that you have to clean your house and you have to do touch up paint and patch all the holes in your walls where you had pictures. Give yourself plenty of time to do that.

Buyers are going to have a final walkthrough and you're going to have a final walkthrough on the house we're buying, so the night before closing, your buyers are going to come in and they're going to see you there packing up. If your house is a total wreck and your stuff is everywhere, they will be very quiet as they walk through the house and then when we get out to the driveway, they're going to unload on me. They're going to be really upset because there's no way you're going to be out of the house in time. So give yourself several days to load your stuff up, make sure everything is packed up, give yourself plenty of time to clean the house, give yourself plenty of time to do touch up paint, and then that way you don't have to stay up all night the night before closing.

Some people don't want to be stressed and so they do it all ahead of time and their lives are in a truck out in the driveway and then they spend the night with family or in a hotel or, like I said on the floor on a mattress and eat take out for dinner. That way the morning of closing they just do final stuff and then they go to closing and they're ready and they're rested and can move into the new house. So, yep, that's what I want to tell you. You'll probably have to do back-to-back closings and you will move your whole life in one day, and I just want to implore you, don't wait till the last minute. Moving is stressful enough, closing on houses and buying houses is stressful enough, don't make it worse by waiting till the day before closing to pack up your house.

Hope that helps. Hope that encourages you to not be a procrastinator and plan ahead. And I will look forward to talking to you soon. Oh, if you need more information about home selling, check out the other videos in this series of Tips For Home Sellers. Thanks.


Do I have to replace my carpet before I list my house?

Happy spring real estate selling season. It is a lovely day here in Oklahoma. Let's say that you're going to sell your house this year, and you have me over, and we talk about all sorts of things, catch up, and then we go on a tour around the house and you have a burning question that you are anxiously waiting to ask me, and you cross your fingers and you hope that I will say no. That question is, "Natalie, do we have to replace the carpet?" So here are this scenarios in which I will say no. No, you don't have to replace the carpet if the house is a total dump, it's in bad shape. You're not going to replace or fix anything, and you don't care at all how much money you make on it. You just want it gone. No, you don't have to replace the carpet.

Now, if it stinks really bad, or if it has urine or blood in it, at least roll it up and get rid of it. Another scenario when I will say no is if you just absolutely don't have any money. You're upside down, you are losing money, you're broke, you're in a really hard spot, then no, you can't replace your carpet. If there's any way for you to get it cleaned or rent a cleaner and do that, at least it'll smell better. But of course, don't go try to spend money you don't have.

A third reason to not replace your carpet is you've already replaced your carpet within the last few years and you don't have pets or stains on it and it's nearly new. So just get it cleaned and make sure it's stretched and you're in good shape. For the rest of you, if your goal is to make as much money as you can off the sale of your house, and your carpet is stained, stinky, or worn out, or if it, just, if it's old, if it's over 10 years old and you have the means to do it, you should replace your carpet.

I know it's easier if the house is vacant, so of course that's great, but if it's not vacant, you're going to be cleaning, decluttering, and staging anyway, so get the carpet replaced while you're doing all of that. Carpet installers will move your furniture. You just have to get everything off of them. So let's see. Yeah. Yep. You want money and you've, okay. So yeah, if you've updated your house, if you spent the time and the money having a beautiful house and you've replaced fixtures and lights and you have beautiful countertops and you just painted and if you want to show off the things that are beautiful about your house, don't detract from your home by having old carpet. If you did all of the other things, don't skip that final step that will make buyers feel like your house is complete and they can just move in.

Another reason to replace the carpet, let's say your house has not updated. It still looks like the year that it was built, but you care about money and you do want to get a good home buyer. Well, there's a lot to be said for new carpet, new paint, fresh landscaping, and a good cleaning. If you can do those things, then there will be a buyer who could move in, live in the house and update it gradually as they go along. So that's another reason I would do the carpet. If you don't want to spend thousands of dollars on kitchens and bathrooms, at least do paint and carpet, and then someone can buy it and move in.

So reasons why you need to do it before you list the house versus offering it to a buyer. So one is overall impression. A buyer walks in and they are willing to do one or two things to a house. They might paint one room, they might change out a couple of lights, but if that list gets very long, then they decide your house isn't worth it, and they will either move on to another house or they will want a big discount. So if you've done all these other things to your house, don't skip the carpet. You will make more money if you replace the carpet versus if you offer it to the buyer as an incentive, "Hey, pick out your own carpet, here's $3,000." You will make more money if you do it yourself, the amount of money you spend on carpet, you will be able to price your house double that amount higher, and you will sell your home faster and for more money.

It's really common these days for buyers to ask you to pay their closing costs. And so if you offer a carpet allowance, that means that they can't get their closing costs paid or they can't get the allowance, because there's a limit on how much they can ask for. And today's buyer, they want both. They want the closing costs paid and they want new carpet. So go ahead and give them what they want. Give them the carpet and then price your house accordingly. And then if they want their closing costs paid, then all that's negotiable with the sales price.

Yeah. Buyers, they just, they don't want to do it. Well, a lot of times in Oklahoma, the buyer has to move in the same day as closing. If that's the case, then having to wait and have carpet installed get on their nerves and they will discount it. If it's going to cost $4,000, they're going to ask $8,000 off the price, just because it's a hassle to them.

So here's what you do. You're like, "Fine, I'll go do it." You go to the carpet guy or gal and you say, "I'm selling my house. My house is worth about this amount. I need to replace the carpet. Give me samples of those top carpets that you can't keep in stock because, and you're ordering of over and over again, because all the builders and home flippers are putting this carpet in the houses." And they're going to give you a few samples and you pick out which one looks best in your home. But what you're doing is you are picking the same carpet that they see in every new home and every remodeled home that they go in. That way, when they come in and they see your carpet, they like it because consumers like what they see over and over again. So that way, you're picking the same middle of the road, not fancy, not unique.

You're getting that same carpet that they see in every other home they go in, and they like it. Do not, you don't need to get an upgraded pad. They're going to offer you one, but you just want a regular pad, and that will help with the cost and that is what you do. If you have any questions about that, of course, I would love to discuss it with you. In the details below the video, I'm going to put in my two favorite flooring guys and they also will give you a discount if you know me.

So please, if you have more questions about getting your home ready to sell, I have a video I posted last week that's about countertops and the one before that. I have some videos about prepping your house to get ready to sell. Hope you have a great week, and next week I will give you more tips on getting your house ready.

Do I need granite counters to sell my house?

Hey gang. It is the middle of April 2020. We are all still sheltering in place at our homes, but real estate is still happening. Buyers and sellers are still out there, and of course there are fewer buyers and sellers than normal this time of year, but it makes sense. It's okay. All the real estate gurus and economists I follow say that they are expecting us to have a really strong second half of the year based on the current information we have about oil and gas, and about COVID-19. So if you're planning to sell, here's a question for you that I get asked all the time: "Natalie, do I need granite countertops in my kitchen?" The answer is not cut and dried, otherwise I wouldn't need to make a video.

First, do your neighbors have granite countertops?  Is your neighborhood a neighborhood where everybody has granite countertops, and it's an expectation that you should have granite countertops? If the answer is "yes," then if you can afford it, and you have the money, then yes, consider changing out the countertops. Many people ask, "Why can't I just do an allowance, and give the buyers some money to do it?" There's a couple of reasons. One, buyers typically, not you, but typically buyers lack imagination. They can't imagine it with the beautiful upgraded countertops, and so they think your house is worth less. Also, it is really common these days for any buyer who is going to actually have financing for them to also ask you to pay their closing costs.

So if you're already paying their closing costs, you'll be limited on how much you can give them towards counters. Buyers will pay you less for your house if they have to do the counters themselves. A buyer would rather pay you more for your house if you have already done the work than if they have to do it themselves, even if it's a simple thing. If you have to pay $4,000 to have your countertops replaced, they're going to offer you eight to ten thousand dollars less on your house because they have to do it instead. So if you can financially pull it off and do it, you will make more money on the sale of your house if you can do it yourself, and have it done before you put the house on the market.

Okay. Next question. Do you have deferred maintenance? Are your appliances from 1985. Is your carpet old and stinky? Do you have cracks in the walls? Do you have popcorn ceilings? Do you have pink rooms, and yellow rooms, and blue rooms, and green rooms? Do you have scratched up woodwork? All of those things are more important than putting granite countertops in. I have seen so many houses where they just put lipstick on a pig by slapping some paint on the walls, doing a sloppy job, and then putting on these gorgeous countertops. Well, buyers aren’t dumb. The buyer can see that half the electricity doesn't work and that there's a dripping faucet. They don't want to move into a money pit just because it has pretty countertops.

So do the important little things first. Have your ceilings scraped and painted. Have the walls painted a neutral color. Do all the maintenance on the outside. Seal the cracks. Caulk what needs to be caulked. Fix what needs to be fixed. Get a handyman, or do it yourself, but do those things first. Give your buyer a nice clean palette to work with, and if you can't afford to do the countertops, then don't do the countertops. It's more important to do all those other little things first. Then if you have the money left over, and you want to do the countertops, then yes, that is an added bonus.

Let's see. Next. Okay, so maybe you decided you're going to go ahead and do it. Here's a few tips. If your house is under $200,000 and you're going to go do it, know that you can get a granite in Oklahoma, a nice one, a popular one, between 25 to $30 a foot installed. When you go in, don't go all crazy over the one that's $50 a foot. That would be a waste of your money. There are perfectly good granites 25 to 30 a foot. Quartz is also a doable thing. But whatever your price range, go into the store, tell the people, "I'm selling my house. My house is worth about this much money. What are the most popular counters that your builders and your home remodelers are using?" Then pick one of those. Take samples, and go home and see which one looks best in your kitchen.

It's not the time to be creative or show your personal style. It's time to think of your house as a product, and you want to put in the same thing that the other people are putting in. Consumers like what they see over, and over, and over again. So pick the most popular product, and that's what you install. This is not the time to be cheapo and cut corners. Do not do granite tiles. Do not do that thing that they stick a thin layer of granite over your present countertops. That looks terrible, and everybody knows it. So if you're going to do it, do it right.


If your house is in the luxury market, RE/MAX Collection, this post isn’t really for you.  Of course, you already have granite, quartz, or even onyx counters.  You want higher priced, more unique stone that makes your kitchen stand out. You can try different finishes and edges I don’t really recommend in lower price ranges. 

For more questions, you can contact me any time in the information below. Next Friday, we're going to talk about carpet. Seems like it wouldn't be a big deal, but it is. So tune in next Friday to talk about carpet.

For more information on Oklahoma real estate and buying and selling, visit:

In 2020, make sure your home buyer power is secure!
April 10, 2020

Hey, everybody. Congratulations on making it to another Friday sheltering at home. Keep up the good work so that three weeks from now we can hopefully start getting out a little bit more and going to some of the places we've missed. This week, I specifically want to talk to those of you planning to buy a home and those who need to secure financing for your home purchase. Specifically then, those who are planning to buy in April, May, and June. What you may not know is that lenders across the country have tightened their requirements for loan approval. If there is any chance you would be borderline on your loan approval, you definitely need to talk to someone as soon as possible to make sure you're in good shape when you are finally ready to purchase.

If you need a good loan officer, I have three outstanding local loan officers I am happy to refer you to. Lenders across the country are requiring higher credit scores, lower debt-income ratios, higher down payments, more cash in your bank account at closing as a reserve, and they're even verifying your employment the day of closing. It's different, depending on which bank you talk to. I've heard some even requiring as high as a 700 credit score. Now, our hope is that they will lighten these requirements over time, but we know that they're in effect today. So, if you're wanting to buy in April, May, and June, I would say please talk to somebody now and make sure you're in good shape. That way you won't be disappointed after you find the house that you love, that you want to buy. So, if you want to talk about that, if you have questions about buying, you can call me, text me, email me.

But you can also check out articles about buying a home on my website, The link is in the YouTube description. Also, let me know if you would like ... well, I'll put the link to my favorite lenders. I'll put those in the YouTube description as well, so you can go straight to them with your questions and that's great. Hey, the market here is moving. Investors are buying rural properties. Average home, median home price range is moving nicely, so real estate is still happening. So, be encouraged if you are planning to be in the market this year and let me know if you need anything. Thanks.
My 3 favorite local lenders:  at Fairway IMC  This is Cari at First United Bank.   Will at Cornerstone

Real Estate During the Pandemic Quarantine
March 27, 2020

Hey everybody. Happy Friday. It's a beautiful spring day in Oklahoma and I wanted to give you some encouraging news regarding the real estate market in Oklahoma and just some tips if you're planning to enter the market sometime this spring or summer. So, first of all, real estate is still happening. We are essential to the economy. More than 500 properties went on the market this week in the Oklahoma City Metro Area and more than 500 properties also went under contract. So, there's people out there who need to move, and, if you're in that kind of situation, you're not alone and you are still able to have real estate transactions, right now. They just look a little bit different. The procedures and how we go about things are just a little different, because we're taking extra precautions, but sales are still happening. I'm here to help you if you need me.
Secondly, people are a little bit concerned about the economy and are asking me about their property values, if they should sell, if they should stay, what should they do about interest rates? And, so far, the projections from economists and real estate experts are pretty good. We are expecting a surge in May and June of listings and buyers. The people who thought they were going to sell it in March and April, some of them I'm sure are waiting until May and June. So, we imagine that real estate will pick back up in the early summertime, late spring. We don't know yet what affect there will be with unemployment, but, so far, everyone is projecting that property values are going to remain stable and there shouldn't be a huge shift in that area.
But now, if you're going to be one of those listings in May and June, know that there's going to be more competition. You're not going to be the only house on your street that's for sale. There are going to be others. So, I would take this time to really prepare to do those extra little things that will make your house stand out. For instance, that pink bedroom that you don't think is any big deal, and you were like, "It doesn't matter. Any buyer's going to buy my house anyway." Well, maybe now, you take the time to paint that pink bedroom. I really recommend having a pre-inspection, and then, having someone do the repairs on your house. And I recommend doing the extra deep cleaning. That way, when people look at your house, they will see that it's in better condition than the house down the street. You want your house to rise above the competition.
We've had a shortage of listings the last few years and the events of right now might be what changes that. Instead of having a shortage listings, we could have a surplus over the spring and summer. So, now is the time to take the time. You can do those extra little things so that your house will stand out.
If you have more questions about getting ready to list your house, be sure and you can watch my video from two weeks ago, the 5 Ps of getting ready to list, and then look at the details for any other information. I'm happy to help.
The 5 Ps when thinking about selling your house:


Will the pandemic cause more foreclosures in 2020?
March 24, 2020

Hey, friends. Hey you all, this is my quarantine look. This is what the family gets to see every day, but I didn't want to wait till Friday to give you your next message. I wanted to address a few questions that I'm seeing a lot online, that people are asking me about when I make phone calls. And people are asking, "Are we going to be in another great recession like we did in 2008-09? Are we going to see eventually foreclosures go on the market?" And while I don't know the future and I don't know the answer for sure, I can tell you that this situation is very different than the situation we were in 2008. So prior to 2008, for several years, probably six years, we were seeing large amounts of appreciation in home values. A person could buy a home, turn around two or three years later, sell it, and make a nice profit.

Basically, I remember there were neighborhoods where homes were going up to 50% in one year and it was just ridiculous amounts of appreciation in homes. This time around, homes are going up 1% to 3% over the last five years in most neighborhoods, which is normal healthy appreciation. And so, where in 2008 when the market corrected, it ended up putting all these people who'd overpaid for their homes, it put them underwater with their mortgages, and they either had to short sell or go into foreclosure to get out of them. Well, in this case, we've been paying healthy prices, getting healthy appreciation for our homes, so if the market does any sort of price correction, it's not going to be a dramatic change that's going to force a lot of people to lose their homes.

So I hope that helps. We don't know the future. Each day, everything changes. When the market's doing things like this and we're in a pandemic, every day we're learning different things and hearing different things. And one good thing is that unlike 2008, our government is trying to act quickly and finding ways to make sure that we don't end up in a great recession. So they're already working on ways to help banks pay mortgages. They're already working on incentives and things with taxes to help mortgage owners so that we don't have this same situation happen again. So I hope that encourages you. I hope that helps if you're concerned at all about it, and if you have any questions about the market in Oklahoma, I am happy to help you out. Talk to you soon.


Boosting Curb Appeal
March 20, 2020

Hey, friends. I'm here today with my special assistant. This is Alayna and we are here today to discuss curb appeal, the first place to work on your house. If you were wanting to increase your property value or if you're wanting to attract buyers to your home, the first place is curb appeal, the exterior. You want people to want more when they see the outside of your house. There's a wide variety of things you can do, whether you want to spend a little bit of money or a lot. And we have a list that we would like to share with you if you want more information.

So okay, she's done. So there are little things like your landscaping and painting your house, to replacing your front door and replacing your mailbox. If you were interested in getting a copy of my long wishlist for every exterior of the homes I sell, message me or comment on this message and I will send it to you.

And for more fun while we're all at home, snap a picture of the front of your house and send it to me and I will give you a personal consultation and tell you exactly what I would do to your house if I were trying to increase its value or sell it. So one, message me for the list of tips for increasing your home value and increasing your curb appeal. And two, send me a picture of the front of your house and I will make a special list just for you. Alayna and I hope to talk to you soon. Bye.

The 5 Ps for preparing to sell your home
March 14, 2020

Hi, welcome to episode two of Planning to Sell. There are five tips today. Five things you need to do to get ready to sell your house. They are: plan, prepare, purge, do projects, and lastly, primp.
Plan. If you are single, you get to skip this one. If you are not single, you need to get with your significant other, make sure you're on the same page, that you're both ready to sell, that you have the same goals and desires, or at least that your goals and desires meet and work together, so that you are both together on this decision to sell your house.
Secondly, prepare. Invite your expert realtor over. If you don't know an expert realtor, it should be me. Call me. Have me over. Let's talk about what your home is worth, what you're hoping to make off of your home, if there's anything you need to do to your home to get it ready, when you want to put it on the market. Let's talk about absorption rate. How's the market going in your neighborhood? How long is there homes on the market? All of the things you need an expert for to help you decide when to do it and for how much.
Also, if you need a mortgage for your next home, go ahead and meet with a lender. If you don't know one, I can refer you to several. A lender is going to make sure that financially you're ready to move to whatever your next desire is.
Then finally, purge. Purge! Clean out your house. Throw away everything that you don't want or need. Sell and donate everything that's in great condition, but you still don't want it, so that nothing is left in your house except for the things you're going to take with you. Then, if you know what season you're selling in, pack up and put in the garage everything that is not for that time. If you have a bread maker, put it in the garage in a box because you're not going to make bread while your house is on the market. Although that would smell really good. I'll have to rethink that one.
Then, after your house is cleared away and it's just the things that you want left, then you do the projects. Then you call in the handyman, you do the new carpet, all the things that you need to get ready. The leaky faucet. Do all the repairs you can handle. Then lastly, have your expert realtor back over and let's stage it. Let's dress it up. Primp it. Make it pretty, so that it will look fantastic for the pictures and for all the showings.
Those are your five things. Plan, prepare, purge, projects, and primp. If you have any questions about that, get in touch with me, and I can go over it and talk with you in detail. Next week, we will give more tips on getting your home ready to sell.

Natalie, when should I sell my house?
March 5, 2020

Hi friends, this is the first in a series of videos about getting your home ready to sell. The number one question that I get asked is, "Natalie, when should I put my house on the market?" And my answer to you is probably going to surprise you. My answer is when you are ready. Put your house on the market when you are ready financially and emotionally and physically. Put your house on the market when it's time to make a change for you and your family. Don't worry about the time of year, don't feel like you have to list your house in spring. I can sell a house any month of the year. As long as people are having babies, getting married, divorced, needing to downsize, changing jobs, all of those things send people into the real estate market all months of the year. And yeah, there are more on the market in the summer, there's less the winter. There are always people needing a house.

So, if you're thinking this year that you need to move, that it's time for you and your family to make a change, then let's get together and talk about it. Talk about your goals, what your needs are, and when you can be ready and based on that time of year, whatever that time frame is, we'll figure out the best way to present your house for the season that is listed in. If you have a really great backyard and it's summertime, well, we're going to talk about how great your backyard is and do pictures of the backyard. If it's wintertime, we're going to put snow on the trees. You know, there's so many things we can do to get your home sold. So if you're thinking about moving, give me a call and let's talk about it. Tune in for my next video, which is going to be the first five important steps to help you get ready to list. Talk to you soon.
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