Oklahoma City Zoo Light Show 2022

If you are going to be in the Oklahoma City area for the holiday season and you're looking for fun things to do, then you should definitely check out the light show at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First. Take a look.

Hey, I'm Natalie Bratton with The Bratton Real Estate Group at RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. And on this channel, I talk mostly about real estate and Oklahoma. I show you videos about places to go, things to do, and I talk about real estate. So if you're trying to get to know the Oklahoma City area, then subscribe to my channel and I post a video most weeks, most weeks.

So between now and January 9th, the Oklahoma City Zoo is putting on a fabulous light show. They have over 59 lighted wildlife sculptures. And you can drive through part of the park, and then there's a section where you get out and walk through.

So what you do is you go online and you order your tickets at okczoo.org. And you have to order your tickets in advance. And then you can put on the wristband that you're given. When you're done there, you park, and then you go in the main zoo entrance. And the children's zoo area is all decorated and filled up with more wildlife sculptures and then some Santa and Christmasy themed lights as well.

And when you buy the $60 ticket, you get four wristbands. And then if you have more than four people with you over the age of three, you can buy additional wristbands for just $12.

So here is just some video footage that I took when my family was at the zoo this past week.

Of course you all know that any video footage I do with my phone does not compare to actually seeing it in person. They were actually really, really beautiful, really vibrant, bright colors, and it was a lot of fun. It was a really cool thing to see.

Thanks for watching. For more information on Oklahoma real estate, feel free to message me on my website, oklahomahomeseller.com, or put something in the comments here and I will get back to you. Thank you.

5 Tips on How to Navigate High Insurance in Oklahoma

One of the top concerns home buyers have when moving to Oklahoma from other states is the crazy high premiums for homeowners insurance. That's right. We have low home prices, but high insurance premiums here in Oklahoma. Today, I'm going to tell you how to navigate high insurance premiums in Oklahoma. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First. Let's go.

Hi. Welcome to my channel. I am Natalie Bratton of the Bratton Real Estate Group at RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. Welcome to the is channel where I post most Fridays about living in Oklahoma and real estate. So if you're considering moving to Oklahoma or learning more about Oklahoma, subscribe to my channel, click the bell, and make sure that you are notified every time I post a video.

So most of you who watch my channel are intrigued about Oklahoma, and you are definitely excited about our home prices. Our home prices are probably quite a bit lower than the place where you're living now. And so that excites you a little bit, but you are often stunned to see what our home insurance prices are. So we are one of the top five states for high premiums for home insurance. It is not because our houses are all blown away from tornadoes.

While that is a possibility, the reason we have high insurance premiums are thunderstorms, high winds, and hail. So I'm going to give you some tips for shopping for home insurance, so that you can make sure you get the best rate and the best coverage you need for your home in Oklahoma. So the first tip is be sure and shop around. Don't just go with the first estimate you get. If you call four or five different agencies, you will get a huge range in the premium amount. So don't call just one and panic, get recommendations from people who know people and then have them send you a copy of the proposal, so that you could compare the types of coverage. Never just go with one.

Okay. I don't know if it's like this everywhere, but here in Oklahoma, you will have two deductibles. Your first deductible is all perils. All peril is when your hot water tank leaks and ruins your floor. All peril usually has to do with water and plumbing. So with all perils, you'll generally have 1% as your deductible. Some companies will give you a $1,000 deductible. So when you're looking at your premium prices, be sure and look at the deductible because if you just have a thousand dollars deductible for things that happen at your house, that's pretty awesome. I mean, then you can actually make claims and get some money back for things.

The second deductible is for wind and hail. Here in Oklahoma, wind and hail are separate from everything. And that is because we have thunderstorms. We have thunderstorms where you are going to get high winds and the occasional hailstorm that will be on the exterior of your home. That is the reason we have high insurance premiums. So you're going to have a separate deductible. You want that deductible to be 1%. That way when the roof is totaled from hail on your gutters and your siding, everything gets tilted a little bit. When you get total replacement for your roof, you are only out that 1% deductible.

So roofs are the big thing here. Roofs are the reason we have high premiums. Okay? So I have been a homeowner for 19 years. I've owned three houses. I have replaced five roofs in 19 years. So if you live in Oklahoma for five to 10 years, you will likely replace your roof at least once. It does not mean that there were holes in the roof, or like there were at active leaks or like hail rained down and major destruction. It's just considered totaled when there are hail dings all over composition shingle. So most of us here have composition asphalt shingles, and while they are really good, they show hail ding. And whatever reason, even if they're not leaking, it's considered totaled if your roof is covered in the hail dings.

And there are two types of roof coverage, there's total replacement and there's actual cash value or total depreciated cost. If your roof is less than 10 years old and in good shape, you will get total replacement value on your roof. So hail dings happen, boom, boom, boom, boom. You file a claim. The roof gets replaced and you are only out your deductible, which should be 1%. If your roof is more than 10 years old, then it's actual cash value. And they take the age of your house, the age of your roof, and the cost to replace it. And they give you a portion of that. So if you have actual cash value and you have a $30,000 roof, they may give you half of that. So actual cash value is not the worst thing to have as your roof coverage, but whenever you can get total replacement costs.

Another thing to consider when choosing a homeowner's insurance policy is what they have for total replacement cost. So when I was young and naive, I wanted my total replacement cost to be as low as possible because that made my premium lower. But what that is, is if your whole house burned to the ground and you rebuilt it just like it is, how much would it cost today to rebuild it? And so if you buy a house for $400,000, it's probably going to cost $550,000 to rebuild it. So you want to make sure that the amount that they give you as a total replacement is high enough.

So let's say they come back and they'll say it's $505,000 as total little replacement cost. That means your deductible is based off of that amount. So your deductible at 1% would be $5,050. Underneath that, there'll be another number that is extended coverage, and that might be 40 or $50,000. So that way they're saying, okay, if you can't get it rebuilt for $505,000, we'll give you this extra $40,000.

And then there's another line that is extended coverage. And it'll say something like we're going to pay 25% of whatever's left. So if you go gungho and you can't build your house for $505,000, and then you can't build it for $40,000 more than that, if it goes over that, they'll pay a quarter of it. So just make sure that there is enough in there that if you did have to rebuild, you'll get enough money to rebuild.

So when shopping for home insurance, one, make sure you shop around. Two, you want to look at the two deductibles, all peril deductible and wind and hail deductible. Besides the premium cost, you're also going to want to see what kind of roof coverage you get, total replacement or actual cash value. And then you want to look at your total replacement costs and make sure it's high enough that if you had to rebuild your house, you could. Lastly, you want to go with somebody reputable that has high ratings, that has good customer service, that has good reviews online. And whenever possible, have a local insurance agent who wants you to be happy, that wants to help you out.

And somebody who's really familiar with how to navigate insurance in Oklahoma. So having a local agent could really be a way to make sure that you get the best coverage possible. So lastly, you're like all of this is great, but really Natalie, how high is it? Well, honesty, because I don't know where you're from, I don't know how to tell you how it relates to where you live, but if you've been a homeowner for over a decade and you've never made a claim, then already you're ahead of us here, because typically you're going to have at least one claim per decade. It's just what we do. So typically, when I am talking to people about insurance, I will tell people this, the newer your house is, the lower your rate's going to be. The smaller your house is, the lower your rate's going to be. So I hope that clears up just a little bit on how home insurance works in Oklahoma. I hope that helps you a little bit.

You're going to save money moving here. And so just one of the things you have to deal with is that we do have higher home insurance premiums, but in the long run, it will still work out, and you will still have money savings from moving here versus where you probably live now. So if you want to know more, I do have another video about the hazards of homeowners insurance in Oklahoma. And then come back next week where maybe I'll do a tour of a neighborhood or something pretty, or maybe we'll talk about the holidays. So I will see you next time. Thanks.


The #1 Question Asked About Living in Oklahoma

Hey everybody out there in YouTube land. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. And on this site, people who are considering moving to Oklahoma, watch my videos. Can you guess what the number one question is that people ask me about moving to Oklahoma? Stick around and I'll share it with you.

Hey everybody, I'm Natalie. And I'm a realtor in Oklahoma City and the surrounding metro area. So we're talking Oklahoma City and a good 50, 60 mile a radius of all the suburbs around Oklahoma City. And I help people buy and sell homes here. And a lot of you out there are considering moving to Oklahoma from where you are now, and I am here to help you find your next home and answer all your questions about Oklahoma. And I get asked questions about politics, food, where is Costco. But the number one question that I get asked is how can you live there with all those tornadoes?

Well, today I'm going to share with you how we can live here with all these tornadoes. Now, if you're want scientific answer and you're wanting to hear from a meteorologist, that's not me, but I am a middle-aged woman who's lived here my whole life. And I'm just going to share with you what I know and I'm going to share with you my experience, and then it's up to you to decide for yourselves if you want to live here or not.

Okay. So it is true that all of Oklahoma is considered high risk for tornadoes. But what we all know is just because there's a high risk of something that doesn't mean that it happens. But, we do live with being an area that the weather conditions are such, that we often have a high risk of tornadoes. You will experience thunderstorms if you live here, we have thunderstorms with high winds and occasionally get hail. That is why your insurance rates are higher when you live here for your home and insurance, it's more because we can have high winds and we can have hail. That being said, we don't have hail every year either. We are high risk for that sort of thing but it's not something that happens all the time.

For example, in Oklahoma, in the whole State of Oklahoma, in 2021 there have been 56 tornadoes. Now that sounds like a lot of tornadoes. And it kind of is, I was surprised to see 56. I looked on the National Weather Service website, that's a good place to look versus YouTube videos. So I know that if you go on YouTube here and you put Oklahoma tornadoes, you're going to see people's videos and it might freak you out a little bit. First of all, if it were a really bad tornado, like a really big one where people could get injured, those people would not have been filming, they would've been in their storm shelters. And then if you get one that's from a storm chaser, well they weren't right there, they have zoom lenses on their cameras. They were probably several miles away filming it from a safe distance. So keep that in mind when you watch videos of tornadoes on YouTube.

The next thing you should know is look at reputable sites like the National Weather Service out of Norman, Oklahoma, they are the place, the center, they have all the data and they're going to tell you what happened and what kind of storms we have. So in 2021, we have had 56 tornadoes. However, out of all of the 56 tornadoes, 55 of them were EF0 or EF1, that is the lowest classification of tornadoes you can have. So worst-case scenario on those storms is your fence got blown over and your trampoline got dumped upside down, but nobody is injured and no one is killed. And so out of the 56 tornadoes we have had in Oklahoma this year, 55 of them were like that. There was only one that was slightly higher and again, no one was injured or killed. In addition to that, out of the 56 tornadoes, six of them were in the metro area. So that means 49 tornadoes were not anywhere near the metro area of Oklahoma City and the surrounding suburbs. Most of the time, they're out in farmland and big fields and they very rarely touch down on homes. They're often like farms and big open areas.

But, we did have six tornadoes this year that were in the Metro area. We had one in Norman, two in Oklahoma City, one in Harrah, one in Mustang. Yep. And that's it. Again, those were all EF0, EF1 tornadoes. Now the amount of tornadoes we have every year varies. In 2020, we had, I think, 39 tornadoes in the whole state, but in 2019, there were quite a few, I think there were over 70. So it just varies year to year. But again, most of the time they are EF0, EF1.

Now, the reason you are freaked out about moving to Oklahoma is because the big one can happen. So, for those of you that live on the coast, you know about hurricanes and you know that while you are at high risk for hurricanes usually you just expect a few tropical storms, but you know that a big hurricane can happen. Well, it's the same thing here. We typically just experience thunderstorms, but we know that a tornado can happen, and so we are all very well trained on what to do in tornadoes. Many of us purchased storm shelters.

And like I have mentioned in previous videos, the meteorologist here are the best trained in the world and then they also are really amped up about storms and they will tell us days in advance if they think we're going to have severe weather. And then on the days where we do have severe weather, they will broadcast nonstop. And now in 2021, besides being on TV, they're on the radio, they have podcasts, they have websites. So if you have any sort of connectivity anywhere, you can be following the storms and they will tell you when, and if, you need to get in a storm shelter, or if you need to be prepared for severe weather. We also have sirens all around the state that go off if there is a tornado warning in your county. So very rarely are we taken by surprise with severe weather.

So again, we're not going to make light of the fact that there have been big tornadoes that caused a lot of damage and hurt people. We've had in like 25 years, there's probably been like four really big ones, did a lot of property damage and people were injured. So the big ones can happen and it's a big deal, but here we do our best to be prepared. I have seen though, where people don't have home insurance, you wouldn't want to live here and not have home insurance. Even if you don't have a mortgage, you should have home insurance. That may not have made you feel any better about it, but we all live here and we love it here. It's a great place to live and it's a beautiful place. And so the risk of the big one happening is worth taking, just knowing that we will be prepared when it does happen.

Well, there you have it, that's what I know. For more information on Oklahoma and Oklahoma real estate feel free to subscribe to my channel, I post a video most Fridays, and then also send me a message at oklahomahomeseller.com. I'd love to chat with you and help you with your move to Oklahoma. Come back next Friday, where I talk more about Oklahoma in the fall.


If you fancy yourself a bit hip and trendy, then you will like this week's tour. This week's Oklahoma City tour is The Paseo Arts District and surrounding neighborhoods. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First, let me show you around.

Welcome to my channel. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. And on this channel, you will find videos about Oklahoma City and its surrounding suburbs. And most of it has to do with real estate. So if you are into Oklahoma City, if you were thinking about moving to our great state, subscribe to my channel and click the bell so that you receive an update when I post the video most Fridays.

Today, I am showing you The Paseo Arts District in north Oklahoma City. So in the 1920s, the shopping center was built. And then in the 1970s, it became an arts district called The Paseo. And The Paseo is mostly Spanish revival architecture, a lot of mission style and stucco with a little bit of art deco in there. And it holds over 20 art galleries representing 80 different artists or more plus some retail boutiques and some restaurants.

So it's over two city blocks and they host a lot of events and festivals there in addition to just being able to go there and eat and shop. So if you are on a plant-based diet, if you are vegan, two notable places there are the Picasso Cafe, which used to be a bar that I played in when I was in my twenties. I did, I used to go out and play late at night. But now it's this really great restaurant that happens to have some vegan options and Holey Rollers, a really good donut shop is there and their donuts are vegan. So if you happen to be into that, you go there. There's a restaurant called Frida. And Frida is really yummy Spanish style, tapas and food. So in addition to having shopping restaurants and art galleries, they do host a lot of festivals and events.

They have First Fridays, which is the first Friday of every month, the shops and the art galleries stay open late, and you can browse the art and the museums in the evenings as you stroll along the streets. And they have an arts festival and many special events as the year goes on. So imagine if you are hip and trendy, that you would like to live near there and be able to on Saturday morning, walk down the street, go to the Picasso Cafe and have breakfast with some friends. And if that sounds really good to you, you are in good company because the real estate around The Paseo Arts District is really popular. It is a mix of single family homes, and multifamily properties, duplexes, triplexes being built between 1909 and 1939. So you're looking at a lot of really cute bungalows, Tudor style. Some colonial, and some art deco.

There's a lot of craftsmen bungalows, as well as... There's some of the four square two-story Prairie homes as well, but mostly a lot of cute little bungalows all in that area. And it is a mix of homeowners and renters, and it's more affordable than some of the other historic areas around there. It's not historic preservation. So you are able to go in and remodel the homes the way you want to see fit. But most people tend to try to stay with the look of the bungalows from the 1920s. So homes range in price anywhere from a $100,000 to $600,000, just depending on what section you're in, and how big they are. To the north of The Paseo, you have Central Park and Roseman are the name of the subdivisions. And you're looking at homes probably mostly between $200,000 to $400,000.

To the south You have Jefferson Park and Guernsey Park Place. And in Jefferson Park, homes are going to be slightly more expensive and bigger. In Jefferson park there is a park called Sparrow, and Sparrow Park, all the properties along that area are really pretty and updated. And so you could go upwards up to $600,000 for a really large property in that area. But again, most are $200,000 to $400,000. And many of them are updated. There are ongoing projects by developers in the area who are buying these properties and fixing them up and making The Paseo area more beautiful than ever before.

You have a lot of trees, a lot of green space. It's a really attractive place to walk your dog, go to the park, walk to The Paseo, hang out and enjoy some art, enjoy some culture, and then walk back home when you're done. So there you have it. That's The Paseo Arts District and it's surrounding neighborhoods in north Oklahoma City. If you are hip and trendy and want to live somewhere with great walkability in Oklahoma City, it is a great option for you. If you want to know more about The Paseo Arts District or any other parts of the Metro area, contact me on my website, oklahomahomeseller.com or comment here in the YouTube comments. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First, come back next week where I share more about Oklahoma City and real estate.



Are you interested in seeing more neighborhoods in Oklahoma City? Do you love historic homes? Well, you are in the right place and on the right video.

I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City and today I want to give you a tour of one of our most beloved historic neighborhoods called Crown Heights. Let me give you a tour.

Hi, welcome to my channel. I'm Natalie Bratton with The Bratton Real Estate Group in Oklahoma City, and I am here for you most Fridays to give you more information on real estate in Oklahoma and what's going on in Oklahoma City and the surrounding suburbs. So if you are considering moving to Oklahoma, you need to subscribe to my channel, click on the bell so that you get notified every time I post a video. I post a video most Fridays.

Okay, so today I want to tell you about Crown Heights. Crown Heights is this beautiful historic neighborhood in northwest Oklahoma City.

So Crown Heights is loved for its location besides just the beautiful homes and neighborhood. So it is just two miles from the state capitol building and it's three miles from downtown and it's a short distance to OU Medical Center. So for anyone commuting to those three locations, it's a very short drive. It's close to the highway to get you to those places.

And then on the west side of Crown Heights is the Western Avenue district. And that's a shopping district with over 50 restaurants, lots of retail. It has Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Anthropologie, some florist shops, a little bit of everything, a furniture store, all along that row on Western Avenue. And you've got some really cool art deco buildings and some neat historic properties and the Will Rogers Theater all on Western Avenue to the west of Crown Heights.

Crown Heights itself goes from Northwest 36th Street to 42nd between Walker and Western and the homes in Crown Heights were built in the 1930s and '40s and they are all a part of the National Register of Historic Places. So they have preserved the look of the homes. And so there's mostly Tudor, colonial, some ranch homes, but there are also some mission style and some bungalows, and even a few art deco and the Mediterranean. Those are my favorite.

If you live in Crown Heights, you are allowed to update and remodel your homes, but there are rules that you have to follow to preserve the historic look and the intention of the architecture when it was built.

There is green space in Crown Heights. There's a two-city block park on 37th Street and they have some medians on Shartel and the neighborhood itself has a lot of trees and nice green space as well.

So I think I read online that Crown Heights is considered urban cosmopolitan because you're so close to downtown and all the action, but then it's kind of hip with the shopping area and the way they've maintained and beautified the neighborhood. It's very cosmopolitan. So if you are an urban cosmopolitan person, then you might really like Crown Heights.

Crown Heights has a voluntary homeowners association where members give anywhere from $100 to $500 per year and it goes towards maintaining all the green spaces in the neighborhood, but they also do a lot of fun activities. They have an Easter egg hunt. They have block parties. Every year when there is the National Memorial Marathon in Oklahoma City, it goes through Crown Heights and the people of Crown Heights make a big deal about supporting the runners as they come through. But they have parties and festivals for most occasions, Halloween, the 4th of July. They do a lot of fun neighborhood get-togethers.

My friends who live in Crown Heights actually know their neighbors and tend to know a lot of the people in the neighborhood. And they are somewhat of a close-knit community.

So how much does it cost to live in Crown Heights? Well, the median price of a home in Crown Heights is $400,000, but they are anywhere from $200,000 to $900,000, just depending what street you're on and how big the home is. Most of the homes are between $300,000 and $500,000. There are some really small homes that sell right around $200,000, and then there are of course the large ones that sell between $700,000 to $900,000.

So if that's in your price range and you love old homes and you want to be close to downtown Oklahoma City and close to all the action in Oklahoma City, then Crown Heights might be the right neighborhood for you.

Thanks for watching. I hope you enjoyed this tour of Crown Heights in Oklahoma City. And if you have real estate questions, be sure and subscribe to the channel. Feel free to make comments on the videos and visit me on my website, oklahomahomeseller.com. And hopefully you'll come back next Friday for another video about Oklahoma City and the surrounding suburbs. Thanks.



So you're ready to pack up and move across the country, buy a home in Oklahoma and settle down for the long haul? Well, it's really important that you use a local lender in Oklahoma. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma city. And here are seven reasons you should follow my advice and use a local lender

While this is not the most exciting video, it is an important one. So I know you are watching my channel, because you want to see parts of Oklahoma's City and the suburbs and see the beauty of this state and know the good and the bad. But this is a conversation that I have with every one of you when you come to buy a house. It is really important to use a local lender. And so instead of having to repeat myself over and over again for the rest of my career, today I want to give it to you straight. I want to tell you seven reasons you need to use a local lender, not some big online company, not somebody at the local bank where you currently live. I'm going to give you seven reasons you need to go local.

Number one is a local lender understands the current market and real estate is local. And so yeah, nationwide, we are in a seller's market, but it really does vary somewhat state to state and town to town. A local lender is going to know what your home's value is like. They're going to know what the market is like. They're going to help you structure your loan in a way that will be the most beneficial for you in the Oklahoma City Metro Area market. They also are going to know the Oklahoma contract. Not every contract state by state is the same. There are different timelines that you have to keep and there are different ways, the loans and just different wording and the contracts, it's all different. So I mean, the worst case scenario is you get an out-of-state lender who doesn't read our contract and you miss out on an inspection period and a loan commitment period. And then you don't get your earnest money back if you back out of the contract.

And the out-of-state lender is technically the one to blame, but it would be your fault for choosing an out-of-state lender. So a local lender knows our market and knows our contract. Also, every single time I've ever had an out-of-state lender give a quote to one of my clients, they underestimate taxes and insurance. They don't know what insurance and taxes are in Oklahoma and they don't care. They just give you a quote and they make you think that your payment's going to be super low. And then they disclose too late that, oh, insurance is higher in Oklahoma. Taxes are this or that. And we didn't know about it. Sorry. So use a local lender.

Number two is they have a reputation to keep. Most lenders work by referral. So if you use a lender in New Jersey, they aren't going to care at all what I think of the job they do. They're not going to care what you think about what they do because they're not trying to get more loans here. So if you use a local lender, they work by referral. They want to have a good reputation. They want their business to thrive. They're a part of the community. They want us to refer them more business. So if you're using someone in another state and they do a poor job, other than shaming them on social media, there's not a whole lot I can do. Where a person here who is local has a reputation and a business that they want to maintain.

Number three, it will help your offer stand out. So think of it this way. There is a seller who is going to take their house off the market for you because you say you want to buy it. They're going to pack up all their things. They're going to put everything in a moving truck. They are taking their house off the market so that no other buyers can look at it. So they need to feel the confidence. They need to have the confidence and the trust that you are going to be able to fulfill your side of the contract. Therefore, if you are working with a local lender with a good reputation that the realtors know and that the sellers heard of and maybe knows, they're going to feel a whole lot better about taking their house off the market for you.

If there are multiple offers on the table, besides having the highest price or the least amount of contingencies, they're also going to look at who the lenders are doing the loans in the process. If you have one of those big online lenders who's all over the country, they're not going to be too excited because they don't know that they can trust the person that you're working with.

Or if you're using somebody in another state who may be great in that state, we don't know them here. We don't have the confidence. So in that case, that listing realtor may say to the seller, "Hey, you know what? It's not worth the risk. You should go with this other person who is using a XYZ company and Bob over here that I've known for 10 years." So it's important to make your offers stand out for all the right reasons. And using a local lender will give more confidence to the seller.

Number four is about relationships in the business. If you have a local lender, they're already going to have working relationships with the local people in title and insurance and realtors around town, like they're going to have the connections needed to help streamline and bring all of the contract together. It just is smoother and simpler if everybody in the process knows each other and knows how contracts work in Oklahoma.

Using a local lender could mean you have lower fees and a lower interest rate. It's not always this way, but generally a local lender is going to want to work with you more because they aren't just assigned loans from a big online portal. They're actually trying to work for you and do what's best for you. So a lot of them will match the rates or match the fees that other big companies give you. So a local lender is going to be more willing to really get personal. Look at your fees, look at your interest rate, and try to design and structure the loan in a way that is best for you.

A local lender is going to say, okay, well, this is what is important to you. This is what you need. This is how much money you have. Let me show you some options of how we can structure your loan. And in the end, you'll get better service and a better loan product for you and what you need at this time. Number six is personal touch. And while I already really hit on it, instead of being one in a big mass of files and loans, you'll be working with a person who lives in the community and wants to help you. So instead of being one in a thousand loans, you are important to that person at that time. And they're going to help you structure your loan in a way that is best for you and to help you stand out in this market.

Number seven is reliability. If you use someone local, who's been referred to you by someone who gets around a lot in this kind of real estate world, then you can rely on that lender that you will understand that they have a good closing record. They close on time, they get their deals done, and you can have the faith and confidence that everything is going to be okay. It's just better to go with someone local who has a good reputation that you can rely on.

One of the most common problems with out-of-state big lenders is communication. So many of those companies will be in a different time zone. And so if they're in a different time zone, then when we have to call and talk to each other, there are so many times when they don't call you back and they don't talk to you and they don't tell you anything and they don't give you updates. And so, sometimes they will also wait and share problems with you after it's too late. Now, if you insist on using your out-of-state lender, then you need to come at me prepared to convince me that it's going to be okay.

I need to know who that loan officer is and why you've chosen them. I need to know that they've closed every single loan you've ever had. I need to know how many loans they do in Oklahoma per year. I need to know do they close on time? Are they reliable? Are they going to call me and give me updates? I need you to convince me that that loan officer is worth you staking your biggest investment on their shoulders. So there you have it. Seven reasons to use a local lender and what to say to me, if you decide you don't want to use your local lender. So come back next week, where I will tell you more about Oklahoma and real estate, and I'm really hoping to get some more home tours in pretty soon. Those are a lot more fun to see. And subscribe to my channel here so that you can get notified every time I post a video. Thanks.


Reasons Why You Should Live in Bethany, OK

So you want to know more about Oklahoma City and its surrounding towns? Well, today, I am here to help you out. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City, and today I want to tell you about a charming small town called Bethany.

Today, I want to share with you a town called Bethany. So geographically, Oklahoma City is really large, so large that there are several small municipalities within the boundaries of Oklahoma City. One of my favorites is Bethany. So Bethany is in the Northwest quadrant of Oklahoma City, and it's about 10 miles from Downtown Oklahoma City. And then it's Western border has Lake Overholser and Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge. Bethany itself is only 5.2 square miles, and about 19,000 people live there. Thee Kilpatrick Turnpike is on the west side. And right through the middle of it is the mother road. Route 66 is 39th street in Bethany. And that is where their cute downtown area is with the antique shops and coffee shops. We'll get more to that here in a minute. So what should you know about Bethany? Why would you want to know about Bethany?

Well, Bethany has two universities. Southern Nazarene University and Southwestern Christian University are located there. The children's center, which is a hospital and home for severely handicapped children, is there. So sometimes, people move there when they move their children into the children's center. They want to live nearby. So that's an option. It also has two public school districts, Bethany schools. That is a small district. And then Putnam City schools also extends into Bethany. One of the great things about living in Bethany is you get the benefit of Bethany having its own city government, its own fire department and police department. So when you need the fire department or the police department, they get there quickly. They're nearby. But you also get all the amenities and the things to do by having Oklahoma City surround you.

Within Bethany, there are 200 acres of maintained green space. I'm talking about parks. There are mostly neighborhood parks, and they all vary depending what's in them. Playgrounds, basketball courts, soccer fields, they all vary. And then the biggest one is called Elden Lyon. Elden Lyon Park has picnic tables, volleyball poles, softball field, big wide open green space. It has a trail that you can walk that's two miles all the way around. And Elden Lyon is where they have most of the town's big parties or activities. They have a big 4th of July festival. If there's a special event going on outdoors in Bethany, it's going to be at Elden Lyon Park. As far as working in Bethany, most people commute to the city. If you're commuting to downtown, you're looking at a 20 minute commute, and there's easy highway access to get you there. But the city of Bethany itself has several big employers, mainly the universities and the public schools. But also, some industrial and aviation companies are nearby because near Bethany is a small plane Wiley Post Airport.

On 39th street, which is Route 66, they have a great little, historic looking downtown area that has cute shops, retail, antique stores, coffee shops, restaurants. A lot of it is right there on Route 66, and it's charming and quaint. And Bethany has a great cost of living. It is 16% lower than the national average. And as far as real estate goes, it is more affordable to live in Bethany than it is in many parts of Oklahoma City. Most of the homes in Bethany were built in the '40s, '50s, and '60s, and the median home price there is $145,000. But you can buy a house that's 600 square feet in Bethany. You can buy a 3,000 square foot home in Bethany. You're looking at anywhere up to 500,000 in price, just depending on the age and the size of the home. Quick things to know is job growth is positive in Bethany. Bethany's sales tax is 8.%, which is right on par with most of Oklahoma.

Most of these small towns within Oklahoma City, they need revenue. And so if you float a stop sign or you are speeding and the police pull you over, you will get a ticket. They're not going to give you a warning, because they have financial goals that they need, and they will give you a ticket for speeding because they have plans with that ticket money. Bethany is also a great place for seniors to retire. It's a great place for families with kids in school at Bethany or Putnam City. Lots of university students are there, so it does have life and fun from all those college students. And demographically, while Bethany, as well as most of Oklahoma City, has been mainly Caucasian, I have seen a strong rise in minority groups purchasing homes in Bethany. The Latino, Hispanic community, and the Black community have grown and have become homeowners in Bethany over the last five years.

So there you have it. Bethany is this cute, charming, quaint town in the middle of Northwest Oklahoma City. So if you want a small town feel and you want an affordable home, but be surrounded by the big city, then Bethany might be the place for you. Thanks for watching. Come back next week and I will tell you more about Oklahoma City and real estate.


Moving is pretty stressful, even if you're just moving to another home around the corner. 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. And 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.

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, and 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, 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. 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? And what kind of neighborhood do you want to be in? Those are all things that you need to think about. And then tell me, 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? 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.

Or, school's really important to you. 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. And I want to be able to direct you to the area that you're most likely to enjoy, and be comfortable in, and like. 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. But 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. And if you were to pick a house and make an offer on it, you might have multiple offers. And if there are multiple offers, the realtor for the seller is going to meet with the seller, and they're going to talk about the offers. And 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, this is... 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."

But 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." And so it just helps if there's a lot of competition, and it helps when a seller is 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.

Number four, plan your visits here for more than just two days. 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, and you're not going to have a good feel for what the city is like. That's what I encourage you to do, not just come look at houses. I mean, if you can only come two days, then we make the best of it. But 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, 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 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. And I will always be at the home inspection. 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. And then closing, a lot of times what we do for closing is, we will...

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. But 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. Digital all the way. You can sign... And 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 across country. 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. You don't get to move in your stuff until after you've signed and funded everything. When you come into town, you need a place to keep your stuff.

Number seven is, my people are your people. 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 settled here in Oklahoma City, know that my people are your people. I can refer you to just about anything you need. 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.

To recap, seven, the things you need to know when relocating to Oklahoma City, number one is, choose a local area expert to 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 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, we can do everything online now. 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. Keep that in mind when you're planning moving all your stuff across the country. And number seven, finally is, my people are your people. 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. Check those videos out, and then contact me at my website, oklahomahomeseller.com to get started on your relocation process. Thank you. 

How Do Realtors Get Paid?

Hey, everybody. Today, I'm going to answer an important question that you are too embarrassed and too polite to ask me to my face, so you Googled it. You want to know, how do realtors get paid?

Hey, everybody, welcome to my channel. I'm Natalie Bratton with the Bratton Real Estate Group at RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. Today, I'm going to talk to you about how realtors get paid. But first, if you are one of my viewers that comes back every week and watches my videos and you haven't subscribed to my channel yet, please, hit the Subscribe button. Please let me know that you're out there and that you're enjoying my videos and learning a lot about Oklahoma and real estate. For those of you this is your first time watching, know that every Friday I post a video about living in Oklahoma and about real estate. Let's get started. How do realtors get paid?

You're too polite to ask. You don't want to ask how much money, when do you have to pay me. I know it's not a dinner table question, where when I'm out with my friends, we don't discuss salaries. It's not really something where you just ask, "Hey Natalie, when do I pay you, and how much is it?" Let me go ahead and help you know what you're getting into, so that when you start a relationship with a realtor, you know what to expect.

Generally, realtors are paid commission only, and we don't get paid unless the home sale closes, and nearly every time, the seller is who pays the compensation. In a typical real estate transaction, a home seller chooses their realtor and they sign documents with an agreed upon compensation percentage. That percentage is not set in stone by the state or any organization or company, it is a moveable amount. There's usually an average or a typical standard, but it's not set in stone, so not all realtors charge the same amount.

You'll want to be sure that you know what you're getting for your money with whomever you hire. There are discount brokerages that charge lower amounts, but they're only going to give you a certain amount of services that they provide, so you want to be sure you know what those are. But also, don't assume just because someone charges a whole lot that they are giving you all the services that somebody else does. It's the same as if you went out and hired a doctor or an attorney or a contractor to work on your home. The price is not necessarily always the same and you want to make sure you're getting the quality you expect from who you hire.

But it is the seller who pays the compensation. Therefore, as the realtor, if I list your home for sale and then I also have the buyer for your home, then my office gets the entire compensation. Don't assume that if you're the buyer and you come directly to the listing agent that they're going to give the sellers a discount because they're the only realtor in the transaction. Some people assume that that is a general practice and it is not the case. Some realtors do, some don't. It is something that this seller and the realtor, they agree upon before the transaction even starts. Now, if you are the home buyer and you come and you have a different realtor and therefore there's two realtors involved in the transaction, then the sellers still pay all the compensation and it's split between the two companies.

So yes, sellers typically pay the realtor compensation. As a buyer, you get to have representation in the purchase of your home without paying the realtor fees. Now, what you should know is there is something called a transaction fee that many opposites charge, and it's an admin fee for processing paperwork, paying different business fees that are related to the transaction. That fee could be anywhere from a hundred to $400. It just depends on the office and what they are charging. Be sure that as a home buyer and seller, that you know what the transaction fee is for the realtor you hired.

What about out with for sale by owner? If you're buying a home and you are interested in purchasing a home that's listed for sale by owner, who pays the realtor fees? Excellent question. Most of the time, a seller with a for sale by owner will pay the realtor fees. It's something that you negotiate in with the offer, like, will you pay 3% of the sales price to me as their realtor for bringing the buyer and handling the transaction until closing? Generally they say yes, but it can be negotiable. Sometimes they say no. In that case, you, the buyer, would pay the compensation. Sometimes they'll split it with you and sometimes they'll pay a certain amount and then you pay the rest. It's a negotiable amount that you take up with your realtor and with the seller.

How do I get paid if you are buying a brand new house, if you do a custom build or you go to a builder and you buy new construction? Well, generally, it's the same scenario. Generally, the seller, the builder, pays the compensation. Most builders are happy to pay it and want to have good relationships with realtors in the community. It is perfectly great and acceptable to tell your realtor that you want to look at a certain builder or that you want to custom build a home and then let that realtor do the work for you.

Don't assume, again, that if you go to a builder and you buy a house without a realtor that you're getting a better deal, that's not true. The price of the home is not going to change and get lower because you didn't bring a realtor. Basically, paying realtors is just the cost of doing business for them. They already expect to do it, but they're not going to drop their sales price just because you come without a realtor.

To wrap it all up, most of the time, sellers pay the realtor fees, but you may be expected to pay some because it is somewhat negotiable, depending on what kind of transaction you're in. If you're hiring a realtor, be sure you know what you're getting for your money, that you know, what services they are going to provide for you. Then, be sure and interview your realtor, make sure you know them, make sure that they are going to take care of you and you're getting your money's worth. That's how realtors get paid.

I hope that helps, I hope you enjoyed this video. Please subscribe, come back next Friday where I will talk more about living in Oklahoma and real estate.


Will the Housing Market Crash in 2021?

The number one question on Google regarding real estate in 2021 is when is the market going to crash? Are we in a housing bubble? I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. And today, I'm going to answer your question.

Hey, everybody. Welcome to my channel. I'm Natalie Bratton with the Bratton Real Estate Group at RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. Hey, I post a video here every Friday. Usually, it's about real estate in Oklahoma City, and sometimes I show you neighborhoods, things to do in Oklahoma City, but today, I'm going to give you an overall review of what's going on in the real estate market in our country. A lot of people are worried. We're in a strange time in the real estate market, unlike anything I've experienced in my 17 years in real estate. We're in a severe seller’s market, and there's a shortage, and people are asking, "Are we at a housing bubble? When is it going to crash? What do we do? Should we be in the market? Should we wait it out?"

So today I want to give you a little bit of background about where we are, what I think, and some of what the real estate gurus think. So besides talking to other realtors and brokers in the business, besides my own experience, there are some people I want to give a shout out to, who I follow. I follow Lawrence Yun. He is the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. I am not an economist. That sort of thing does not interest me. So I like to read his information so that I have a good grasp on what's going on in our country regarding real estate. I also follow Buffini & Company. Brian Buffini is a really cool real estate coach in California. And he puts out a lot of great material about the market as well.

So that's where all my information is coming from today. Those two guys plus my own thoughts.

So here's the first thing I want to say. No, we are not in a housing bubble, and some of you send me messages on my website, or on YouTube, saying you think we are in a bubble, but the general verdict in real estate around the country, with experts, is that we are not in a housing bubble. We are not going to have a crash. So here's how things are different now than they were in the great recession of 2008 to 2012. First of all, the market was completely different. We had a surplus of homes on the market. So for the country as a whole, there were probably near 5 million homes for sale at any given time.

In the Oklahoma City Metro Area, we had 11 to 12,000 homes on the market. So besides there being a major surplus of homes on the market, a lot of buyers got into the market and purchased homes through some shady, weird mortgages. A lot of people were able to buy their mansions by getting an adjustable-rate mortgage, where they had a low-interest rate for, say, two to five years, and then their interest rate jumped up, or they had like an interest-only loan for so many years. And so, when it all came to a head in 2008, we had all these homes on the market, and then we had all these sellers who needed to sell their homes to get out from under them, but they couldn't get out from under them because they couldn't sell their homes at the prices they needed. They had to actually take losses on the sale of their home, or they ended up going into foreclosure.

2009 through '11 was a time when there were so many houses on the market that buyers had so many houses to choose from. We are in the opposite situation today in the United States. Today, we have a shortage of inventory on the market. Instead of five million houses for sale, we have 1.2 million houses for sale. Many years, the last 10 years, since the recession, lending laws have gotten a lot stricter. A lot of loan officers and companies, mortgage companies, aren't giving all of those weird creative ways of lending anymore today. Because of the crisis 2008 to 2012, lending has tightened up a lot. There aren't as many creative ways to get a mortgage. More people have made down payments and more people have fixed-rate mortgages.

So prices are going up and up and up for homes. So why are there buyers out there trying to buy houses right now? Well, not only are home prices going up but as you know, materials and goods have gone up. Inflation. Inflation is why people still want to buy houses. Not only are prices of goods going up, but rent is going up. In spite of higher real estate prices, it is still cheaper to own than to rent.

You may feel like you have to buy a house for more than you were expecting to buy it for in 2021, but you are still going to have a fixed-rate mortgage at a low-interest rate. So that means your neighbor, who rents, is going to have their rent go up on them year after year, but you, home buyer with a fixed-rate mortgage, at three and a half or 4%, are going to have the same principle and interest payment for the life of your loan. It is still better to buy than rent. The fed has said that interest rates are going to remain low for at least a couple of years. I mean, they'll go up some, but we don't expect to see the interest rates of 6-7% and higher that we had 20 years ago. They are going to stay low, which will still be advantageous for buyers.

Will the inventory get better? Yes, but only slightly. So builders are building the best they can, as fast as they can. They are doing their best to build as many homes as they can to help with the inventory crisis. But also, we are seeing people who sat out in 2020. Those people are now starting to get comfortable, and they are thinking that they are going to sell their homes because the pandemic is mostly over.

Will prices decline? Typically, the market will take times when it will correct itself a little bit, and maybe stall out a little, because we just can't maintain record-breaking appreciation month after month after month. So we will see sometimes when things might stall out a little bit, or dip a little bit, but that is not the beginning of a crash. That is just the market taking a little break, taking a little dip to stall out for a minute before it continues to increase.

In those times, that is going to be a great time for all of you second chance buyers. You are going to be out there for those homes, when there's a dip in the market, you will be there to get those homes. It's going to be advantageous for you. When prices drop just a little bit. That's going to be a good time for you to get in, and buy a home at a price you feel more comfortable at.

Will we see more foreclosures in 2021 and 2022? There will be some, but not at all like what happened in the recession in the past. A lot of you out there who lost your jobs, your mortgage has been in forbearance for several months. The government, they seem to be trying to plan and come up with ways for the forbearance and all of that to phase out but have ways for you to get back in there and make your payments. And hopefully, when the forbearance wears off, people will be able to pay their mortgages and get back on track. But for those people who do need to sell their homes, a lot of them will be able to sell their homes before they go into foreclosure because homes have appreciated. So they're going to be able to get out from under their homes, without taking a huge loss or losing their home completely.

So there you have it. We're not in a bubble. We are not going to crash. We are not in a bubble that will be popped. We are in what is an extreme seller’s market. But on the other hand, buyers are getting really low-interest rates. So it's sort of a win-win for everybody. We just need a bit more inventory to balance things out a little.

So I hope that helped you. I hope that makes you feel better about your decisions regarding buying or selling in 2021 or 2022. So even if it's tough right now to buy a home, it's still a great time to do it. Come back every Friday, when I post a video about real estate, and often about real estate in Oklahoma, feel free to send me a message to comment on this video. Tell me your thoughts. If you think I'm wrong if you think I'm crazy. Also, you can message me on my website, Oklahomahomeseller.com.


12 Things You Need to Know About Moore, Oklahoma

Are you considering moving to Oklahoma, but not exactly sure where you want to land? Well, in this video, I'm going to share with you 12 important things you need to know about Moore, Oklahoma.

Hi, welcome to my channel. I'm Natalie Bratton with the Bratton Real Estate Group at RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. This channel is mainly for those of you who are thinking about moving to Oklahoma or know you're moving to Oklahoma. And I'd like to share with you things about Oklahoma real estate and living in Oklahoma.

So, today I'm going to talk to you about Moore, Oklahoma and 12 things you need to know. So, in previous videos, I've talked about Yukon and a lot about Edmond and Oklahoma City. So, if you want to know more about Oklahoma, go ahead now and subscribe to my channel and click the bell to be notified when I post a video every Friday.

Okay. First step, Moore, Oklahoma. Where is it? It is south of Oklahoma City. And, in fact, it is bordered by south Oklahoma City on three sides and has Norman to the south of it. Norman is the town where the University of Oklahoma is. And so, it's juxtaposed between Oklahoma City and Norman. Now, Oklahoma City is 600,000 people. Moore is 60,000 people. So, just for perspective, I've talked about Edmond before, it's bigger. It has 90,000. Yukon to the west has 30,000. And then, Moore is 60,000. So, it's a medium-sized city and it's the seventh-largest town in all of Oklahoma.

So, now that you know where Moore is, the second thing you need to know about it and the greatest thing about it is its location. So, yeah. It's just south of Oklahoma City. So, if you commute to Oklahoma City or to Norman for work, you're looking at it 15 to 25-minute commute. So, it's a great location. It's a way to be in a suburb, but still, have access to all the awesome things in Oklahoma City.

The third thing you need to know about Moore is they have a great school district. I mean, that is one of the top things people love about Moore is their schools. Now, it's not a small district. The city of Moore is only 22 square miles, but the school district encompasses 159 square miles. So, it's very possible that you could end up buying a house and living in south Oklahoma City but get the benefit of the more school district. The school district is the third-largest in the state. They have over 24,000 students and 43 different schools. Moore schools has an 86% graduation rate and they perform 57% higher than the national average on test scores. 57% above the national average, I'd say that it's pretty good.

Number four is the low cost of living. Now, if you're considering moving to Oklahoma, you already know that we have a low cost of living. Here's how Moore compares to the rest of the Metro area. So, the cost of living in Moore is only 1% higher than living in Oklahoma City. Home values are typically about 8% higher than Oklahoma City. But Moore is less expensive than living in Yukon or Edmond. And living in Moore, Oklahoma is still ten to 14% lower than the national average.

Number five is that Moore is about 73% Caucasian, compared to Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City is 54% Caucasian, but 73% and growing, and probably Moore diverse than many of the other suburbs around Oklahoma City.

Number six. You probably want to know about crime. Well, crime in Moore, Oklahoma is about half as much as it is in Oklahoma City. Crime in Moore is 2% below the national average. Now, violent crime is significantly lower than the national average and a bit lower than Oklahoma City.

Okay. Enough of all the statistics, and crime, and neighborhoods, and all that stuff. Now let's talk about the fun stuff. Number seven, Moore has 13 fabulous parks. So, driving around Moore, there are 13 city parks and they all have these really cute playgrounds. Like one playground is a pirate ship. Another one is a rocket ship. One looks like police cars. They have a theme for all their playgrounds.

There are three significant parks I want to talk about. The newest park and the one that they're most proud of is The Station at Central Park. So, as you may guess, The Station at Central Park is in the center of Moore. It's 51 acres, and it has a farmer's market every Saturday morning. As you may guess, the playground, and the building, and everything has a train theme, but this park is beautiful. And they have like food truck Fridays and special events and concerts. They have dive-in movies. They'll have a movie showing while you're floating in the pool.

Next is Buck Thomas Park. It's a really big park. I think it's over 150 acres, but it has a dog park as its newest section. So, for those of you that love to take your dog to the park, there are dog parks in Moore. Next is Veteran's Memorial Park, and it's a really nice park. And the main thing to know about it is there is a big wall of honor that honors all the Moore citizens who have been a part of fighting for our freedom and have been involved in the wars that we fought in our country.

One more thing of note from parks and recreation is they do have the Moore Senior Center. It's called the Brand Senior Center. And, if you are a person over 55, you can go to the senior center where they offer all kinds of activities. So, if you're looking for a way to get involved once you move to Moore and you're over 55, check out the Brand Senior Center.

Number eight for Moore, Oklahoma is shopping and amenities. So, if you're wondering what more is like, is there stuff to do there? Well, yes, there are two hospitals in Moore. There's an Integris and there's Moore, Norman Regional, and a plethora of medical offices. And, if you need more specialists then you can, of course, go to Oklahoma City, just 20 minutes away. Shopping, there are all the major chains that you like where you live, Walmart, Target, Lowe's, Academy. There are several different grocery store chains to choose from. Of course, there are local boutiques as well. So, if you're worried about having to go very far to get what you need, you have everything in Moore, and worst-case scenario is you drive 20 to 30 minutes to Oklahoma City if you need something that Moore doesn't have. Moore also has plenty of fitness centers. So, whatever you need, Moore has it.

Number nine, there are several notable people who come from Moore. But probably the most famous person that you will have heard of who was from Moore, Oklahoma is country singer Toby Keith. In fact, Toby still lives here. He's often seen at football games and events around town.

Number ten, what is there to do in Moore? Well, of course, as we've already mentioned, we're only 20 to 30 minutes to anything in Oklahoma City. So, all the fun downtown Oklahoma City is just a true or drive away. But here are the reasons that I drive to Moore. Number one is the Yellow Rose Dinner Theater. They put on variety shows. And the main one they do is they have a guy who impersonates Sammy Davis Jr, a guy who does Dean Martin, and blue eyes, Frank Sinatra. So, they're great singers, fun performers. You need to go at least once to the Yellow Rose Theater.

The next reason to go to Moore, Oklahoma is the Warren Theater. So, the Warren Theater is right off fourth and I-35. We have a few movie theaters in the Metro area kind of like this, but the Warren is the biggest. It has 14 different screens and it has the real comfy chairs. And, in the main theaters, they have a balcony where you can sit and they will serve you dinner and drinks in the balcony while you watch the movie. So, we love to go to the Warren, and it's a really nice theater. Other places to go in Moore are Andy Alligator's Fun Park. It is a great place to go with kids or groups. They have bumper cars, and video games, and go-carts, and all that kind of crazy stuff, miniature golf. It's one of those places where everybody can find something they like to do.

Okay. So, number 11, this is the one you've probably been waiting for. Natalie, all this sounds nice, but Moore is famous for big tornadoes. So, what's the story on the tornadoes in Moore? Okay. So, Moore has been hit by some large tornadoes in the past. Now, what you should know about Moore is it's not in the top five counties for highest amount of tornadoes in Oklahoma. It's not in the top five. And most of the time tornadoes are small and don't do much damage. Most of the time the worst-case scenario is your fence gets blown down, you get some roof damage, but nobody is injured. That's 90% of the time.

But, in the last 30 years, Moore has had four big tornadoes and they made the news. Now, those tornadoes hit more than just Moore. They started to the Southwest and moved up into Oklahoma City. But the reason Moore is the place that got talked about the most and shown the most is because it was a highly-populated area. So, it had more interesting shots of damage. So, yes. There are occasionally tornadoes that come through here. They do call it tornado alley. All my friends in Moore say, "Just to make sure you have a storm shelter for peace of mind and good insurance." And I know that, if you move here, that our meteorologists are really great at notifying you and letting you know before a storm hits.

Finally, number 12. So, I went on Facebook and asked my friends who live in Moore what they think you should know about Moore. So first we have Kelly. I've known Kelly since junior high. Kelly says, "I love it here." Now you should know Kelly grew up in Northwest Oklahoma City and she is a teacher in Moore as well. But she says, "I love it here. It feels like a small town, but it also feels like a big city. It's like a small town in a big city. The community is like none other here than you would ever experience. And all the schools have safe rooms now. And so, you can feel a lot better about your kids being at school. Almost all the new homes have storm shelters." And really like when you buy a house in the Metro, you're not guaranteed to have a storm shelter, but more of the houses in Moore actually have storm shelters. A lot of times the school district will let the kids out early if they suspect there will be a storm that day.

My client LaDonna says that she loves the school district, and that is a great community as well. The downside is the traffic, and that's true. There can be some serious commuter traffic on I-35 and off 19th Street in the shopping areas. Robert, another client of mine says that he loves it here. The schools are great and the town has a great sense of community, and the businesses and the people are always growing and working. And there's a great sense of community and friendliness here. My cousin, Charlotte, asked me if I'm moving. No, Charlotte, I'm not moving to Moore. Her husband, Ron, hates the traffic. And again, the traffic is because people are commuting in and out of Oklahoma City. The traffic is probably the worst part about Moore.

Thanks for watching for more information on Moore, Oklahoma, and the other parts of the Metro Oklahoma City area, contact me and visit my website at oklahomahomeseller.com. Come back next Friday when I share another video about living in the Oklahoma City Metro area.

Are you thinking about moving towards Oklahoma City and want to know more about its suburbs? Well, you're in luck. I am here today to tell you about Yukon, Oklahoma. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First, and one of Oklahoma City's best suburbs is called Yukon, and I'm going to tell you all about it. Let's go.

Welcome to my channel, and today I'm going to talk to you about Yukon, Oklahoma. Yukon is a suburb just to the west of Oklahoma City. It is one of Oklahoma's top 10 medium-size cities in Oklahoma. It is 29,000 people and growing. If you want a small town feel, Yukon just maybe the suburb for you. Here's what you need to know.

Yukon has been a town since well, since the settlement of Oklahoma and traditionally it was a farm town. Actually, the downtown or center of Yukon was kind of like the farming capital. Now, one way that Yukon is described is suburban sparse. It is very much a suburb now with lots of houses, residential neighborhoods, with farms on the outskirts. A lot of people have chosen to move to Yukon because they like that small town feel. Like I said, the population is 29,000 people or so, and it's just outside of Oklahoma City so their commutes are actually 20 to 30 minutes and there's a highway, I-40 to the south, and then the Kilpatrick Turnpike is on the east side so commuting is not bad at all if you need to commute into Oklahoma city. If you don't have the shopping or the restaurant that you want in Yukon, it's just a short drive into the city. It's a really convenient location if you want suburban, but also it doesn’t have the busy-ness and the traffic of Oklahoma City.

A lot of the reasons people move to Yukon are all the things that you hope and want out of a suburb. Yukon itself is only 26 square miles, but the school district encompasses 66 square miles, so a lot of people move west for the Yukon school district. It's possible to actually have an Oklahoma City address, but your child go to Yukon schools. Yukon does have good public schools and some private school choices, and they have one big high school. Yukon public schools has a 91% graduation rate and their test scores are 62% higher than the national average for the United States. Now, if you look at what they spend per student at Yukon public schools compared to other schools in Oklahoma, what they spend per student is lower; however, they do have a great student to teacher ratio of 19 to one. Smaller class sizes is really important for kids.

Another reason people move to Yukon is because the crime is low. Crime in Yukon statistically is below the national average, and it's quite a bit lower than the crime statistics of Oklahoma City. In fact, crime and Yukon is 31% below the national average.

Cost of living. Well, the cost of living in Yukon is 9% higher than it is in Oklahoma City, but that's still 13% below the national average. If you move to Oklahoma from another state, you're still going to get your bang for your buck, but living in the suburbs is generally more expensive than living in the city and Yukon is an example of that. In fact, home prices are probably 30% higher in Yukon than they are if you bought a home in Oklahoma City.

I looked up on niche.com and wanted to see if Yukon is ranked for anything. For the state of Oklahoma, niche ranked Yukon as number seven best city for buying a house, number eight best suburb to live in, number nine best place to raise a family, number 11 for the best place to live in Oklahoma, number 11 for best suburb and best schools, and number 12 as a great place for young professionals. It's a great place to buy a house, and if you're a young professional, great place to start a business or have an easy commute into Oklahoma City.

People of Yukon love a good festival, so if you like festivals to go to on the weekends and the fall and the summer, they are a great place. Some of the early settlers of Yukon were immigrants from Czechoslovakia, and they are pretty much the capital for Czechs living in Oklahoma and there's a building there called Czech Hall, and there's a street called Czech Hall Road. Every fall, in October, they have the Czech Festival. The kids at the schools have songs and dances and activities they do about the Czech Festival, and then the Czech Hall has this big festival and it's food and it's polka music and dancing and there's people in traditional dress and they don't care if your Chez or not. They just want you to come hang out and have fun.

Other things to look forward to in Yukon is the Chisholm Trail Festival, and it's basically, it's in the fall, and it is an old west celebration where you've got the cowboys and Chuck wagons and people cooking food and old west celebrations, horses, and what it would be like to live out on the Prairie in old west times. In addition to the Chisholm Trail Park, there is the Molly Spencer Farm. Between that park and the Molly Spencer Farm, they do a lot of festivals and activities. Those are the places where anything outdoors is going to happen in Yukon. At this farm, where they'll have booths and food trucks and games and activities there. Yukon now has a BMX Raceway. If you are a BMX bike fanatic, Yukon is now the hotspot to go for your training and for your races.

Other things to note is there's a company called Express Personnel and it's this big company, but the owner also has a huge farm and ranch, and he has the Express Clydesdales. They have Clydesdale horses that live on this ranch, and they also show up at the state fair and at different events. You can go out to the ranch and you can visit the Clydesdales and learn all about them. They're these beautiful big horses.

Route 66, the famous road runs right through Yukon. In fact, the downtown and the main area is on that road. If you're traveling Route 66, you can stop and Yukon. There's some great restaurants and boutiques along there and some historic buildings and museums, and there were several mills in Yukon. Yukon's Best is one of them, and what eventually became Shawnee Mills is there. The old mills are still there, standing there along Route 66 and in the center of town.

Can't mention it Yukon without mentioning Garth Brooks. There are about a dozen notable people that you may or may not have heard of who come from Yukon, but the most famous is definitely Garth Brooks. He got his start here in Yukon, Oklahoma singing at Yukon High School.

I went online and asked my friends who live in Yukon. What are the things that they love or hate about Yukon, the things that you should know? More than one person mentioned the restaurant Green Chili Kitchen. If you visit Yukon and check it out, you must eat at the Green Chili Kitchen. Another friend mentioned the restaurant Lokal, L-O-K-A-L. I've never heard of it, so apparently I need to go check it out. They love the Christmas lights, they love the Clydesdale horses, they love the 4th of July Festival. They said that there's good public and private school choices. They love all the local restaurants and boutiques. In fact, they said, there's a nice balance between local restaurants and boutiques. Plus you have all the major ones that we love, like Target, Walmart, Academy, Lowe's, that kind of stuff. Honestly, if you're missing it in Yukon, you can drive 20 minutes and be at a store or a restaurant in Oklahoma City. They said there's a lot of free family fun options to be had any given weekend. It's close to Lake Overholser, which is Oklahoma City, but it's right there on the border between Oklahoma City and Yukon. Lake Overholser is a fun lake to go boating on, there's trails around it for walking and jogging, bike riding.

I only got one negative and that's from my brother-in-law. He said that on the north side, when you're close to the farms and the ranches, you may have a lot of flies, and that Wagner Road floods a lot. I don't even know where Wagner Road is. If you're buying a house, just avoid Wagner Road and you'll be fine.

Well, there you have it. That's what I know about Yukon, Oklahoma. If you're looking to move to Oklahoma and you're interested in the suburb of Yukon, give me a call or visit me on my website@oklahomahomeseller.com. I would love to meet you when you come to town and show you all around Yukon and show you what your options are for neighborhoods and home buying. Come back next Friday. When I tell you about another little suburb in Oklahoma. Which one should it be?


Answering Burning Questions About Oklahoma

Are you interested in knowing more about Oklahoma? Are you considering moving here but just want to know more of what it's like? There are burning questions deep in your mind like, do they live in teepees? Do they ride horses? Do they drive trucks? What's a Boomer Sooner? Things like that, that you're dying to know, but you're too embarrassed to just ask me. Well, I'm here for you. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City, and today I'm going to answer your burning questions about Oklahoma. Okay, so you have burning questions about Oklahoma and some of them are better questions than others, I'd say. But what happened is, I went to Google and I asked Google, "What are the top questions people ask about Oklahoma?" And frankly, I'm a little surprised.

And today I am going to answer those top questions for you. Number one, have you ever been in a tornado? Indirectly, yes. So I've never been swept away in a tornado. I've never had a tornado hit my house or where I was physically, but I have seen plenty of tornadoes. So typically what happens is we know they're coming in advance and we have sirens and they go off. And so what we do is we go and we go out on the front porch and we see where the tornado is. And then when it gets close enough, we then take shelter. A lot of times they die out before they get to the populated areas. But yeah, a lot of times tornadoes form out in the plains and empty spaces, and the way the temperature changes and the energy changes when you get to a heavily populated area, sometimes that causes the tornado to fall apart or get smaller. So a lot of times they don't come into heavily populated areas, but that's not always the case.

Have you ever been cow-tipping? No. Next question. Did you marry your cousin? No. Next question. Does everyone in Oklahoma drive a truck? No, but a lot of us do. Trucks are really good to have around. Not only do you get a nice, comfortable cab to sit in, but there's all this storage in the back. Have you seen them? You can do a lot with a truck. Basically, here in Oklahoma, we don't have very much street parking. A lot of us have driveways and all our shopping places have parking lots. So in real urban areas where you all have to park on the street, then, no, having a big SUV or a truck is not very useful because it's too big to take anywhere. But here in Oklahoma, we have the space for it and a lot of people drive trucks.

In Oklahoma, is everyone obsessed with college football? No, not everyone is obsessed with college football, but it is a big deal here. We are really big on the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University sports, especially football. And so good friends and good neighbors pretend to care about it, even if they don't. It's important if you move here to at least have a working knowledge of the two teams and when they play. No, it is not okay to schedule your child's birthday party during an OU football game. Do not think about getting married during the Big 12 playoff games. No, don't do it. Know at least the schedule and who the two teams are and then be willing to listen to your friends talk about it and smile and nod, and you'll be just fine.

Next question. Do you live on a farm? No, I live in the city, so not many farms in the city. Yes, there are a countless number of farms throughout the state, but within the Metro City Area, not very many farms. The first time I met somebody who had cows was when I was 16. So, no, don't live on a farm. Are there trees in Oklahoma? Yes. Okay, so yeah, there are miles and miles of open plains where the wind comes sweeping down the plains. That is true. But there are also plenty of areas that are wooded. In fact, a lot of lumber comes from Southeast Oklahoma. The Eastern side of the state has a lot of rolling hills and forests. And then even in Oklahoma City and Edmond the East Side of Oklahoma City and Edmond has more trees than the West Side. You just have to know where to look to find them.

Is the dirt really red? Yes. Our soil is a red clay through much of the state. It's not red like your car is red or red lipstick, but it is red. It's a reddish-brown clay. It will stain your white clothes so don't go rolling around in the dirt if you're wearing white shorts. Simple as that. Do you know any Indians? Yes, okay. So we call them Native Americans now, for those of you who are putting this on Google. Native Americans look just like everybody else. I'm a 16th Cherokee. I have several friends who are card-carrying Native Americans. There are no reservations to live on within 50 miles of Oklahoma City, but there are still some reservations. And no, they don't live in teepees. They live in regular houses like the rest of us. When you call me up and you say, "I want to buy a house," I don't ask you if you want brick or animal hide. Native Americans live here just like everybody else. So if you want to live in a teepee, you can't live in a teepee.

But if you want to stay in a teepee, there are tourist places where you can go and spend the night in a teepee. The Orr Family Farm in Southwest Oklahoma City has teepees. There's a couple of state parks that have them. It's basically camping where you don't have to bring the tent because the teepee is there for you. So if you want the experience, you can go and spend the night in a teepee for a small fee. Okay, the last question for today is a good question. Boomer Sooner? The University of Oklahoma, they are the Sooners, that's their mascot name. And they yell, "Boomer Sooner!" What is that? Okay, so this was Indian territory and, like it or not, the United States government decided that they were going to help people settle in this area by offering free land to anyone who was willing to move here in 1889. So in 1889, they invited everyone to line up at the border, and, at noon, they shot a gun and everyone was able to run in. We call it The Land Run.

You could run, ride a bike, horse, wagon, train. You could get into Indian territory however you wanted and you could claim a piece of land and then go to the land office and get the deed for it and start a new life here. It was a lot of immigrants, which is good, Irish, Italian, Polish, Czechoslovakian, lots of people wanting to move into this area. And so, at noon, they crossed the line after they heard a shot of a gun. Those people are called Boomers. Now, the Sooners are people who snuck in the night before to get a head start. So Boomer and Sooner from The Land Run in April of 1889. So there you have it, the answers to your burning questions about living in Oklahoma. So I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City and I post a video every Friday about living in Oklahoma or Oklahoma real estate. So, subscribe to my channel and come back every Friday to learn more about living in our great state. If you want to contact me, go to oklahomahomeseller.com, and let me help you get started on your move to Oklahoma.

9 Tips to Downsizing

Is it time for you to downsize, or are you just in the beginning phases? I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City, and today I'm going to go through nine tips for downsizing. Hi, welcome to my channel. I'm Natalie Bratton with the Bratton Real Estate Group at RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. Today let's talk about downsizing. Downsizing generally takes a lot of thought, a lot of contemplation. You have to be mentally and emotionally ready to downsize. And unfortunately, if you are married or have other people you live with, they have to be on the same page as you, and so you both have to be ready to downsize. So here are some tips, nine tips, to help you decide if it's time to downsize and how to get to that point of being ready to downsize.

Number One. Does it make financial sense to downsize? Okay, so let's talk about mortgages, taxes, insurance, utilities, lifestyle, all the things financially that go into living where you live now. Does it make sense to sell it and buy another house? Downsizing doesn't always mean cheaper. What kind of lifestyle are you looking for? Are you moving from a home you've paid off and you want to move into the city to a ritzy, fancy gated community where the HOA covers your lawn care and all of that? It may not be that big of a difference in price. Is it going to save you money? Do you need it to save you money to move and downsize? So financially just weigh all the options of where you live now versus what it is that you are fantasizing about downsizing to.

When you think about downsizing and you go into the fantasy of moving, what is it that you are most excited about when downsizing? Is it, you are excited about not cleaning the house anymore? Are you excited about having a smaller yard? Are you excited about being in a different part of town? What is it that makes you want to downsize, and then express that to your partner or your spouse and see if they feel the same way. Start having the conversation of the things that you don't need in your current house anymore, and what would be the compromise or the difference for the next house?

Thinking about downsizing, be realistic about what is it that you need. There was this time period here in the last decade where people went nuts over tiny homes, and so people would go incredibly minimalistic and go from a big family home to a 600-square-foot trailer. We don't have to go to those kinds of extremes unless you just want to. But be realistic about what it is that you need. How much garage space do you need? How much parking do you need? How much house do you need? Make a list of what it is that you still want in your home so that you don't downsize too much, or that you end up being stuck where you are. Go ahead and make a list. It's good for you.

Okay. Number Four. This is the one that keeps a lot of people stuck. What do I do with all my stuff? Well, this is the big deal. Especially if you've lived in a large home for a long time, you may have decades and decades worth of stuff in your home. Or maybe you're not even retiring and older but you have a home full of stuff, and then you want to downsize and have a simpler lifestyle. What are you going to do? What are you going to take with you? So go ahead and start now. Donate the things you can donate. Sell the things you can sell. Keep the things that you really love. Keep the furniture pieces and the decor that are important to you and throw away the things you can throw away. Go ahead and start. I mean live in the house you live in now with less stuff in it so that when the time comes to downsize you're ready.

Number Five. Every square foot counts, so decide up front make the list of what rooms you must have, what rooms you can do without, what kind of floor plan is going to work for you. Do you want an open floor plan or closed floor plan? Do you want hallways with lots of closets or all the space in the living room? Decide what it is that you really want and what will work for you.

Number Six. What kind of neighborhood do you want to live in? So we're talking a normal subdivision in a suburb? How about condos, or townhouses, or what about a gated neighborhood? What you have to think about is what lifestyle you want to live. Condos and townhouses are really close together, so you will see your neighbors. You also will have HOA dues that you pay monthly. They're going to take over some of the maintenance for you. You don't have to worry about any of the exterior maintenance or the yard maintenance. They may cover some of your utilities.

If that is attractive to you, think about your budget for adding on HOA dues every month. There are housing additions that are gated and you pay monthly HOA dues there too. They're going to mow your yard for you, and they're going to do other things in the neighborhood to help make your life a little bit more low maintenance. Does that fit in your budget? Is that what you want? Or do you want to buy a home in a regular housing addition and pay someone to mow your yard or do it yourself? So think about what kind of housing addition you want to be in.

A common issue with people that are downsizing is, they look at houses and they try to find a house that will fit their furniture. If you live in a large home and you have large furniture, you may have a hard time finding a home that that sectional will fit in, or that massive four-poster bed will fit. So decide if you're going to buy a house for your furniture, or if you're going to buy a house and then buy furniture. Maybe there's some pieces that you want to sell and get rid of and buy new furniture for your new home. Now, maybe you have a big dining room table that has been in your family for four years. I mean decide. It's okay if you want to have a formal dining room but know ahead of time what furniture pieces you're going to keep and what you can sell.

Number Eight. While you are going through all these steps, and you are getting rid of the things you're not going to keep, and you are going over your finances and budgeting, take the time to look at houses online. Why not? I hear it's fun. Look at properties online and talk about them. Go to open houses. Lately, because inventory is so low there's not many open houses. But when there is one, go and look at it and imagine if you could live there or not, or why couldn't you live there, so that when you are ready to downsize you have a realistic idea of what you're getting yourself into. It is a big jump from living in a large house to going to a smaller home if you have not done the work to know realistically what that's going to look like for you.

Lastly, like I mentioned, Number Nine is, you must prepare yourself emotionally and mentally. And if you have a spouse, they have to be prepared emotionally and mentally. So you can't just decide one day that you're downsizing. Unless circumstances dictate that you have to downsize immediately, it needs to be something that you prepare for and plan for. And exactly what does it mean that you're downsizing? Are you downsizing the yard only? Or are you downsizing the house? Are you just getting rid of a pool, or are you getting rid of square footage?

There's a lot to discuss, a lot to think about, a lot that you should write down, and then you should call me. If you are planning to downsize in Oklahoma City Metro Area, I love to sit down with people and have this conversation and talk about what the future would look like in their next home if they're downsizing. I'm happy to sit with you and talk through some of these issues and help you determine what is the best course of action for you. Come back next week and we'll talk more about real estate and Oklahoma City. In the meantime, contact me by going to my website, oklahomahomeseller.com.

Things to Consider Before Upsizing

So are you considering upsizing your current living situation? Does your home just seem cramped? Well, don't rush into anything. Don't make any fast decisions. Let's think this through and talk about it. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City and today let's discuss if it is time to upsize? Hi, welcome to my channel. I'm Natalie Bratton with the Bratton Real Estate Group in Oklahoma City. I'm with RE/MAX First and I sell and help people buy homes all over the Oklahoma City Metro area. 

It's tempting to want to upsize, especially if you're at somebody else's house and they have that gorgeous living room you wish you had, or that extra office space or that swimming pool. And after being cramped at home with our families for the last year and a half, upsizing is definitely an important topic and one that we've all been thinking about. So today let's go through different things that I think you should consider if you're planning on upsizing and hopefully I can help you determine if that is what you need to do or not. 

So the first thing you need to do when it comes to upsizing is you need to slow down a second. Okay, let's talk about all the pros and cons, let's talk about your current house and see if there's things that we can do to help that, or let's talk about budgeting and planning so that you make the right decision. So first things first, don't rush out and buy the first house you see. We are in an incredible seller's market. There's hardly anything on the market. And so you may go into a house that has that extra office you need and hate everything else about it, and feel like that you have to jump on it and buy it right now, or you're going to miss out. 

Let's take a deep breath. Let's take a minute and really think things through so that if you do have to rush and buy a house, you are ready and prepared and know exactly what you need. So part of not being in a hurry is by taking the time to really calculate what you need. I mean, you're talking about probably buying a bigger house, maybe a bigger yard so you could potentially be spending thousands of dollars more on this move. So you want to make sure that you're thoughtful about it and know exactly what you need.

So when you think about getting another house, is it necessarily that you need more space or do you just need a different floor plan? Do you really need that many more rooms and that much more square footage? Or would your current size work if the layout just different. If the living room and the kitchen we're open to each other or not open to each other, is that what the problem is? You have an open floor plan now and your house is too noisy and so you think you need more rooms.

Or is it that you're working from home now and you've been sitting at the dining room table for the last year and a half, and you need a room as an office? You have teenagers and now you wish that they had a bonus room to hang out with their friends. Go through and make a list of the things that you wish you had and then decide is it really that I need more space or just different space? 

So another thing to consider besides the floor plan of your current home is, is it a problem with your house or is there a problem with your furniture? Did you buy a huge sectional that takes up your entire living room? Would you feel better if you sold that sectional and bought smaller furniture that fits in your living room? Or do you really want to go spend the thousands of dollars on a bigger house for your sectional? Do you love your furniture so much that you need a house for your furniture or do you love your house enough to get rid of your furniture and buy new furniture that fits in your house?

Okay, so we're considering is it a floor plan problem, a furniture problem, and we're about to get personal. Are you just messy and unorganized? Do you just need to hire the help of a professional organizer to come in and customize everything in your home, help you pick the right storage things, the right cabinets to put in different places of your home that would help you clean up and organize and make your home functional? Yes, it costs money to have a professional organizer come in and help you, but the cost of a home organizer versus upsizing and getting a bigger house, it might be worth it to have someone come in.

I have a special friend, a client, Minda Hofer is a professional organizer and her company is called Labeled Living. I am looking forward to having her come in and set up systems and help me figure out a better way to make our house feel bigger and feel like just I can breathe in it. So if you just feel like maybe you can't breathe in your home and you think you need more space, maybe you just need help getting organized from a professional. 

So if you decide that you are going to upsize and move into another home, you definitely need to think about how long do you plan to live in this home? Think long-term. How long is this home going to work for you to really decide how big you want to go, how much more you want to spend. Think about if this is a three to five-year house or if this is a 10 to 20-year house. Are you going to have to turn around and sell it in five years once the house is empty and it's just you? Or what if the hobbies and the things that you're buying the house for no longer exist in a few years? 

So think long-term about what is going to be best for you. Before you buy the upsized home, really take the time to go over your budget, talk to lenders about the financing. So besides having a higher mortgage, you're talking about higher taxes, higher maintenance, higher utilities, and higher insurance. Everything is more involved and everything is higher with a bigger house. But it also, if you like to maintain the house and work on the house yourself like that's more time that you're going to be spending working in the yard, doing projects to the house.

So budget all of that. Budget your time and budget your money. So you do it. You buy the house. Congratulations. One thing I always tell my clients is don't rush to buy furniture and fill it up. You've been in a home that you felt cramped in all this time and you felt like you didn't have enough space. So don't go rushing in and fill in this one up. Take some time and live in it and enjoy it. I always tell people that the rooms and the floor space that are empty, that is your new dance floor. That formal dining room that you don't have a table for, totally dance floor.

So live in the house for a while before you start filling it up. Make sure you can really think about and decide what you want in each place and how you want each room in the house to function. While you're in the process of deciding if you want to upsize, saving up the money to upsize, planning and going towards it, don't forget to love the house you're in. Don't forget to maintain that house. Don't be mad at the house and stop taking care of it. It is going to be somebody else's future upsize. And so maintain your house, do projects to your house, love your house, take care of your house. It will sell for more money obviously. Or if you keep it and rent it, it's going to be a better investment for you. 

So while you're looking to the future, don't forget to love the house you're in. Well, that's it. If it is truly time to upsize and you're upsizing to a home in the Oklahoma City Metro area, give me a call or contact me on my website, oklahomahomeseller.com. And I'm happy to help. Come back next week where we discuss whether or not it's time to downsize. So all you empty nesters out there, this one's for you.

The Pros and Cons of Building a New Home

Are you considering building your next home? Does new construction sound like the right path for you when buying your next home in the Oklahoma City Metro area? Well, I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First and this video is for you. This is pros and cons of going new construction.
Hi, welcome to my channel. I'm Natalie Bratton with the Bratton Real Estate Group. And today I want to talk to you about new construction. I recently read an article from some fellow realtors who were mentioning all the pros of new construction and there are several gorgeous new homes, sounds fantastic, but I'm going to break it down and make it real for you. Here are the pros and cons of building your next home.
Number one, the number one pro for going new construction is no bidding war. So at the time I'm making this video, it's 2021 and we have a major shortage of homes for sale across the country. So it's pretty typical for a buyer to have to make offers on several properties before they finally win. People are offering way over list price, putting in all kinds of incentives, anything they can think of to help make a seller want to choose their offer. So no bidding war sounds great to any prospective buyers.
So here's how new construction works. If you find a neighborhood where a builder has lots and they are building homes in there, then they don't wait and put all the buyers up against each other. They say, "First come, first serve. Here are the lots we have available. Here are the four plants we are building." You get to customize to a point, but as soon as you put the earnest money down and you sign the contract for that particular lot, then you're under contract. They're not going to wait and put multiple buyers against each other and ask, "Who really wants it?" So no bidding war is number one.
Number two pro is a small or zero appraisal gap. So right now because people are making really high offers above list price on resale homes it's typical for a buyer to say, "Okay, seller, I will pay 40,000 above your list price. And if it doesn't appraise, I will pay the difference in cash." And that really, that can be anywhere from 5,000 to 40, $50,000. It just depends on the listing. And so buyers are having to come to the table with a lot of extra cash to win the home. With new construction if you're in a regular subdivision, the builders already know how high they can go. They already know which amenities and price range and square footage that they can go to and the home will appraise.
Therefore, if during construction you want to add in a bunch of extras like a built-in dresser or a storm shelter, or some fancy fountain or light fixture, they may have you pay for it out-of-pocket when it's ordered so that when the appraisal comes along, it's already been paid for and you're in good shape.
One of the things that people love about new construction is number three, it's low maintenance. So the home has never been lived in. It's never been used. And so you should have a good first year or two in the house with very little problems. It should be low maintenance. And most builders give you a one-year warranty on defects. So if something goes wrong, the builder has a phone number or a website you go to and they send someone out to fix it. Appliances all generally come with a five-year warranty. And so the appliances go, you've got that. And then some builders even offer a 10-year structural warranty so that way you can move in and just not worry about the maintenance of your new home.
Number four is energy efficient. That's right. Most new homes are more energy efficient than if you'd bought an older home. That's not always the case, but generally you're going to have better windows, better heat and air products, better insulation in the home. Those things are generally going to be better in new construction, but don't assume that they are. Make sure you know what you're buying and what is being installed in your home before you just agree to it. My home when I bought it, I thought it was going to be energy efficient because it wasn't very old. Turns out, my house had the cheap stuff.
Number five, you get more of what you want. Okay? So the way it typically is going these days is you find a neighborhood where you want to live and you find the builders there and what lots they have. And then they are going to let you customize to a point. "Okay, buyer here are the lots for you to choose from. Here are the six floor plans we have to offer. Here is your lights package, hardware, appliances, carpet, tile. You go to our design center and you get to pick all of your finishes that are offered at this place, in this price point. Anything outside of that is an extra charge" so that when you move in, it's the floor plan you chose. And it's all the finishes that you chose that reflect you and your personal taste.
Number six pro is you don't have to go it alone. Some shady builders will tell you that you can't have a realtor or that they will save you money if you don't have a realtor. But you have just as much right to have a realtor when you build a house as you do when you buy a resale. So here's what you need to know. If a builder comes along and tells you that you don't need me it's because they are cheap and profitably shady. Those are the builders that generally will try to cut corners somewhere and try to save money.
When typically when they are budgeting, they are already budgeting in the realtor fees. It's already in there. They also don't want to have to negotiate with a realtor because they want to be able to cut things out and get things over you that you don't know about. So you need a realtor to help you navigate this. You also need me because people are building this house. Things go wrong. You need people to come by and check on the house and make sure that things are going as planned.
When something is wrong and you're emotional and upset, you need someone there on your side to help work with the builder and the construction crews and get it fixed and get it right. And even though it's new construction, you still have all the other things that happen in a contract. You have the paperwork, title companies, lenders, mortgages, home inspections, repairs. There's still all the same stuff to navigate. It just happens over a long period of time. So when a builder says don't use your realtor, you should probably run it.
Con, con, con. Here are the cons. I did. I just sang. Okay, here are the cons of new construction. So it sounds really great, right? You're real excited like this is the thing. Well, here's what you need to be ready for. Number one is it takes a long time. No instant gratification here. We're talking six to nine months for most houses. If you're getting a really big fancy one, it'll probably take nine to 10 months. Builders are pretty backed up. And if we have bad weather, then it can just be even longer.
So number one, the con is it takes a long time to build a house. Number two is it may not truly be custom. So like I mentioned, most of the time, it is a partial customization especially if you're in a regular subdivision. And right now, because builders trying to build as fast as they can and at an affordable price, they're not going to let you customize everything. So they're not going to move walls and they're not going to go totally out of the norm for what they're building in that neighborhood. But you do get to choose somethings up to a point.
Just because it's new construction, doesn't really make it easier in this market. There's still a shortage. There's a shortage of land for sale and there's a shortage of lots for these builders to build on. And there is still a shortage of homes on the market. In new construction, we have about a 40% shortage of homes for sale. Now, the majority of homes for sale that are new construction are between 250 to 400,000.
So if you're looking lower than that or higher than that, just know that the shortage is even greater in those outside price ranges. Your best shot is going to be two 50 to 400,000, but even there it's a shortage of homes for sale. So again, builders are less likely to customize right now. They're less likely to negotiate with you and offer you lots of choices. Because again, they are trying to build as many homes as they can as fast as they can to overcome the 40% shortage on the market.
The fourth con for new construction is a, you're probably not going to be right in the middle of town right in the middle of the action. Most of the Oklahoma City Metro area has already been developed. And so the places where new homes are being built are on the outskirts. You may have to be 20, 30 minutes away from the center of town. You may have to go even farther just depending on what it is you're wanting. So if you want to be a five-minute drive from the grocery store, that may not happen depending on where you're wanting to be.

Number five, the cost of construction is high. So you may have heard that all building materials have gone up in price in the last year and a half. Lumber has gone up like 180%. That's ridiculous. If you want to build a pergola in your backyard, you are definitely going to pay for it. So the cost of new construction has gone up. For example, listen to this price per square foot.
For a long time, probably like 2016, '17, and '18, the typical new construction price per square foot within Oklahoma City Metro area was $126 per square foot. 2019, it went up to $133 per square foot. That's a lot for one year. In 2020, it went up to 137 per square foot. Well, right now in 2021, the average price per square foot for new construction is $153 per square foot. So building a new home is awesome, but you were going to pay for it in 2021.
The number six con is finding the lot. So if you want a true custom home, that is a possibility. There are builders who really do just build custom homes, where we sit down and we draw out the floor plan. We find pictures of what you like. You have this survey done of the lot and we make it look exactly how you want it. We do everything. Everything is customized. But to do that, you have to find the land to build the home on. Well, we have 22% land for sale now than we did a year ago. And all the land for sale is further and further outside of town. So it may take time to find a lot that you want to buy that fits the home that you want to build.
In a lot of the subdivisions, you can't just go in and pick a lot. You have to use the builder who goes along with it. And if they're not willing to do custom, then you have to find some unaffiliated land somewhere for you to build on. So finding the right piece of land at the right price for you to build the home that you want to build just takes a lot of work. So yes, there are many pros to building your next home: no bidding war lower or no appraisal gap. You get more of what you want. You get to customize to a point and you move into a home that no one has ever lived in before that you can be proud of because you've chose all the finishes.
So that's great, but you also need to consider there's a high price for new construction. These days, you have to wait for the home to be built. Most of the time, you only get to customize to a point. There's still a shortage of homes for sale. So it may take longer to find the home or the lot than you think it will. So just know that there are pros and cons to building a brand new home.
Hey, but when you do it and it's all done, let's have a housewarming party and invite me over and we can celebrate. If you're looking to build a new home in the Oklahoma City Metro area, I'm your girl. Give me a call or go to my website, oklahomahomeseller.com and let's get connected and I can help you start the process. Come back next Friday where we talk more about Oklahoma City real estate and the real estate market.


Whether you are planning to move to Oklahoma, or just come for a visit, there is a place that you must see when you come here. You must visit The Gathering Place Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Bratton crew went on Saturday, and in this video, I'm going to give you just a little bit of a taste of what we experienced there.

Hi, welcome to my channel, my name is Natalie Bratton, I'm with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City, and every Friday I post a video about Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City Metro area, and real estate. And over the weekend, my husband, Chad, my daughter, Elena, and I, went to the gathering place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Where we live in East Edmond, it's a 90 minute drive, and so visiting Tulsa is a great place to go for a weekend getaway. And now that we've seen The Gathering Place, I'm pretty sure we're going to go more often.

So The Gathering Place is this great 100 acre park along the Arkansas River in Tulsa. Some of the big donors of Tulsa, the Kaiser Foundation, and then the city of Tulsa spent many years building this park and planning it, and it is truly fantastic. So, we went, and just know that everything we do revolves around a three year old. The park itself is great for adults and children. I mean, it's 100 acres; there's a lot to see and do there, but everything in our video is going to be pretty much geared around having a three-year-old with you. So in The Gathering Place, in the 100 acres, there's several different sections. There's Peggy's Pond, which is not in this video, we didn't make it to Peggy's Pond, but Peggy's Pond is a beautiful garden area, and there's ponds there where you can rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, have picnics. It's a beautiful area. There is a huge playground, and that's where we spent most of our time at Chapman's Adventure Park, and it's divided into sections for different age groups. So they have this great little section that's for toddlers, where my daughter could just run around and climb on things. And then there's more sections that have sandboxes, and water, and swings.

And then there's this enormous playground with a bridge and a fort, and these really steep slides for the bigger kids, and a pirate ship, really cool, big place, and it just keeps going and going. There is Mist Mountain, and there is a waterpark section that wasn't open yet when we were there, they're getting it ready, and will probably open at the end of May. It's like a massive, super cool splash pad that we will definitely be going back to visit. They have part of a small lake with a beach area and waterfalls. There are two restaurants, and then there's a boat house, another place where you can rent kayaks, and canoes, and paddle boats, that also has food. There are numerous walking trails and bike trails, plenty of people out there walking their dogs, lots of people riding their bikes. There's a skate park, so people everywhere on skateboards. There's plenty of gardens. There is the Sky Garden, and the Four Seasons Garden we walked through. In this video, you'll see the Sky Garden.

We ran across some people flying kites when we were at Swing Hill, and Oklahoma is the kind of place where a lady flying a kite sees your toddler and says, "Would you like to let your daughter fly my kite?" And so, my three-year-old got to fly a kite at The Gathering Place.

We've been hearing about The Gathering Place for two years, and it had been on our list of places to go, and y'all, it did not disappoint. It is a fabulous park, and we will probably go back as often as we can. There's still so much of it that we didn't see or check out, and I'm really looking forward to spending a weekend in Tulsa, and going on walks, and renting a paddle boat, and just having a great time at The Gathering Place.

Come back next Friday, where I share more information about Oklahoma City Metro area, and all that the great state of Oklahoma has to offer. And if you're looking to move here, and want to buy a home, please get in touch with me at my website, oklahomahomeseller.com.

What Do Oklahomans Think of Oklahoma?
So you want to know what's it really like living in Oklahoma? Now, I've shared videos in the past of what I think, but you want to know more. So yesterday, I went to Facebook and I asked my friends to tell outsiders what it's like living in Oklahoma, share with me the good and the bad. And within minutes, dozens of my friends were responding. And so today, I'm going to share their thoughts with you.

Welcome to my channel. My name is Natalie Bratton and I'm with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. And on this channel every week, you will find a video about the Oklahoma City Metro area and real estate. So yesterday I went on Facebook and I asked my friends, "What's it really like living in Oklahoma? Share with outsiders, the good and the bad," and here's what they had to say.

So my first shout out is to Hannah. Hannah was my daughter's Mother's Day Out teacher in 2019. We love Ms. Hannah. And she says that she's lived in multiple states, and the people in Oklahoma are seriously, the kindest she's ever met. And on the other hand, the weather is nuts. And I concur with Hannah on both accounts.
Next is Michelle. Michelle is one of my neighbors and she says, "It's the type of place where people stop and wait for you to cross the street to the store, and smile and wave at you while you do it." Next is Janet. Janet is a cool hippie chick, grandmother, client of mine who lives in Edmond. And she says, "Oklahoma has a very diverse biome. We have more lake shoreline and we have beautiful forests and parks, so you get diversity here in culture, and also in nature. And we have magnificent sunrises and sunsets. The weather can be challenging." She says, "But we are always prepared because we have great weather coverage."
Okay. Now we have Mary. Mary's a friend of mine from college, and Mary lives in Alabama, I'm pretty sure. And she says, "It's windy. It's very, very windy. I do not miss the wind at all." And she's right. And in fact, there was this wind tunnel on campus as we walked to the music building for choir, that would pretty much, could blow you away if you were very small.
Okay. Heather, Heather is a client of mine and she and her family live in Norman. And she says, "Oklahoma is great, until you make the mistake of reading the comments on any local news article." Yes, Heather is right. And I imagine this may be true everywhere. Word of advice: if you read your news online, do not read the comments. Basically, reading the comments on any news article will destroy your faith in humanity. If you read the local news here, do not read the comments, because people are really nice and polite in person, but apparently the worst of us make comments online.
Dee Ann is a fitness instructor, friend of mine. And she said that you may not know that, "Oklahoma is the birthplace of many famous musicians." Roll the loop. But she also says that allergies are horrible here for people and pets. And she did not lie.
Angie, a friend from church says, "Oklahoma is a state that protects freedom. If you are looking for a place that would be considered more conservative than where you live now, then Oklahoma should probably be on your list." And then again, she mentioned that people are pretty friendly here.
So my friend and client Heidi lives here in Edmond with her family, and she is originally from Washington, and therefore she believes that it is sunny a lot here. And she really likes the sunshine. She said, "It is hard to adjust when you move here if you're used to living in a place with a lot of walkability or bike riding, because here, our public transportation is not that great, and everything is really spread out. If you were to be a pedestrian here or ride your bike everywhere, it's a bit more dangerous and not nearly as convenient."
Next is Amanda, and I went to high school with Amanda, and Amanda said, "Our roads suck." We do not have great roads, but our people are amazing. And last is Trey. Trey is a friend from college and he says, "Oklahoma is a lot like Texas, just without Austin." Trey, is that good or bad?
Okay. Now this section is going to be really fun. I'm going to read for you some of the comments that people have made on my videos on this YouTube channel about Oklahoma. I don't know any of these people, and these are the comments that are fit to not be blocked by me. First person I don't know is Margie and this off of, "10 Reasons to Live in Oklahoma." She says, "You need to know if you move here, not to be scared to ask people for help. The people here are generous. We will give you our last dollar, we will give you the jacket that we are wearing to help you. And oh, by the way, we have rivers and you can float and swim." We have the Illinois River, is a very popular place to go and take a float trip, and we have several cool places like that.

Okay, now I'm going to read you one from someone who watched "How windy is it in Oklahoma?" And here's what has to say, "Moved here from California in the spring of 2015, and was hoping to continue my gardening skills in Oklahoma. You can't plant baby plants outside until June because the spring winds will tear them up. So if you want normal tasting tomatoes, hopefully fall will bring them in, because it's too hot by June and the flowers fall off from the heat." I'm sorry, [inaudible 00:07:07], that you've had a difficult time. My neighbor has great tomatoes, and I have friends who plant tomatoes. So maybe I'll get some tips and do a video on how to do successful gardening in Oklahoma.
Andie watched, "What we hate about living in Oklahoma City." And she says, "The public transportation here is primitive. We're big enough for a light rail, but we're never going to be like one of those major cities where you could ride a subway or a train everywhere." That's not what we do here.
Okay. So David, he wants you to know that I'm spot on about everything I've said. So if you watch my videos, you know that David moved here a year ago and he says that I'm spot on.
Bape ABC says that, "I live in Oklahoma and everyone is nice here." Eddie wants you to know about tornadoes. He also says that it is God's land. Lee, now Lee, I don't know that Lee loves it here. Lee might be considering a move. He says, "The meth addiction, gang violence, police harassment, and total apathy everywhere you go are the things that he hates about Oklahoma." The thing is, Lee, I think that meth, gang violence, police harassment and apathy might be fairly consistent with most places in the country. I don't know.
Cyndi doesn't like the weather here, "Horrible weather most of the year." Gosh, Cyndi, we do have sunshine most of the year. The Gacha Group says that, "Oklahoma sucks." Gacha group, do you have a house you want to sell? I would be happy to sell it for you. So J Dodge, she says that apparently shopping and fashion are a major problem in Oklahoma.
So now you know, I do read your comments when you post them on my channel. For those of you who are from Oklahoma, feel free to share in the comments section, what you love or hate about Oklahoma, in the nicest possible terms. And for those of you who are considering visiting or moving to Oklahoma, ask us your questions, and we will tell you what we know. Come back next week when I give you more information on living in the Oklahoma City, Metro area.


Tour of Lake Hefner in OKC

It is a gorgeous day in Oklahoma City in the spring. It's 77 degrees, sunny, just a slight breeze here at the lake. Oh, I said lake? Yeah, on a day, like today, you want to play hooky. You want to take off work early, have a long lunch, and get outside. But if you don't want to go far and you live in Northwest Oklahoma City, you should definitely check out Lake Hefner. Let me tell you all about it.
Welcome to my channel. I'm Natalie Bratton with Remax First in Oklahoma City. And today I snuck out for just a little bit to get some vitamin D, and I'm here at Lake Hefner. I'm going to go for a little walk and I'm going to show you around. So Lake Hefner was built in the 1940s and it was actually built to be our drinking water in Oklahoma City.
They have made it a great place to get out for a few hours. It has walking and biking trails. There's people out here every weekend. And if you're like me and you're a horrible biker, this is a really nice smooth, wide trail, so I am less likely to hurt myself. There's restaurants with patio seating. And on the evenings, the evenings, they have live music. Lake Hefner is not a huge lake. It's actually only 2,500 acres, and they do allow boats with motors, but it is a popular place for sailing. There is a sail club that meets out here and I love it when all the boats are on the lake together with their sails up. It's really pretty. You can also go kite surfing here or kayaking. It's a popular place for fishing. They've stocked it with all kinds of great fish, including bass and crappy. And there's a lot of birds. So birdwatchers like it out here. There's dozens of kinds of waterbirds that hang out here at Lake Hefner
So there are no lakefront properties on Lake Hefner. There is no real estate in this area, but there are neighborhoods in close proximity where you can walk, ride your bike, or take a short drive to get here. So if you see Lake Hefner as a regular part of your future, let me know, and I'll send you the neighborhoods in the area so you can get to see what their real estate's like.
Well, all for you guys today, I tore myself away from my desk. So, for all of you, my loyal YouTube followers, this is for you. I left my office for a few hours so that I could walk around Lake Hefner on this gorgeous day and show you around. So you're welcome.

Be sure and subscribe to my channel and come back next Friday when I give you more information about Oklahoma City and the Metro area, real estate, and neighborhoods.

Finding a home for sale in 2021 is a lot like buying toilet paper in 2020. Inventory is really low. What's the real estate market really like out there? Everything you read says prices are up. Can't find homes to buy. What's really going on? I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX FIRST and today I am going to give you a market update of what's really happening in the real estate market in Oklahoma City.
Here's the scoop. Inventory for homes on the market is at an all-time low, not just in Oklahoma City. Now we're used to hearing about crazy home sales in California or New York City, but this is happening across the entire country. We have supply and demand problems. We have fewer homes on the market, but we have a lot of buyers trying to find a home to buy. And we are seeing unprecedented times in the real estate market in Oklahoma City.
See, we've had a sellers market for the last two years. We've been saying to people that there's a 30% shortage of homes on the market. Well, in spite of going through a pandemic and everyone quarantining, that deficit has increased to 70%. We have 70% fewer houses on the market than we're used to having. Here's my example. In 2009 through 2012, it was the recession and it was a clear buyer's market everywhere. But in the Oklahoma City Metro, we would have 11 to 12,000 houses on the market at any given time. A buyer would have dozens of houses to choose from and negotiate on.

The balanced market in Oklahoma City is probably seven to 9,000 houses on the market. Over the last few years, we've had four to 5,000 houses on the market. So we were entering into seller's market territory. Well, in the Oklahoma City Metro area today we have 1500 houses on the market, 1500. That's so incredibly low. So why is this happening? Well, there's a few reasons. Buyers are trying to take advantage of really low interest rates, which have already started climbing, by the way.
But I think part of why 2021 has been so nuts is because buyers were looking in 2020, but because the supply has been low, a lot of the buyers haven't gotten a home yet. Maybe they were back making offers in August, September, October, and they still haven't been able to achieve winning a contract on a home. I think people were waiting to put their homes on the market to see what was going to happen with our economy post-pandemic, but also we have an increase of people like you moving to the Oklahoma City Metro area, moving out of other metropolitan areas and coming to Oklahoma City to retire or just for change of lifestyle.
So when it's a buyer's market in Oklahoma City, we have six months or more of inventory for buyers to choose from. That would say of all the houses listed, it's going to take us six months to sell all these. Right now we don't have one month, two month, three, four, five, or six months of inventory. We have three weeks of inventory. Three weeks. It's not unusual for me if I am looking for a buyer that if I pull up homes for sale, they have less than a dozen homes to choose from. It's like, "Here you go. Which one do you want?"
So on a personal note, generally in January and February of each year, I do things like reorganize my house, go on vacation, do my taxes, watch Netflix, but not this year. In 2021, we have had a huge surge in the real estate market. Days on the market is usually at its longest in January and February, because there's fewer buyers out looking. Oh, no, no, not this year. The median days on the market for January and February in Oklahoma City was nine days. Sales in 2021 are up 24% so far this year over 2020. This is mind-blowing.
So we all know when there's a supply and demand problem that prices go up. In 2018 in the Oklahoma City Metro area, homes increased in value by 3%. In 2019, they went up by 6%. In 2020 in spite of the pandemic and in spite of raised cost of materials, our median value went up by 11%. And in the four months of 2021 so far, they've gone up an additional 4% just in these few months. So then at this point typically is when people ask me, "Well, what about new construction? Why aren't builders just building more houses? They are.
They are fully taking advantage of this situation. In 2020, we had more than 6,000 new homes built in the Oklahoma City Metro area. Any given year we will have four to 6,000 new homes. So this past year in 2020 was the most new homes built in seven years. So if you are a buyer, what do you need to do about it? Well, one, you need to be prepared to try to not be emotional about it. You also may need to look at your list of what you're looking for and figure out where you can be flexible and the things that you are looking for in a home, and definitely give yourself a timeline. How long do you have before you really need to be in your new home or prepare yourself to be incredibly aggressive when it comes to finding your next home?
You also need to watch my videos from 2020 about how to win in a multiple offer situation and tips for home buyers. Those things are still true, but probably you probably need to be even more aggressive now than in 2020. You also need to work with somebody with experience. I'm not knocking new realtors. Everybody is new at some point, but you definitely don't want to try to go this alone without a realtor. And then you probably need to work with someone who is really experienced at getting people in their homes and winning in multiple offer situations.
And then lastly, you really need to save up as much cash as you can. Cash is making a big difference for home buyers right now making offers. If you are a seller, well, this is a good year to be a seller. If you are considering selling a home in the Oklahoma City Metro area, even though you could probably just stick a sign in the yard and get interest in your home. The process right now is kind of complicated on how to choose who is going to buy your home, and then where are you going to go once your home sells?
So those are all things that you need to think about before you step into this process. And there are a lot of questions you need to ask when we get together and talk about it.  Don't forget to subscribe to my channel and ring the bell so that you're notified every Friday when I put up a new video. Be sure and watch my videos for buyers about winning in a multiple offer situation and tips for being a home buyer. And then come back next Friday when I give you more information about the Oklahoma City market and real estate.


Tour of Spring Hill in SE Edmond

Let me show you around my suburb, Edmond, Oklahoma, just north of Oklahoma City. Today I want to give you a tour of a charming neighborhood that is in a median price range in Edmond. It's called Spring Hill to Edmond. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First and take a look at this charming neighborhood.

Welcome to Spring Hill of Edmond. Spring Hill is a charming neighborhood of homes built from 1979 to 1991 and it is a great example of what neighborhoods look like in East Edmond. It's just north of Oklahoma City and the Kilpatrick Turnpike and it's just west of I35. So the people who live here love the location because they have all that Edmond has to offer just to the north and the west, and it has all of Oklahoma City for commuting and what Oklahoma City has to offer to the south.
There's 185 homes in Spring Hill. They range from 2,000 square feet to almost 4,000 square feet and typically sell between $225,000 all the way up to just over $350,000.
Most of the homes are on a quarter of an acre, some even a little bit more. So nice neighborhood where the houses are spread out. They have gorgeous landscaping.
It has a neighborhood park and playground with a basketball court. And a large swimming pool. In fact, Spring Hill has its own swim team. Other things to notice is Chisholm Elementary School is right next door and so some kids even walk to school.
It just so happens that I have a home for sale in Spring Hill right now at 3404 Spring Hill Drive, so be sure to look at the video of that home so you can see what these homes are like on the inside. Please subscribe to my channel. I post a video every Friday about Oklahoma City or the surrounding suburbs, including my town Edmond, Oklahoma. To reach me, contact me at oklahomahomeseller.com if you're planning to move to the Oklahoma City metro area or have questions.


Would you like a tour of one of my favorite neighborhoods in Edmond, Oklahoma? I have a great neighborhood in West Edmond called Griffin Park that has the best neighborhood park in town. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First. Let me show you Griffin Park.
So today I want to take you on a tour of one of my favorite neighborhoods in West Edmond. The neighborhood is called Griffin Park. It is about 215 homes built between 2007 and 2018, and all of the homes range from 2,000 square feet to about 3,300 square feet, and sell anywhere from $275 up to about $415,000.
But the reason it is my favorite neighborhood is not just because the houses are gorgeous, but I love the neighborhood park. So typically in a development, the neighborhood playground and pool are kind of like stuck off in a corner, or if there's a lot that they can't do anything with, well, then they turn that into the playground but in Griffin Park, they put the park in the middle of the neighborhood. On holidays everybody comes out and has picnics in the park and so wherever you live in the neighborhood, you just go to the center of the neighborhood for the playground in the park. It's this gorgeous, huge green space with trees and it has a swimming pool and a playground and a pool house.
Thanks for watching. For more information on homes for sale and Griffin Park, check out my website, oklahomahomeseller.com/griffinpark. In the meantime, subscribe to my channel so that next Friday I can give you a tour of the City of the Village in Oklahoma City.


Tour of Mitch Park and The Edmond Senior Center

Planning to move to Edmond, Oklahoma, and want to see more of it? Well today I'm going to give you a rainy spring tour of Mitch Park, Parks and Recreation Building, and the Edmond Senior Center. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First. Let's go.
Mitch Park is 280 acres in North Edmond. There are baseball fields and softball fields. There's a skate park, a basketball court. There are five miles of walking trails, an amphitheater and a playground, as well as plenty of pavilions and picnic tables.
Onsite, there is the Edmond Senior Center and then the MAC, the multi-activity center from Parks and Recreation and then at the back is the Mich Park YMCA. Now there's also art all around Mitch Park. I've mentioned before that in the city of Edmond, there are over 200 art displays around town and Mitch Park is no exception, so I'm going to show you some pictures of just some of the sculptures around Mitch Park.
The Edmond Senior Center is a great place for anyone to go hang out over the age of 55. They have activities planned and events and field trips and there's people there that just go there every day and hang out. The Senior Center offers affordable fitness classes, such as Zumba Gold, chair yoga, Tai Chi, strength training. In the past, they've had tap dancing, line dancing and they have a choir. So basically if there's someone to teach it and people interested in doing it, they will make a class for it.
There is a room with pool tables and shuffleboard. There's a room, a craft room where there's people who meet and quilt and crochet. Then there's a big room and people get together and play cards and board games, and they offer an affordable lunch every day. The Senior Center has a lot of great services. The people who work in the Senior Center are cool people and so if you want a place to hang out and get involved and make new friends, and you're over the age of 55, the Senior Center is a great place.
Now the MAC is next door and the MAC has lots of great big classrooms. There is a room for dance classes. They have a pottery room and a big art room, and then they have rooms where throughout the year, they'll offer all different kinds of classes. I've seen in the summertime, I've seen a young scientist class. I've seen a class where they teach kids how to go camping and do things outdoors. So there's classes offered year round, all ages, a variety of different interests and they offer them all at affordable prices. So if you're looking to get involved and find something to do, get some new hobbies, you can check out the classes from Parks and Recreation.
Then in the back is the Mich Park YMCA. We have a lot of gyms in Edmond and we have other YMCAs, but the Mitch Park YMCA is the newest and it has a big Olympic size swimming pool with a great big twirly slide and you can go and pay just for a few hours or the day, if you want to hang out at the pool and not join the YMCA.

Don't forget to subscribe to my channel so that every Friday you can come back and hear more about Oklahoma City or Edmond, Oklahoma. And in the meantime, go to Oklahomahomeseller.com. Let me know your questions, let me know what you're looking for in your next home. I'm happy to help.


OKC Vs. Houston

So you're thinking about moving to Oklahoma or Texas but you don't know which city you want to land in, I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First. And today, I'm going to compare with you my town, Oklahoma City versus Houston, Texas.
So I thought this was going to be an easy comparison between Oklahoma City and Houston, Texas, but then I realized that I'm not comparing apples to apples even though these are the two most populous towns in their States. Houston is not an apple. Oklahoma City is a small apple where Houston, Texas is a big fat, juicy orange. They're really hard to compare. So if you take Oklahoma City and multiply it by 350%, then you have Houston. So, I'm going to give you some of the basic facts and figures, but then I'm going to tell you what my friends who live in Houston have to say about Houston and the pros and cons, and then tell you if you don't like those cons, why you should live in Oklahoma City.
Here we go. Number one is definitely the population. Both towns are about the same size. Both are over 600 square miles. Both are huge geographically, but where Oklahoma City has 629,000 people, Houston has 2.25 million people. 629,000 over two and a quarter million, so a lot more people there.
The second thing we generally talk about that is usually in Oklahoma City's favor is the cost of living. The cost of living in Oklahoma City is 15% below the national average. Now Houston, oddly enough, for being such a big city, it is also below the national average. Now it's only 4% to 5% below the national average, but compared to Dallas and Austin and San Antonio, the cost of living is lower in Houston. So if you go to Texas and that's important to you, Houston is more affordable than the other major towns in Texas, but not as affordable as Oklahoma City.
Now, real estate prices are not that far apart between Oklahoma City and Houston. It's slightly cheaper to buy a home in Oklahoma City than it is in Houston, but again, Houston is more affordable than Austin or Dallas.
Now as a whole, income levels are slightly higher in Oklahoma City than they are in Houston. However, Houston's sales tax is slightly lower than Oklahoma City's. In Houston, you don't pay state income tax, but in Oklahoma we pay 5% income tax. So there's not a huge discrepancy in income levels, and so it's possible that with the lower sales tax and without the income tax, people in Houston may make the same... amount of money as we do in Oklahoma City or even higher.
Now, Houston far exceeds Oklahoma City in racial diversity. Oklahoma City is 54% Caucasian where Houston is 25% Caucasian and has a large Hispanic population, African-American. Now, because of the racial diversity, the art, culture, restaurants, there's just so much more diversity in the culture in Houston. I read that there are 11,000 restaurants in Houston representing more than 70 countries. So next time I go to Houston, I'm going to eat out more.
Another difference between Oklahoma City and Houston is the weather. Now, both are mostly sunny year round and both have really hot summers, but typically, Houston is going to be five, six, seven degrees warmer than Oklahoma City. So if you can't stand heat and you can't stand humidity, then you might want to spend half the year somewhere up North and only spend the fall in the winter in Houston.
Okay. So since there's not really a great way to make a comparison between these two towns, I did talk on Facebook with seven of my friends from high school and college who live there and they told me the things they love and they hate. Basically, they love all the walking trails and the parks. There's a Lot of opportunity for outdoor recreation. They have a fantastic, huge medical center, MD Anderson is there. Basically, if you need a transplant or cancer treatment or something you can't get in Oklahoma City, you go to Houston, Texas until you're better.
They have the beach. Okay. So they beat us there for sure. Now, Texas beaches are not the beaches that I fantasize about when I'm having a bad day and want to go on vacation, but it's still the Gulf of Mexico and it's still a beach. Houston has a great airport. Basically, if you're in Oklahoma City and you want to go anywhere in Mexico, central South America, the Caribbean, you're going to leave the airport in Oklahoma City, go to Houston, trade planes, and then go where you're going. Houston airport goes everywhere.
Of course, my friends in Houston loved the arts, the restaurants, the cultures, the museums. There's just so much to take in when you're in Houston. All of them but one, live in the suburbs because they said the public schools are hit or miss. They love the cost of living. Like I said, it's lower than other places in Texas. They love the economic opportunity, the job growth. Both Oklahoma City and Houston have a lot of oil and gas industry. So that's the correlation of why I have friends from Oklahoma City who live in Texas, as a lot of them are in oil and gas, manufacturing within oil and gas as well.
My friend Jason says that there's no state income tax. The cost of living is low. He loves fishing and you get saltwater fishing and fresh sea fishing. And on top of fishing, they have great seafood because it's right there off the coast.
So basically, you take Oklahoma City and multiply it by 350% and you have Houston. Now that we know all the great things about Houston, here are the reasons you would choose Oklahoma City over Houston. Traffic. They all said the traffic is horrendous. We have traffic in Oklahoma City, but clearly when you have 350% more people, you're going to have a lot more traffic, and the people going in from the suburbs and back out since your commutes could be over an hour. So if you hate long commutes, maybe you don't move to Houston.
The second thing is the humidity and the heat. Now, if you hate humidity and heat, you probably shouldn't move to Oklahoma City either, but, it's not as bad in Oklahoma City as in Houston, it's going to typically be five to six degrees cooler in Oklahoma City. It's like 90% humidity in Houston most of the year.
While in Oklahoma City, we have chances of tornadoes, in Houston, you're going to deal with hurricanes season. It rains a lot in Houston and you have that chance of having hurricane damage and flooding. There are large portions of Houston that struggle with flooding problems. So if you move to Houston, you're going to want to make sure you're not in a flood zone and that you choose an area where you're less prone to flooding.
And then crowds. If you don't like crowds, then you probably don't want to live in Houston, maybe a suburb. [Christy 00:09:58] mentioned that you learn what roads to drive on and where to go at what times to avoid the traffic and the crowds. We do the same thing here. I just imagine it's a lot worse there.
So basically, the reasons you wouldn't love Houston are traffic, crowds, heat and humidity, the local public schools within Houston and their class sizes, flooding, hurricane season. The Oklahoma City has those things, just at a lesser degree.

For more information on Oklahoma City and Oklahoma City real estate, go to my website oklahomahomeseller.com and get in touch with me. And I'm happy to hear about your plans and tell you more about moving to Oklahoma. Come back next Friday where I do another video where I'm focused on Oklahoma City and it's Metro area.


Welcome to Oklahoma City vs. Tulsa part two. So in last week's video, I shared with you similarities and differences and some personality and design elements about Oklahoma City and about Tulsa. But last week I had gone online and I asked my friends who've lived in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, what their opinion is of these places. And it was really interesting. And so today I'm going to share with you what my friends say about Tulsa and Oklahoma City. I also found out that Tulsans don't like Oklahoma City. We in Oklahoma City had no idea. And then I interview my friend and colleague Juliann, who is a realtor in Tulsa. And she's originally from Oklahoma City and she's moved there. And so today she's going to share with you her opinions and her thoughts on real estate and living in Tulsa.
So I went online and I asked my friends, who've lived in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, what the pros and cons are and what the differences are. And for the most part, they said that both places are great, but that Tulsa's downtown is a little bit behind Oklahoma City's. Both places have been doing major development over the last 20, 30 years. And Tulsa's downtown is not quite to the place that Oklahoma City's is. But they both have brand new, great, gorgeous arenas. They both have restaurants, music venues going on. Oklahoma City has a better zoo and a better science museum. But I think Tulsa is in the, I think they're building a new science museum there. But what I didn't know, because I've lived in Oklahoma City almost my whole life is that the people of Tulsa hold a grudge against Oklahoma City. Tulsa feels like they get the shaft because they're not the capital city. And they're a little bit smaller. Tulsans feel like their town is better and should get more attention than Oklahoma City does.
My friends from Oklahoma City who have moved to Tulsa said that people always talk to them about how it's good that they got out of that terrible city and moved to where they should live in Tulsa. And that no one should ever move to Oklahoma City. I had no idea. All of us, Oklahoma City ans have just been hanging out, not knowing our little brother Tulsa was mad at us.
So I looked up and sure enough, there's this rivalry. And we have two great mayors. Mayor, David Holt and mayor Bynum of Tulsa. We have these great mayors and they are working together to try to collaborate more between the two cities like, hey guys, why can't we just all get along and all be happy. And all be excited about the development of our cities. So maybe some old school Tulsans need to lighten up and just accept the fact that we can all live here together in Oklahoma and be happy about where we live. And yes, Tulsans, we think your town is really pretty.
Some people say that Oklahoma City is more cowboy where Tulsa is more cosmopolitan. Another friend said Tulsa is more Midwestern, more like St. Louis, where Oklahoma City is more Southern, more like Dallas. Those are some comparisons. My friend, Wendy, who is a writer, has this to say about Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Tulsa is awesome because it has prettier Hills and trees, fascinating art deco architecture, and the best cheese skirts in this state. Cheese skirts are a way to make hamburgers by the way. Oklahoma City is creative, but unpretentious always pulls itself up by its bootstraps and boasts in nothing except tomorrow. And we can pretty much agree that in both places, the highway suck.

Now let me bring in Juliann and let me share with you what Juliann has to say about Oklahoma City versus Tulsa. I have my friend and colleague here, Juliann. And Juliann is a realtor here in my office at RE/MAX First, but she lives and sells in Tulsa.
So she has the unique experience of being an Oklahoma City gal who has been transplanted to Tulsa. So this is Juliann Strange Test.
And so if you decide to move to Tulsa, let me know and I'll get you hooked up with Juliann. So thanks for joining.
Absolutely. Thank you.
So Juliann, you've been working in Tulsa for a while now. What are the main differences you see between Oklahoma City and Tulsa?
Yeah. The main difference that we see in Tulsa is the green space. Tulsa has an incredible park system and river walk system throughout all of Tulsa and the surrounding areas. They have the Gathering Place that has been there about three years and it's close to downtown. It's an absolutely incredible park that has all sorts of amenities.
Tulsa also has great shopping areas, such as Brady Arts, District, Utica Square. They also have the Brookside area that's wonderful. That has lots of restaurants and shopping's within an square mile of each other. That you can go and spend an afternoon that I feel like you really don't have here in Oklahoma City.
Okay. So, like we have a lot of shopping and restaurants in Oklahoma City. So can you describe the difference between the two?
Maybe a personality or a style.
Yeah. Brookside has a lot of unique family owned restaurants, as well as the nicer chain restaurants, such as the high-end sushi restaurants. They have boutiques that are specific to Tulsa that are small family owned places as well, all in one area close together. This is an area in Tulsa, as well as Utica Square, where you can go and spend several hours and have lunch and go to several different stores. And make a whole afternoon out of it instead of going from one location to another.
Yeah. Even if you settle in Oklahoma City, a weekend in Tulsa is fabulous.
It really is. There's so much to do there.
And I think in the last several years, they've really developed the trails, the walking trails, biking trails.
They absolutely have. Those are huge. They've put so much money in to those trails systems and they lead throughout Tulsa as well as downtown. And you can start on the trails and get even to the Gathering Place from there.
So compare downtown Oklahoma City to downtown Tulsa? How do they contrast from each other?
Absolutely. So downtown Oklahoma City has spent a lot of money in the last 10 to 15 years to really boost the overall quality of the buildings, the shops that are down there, as well as the restaurants. I feel like Tulsa is getting there and there's a lot of development currently going on there, but they're a few years behind,
Oklahoma City. But I feel like Tulsa has a unique style that you don't see in Oklahoma City. It has more of the art deco style buildings that are absolutely gorgeous that have been renovated and are being renovated currently. I feel like downtown Tulsa that has more apartments that you can actually afford to live in.
And Oklahoma City doesn't have that.
You have your high-end extremely expensive in downtown. And then there's not much else in Oklahoma City.
Yeah. So real estate wise, as far as like styles of construction or housing, is it the same or different? Is it the same kind of construction there?
You see pretty much the same in the older areas of Tulsa, you'll more of the redone houses that are from the 1920s, and 30s, and 40s, that might have sighting or partially bricked. But your typical house in Tulsa is going to be brick or stucco,
Similar style.
Not much different.
Not much different.
And you're going to get about the same house that you can get in both towns.
Right. The prices aren't that different. So Juliann tell everybody about the work remote program.
Absolutely. Yeah. So Tulsa has a really unique program by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
Kaiser's, yes.
They have put together a program called Tulsa Remote that gives people $10,000 a year upfront to move to Tulsa and live somewhere within the Tulsa city limits. And all you have to do is work remotely. They give you a stipend for rent, and it's a pretty unique program. It's getting people that are able to work anywhere, which a lot of us are able to do now thanks to COVID and the unique styles that we're all doing. So it's a great program to look into if you want to give a new city of try.
Does Tulsa feel like a small town? Or does it feel big, like Oklahoma City?
I feel like it has a little bit of both. I feel like, parts of it feel like a small town. But there's still so much to do in Tulsa, just like Oklahoma City, there's art, there's theater, there's entertainment, there's unique food options to go to in Tulsa. So I feel like there's a lot of options there.
Both towns have their own ballet, they have their own opera, they have museums and plenty of music venues and yeah
It's its own little-
I would say that Oklahoma City has Tulsa on the sports, but the ballpark in Tulsa for the amateur baseball stadium is wonderful. You've got the hockey team, the Oilers, is a semi-pro program. So you still have sports and entertainment to go to just not on the level that Oklahoma City has.
If you want more information about moving to Oklahoma, about Oklahoma real estate, go to my website, oklahomahomeseller.com. If you're interested in moving to the Tulsa area, I can get you connected with Juliann. Come back next week, where we had South, Oklahoma City versus Houston, Texas.


OKC vs Tulsa Part 1
So, you're moving to Oklahoma but you don't know whether or not you should live on Tulsa time or if you want to be in the capital city. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First and today I'm going to discuss with you the similarities and differences between Oklahoma City versus Tulsa.
Welcome to the third video in my series, Oklahoma City Versus. And today we're keeping it close. Today, we're discussing Oklahoma City versus Tulsa. It's just up the turnpike, these towns are a hundred miles apart, and I'm going to discuss with you the similarities and differences and the personality of these two towns.
First up in Oklahoma City versus Tulsa is population. So in previous videos, I've already shared with you that Oklahoma City is huge, it's over 600 square miles and we have about a thousand people per square mile. We have somewhere between 629 to 650,000 people. And then Tulsa is much smaller. It's 187 square miles and they have just under a million people. So the population density is like two to one. So while there's fewer people in Tulsa, Tulsa is a bit smaller. So it's a bit more crowded in Tulsa, but again, compared to other major cities, both places aren't too bad.
When we're talking cost of living, Tulsa is slightly cheaper. We're talking, the cost of living is like 2% less in Tulsa than it is in Oklahoma City. Home prices are like 2 to 3% less than they are in Oklahoma City. So it's not a huge gap.
Now, Tulsa has parts of it that I would say are a bit ritzy. They've got some boutiques and some shops that are high-end that we don't have in Oklahoma City. And so entertainment and shopping, some retail things are more expensive in Tulsa than they are anywhere else in the state. Generally, Tulsa is going to be slightly less expensive than Oklahoma City, but not for everything.
And you should know that Oklahoma City and Tulsa are about 15%, less expensive than most other places in the country. We are 15% below average for cost of living.
Now, Oklahoma City has twice as many museums and stadiums than Tulsa, but Tulsa has a really thriving art scene. They are big-time supporters of the arts and music and visual art. So there's some beautiful museums there. They have their own opera, they have their own ballet, and actually, they are very possessive of that. In fact, if you are an Oklahoma City musician or you're an outsider, it's hard to get gigs in Tulsa because they want to support their Tulsa musicians so much. In fact, Tulsans sometimes like to refer to themselves as being Little Austin in that they really do a lot for their music and art scene.
Now on the other hand, Oklahoma City has a really good music and art scene as well, we just haven't been known for it as long as Tulsa has been. There's a lot of great venues in Oklahoma City for musicians to play at as well.
Both places have great shopping and amenities, both have developed some really nice districts and centers over the years. Tulsa has always had Utica Square, which is a great high-end shopping center. They have Cherry Street, Brookside, and Brady Arts, those are great places to go hang out and shop and eat.
Oklahoma City has its great districts. The Paseo is our arts area, plus the Plaza, which is on the north side of town. Both places have shopping malls. Basically, if you want to go spend some money, both places have plenty of options.
But there is a place that you must go if you visit Tulsa. So Tulsa has a river that runs through it and there's a street called Riverside and they've always had a trail there, but in the last three years they developed this place called The Gathering Place and it is a huge park and it has many sections to it. And there's a massive 5-acre playground, and there's a food court, there is a boathouse with a restaurant in it, and you can rent kayaks and canoes and paddleboats. There's a basketball court. They have it set up in one section for sports. They have picnic areas.
I remember in 2019 when it opened, it was considered like the best park in the country. Maybe again in 2020, was like the best park ever. Now that Oklahoma City has been doing lots of similar work to our town in Oklahoma City and we have a new called Scissortail Park and it is not on the grand scale of The Gathering Place, but it is a pretty cool park too. And both places you can find food trucks.
Scissor tail has playgrounds and it has an amphitheater. There are two sections of it and I-40 is in between and we have a big bridge that you can walk across to get from one side to the other.
So two places you should look at our Scissortail park and you should look up The Gathering Place.
So when Oklahoma City was built, it was kind of like a... So we're talking 1900 to 1920s is when most of Oklahoma City was built. It was kind of a, "Everybody get in here and let's get moving, let's get business going." So anybody who wanted to build a building built a building. And houses went up everywhere and while I'm sure there was zoning and there was thought put into it, it wasn't real structured. And Oklahoma City is a huge space. So manufacturing, industry, everything just kind of took off in Oklahoma City.
And then it's taken us a hundred years after the fact to try to come back and make Oklahoma City an attractive place to be. And up until 30 years ago, downtown Oklahoma City was just dead, everything was just really spread out.
On the other hand, Tulsa from 1900 to 1920 was mostly populated with fancy people from the northeast who were in the oil and gas industry. And when they came into town, they were very conscientious of where they put buildings and how they structured the town. And so they have these great architecture, really pretty buildings and churches in Tulsa and everything is kind of designed to flow and make sense so Tulsa is prettier than Oklahoma City. It's also just 187 square miles to maintain, where Oklahoma City is huge. So Tulsa is generally more attractive than Oklahoma City.
Well, that's all for now, but there's actually so much more, in fact, that next Friday I'll be sharing with you Oklahoma City versus Tulsa part two. See, I went online and I asked my friends who've lived in Tulsa and Oklahoma City what their opinion is of both towns and it was actually very interesting. I found out that Tulsans don't like Oklahoma City. I never knew. I also interview my friend and colleague [Juliane 00:08:48], who is a realtor in my office who lives in Tulsa and sells real estate in Tulsa. So come back next Friday.
In the meantime, if you have more questions or want information on transferring to Oklahoma City, go to my website, oklahomahomeseller.com. See you next week.


OKC Versus Austin, Texas
If you're thinking about moving towards the center of the country, no doubt you are looking at Austin, Texas, but have you considered Oklahoma City?
I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First, and this is Oklahoma City Versus Austin, Texas.
For all of you out there on the east and west coast who are thinking about moving to a more central location, I bet you're looking at places all over Texas and maybe Oklahoma City or Tulsa. This is a video series, Oklahoma City Versus, and today this is my second installment, Oklahoma City Versus Austin, Texas. Let's get started.
#1 in Austin, Texas versus Oklahoma City is the population. Oklahoma City has between 629 to 650,000 people spread out over 600 square miles of land, where Austin is half the size of Oklahoma City that has 916,000 people. So Austin's creeping up on a million people, but in half the space of Oklahoma City. So the population density of Austin is 88% higher than it is in Oklahoma City. So while Austin is a cool place to be, if you want to spread out, if you don't like crowds, and if you don't like traffic, you would prefer Oklahoma City over Austin.
#2. Let's talk weather. Oklahoma City is 330 miles north of Austin, but we also have a higher elevation here, where Austin is 489 square feet above sea level, Oklahoma City is 1100 feet over sea level. So whatever the temperature is in Austin, it is going to be a little bit cooler in Oklahoma City. Three to five degrees is probably it. But as far as regular climate, it's pretty similar; mostly sunny, all four seasons, but typically in Oklahoma City, the temperature will be just a little bit lower day in and day out.
#3. When it comes to race and ethnicity, we're not that different. Oklahoma City is 54% Caucasian, white and Austin is 48.6% white. We're looking at about a 6% difference, which is not that different.
#4. Let's talk cost of living. The cost of living in Oklahoma City is 28 to 30% less than it is in Austin. So basically anything you're going to spend money on, it's going to be significantly less expensive in Oklahoma City, except for healthcare. For some reason in Oklahoma, we spend more money on healthcare than they do in Texas. Not sure why or really how much. But groceries, everyday expenses, 28 to 30% less expensive than it is in Austin. In addition to the cost of living, housing prices are 30% less in Oklahoma City. So if you're looking for real estate where you get a bang for your buck, you're going to be able to get a lot more house, 30% more house in Oklahoma City than you are in Austin, Texas.
Now, if you live in Austin, Texas, you're going to have a higher income than you would if you live in Oklahoma City. That is if you were actually employed by a company in Austin. Incomes are about 8% higher in Austin than they are in Oklahoma City. And one benefit of being in Texas is Texas does not charge state income tax, but Oklahoma charges 5% income tax. So even though Austin is more expensive than Oklahoma City, you should have a slightly higher income and get the benefit of no state income taxes.
#6. Austin is famous for their music scene, their art and culture. Austin is a great place to visit and go listen to live music. It's a great place to go for a long weekend. Go to Austin City Limits. If you want to see art, Austin has more theaters and more cinemas than Oklahoma City does. Now Oklahoma City has a growing thriving music and art scene, it just is not the same as Austin.
#7. Let's talk education. Well, if you saw my video about Oklahoma City Versus Dallas, you may recall that in general, the State of Texas spends more money on public education than Oklahoma does. In Texas, they spend more money per student than Oklahoma does, and they also have smaller class sizes than Oklahoma, and they pay their teachers more than they do in Oklahoma. However, both states, both towns, Oklahoma City and Austin, have really good school districts with amazing teachers and staff and they do a great job. So if you're looking for schools, if that's a big deal to you, just do your research before you visit and before you move. Universities, well, Oklahoma City has 20 universities where Austin only has 13. Now, I will note that the University of Texas is in Austin, but who wants to wear burnt orange all the time.
#8. Oklahoma City has twice as many square miles as Austin in water. If you like a pretty lake view, ponds, rivers, you like to go boating, Oklahoma City has over 14 square miles of water, and Austin only has six.
#9 is military retirement. Oklahoma City is one of the best places to live if you are former military. The State of Oklahoma offers more benefits for former military than just about any other state. So if you have a military retirement, this is a great place to move. You get tax breaks and discounts on just about everything.

For #10 I'm just going to rapid fire a few great things for you.
Oklahoma City's been voted one of the most manliest cities, whatever that means, I'm not sure, but if that's important to you, we're apparently pretty manly here. Both cities have rising incomes. The Austin unemployment rate is slightly lower than Oklahoma City's, but both are considered good job markets, good places to start a business. Both have good projected job growth. Both places are considered high risk for people with allergies. So again, if you live in Oklahoma City or Austin, you will definitely need your Claritin, and Alavert.
Recently, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a business owner in California who decided this past year to pick up and move his entire company and he moved to Austin, Texas. He chose Austin because he figured it mirrored the lifestyle of LA more than any other place in this part of the country. He now says he regrets that decision and it's not because Austin isn't a great town, but the main reason he regrets picking up and moving his entire company to Austin was because he didn't get the bang for his buck that he expected. So while Austin's a great place, financially it ended up not being that big of a difference for him on his bottom line, because the change wasn't big enough. So if you're moving a business to either Texas or Oklahoma, be sure and weigh all the finances and look at all of these parameters before you choose where you're going to go.
Thanks for listening. If you feel like Oklahoma City might be an option for you and your future, be sure and subscribe to my channel. I post a video every week. Also check out my website and get in touch with me. I'd love to talk to you about Oklahoma City, and I'd love to help you find a home in Oklahoma City real estate. Come back next week, where I keep it local.
Next week, we're going to go to do the place of my birth; Oklahoma City Versus Tulsa.


OKC vs. Dallas

Are you considering moving to Oklahoma City or Dallas, Texas? Well, today I'm going to compare for you the differences between both places. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First, and this is Oklahoma City versus Dallas.
Welcome to the first video in my series, Oklahoma City Versus, and today we're going to discuss the differences between Oklahoma City and Dallas, Texas. Well, right off the bat, the biggest difference between Oklahoma City and Dallas is the population. The population in Dallas is over 1.3 million people while the population in Oklahoma City is just over 600,000. And geographically, Oklahoma City is nearly twice the size of Dallas, so the number one biggest difference is that Dallas has a much higher population density. So if you love big city life and you don't mind traffic, and you don't mind commuting, and you don't mind the congestion of a large city, then you will love Dallas. If you want less traffic, shorter commute times, and less population density, slower pace kind of life, then Oklahoma City would win out over Dallas.
The second item in Oklahoma City versus Dallas to discuss is race and ethnic groups. So Dallas does have more minorities than Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City is only 45% nonwhite while Dallas's large Hispanic population puts them up at 71% nonwhite. The third item to discuss in Oklahoma City versus Dallas is cost of living. As a whole it is cheaper to live in Oklahoma City. Our home values are definitely lower than they are in Dallas. Most expenses are going to be slightly lower in Oklahoma City, our groceries, utilities, transportation, generally everything is going to be a little bit less expensive here. Now, on the other hand, if you live in Dallas, you don't pay state income tax. And if you actually work in Texas, you probably have a higher income than you do if you work in Oklahoma City, but you just have to weigh the differences between buying a home in Oklahoma City versus buying a home in Texas. There's quite a big difference there in price and just weigh the pros and cons.
The fourth item to discuss in Oklahoma City versus Dallas is the weather. And honestly, it's not that different. Now, Oklahoma City is 200 miles North of Dallas, that's not that far. We also, we're at a little bit higher elevation. So whatever the weather is in Dallas, generally it's just going to be a few degrees cooler in Oklahoma City. But as far as the amount of sunshine, the amount of rain, storms and that sort of thing, they're very similar. So if you don't mind a degree or two, Oklahoma City is just going to be slightly cooler. They both have high risk of thunderstorms. While Dallas is going to have more effects from maybe hurricanes in the Gulf, Oklahoma City tends to get more tornado action in the plains, but both they're pretty similar, risks are not that different.
Number five in Oklahoma City versus Dallas is commute times. We've already discussed that Dallas is a much more congested city as far as population density, and so obviously the commute times in Oklahoma City are going to be shorter. The average commute time in Oklahoma City is six to seven minutes shorter than it is in Dallas. Not a huge difference, but it all depends on where you decide to live. Number seven in Oklahoma City versus Dallas is healthcare. Both cities have access to amazing doctors and hospitals. Anything you need you're going to find in both cities. On average though, people in Oklahoma City spend more money on healthcare than they do in Dallas. I'm not sure why. And just so you know, both places are considered to be hard for people with allergies. If you have allergies in both cities, you will stock up on Claritin.

Number eight in Oklahoma City versus Dallas, let's talk education. Public schools, K through 12, are better funded in Dallas than they are in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma has had a long standing problem of funding public education. So in Dallas teachers are paid better and they spend more money per student in Dallas than they do in Oklahoma City. In Oklahoma City there's more than one school district. Oklahoma City public schools is the largest in spite of the state having trouble with funding, there are some really good school districts in this area, but as a whole, when college students in Oklahoma City graduate with education degrees, a lot of them move to Dallas so that they can have smaller class sizes and get better pay. Oklahoma City has 20 universities in it where Dallas only has 10. If you have a kid that's growing up and you want them to live at home forever, at least through college, there's more universities in Oklahoma City than there are in Dallas for them to attend and live at home.
Number nine in Oklahoma City versus Dallas is sports. So this part of the country, we are pretty crazy about football and most other sports. Dallas has more national professionals sporting teams, of course, football, soccer, baseball, and basketball, where Oklahoma City only has the NBA basketball team. However, Oklahoma City actually has more sporting events and more sporting arenas than Dallas. So we have more sports going on than Dallas does. And apparently we're just trying to set it up for the day when we are a big league city like Dallas and have more sports, because we have more sporting arenas than Dallas actually does.
Number 10 in Oklahoma City versus Dallas is unemployment and job growth. And really, there's not a lot to say here. Both are very close in their unemployment rate. Both are projected to have positive job growth over the next decade. And if you look at the different industries represented in Dallas and Oklahoma City, they're very similar statistically. So I would say that if you're looking for a job, or you're wanting to move your business, both places are a good place to look.
Here are your bonus tips for Oklahoma City. So Oklahoma City is considered one of the best places to move after you retire from the military. So there is a lot more benefits for military in Oklahoma than there are in Texas. And if you're a disabled veteran, you get lots of tax breaks and benefits in Oklahoma City versus if you live in Dallas. So based on the information from bestplaces.net and versus.com and, well, my personal experience, Oklahoma City ranks slightly higher as the best place to live between Oklahoma City and Dallas. If you are interested in moving to Oklahoma City, check out my other videos about living in Oklahoma and go to my website, Oklahomahomeseller.com. Subscribe to my channel so that next Friday you get the video Oklahoma City versus Austin, Texas.


Video Tour of my Neighborhood in East Edmond 73034

So you've been wanting to see more of Edmond, Oklahoma, and I am here to help you with that. Today, I want to give you a little tour of my square, my little piece of East Edmond, 73034. There's several housing additions, some restaurants, a great park, Hafer Park. And I'm going to give you just a quick driving tour and tell you a little bit about each neighborhood. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First. Get in the car with me and let's go.
My little square in East Edmond is in 73034 zip code. And so we're going to start our tour with my neighborhood. My neighborhood's called Tuscany Villa. And so the houses in here were built between 2004 to 2016. There's about 140 houses. Our HOA is $300 per year, and that covers our entrances. And then also the playground and the swimming pool.
Our houses range from about 1,900 square feet to 2,500 square feet and anywhere from about $225,000 to $350,000. There's not anything for sale in here right now, but keep a watch out, because I like my neighborhood.

Chimney Hill is the largest neighborhood in my square. It has over 400 homes in it, and depending on what section you're in, the homes were built in the 70s, 80s and the 90s. So the 70s section is a little bit funkier. You can be a little bit more quirky if you live in the 70s section, but it's a really popular neighborhood. It has a great playground, basketball court, and swimming pool, and it has open green space where people play soccer.
They're basically homes from 1,700 square feet to 3,800 square feet. And you're looking at anywhere from $200,000 to $350,000 is the going range. The HOA is $320 per year to cover all the green space and the amenities.
Borgata is a gated neighborhood in my square that has three sections. Borgata is a neighborhood of homes that are zero-lot-line. Basically there's very little yard maintenance and the HOA covers your lawn care. Now homes in Borgata start anywhere from 1,900 square feet, but go all the way up to 5,000 square feet, depending what section you are in.
But it's one of those neighborhoods where you pay your HOA dues monthly. They're anywhere from $120 to $170 per month, but it covers the gate and the road maintenance, and it also covers your lawn care. And there's a swimming pool and there's kind of park green space sitting areas throughout the neighborhood. These are really nice luxury homes and they appeal to people who don't want to do a lot of maintenance. But you're looking at a home price anywhere from $300,000 to $650,000, just depending on how large the home is. These homes were built from 1996 to 2014. Gorgeous neighborhood.
The Falls at Vista Lane are the newest part of our square. These homes were built between 2018 and now. They're just about finished. There's about 80 houses in the neighborhood. They range from 1,600 square feet to 2,000 square feet. And you're looking at probably $200,000 to 250,000 for any of these homes. They're on smaller city size lots, and the HOA is only $200 per year, because it just covers the entrances and some of the green space in the neighborhood. But there are no extra amenities like playgrounds or swimming pools.
Turtlecreek Commons is a townhome development in my square. There's never anything for sale in there. The townhomes were built in the early 80s and they are really close to Spring Creek Shopping Center and Hafer Park. And they're basically about $125,000 to $150,000. But again, there's never any for sale. They range from about 800 square feet to 1,600 square feet in size. And if I wanted a townhome, I would look there.
Driving around my square, you will see a couple of different shopping centers. You'll see You Power Yoga, my favorite yoga studio. You'll see lots of great shopping, Spring Creek Plaza and Bryant Square, which I've shown you before in my previous video about shopping in Edmond.
Then last but not least, you'll see, Hafer Park. And Hafer Park is my favorite park, because it's right here by my house, but there's multiple playgrounds, multiple picnic pavilions. There's an amphitheater. And there's a duck pond with a gazebo, lots of walking trails. There's always people out putting hammocks up in the trees and walking on the trails. There's also right there Pelican Bay Aquatic Center. In the summertime, it's packed. It's a big swimming pool with lots of slides and there's also some baseball fields.
So I hope you aren't carsick. Thanks for watching, and if you have any questions about anything you saw today, send me a message. Also check out my website, oklahomahomeseller.com and let's get in touch. Next week, I will have a video with more information about Edmond or Oklahoma City.

Reasons NOT to Retire in Oklahoma City
Are you considering retiring in Oklahoma City? In this video, I'm going to share with you reasons not to retire in Oklahoma City. I'm Natalie Bratton with Remax First and let me share with you what I know.
So in last week's video I shared eight reasons you should consider retiring in Oklahoma City and today I'm going to share with you just a few reasons that you may not want to retire in Oklahoma City. So today the first one is the weather. So, I said that the weather is actually a reason to retire here, we get a lot of sunshine and we have all four seasons. But if you like things to be predictable in your life, if you want to wake up every day and not have to look at your weather app, if you want to wake up every day and know exactly what you're going to wear, then maybe Oklahoma City is not the right place for you. We tend to have a change of weather every couple of days and it can be sunny and 50 degrees one day and cloudy and 35 the next.
We do have a pretty eventful storm season in the spring and early summer that gives us lots of thunder storms and some high winds on occasion and the occasional tornado. So if you want predictability, then Oklahoma City may not be the place for you or it may be just something to put on your list. But I mean, old men are supposed to sit around and talk about the weather, right? And then the women sit and talk about the old men who talk about the weather? So if you live in California I mean, what do the old men talk about there?
The second reason you may not want to retire in Oklahoma City is if you are looking for resort style living. We don't really have any of those resort towns here that are just for seniors. We have resort towns and we have neighborhoods and things but we don't have the actual resort town that's just seniors. If you want one of those towns where everybody's a senior, you drive a golf cart, there's a golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool, daily scheduled activities, that kind of thing, we don't have that here.
Now we do have neighborhoods that you can rent in that are designated for 55 and over. There's only a few housing additions that are actually designated 55 and over. Now, we have a lot of housing additions that attract seniors. We have neighborhoods where maybe they're gated, the HOA dues pay for lawn care and a majority of the people who live there happen to be seniors because of the size of the homes. And if there's an active HOA they maybe schedule lots of fun events. And then some of the golf course neighborhoods, they may have sections of the neighborhood that are more what we call garden homes or patio homes. So, as far as finding a nice place to live and buy a home here, we do have some nice places but they're just not resort towns dedicated to seniors. And the places in Oklahoma that do have the resort town feel are not going to be designated for 55 and over, there just may be a lot of seniors who actually live there.
Number three, if you want to get rid of your car keys and you want to just take public transit from here to there Oklahoma City may not be the right place for you. We are very car dependent here in Oklahoma City. We do have public transportation, we have a bus system that goes throughout the city and in downtown Oklahoma City we have a trolley, But for the most part, if people can they have a car. So you may be able to take a bus to a few places or if you were to rent in some of the senior living neighborhoods they may have a bus that would take you to Walmart and back. But for the most part, most people here do keep a car. We don't have a subway or, I mean we have buses but you don't see them all the time everywhere.
Now in last week's video, I talked about how low the taxes are in Oklahoma City and I want to revisit that because I learned a little bit about it. So, I have always thought our taxes were above 8%, it turns out they are. What I said last week where I said the city's taxes are four and a half percent, what I didn't realize is that I pay Oklahoma taxes that are 4% and then Oklahoma City's taxes are four and a half percent which comes out to eight and a half percent. And technically Oklahoma City is 8.625. So, it's still low, it's still good, but I was just blown away. I was like, "Four and a half percent?" I've never noticed the disparity before. Because what you want to know is all the suburbs and the cities, municipalities within Oklahoma City, also their taxes here are going to be anywhere above 8% and less than 10% depending on what suburb you're in of Oklahoma City.
Well I'm a little biased, but I could only come up with three reasons not to retire in Oklahoma City. If you have any questions or comments feel free to put something here on YouTube or contact me on my website, oklahomahome seller.com and subscribe to my channel and come back next week for another video about living in Oklahoma.


8 Reasons OKC is a Great Place to Retire

Did you know that Oklahoma City is a great place to retire? I mean, it's not Hot Springs, Arkansas. It's not that place in Florida where Diane Keaton was in the movie Poms, but there are actually many great reasons to retire in Oklahoma City. I'm Natalie Bratton with Remax First and today I will share with you eight great reasons that Oklahoma City is the place you should retire.

Number one, taxes. Yeah, number one is taxes. Let's just talk about taxes and get it out of the way. In Oklahoma State taxes, you do not get charged any taxes on your social security income. You also do not have estate taxes, and you also can get up to a $10,000 deduction on your taxes from other forms of retirement, like your pension or 401(k).
And then in addition to that, Oklahoma City's property taxes are not that high either. In Oklahoma City, it is 1.12% of your home's market value. So not bad when it comes to paying state taxes.
Number two is cost of living. Oklahoma City is 12.9% below the national average. So yeah, if you live in one of those cities where you're above the national average, and then you move here and you're 12.9% and below the national average, you will enjoy feeling those savings.
Oklahoma City likes to brag about number three. Number three is we are a big city with big city amenities, but we still have a small town vibe.
So if you're looking to have a slower pace in life and a little more friendliness, now that you're retired, Oklahoma City is a great place. I mean, we have all the restaurants and the activities and the things that you would get from a big town, but at a slower pace and with friendliness. Number four is great road trips or weekend getaways.
Number four, if you like to go RV-ing, if you like to go on road trips, all around Oklahoma City, in the State of Oklahoma, there are some beautiful places to visit. We have plains and prairies and we have mountain ranges, we have more than 200 man-made lakes. So if you want to park your RV somewhere or rent a cabin or take a day trip and go hiking, there are plenty of places to choose from for you to get out into nature, breathe some fresh air and take a break.
Now, number five may surprise you a little bit because number five is the weather. Now I know you probably have heard that the weather here can be a bit unpredictable and you know that we can have some pretty crazy storm seasons, but one thing that you may not know is that it is sunny in Oklahoma 65% of the year. So regardless of whether it's hot or cold outside, most of the time it's sunny, so that can be good for your mental health, right? We also have four distinct seasons. So if you don't like the monotony of say 65 and sunny every day, we do have winter, spring, summer, and fall.
Now, generally our winters are pretty mild. I mean, we'll have a few ice storms or snow storms in there, but generally our winters are not all that awful.
Number six is Oklahoma City has plenty of fun activities and things to do. So when your grandkids come to visit and you want to go do some fun things or when the whole family comes into town, there's plenty to do. I love our zoo. Our zoo is great for kids and adults. We have a science museum that kids love, tons of playgrounds and parks. We have the river sports in Downtown Oklahoma City. We also have our own version of the Riverwalk in Bricktown. So when you want to get out and live a little, have some excitement, there's plenty to choose from whatever it is that you like to do. And then when the kids come and stay with you and you want to get them out of the house, there is plenty to choose from.
Number seven is medical care. So I think in previous years, this was an area that was considered a shortage for Oklahoma City and we didn't have enough specialists and doctors and hospitals, but over the last five years, I've seen that really change. In fact, there are seven hospitals within 50 miles of Oklahoma City, seven hospitals. To me, that's a lot of hospitals, right? You don't have to go very far if you're in Oklahoma City to see a doctor.
Number eight, Oklahoma City cares about your health. We recognize that you make up a large portion of our community. So in Oklahoma City, they have recently built two Senior Health and Wellness Centers, and there are two more being made.
So by the end of this year, there should be four Oklahoma City Senior Health and Wellness Centers. And they're really nice, the people I know who go to them enjoy them. They have great fitness centers, classes. So, Health and Wellness Centers for seniors, that's pretty cool. So there you have it, eight reasons to retire in Oklahoma City. If you have questions about any of those, send me a comment or go to my website and send me a message. And next Friday, in all fairness, I'm going to share with you the things that are not so great about retiring in Oklahoma City.


Is Selling Your Home Off Market to an Investor
the Right Move for You?

Have you ever considered selling your house to one of those off-market investors? You know the ones with the signs on the side of the road that say, "We buy ugly houses. We'll buy your house no matter what condition." Or the commercials on TV where they hold the little dog and they say, "Hey, we'll buy your house and it's really easy. There's no open houses. There's no realtor fees." You think, "Is that something we should do? What's the catch? There has to be a catch." Well, there is a catch, but it's totally legit. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First. Today, I'm going to tell you the ins and outs of working with off-market investors so you'll know whether or not that is the right move for you.
There've always been these investors out there looking for houses that they can buy at a discount and then flip and make a profit. There's investors out there looking for rental properties. Over the last two years, we've had a shortage of listings on the market, so they seem to just be everywhere. I even get text messages from people I don't know, letters in the mail from people saying, "Hey, Natalie, do you want to sell your houses? We're looking for houses to buy. It'll be quick and easy and let us know." What's the scoop? How do you know if this is the right move for you? I'm going to tell you the things that those investors are looking for first, and then I'll talk to you about the decisions that you need to make and what you need to know to whether or not you want to move forward with an off-market investor.
The first thing they are looking for is someone who would rather sell a home fast and painlessly over making money. This is usually going to be maybe a rental property you've had for years, or if you've inherited a property, you don't live there, you don't want to have to do anything to it, you just want to get rid of it. That means you would rather find an investor, go under contract, close in three weeks. All you have to do is take out the things that you want to keep. No repairs, nothing, three weeks, and it's over. You're going to make less money, but it's going to sell fast and you don't have to do anything. That's who they're looking for first. You would rather sell it fast and not do anything than make money.
The second thing they're looking for is they want someone who either doesn't have a mortgage on the property, it's completely paid off, or you don't owe that much. Basically, if you just bought the house a couple of years ago with a VA loan or an FHA loan and you don't have very much equity, you are not a fit. If you still owe too much on your property, you are not a fit. They're looking for someone with some room in the budget to negotiate the price and find a price that's fair for everybody. The third thing these investors are looking for is a home in poor condition. But they will take a home in any condition, but the uglier it is, the better.
If you go in and you do some work to it, that's just going to hurt your chances of getting the right offer. If your home is remodeled, there's not going to be as much of a price window for them to get at the right price, do the work, and make a profit. They're looking for the uglier it is, the more they like it. The fourth thing investors are looking for is they want a house that they can buy under market value. The good ones are going to talk to you and give you a fair price, but it has to be under market value so that they can go in and do the things they want to do to it, sell it and make a profit. Or if they're buying it to rent it out, they want to buy it under market value so that they can fix it up, get enough rent for it versus what their payment is so that they...
It's a business for them, so they're looking to buy it under market value. The last thing they're looking for is someone who can be unemotional about it. Now, typically, if it's a property that you've inherited from a family member, it might be emotional. My comment to you is, hey, take some time to go through the house, get the things you want out of it. Take the time to process everything before you meet with an investor, and then take your time on making the decision and be able... Don't think of these investors as the enemy, they're a business and they want to be fair but they have a business to run. You have to decide whether or not you can do this and not take it personally and be able to detach a little bit emotionally to do the transaction.
What's in it for you? Well, first of all, it can be fast. Typically, these investors are going to pay cash for the transaction, or they're going to give you... what they're going to do, they have like a hard money loan with a bank. Typically, they can close in as quickly as three weeks. They just need you to give clear title. They're going to come in and probably look at the property some more and you have to make sure that the house has clear title, and once all that's done, then they're ready to close. Depending on who you work with, the second thing that's in it for you is less fees, less realtor fees. If you call the we buy ugly houses or whatever, and there's no one to represent you or help you, there's not going to be any realtor fees.
But did you know that I work with some investors too? If you call me and you say, "Natalie, I have a house to sell. I don't want the hassle." I'm going to meet with you, we're going to talk about it and see if you're a fit for one of these investors. I'm going to go over with you, how much money will you make if you sell to an investor versus how much will you make if you put it on the market? 90% of my business is full service, full-scale listings. But I do work with some investors, and I do help my clients who have houses like this that they need to sell. I'm going to help you make that decision. Now, if I work it together and I coordinate for one of them to buy your property, because I don't have to put it on the market, because I don't have to pay for advertising, and just because I'm an all around great girl, I'm going to give you a little bit of a discount on the fees since it's not a full service, full-scale listing.
Should you just call one of the signs on the side of the road, or should you call the people off the commercial on TV, who should you just Google it and go for it. Well, this is a day and age where we all have online reviews, and if the people don't have online reviews, well, then you can call them and ask for references. Mainly to find out are they easy to work with? Are they fair? Did they treat their customers well? That sort of thing. But, first and foremost, what I would do if I inherited a house or I had a rental house I needed to sell, I would say call someone you know and trust, call me. Call me and I will talk to you about if your house is a fit to sell to an off-market investor, and then I have like four or five clients that are constantly looking for rental properties or houses that they can buy and flip.
Based on your house, its location, how much money you need out of it, I'm going to do a little research and then I'm going to see if one of my people, if they're a fit for you. So then you're not going it alone. Even if it is a discount, you still have someone helping you and representing you who's going to make sure that the deal is fair on both sides. Thanks for watching. Be sure and subscribe to my channel and click on that bell to receive notifications for each video I post. I try to post a video each Friday that has something to do with Oklahoma real estate or living in Oklahoma. In the meantime, check out this playlist. It is for future home sellers.


How Windy is it in Oklahoma?
So if you're thinking about moving to Oklahoma, you no doubt read or worried about tornadoes and wind speed. And if you've watched any of my videos, then you know I've talked about how insurance rates are higher in Oklahoma because we have a lot of wind and hail. I had a prospective Oklahoma person asked me this week, how windy is it? How bad are you talking?
I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First and today I'm going to let you know just how windy it is in Oklahoma.
We are considered upon average for the entire year one of the windiest places in the country to live. But how windy are we talking about? Like, do you just never fix your hair? Do you always wear a hat? Can you ever drive with the top down? Yes, it's not that bad. Upon average for the entire year, the average is 12 miles per hour. Honestly, that sounds a little low to me, I would have guessed 15 to 17, maybe. So the National Weather Service says that breezy is up to 25 miles per hour and windy is above 25 miles per hour. So I'm going to quit saying, it's windy here, I'm going to say Oklahoma is a bit breezy. So if the average is 12 miles per hour, then you guess we have days where it's lower. And we definitely have days where it's much higher. Those are the days when you may just want to put your hair in a ponytail, or you may want to wear a hat, or you just decide that breezy is the look you were going for.
The windiest time of year is probably February through May, that is when you get the most high winds. That's also the beginning of storm season in like April, May. Generally, it's not too bad day to day. If we have high winds it's just for a day or two and then it goes back to being average. Typically in the summer, what that means, is in the summer instead of having like a nice ocean breeze that cools you off on a hot day, our wind feels like a hairdryer blowing your entire body. So it's already 90 to a 100 degrees, it's really humid and when the wind comes instead of being refreshing, it's like hot air blowing on you, making it worse. Or there'll be no wind at all, there's no in between.
In the winter time, on the days that it's windy, we have what we call the wind chill, where the wind is much colder than the actual temperature outside. So if it's 40 degrees outside and sunny, you think oh, that's nice and then you step out into the wind and the wind chill is like 15 degrees. So it feels like it's 25 degrees outside and the wind is beating you.
Now, the pluses are, if you like to fly a kite, we're a great place for that. If you like to go wind surfing, we have that too. If you think windbreakers are cute, you could get one in every color. Now how windy it is and if you can tolerate or not is going to depend partly on where you live. If you live out in a rural area, if you live out in the open plains, where there are very few structures or trees even you are definitely going to feel the wind sweeping down the plains. If you live in town and there's a big tall buildings and there's trees and there's a lot around, then it's not going to feel so windy. Now, if you want to go fishing and it's a windy day, then you're going to have some rough waters too.
One of the plus sides of being a windy place is we're eighth in the nation for wind energy. If wind energy continues to grow, we have the potential to actually provide probably 30% of the country's electricity. The Western side of our state is open prairie and if we would add more wind energy, more windmills, we could generate a lot more of the country's electricity. That's kind of a fight here because we do a lot of oil but if when energy continues to grow then Oklahoma is a great place to grow if you are wanting to be a part of renewable energy sources.
So yes Oklahoma is where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, but there is a lot to offer in Oklahoma. It's a great place to be. And really the wind is only bad on occasion. I'm Natalie Bratton and come back next Friday, where I tell you more about living in Oklahoma.


Buying a Home in Oklahoma While Living in Another State

Are you planning a move to the Oklahoma City area, yet you currently live far, far away in another state? Are you trying to decide if you need to hop on a plane and come for a visit, or if you could buy your home virtually? I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City, and today I'm going to help you make that decision by sharing some tips and the steps involved in finding a home remotely in one state while you live in another.
So, you live far, far away and you are going to move here to Oklahoma City. And so you're trying to decide how you're going to do that, how it's going to fit into your schedule and your life for you to relocate here while still living somewhere else. Well, look, there is nothing as good as you actually coming for a visit. If there's any way you can come here by car or plane or train, come here and spend a few days with me in the car, and let's drive around. I want you to see the town, see the neighborhoods, figure out how your lifestyle will work here. I want you to actually go in the houses, use your senses and smell the house, feel the house. See if it feels like home to you. However, I understand that that is not always possible. So, here are the things that you need to know and the things you need to have in place for you to buy a home virtually.
First off, you have to have high speed internet. If you don't, this is going to be really frustrating for you. You're going to have a hard time uploading documents. You're going to have a hard time watching videos. You have to have high speed internet for this to go well.
You also need to have some sort of device other than your little smartphone. I mean, you can sign documents and watch videos on your smartphone, but do you really want to spend several hundred thousand dollars on a property when you've only read the documents on a little smartphone, or you've only watched the video of your home on a 7" screen. It is best if you have a desktop, laptop or a tablet where you can actually read what you're signing, you can actually see all the details in the videos that I send to you.
You also need to be able to upload documents to your computer and be able to email them to the title company or the lender. Basically, if the idea of scanning something in and emailing it is really scary to you, then this may not be the best thing for you.
So, you need to have high-speed internet, a device to look at things on. You need to be able to upload and send documents. Oh, and you need cloud storage. So, if I'm going and I'm videoing houses for you, I have to have a place where I can put those videos and then you can watch them. So, I use Google Drive and I use Dropbox are the main two. I occasionally use YouTube. So, if I go and look at a house for you and I upload videos, you need to be able to go into Google Drive or Dropbox to go and look at those videos and tell me what you think. So, those are the things that you need in place to be able to buy your home virtually.
So, here's how the process works when you are buying a home remotely in one state while you live in another. So, the first thing is you and I got to talk. We have to talk about your plans. When are you actually moving here? When do you want to close on the home? And then tell me all about yourselves. I mean, I'm tasked with the job of finding you a place to live in somewhere that you've never been before, and we've never actually met. So, I want to know your hobbies, your lifestyle, the things you like, the things you don't like, neighborhoods, cities, country. The more you tell me, the easier it's going to be for me to direct you to the right property.
The second step is to secure your financing. So, if you aren't paying cash for the home, then we need to get you connected to a good local lender who can help you secure your financing for your home. So, every lender, no matter where they are, what company they're with, they're all going to have you go online and fill out an application on their website. Then after they've talked with you, they're going to want you to send them all the documentation to verify that what you've told them is true. So again, that's where it comes into place, where you're going to be sending them pay stubs, W2's and whatever else they need to verify your employment and just whatever it is that's in your life. It doesn't matter if you are rich, poor, if you are fancy, if you are important, they're going to ask you for the same documentation, no matter who you are or what type of loan you are getting.
The third step is I'm going to set you up on my website to receive listings on a daily basis. So, what's going to happen is I'm going to set up a search with your criteria in the places that we've talked about, that I think you might like. And then you and I can go in on this website and you can mark properties that you like or don't like. You can ask me questions on there. We can write each other little notes. If I see that you've liked a property online, I'm going to go in and tell you everything that I know about it. Its location. "Hey, it's got a new roof." Or, "Hey, it's in a flood zone. Or, "You told me you want peace and quiet, but this house backs to a highway. Are you going to have a hard time with the traffic noise?" Things like that. That is going to help us narrow down a specific list of properties that you might be interested in.
Number four is the time consuming part for me. Number four is I'm going to go to those properties. If you aren't coming to town, I'm going to go to those properties. I'm going to take my phone and I'm going to walk through those properties and I'm going to shoot some basic video. I'm going to walk through. I'm just going to talk to you in the video.
I'm going to tell you what there is to like, dislike, what looks good, what doesn't. I'm going to point out the things like, "Hey, you told me you want a built-in gas stove. And look, here's a gas stove." Or I'm going to show you a shot of the street so you can see what the other houses around it looked like. I'm going to tell you, "Hey, I passed a grocery store on my way in," or, "Hey, this is really rural. There is nothing for a good 20 to 30 minute drive." All the things that are important, I'm going to try to be your eyes, your ears, and your nose in that property. A video can't tell you if it smells like dog or cigarettes or musty. I'm going to try to do those things for you.
Now, once we have looked at some properties online and I have done a few virtual tours. Few. I'm not going to go out and shoot videos on 25 houses. I'm going to pick the key ones that seem to be the best fit for you. And so when we find one that you like, and we're going to write an offer, it can all be done digitally. So, I'm going to send you the offer. It's a 14-page document that you can hopefully read on a larger screen than your phone. And you can sign it digitally. You don't have to print anything out. And we can talk on the phone while you're signing it so I can explain anything that you need explained. And you will sign digitally and it will automatically come to me. And then I send it on to the other parties involved.
So, you go under contract. You have made it to phase two. Well, number six is you will wire your earnest money or mail a check. And then you will have home inspections. And the home inspectors we use around here, and my favorites, all take a lot of digital photos. And so when they email you the report, it will have photos attached with descriptions. And then they're all nice guys, and they say, "Hey, if you have any questions, give me a call."
Number seven, the last step is a remote closing. So, if you aren't even going to be here to move into your house at closing, if you need to close on it in another state, we can do that. So, the title company here will either hire a remote notary that will come to you, or they will have you go find a notary and they will email you or print out and mail you your documents that you need to sign. And then you meet up with your notary and you sign the documents and you overnight them all back to Oklahoma. And then you set up a wire transfer for the funds that you need to pay at closing to go to the title company. Once the funds are there and you've signed the documents and they're there, they can finally close and consummate the transaction and you will become an Oklahoma homeowner.
And lastly, I just hang on to the keys until you arrive, because I want to finally meet you when you come to Oklahoma. So, if you're ready to talk about buying your home virtually in Oklahoma while you live in another state, give me a call or email me, or leave me a comment here and let's get together and talk. In the meantime, watch this video. It is also about moving to Oklahoma City. I post a video every Friday, so be sure to subscribe to my channel so that next week you can learn and hear more about living in Oklahoma City.

Top 10 Holiday Activities for OKC in 2020

It's the most wonderful time of the year. And if you are spending the most wonderful time of the year in the Oklahoma City Metro area, then hang onto your seats, because I'm about to share with you my Top 10 Christmas Activities for 2020 in the Oklahoma City area. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First. Get your jingle bells and let's go.

So, a lot of Christmas events have been canceled this year, but there are still several great holiday activities for you to participate in with your family and your loved ones this December. So here are my Top 10 Christmas Activities to do with your family.
Number one is go to Automobile Alley. Automobile Alley is a street in downtown Oklahoma City, that's off Northwest, 10th is it West, North 10th and Broadway, and they have done an amazing job with lights for several years now. But specifically on December 12th, from 4:00 to 8:00 PM, they're going to have live music. They're doing window decorations. They have special sales and games and activities for you, if you go shopping on December 12th, but you can drive by any night and enjoy the amazing Christmas lights. So number one, Automobile Alley.
Another great place to go to get you in the Christmas spirit is the Bricktown Canal in downtown Oklahoma City. So if you go to Bricktown there's of course the river and the canal ride, but all the restaurants and all the rails and everything along the canal are decorated with Christmas lights and they give you free canal rides, free boat rides all month long. So, take your family down there. It's something special to do rather than walking as you can ride along the river and see the beautiful Christmas lights. Hear the music, hear the action coming from the restaurants and the shops.
Number three is also in downtown Oklahoma City. It is the Myriad Botanical Gardens. So, at the Myriad Botanical Gardens, the outdoor area is free and it is decorated. They have all kinds of great lights and Christmas decorations out there. The children's garden has a carousel and it is free. You can go any time, take a walk with your family. Lots of great photo ops. Now the indoor botanical garden, the indoor Crystal Bridge, it is open from 9:00 to 5:00 most days. You need to wear a mask and that's kind of one you would do at your own risk, but they're also, if you look it up online for the Myriad Gardens, they are doing special events, like a gingerbread house making class and an evergreen wreath-making class. So, by the way, I'm going to give you links to all of these activities in the YouTube description. So, the websites for all these things, when their addresses is going to be in your YouTube description. So, definitely go check out the outdoor area, take your kids or your girlfriends or boyfriends, and have a romantic evening at the Myriad Gardens.
For those of you who make theater a part of your yearly Christmas traditions, and you're really bummed about that, you can still participate. Our Lyric Theater, Oklahoma City's Lyric Theater is still putting on a Christmas Carol, but instead of doing it at their theater, they're doing it at our Harn Homestead, which is an old mansion, that is a museum and a party venue. It's located near our capital at the Harn Homestead. They are doing the production there. So, in the outdoor area, they have all the seats set up and I think they may be doing like scenes throughout the mansion. So it's outdoors there, it's a Victorian house and they've done it all up with Victorian decor and they are performing it up to the 23rd of December. So if you want to see a Christmas Carol in a totally new and different way, all the details will be in a link on the YouTube description for you to go see a Christmas Carol at an old Victorian mansion. That kind of sounds better than the old version to me. So, I might check in to it.
Number five, is to go visit Scissortail Park in Oklahoma City. Scissortail Park is one of our newest parks in Oklahoma City and is really big. It's a great park. And there's lots of ... there's always food trucks out there, lots of activities going on. Well, they have done it up for Christmas. And depending on the day, Santa's visiting, Elsa is visiting, the Grinch. They have different activities and classes and games. So, you want to check out the website for Scissortail Park and pick a night or a day activity and go check it out. But they have lots of lights and that will definitely help you get in the holiday spirit.
Number six, is the Oklahoma City Ballet's Short and Sweet Nutcracker. So, what they've done, if you traditionally go to the Nutcracker every year with your family, is they have done ... they prepared a shortened version of it, so that there's no intermission. That way when you go in, you can go in safely and there's no mingling, at an intermission. They've picked out their favorite scenes and they will be performing the Short and Sweet Nutcracker. It's December 12th, through December 12th through the 20th. Again, check out the link below. They also are doing it a live virtual performance. So, if you don't feel comfortable going to the theater itself, to the civic center, you can watch it online.
Number seven, is Frontier City's, Frontier Christmas. So Frontier City is an amusement park owned by Six Flags. That's off 122nd and I-35. And they also do tons of lights and decorating. They have live music going most nights. They have a Santa with his mailbox there, so you can put your letter to Santa in the mailbox and it goes directly to him and they have special treats, special activities and games, but lots of those winter holiday treats and hot chocolate and things that you think about at Christmas time. So, Frontier Christmas at Frontier City, all the rides are open. So, if you're into, if you want to do a roller coaster, you can. Otherwise, it's also a lot of fun to just walk around and listen to the music and see the lights.
I'm going to link a few of them together for number eight. If you want a little bit of drive outside of the city. Number eight, is the Festival of Lights in Chickasha. Chickasha is probably ... depending where you are in the city, Chickasha is probably like a 45 minute drive from Oklahoma City, but Chickasha, the town has been doing an amazing light show. Gosh, 25 years, probably. It's drive-thru, I remember in my twenties though, getting out and walking it. But I think you typically drive through and it is scene after scene of beautiful Christmas lights. Not quite as far away is the Yukon Christmas in the Park. And so there's a park in Yukon that every year has Christmas lights. It's been that way for decades, also drive through. And again, I'll have the addresses and the links in the YouTube description. That's number eight, Chickasha and Yukon.
Number nine, is drive through Nichols Hills. Nichols Hills is a city within Oklahoma City on the North side of town. And it is ... well I call it, well it's where my office is. I'm in Nichols Hills right now, but it's kind of old money. A lot of older, big homes built in the '50, '60, '70s. And there's no like official Christmas thing here, but some of the houses in here go all out with Christmas lights. My husband and I have driven through nearly every year that we've known each other. One year, we rented a limo with my family and drove through Nichols Hills. We're planning to take my daughter there this weekend and you just drive up and down the streets of Nichols Hills and especially there's some houses I think on Grand that it's just amazing. I have no idea how much they spent putting these lights on their houses, but they're pretty fantastic. So, number nine is drive through Nichols Hills.
Number 10. So, really the main thing for 2020 to be socially distanced and safe is doing a lot of looking at Christmas lights. And so number 10 is one I just heard about this week that I'm hoping we get to check out, but there is the Downs Family Lights, and they are a house on an acreage in Norman. And they were on, A Great Life from ABC, maybe five years ago, I think, when they first started the show. And so it's one that you drive up to, or you can get out and walk around because they have lights and scenes all across their land.
And so it's really great. It's at 2,900 Southeast 72nd Avenue in Norman. And so I will put the link to that in there as well. Number 10, the Downs Family lights in Norman. Oh, and you know what, if you're going to go to Norman, I saw a thing on Facebook yesterday that Netflix had some sort of contest for decorating a town with lights and Norman was one of the winners. So, I think by this weekend on main street in Norman, Netflix somehow is going to decorate a huge section of main street with lights. So Norman really may be a place to check out this year.
So, if you liked this video, if you like hearing about Oklahoma City and the suburbs such as Edmond, be sure and subscribe to my channel, click that bell so that you can get all the updates of my videos. I post a new video every Friday. If you're planning to move to the Oklahoma City area from out-of-state, give me a call, text me, email me, check out my website, oklahomahomeseller.com. And most of all, have a great holiday season. Go out and check out some Christmas lights. Watch Christmas movies, drink some hot chocolate and let's enjoy the end of 2020. Come back next week for my next video on real estate in Oklahoma.


Top 5 Holiday Activities in Edmond, OK for 2020

Do you need a little Christmas? Are you ready to get into the holiday spirit? Are you going to be in Edmond, Oklahoma sometime in the month of December? Well, let me share with you my top five holiday events that you must participate in to help you get in the Christmas spirit this year. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First. Here are my top five socially distance and affordable Christmas activities in Edmond, Oklahoma. Hey, I'm Natalie with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond, Oklahoma, the suburb just North of Oklahoma City, and I'm sharing with you my top five holiday activities for 2020, starting with my least favorite to my most favorite So be sure and stick around all the way to the end.

Number five. There are a lot of great Christmas light displays all over town. The University of Central Oklahoma has great lights. Spring Creek Shopping Center has great lights. And let's face it this year, we're going to be doing a lot of driving around and looking at lights, because we're socially distanced and we're safe in our cars. So there are a couple of houses that are really well known. There is one, the Miranda family lights. I'll put their address here. But they were actually on the Great Light Fight last year on Channel Five KOCO ABC. They were on there and they are showing their lights every night from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

And it's a seven and a half minute light show. And the cars line up around the corner and you just take turns driving through. And then there's another one in the neighborhood called Castleberry. That's 2508 Northwest 193rd. So basically, if you go on Facebook and you put in "Edmond Christmas lights" you'll get some addresses. There's another one on Teakwood. But basically drive around the shopping centers, drive through Downtown Edmond, go to those two houses and you'll get a great light show.

Number four is the Edmund Ice Rink. It is an outdoor ice rink that is in Mitch Park. Address here, I'll show you. But it's in Mitch Park and it was put up in November, and it lasts through January 4th. Now, I'm not an ice skater. In my dreams I'm an ice skater, but if I actually went out on that ice rink, I would break a hip. But if you like to ice skate, it's fun to do it outside. We don't have enough cold for our ponds and lakes to actually freeze over. So we have these big ice skating rinks that are temporary, that we put outside and they'll hot chocolate and some candy and treats. And it's for people age five and over. $8 to $12 per person, depending on your age and status. And it's usually open from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., but on the weekends till 10:00.

And they have ice skates you can rent starting at size seven for children all the way up to adult size 13. So see, my daughter is a size six, so I am spared one more year before I have to take her to the ice skating rink. Now, Downtown Edmond is this cute little part of town, and if you haven't seen my video on Downtown Edmond, pull it up after this and watch it. It's not quite a Hallmark movie, small town downtown, but it's getting there. They're really working on it and our downtown is really cute. But they go all out because the businesses in Downtown Edmond want you to come shop there at Christmas. So they have fully decorated downtown with lights and Christmas decorations, and then they have all kinds of special events.
So number three is Downtown Edmond. And go just walk around, walk the shops. A lot of them will be serving hot chocolate or cider. Wear your mask, please, if you go in the stores or if there's a lot of people on the sidewalks, wear your masks. On Tuesdays, Citizens Bank in Downtown Edmond is going to have Santa and Mrs. Claus available outside of the bank for you to drive up. And Santa and Mrs. Santa will go car to car where you can roll down your windows, talk to Santa, give him your wishlist, and they will give you some hot chocolate and candy canes. And you can talk to Santa for a few minutes and then he'll move on to the next car. So that's Tuesdays at Citizens Bank.
Frenzy, a new brewery in Downtown Edmond, is having pop-up shops on Wednesdays from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. where other local businesses and vendors will have stuff for sale, and they'll have music and stuff and you can go and hang out. So anyway, walk up and down the streets of Downtown Edmond. Saturdays, they have horse-drawn wagon rides for up to 10 people from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. So come out shopping and then do the wagon ride. It's a lot of fun in Downtown Edmond. I'm going to put links to these websites for you to get more information in the YouTube description.
We are down to my top two. Number two that you must do in Edmond if you're here in the month of December is Luminance: And Enchanted Stroll. And the Edmond Electric Company puts on this great light display. I think this is the third year they've done it. And it's in Mitch Park, and basically it is a walkthrough light display. So on a night that's not too horribly cold or rainy, from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m, you come, you park your car, you get out, and you walk the sidewalk and a section of Mitch Park and they have these great big light displays of Christmas trees, stars, big Christmas balls, Santa Claus, snowmen. I'll show you some really bad pictures that I've taken of my family out there over the last couple of years to give you an idea of what it's like. But it's completely free. It's outdoors. It's really pretty. It's a great place for photo ops. So you must go to Luminance any night between 5:00 and 10:00 p.m. between now and January 4th.
The number one event that you must go to is actually this weekend, December 4th through the 6th, it is Boys Town Ranch Christmas Pageant. So Boys Town Ranch is a neighborhood in Edmond where all the families who live there have foster children, and they do this great Christmas pageant where their front yards are fully decorated and you drive through. So it's completely safe. You drive through, there's narration on your radio and they pretty much give you scenes from the entire life of Jesus. I mean, the kids, the parents, everybody who lives in that neighborhood, they go all out and they do a fantastic Christmas show. And you can drive through. You hear music. It's my favorite thing. And it is this weekend. So if you're seeing this today, it's tonight, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and again, in the YouTube description, I will share with you links to give you information on all five of these great events.
Well, we need a little Christmas so check into these five events and come back next Friday when I share with you some of my favorite holiday events happening all around Oklahoma City, the Metro, the best light displays, things that if you are in Oklahoma City or the surrounding suburbs in the month of December, some great socially distanced activities that you can do with your family to give you some holiday cheer.


Things to Know about Living in Edmond #6: SHOPPING!

Are you considering a move to Edmond, Oklahoma, but you don't really know what it's like and you've never been here? Is there very much to do here? Is there any shopping? Is it convenient? Will it fit my lifestyle? Well, today, I'm going to take you on a quick tour of some of my favorite shopping spots in Edmond. Sure, I can go to lots of places in Oklahoma City, but when I need a quick dose of retail therapy, I don't have to go far. I'm Natalie Bratton with REMAX First, and let me show you just a few of my favorite spots. Get in the car with me and let's go.
So Edmond, Oklahoma, in my opinion, has the most shopping and convenience of any of the Oklahoma City suburbs. Now, when I want to go to a shopping mall or there are some specialty chains and shops I want to go to, I can be in Oklahoma City anywhere from five to 30 minutes, just depending on where I'm going. The Edmond itself has a lot of great shopping. In fact, right now I'm parked outside my favorite go-to spot, Super Target. That's the grocery store and the department store all in one. I mean, anytime you go into Super Target, you're likely to see a mom drinking a coffee, strolling, having a little bit of me time in the beautiful aisles of Target. But I'm here at a shopping center where there's lots of stores on all four sides of the intersection. There's a lot to offer. So I'm going to take you on a tour and show you just a few of my favorite spots.
Thanks for watching. I'm a middle-aged woman, and so the places I've shown you are the places that I shop. If you're younger than me or you're a male, you may have a totally different favorite places you want to go. So hey, in the YouTube comments, give me a comment what's your favorite go-to place, and I will tell you if we have it in Edmond or Oklahoma City. I'm happy to share that with you. And then also in the meantime, watch this video. This is an interview with my friend, Patty, who moved here a few years ago from out of state, and it's her perspective on living in Edmond, Oklahoma, near Oklahoma City. 

Things to Know About Living in Edmond, OK #5

Tour of Downtown Edmond

Are you intrigued with the idea of possibly moving to Edmond, Oklahoma just north of Oklahoma City but maybe you've never been here? What is it really like? Will your family like it? Will it fit your lifestyle? Well, today I'm going to take you on a tour of downtown Edmond. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First. It's a beautiful November day. So let's go.

Downtown Edmond, Oklahoma is this great mix of historic charm dating back to 1889 and modern architecture. In spite of our town's growth and development over the years, they've managed to keep the historic charm and that small town vibe in downtown Edmond. Today, I'm going to show you some of the restaurants, boutiques, businesses, as well as some of the art that's featured all through downtown Edmond. So hop in the car with me. Let's go for a walk on the sidewalk. The sun is shining. It's a great day. Let's go look.
Thanks for going on the tour with me. Come back next Friday when I show you some of my favorite shopping centers in town. And in the meantime, go to this video. This is the first of four videos about living in Edmond. And if you want to know more about real estate, check out my website, oklahomahomeseller.com and, hey, if you like me, subscribe to my channel. It would mean a lot. Thanks.


Can I Buy a New Home in Yukon, OK for $300,000?

In today's video, I'm going to answer three questions you may have asked yourself about homes in Oklahoma. The first question is, have you ever wondered what kind of home you could purchase with $300,000 in the Oklahoma City metro area? The second question is, what do homes look like in Oklahoma City, especially new construction homes? Then thirdly, if you just like to look at pretty homes, then you should stick around and see this video. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First. Let's get started.
Back in February, I have some friends and clients who decided they wanted to custom build their first home in Yukon, Oklahoma. That's the suburb just to the west of Oklahoma City, and there's a lot of great new construction happening in Yukon. So we met with some builders in February, they chose Griffin Homes, and we met with their realtor, Steve, and they picked out the lot, they picked out the floor plan, and then we got started and they got to pick all the colors and they had a budget for lights and fixtures and everything, and they closed on their home this week and they are moving in as you watch this video.
So I wanted to show you if you bought this home today, it would be around $300,000. It is 2,234 square feet. The downstairs is three bedrooms, two bathrooms, plus an office and a gorgeous living area, and then upstairs there's a bonus room and bathroom, and there's a three-car garage. So if you sit back and watch, look at the pictures, watch the video, and see what $300,000 can get you in the Oklahoma City metro area, what new construction homes look like, and then lastly, just feel the joy and pleasure of looking at a beautiful home.
Thanks for watching. For more information, click on the links in the YouTube description below, or feel free to call me or contact me on my website, oklahomahomeseller.com, and come back next Friday when I post my next video.


Old House Renovation Before and After

Do you love a good before and after story? Do you love it when you get to see pictures of a loved but tired and outdated house, and then afterwards see the gorgeous remodel that transformed it into an amazing home? Well, you're in luck because today I'm going to give you just that. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First in Oklahoma City. Stick around because I have a gorgeous house to show you.
Okay friends, what you are about to see is an amazing remodel in Northwest Oklahoma City. A good client of mine needed to sell his mom's house, and it was a nice house, it just hadn't been really remodeled and it was built in 1979. I have another client, Native Roots of Oklahoma, they are a remodeling company here in Edmond and they bought the house and they remodeled it and now we're selling it, we have a very excited buyer under contract and we close in a few weeks. I couldn't let all this go by and not show you the amazing transformation of this home. Check it out.
Thanks for watching, I hope you enjoyed that, I hope it brightened your day. If you want more information about buying a home, selling a home or remodeling a home in the metro Oklahoma City area, get in touch with me at my website or give me a call. I'll talk to you soon.
Hey, by the way, thanks for watching this and, if you want to see more, subscribe to my channel and I post a new video every Friday.


Living in Edmond #4
11 years ago, I moved from Oklahoma City to Edmond, Oklahoma. I really wasn't sure if I was going to like it but 11 years later I am still here and I have fully embraced my suburban life. I drive an SUV and I even serve on the board of the HOA in my neighborhood. I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First of Oklahoma City and this is Episode Number Four of things to know about living in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Edmond, Oklahoma has one of the top Independence Day celebrations in the country. That's right. Can you believe it? In our small suburban town we have one of the top Independence Day celebrations. It's called Liberty Fest and it goes on for several days the first week of July. There is a car show, kite fest, a parade on July 4th morning, and lots of townspeople participate in it.
We have live music in the parks. There's the taste of Edmond where all the local restaurants show up, and for a flat fee you can try food from all the restaurants. There are festivities all week that culminate that evening on July 4th with fireworks in Hafer Park. We didn't get to do it this year because of COVID but they are planning to resume and start doing it again in 2021.
We like to eat here in Oklahoma and Edmond is no exception to that. We love to go out and eat. While I wish I had tried all the new hipster restaurants in Oklahoma City, I often don't venture very far from my house so there are lots of great restaurants. There is a brewery in Edmond. There's some really cool, individually owned restaurants here, not just chains, and all different kinds of food.
There's several Mediterranean restaurants. There's several Asian restaurants, and plus all the burger joints, and chicken joints, and even a really nice French cuisine restaurant so you don't have to go very far to have a nice meal.
If you need access to healthcare, boy, do we have it here. We have a lot of hospitals. Let's see. We have four hospitals and many doctor's offices and clinics, all in Edmond. Then again, 20 to 30 minutes and you're at a major Oklahoma City hospital. You know, it might be five. There's definitely four or five hospitals so if something happens to you, you can get to an ER quick, but you also have plenty of choices for doctors and medical care. Oh, and then there's the heart hospital. Okay. Well regardless, when you get here you will see we have plenty of options for healthcare.
Now, I haven't been on it but we do have public transportation here in Edmond and I believe it's free. I need to look that up before I report on that one. Public transport. There's a bus stop right at the end of my neighborhood. I believe it's free to ride the bus so if you are a senior citizen and you don't want to drive places anymore, then if there's a bus stop near where you live then it'll take you to the, on the routes to the grocery store or wherever you need to go.
Thanks for watching. For more information on living in Edmond, come back next Friday when I post Episode Number Five. In the meantime, watch this video, Episode Number One, and then number two, and then number three. For more information, you can also check out my website, Oklahomahomeseller.com. Thanks.


Living in Edmond, OK #2
Are you considering relocating to Edmond, Oklahoma? I'm Natalie Bratton with RE/MAX First and this is episode two of my videos about living in Edmond. I'm going to share with you five great things to know about Edmond, Oklahoma.
Edmond, Oklahoma is a great place to retire. I know many senior citizens here in Edmond and for them it is a great place to live. The Edmond Senior Center is a great facility at Mitch Park that's connected to Edmond Parks and Recreation and the Edmond Senior Center has fitness classes at a low price. They haven't this year because of the virus but they usually serve lunch every day for, like, four bucks or 3.50, something that's really affordable.
They have people that go hang out there every day. There's a library with a fireplace, there's computers there, and there's volunteers from the local university that come and help people learn how to use their phones, their iPads, and their laptops, so they can help you keep up with technology. They have a great staff who are a lot of fun. There's people that go up there every day and play pool. There are groups of people who play cards, read books. There's a knitting group, volunteers, they take field trips.
The Senior Center is a pretty cool place so if you are retiring and moving to Edmond you should definitely check it out. Parks and Recreation is next door. Parks and Recreation has a lot of great activities during the school year and the summer for kids and adults so if you're looking for something extra to do or you want to learn how to do pottery, or if you want to learn, I don't know, they have all kinds of classes, dance classes, just there's a lot of fun things they do there. They're pretty affordable and they're offered from the city of Edmond.
Edmond is full of beautiful neighborhoods so whether you're looking for a 1200 square foot house or a 4000 square foot house we have a bunch of beautiful neighborhoods. The east side has a lot of trees and is a little bit less flat than the west side. The west side has large properties on half acres, full acres, small lots, cool architecture, some modern, some more traditional ranch style houses.
A lot of neighborhoods here have a small HOA, that's a homeowner's association, so that your neighborhood can have a playground and a swimming pool, and some of them are gated. There are some more retirement-type communities where the HOA pays for your lawn care so, depending on what it is you're looking for, we have all different kinds of styles, and ages, and types of neighborhoods for you to live in.
Downtown Edmond has really bloomed and become great over the last few years, not just with retail but for years it's where we have a farmer's market every Saturday under a pavilion, and I hear it's a good one. It's in the morning and I'm not a morning person and so I have never made it to the farmer's market but I really would like to, I would like to make it sometime.
Oklahoma is filled with fabulous golf courses and Edmond is no exception. Probably our best public golf course is called KickingBird, and then there are two major country clubs, one used to be called Fairfax, now it's the Golf Course of Oklahoma. They're a little cocky. "We're the Golf Course of Oklahoma." A nice golf course. Then, there's another one that is two courses and that's called Oak Tree. Oak Tree has had PGA tournaments there in the past so there's three right there, three great golf courses. If you love to play golf, schmooze with clients on the golf course, you have three great options just right there, not counting all the ones that surround Edmond and are in Oklahoma City.
We have two great tennis complexes, one on the east side of Edmond and one on that is brand new on the west side of Edmond. If you love tennis, I honestly don't know a ton of tennis players but apparently they're around because we have two fantastic tennis complexes.
Thanks for watching. If you want to see more, check out this video. This is Episode Number One about living in Edmond. Come back next Friday for Episode Three where I share more great things about living in Edmond, Oklahoma. Bye.


Reasons to Live in Edmond, OK

Edmond, Oklahoma is a medium-sized town. It's a suburb just north of Oklahoma City. It is a fantastic place to live. I've lived here now for almost 11 years and I'm excited to share with you some of the great things about living in Edmond. Check it out.
Edmond, Oklahoma is a medium-sized town that is just over 90,000 people, and we are, what is it? Oh, it's about 85 square miles, is how large it is. And I will admit, when I was young I did not want to live in Edmond. I was really hip and cool and young and single, didn't have kids, and I went out on the weekends and so I was not ready for suburban life. So, if that sounds like you, if you're 25 and childless, this video is probably not for you and you may not want to live in Edmond. But for the rest of you, let me tell you all about suburbia.
I love living in Edmond. It is just north of Oklahoma City. So, commuting is really easy for most people that live in Oklahoma City. See we have four highways that connect to Edmond. On the east end of Edmond, there's I-35 that runs north and south. If you work at Tinker Air Force Base or in downtown Oklahoma City, or if you work north in Guthrie or Stillwater, I-35 gives you a quick commute. In the middle of Edmond is Highway 77. We call it Broadway extension. It takes you straight into downtown Oklahoma City. And then on the west side, there's Highway 74, which we call Hefner Parkway, and it takes you down into Oklahoma City as well. And along the south is the Kilpatrick Turnpike, which goes east to west. So, really for most people who live in Edmond, our commutes are less than 30 minutes. We tend to say everything takes 20 minutes depending on where you're going. Most likely your commute will be 30 minutes or less.
So, what causes a lot of people to move from the city up to Edmond is when they become parents and they want their kids to go to public schools. Edmond public schools and Deer Creek schools are award-winning, highly revered and considered two of the best school districts in our state. So a lot of people move here when it's time for their kids to go to school. So if you research Edmond schools or Deer Creek schools, you will see that they have great results, great test scores, a lot of great teachers who are doing an amazing job this year juggling a virtual school and part-time school.
Now I'm a city girl. I love convenience. And so I love that I can pull out of my neighborhood and be to a shopping center within minutes, that I don't have to go very far to do anything. I have access to so many different grocery stores. I mean, let's see, within just a few minutes of my house there's a neighborhood Walmart, a Super Walmart, a Homeland, Super Target, Sprouts, ALDI, Crest, natural grocers and another Walmart neighborhood market. So as far as groceries go, I have almost everything. The only thing we don't have in Edmond is Trader, Oh, and there's Uptown Grocery. I forgot about Uptown. It's a pretty cool grocery store. The only thing we don't have is Whole Food and Trader Joe's, but it's right by my office, 20 minutes into the city. So groceries are not a problem. Shopping, there's a lot of great boutiques and locally owned stores, as well as all the big chains. So shopping is not a problem. I have relatives and friends who live in other suburbs around Oklahoma City, which are great, but none of them have the retail that we have an Edmond.
Edmond is one of the safest cities in our country. Our crime rates are 30% less than the national average. So the people here are pretty cool and our police department does a pretty good job of maintaining law and order. So the cost of housing here in Edmond is higher than the other suburbs around Oklahoma City. However, the cost of living in Edmond is 5% lower than the average for the country. And housing prices in Edmond are lower than probably where you're coming from if you're coming from another major town. So 5% less than the average means if you could get a burger in Washington for $9, here you'll get it for free.
In Edmond, we also have over 20 parks that are owned by the city, and many of them have walking trails. The two biggest are Hafer Park and Mich Park. Hafer's my favorite. It's by my house. It has a duck pond. It has several pavilions and plenty of picnic tables, playgrounds. It's just gorgeous has trees. And I love to go over there and just relax. Mitch Park is a huge park. Also, a lot of people go there and jog. It's where Edmond Parks and Recreation is located, the Senior Center. And one of the YMCAs. The trail at Oklahoma Christian University is a great one as well. Also, has a duck pond. And a lot of people love to go over there and ride their bikes or walk. So we have a few dog parks as well. So if you want to get outdoors, see some trees and some grass and some ducks and geese, squirrels, if you just need to breathe some fresh air, we have 20 great parks for you to see. We have a park in downtown Edmond. That is the Shannon Miller Park that has a beautiful sculpture of Shannon Miller. She was a gold medalist in us gymnastics in 1992. And she's from here, so we have a statue in her honor.
Speaking of statues over the last several years, Edmond has done a lot, the city has done a lot to just make our town beautiful. We have art on many corners, especially around downtown Edmond. There are sculptures all around and I can hopefully show you some pictures of some, but we have sculptures on many corners. And as you walk through downtown Edmond, you'll see several. They're in front of the library, they're at some of the parks, just to enhance the look of our town. There are on the side of some buildings in downtown Edmond that have big murals painted on them. And so they're just bringing art and joy into downtown Edmond.
If you want to know more about living in Edmond, Oklahoma, then subscribe to my channel. This is the first video in a series about the town of Edmond. And I'll be sharing with you the things that I like and some of the places, and I'll be interviewing some of my friends who also live here so that you can get a good idea of what it would be like to live in Edmond. Thanks for watching. Now for more information on living in Oklahoma, watch this video.

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, Oklahomahomeseller.com 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, oklahomahomeseller.com 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: https://www.oklahomahomeseller.com/ https://www.facebook.com/brattongroup/

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, oklahomahomeseller.com. 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:
http://chadbratton.com/  at Fairway IMC
https://cearley.firstunitedteam.com/  This is Cari at First United Bank.
https://www.houseloan.com/willkoenig/   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: https://youtu.be/5HT6EG1GoyQ


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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