LightI have what I call first time home buyer’s disease.

I don’t know what I’m doing and I know I sound like an idiot at times when talking to my mortgage lender and insurance agent.

We laugh about it now.

The hunt for my first home has definitely been an adventure. I’ve seen strange things.

Take the picture on the left (for example). I admire the creativity with the kitchen light, but the idea failed when executed.

Beyond the light and the laundry room is the master bedroom. Is that weird to anyone else?

In another home, the master was the first room to the left… right off of the entryway.

I guess that would be great if the house was on fire.

I digress.

I’ve owned a home before as a married couple. Now I’m single and ready to take the next step, but worry about money and time.

I started out hell-bent on a condo. Life is too busy to worry about taking care of a lawn and other outside chores on my own.

Then, I learned that the condo fees could be just as high as the mortgage and buying a home could actually be less expensive.

Plus, many of the condos lacked charm on the outside. I can’t DIY an entire complex!

I set off last weekend to look at houses and ran into another problem. The homes in the desirable parts of town are huge.

Teeny (my little doggie) and I don’t need a five-bedroom house. I don’t want to clean it either. And it would take forever to furnish and decorate to my expectations.

I also worry about the neighborhood and crime. I’ve been a news reporter for years, so I tend to follow the trends.

That may sound like an advantage, but I question each area constantly. A neighborhood can do downhill fast.

Fortunately, I have a great realtor who also works in news part-time.

“You’re generally not going to find an agent that’s really going to want to comment on the crime,” said Bert Williams.

Home7Your local police website is a great place to start.

“You can look on there and find out what kind of crime has been happening in that area.”

I even signed up for weekly emails on the area I live in now.

In my city, the charming smaller homes are usually closer to the higher crime neighborhoods.

I want my neighbors to take pride in their houses and keep them clean.

“There’s the key. It’s a plus minus. You’ve got to figure out what’s important to you because generally that condo fee buys you a certain amount of freedom.”

Many people I talk to in other parts of the U.S and the world think I’m nuts for living in Oklahoma because of the tornadoes.

Homeowners have to think about that too. Is there a storm shelter at the home or nearby?

One aspect of buying a home that is on my side…. cost of living.

“We’re really spoiled. We don’t really realize that the value in Tulsa, and in Oklahoma, for what you pay is one of the best in the nation. We have some of the lowest gas prices and we have some of the lowest cost per square foot for homes.”

We had a blast looking at large homes and small condos. Click play below to hear Bert’s advice as we travel around the city on a rainy day.

In the news biz, we hear horrible neighbor stories too. Just this week I did a story about a neighbor who cemented concrete blocks to half of a homeowner’s driveway after a land dispute.

I talked to the couple who lived in the home I have my eye on and could tell they honestly loved the neighbors and would miss them.

You also have to think about expenses you didn’t expect. Here’s a great blog post on the topic.

Bert and I are giving an offer on this house this week. At least I don’t have to worry about selling a current home… until next time. Whew!

 

 

I may just end up renting for the rest of my life. I haven’t even mentioned what lurks under the surface and in the pipes. Stay tuned.

My Must Have List

  • Open layout
  • Vaulted or high ceilings
  • Two bathrooms, one in master bedroom
  • Two bedrooms or three if no room for hobby room
  • Large closets
  • Small yard
  • Safe neighborhood
  • Close to stores
  • Opportunity to increase value
  • Clean
  • No power lines in yard or connected to house
  • Trees

 

My Can Live with…. For a While List

  • Carpet
  • Ugly paint or wallpaper
  • Outdated appliances
  • Popcorn ceiling
  • Garage
  • Fireplace
  • Outdated lighting
  • Patio deck
  • Security system
  • Basement/storm shelter

 

Here are some valuable tips from Bret Close with Elite Financial on what not to do while you’re looking for your new home:

  1. Don’t buy or trade a vehicle.
  2. Don’t increase debt balances or let current accounts fall behind.
  3. Don’t spend money you have set aside for closing.
  4. Don’t omit debts or liabilities from your loan application.
  5. Don’t buy furniture or appliances or make a new credit application.
  6. Don’t originate credit inquiries (no new loans, credit cards, or lines of credit).
  7. Don’t make large deposits or transfer funds.
  8. Don’t charge bank accounts.
  9. Don’t co-sign any loan.
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