If you're wishing Santa puts a new abode under the tree in Tulsa, now is a perfect time to get prepared for what happens next--once he is up the chimney you're on your own for mortgages and moving. Even if you've bought a home previously, it's not a bad notion to freshen up on your home buying and moving skills so when the time comes, you maneuver it like a pro.
Financial Check-Up in Tulsa
First, get your finances in order. Unless you are paying cash for a home, you will need a mortgage. While mortgage lending rules have slackened some recently, you'll still want to have all your financial matters organized and tidy before you discuss anything with a loan officer (even a virtual one). Get a copy of your credit report to assure you haven't been a victim of identity theft, and make sure all your bills have been paid on time. If you see something that doesn't appear right, contact the credit reporting agency to report erroneous information.
It is always a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. In some regions of the country the real estate market never slows down, and you should be ready to make an offer on a residence when you find it. Anymore, a lot of sellers won’t even look at an offer without a pre-approval from a lender. Don't muddle up a pre-approval with a pre-qualification; the pre-approval shows that your credit and income are already okay--sometimes already underwritten--with the lender, you just need to find a residence. A pre-qualification says that they looked at your credit report and if all other factors line up then they will consider a loan.
You want it all in your new home—the best schools, outdoor kitchen, open floor plan, modern landscaping, privacy, friendly neighbors, and low real estate taxes. Most likely you're going to need to make one or two adjustments somewhere, so go ahead and assemble your wants list and your needs list, and look at where the two intersect. Regardless of your budget you're not going to get all of the things that you want, so focus on your needs. If you need to be in a certain school district, or you need to be within a radius of the airport, or you have five kids and need lots of bedrooms, those non-negotiables need to be at the top of your list. House-hunting is the ultimate Goldilocks experience, so don't even bother with houses that are too big or tiny, too far off the beaten track, or out of your price range.
It should go without saying, but needs to be said anyway, that your significant other should be on the same page with the needs and the wants. If you want a large yard and your spouse would be happy with a high-rise, work out those specifics before your realtor turns into a marriage counselor.
A Great Real Estate Agent in Tulsa
A great real estate agent is not the one who is a "million-dollar producer" (this could mean she sold ten houses in ten years) or whose ads are all over billboards. A great realtor is the one that you feel like you can develop a solid working relationship with--after all, you are going to be spending a lot of time together, and she will be helping you through a large financial transaction. Find someone who's easy to talk to, that you can trust, and who really listens to what you're saying--if your limit is $350,000, she should respect that.
Your task when you're interviewing realtors is to be truthful about your budget and your expectations. If you have been pre-approved for $600,000, do not squander your time or your realtor's searching for houses in the $700,000s. If you're relocating and have one weekend to house hunt, make arrangements so that your realtor has blocked out the time just for you.
The internet makes house hunting less difficult, you might find yourself falling in love and making an offer sight unseen. If that is the case, ask Santa to put some boxes under the tree.