Ringing in the New Year with a New House in Tulsa

New Home for New Years

If you're wishing Santa leaves a new abode under the tree in Tulsa, now is a good time to get prepared for what happens next--once he's up the chimney you are by yourself for mortgages and moving. Even if you have purchased a residence previously, it's not a bad idea to freshen up on your home buying and moving skills so when the time comes, you maneuver it like a professional.

Financial Check-Up in Tulsa

First, get your finances in order. Unless you're paying cash for a home, you'll need a mortgage. While mortgage lending rules have loosened a bit recently, you will still need to have all your money matters organized and tidy before you sit down with a loan officer (even a virtual one). Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure you haven't been a victim of identity theft, and double check that all your bills have been paid on time. If you see something that doesn't appear true, contact the credit reporting agency to report wrong information.

It is definitely a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. In some parts of the country the real estate market never slows down, and you need to be ready to make an offer on a house when you discover it. These days, a large number of sellers will not even entertain an offer without a pre-approval from a lender. Don't confuse a pre-approval and 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 house. A pre-qualification shows that they looked at your credit report and if all other factors line up then they will consider a loan.

I Want....

You want it all in a new residence—the best schools, outdoor kitchen, open floor plan, modern landscaping, privacy, friendly neighbors, and low real estate taxes. It is likely that you're going to need to make some concessions somewhere, so go ahead and compile your wants list and your needs list, and see where the two intersect. Regardless of your budget you're not going to get every last thing 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 should be at the top of your list. House-hunting is the ultimate Goldilocks experience, so don't even bother with houses that are too large or small, too far off the beaten track, or too much money.

It should go without saying, but needs to be said anyway, that your significant other must agree 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 little details before your realtor turns into a marriage counselor.

A Great Real Estate Agent in Tulsa

A wonderful 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 comfortable working relationship with--after all, you're going to be spending a lot of time together, and she will be helping you through a large financial transaction. Look for 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 responsibility when you are interviewing realtors is to be honest about your budget and your expectations. If you have been pre-approved for $600,000, do not waste your time or your realtor's looking at 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 weekend just for you.

The internet makes house hunting less difficult, you may find yourself falling in love and making an offer sight unseen. In that case, ask Santa to put some boxes under the tree.