Buying a home in Oklahoma City is more than looking at exteriors and envisioning how your furniture will look in the various rooms; it’s about figuring out the blend of location and logistics that will make your new home the staging base for your life.
In many happy cases, an individual, couple, or family will come across a structure that speaks to them, in a spot that’s perfectly located between friends, family and jobs, and all that’s left to do is make an offer and move in.
But for the majority of new home-seekers, it’s a little more complicated.
In the Oklahoma City metro area, there have been an explosion of new districts and neighborhoods in the last couple of decades. Improvements to the downtown area and its environs have meant increased traffic and interest in staying close versus moving out to the suburbs, resulting in a rich and varied smorgasbord of domestic choices, for the house hunter.
Certain historic areas been revamped (such as Deep Deuce), others have experienced steady and almost continual popularity (Crown Heights), and some have popped up with a new look and new designation. (Like the trendy SoSA…South of Saint Anthony area).
It may seem as simple as looking through listings and taking drives out to look at prospective homes, but many a regret can be forestalled by a little thought and planning about your future digs.
Some points to ponder, about your new home’s location:
- Affordability. While it is worth it to make a significant investment in your home, it shouldn’t be a struggle to make ends meet. Falling in love with a house you envision “growing into” financially may result in heartbreak after a few years, if you don’t have the means to make it fully happen in the present.
- School District. One of the major reasons for home location with families, it’s not something to sneeze at if you’re single or childless, either; this could make or break your home’s resale value in the future, should you need to move.
- Neighbors. Not just the human kind—take a walk or drive in a one mile radius around your ideal domicile, and see what you see. A few trips at different times of the day and night should give you an idea of what kind of activity you can expect around you, and the possible noise level. Is there a neighborhood organization? Rules you’ll be expected to follow? Or a lack of rules that might affect your surroundings? Are the things you’ll need—groceries, etc.—within a reasonable distance?
- Commutes. It may seem worth it now, but will a drive of more than one hour get old after several months? If you have long periods of sitting in traffic, will you be facing into the sun at the beginning or end of a long day?
- Time. Specifically, the passage of time in your chosen area up to this point, and also what the future holds. Is it an area that holds the promise of more development? Is that something you’ll welcome, or regret?
Depending on your priorities, other factors will figure in as well. How important is access to certain activities, or culture? Is the crime rate a big deal? (If it is, consider speaking to your local police department, instead of relying solely on websites that spout statistics; sometimes reports that cover a certain zip code may only apply to a small area, or not give specifics about the types of crimes committed.) If you entertain a lot, parking is a consideration in particular areas of the metro, where space is at a premium, and while progress on improving our city’s walkability is moving forward, certain amenities are going to be difficult to access during ongoing construction projects.
Historical neighborhoods may have limitations on the types of improvements that homeowners can enact, so be sure to ask plenty of questions and find out specifics if you’re thinking that you like an old cottage’s charm but are envisioning certain remodeling projects. Conversely, areas like SoSA where there are a few architecturally experimental houses now may have more and more crop up in the future, and you might not be thrilled with the type of development that happens. Investigating plans for improvement will yield you some information, but the fact remains that undeveloped areas are places where almost anything can happen.
If the process seems overwhelming, don’t forget that a good realtor can not only help you find houses with the square footage you want, they know the layout of their territory, and are well equipped to guide you through the stages of figuring out exactly what you need, and where it might be found. Contact the team at OKC House Company for help finding your dream home and neighborhood.