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We are in the processing of transferring this blog to another web platform. For techie gurus....we are moving to a wordpress platform. It is going to take time. Along, with all the other technological advances we are making with our site. What that means is, its going to be a little "ugly" for awhile during these transitions. 

We realized there is still a need for our informational blog post and didn't want to let the consumer down while we "dress it up." The content is the same and just going to get better. In the meantime, we're between two blogs, and so forth.  Please be patient with us. We're working as logistically quickly as possible. This site will still remain live but all new blog post will be at Real Estate. Reimagined. 

 
 
S. Walker & Co.'s founder/broker's presentation at the Oklahoma State Capitol interim study, IS 13-016, "Basements and High Wind Resistant Structure." 
As you may already know, we were the only Real Estate Brokerage firm invited to participate in this interim study at the Oklahoma State Capitol. We considered it an honor and our civic duty. This presentation is and will continue to evolve beyond basements as more opportunities to present become necessary. It was a specifically requested topic for the initial interim study and worked in conjunction with other presentations in establishing a need to look at our overall construction of homes and schools in Oklahoma. 

The interim study determines if the Legislatures want to move forward with possible statewide policy changes; which is the next step if they deem it necessary. There are so many components to this interim study; beyond just basements. Our Marketing Report was to demonstrate, YES THERE IS A DEMAND from the consumer.

We believe the consumer wants choices. To include basements and wind proofing construction features that they're not being offered from the mass majority of Real Estate industry service providers; whether that be real estate agents, sales reps or builders.

We were told by another presenter that consumers "Are being given choices and want granite counter-tops over basements." We at S. Walker & Co. respectfully disagree. If the consumer is educated to focus on what elements they cannot change when building a home versus what elements they can (ie: basements vs cosmetic upgrades) we think 25-50% of consumers would choose differently. Many consumers are told in Oklahoma that "Basements cannot be built" and never given a choice. Our local MLS doesn't allow the input of features such as basements or storm shelters for Realtors® to choose when entering a listing or for consumers when searching for a home. The data is simply not there to search.

Media from all over the world had one similar question during May's storms this year, "Why doesn't Oklahoma have basements and build homes that are tornado resistant? If California/Japan can build homes/buildings that are earthquake resistance, and Miami/Houston can build homes/buildings that are hurricane resistant then why can't Oklahoma build tornado resistant homes? Why do we keep building houses the same way and letting them get blown apart over and over?" They asked this because construction, engineering and technology has caught up and we're not using it. The insurance companies are asking the same questions; take a look at our rising premiums and deductibles for less coverage. We use to rank #25-26 in affordability of homeowners/auto insurance. We're now #3-4 in the most expensive states to insure. 

This isn't just about F5 tornadoes. Those are extremely rare.  Engineering has progressed to better withstand high winds and the engineers, architects and contractors during the interim study produced scientific and empirical evidence, demonstrating Oklahoma is way behind the times in construction materials in regards to high winds. For example, we have homes blown apart by EF1's because the garage door is cheap thin metal. Walk down the street of any tornado stricken community and the first thing blown in is the garage door. When the garage door fails it can then ultimately cause the house to explode. A house that otherwise could easily withstand an EF1-2 and maybe a 3; which we do frequently experience in Oklahoma. We have no building standard for garage doors. Tie backs on roofs; same thing. Simple, easy, effective and we're not doing it. The mass majority of our tornadoes and damage caused by tornadoes in Oklahoma aren't from EF5s and indisputably those do obliterate everything in their path and may God have mercy when they blow through! Best to be underground.

Below is a picture of a home struck by a EF1 tornado (wind speeds). 
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Simply put, they just don't. The top three reasons I hear in regards to why people in Oklahoma don't have basements are, because there is too much ground water, there is too much clay in the soil, and lastly, because there is no value from the real estate aspect. All of which is true but these are not the real reasons we don't have basements in Oklahoma.


 
 
 
 
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Oklahoma City homeowners wanting to save money on their electric and gas bill by making their home more energy efficient can apply for a green home loan offered through the City of Oklahoma City. The green loans are offered to Oklahoma City residents whose household income is $100,000 or less. Residents have up to 36 months to pay back their loan, which can be up to $10,000.


 
 
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Physician, dentist and pharmacist's real estate loan products are designed to meet the unique needs of these respected career paths; with special underwriting guidelines in regards to student loans (income to debt ratio). I will be specifically addressing the real estate loan needs of physicians in this blog post. However, there are mortgages targeted at dentists 


 
 
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 It all depends on who wants to know. The tax assessor? The insurance agent? The banker? Or, are you going to try to sell it (market value)? The different values placed on a property by the respective parties often confuse home owners and/or prospective buyers. If you've bought or sold a home recently, you probably noticed the real estate agent, insurance agent, tax assessor and bank all had a different idea of it's TRUE value.



 
 
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Abandoned oil well and natural gas sites on private land in Oklahoma is a huge problem. It devalues land and can be a serious safety and environmental hazard. Most people who own land with these abandoned sites have no idea there is a state agency that will PAY FOR FREE  to clean up the orphaned well sites from years past and restore the land to it's natural beauty and make it useful again.


 
 
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The public is slammed with real estate agent claims of being top producers, number one in sales or bragging about being the LARGEST real estate agency. Even better, how about those Readers Choice Awards? It is simply fascinating how much the world likes to award and acknowledge themselves. Don't believe me? Just turn on the tv and watch the people giving each other statues because of all the awesome sauce dripping off of one another. Reality is it's no guarantee of service or performance.


 
 
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Money can't buy you love but it sure can buy you a beautiful and luxurious home in Oklahoma City. 48 homes over the $1 million dollar mark sold in the metro last year. If you think about it, that is almost 1 one million dollar home a week! Here are the top 10 most expensive:


 
 
Relocating to Oklahoma City? Take this short tour of our city. Already live in Oklahoma City? Remind yourself of all how wonderful it is to live here.
 
 
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Big props to the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division!!!! When I first relocated to OKC, I was shocked to learn there were no free spay or neuter locations in the metroplex. Only a couple of discounted locations. That all changed this last weekend when I ran into a great group of volunteers and employees with the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division at a local pet store. They were promoting this new program and I'd like to help them do that......


 
 
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Does your agent have a ton listings? Really advertise themselves well? Are they good looking and charismatic? Fun to look at houses with? Did you sign the listing agreement or write a contract and they seem to have disappeared? If you answer, 'yes,' then you have a stealth real estate agent. Congratulations! They are the best! Not. In our business we call these guys stealth agents because before the ink dries they disappear. Just as quickly as they swept you off your feet, they're gone. You have to ask yourself, if you can't get a hold of your Realtor then who else can't either?


 
 
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I am asked on a frequent basis which is better, 'to sell a house vacant or occupied?' The rule of thumb has always been that houses show better occupied than vacant. However, I can give you many cases in which the seller's occupancy hurt the sell more than it helped and other cases where the sellers decorating forte sold the house.  Ultimately, buyers pay for what they can see and when you sell a home vacant the defects & dirt become more obvious. Sometimes, sellers have no or little choice whether or not to sell occupied vs vacant, due to their circumstances. Here is a list of general do's and don'ts if you must sell your home vacant.


 
 
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This has been another incredibly great year for my real estate business, in terms of growth and relationships. As the year comes to a close, I'd like to thank all of my clients for their loyalty, referrals and good will. There are several main themes I saw in Oklahoma City real estate for 2012. 


 
 
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I recently read a blog that really disturbed me and exemplified the attitude a lot of showing agents have out there; they don't feel giving feedback to a seller after a showing is their job.


 
 
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It's TOUGH but not impossible. Buyers hear about it, but until they experience it, nothing can prepare them for the current lending climate.


 
 
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Sometimes it's not necessary to negotiate to get a great deal on a house. What I'm about to tell you will go against all your friend's advice and possibly some real estate agents too.


 
 
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You've seen HDR (high dynamic range) photography whether you realize it or not. HDR photography can look more like a portrait than a photograph and it is beautiful. But, will it sell your house?  


 
 
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Do sellers pay the buyer's closing cost or is it really the buyer paying it? I constantly hear buyers say, "I've heard Sellers should be expected to pay my closing cost." or "My lender said, 'Have the seller pay your closing cost."  


 
 
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Want to make  a real estate agent (or any licensed professional) cringe? Begin a sentence with, "My friend said....." You've decided to buy or sell real estate and admit you know nothing about the process. Who do you go to first? Most go to their friends and depending on your friends you might gain an enormous amount of insight and/or a great referral source for a Realtor. However, at a certain point seeking their advice is a dangerous zone to enter.


 
 
 
 
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Sellers, buyers, builders and agents have a lot at stake when it comes to commissions. The topic of real estate commissions is a contentious subject from all points of view in real estate. Greed and myths abound around commissions.


 
 
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Periodically, a seller thinks they want to sell their house and then gets cold feet, reasons for moving fall through or they just change their mind for whatever reasons and decide they don't want to sell. This remorse can occur during the middle of a contract with a buyer and/or during the listing agreement with an agent. Buyers and agents have very little empathy for a seller who waste a lot people's time and investment. Since, real estate is unique, seller's can be sued for specific performance by buyers in contract or their listing agent for commissions. It's best to avoid the situation all together. Don't list your home for sale unless you plan on selling it. It is pointless and rude to do otherwise.