Should I Buy or Rent?

This seams like a simple question, but yet it has so many answers!  The answer that is right for you depends on your situation.  If you are planing on moving to another town within 2 years, renting is a better option for you.  If you have found a city that you are looking for a long term investment in and wanting to build equity, then a home purchase is more for you.

So let’s consider a few things:  Renting…. This a good option for when you first move to a new town, trying to pick an area you like, or just not sure where to purchase.  You have a short term commitment, usually 6, 12 or 24 months.  Renting also offers a more “free to move” approach.  It costs a lot more to move and sell once you have purchased a home.  Now that we have thought about time, let’s consider location.  Location includes 2 parts: where the complex or house you are renting is located and where within a unit or neighborhood.  Most apartment rentals are in higher traffic and sometimes higher crime areas, check your local crime reports before you move into one.  A home that you are renting can be located anywhere in a town, and you should still check with crime rates and neighborhoods to make sure it is a match for your needs.  If you choose a place that has neighbors as close as the other side of the wall, don’t forget you have sound and smells that sometimes travel between walls.  If you play in a rock band and they meet at your place, might want to opt for NOT an apartment complex.  Then there is cost, the cost of a rental is usually higher than a purchase.  To rent a stand alone home is typically more per month than the apartment option.  Last but not least consider the size.  If you have a large family or want to entertain a lot, homes are normally better suited for that.  Now some complexes have club houses and neighborhood pools and other “entertaining” options.

Now for a Purchase….  A home is a more long term investment and you can do more things with a home.  Now that yo have chose a place to live and want to be there for a few years or more a home is a great option.  As a home owner, no one can tell you what to do or not to do to your home.  If you want to paint a bedroom or add a new dishwasher, you don’t have to wait to get the land lords approval because you’re it!  On the flip side to that, if something breaks, it’s your job to fix it.  People that own a home typically take better care of it than a renter would.  A neighborhood with a higher percentage of owner occupants is usually better kept and nicer.  Like with any place you choose to live, rent or buy, you want to check the crime rates and other issues that may effect your decision to live somewhere.  Since the cost to pay a mortgage is dramatically different for the space you get for renting, this makes home ownership a big PLUS!  Especially with interest rates as low as they are now and have been over the last year or so, it makes it a great time to buy.  A renter does not build equity of have any equity in their place like a home owner does.  This means that when they go to sell, they not only get what they paid for it, but usually make a little money as well (depending on the time they buy or sell and the market conditions of each).  I’m sure I have left off some other great reasons to own a home, so here are a few of my favorites: A place to have a garden, a yard for the dogs, neighbors to get to know (hopefully you like some of them), freedom to do what you want when you want inside the privacy of your home and MY PLACE TO CALL HOME!

No matter which you choose, it should be right for you and your family.  As a REALTOR, I love to see the look on a buyer’s face when they find that perfect place to call home!  It’s pretty amazing that sometimes they just “know”.  It’s not like that for everyone, and it might not be that way for you so don’t wait for the absolute perfect place.  I find that most buyers give you a list of A,B,C and sometimes end up buying C,D,E.  It’s just the way it works.  The key is knowing what you want verses what you need and having an educated REALTOR to help you through the process.

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How to choose a real estate professional?

I have been a Realtor for almost 14 years now and last few years training real estate and technology. There is a misconception about real estate agents. Some people think that all we do is put a huge on the market and show people houses, but real estate is much more than that! First, real estate is a local market and takes a lot of knowledge to keep up with the changing markets. Finding the right real estate profession is an important part of the process of buying or selling a home. A REALTOR for example, has an additional duty to have “ethics”, but a standard license does not. There are also different levels of knowledge. Depending on your state would depend on the titles they give it. For example in Oklahoma, an associate that has not completed their post 45 hours of education is a provisional associate. Just because an agent is new, does NOT mean that they can not do everything a sales associate can, because they can! Sometimes the new associates are the most eager to get the job done and they may not have has many clients, so they may have more time to devote to you. Sales associates can be in the business for any numb of years and have a rage of designations and knowledge base. A broker associate in Oklahoma means that they have take more education and passed an additional, 6 hour test, have been an active associate for at least 2 years and are now qualified to open their own company. A Broker is expected to have a high amount of knowledge because of this additional education and there for held to a higher standard by the real estate commission.
As a Broker associate, I have no desire to open my own company, I work in partnership with the best possible company around, so why change what’s not broke. Seriously though, it is nice to have more information and really get more deep into knowing the business side of real estate.
Aside from the these distinctions there are other types of designations like ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), GRI (Graduate REALTOR Institute), CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), CRM (Certified Residential Manager), and many more.
In my opinion, the best way to chose your REALTOR is to interview the agent and make sure they are a fit for your real estate needs. If you don’t feel they are right for you, then interview another one.
There is my real estate tip for now, look for more soon.
Carolyn Thompson, ABR
REALTOR Broker Associate
Keller Williams Realty

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A Digital Real Estate World

With the invention and practical use of the iPad, it is changing the face of the way we do our real estate business. Since Oklahoma is one of the states that has not approved e-signatures, we are limited in some ways. That being said, the iPad offers a new way with technology that is not an e-signature, but it is digital. With the help of Apps, paperless becomes easier every day!

When writing a contract you can use Zipforms ($9.99 per year), to add contracts and forms and then fill in most of the blanks. In addition to starting a contract on your iPad, it will also pull in contract you have done on your computer since both the app and the online version sync, it allows for seamless usage. I will mention that not all states have this option. My next app to use will work in any state, PDF-Notes (Free). This app is great because you can import any PDF and write on it, yes, I said write on it! It does make it easier when you use a stylus to sign and initial documents, but you can use a finger too. I also like that this app allows you change the ink color, highlight things, and erase the marks without messing up the original document. The newest feature for this app is that you can email the signed document in a PDF form directly to a client, Realtor or your office! The next feature to this is going to be the ability to type on your document which is just like filling in a contract!!!

Not just for contracts, but you can also use your iPad to pull up listings in MLS, provided your local board has an option for accessing the information from a mobile devise. The Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors (GTAR) board has an app that works for both the iPhone and iPad. This is really great for the Tulsa area Realtors because it allows for searches like “homes near me” and custom ones for specific addresses or MLS numbers. The best part is that it displays the showing instructions and contact information. this comes in very handy when you are out showing houses and you drive by a house not on your list and you can find out all about it. It is easy to pull up the listings and show the MLS pictures to clients on the spot. Clients love the convenience of getting the latest information.

All of this has inspired me to create a continuing education class, so look for that soon!

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Changes to Selling & Purchasing HUD Homes.

Selling a HUD home is not for everyone, but we have several associates that work them regularly.  HUD recently made changes to the way you bid on HUD homes. Consumers will still need to work with a HUD registered broker and the associate or agent will still have to place the bid online for a client, but the new website to go to is  Some things to note about the changes include that you will have to register again.  Even if you were previously registered as a HUD broker and have an NAID number, now you must go to the above mentioned website and then register on their site.  Once the main broker has done that, the agents in their office can get registered.  You will need to have your license number and expiration date of your license along with the office NAID number.  Each time you place a bid, you will have to have the NAID and your license (not the broker’s license number) ready to input.

The “insurable” homes are listed for “owner occupants” (people that intend to live in the home) for 30 days which is longer than before.  They will not review the bids for the first 10 days and will remain sealed for that time.  After the 10th day, they will review them and could go with one of the bids, so get your bids in sooner and don’t wait!!  The 31st day will be open to all purchasers if it has not sold.  “Insurable” homes are homes that can be insured by FHA which means that they require less than $5,000 of repairs in order to be livable.  If it says “insurable with escrow” that means that it would require money to be put in escrow by the buyer in order to bring it up to FHA standards and that would have to be repaired after closing.

The “uninsurable” homes are listed for 5 days to owner occupants and then on the 6th day available to all purchasers.  “Uninsurable” homes will have to go conventional financing or pay cash, but can NOT go FHA, usually because they require more than $5,000 in repairs in order for them to be livable.  They could go 203K, which is a renovation loan, but not many banks are doing these loans right now.

Some things did not change like the earnest money amounts, $500 for $50,000 or less and $1,000 for $50,001 and up.  The stopped the $100 earnest money program for owner occupants a few months ago.

Another note for the REALTORS is that HUD has reduced the amount of commission they pay for selling a HUD home. They will pay up to 3% to the selling broker and no more.

So basically, you need to be aware of changes and check out programs before place bids for your clients.  Since there was no information passed out by HUD or no notice of these changes, we thought you might want to know.  I am the resident HUD expert in our Keller Williams Metro Group that our associates contact, so if you have clients wanting to make offers or if you are interested in making an offer on a HUD home, please contact me.


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iPhone Class Today

I get many requests for teaching an iPhone class.  I’m sure that the Apple people do a great job of classes, but I like to think that I add a bit of real world usage to it.  I get emails, Facebook messages, texts and phone calls asking about how to do things all of the time.  This is why I started doing the class.  It has been a success and I have now had companies approach me about training their employees.  I think that is fun!  I teach a couple of classes, basic and advanced because I could not fit all of the information into a few hours, there is just too much!!  I am really excited about the Tulsa MLS app for Tulsa REALTORS.  It is very useful and free!!

I stopped writing your basic “directions” about Apps because, well I just didn’t get much response and so it was not the highest and best use of my time.  Now is the time to just write about many things and more of a flow of thoughts!

The class will be in Tulsa at the Keller Williams Midtown office (2651 E 21st Street Suite 100) at 1pm if anyone is interested in attending.  It is not just for REALTORS, I have had many professions represented in previous classes.

Have a great day and I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes:  “What you focus on, expands.”  So what are you focused on today?

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App of the Week update…

OK, so I have been a bit behind on doing my App of the Week, but the thing I find most interesting is very few people have even asked or said anything.  My question is, do people actually read my emails and blogs?  I’m going to change when I post them to Fridays and maybe add some other comments at different times, but I’m looking for feedback, so what are your thoughts?

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App of the Week, DirectTV

This week’s App of the Week #2 is Direct TV.

Description: This app is for entertainment.  If you have Direct TV, you can add a show to your DVR at home from your iPhone or even watch live shows!  This one works from your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Cost: Free


  1. Download the application from the App Store.
  2. Once you have downloaded the app, open it.
  3. You will need your username and password for your Direct TV account in order to make this app work.  Once you sign in, it will be saved for the next time you enter the app.  It will open up to the browse  section.  You can browse by channel, date & time or order a movie or event now.  When you browse by channel it can be by alphabetical or channel number.  When by date and time, just select the day and time and then tap “get listings”.  It thinks for a minute and then lists them by closest to the date and time you chose to further away.  To order a movie or event now, tap on the bottom button and then locate your move or locate your event.  Find the one in the list, then tap on it and it will display the details, cost and tap on “order now” to be billed for it and watch it on any of your home receivers. (not your iPhone).
  4. The tab to the far left is the “search” where you can find shows based on: search for shows, browse by channel or browse by date & time.  When you Search for shows, it will bring up the keyboard for you to type in a name.  Type in a show name, for example NCIS and then it will show folders with multiple shows if there are more than one with that name, in this case, NCIS or NCIS: Los Angeles.  Tap on the folder and it will show you all of the channels, dates and times for each listing in order of the most recent to the furthest away.  Tap on the show, and then it gives you the details of the episode including the name, description, and when it first aired.  It gives you two options, “record this episode” or “record this series”.  If you select “record this episode” it will show you the receiver name, how long it will keep it, and the priority.  Then tap “record this episode” at the bottom and you are done!  Watch it at home when you are ready!
  5. The last tab is the “More”, where it gives you two options, manual recording and settings.  Manual recording will give you the options to record instantly on your receiver or change the time.  You input the following: record (once or reoccurring), channel, when (date), start (time), duration (how long), receiver (what unit if you have more than one), and the priority (record if possible or definitely record).  Once you have entered the information, tap “record this channel” and you are good to go.


  • Under the more and settings you can change the default settings for the quick record, so if you want the items you set from your phone to “definitely record” you will have to make that change because the default is “record if possible”.
  • If you have a friend or someone else that has Direct TV and they want to use your app, you can do that, but you need to sign out of your account and then have your friend sign into their account or it will record on your receiver and not theirs.
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