Everything You Need to Know About Buying a House in Oklahoma

With a low cost of housing and affordable living expenses, Oklahoma is an accessible state to buy a house.
Written by Heather Bernhard
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
By all accounts, the Sooner State is an accessible place to live. A low cost of housing, affordable living expenses, and some of the cleanest air in the country make
a great place to buy a house.
Still, moving to a new home is never easy—whether you’re moving across town or across the country.
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is here to answer all your questions about moving to Oklahoma. In this homebuyer's guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about homeownership in OK—from understanding your finances to choosing the best neighborhood. 
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Figure out your finances 

The first step in buying a house in Oklahoma is figuring out your finances. From your credit score to your debt-to-income ratio, understanding your finances is vital, especially if you plan on taking out a mortgage.
Some preliminary number-crunching will help you figure out exactly how much you can afford to spend on a new home.

Check your credit score 

Your credit score has a large impact on many aspects of your life. In general, people with higher scores have an easier time.
For buying a house, you’ll need a credit score of at least 620 to secure a conventional mortgage (one that comes from a bank, credit union, or similar institution).
Not quite there? You may be able to qualify for a low-credit-score mortgage from specific lenders, though you’ll likely pay high-interest rates.
It may also be possible to qualify for a government loan or program if you meet specific requirements. For example, you can get an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 500 as long as the property doesn’t need significant repair and you plan on making it your full-time residence.

Calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio

Debt-to-income ratio is likely a term you’ve heard if you’re searching for a house. In a nutshell, DTI compares how much money you make each month to how much you pay out.
Potential lenders want to know your DTI ratio to verify that you can afford monthly mortgage payments. The higher your debt-to-income ratio, the less likely you are to be approved for a mortgage.
To calculate your DTI, divide your monthly debt payments (plus your estimated mortgage payment) by your gross monthly income. 
Say the sum total of your monthly credit card payment, car loan payment, and child support is $1,730 and your monthly income is $4,327, the Oklahoma state average. 1,730/4,327 = 0.39, meaning your debt-to-income ratio is 39%.
Most lenders will look for a DTI under 36%, though some will allow as high as 43% when approving mortgages. 

Determine your down payment 

A big part of buying a home is determining how much down payment you can afford. For conventional mortgages, you’ll need to be prepared to pay 20% of the home’s cost upfront.
So, in Oklahoma, where the average home costs about $140,000, you’d need a
down payment
of $28,000.
Coming up with that much money up front is difficult for many people. If a 20% down payment isn’t feasible for you, you may qualify for other options.
Government-backed loans, like VA and FHA loans, have lower down payment requirements—if you qualify. For instance, military veterans can be eligible for a VA loan with no down payment, while FHA loans require a minimum of 3.5% for those with a good credit score.

Prepare for closing costs and other fees

Along with your down payment, you’ll have to pay closing costs and other fees before moving into your new home.
But what exactly are closing costs? Completing a real estate transaction legally requires a whole lot of official paperwork at the end (like title searches, mortgage insurance, and attorney’s fees) that all cost money. 
The seller is responsible for some closing costs, but the buyer typically pays the bulk—generally totaling about 2-5% of the total loan amount
Key Takeaway Buying a new home costs a lot more than just the price of the house. Make sure you consider all necessary expenses and make a working budget before house-hunting.  

Look for homeowners insurance

Homeowners insurance is the final piece of the house-buying equation. You need it to protect your new investment against a variety of perils—and most lenders require you to get it before you can sign on to a mortgage.
In Oklahoma, the average cost of homeowners insurance is $2,520, which is well above the national average of $1,387 per year. 
can help you find an affordable home insurance policy before closing on your home. Just open the app and use our home insurance comparison tool to review quotes from dozens of top providers.
Key Takeaway Even if you already have an insurer you like, it pays to compare rates before each policy renewal. This is especially true in states like Oklahoma, where insurance tends to be more expensive than average. 

Get preapproved for a mortgage

Once you have your finances in order, you can get preapproved for a mortgage. Not only does this give you a leg-up on other potential buyers, but it also shows sellers that you’re serious about buying.  
In fact, many sellers won’t even show you a home unless you show them your To get preapproved, you’ll need to:  pre-approval letter first! 
  • Fill out a mortgage application
  • Provide your social security number
  • Supply a list of financial assets and debts (to calculate DTI)
  • Prove employment history (W-2s and pay stubs)
It pays to start the process as early as possible. That way, if the lender runs into any snags or has a slow underwriting process, it won’t derail your home search. 

How to pick the right mortgage in Oklahoma

When you accept a mortgage from a lender, you agree to pay back a specific amount of money over a set period. Since mortgages are usually a very long-term commitment, it pays to take time to find a loan that fits your needs and budget. 
That being said, not all mortgages are created equal. The three things to pay attention to are the lender, loan term, and interest rate
  • Lender: Banks, credit unions, and independent mortgage brokers will each offer you different terms and conditions. 
  • Term: Most conventional mortgages last for 15 or 30 years. The shorter your loan term is, the higher your monthly payments will be, but you’ll likely enjoy a low interest rate.
  • Interest rate: Interest rates can vary greatly depending on the lender, but you can expect a rate of around 4.3% for a 30-year fixed mortgage. 
Don’t forget to check out payment assistance programs that can make it easier for you to obtain favorable loan terms. For example, the
OHFA Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance
Program offers an interest rate of 3.5-4% over 30 years. You can check out the requirements on their website.  

Look for a house

Now for the fun part—once you have the money figured out, you can start hunting for your dream home!

Pick your city or neighborhood

Before you decide where to buy a house, take some time to research neighborhoods across the state. Look for a city that meets your needs regarding cost of living, schools, access to transportation, and other criteria important to you.
As per the start of 2022, Oklahoma was one of the hottest housing markets in the United States. In Oklahoma City, for example, homes have received an average of four offers and sold in five days.
It’s important to note that Oklahoma doesn’t have any major metropolitan areas. However, if mid-size city living is what you desire, many people love towns like
and Norman that offer an urban feel without the hassle. 

Buyer’s market vs. seller’s market

Before you start placing offers, it’s important to understand if your desired area is in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market.
A seller’s market exists when there are fewer homes for sale than there are buyers. This gives the seller more negotiating power than the buyer.
A buyer’s market exists when there are more houses for sale than there are buyers. This gives the buyer more negotiating power than the seller. 
Areas can flip from a buyer’s to a seller’s market throughout the year, so be sure to check how much local homes are selling for periodically.

Find a real estate agent

Now that you’re ready to start looking at houses, it’s time to find a real estate agent. Oklahoma doesn’t require that you have one, but hiring a realtor can make the process a lot easier, especially if you’re a first-time or out-of-state buyer.
Your real estate agent will be your right-hand person throughout the entire process, from showing you houses to making sure closing goes smoothly. Your realtor has a constant read on the housing market and can help you negotiate the best prices.
Take the time to research different agents who have experience in your desired neighborhood and with homes in your price range. Sources like Google Reviews and Yelp can indicate whether a realtor is professional and easy to work with.

Make an offer 

Once you have your eye on a house, it’s time to make an offer.
In Oklahoma, houses usually stay on the market for about 53 days, but this number can fluctuate throughout the year. There tends to be more buyer demand (and thus higher competition) in the spring.
If you’re looking to move during a busier time of year, you’ll have to make your offer faster. 
Pro Tip Price isn’t the only thing that can influence a seller to accept your offer. You can make other compromises, such as waiving all contingencies or buying without concessions. 

How to save on homeowners insurance

Whether you’re buying a house in Oklahoma or Maine, you’ll want to save money on your homeowners insurance. There are many ways you can lower your premiums without reducing your coverage.
Comparing quotes from different providers with
can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year.
Additionally, many insurance companies offer discounts if you buy both your home and auto policies from them. This is called bundling. Jerry’s agents can help you bundle your home and car insurance without a hassle!
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According to
, the typical home in Oklahoma costs $167,450. That means you’ll need around $18,500 out-of-pocket to cover the down payment and closing costs with a traditional loan.
To secure a conventional mortgage loan in Oklahoma, you’ll need a credit score of at least 620. You may qualify for some government programs with a score as low as 500, though other requirements are often more stringent.
Overall, Oklahoma is a safe place to live and offers an affordable cost of living. Still, according to the
Chamber of Commerce
, some cities are better than others. They rank the top five as Enid, Broken Arrow, Bixby, Ponca City, and Edmond.
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