Working Remote? Relocating to North Tulsa!

Working Remote? Relocating to North Tulsa!

Season 4 - Episode 4
Jan 30, 2024
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New Yorker Vondell is drawn to Tulsa’s history and a $10,000 remote worker grant. REALTOR® Brett helps turn Vondell’s relocation dream into reality, but when she loses her job just before closing, Brett must keep her North Tulsa purchase from going south.

Brett (00:05):

On this episode, we're searching for a house in historic North Tulsa.

Vondell (00:09):

This space is a game changer. Imagine stages, people doing spoken word.

Brett (00:14):

I'm realtor Brett Friesen, a member of the National Association of Realtors. It was designed, doesn't feel like a thousand square feet. Give it a chance. It's listed for 200,000. What I'm hoping Vondell find a home where she can create a successful future while connecting with the past.

Vondell (00:29):

When I walk through these streets, I feel my ancestors and the entrepreneurial spirit that existed.

Brett (00:34):

but when an unforeseen crisis puts v's. Startup plans on hold, the contracts expired, the deals toast. I'm hoping to make sure she realizes her greatest dream.

Vondell (00:44):

I really don't want to lose this house

Brett (00:45):

Owning a home of her own. We're going to make an offer.


My name is Brett Friesen and I have been in real estate in the greater Tulsa area for almost 11 years now. Yes, hi, this is Brett with the Hearts Home team here in Tulsa. How are you? Well, the Hearts to Home team is my real estate team here in Tulsa. Founded it with my co-business partner and team leader Marie. We see ourselves as much more than just the real estate agent. We believe the relationship starts at the closing table because from that moment forward, you're going to have things that come up that you're going to need help with. At the end of the day, we want the client to be taken care of no matter the circumstances.


North Tulsa has changed so much since the Black Wall Street massacre in 1921, that area was so neglected and forgotten. It was predominantly all black owned businesses and white supremacists came in and started literally burning everything to the ground out of sheer hatred and racism for black people. A lot of people died, everyone lost their businesses that they had. Everything was completely burned, but it was buried honestly in history and it finally got national attention about how devastating this was. And over the last few years there's been this resurgence of the area and the shops and the businesses are attracting all kinds of new people. So she is my first time buyer. My first impression was she knows what she wants and I love that.

L3: The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 killed hundreds of residents, burned more than 1,250 homes and erased years of black success.

Vondell (02:07):

My name is Vondell Burns and I'm from Brooklyn, New York. So there's a program called Tulsa Remote. It incentivizes remote workers to relocate to Tulsa for $10,000 and I decided to give it a shot. The first time I visited Tulsa happened to be during Legacy Fest, which was an event that commemorated the hundred year massacre in 2021. And that event was what made me really open my eyes to Tulsa and get excited about all the entrepreneurial activity that was happening here. So I started my career on Wall Street. I had a creative consulting nonprofit on the side that was focused on bringing creative entrepreneurs to the main stage in New York. I'm going to give you a quick one-on-one on public speaking, and I just decided that I wanted to take the leap and focus on it full time.

L3: Vondell works with creative entrepreneurs to help overcome imposter syndrome and realize their vision

Brett (02:54):

If you're a self-employed person and you're seeking a mortgage, it's actually a lot harder to qualify even if you have two years tax returns because you're considered to be a higher risk. The only person that can guarantee your pay is yourself.

Vondell (03:04):

My company wasn't mature enough to qualify for a loan, so I went back to the job market to get a job and I landed one in marketing. I'm really leaned in on the momentum of Black Wall Street in particular and being a part of that movement. So when I think about where I want to live and build roots, I want to be in a place that's tied to that history. I want a house that is able to host multiple creative entrepreneurs for one to three months, and they also get to network with each other.

Brett (03:34):

Vondell has been approved for 285,000 FHA loan, a government backed loan, and it only requires a minimum three and a half percent down instead of the standard 10 or 20%.

              L3: FHA loans have been helping people become homeowners since 1934

Vondell (03:44):

I know the history of Black Wall Street and knowing that it was the highest concentration of black millionaires. I really connect when I walk through these streets. I feel my ancestors and the entrepreneurial spirit that existed and home ownership is a huge part of building generational wealth. For all those reasons, it's really important that I'm close to downtown. When I think about what I want in my dream home is to be able to welcome others in my home, 1800 square feet minimum and an open concept kitchen.

L3: By 1921 Tulsa’s Greenwood district was one of the wealthiest black communities in the U.S. and a center of black wealth

Brett (04:22):

Finding everything that fits that wishlist at her current budget is going to be a challenge. We've only looked at a couple of houses and I think her biggest complaint at this point is the homes is are a little too outdated. This is Heritage Hill.

Vondell (04:33):

Oh, how close is this to the Black Wall Street area?

Brett (04:35):

Greenwood is actually only a mile and a half away, maybe a four minute drive. So here's the house that we were talking about. It was built in 2004. It's three bedrooms, it's two full baths. It is a thousand square feet, so it is a little small.

              L3: 3 Bedrooms, 2 bathrooms                  1,000 Square feet

Vondell (04:48):

I don't really want to compromise on the square footage. I'm not trying to move from New York and still be living in the same size house.

Brett (04:55):

The way it was designed. It doesn't feel like a thousand square feet. Give it a chance. It's listed for 200,000.

              L3: $200,000

Vondell (05:02):

What? I could never find something for $200,000 in New York. Now we're talking. Let's give it a look. The yard's. Okay. I'm having a vision of having a garden, potentially some walk-up flowers.

Brett (05:13):

Yes, I want in. I'll follow you.

Vondell (05:15):



Wow. I love the high ceilings.

Brett (05:20):

It's very open. It's bright open kitchen area, granite countertops. All the appliances do come with it as well.

Vondell (05:26):

I love the island little cooking show going on.

Brett (05:29):

The space could really work for you.

Vondell (05:31):

I can see entrepreneurs and creatives all gathering around it. Content will be king in this space. Yes.

Brett (05:37):

Over on the backside of the house is where we have the two bedrooms. So this is going to be bedroom number one here. You can use this as an office.

Vondell (05:43):

It does feel like a lot of space in here too.

Brett (05:46):

And then the bathroom separates these bedrooms. If you have someone staying here or here, this helps break up that noise. Second guest room.

Vondell (05:53):

Okay. There are no closet doors.

Brett (05:55):

Remember, it's 200,000 well below budget, so you could easily add some doors later. Okay. You want to check out the primary? Yeah,

Vondell (06:02):


Brett (06:03):

So this will be your primary suite. It's at the front of the house. It does have a walk-in closet and I know that's important. And then the primary bath is right over here.

Vondell (06:11):

I love that. It's separate. So if I did end up renting out those other rooms, there'd be a nice distance between us.

Brett (06:18):

That's it for the inside. Do you want to go check out the big backyard?

Vondell (06:21):

Yes, that would be great. I don't know. I'm coming around to how spacious it is. Wow, this space is a game changer. There's so much potential. This is perfect for hosting. Imagine Absolutely. Stages. People doing spoken word.

Brett (06:38):

I'm invited, right?

Vondell (06:39):

Absolutely. First on the list.

Brett (06:41):

And then the yard. That's actually 0.27 acres and it goes beyond the fence line here. So the fence is just lot one, but lot two. That's also included is from here to the next street, you could build a whole separate house over there. You can extend that. Add onto this one. Endless possibilities.

Vondell (06:55):

Okay, so maybe the square footage argument isn't much of one anymore.

Brett (06:59):

Yeah, it kind of makes up for it. It sounds like this could really be a good value. It did run a full comparable analysis on the neighborhood to see what the average de prices were in the area. It does comp out right at $200,000. What are your thoughts on the house?


L3: A comparative analysis estimates a home’s price based on recently sold, similar properties in the area

Vondell (07:13):

I really loved the open for concept. I can host and entertain, but there's a bit of work that I'd need to put into the house to make it feel complete. How do you feel about me coming in at one 90?

Brett (07:25):

I don't think there's ever any harm and making an offer if it's slightly under asking price. If we can give the reasons why we want to come in lower, we can submit it for one 90. They have the ability to say no or they can take it and see what they say.

Vondell (07:35):

Let's give it a shot.

Brett (07:36):

So we're going to make an offer.

Vondell (07:37):

Let's go ahead and make the offer. We're going to make an offer first.

Brett (07:40):

Offers are a big deal, especially in our Tulsa market where you might not win your first offer. I feel like this is a really big deal for her. glendale's offer was accepted at 190,000. That's 10,000 off the list price. Very rare to do that these days.


L3: Later that day…

Vondell (07:57):

I'm so excited. It feels so good to get the house for less than $200,000.

Brett (08:05):

The inspections for the house went great. The appraisal did come back at purchase price.

Vondell (08:09):

I cannot believe you can actually buy a house for $200,000 coming from New York. This is unheard of.

Brett (08:16):

At this point. We're just smooth sailing, waiting for our final loan approval so we can get her the keys. Hey Vondell, how are you?

Vondell (08:29):

I've been better.

Brett (08:29):

You've been better. That's not good news. What's going on?

Vondell (08:32):

I just got a call from my job and they let me know I've been laid off.

Brett (08:36):

What? Vondell lost her job and she's devastated. It's heartbreaking. But right now, the one thing that I need to do is give her options and instill some sort of hope and confidence that we're going to find a way through it. Now that you have a job, you technically wouldn't qualify for a loan. So we could pursue what's called a denial letter. So the lender would deny you and we could bust the deal and then that would get you a refund of your earnest money to get your deposit back. The second option would be to basically ask the sellers, explain the situation. Say we need an extension. We need time to find a job.

L3: Losing your job prior to closing could lead to a lender denying your application for a mortgage

Vondell (09:05):

I mean, I really don't want to lose this house.

Brett (09:07):

And I guess we can give that a shot, see what they'll say. I would be shocked if the seller agrees to something like that, but we can give it a go.

Vondell (09:13):

I'm going to try to extend escrow and find a new job. Hopefully the seller will allow me to keep my earnest money intact.

Brett (09:20):

Which is very unorthodox. Typically a seller wouldn't agree to now make earnest money refundable after it's not refundable.

L3: Earnest money is a deposit made to a seller that represents a buyer’s good faith to purchase a home

Vondell (09:26):

I just feel like we've done too much to let this house fall through.

Brett (09:33):

To my surprise, they accepted our proposal of extending the contract and getting to keep a refundable earnest money deposit. We have four weeks. If it works out, great, but if it doesn't, she still gets her earnest money back. Well, I don't think four weeks is going to be enough time. However, I want my clients to always feel supported and empowered and that I have their back. And so we're going to roll with this and see what we can come up with. We are out of time. The contracts expired. I vella didn't find a job before our extension was up and it's done. The deal's toast.

Vondell (10:06):

I feel a little bit discouraged. I'm going to take some time and I'll follow up with Brett. Once I find a new job,

Brett (10:12):

The one thing I have to do is continue to protect Vondell, give her options, and also make sure she doesn't get deflated and uplift her as much as I can.

Vondell (10:23):

I'm really excited to set up a meeting with Brett to catch him up on the last few months and tell 'em the good news. Hey girl, how are you? I'm good. It's so good to see you. Good to see you too.

              L3: Two months later…

Brett (10:33):

So what's the latest?

Vondell (10:34):

I was able to get a new job.

Brett (10:37):


Vondell (10:38):

And I'm making way more than I was in the first job, which means that I have a bigger budget and get this. When I got laid off from my last job, I got a pretty big severance package. So I'm coming in with a nice down payment.

Brett (10:52):

Score because she got a much higher paying salary. She got a severance package from her old job. So now I am confident we're going to be able to find the perfect home that checks all of her boxes. First up, we have to get pre-approved again because now we have to know what are we qualified for. We can't make offers without it. As soon as we have that, we can get back to shopping and seeing what's on the market. The fun part.


We're back. Baby Von Dell is pre-approved again for $400,000 and this time I had the idea to a switch to a conventional 3% loan instead of three and a half percent down on the FHA. So it's a little bit less money down. It could potentially bring that payment down by a substantial amount. I'm sure you remember. This is the same neighborhood. Heritage Hill. Most of these homes are also new constructions and we're still five minutes from Greenwood.



Here we are. I am so excited about this house. It just came on the market and it being this large and new construction in North Tulsa is very rare. Not to mention the fact that it meets all her original dream home check boxes of being multiple bedrooms, multiple bathrooms.

Vondell (12:00):

It looks so nice.

Brett (12:01):

So the house is 2300 square feet. It actually is over double the size of the last house.

              L3: 2,300 Square feet

Vondell (12:06):

Okay. How many bedrooms and bathrooms?

Brett (12:08):

It's four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and it has a two car garage. This time it's two stories and it's listed for 385,000.

              L3: 4 Bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

              L3: $385,000

Vondell (12:16):

Look at the door. It's yellow.

Brett (12:18):

It's so pretty. I'm going to let you go first.

Vondell (12:21):

Okay? Oh my gosh. Look how big this is.

Brett (12:27):

Just from the aspect of entertaining other entrepreneurs, everything that you're wanting to do host wise is the perfect space.

Vondell (12:33):

And look at these ceilings.

Brett (12:34):

And the one thing I have to point out is this is not counted as one of the four bedrooms. This is a formal office space.

Vondell (12:40):

I can see a production studio in here.

Brett (12:43):

So kitchen and it has the island, which I remember you loved from the last house.

Vondell (12:47):

But it's twice the size. It's we can fit a whole dinner party at this island.

Brett (12:53):

Stainless steel appliances,

Vondell (12:54):

Gas stove,

Brett (12:55):

And it's gas.

Vondell (12:56):

And the laundry.

Brett (12:58):

It does not come with a washer and dryer.

Vondell (13:00):

Okay. We can't win it all.

Brett (13:02):

The primaries downstairs, which is important for you is the owner. The guest has their own bathroom right here without having to go upstairs.

Vondell (13:09):

One of the things that I really liked about the last house was that the primary was separated from the guest rooms. And I love that this house still keeps that intact. Now, this is my favorite part of a house, really important to me to be able to host a lot of people at the same time. So I love that the living room is connected to the dining room. Dinner parties can easily flow in and you have all this natural lighting to make it feel really inviting.

Brett (13:39):

I'm going to let you lead into the primary. Okay.

Vondell (13:41):

Oh my gosh. It's double the size of the last primary.

Brett (13:44):

So I say we go to the backyard and then we can go upstairs. Okay,

Vondell (13:47):

Sounds good. Wow.

Brett (13:50):

It's a massive patio space. This is huge. It is huge.

Vondell (13:55):

Not only could we do a fire pit, we could have a jacuzzi, maybe a gazebo. It's perfect for hosting. Hosting. I'm falling in love with this house. Right.

Brett (14:05):

Okay. Well let's go check out the upstairs first.

Vondell (14:07):

Okay, let's do it. Not a huge fan that there's carpet upstairs.

Brett (14:13):

You can change it maybe to a luxury vinyl plank or something like that. Yeah, that's a good point. It'll work for now. That's new. Let's go check out the bedroom.

Vondell (14:19):

Nice. Definitely spacious people that are coming in for short-term stays would really find themselves at home here.

Brett (14:27):

Okay. I have to know what you're thinking.

Vondell (14:29):

I mean, I think you can tell by a smile on my face that I am obsessed with this listing. So I'm really excited about putting in an offer.

Brett (14:36):

Really. Yeah. Okay. Well let's talk about what we want to do offer wise.

Vondell (14:41):

They are coming in at 3 85, but there are a couple of concerns that I have about the house. I'll need to redo the carpet upstairs. A lot of natural lighting comes. The need for blinds. Those things could set me back a few thousand dollars.

Brett (14:54):

So given all of that, I would say maybe landing somewhere a little less than list could help offset some of those things. She wants to offer 355,000 based on the actual comparables for the area, what the data in the market shows the home is worth. We decided to go ahead and offer 365,000. I think we can get this.

Vondell (15:11):

I mean, you haven't steered me wrong yet, so I feel confident about going in with an offer at 365.

Brett (15:16):

I knew that she was going to fall in love with it. It's everything she described wanting and it's still a really good price. This house is mine. It is totally yours.

Vondell (15:28):

My offer was accepted.

Brett (15:29):

The negotiation with the builder finally landed on 3 77, 2 50. I feel pretty great about this price. The fact that we got just a little bit off just kind of makes us feel like we really won.

              L3: Final purchase price: $377,250

Vondell (15:43):

It's closing day. I got the keys.


L3: Closing day

Brett (15:46):

This done.

Vondell (15:47):

I'm so excited. This is my house.

Brett (15:49):

You are a homeowner.

Vondell (15:51):

I'm so grateful to you. I landed my dream home and it's all thanks to Brett. He has been by me every step of the way from getting my first contract to losing my job and finding ways for me to save money. These are things I would've never known to do if I didn't have his subject matter expertise throughout the way. I cannot thank him enough for helping me land my dream home.

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