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Old 02-17-2016, 11:25 PM
Location: Mason, OH
107 posts, read 88,593 times
Reputation: 87


Hi Everyone. I'm strongly considering OK as my new home with my toddler twins. The COL here in the Portland, OR Metro is insane and house prices in Eugene are ridiculous too. I also want to have better public school options than the west coast offers for the price tag to live here. I'm hoping you can give me some ideas of what household expenses are like in the OKC and/or Tulsa areas. I'm undecided on which metro area at this time. I like that OKC seems to be more welcoming and business friendly, but admittedly I like green and hills which is Tulsa. I have read some bad comments about Tulsa being snooty and unfriendly though. I work remote so as long as I can get fast internet I can move anywhere that I can afford. Anyway, here's my questions and if anyone wants info on OR please ask, I've lived up/down I5 here.

1. Can anyone give me an idea of house insurance costs for an average 1500 sq ft house? I was wondering if the tornadoes bump the price of house insurance up a lot.

2. What are utilities like in these two areas? I'm pretty frugal with heat/ac and I'm referencing a newer, one level home with vinyl windows and insulation if that helps.

3. Can you tell me what DMV costs are like and do you have to have a safety or smog inspection annually? These are very affordable here in OR, a sharp contrast to CA for instance. My car is a 2006.

4. Between the two metro areas does one have suburbs that feel more like small cities? I like cities with populations of 100K or less and both Tulsa and OKC are much bigger that that so I was wondering if there are actually just smaller cities with a central core on the outskirts of either metro or if they are all sprawling burbs with shopping centers.

5. I understand that OKC gets more severe tornadoes than Tulsa, does anyone know if specific areas around OKC are more affected than others, N vs S etc?

6. Last...in the ads for homes only some list storm shelters. I guess I would have thought every home would automatically have one, is this not the case?
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Old 02-18-2016, 01:54 AM
Location: Mason, OH
107 posts, read 88,593 times
Reputation: 87
Sorry, I meant to say thank you!
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Old 02-18-2016, 06:53 AM
14,634 posts, read 412,542 times
Reputation: 23001
We got here as fast as we could in November.

In our area Cox is the only bundle provider but it looks like ATT is moving in. So far we had two ice storms with days without power this without Internet.

Google "tag office" for vehicle registration questions. Ours answers questions by phone. Have a checkbook with you as cc payments have an added charge. There was no inspection but odometer.

Newer houses seem to have shelters more often. You can always retrofit one.

There are too many factor going into insurance premiums to risk a guess. Our vehicles and home went up compared to Texas.

Utilities are also a very flexible item depending on location and providers. Our house is new, energy efficiency rated (I have no clue), geothermal and utilities are below what we used to pay.

My only issue is groceries especially fruits and vegetables. WallMart is the main grocery store, Homeland, Crest and a few Aldi within 30-45 minute drives.
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Old 02-18-2016, 11:47 AM
Location: Mason, OH
107 posts, read 88,593 times
Reputation: 87
Thanks so much Threestep. My car insurance on my 2006 Saab wagon is $88/month for full coverage. To me that's high since I drive less than 50 miles/week working from home. A wild guess from past experience tells me home insurance on a 1500 sq ft average house in the Portland metro would be about $800/year, maybe more. Fireplaces or woodstoves always bump up the premium. I'm excited to get out of here and excited to see more sun. I'm looking outside at another grey, dreary day with rain and we've seen about 4 days with sun or some sun in the last 4 months. Never seeing blue gets old. Take care.
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Old 02-18-2016, 01:12 PM
Location: C-U metro
1,368 posts, read 2,812,674 times
Reputation: 1182
I think I can help with this as we moved from Oklahoma to Illinois recently.

1). Homes in Tulsa are cheaper to insure than OKC but your insurance rates will be set by the price of the home rather than the square footage. A 1500 sf home in the Brookside neighborhood in Tulsa will roughly run 250k and cost 3600 a year to ensure. A 1500 sf home in Park Manor neighborhood will run roughly 150k and cost 2400 to insure. One area to stay away from is Moore, OK as there is a tornado track where 2 big F5 tornados and a F2 tornado have followed over the past 15 years. Those will most assuredly be insurance nightmares.

2) Our home utilities in Tulsa averaged $200/mo between gas and electric. OKC and Tulsa have different utility service companies so rates aren't always apples to apples between the two.

3) Your car tags should be roughly $80-90 a year and the DL is $80 for 4 years I think. Make sure you have a state certified birth certificate when you go as they require it in OK. A passport will work as well. Expect your auto insurance rates to double as 1 in 4 Oklahomans do not have auto insurance. Also, make sure to pay for the uninsured driver coverage as the uninsured also tend to be in more traffic accidents.

4). Neither metro has self containing suburbs. You'll be traveling to the main city at least once a week for shopping like a Whole Foods. Trader Joes and Costco are only in Tulsa now. OKC may or may not get a Trader Joes but it will be years before they get a Costco. I watched Colorado Springs wait 7 years before they got one store even though the Denver Metro had several. They seem to wait to finish building out one metro before moving into a new market. Norman, Edmond and Owasso are the most self contained as they have large shopping areas that can accommodate most shopping trips.

5) Yes, Moore has had some big tornados that follow a very specific path. OKC in general gets larger and more frequent tornados than Tulsa but Tulsa's suburbs get them too. Tornados inside the city limits of Tulsa are rare.

6). Homes in Oklahoma are often built without basements so storm shelters are something to consider. An interior bathroom or large closet with no windows works but may not withstand a direct hit which are rare (unless you live on the track of the Moore tornados).
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:11 PM
Location: Mason, OH
107 posts, read 88,593 times
Reputation: 87
Hi flyingcat2k, thanks for so much info. I figured insurance would be more. There is always more than meets the eye to affordability. A $3,600 insurance payment increase the monthly mortgage amount quite a bit, but there are many factors that go into making a move to a new state. Funny about the uninsured motorists there, does that mean OK doesn't have a law requiring car insurance? I know it's a law here and in CA. Thanks also about info on tornados' paths. According to Zillow I happened to notice that a lot more homes in that southern end of the metro seemed to go through more hands as opposed to being occupied by one owner a lot longer. I wondered about that. Uts sound average as do car tags. Thx again.<br>
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:47 PM
Location: OKLAHOMA
1,786 posts, read 3,733,369 times
Reputation: 976
I moved from ILL to OK and bought a cattle ranch for not much more than our ILL home. We've moved many times due to my husband's job but settled here because the cost of living is much cheaper and wanted our daughters to go to University in the same State we were living. They loved OSU and the OKlahoma Baptist University. We have lived in Southern Ca., Kentucky (not too bad there) ILL twice, Utah and here. This is probably the best cost of living State we've lived in.

What I do not like is the heat in the summer. We do not have a shelter but would feel safer with it.
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Old 02-18-2016, 04:11 PM
14,634 posts, read 412,542 times
Reputation: 23001
Uninsured motorist
Unfortunately not everyone is law abiding when it comes to car insurance. I learned the hard way. Our vehicles went up by a few dollars only.

Your older vehicle should be only a few dollars OK sales tax or whatever they call it when yiu import it.
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Old 02-18-2016, 04:52 PM
Location: USA
7,778 posts, read 10,543,829 times
Reputation: 11746
I have a small house, 1200 sq feet and I think my gas and electric are cheap because I'm not at all bothered by the summer heat since I'm either in the house or car on the way to some place that will be air-conditioned. Utilities are about $70 and $80 year around and I keep the house warm in winter and cool in summer. I have central air and keep one bedroom closed off and the laundry room closed off, mostly. My taxes are less than $500. per year. House is not brick, but it's an attractive place in a medium neighborhood in a safe area.

My town is 50 miles from Tulsa and about 39,000 population. I haven't been in a storm shelter in at least 30 years.
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Old 02-18-2016, 10:20 PM
Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
18,040 posts, read 14,346,167 times
Reputation: 5452
I would certainly advise against moving to the Oklahoma City area, due to the fact it's very near a hotspot for earthquakes, specifically the Edmond-Guthrie area. Nobody knows if the earthquakes will get worse before finally settling down for good. Tulsa, from being much further away from hotspots for earthquakes, would be a much safer place to live.
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