Top Ten Ways to Pick a Neighborhood for your Family

In modern day Real Estate, we have found more than ever that choosing a Neighborhood is the most important decision a Buyer makes. They are looking for the perfect community, not just the perfect home. Schools, retail, traffic, walkability and style all play a role in choosing a Neighborhood. The Urban Core of OKC is seeing a renaissance of the City Neighborhood.

The diversity of style and location in the Urban Core allows many buyers to have multiple options. Everything from Historic to modern housing is on the rise. So how do you find that perfect Neighborhood for your Family? We put together a list of ten ways to make that decision.

10. Traffic

Living in the Urban Core of a major Metropolitan area can be a time saver. Unless of course you live next to a major street or highway. Always check the traffic in and around the Neighborhoods you are looking at. You might find it is too much for your sanity to wait in line to get only a few blocks. Oklahoma City is still relatively light on traffic, but populations grow.

Example: Jefferson Park is close to a major highway, but is hidden away from major traffic.

9. Landscape

Believe it or not, there are Urban Core Neighborhoods with inclined streets and busy yards in OKC. If you love doing yard work yourself, look for homes that have customizable spaces. Streets lined with tall streets can give you shade during Summer months. However, those trees then drop their leaves all over yards and streets. If that is a hassle to you, choose a Neighborhood with younger, smaller trees.

Example: Crown Heights is known for the many different landscapes and has close access to multiple parks.



8. History

At Verbode we love the history of our homes. The stories of owners past and the many changes the Neighborhood and home have been through. Some Neighborhoods have more history than others which will likely give them protection from the Historic Preservation of OKC. Changes to homes must be approved in order to keep the Neighborhood as it was meant to look.

Example: Heritage Hills has more homes with great stories than they know what to do with.

7. Retail

With the rise of OKC districts, more and more local retail is opening near Urban Core Neighborhoods. Whether it be restaurants or shopping opportunities, the Urban Core has plenty to choose from. If your favorite store or restaurant is only walking distance away, you may want to rethink moving in that Neighborhood. It may cause you to gain weight or spend too much money. All joking aside, there are many Neighborhoods that benefit from their close proximity to retail.

Example: Gatewood, in close proximity of the Plaza District, is walking distance from many new shops and restaurants.


6. Walking & Biking Ability

Cities are trying harder to give their citizen’s more options of getting around town. It is a huge plus to have sidewalks and plenty of room for bikes in a Neighborhood. It almost seemed a sense of nostalgia to think of a Neighborhood that was walkable and bike safe. Now thanks to a few Maps Projections, OKC neighborhoods are getting new sidewalks and streets are being widened. Nothing is better than walking in your Neighborhood with your family and pets. Check out the walkscore of your favorite Neighborhood.

Example: Mesta Park has wide streets and brand new sidewalks that a many residents use on a daily basis.

5. Association

Not all Neighborhoods have Associations, but the strong and well connected ones do. In recent years a few Neighborhoods in the Urban Core lacked a plan of action to make their Neighborhoods better. Now there are strong Associations within even the smallest of Neighborhoods. Associations can help with beautification and maintenance of the area. It also allows for block parties and get togethers so you can better know those who live nearby.

Example: Miller has recently put together a great and well received Neighborhood Association.

4. Access

Access has a lot to do about location and how to get in and out of your Neighborhood. Most Neighborhoods in the Urban Core were planned on a grid system. Allowing multiple different entrance and exit points through out. It is now important to find the routes through your Neighborhood that take you to your favorite Districts. You may find out it is easier to access by foot or bike, than by car.

Example: Paseo is wedged between the Paseo Arts District and Uptown 23rd. Both a short walk from the Neighborhood.

3. Affordability

We are very lucky in the OKC Urban Core to have many ranges of affordability. Yes, most everyone wants to live in the Historic Neighborhood with large estates and amazing architecture. However, the best Neighborhood for your family, is the one that is affordable to your financial situation. There are Neighborhoods that would surprise you with their affordability.

Example: Crestwood gives you the historic feel with the affordability for all price ranges.


2. Schools

Now more than ever we are searching for schools that we feel safe sending our kids too. Not only do we want them to receive a great academic education, we also want them to have a strong social education. Learning to interact with all types of people and cultures. Many of the Urban Neighborhoods have schools built right in the middle. This means you can walk your most precious of family members to school everyday.

Example: Cleveland has a school with the same name and is also close to the Middle & High schools your children would attend.

1. Safety

Above all we want to feel safe in our Neighborhoods. Crime is not always consistent in certain areas, so it is important to research the area and those living in it. Ask potential Neighbors if they have felt safe living in that Neighborhood. Make sure the crime rate is low and on the decline. Take a stroll through the streets at night to gage if it feels safe. Street lights and open front doors are good indicators of how safe a Neighborhood is.

Example: Putnam Heights has sidewalks with lights and plenty of room between homes. Allowing for a buffer from the major streets and traffic.


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Top Ten Trees to Plant in OKC

As the season changes into Fall, it is the best time to plant a new tree. All of these trees are great for landscaping here in OKC. Trees planted in Oklahoma need to be drought and disease resistant. Drought resistant does not mean you don’t have to water your new trees. All trees need to be established into their landscape before they can take care of themselves.

Special Thanks to Verbode Agent and Owner of Echelawn Complete Lawn & Landscaping, Tim Lloyd. This list is the top ten trees he recommends for planting in OKC!

10. Shumard Oak

A stately, strong and long-lived tree with beautiful fall color, the Shumard oak is a great selection for yards. This adaptable species has been successfully grown in urban areas where air pollution, poor drainage, compacted soil, and/or drought are common, making it a fine choice for street trees as well. While this tree is favored by homeowners, deer and squirrels also love its small acorns.

9. Blue Ice Cypress (Evergreen)

They’re tenacious trees, unfazed by searing heat and strong winds, and they can handle icy-cold winters, too.  Wildfires are even their friend, as the seeds for the next generation are released only by fire.  This extra-blue selection was discovered in New Zealand, of all places. Give them room to grow. They may be skinny at first, but they will grow fast.

8. Nellie R Stevens Holly (Evergreen)

A cross between the English Holly and Chinese Holly. The Nellie R Stevens Holly has a naturally dense broad pyramidal shape. The leaves are glossy with a dark green color and are among the darkest of any plant. The flowers produced in spring allow the tree to pollinate and produce an abundant amount of vivid red berries that are very attractive. It is adapted to many environmental conditions with its superior level of shade and drought tolerance.

7. Autumn Blaze Maple

An improved hybrid with brilliant, long lasting orange-red fall color, a uniform branching habit and rapid growth rate. Thrives in warm climates extending well into the deep south and west; will tolerate wet soils with good drainage. An excellent lawn, park or street tree.

6. Oklahoma Red Bud

The ideal tree when you want ornamentation, but don’t have a lot of room. Growing to 20 to 25 feet in height, the tree provides red flowers that grow out of the trunk and branches in the spring, followed by pink leaves that eventually turn green. Timing is the most important consideration when planting the Oklahoma redbud tree. It should be planted as soon as there is no longer a threat of frost.

5. Junipers

There are thirteen juniper species native to North America and eleven are mostly tree-like. They have a fleshy, berry-looking cone where the seeds develop and the leaves are more like scales than coniferous needles.

4. Crepe Myrtle

Chiefly known for their colorful and long-lasting flowers which occur in summer. Most have sinewy, fluted stems and branches with a mottled appearance that comes from having bark that sheds throughout the year. While all species are woody in nature, they can range in height from over 100 ft to under 1 ft. However, most are small to medium multiple-trunked trees and shrubs. The leaves of temperate species provide autumn color.

3. Bald Cypress

A classic tree of southern swamps. There, in its native habitat, it displays a peculiar habit of raising conical “knees” from its roots. The function of these growths is something of a mystery, although some believe it is a way to help the roots get oxygen. It does quite well when planted in the right soil in yards or along streets and is a beautiful specimen tree. It has been grown successfully in cities as far north as Milwaukee and on dry Texas hills.

2. Lacebark Elm

A graceful tree with a rounded crown adorned with lustrous dark green leaves that change to yellow and reddish purple in fall. A landscape standout, the lacebark elm has distinctive bark, which is mottled and often creates colorful patterns in its trunk. Medium to fast-growing, this elm adapts to many soil conditions and is relatively free from the diseases ravaging other elm species, making it a tough and durable tree for any situation.

1. Chinese Pistache

This tree starts out as an unattractive and misshapen young tree but grows into a magnificent specimen. It is a tough tree that can withstand urban conditions and is commonly used in dry landscaping. This tree is popular in California and is often put to use as the under stock for commercial pistachio growers. Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

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Top Ten 2016 Home Updates

Regardless whether you plan to sell your home or not, it is always best to add updates. Fixtures age and look dated. Paint fades and chips. Appliances give out and are not so efficient. Verbode is always suggesting to home sellers to add small updates that make a huge difference in a home. It helps sell the home and adds value at the same time. Also, remember this is a great way to get the family to work on a project together. Here is a list of 10 best ways to update your home in 2016!

10. Water Filter

If you don’t already own a refrigerator that has this option, adding a water filter to your house can save you money. This is especially for those who find themselves buying bottled water every week. You can find many options at any local or large retail home improvement stores. If you don’t want to install it yourself, many plumbing companies around town can give you an install estimate.


9. Programmable Thermostat

With technology today, you can now use an app to control your thermostat from your phone. You will be able to set schedules and in larger homes allow for different temperatures in certain rooms. All of this adds up and saves money in the long run.



8. Kitchen Backsplash

This upgrade is quickly becoming the new normal for new construction and flipped homes. Most homes will have the same paint color and/or wallpaper throughout the entire kitchen space. Now we are seeing many different styles being used in the kitchen. Everything from colorful tile to the wood paneling. Some choose to update the entire space, while others choose the main areas of preparation.


7. Bathroom Remodel

Colors are moving to a more neutral palette and fixtures are taking on different shapes. So you are seeing all white bathrooms or even equal parts black & white. Square fixtures are making a come back as well. For those not altogether abandoning a bathtub, we are seeing them switch to a free standing tub. Showers are expanding in space and most have added multiple shower heads some of which are high tech.


6. Energy Efficient Appliances

The Kitchen backsplash is not the only update popping up all over town, stainless steal energy efficient appliances are too. The saying, “They don’t make them how they use to,” doesn’t always have to be a negative one. In this case they are made to save money and the environment. They also allow you to pick and choose the color palette that works for you and not what works for the appliance.


5. Exterior Lighting

New LED light technology has advanced the amount of places you can add lighting. You can now splash home exterior accents with light and add illumination to your gardens. Solar lights can add much needed light to a long walkway.


4. Patio Additions

There is no limit to what you can add to a patio area. From a raised wood deck to a stone fire pit. With concrete remaining the most used material to create a patio space, most are adding shape and color instead of just having a concrete slab. We seem to be wanting to get closer to nature by adding a shaded patio area that acts more like an additional room that just so happens to be outside.


3. Replace Frontdoor

If they aren’t replacing the front door, they are giving it a new finish or painting it. With exterior paint trends moving to a neutral palette, most are giving their front doors a bright color to create a focal point. Windows are added as well to give an inviting look into the entryway of the house. Designers are looking to the past with a more vintage look giving our front doors more importance as a first impression.


2. Exterior Landscaping

Keeping with the recent trend of local sourcing of goods, landscapes are seeing flowers and edible plants that are native to the area. Water features have become a new normal with the soothing sound of running water. Added trees give a much needed shade and give height to your landscape.


1. Interior/Exterior Paint

The trend has moved to a Simply White with warm accent colors like reds, yellows, violets and blues. The blended whites with different shades of gray allow for a more colorful furniture and art.

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