6 Steps To Home Buying

From the Desk of Courtney Okanlomo:

6 Steps To Home Buying

Buying a home is scary enough. Couple that with buying your first home and we have encountered an entirely new level of anxiety! To better prepare you for the process, I have put together this cheat sheet of 6 home buying steps: 

  1. Get Pre-Approved - This may go without saying, but it is extremely important so that buyers are looking in the proper monthly payment range from the beginning. You will first complete an Application for Credit with the Lender of your choice, submit basic qualifying information such as pay stubs, W-2's and tax returns, and the Lender will respond with the programs that are available to you based on your financial profile. 
  2. Search For Your Home - It takes approximately 30-45 days to close on a property from start to finish, so I always advise that my clients allow about 2-3 months of search time. For example if your lease ends August 30th you would be able to give your 60 day notice on June 30th, and you should begin the pre-approval and search process right away. It is always better to have more time than less time to allow for emergencies, unforeseen delays, etc. 
  3. Submit Your Offer - Once you've found your dream home, you and your Realtor® will draw up an offer and begin negotiations (if applicable). When a fully executed contract is in hand, the earnest money (usually 1% of the home sales price) would need to be available for submission to the seller. These are good faith funds demonstrating your seriousness to purchase, and the amount is credited back to you at closing. 
  4. Begin The Underwriting Approval Process - By this time your Realtor® will have sent the fully executed contract to your Lender. He/she will order an Appraisal and begin to work the numbers, underwrite your file, and request any additional documents if needed. As your Realtor® I understand that the financing piece is one of the most important components to the transaction. As such, on a weekly basis, I will be in the background assuring that things are moving as they should and that the close date in the contract will be met. 
  5. Conduct Your Due Diligence: Have a Home Inspection - This is what I will always advise my clients to do. It is what you will use as a guideline and framework to the strengths and possible weaknesses of the property you've chosen to buy. If further negotiations to the contract are necessary due to certain repairs, this will be done and must be done in the time allotted per the agreement.  
  6. Prepare For Your Closing - This is the waiting period. In the meantime while your Lender is doing their magic, you will begin to collect other information to prepare you for your move - past utility bills (if desired), HOA rules/restrictions, home insurance quotes, etc. During this time-frame it is also imperative that no new additional applications for credit, loans, or major purchases are made. This can be detrimental and devastating to your transaction if any of these activities occur. If you are looking to buy furniture, appliances, etc. as your Realtor® I strongly recommend waiting until (at minimum) we have received a clear to close from your Lender. Additionally, the purchase should be made in cash and not on credit. You can literally go on the day of your closing (after it has funded) and buy a whole car if you wanted to - but not a minute before then!

Home Buying Steps

As a Realtor® I am often asked how the home-buying process works, how long it takes, and most importantly what the home buying steps consist of. My passion lies in relationship and trust building in real estate, so informing my clients is paramount to my success more than anything else. Home ownership is a huge predecessor for wealth building, and I want us ALL to have access to it. 

Start planning today, so that you can share your testimony with others soon after. Allow me to assist you every step of the way!

Starter Home Benefits

From The Desk of Courtney Okanlomo:

Starter Home Benefits

Over the past 10 years, we have all witnessed the real estate market crash and re-build itself in an extremely impressive timeframe, thusly confirming its considerable contribution to the wealth of most Americans today. Purchasing real estate, whether for investment or personal purposes, is one of the single most sought after ways to build savings and equity over a period of time. In fact, many Americans claim that their starter home purchase single-handedly saved their financial life.

One of the largest misconceptions about purchasing property, is that you can't spend less than $200,000 on a 'quality' property. This is simply untrue. For example, look at these beautiful starter homes currently listed here in the Houston area

    i. Kings Chase Drive; Houston, TX - $150,000 - 4 Bedrooms, 2 Baths

Open concept floor plan...

    ii.  Sweet Olive Drive; Tomball, TX - $150,000 - 4 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths

Beautiful 2 story home with large backyard...Updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances...

    iii. Audubon Hill Court; Houston, TX - $140,000 - 4 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths

2200 square foot home with covered back porch...Quaint kitchen with lots of cabinet space...

Beautiful homes, right? Studies have shown that properties purchased for less than $200k tend to experience the most appreciation in the shortest amount of time. This appreciation ultimately translates to equity, which is very tangible when you go to sell a property. 

Moreover, starter homes make the perfect rental investments in many cases. The mortgage payment is usually relatively low, and the size of the home is fitting for a small family or single individual that wants more space than an apartment can provide. The profit and savings of building equity, selling the property, or even renting it, all have the ability to extend endless financial opportunities.

Are you considering purchasing your first starter home? Or perhaps a home under $200k that would be ideal for renting out regularly? Contact me today to get started on these goals! 

Houston Real Estate Forecast: Sunny and Selling

From the Desk of Courtney Okanlomo:

Houston Real Estate Forecast: Sunny and Selling

It is no secret that 2008 marked the largest real estate bubble in United States history, but one city that has managed to stay successfully afloat has certainly been Houston. In fact, Houston, Texas never lost its position as the #1 single-family market in the country. There appears to be alot of optimism surrounding Houston real estate at the moment, and I for one do not want any of my clients to miss out on this.  

Between first time and repeat buyers, experienced sellers, and knowledgeable Realtor representation, this accomplishment is of no surprise to most. In fact, it is has been forecast that Houston will realize 10% or higher growth in home sales volume this year - coming behind setting a 2016 record in this category.

If you're considering purchasing a home, or even positioning yourself to purchase one, it certainly seems as though Houston wouldn't be a bad place to start your search.  Home sales in Houston could potentially see double digit price increases in the year 2018, which is quite frankly an occurrence that the region hasn't seen in 35+ years.  

Houston real estate has proven to be a force for quite some time. Are you ready to join us?!





April Boxycharm: What’s Inside

April 2016 Boxycharm Reveal


Anderson Lilley Manhattan Beach Butter Hand Cream (Retail Value $24.00) - What girl doesn't love a hand cream to throw in her purse to use on the go? I find myself purchasing travel size lotion regularly for this very reason, so this month I won't have to. This cream smells edible, and is super moisturizing.

OFRA Long Lasting Lipstick in "Pasadena" (Retail Value $19.90) - Truthfully, this is my 2nd lippie from a Boxycharm box and it stays on ALL DAY LONG with good application. Their shades are great, and the quality is as well. I will stick to receiving these in my charm boxes however due to their retail price!lol NYX's Liquid Suede Lipstick equally does the trick for me at just $6.99.


Your Minerals Eyeshadow (Retail Value $24.00) - Your Minerals is definitely an underrated beauty brand, and I've figured this out after receiving a few of their amazing products in my charm boxes. This eyeshadow is super pigmented, a beautiful shade, and loosely compacted so I'm excited to try it out on my lids. 

Pur-lisse Daily Lip Nourisher (Retail Value $16.00) - Lip moisturizer is another staple item that I use daily. Before lip applications and before bed, I apply a lip balm for extra moisture and lip protection. Moisture is key with any beauty regimen, so I'm ALWAYS happy to receive such items in my charm box.  

Blinc Black Lash Primer (Retail Value $26.00) - I've never used a lash primer before, so this item was a pleasant surprise as well! Not only does this item 'prime/protect' your lashes, but it was also created to encourage lash growth and retain moisture. In a previous box we received Blinc Mascara, and using the two together (as recommended) was a lot of fun. I noticed a little difference in the thickness of my not so thick natural lashes, so I definitely plan to use this until the last drop! 


It's so exciting to reveal each month's Boxycharm goodies with you all! This month I received 5 full size products retailing over $100 for just $21/month.

What beauty subscriptions do you all have and love?

3 Ways To Stay Confident While Expecting

3 Ways To Stay Confident While Expecting

Easier said than done right? Trust me, I get it. I'm just here to say that we must find a way to! 


  1. Carve time out for your appearance, health, and fitness. - I have found with all of my pregnancies that excuses are sooooo easy to make. No time for this, no energy for that. Each time they all made sense to me as well. This third time around however - even through the 15-16 weeks of constant nausea - I have vowed to take pride in my appearance, plan snacks and meals (as best as I can), and walk for at least 15 minutes/day. Whatever you can do, do it. Every pregnancy is different and so is every woman. Just remember that confidence is so much easier to maintain when you feel good and reach goals, however small they may be. fruit and veggie lunch idea
  2. Lean on other pregnant women. - Not everyone has the amazing, quintessential pregnancy. If you reach out to other ladies who are expecting, you'll find out just how 'not alone' you are. From nausea, to mood swings, to weight gain worries, to feeling like a failed wife or mom, there are tons of women who feel the same way. Get together, join forums, etc to find out the best ways of coping. It is important to remember that your pregnancy is temporary, and that you will begin to feel like yourself again just days after birth in most cases.
  3. Remember that it's a BLESSING to be expecting. If nothing else, find confidence in THAT! - I was politely humbled and reminded today of the many women who pay thousands of dollars per year to aid in fertility issues and conceiving. Having experienced loss before, I also know what it feels like to have your dreams shattered in that respect. Each day, try to be grateful for the experience itself if nothing else.   


Of all of these tips one thing is for sure, confidence is certainly a conscious decision that expectant women must make. With or without the validation of others, decide to be confident, feel beautiful, and bask in the blessing that truthfully many women don't get to experience. I know that I will be from this day forward.

Humbly Yours,

Mrs. O.