Last summer, I decided to start investing in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I purchased a duplex there last winter and successfully completed a BRRRR project (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat) on it that wrapped up in June with a cash-out refinance. I still think OKC is a great city to invest in, and we plan to hold our duplex there for many years.
However, earlier this summer, we pivoted to investing in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Tulsa is a city roughly ⅔ the size of Oklahoma City (population of 413,000 to OKC’s 681,000) and lies in Northeast Oklahoma about 90 minutes from OKC. If you include the suburbs and smaller towns around Tulsa, the population is over 1 million. Many of the reasons we were drawn to OKC also apply to Tulsa: it’s landlord-friendly, has a diverse recession-resistant economy, solid population growth, and more.
So what were some of the key reasons for our shift to Tulsa?
1. Less competition for deals.
Where the OKC real estate market has exploded in recent years thanks to lots of out-of-state capital and investors, Tulsa isn’t nearly as well known. That means there’s less competition for deals. Lots of investors don’t like investing in smaller sub-markets like Tulsa because they believe the economies aren’t as well established, they worry that there may be less demand for housing, or they have simply never heard of places like Tulsa! This is great for investors like us.
2. People love to live in Tulsa!
Tulsa ranks number 66 on liveability.com’s “Top 100 best places to live” list. This is for good reason, and if you’ve ever visited Tulsa you know why. The people are super friendly like you find in a small town and, unlike bigger cities, there is almost no traffic at all. The cost of living is also 8% lower than the national average, so your money goes a lot farther in Tulsa than it does in bigger markets.
Tulsa is in Northeast Oklahoma, which means it’s only a few hours to the beautiful Ozark Mountains in Arkansas and Missouri. I’m a big fan of cities having natural beauty nearby, and Tulsa definitely checks that box. Also, the live music scene in Tulsa is fantastic and growing every year.
3. Tulsa is business and landlord friendly
The local government in Tulsa (as well as the state government of Oklahoma) is very supportive of both big and small businesses. This, combined with the low cost of living, makes it an attractive location for businesses of all sizes to operate. Land and warehouse spaces are relatively cheap compared to larger, coastal markets.
Oklahoma in general has landlord/tenant laws that favor the landlord. This is great for real estate investors and is an important criteria to consider when looking for places to invest. The state doesn’t allow tenants to live in a home for months without paying rent like you will find in states like Vermont and Oregon.
According to Norada Real Estate, Landlords can evict a tenant in Oklahoma City for failure to pay rent, criminal activity, and material breaches of the lease. If the landlord wants to evict them for a breach of lease, a ten-day written notice is required in which the tenant has to solve the issue.
If they don’t, they can be given 15 days to leave. If a landlord wants to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent, he or she must first give the tenant a 5-day written notice for payment of rent. If the tenant does not pay rent within 5 days, the landlord may proceed with the eviction of the tenant.
4. Tulsa has a growing, diverse economy
MidAmerican Industrial Park in nearby Pryor, OK is not only Oklahoma’s largest industrial park, but it is one of the largest in the nation. It houses more than 80 businesses including Google, Chevron, and DuPont. Google alone has invested more than $2 billion in their local data center.
In addition to the energy sector, industries such as aerospace, finance, and technology have begun establishing facilities in the Tulsa area.
Tulsa has introduced a tax incentive to encourage “remote workers” to live in Tulsa. The pandemic has allowed many employees around the country to continue working from home, so even if their company’s office is in San Francisco or other high-cost markets, they are no longer obligated to live in those expensive areas. Also, individuals working these types of jobs tend to be high-earning jobs in the finance or technology industries. Tulsa wisely wants to attract these individuals to live there.
5. I found a rock star investor-friendly agent in Tulsa
Real estate is all about having a great team, right? I first connected with Nate Sanow on the Bigger Pockets forums when I had zero plans to invest in Tulsa. We chatted about real estate from time-to-time for a few months, and when I traveled to Oklahoma for work in May 2021, we decided to meet up for lunch in Tulsa. He showed me around some areas he thought would work for H&E’s strategy, and after that day I decided to start marketing to Tulsa. Fast-forward 4 months, and we have closed on two properties: one as a flip and one as a BRRRR.
Nate is a pleasure to work with, shares similar long-term goals, and we have complimentary skills. He is a master at establishing rapport with potential sellers, has lots of real estate contacts in Tulsa, and he is reliable! Everyone needs a Nate on their team.
I hope you gained value from this article. Please reach out to me in Instagram @honorandequity and let me know what you think!