The good news: finding an apartment in Oklahoma City is easy. The great news: apartments here are inexpensive!
No Broker Necessary: Thanks to a bounty of affordable housing, apartment brokers are rarely (if ever) used. Instead, most people find their pad either by driving around, through property management companies they find online, or, and here's our personal favorite, ApartmentList.com.
Have in Hand: Bring your proof of income (they want to see that you make about 3 times the rent) and identification (that’s really all the documentation you need to get started) and you can be on your way to signing a lease as fast as you can get your application filled out.
Flexible Landlords: People in Oklahoma City have a reputation for being pretty easy going, and the landlords here are no exception. Your application to rent will typically only be denied if have a felony or if you’ve previously been evicted. Aside from that, leases can be negotiated and even if you have outstanding bills from previous rentals many companies and individuals will work with you. The one thing they will stick on is not offering six-month leases around summer/fall, when the end-date would end up leaving tenants moving in the cold months.
Model Behavior: Always, always, always ask to see the actual unit you’ll be renting. It’s easy to be convinced by pushy or persuasive agents at large complexes that a model unit is “exactly like the one you’ll be living in!” but stand your ground. If the space you’re interested in currently has tenants, politely ask to set up an appointment. Southern manners sometimes prevent apartment seekers from being too demanding, but as long as you’re polite in your requests the property manager should be more than happy to oblige. If they’re not, perhaps it’s time to move on.
If OKC conjures up images of tumbleweeds blowing across ranchlands, cowboys standing in fields of grain, or, worst of all, block after block of mid-century ramblers—we need to fix that. We’re a bustling metropolis y’all!
Downtown/Bricktown/Deep Deuce: Yeah, it’s overstuffed with luxury condos and lofts but we still can’t get over this ‘hood. It’s got a sweet manmade canal (you read that right—a manmade canal in the heart of the metropolis, complete with taxi boats and all), a baseball stadium (Hotdogs! Beer! Sunflower seeds! Oh my!), a killer nightlife AND it’s one of the few places that’s walkable.
Midtown/Plaza District/Paseo District: If the thought of moving to a state that had zero county votes for Obama in ’08 (yep, every single one went to McCain) scares the bejeezus out of you, you’ll want to head thisaway to be with liberal leaning/arty/hip folks.
Uptown/Asian District/Crown Heights: This is the heart of international culture for the state—be prepared to be pleasantly surprised by Little Saigon, which has authentic Vietnamese food and shops. It can be grimy, but for singles on a budget there’re plenty of very inexpensive (but decent) studios and one-bedrooms. And it’s right next door to the hipper Paseo District. $
Inner City South/Oklahoma River: Throwing together a Mexican business district, old-school cattlemen aesthetics and a handful of parks, this area’s got character for days. Homes are a little rundown, but it’s prime territory for a new fam looking to snag a cute bungalow.
Edmond/Norman: These communities are far enough off the beaten path to be affordable and laidback, but close enough to OKC (only 30 minutes away by Interstate 35) to be convenient and adopt the most awesome cultural offerings of the big city. To the south we have Norman: University of Oklahoma epicenter but way more than just an overflowing college campus. A healthy mix of eclectic shopping, low-cost eats, families, coeds and nice apartments at good prices create great neighbors and make this suburb feel not-so-suburbany. Edmond (to the north) is gonna run you a little more, feels a slightly more “hometown” than Norman and is near the University of Central Oklahoma.
Okay, maybe not every Oklahoman, but people that’ve lived in Oklahoma City for more than a hot-minute.
A pedestrian city this is not. Spread out by wide roads, you pretty much aren’t walking anywhere unless it’s from your front door to the garage.
No car? We’re sad for you, but there’s always public transit. The current bus system is sort of completely laughable, but there’s hope! We got $120 million big ones set aside for six miles of downtown street-car. It’s a long way off, but it’s coming!
Rock your sweet wheels in the meantime. Although the roads have potholes that are more like steam vents from hell, traffic is negligible which makes even the most distant commutes fast.
Better than in the Hospital
Put your faith in the weatherman—not your friends or the sky. OKC weather is, for lack of a better term, completely wonkybonkers (think squalls, thunderstorms, extreme heat and sub-zero temperatures). We also have these things here, they’re called TORNADOES. They like to drop out of the sky with little warning.
Know your closest shelter. Many apartments (and homes) don’t have basements, so call your fire department and find out where the nearest church, school, town hall or community storm shelter is located (and know the routes to get there).
Towns with lots of twister activity test their sirens weekly: it’s annoying, but don’t worry, you’ll live. Just remember to pay attention when they go off at unexpected times because that means business.
Keep it clean. You know how your mom always harped on you to clean your room? Well, if you were raised in Oklahoma it was probably because she didn’t want your messy self to get bit by a brown recluse (‘fiddleback’, if you wanna get local about it). These bad boys love dark corners so be careful with shoes, dresser drawers, bed sheets, gloves and that pile of clothes you have straight chillin’ in the corner of your room.
Let’s see…we shattered some preconceived notions about the Panhandle State’s biggest city (tumbleweeds—not so much), confirmed some less-embarrassing stereotypes (cowboy boots and hats—so, so, much) and armed you with helpful knowledge. Sounds like you’re ready to find an apartment in the Friendly City.