Three years after drawing international attention with an offer to pay people just to live in the city for a year, Tulsa Remote sweetened the deal Tuesday morning.
Until now, the program’s $10,000 offer always came in cash installments spread throughout an entire year, ensuring people would have to stay in the city that long to collect all the money. Going forward, however, some participants will have the option of collecting the entire $10,000 in a lump sum.
On one condition: The cash must go toward buying a home in Tulsa.
“With greater flexibility in how to apply the $10,000 grant, it not only gives members the opportunity to reach long-term financial goals,” said Sofia Noshay, a housing specialist with Tulsa Remote, “but also establishes them in our community through home ownership.”
With a median home price of $157,000 in Tulsa, the grant can cover nearly one-third of an average down payment. Saving for a down payment can be one of the largest barriers to home ownership, Noshay said, and this initiative aims to eliminate that obstacle.
“This new program makes home ownership more attainable” for Tulsa Remote participants and gives them yet another reason to move here permanently, she said.
Taylor Brown and his wife took Tulsa Remote’s offer just over a year ago and moved from Austin.
“And we have been thrilled with our decision,” said Brown, chief technology officer at You Need A Budget. “We found a house we love in a great neighborhood close to everything — within walking distance to restaurants and parks, and only a few minutes’ drive to everything else. My wife and I were looking for a place to raise our son, and Tulsa has been a great fit for our family.”
Launched in November 2018 by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Tulsa Remote has brought more than 600 people to the city, and more than 90% have remained here long-term, program officials said. More than 50,000 people have applied from all over the world.
To help participants find the right homes to buy, Tulsa Remote will offer virtual and in-person tours of local neighborhoods, including a $500 travel reimbursement, officials said. Airbnb will also help participants “try before they buy” with a $150 coupon for a stay in the Tulsa neighborhood of their choice, officials said.
Applications and more information on Tulsa Remote can be found at TulsaRemote.com. To be eligible for the program, an individual must be a permanent resident of the United States, show consistent income, be at least 18 years old and currently live outside Oklahoma with the ability to work remotely.
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