Skyline reflecting on the river in Nashville, Tennessee

Living In Tennessee: Facts, Pros And Cons, Plus Tips For Buying A House

Erica Gellerman5-Minute Read
December 21, 2020

If you’re searching for a new place to live, at the top of your list might be Tennessee. With its beautiful scenery, thriving cultural scene, and outdoor activities, there’s a reason so many people are moving to Tennessee.

Is Tennessee right for you? We’ll cover that as well as tips to get you settled in a home in the Volunteer State.

Why Move To Tennessee?

Tennessee has a lot to offer. Whether you’re into the music scene or you love hiking in the mountains, Tennessee offers something for everyone. Not only that, but Tennessee real estate can be a solid investment. In the past, Tennessee real estate has shown a healthy return on investment for both homeowners and investors.

Top Real Estate Cities In Tennessee

So where might you move in Tennessee? The following is a list of the Rocket Homes five top real estate cities in Tennessee. You can explore the full list here.

Nashville

Skyline reflecting on the river in Nashville, Tennessee

Hello, Music City! The capital of Tennessee is also the largest city in the state with just under 700,000 residents (as of 2018). Home to legendary country music venues, it’s easy to understand why just under 100 people move to Nashville each day. Aside from music you’ll also find a strong job market, making it possible for new residents to make a living.

Nashville Real Estate Listings

Nashville Trend Report

Franklin

street in the town of Franklin, Tennessee

Located just south of Nashville, Franklin is its own thriving city, with a bustling historic downtown that looks like it’s straight out of a movie. Franklin is located in Williamson County, which is known for having well ranked public schools. It has a population of 80,000.

Franklin Real Estate Listings

Franklin Trend Report

Knoxville

Knoxville, Tennnessee

Knoxville, home to one of the University of Tennessee locations is a city in Eastern Tennessee. With a renovated downtown, you’ll find lively restaurants and bars. But you are also just a short escape from the city: it’s known as the gateway to the Great Smokey Mountains.

Knoxville Real Estate Listings

Knoxville Trend Report

Chattanooga

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga is a city located in Southeastern Tennessee in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It is also home to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and has a population of 180,000. It’s a great place for an outdoor enthusiast, and it has twice been named the best place to live in the US by Outside Magazine.

Chattanooga Real Estate Listings

Chattanooga Trend Report

Murfreesboro

Murfreesboro buildings in Tennesseee

Located 35 miles south east of Nashville, Murfreesboro is a midsized city of 140,000. Home to Middle Tennessee State University, the city has a lively, historic square. Over the past few decades, the city has been one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S.

Murfreesboro Real Estate Listings

Murfreesboro Trend Report

Pros And Cons Of Moving To Tennessee

Moving is always a big decision and it’s important to weigh both the pros and cons before you make a move.

Pros

There are a lot of pros in moving to Tennessee, but your pros will depend on your personal situation and preferences.

  • No income tax: you won’t have to pay income tax on salaries or wages, but you will have a flat tax on interest or dividend income.
  • Low cost of living: while the cost of living is increasing in some areas (specifically, Nashville), there are still plenty of places with low cost of living in the state.
  • Plenty of culture: you’ll find plenty of culture in Tennessee with both a thriving arts and music scene.
  • Excellent food: there’s no shortage of good food throughout the state (don’t forget to try the Nashville Hot Chicken).
  • Warm weather: things get humid in the summer but you’ll find moderate weather and temperatures year round.
  • Beautiful natural elements: rolling hills and limestone make a drive through Tennessee beautiful.

Cons

While Tennessee is great and it may check many of your boxes for an ideal place to live, it’s important to weight the cons against the pros above. That’ll help you get a realistic sense for what life in Tennessee is like.

  • Tornadoes: living in some parts of Tennessee means that you could be at risk for tornadoes.
  • Traffic: Tennessee’s population is booming and with that comes traffic issues.
  • Nuclear power plants: Tennessee has two nuclear power plants
  • High crime rates: the crime rate is Tennessee is higher than the national average, though you will find some cities and neighborhoods safer than others.

Tips For Buying A House In Tennessee

Buying a home in Tennessee isn’t too unlike buying a home in other areas of the country. Though if you’re relocating to Tennessee or buying your first home, it’s important to understand the nuances of real estate in the state.

Find A Trusted Tennessee Real Estate Agent

It’s important to find a real estate agent that knows the local market, can find what you’re looking for, and can help explain how things might be different in Tennessee as compared to the state you’re moving from. If you’re looking for a credible agent, consider working with a Rocket HomesSM Verified Partner Agent.

Understand The Tennessee Housing Market

With so many people relocating to Tennessee, it’s important to understand what type of market you’re looking in. A buyer’s market occurs when there is plenty of inventory of homes on the market and buyers have an upper hand in price negotiations. A seller’s market occurs when there’s the opposite. There’s not a lot of inventory and there are a lot of people looking to buy. Sellers have the upper hand in negotiation.

In Tennessee, you’ll want to work with a real estate agent to understand what the market condition is like. Depending on the city that you choose, you could be looking in either a buyer or a seller’s market.

Know Your Financing Options

Spend some time reviewing your financing options. Aside from a traditional bank loan, you there could be state-specific first-time home buyer grants and programs available. For example, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency offers loans for moderate to middle income first-time homebuyers.

Review Your Tornado Insurance Coverage

Because tornadoes do occur in Tennessee, you’ll want to make sure that your homeowners insurance covers tornadoes.. Most policies will, but it’s important to check your specific policy to be sure you’re protected.

Buy When The Timing Is Right For You

It may take some time to find the right home, so don’t rush. Buy when the timing is right for you. Spring and summer will give you more options because most houses are listed for sale during this time. But if you don’t find the right house then, you might have luck during the fall and winter when you will usually see a drop in prices.

Plan To Pay Lower-Than-Average Closing Costs

While closing costs can take a bit out of your budget, you’ll get a bit of relief from those in Tennessee. According to a study by Bankrate, closing costs in Tennessee are the second lowest in the country. 

Expect Low Property Taxes

Adding to the lower cost of living that you’ll find in Tennessee is the lower than average property taxes. According to Wallethub, Tennessee has the 15th lowest property tax rate in the country.

The Bottom Line On Living In Tennessee

Ready to make a move? Tennessee offers a great lifestyle. Before you buy a home, check out our other home buying articles.

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    Erica Gellerman

    Erica Gellerman is a CPA, MBA, personal finance writer, and founder of The Worth Project. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Money, Business Insider, The Everygirl, The Everymom and more.