With a booming economy and several world-class universities, the birthplace of country music and the home of Memphis barbecue enjoys a stable, vibrant housing market. Deals are few and far between but you can find bargains if you know when to look.
Buying a house is a stressful and emotional process. You'll likely have to spend weeks touring properties, fill out hundreds of forms, and invest a large chunk of your savings to secure the right house.
One way to make buying a house easier is starting the process at the right time. In Tennessee, housing inventory, mortgage rates, and market trends vary from month to month.
For example, this year listing prices for homes in Tennessee were lowest in January. On average, homes were $36,432 less expensive. While in October — the month with the highest prices — the listing prices were $28,632 more than the annual average.
In truth, the best time to buy a house really depends on your priorities and situation. Read on to find out which time of year will give you the most options and the biggest savings when buying a house in Tennessee.
Best Month For
8.2% lower than average
26.1% more homes to choose from
2.95% interest for 30-year mortgage
Realtor.com data (October 2020)
Bankrate data (December 2020)
If you're interested in buying a home, the first step in the home buying journey is getting preapproved by a licensed lender. Even if you’re already pre-approved, shopping around for lower rates can pay dividends over the life of the loan.
You can fill out the form below to be instantly matched with a licensed lender who knows the area and can guide you through the process.
The Best Time to Purchase a Home in Tennessee
The best time to buy a home in Tennessee looks to be in winter, just after the holidays.
January is when homes tend to linger on the market longest, tallying just over eight days longer than the yearlong average. Buyers know that the longer their property is on the market, the worse their chances of selling, so they'll be motivated to sell.
The very next month, February, is when homes sell for their lowest yearly average price. Tennessee homes that sell in February close for 6.7% less than the yearlong average. It's likely no coincidence that the month with the lowest closing prices follows the month with the longest time on the market; after a sluggish January, sellers are likely very open to negotiation in February.
If you want the best possible bargain in Tennessee, it looks like the post-holidays winter months are the best time to survey the market.
The Best Places to Buy a Home in Tennessee
Home to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, as well as a cost-of-living well below the national average. Homes are still affordable here, with median home values about 20% lower than the national average, and there's significant potential here to invest in rental properties, thanks to the university.
Though it's the only city on this list with home values higher than the national average (the median home value in Nashville is just over $236,000), it's still a remarkably affordable place to live, which is all the more impressive because it's growing at such a fast rate. And the prestige of being the world capital of country music confers a certain amount of prestige on the city, as well as a booming tourism industry.
Memphis is the largest city on the Mississippi, and home to three Fortune 500 companies. Its nightlife is well known, as is its barbecue, and it's one of the most affordable big cities in the country. Median home values are lower than the national average, though its crime rate is moderately higher than average. Overall, you can get a big-city lifestyle at a significant discount in Memphis.
Chattanooga is a small city that's growing fast, which is unusual when you consider that Memphis is actually shrinking. Home values and median household income is lower than the national average here, but the cost-of-living is even lower. Boasting fantastic green spaces and parks, and a world-class aquarium, Chattanooga is one of the best kept secrets in Tennessee.
Murfreesboro is the only city on this list with median home values and median household income that's higher than the national average. Home to Middle Tennessee State University, this city's a great choice for investment in rental properties or settling down in an intimate but cosmopolitan mid-sized city.
Four Ways to Get a Great Deal On a Home in Tennessee
Find a Great Tennessee Real Estate Agent
An experienced local real estate agent knows exactly how much to offer for your dream home, because they know exactly how much a similar house down the street sold for the previous week, the previous month, even the previous year. They'll know if the seller is motivated to complete a quick sale or dug in for the long haul, and they'll know all the possible conditions (tax liens, lead paint, etc.) that could strengthen your position. Put simply, they'll make sure you enter negotiations in the strongest possible position.
Assess Your Needs and Lay Out Your Goals
There are countless options out there, and the next task for you and your agent is to narrow them down. And you can't do that until you decide what, exactly, you're looking for in your dream home.
Do you want a pool? Proximity to parks and green space? You probably have a ballpark figure in mind for a price, but what's your absolute, do-not-exceed upper limit? The sooner you answer all these questions, and many more, the sooner your agent can find you the exact home you're looking for.
Find a Lender and Secure Financing
Unless you plan to buy your home with cash, you'll need to apply for a mortgage. For most home buyers in Tennessee, interest rates are among the biggest factors when choosing a lender. Doing a little upfront research and comparing options to find the best rates could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
For example, in Tennessee a typical house is worth $201,000. Assuming a 20% down payment, if you took out a 30-year mortgage for 3.5%, your monthly payment would be $717. But if you shopped around and found a 3% mortgage, your monthly payment would drop to about $678.
Getting a mortgage is a big decision – and it pays to shop around! Keep shopping until you find a lender with competitive rates who also understands your goals. Don’t get pressured into taking on a bigger loan than you’re comfortable with – work with a lender who explains what you’re really signing up for.
It’s easy to start your home buying journey – answer a few questions to get instantly matched with a lender who works in your area.
Negotiate for the Best Possible Price
With your agent's help, you secured financing, and looked at a list of properties tailored to your specific needs and desires. And one of them caught your fancy.
Now what? Well, now you negotiate an offer. Your agent will help you come up with the perfect number here, based on similar properties and how much they sold for, as well as a reading of this specific situation. For example, some sellers just want to make a quick sale and get out of town with the money. Others take negotiation very personally, and will begrudge even the smallest reduction in price. Your agent will be able to read them and react accordingly.
If your price is accepted, you'll be the owner of your dream home. Congratulations!
Clever Partner Agents are top performers in their markets, and come from top brokerages. Contact us today to set up a no-obligation consultation!