Buying a House in Nashville? 16 Pro Tips & Mistakes to AVOID!
Nashville’s real estate market is hot right now, and it can be tough to find a house. At Felix Homes, we help people in Middle Tennessee buy and sell homes for a lower commission. If you're considering living in Tennessee, check out our 16 tips to consider before buying a house in the Nashville area.
Tip 1: Clean Up Your Financial Profile
Before you can even start looking at houses, you have to work towards getting pre-approved by a mortgage lender. That begins with your finances. Look at your savings, credit history, and upcoming expenses. Lenders will consider your debt-to-income ratio so reduce your debt as much as possible before pursuing a loan. Consider paying down those credit card bills or student loans. You want to get the best rate possible when you finally talk to a lender.
Tip 2: Save For A Down Payment
It’s a fact that you will be competing against cash offers in Nashville. So you need to have a competitive down payment waiting in the bank for this type of situation. You don’t have to be a millionaire to buy a home, but you do need to have enough money so that the seller pays attention to your offer. While there are programs that allow you to purchase a home with no money down, your offer will look more competitive if you are able to put down at least 5%.
Tip 3: Maintain A Stable Work History
Mortgage companies want to see stability. Stability helps to show that you will be able to pay your mortgage predictably each month. Ideally, you should show at least two years of consistent work history. If you've changed jobs within the last two years don't worry. Lenders will consider previous companies you've worked for as long as your title and job description were similar. This type of work history shows that you are likely going to hold on to your current job.
Tip 4: Know What Your Money Will Get You Before Entering The Market
Be realistic. Have an idea of what houses in your price range are like in your preferred neighborhoods. In a competitive seller's market, you may have to compromise. Realize that not everything on your “must-have” list may be in a house that you could realistically afford. Prioritize your list of needs so that you can weed out less essential features.
Tip 5: Save Three Months Of The Mortgage, And Have It In The Bank
Banks like to know that you will be able to pay your mortgage on time each month. Show them that your finances are in order by saving three months of mortgage payments. This will also come in handy with upfront expenses and closing costs that you will encounter from moving into your new home.
Tip 6: Budget For Future Home Maintenance
Many new home buyers don’t understand the cost of home maintenance. If you have previously rented, it’s essential to realize that there were ongoing costs that your landlord covered. Home expenses, repairs, and maintenance can add up. So just make sure you can cover the costs each month. This can be hard to do when your budget is tight because many expenses can be unpredictable.
Tip 7: Get Pre-Approval From A Mortgage Lender
We can’t stress it enough, the real estate market in Nashville is hot. If you want your offer to be taken seriously, you need to show that you are serious and can move fast. Get a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender. Offers without a letter of pre-approval will not be considered.
Tip 8: Zero In On A Neighborhood
Pick a few neighborhoods that you would like to live in so you have options. Be realistic with this choice. For example, if you choose a community at the top of your budget and have a long list of house features, it will be tough to find a house that checks all of these boxes. Decide what is more critical: location or home features. Have a few neighborhoods in mind to give yourself more options. Visit the areas you are interested in at different times of the day. Try doing a test run if you have a commute. Do your research before buying a home.
Tip 9: Understand The Difference Between Visiting And Living In A Neighborhood
This one is a crucial tip for a city like Nashville. Nashville is a fantastic place to live and visit, but these two experiences are very different. Most native Nashvillians like to steer clear of tourist areas even though these areas can be fun to visit. If you visited Nashville as a tourist, you probably kept late hours, and this may not be something that you'll want to live near as a resident. So areas like Midtown, Downtown, and The Gulch need to be carefully evaluated before moving in. What hours do you keep? What noise level are you comfortable with every day? These types of questions have to be considered before moving to Music City.
Tip 10: Work With A Professional
We talked about why you need a realtor for selling your home, but many of the same reasons apply to buying a home. A professional real estate agent will help you find a house effectively. They will understand Nashville neighborhoods, be privy to houses coming on the market, and know-how to navigate a challenging market. They can help you write a competitive offer, work through contingencies, and understand how to keep you financially protected.
Tip 11: Time It Right
Typical real estate wisdom says that inventory is best in Spring, but Nashville is such a challenging market to buy in right now. A real estate agent will look at inventory and gauge how supply and demand are changing. Because they are looking at the local real estate market daily, realtors have a better sense of how to time a move.
Tip 12: Understand It’s A Seller’s Market
As a buyer, you do not have the upper hand when buying a house in Nashville. It all comes down to supply and demand. There just aren't enough houses. So you will likely have to compete with multiple offers. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward in every offer.
Tip 13: Find Out About New Homes Coming To The Market
Because buying a house in Nashville is so competitive, you will have to act quickly. Make sure you are in the loop with new home listings. A professional realtor can help with this because they often can help you find properties that don’t exist on typical channels like Zillow.
Tip 14: Don’t Rush Into A House Without Doing Research
There’s a lot of advice out there that says to act fast. This advice is valid. But don’t rush into buying a house without doing your research. There’s a lot that can go overlooked when you’re rushing to make an offer. For example, flood maps need to be carefully considered. Nashville has a lot of rivers, creeks, and streams. Our flood maps are constantly being redrawn due to new development. Make sure you check your prospective home for this.
Another area that can be confusing is school zones. A great example of this is in the Brentwood area. You may think you are moving into a Brentwood school zone because you have a Brentwood address. But if you live in Davidson County, you are zoned for Metro schools. The bottom line: don’t wait to make an offer, but make sure you do your research.
Tip 15: Consider Your Commute
There’s no actual transit in Nashville besides busses in the urban core. There’s also no real plan to include transit any time soon, and many transit plans have been shot down in the past. So if you’re relocating from an area with robust public transportation, then you should redefine your perception of closeness in Nashville. In Nashville, it’s just a reality that you will spend 10-40 minutes in your car every time you take a trip. Most neighborhoods are not walkable. So make sure to consider your commute now and in the future. Commutes are bound to keep increasing as the city grows.
Tip 16: Take A Breath
You will find a home in Nashville. Just make sure you are approaching it with a solid plan and the right expectations. Nashville is a great place to live, but buying a house in Nashville has never been more challenging.
Make sure you have the right people in your corner
At Felix Homes, we are the real estate professionals that make your dollar go further. We take a lower commission which means you have more money to work with when shopping for a house. We help our clients save $12,375 on average in realtor fees.