If you’re considering moving to Tennessee, you’re not alone! The state is one of the most popular ones in the country for those seeking a new place to call home.
Tennessee boasts a number of potential benefits, including a low cost of living, plenty of outdoor activities, mild weather, and good schools.
There are also many popular places to move in Tennessee when deciding on a neighborhood, including Franklin, Germantown, Knoxville, Maryville, and Chattanooga.
But, there are also some things to know before you take the plunge! If you’re considering moving to Tennessee, here are 7 things you should know first:
1. There Are Four Major Cities
There are four major cities in Tennessee, each in a different area of the state.
Nashville is the biggest and most urban city. It’s also the capital of the state, located right in the middle, with a metro population of almost two million.
Those that love the dynamic of city life will appreciate the attractions available in the home of country music, since there are numerous cultural and tourist attractions to explore.
Along with the music and live entertainment scene, Nashville is home to several colleges, including Vanderbilt, and is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.
However, with its high population and bustling economy, you can expect to pay a premium to live in Nashville compared to other major Tennessee cities.
Knoxville is between the Smokies and the Cumberland Plateau, nestled in a valley. Knoxville is located on the Tennessee River, and is home to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, which is the flagship university in the state.
Memphis is in West Tennessee on the Mississippi River. It’s a well-known city as it’s widely recognized as the home of blues music and Elvis’s Graceland.
It’s also known for being a centerpiece in the U.S. Civil Rights movement, and is home to the National Civil Rights Museum.
Chattanooga is a smaller city compared to the other three, but is still considered one of the four major cities in Tennessee. It borders Georgia and is located directly on the Tennessee River.
It’s a scenically beautiful and family-friendly place to call home, and a great choice for those that love spending time outdoors.
2. The Smoky Mountains Are a Must-Visit
Tennessee is a huge draw for residents and tourists alike because of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee, which straddle the border with North Carolina.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1934 and draws over 14 million visitors annually, making it the most visited National Park in the country.
Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge offer park access, and the hikes are incredible in the area. The Appalachian Trail also runs through the park.
Of course, the Smoky Mountains aren’t the only natural beauty you’ll find in Tennessee. There are a huge number of lakes, rivers, and outdoor areas to explore.
Boating, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, and a plethora of other outdoor activities keep residents busy during their free time.
3. Home Prices Are Generally Reasonable
The real estate market in Tennessee has been booming, especially because so many families have been moving from more expensive parts of the country.
But you can still find good deals on homes and a lot of living space for your dollar compared to many other states.
While home values have been rising in places like Knoxville and Chattanooga, they remain a good value overall.
The homes in Nashville are more expensive, however, and the market is more competitive, with average home prices of around $350,000.
4. You’ll Likely Pay Less Tax
One of the many reasons Tennessee is considered an affordable place to live is because of its tax situation.
Tennessee has some of the lowest property tax rates in the country. However, Davidson County, where Nashville is located, recently saw a 34% increase in property taxes. So, think carefully about which part of the state you’d like to move to if low cost of living is a priority.
In addition, there’s no state income tax, which means your dollar can go further. The state makes up for this with a sales tax that’s higher than many places at around 7%, but the overall tax paid by the average citizen still ends up being quite affordable.
Finally, as of 2021, the state repealed its tax on investment income, letting you keep more of the money you make compared to most other states.
5. Research Schools Carefully
Tennessee isn’t known for having exceptional public education as a whole, with the state ranking 30th for public school quality in the country. That being said, many areas do offer a solid public education.
Germantown, which is a Memphis suburb, is considered to have the state’s best school district overall, with Maryville, located just outside Knoxville, coming in second.
Nashville suburbs, including Spring Hill, Franklin, and Brentwood, are also known for excellent public and private schools.
Private schools in the state include the Webb School in Knoxville and Chattanooga’s Baylor School. The McCallie School is a well-known all-boys boarding school located just outside of Chattanooga.
A somewhat unique benefit of Tennessee education is that under the Tennessee Promise program, if your child graduates from a Tennessee high school, they can attend a state community college at no cost.
6. The Economy Is Solid
Tennessee’s economy is one of the stronger ones in the country, with an unemployment rate lower than the national average and jobs steadily increasing.
The average salary in the big cities is substantially higher than the state average, but again, the low cost of living outside of the major cities can balance this out.
Top companies in Tennessee include FedEx, the Eastman Chemical Company, and Envision Healthcare.
7. Consider The Downsides
No place is without its downsides, and Tennessee is no exception. Make sure to consider them before moving to Tennessee, so that you can decide if they’re tolerable for you or not!
First, the summers are brutal in Tennessee. It’s hot and humid for months on end, and there’s little reprieve no matter where in the state you are.
Ideally, plan your move for winter so that you have time to gradually get used to the heat when summer arrives. The winters are usually mild, and there’s occasionally some snow, especially in the Great Smoky Mountains.
The Tennessee minimum wage is low, and while it remains a cheap state to live in comparatively, the cost of living is rising.
Finally, Tennessee is a landlocked state, so if you’re a fan of the ocean, keep in mind that you’ll be a full day’s drive from the nearest coast.
Overall, there’s a lot of benefits to moving to Tennessee, but it’s important to do your research on exactly where you want to live in the state.
Your city or neighborhood of choice will likely change depending on whether you’re looking for quality schools, a low cost of living, or places with more recreational activities.
Luckily, Tennessee is a state that has something to offer everyone. And once you see how much there is to do, you’re sure to be happy you made it your home!