How to Buy a House in Tennessee

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Contributor, Benzinga
May 28, 2020

You might assume buying your 1st property will be a long, stressful and confusing process. 

The real estate market can be complicated, but our guide to buying a home in Tennessee can prepare you to select the best mortgage for your perfect property. 

Step 1: Consider Current TN Mortgage Rates

Take a look at current mortgage interest rates when you’re ready to buy. Your lender will tell you your loan’s annual percentage rate (APR) when you apply for a loan. Your APR is the percentage of interest you’ll pay on your loan plus fees. Your APR might stay the same throughout your loan if you have a fixed rate. It can also change throughout the course of the loan term if you opt for an adjustable-rate mortgage.

APRs can change on a weekly, daily and sometimes even hourly basis. Your local housing market, the type of home you want to buy and even the bond market at large can all play a role in what you end up paying for your loan.

Take a look at the chart below to learn more about what you might expect to pay for a mortgage in Tennessee today. We refresh our rates frequently to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information. 

Loan TypeRateAPR
30-year fixed 6.415% 6.458%
15-year fixed 5.917% 6.044%
7/1 ARM (adjustable rate) N/A N/A
5/1 ARM (adjustable rate) N/A N/A
Rates based on an average home price of $225,000 and a down payment of 20%.
See more mortgage rates on Zillow

Step 2: Pick a Mortgage Lender in TN to Get Preapproved

Before you can find the right home, you’ve got to find the right mortgage loan! There are multiple types of mortgage loans, and as a resident of Tennessee, you’ll have your choice of mortgage lenders.

No clue where to start? Take a look at our recommended lenders that offer both conventional and government-backed mortgage loans. 

Quicken Loans
Best For
  • Online Service

1. Best Overall: Quicken Loans®

Quicken Loans is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the United States. It offers nearly every type of home loan you might need. 

Quicken Loans’ intuitive and simple Rocket Mortgage® platform makes it easy to create your loan application and get preapproved.

Just answer a few questions about your income, where you’d like to buy and your credit history. Most applicants will get a decision quickly.

With its streamlined application and award-winning customer service, Quicken Loans is one of the best lenders for first-time buyers.  

Veterans United
securely through Veterans United's website

2. Best for Veterans: Veterans United

If you’ve served in the United States’ armed forces, you might be able to buy a home with 0% down with a VA loan. Veterans United is the country’s top provider of VA loans. The lender has almost 200,000 reviews and a 4.7 out of 5.0-star rating.

Veterans United employs a full team of former servicemen and women from each branch of the military. This means your mortgage loan counselor can help you learn more how to qualify for a VA loan. Your loan counselor can also assist you in getting your proof of service. 

If you don’t qualify for a VA loan, Veterans United can help you apply for a conventional mortgage loan. 

CrossCountry Mortgage
Best For
  • Self-employed Borrowers
securely through CrossCountry Mortgage's website

3. Best for Self-Employed Borrowers: CrossCountry Mortgage

Self-employed professionals can appear to be risky loan candidates. You might have income that fluctuates monthly and a percentage of your income could be tied up in business assets. These factors can cause you to pay more for your loan or be denied entirely even if you have the funds and credit to manage a mortgage loan.

Consider a home loan from CrossCountry Mortgage if you’re self-employed. Its unique Asset Qualifier loan allows you to consider business assets when calculating your liability as a borrower. You can borrow up to 80% of your loan’s value up to $6 million. 

Step 3: Find a House

You can officially start home shopping once you get a mortgage preapproval. It's best to work with a real estate agent to help you narrow your options and find the perfect property. A real estate agent may come in especially handy during the initial search, as agents often have much more expansive listing networks and may be able to access properties that don’t appear in online real estate database websites.

Start with a list of qualities you’d like to find in your home. Some factors you might want to consider as you shop include:

  • The number of bedrooms and bathrooms 
  • Your commute and public transportation options
  • Local property taxes, crime rates and school district ratings
  • Any extras you want preinstalled, like a pool or privacy fence

Your preapproval will help you determine how much home you can afford. Be sure to factor the costs of insurance, taxes and maintenance into your monthly budget. 

Step 4: Make an Offer

Once you’ve found a home you want to buy, it’s time to submit an offer to the seller or the seller’s agent. It’s highly recommended that you hire a real estate agent or realtor to draft your offer letter. Agents know how to write a legally-binding offer, and they can also often make recommendations about how much to offer and any special concessions you’d like. 

If you’re determined to write your own offer letter, be sure to include all of your personal information, your offer price, when you want to take possession and any conditions of the sale.

Then you wait for your seller to respond. The seller might reply in 1 of 3 ways:

  • Accept the offer. The seller can accept the offer as it was written. When the seller accepts the offer, you can move onto closing.  
  • Reject the offer. The seller may also reject the offer outright. If your seller rejects your offer, consider amending your offer or searching for a new property.
  • Make a counteroffer. The seller can tweak your offer and propose a counter offer. You can accept, reject or offer another counteroffer.

You might need to make multiple counteroffers before you can proceed to closing. Both parties must fully agree to the sale and the terms of the sale before you can actually purchase the home. 

Step 5: Closing Time

After you and your seller reach an agreement, it’s time to close on your loan. Most closing processes include 3 parts:

  • Appraisal: The appraisal is a required part of the home buying process. The appraiser examines the home’s condition and look at sales data from comparable properties to assign an official value to your property. Appraisals are required because lenders can’t loan you more money than your home is worth.
  • Inspection: An inspection isn’t required to buy a home, but it can ensure your home doesn’t have any underlying issues. A home inspector goes through your property and make notes of everything that needs repaired or replaced. The general condition of your home’s systems and appliances is also reported.
  • Underwriting: Your lender underwrites your loan as the appraisal and inspection processes happen. This includes preparing loan paperwork, verifying your assets and income and checking your credit report. This usually requires very little input from you.

After all 3 steps, it’s time to attend your closing meeting. Next, you’ll pay your down payment and closing costs, sign off on your new loan and walk away a homeowner! 

Make Your Home in Tennessee 

A trusted real estate agent and knowledge mortgage lenders can help you make your home in Tennessee. Take a look at current mortgage rates and contact 1 of our recommended lenders to answer your home mortgage questions. 

Get Ready for Take Off

Rocket Mortgage® is an online mortgage experience developed by the firm formerly known as Quicken Loans®, America’s largest mortgage lender. Rocket Mortgage® makes it easy to get a mortgage — you just tell the company about yourself, your home, your finances and Rocket Mortgage® gives you real interest rates and numbers. You can use Rocket Mortgage® to get approved, ask questions about your mortgage, manage your payments and more.

You can work at your own pace and someone is always there to answer your questions — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Want a fast, convenient way to get a mortgage? Give Rocket Mortgage® a try.