So, you're moving to Nashville... : nashville

So, you’re moving to Nashville… : nashville

Great choice. You probably have some questions which led you here…

A quick intro:

Nashville has a lot of transplants. [LA-05]

“Never forget what you are, for surely the world Nashville will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you”

As such, we get a lot of posts asking for help finding a place to live. The results can be… mixed. It’s generally the same questions (“What’s the best place to live?”/”Can I afford ___?”) with little to no helpful information ( not helpful: “Love Nashville, finally moving there. Any help would be great. Can’t wait!” Helpful: “Here’s my budget, bedrooms, job location, commute time ideals, pets, city comparison, etc.) and disbelief that they get directed to the Wiki , or Google, instead of providing a full market analysis for their specific situation.

Please read this before asking any questions. If you can’t find the answer here, or through Google, try giving the sub a quick search to see if it’s already been asked/answered. If no luck then feel free to post. The more information you can provide (barring any personal contact info) the higher the odds of someone stepping in with an answer, well a helpful one.

Housing

Buying

Get a Realtor! The buyer’s agent’s cost is covered by the seller in a traditional real estate transaction. You’ll find no shortage agents. Talk to multiple before deciding. You’ll be interacting with this person a good bit, on quite possibly the largest purchase of your life, so clear communication on both parts is huge.

A few Redditors that may be able to assist:

Renting (Leasing)

Apartments

Get an Apartment Locator! We’re also Real Estate Agents, but instead of buying/selling houses, we find people apartments all throughout the Greater Nashville Area (every surrounding county except Cheatham currently). We get paid by apartments for referring new residents at absolutely no cost to you. I work with a team of Apartment Locators and we’re constantly getting emails/calls/texts updating us on pricing/availability/specials/tour policies directly from apartments. You tell me what you’re looking for in an apartment and so I can do a personalized search based on your needs/wants. If you want to get started on your personalized search shoot me an email with your Move-In Date, Bedrooms, Budget, & Areas of interest to [email protected]

If you’d like to spend your free time doing the research on your own:

  • Apartments.com

  • Rent.com

  • Hotpads.com

  • Apartmentguide.com

  • Zillow.com

  • Zumper.com

The pictures/videos are, usually, great on said websites, but the pricing and availability are also, usually, outdated. (Most Nashville apartments have switched over to software-based pricing that updates frequently)

Reviews can be helpful, but also distracting. Repeat mentions of specific issues merit attention, but reviews are also often used as a means of retaliation. Ask your Locator their thoughts and if they’ve had any clients move into said apartments and their experiences.

Private Rentals (Houses – Condos)

My resources/expertise in this matter are far more limited, but give me a shout and I can probably point you in the direction of someone that can assist.

Drive around neighborhoods of interest (turn down every road) calling every “For Rent/Lease” sign you see. I’ve found great deals on housing this way. There are plenty of landlords out there that don’t bother listing online and only use word of mouth/bandit signs (signs in the yard) to find tenants.

Sign up for Realtor emails. They will promote their upcoming listings and a lot of Realtors will offer to list rentals for their clients.

  • Realtor.com

  • Zillow.com

  • Trulia.com

  • Zumper.com

  • Rent.com

  • Hotpads

  • Craigslist

  • Facebook Marketplace

  • Facebook Groups

Roommates, rooms, short-terms, & subleasing

Apartments generally only offer month-month to their current residents. The shortest lease term that I’ve seen is a 2-month lease term. However, the price usually goes up with a shorter lease term. That being said, there are a lot of people that are looking to move before their lease ends so they look for people to sublet their leases. Subletting is most likely going to be your best bet in finding an affordable short term lease. Conversely, check with the leasing office if they allow sublets for your lease. If they do then consider getting a longer lease term to sublet the months you won’t need. (This comes with the risk of not finding someone to take over your lease so take serious consideration if you’re comfortable subletting your lease)

Read about:   Apply For A Mortgage When You're Fully Informed

Furnished units?

There aren’t a lot of apartments throughout Nashville that will offer furnished units. When you do find one you’ll notice that it comes with a price increase. You’re paying to rent out the furniture. Here’s the secret. Just because an apartment doesn’t offer the furnishings directly doesn’t mean you can’t get a furnished apartment. You can furnish any apartment in Nashville regardless of whether the apartments offer it or not. The ones that do offer furnishings go through a company called CORT. You can go to their website and look their rates up. However, I deal with their local representatives so if you want some direct contact info feel free to give me a shout. With CORT you’ll be paying for two things. The furniture and the service. They will move the furnishings for you at the beginning/end of your lease. If you transfer units they will move it as well. You can furnish as much/little as you would like through them and as such their prices will vary greatly. I like to tell people to expect to add a few hundred to the budget for furnishings.

Another option that I’ve had people do is to simply find used furniture and then attempt to sell it before your lease ends. You won’t recoup all of your money, but you have the potential of recouping some of it as opposed to simply renting it and not getting anything back.

Are apartments/houses touring currently?

It varies. Apartments that are doing physical tours are generally doing so by appointment only. Few are accepting walk-ins. Practically every apartment community is offering some form of virtual tour. You should get a quote for a specified amount of time (24-72 hours) locking in the price*** while you make a decision.

(***A quote doesn’t reserve the unit under your name, it simply reserves the price for that unit for a specific amount of time {Yes, I’ve had to break the news to multiple people that the quote doesn’t prevent someone else from leasing the unit before you and it’s not a fun conversation for anyone}***)

You found your next home, now what?

Apply!* You’ll apply online with most apartments/property managers. It’ll vary with individual landlords. The only way to ensure a place for yourself is to apply to start the screening process before anyone else. Apartments/property managers won’t “hold” units while you wait. A private landlord is more likely to honor that request since they have more flexibility, but they also can use that flexibility to change their minds and lease their place to someone else with no notice.

  • Application fee $25 – $75 per applicant (anyone over the age of 18 will be considered an applicant)

  • Administration fee $150 – $350 per application (one application per apartment/house)

  • Pet fee $100 – $300

  • Pet rent $15 – $35 a month (per pet) {some places will do a flat $50 for 2}

  • Security deposit (Varies from place to place) (Contingent on credit) $150 – 1-month rent

*Exercise caution when renting from strangers online. The risk of renting an apartment site-unseen is that you end up with an apartment you hate. The risk of renting a private rental site-unseen is that you get scammed out of money. Don’t send/transfer funds without physically seeing the property if possible. If not possible get them to Facetime/Google Duo you to show you the property, if they can’t/won’t do that it’s a red flag. If they can’t send you videos/pictures they probably don’t own the rental. I’ve talked to an average of 2 people per month this year that have been scammed when trying to find a home.

What information will be checked when you apply?

There are 3 things that will be checked when applying for an apartment, that will probably be checked by a property management company, and might be checked by a private landlord.

Each matter. However, the degree to each will vary depending on the apartment community/property manager/landlord. When you apply at whatever place you decide to call home your information will be sent over to a 3rd party screening company for them to review and decide.

Income

Gross income (pre-tax) ≥ 3x base rent (some will ask 2.5x){base=not including amenity/utility/fees/specials*)

Read about:   Residence Homeowners' Mortgage Company - WikiMili, The Finest Loans Reader

[i.e. $1,000 base rent ($3.00-$6.00 pest/$5-$25 trash + 1 month free = $1,008-$1,031 net rent + 1 month free*) < $3,000 gross monthly

=

$1,000 base rent < $3,000 gross monthly]

Generally accepted documents to verify income:

Credit

  • ≥ 600 is the general benchmark for approval

  • < 600 some places will deny but you’ll still have options; higher deposits may be required

  • Bankruptcies limit options

***Just because you’ve been denied at an apartment doesn’t necessarily mean that all apartments will deny you, you just have to know which ones and what documents will help get you approved***

Background

  • Criminal background (Felonies limit options – misdemeanors vary {theft & violent offenses generally automatic denial}

  • Rental background (Generally looking for 2 years rental history {flexible so don’t sweat this)

  • Evictions limit options (set up a payment plan to increase your odds of approval at certain places)

***Just because you’ve been denied at an apartment doesn’t necessarily mean that all apartments will deny you, you just have to know which ones and what documents will help get you approved***

Co-Signer/Guarantor

Most apartments will allow you to use a co-signor/guarantor if you can’t get approved on your own.

  • A co-signer would be someone to co-sign on the lease that is willing to use their credit/income to vouch for your application sharing the financial responsibility should y’all default on the lease (Family member, friend, co-worker, etc.) {This is generally another individual} (The income requirements will increase for the co-signer to 4x, 6x, 8x, or 12x monthly income to base rent depending on which apartment)

  • A guarantor is similar to a co-signer but is a company that will take on the financial responsibility for you should you default on the lease (You will have to pay them for their services {usually a fee equivalent to 1 month of rent but it varies}

You said something about a “special”?

Correct. Apartments periodically run “specials” & “look and leases” that can save you quite a bit of money, if applied correctly. Phrasing matters as deals all vary. Specials are generally unit/time-based. Look and leases will have short expirations, generally the life of the quote (24-72 hours), to incentivize you to make a quick decision. In each instance, you will receive a credit worth the amount of whatever special you receive in your online account (where you will pay your rent) upon move-in. What will vary is how the apartments will allow you to prorate your special.

For example:

“Move-in by the end of the month and get your 1st month free!”* *(1 bedroom w/ 13 month lease)

Must physically move in by the end of the month to receive 1 month free on a 1 bedroom unit with a 13-month lease.

“Lease by the end of the month and get your 1st month free!”* *(1 bedroom)

Must sign lease agreement by end of the month to receive 1 month free on 1 bedroom units.

“1 month free”

Must sign lease agreement by time point (end of special) to receive special.

***Specials are usually only applied for specific lease terms (12 months)***

In each instance, you will receive 1 month free. However, the apartment will determine how that credit is applied. Either way, you will receive the same amount in savings from the credit.

  • Credit is used for your 1st full month (you don’t pay rent your 1st full month)

  • Credit is prorated at your volition (you choose how you spread out the credit over your lease)

  • Credit is prorated over a specific amount of time (i.e. First 4 months)

For example:

$1,000 X 13 months = $13,000 Spent on rent over life of lease without special

$1,000 X (13mo -1 mo) = $12,000 Spent on rent over life of lease with special

0 + 1,000 + 1,000… = $12,000

  1. $1,000 X 13 months = $13,000 Spent on rent over life of lease without special

  2. $1,000 X (13 mo -1 mo) = $12,000 Spent on rent over life of lease with special

0 + 1,000 + 1,000… = $12,000

or

$12,000/13 mo = $923 per month if spread out evenly over the life of the lease

$923 x 13 mo

923 + 923 + 923… =$12,000

$1,000/4 = $250 off for first 4 months

$750 + $750 + $750 + $750 + 1,000 + 1,000… = $12,000

Look and leases will generally be smaller offers such as waiving your application fees, or a smaller credit, that is only good for a short period of time (24-48 hours) to incentivize you to apply. The time will start upon contacting/touring the apartments depending on the apartment.

Read about:   "There's no 'bank of mum and dad': What it’s like to be richer than your parents"

For example:

“Move-in by the end of the month and get your 1st month free!”* *(1 bedroom w/ 13 month lease)

Application and administration fees waived if leased within 48 hours”

Must physically move in by the end of the month to receive 1 month free on a 1 bedroom unit with a 13-month lease. However, if you lease within 48 hours you will also get your application and administration fees waived.

Schools

Davidson County School District Map (Interactive) –

https://mnps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=cedc432ee9d1418db4300bc2ab30fc33

Davidson County School District Map http://maps.nashville.gov/webimages/MapGallery/PDFMaps/School%20Locations.pdf

Davidson County Public, Private, Charter Schools – https://www.nashvillechamber.com/explore/live/schools

School Ratings – https://www.niche.com/

School Ratings – https://www.greatschools.org/tennessee/nashville/

Pets

Nashville is a remarkably pet friendly city. Most apartments will have amenities for pets (pet parks, dog runs, pet spas) and most apartments are pet friendly. Property management and individual landlords are more of a case by case basis with the highest degree of flexibility. Pet policies at apartments will vary from the following:

  • “Aggressive” breed restrictions (Pitbulls, German Shepherds, etc.) {Most apartments}

  • No breed/size restrictions {Few apartments}

  • Pet interviews (fur real) {Fewer apartments}

  • Weight restrictions (35lbs., 50lbs., 75 lbs.) {Few apartments}

  • 2 pet maximum {most apartments}

  • 3 pets or more {few apartments}

“Safe” Areas

Nashville Communities Map – (Y’all argue about the geographic distinctions amongst yourselves) http://maps.nashville.gov/webimages/MapGallery/PDFMaps/Community%20Planning%20Areas%20(36×36).pdf

Feeling safe is important for everyone when looking for a home. That being said, what one considers “safe” will be subjective.

It’s unfortunate that I have to add this, but some people will incorrectly judge the safety of an area based on the demographics of said area. It’s such uneducated, and divisive, judgments that previously led to unfair & unethical Real Estate practices (redlining [lenders wouldn’t lend to minorities in certain areas essentially creating a redline around areas], blockbusting [agents/developers would tell white landowners minorities were moving into the neighborhood to scare them into selling], steering [using a protected class {color, race, sex, age, etc.} to steer a buyer/resident to/from an area]) that had to be addressed with legislation (Fair Housing Laws) to prohibit discriminatory practices. As such when dealing with any Real Estate professional we will not discuss any matters of demographics for an area. Such information is easily found through Google.

Aside from online tools, you’ll find it’s highly recommended to drive around, stop, and get a feel for any areas you’re considering making home, particularly during the times you’re most likely going to be out. If you don’t feel comfortable driving, let alone walking, around then you probably won’t feel comfortable calling that area home.

https://www.crimemapping.com/map/tn/nashville

https://spotcrime.com/

https://www.familywatchdog.us/Default.asp

Utilities

Utilities List (Multiple Counties) – https://liveitnash.com/utilities

NES (Nashville Electric Service) – https://www.nespower.com/

Piedmont Natural Gas – https://www.piedmontng.com/home

MWS (Metro Water Services) – https://www.nashville.gov/Water-Services.aspx

Internet

There are others aside from the major 3 below. Use the addresses of your options to find service providers.

Public Transportation (Don’t Expect Much)

Nashville is car DEPENDENT; Some neighborhoods are bicycle-friendly, many are not – https://www.walkscore.com/TN/Nashville-Davidson

WeGo (Bus) – https://www.nashvillemta.org/

Music City Star (Train) – https://www.rtarelaxandride.com/

B-Cycle (Bicycles… Currently Suspended) – https://nashville.bcycle.com/

Cost of living – https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Nashville

Climate https://weatherspark.com/y/14687/Average-Weather-in-Nashville-Tennessee-United-States-Year-Round

Driver Services – https://www.tn.gov/safety/driver-services.html

New Residents- https://www.tn.gov/safety/driver-services/classd/dlnew.html

Surrounding Counties

Robertson

https://www.robertsoncountytn.org/

Sumner

https://www.sumnertn.org/

Wilson

https://www.wilsoncountytn.gov/

Rutherford

https://rutherfordcountytn.gov/

Williamson

https://www.williamsoncounty-tn.gov/

Cheatham

https://www.cheathamcountytn.gov/

Montgomery

https://mcgtn.org/

Dickson

https://www.dicksoncountytn.gov/

Maury

https://www.maurycounty-tn.gov/

(Edit List – Corrected spelling for u/JakeDaniels585 {Thanks u/snowbirdismydad lol did have some Jack on the mind when creating this})

TL;DRIf you have any questions about moving to Nashville then, please, read this.Skim through it. Ctrl+F it. Check it, please.

If you’re looking to buy and want to get squared with an awesome Real Estate Agent let me know and I can recommend some amazing ones.

If you’re looking to rent give me a shout and if I can’t help you directly I can point you in the direction of someone that can.

(This is a work in progress and will be continued to be updated)

(If you have any info you would like added, corrections, thoughts, suggestions, etc. please feel free to reach out to me and I will adjust accordingly)

With all that being said. Go get into some Disc Golf, yell at Pedal Taverns, use your turn signals (for the love of Dolly please use your turn signals), wear your mask, and…

Welcome to Nashville! 🙂

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