Written by Tammie White, Principal Broker/Owner of Franklin Homes Realty LLC
Relocating to Franklin TN? What You Need to Know
It isn't uncommon for buyers to begin their home search online a year or more ahead of time. Some out-of-state buyers may start as early as two years out. Moving across country is no small feat. Buyers want to make sure Franklin is the right location.
The Early Stages of Your Home Search
If you are considering several options other than Franklin, a lot of research can be done online. With syndication of property listings, you have a wonderful opportunity to see how much bang you can get for your buck, without ever leaving your home. You can also research schools and employment opportunities.
After some research, you may consider a visit here. I encourage buyers to do that. Buyers sometimes think Franklin is a small, rural community. In reality, we are a city of 68,000 people located within 15 miles of Nashville. Our median single-family home price for 2014 was $405,000 for approximately 2,400 square feet.
Many of our neighborhoods are much like the neighborhoods found in the suburbs of Chicago or other big cities. Trying to find newer houses on large one-acre-plus lots is difficult. I remember moving here in 2006. We thought we could buy a newer home on 1-2 acres for $250K. That didn't exist then, and it doesn't exist now.
What Should Your Preliminary Visit Include?
Franklin is approximately 41 square miles. Drive the area. Visit historic, downtown Franklin. Park your car and explore the shops and eateries there. The town dates back to 1799 and it's a wonderful part of our heritage. Be sure NOT to visit when one of the many town festivals are taking place. Thousands of residents and visitors descend upon Franklin making it difficult to get around historic, downtown. Parking can be difficult.
Visit the Cool Springs retail area named after Cool Springs Galleria. Don't be confused. Cool Springs isn't a town, it's an area of Franklin. There is shopping, dining and several businesses located there. Corporate offices include Nissan North America, Healthways and Mars Petcare.
If you have children, visit during the week when you can meet with principals and counselors. Ask for a tour of the school. If your child is into sports, music or art, ask to meet with these coaches or teachers. Many families make housing decisions based upon their school choice.
Contact a real estate agent prior to coming to town. Ask them to meet you for an hour. Tell them what you're looking for and your timeframe. This person should become a resource to you should you decide to buy. Don't expect they'll show you houses during that first visit. Franklin homes for sale today, won't be available several months from now. Instead, attend open houses. There are usually 50 - 75 open houses every Sunday between 2 - 4 p.m. Additionally, there are a variety of new construction models to see.
You've Decided Franklin Will Be Your New Home. What's Next?
Once you've made the decision to move here, timing is everything. Franklin TN is in a hot seller's market. A house that is on the market today, won't be on the market five months from now. In all likelihood, that house won't even be available next week.
Here are five important things to consider about the Franklin housing market:
- Don't view homes until you are within 60 days of occupancy. Homes are selling quickly here. The escrow period is short--usually between 15 to 45 days. Don't think you can buy a house now and close on it six months later.
- Franklin homes are selling very close to asking price and many are under contract within the first week. Be prepared to act quickly. If you hesitate even a day, you risk the potential of losing out on your dream home.
- Be prepared for competing offers. Inventory is low. Multiple-offer scenarios are quite common.
- Sellers want a pre-approval letter from a local lender submitted with your offer. That means you need to get that lender pre-approval prior to viewing homes. Since most offers are written on weekends, you can't wait until you find that perfect house to contact a lender. The bank will be closed. Having the pre-approval letter in hand gives you an advantage if you end up in a multiple offer situation. I have an excellent local lender who can assist you with this.
- Sellers aren't interested in offers with a Sale of Home contingency. That means, if you've got a home to sell, you need to have it under contract before ever looking at houses. You don't necessarily have to close on it, but you need to already have it under contract before a seller will accept your offer.
You may be concerned that when you finally have the ability to buy, the right house won't be available. Unfortunately, that is a possibility. Our inventory is low. However, new houses come on the market every day. Don't frustrate yourself by looking at houses until you have the ability to actually make an offer.
We're Thinking About Building a Home. What is the Process?
New construction is going like gang busters here. A new build may be an excellent choice for you. However in the case of new construction, you will need to get a home under contract before they will begin building it. These homes can take 5-6 months or longer to build. You may find this easier to coordinate the sale of your out-of-state home to coincide with the completion of your new house.
Some builders construct market or spec homes. These homes are already completed or near completion and may be a great option if you have a quick occupancy need.
It is always best to have the assistance of a local real estate agent even when buying new construction. There are so many options available. It's almost impossible to negotiate the housing market alone. Plus, a Buyer's Agent will save you money. The best part is they cost you nothing. Their fee is already included in the base price of the home.
Can We Buy a Lot and Use a Custom Builder?
Most of the available land here has already been purchased. Residential lots may be available in neighborhoods that have restrictive covenants, codes and regulations. These are often in cost-prohibitive neighborhoods where custom builders are building homes in excess of $700K.
Land located within the city limits is selling at a premium. A one acre lot may cost $150K or more. You may find remote lots for much less located in the county but not within city limits that require well and septic. However, finding a builder to construct a smaller custom home may prove to be a challenge. Custom builders are more interested in building homes that have a larger profit margin.
Additionally, your land/lot must be mortgage-free before you can build a home on it. Banks won't issue a construction loan for a home build unless you already own the land. Construction loan rates are higher than your standard mortgage; usually 6.5% or higher. If you find this option appealing and can afford to make it happen, you will want to be living here first which may require you rent for a year.
We were recently contacted by buyers who were five months away from relocating to Franklin. They still had to sell their home in Texas which they hadn't even put on the market. They were coming for a preliminary visit and asked if we could show them homes for several days. We gave them the same advice that we've included in this post.
They had children, schools were important to them. They met with principals, teachers and coaches. Once they had an idea of the school they wanted to be in, we directed them to neighborhoods within their price range. They attended open houses in their neighborhoods of interest. This gave them all the information they needed to make their final decision.
They will be moving here later in the year and will contact us once their home in Texas has sold and they're actually prepared to move forward with their purchase.
There are so many options to consider when relocating to a new area. When the time is right,
call Franklin Homes Realty LLC at (615) 495-0752.
About Tammie White, Franklin TN REALTOR®
Tammie White is a REALTOR® and Principal Broker/Owner of Franklin Homes Realty LLC in Franklin TN. Tammie works with relocation buyers looking to purchase a home in Franklin and the surrounding Williamson County area. She understands the way buyers search for homes making her an invaluable asset to Franklin home sellers. Tammie's website, www.FranklinHomesRealty.com, has become the premiere search tool for buyers relocating to Franklin TN. She has been writing a real estate blog since 2009 and quoted in various publications including the LA Times, Skype.com, The Tennessean and Williamson Source.