"In my Tennessee mountain home. Life is as peaceful as a baby's sigh. In my Tennessee mountain home. Crickets sing in the fields nearby." (Dolly Parton, "Tennessee Mountain Home") plant
Life in Tennessee

The imagery of crickets singing, the scent of honeysuckles and eagles flying paints a wonderful picture of life in the state of Tennessee. Yet there's more to it. There are blues jams being played every night on Beale Street in Memphis. There are country tunes each evening on Music Row in Nashville. Regardless of whether you are up in the Smoky Mountains or partying in Knoxville, one thing is for sure: the music never ceases. Home to nearly 6.5 million people, Tennessee is the perfect mesh of scenery, small towns and big cities. Just remember to always be ready for great music.

Moving to Tennessee

While Miley Cyrus would have you believe finding a pad in her home state is as easy as dancing on stage, the fact is that there are some housing characteristics everybody moving to Tennessee needs to understand. During you search for apartments or houses, you will discover that preparation is key to a smooth relocation here. So put on some B.B. King, get out a pen and pad, and start researching.

Trends for Renters to Know

Across the entire state, with the exception of some towns and suburbs, newcomers will find plenty of options for renters. The number of housing units that are rented is pretty close to the national average. Additionally, the Volunteer State boasts a wide range of home types, from mountain cabins to furnished apartments. Locations vary wildly as well. Live in a spot where black bears can be seen foraging for food or reside at a place where you can hear taxis honk. Either way, it's necessary to listen to some Elvis Presley tunes from time to time.

When to Move

Climate and availability are two factors to consider here. The amount of available listings are about on par with the nation's average. The humid subtropical climate plays a role on when people choose to move in and out of the Volunteer State. With that being said, the best time to move to major cities such as Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville is during the late spring as many leases expire at the beginning of June; luckily, it's not too muggy during that time. For other areas, the fall and early winter is best as the climate is very pleasant and there are a fair amount of openings. Note that Tennessee sees a lot of folks arrive throughout the summer as the state offers a variety of entertainment options. In the summer, you may realize that finding an apartment of house to rent in Tennessee becomes a little more annoying as there are simply more tenants searching and it's rather humid. Bonnaroo Music Festival, for instance, can make it seem like there are a hundred thousand people moving to the state at once, but all those folks are just coming for the music; you could stop for a show or two if you have the time. Anyway, if you must come in the summer, try some swing dancing first at an air-conditioned bar to relax your mind; it will mentally cleanse you before your search for an apartment or house rental.

How Much Time You Need

In metropolitan areas, you will have an easier time locating available homes because these regions have markets that are built for renters. Memphis and Chattanooga have higher than average numbers of people renting their residences, and they are some of the most convenient areas in Tennessee to rent a home. If you rent in a city, two to three weeks should be plenty of time to complete everything, from touring a place to signing the lease deal. Other less populated areas may require up to three weeks or more as there is simply not as much selection. As always, you can get a place quickly by being flexible and working quickly. The best way to speed up the process is to arrange a tour of a few pads you like prior to your arrival in town. Either contact a Realtor or simply contact management staff at various complexes.

Inspect before You Sign

Davy Crockett spent a lot of his days hanging out in Tennessee. Needless to say, some properties in Tennessee are quite old. Almost 20 percent of the homes were built prior to 1960, and while most are in good shape, it's still advised to inspect everything. Inquire about the age of appliances and how well the heating and air conditioning works. Go through the pad with the owner or staff and note any issues, from cracks in the wall to plumbing problems. Additionally, the humid climate attracts mosquitoes and other insects; make certain those creatures haven't made their way into the apartment or house you like.

Moving in Successfully

Kenny Chesney won't be there to help you, but feel free to listen to one of his tunes as you sign the agreement. Yes, country music and lease contracts go together like peanut butter and jelly in Tennessee. While landlords vary in what they want to get and see before they allow you to move in, staff at managed communities usually request the same things. It's best to prepare all the stuff you could possibly need, and that, of course, includes one month's rent and a deposit. Additionally, you should have a summary of your rental history, a credit report and evidence you can afford rent. Note that apartments with paid utilities are only common in metropolitan areas, so be sure to ask what is and isn't included in that rent price.

Areas of Tennessee

Songs about Tennessee have ranged from "Walking in Memphis" to "Rocky Top." Indeed, the state is home to all sorts of geography, and where you choose to live can have a huge impact on your lifestyle. While considering areas in and around major cities is helpful in picturing the Volunteer State's different parts, thinking of Tennessee as three separate geographical regions helps as well. Choose the one that fits you best.

Major Regions

East Tennessee: Within the Eastern Time zone, major cities in East Tennessee include Knoxville, Chattanooga and Johnson City. Two of this region's major attractions are the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest. The Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee Valley and Blue Ridge define the area's geography. The Tennessee River also cuts through this area. In the eyes of many, this is the most beautiful section of the state.

Middle Tennessee: With Clarksville, Nashville, Murfreesboro and Franklin all located within this region, Middle Tennessee is a great spot to live and is the state's most populous area. Kentucky borders the region to the north and Georgia borders it to the south.

West Tennessee: Memphis and Jackson highlight this region. Arkansas borders this area to the west. Situated in the Mississippi Delta, this region is not as hilly as the other divisions of the Volunteer State. It's also a bit less populated. Its fame, though, exists in its music and as an important gateway to the nation's west.

Major Cities

Nashville: A bustling city with an amazing music scene, Nashville boasts attractions such as the Grand Ole Opry, Centennial Park and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Lots of music festivals are hosted here every year as well.

Memphis: The largest city in the state, Memphis is undoubtedly one the most important places for music in the United States. After all, what other city saw the rise of Johnny Cash, B.B. King and Elvis Presley? Beale Street, great barbecue joints and Graceland highlight the list of notable places here.

Knoxville: Defined by great architecture and a rich history, attractions such as Market Square, Tennessee Theatre and World's Fair Park make this place a fun spot to live.

Chattanooga: This city features sights such as Lookout Mountain and the Tennessee Aquarium. The city offers a pleasant mix of nature and an urban lifestyle.

Living in Tennessee

On some days, the entire state sparkles with beauty. It's no wonder why music embodies the spirit of the Volunteer State. From the plains of the Mississippi River to the peaks of the Smoky Mountains, the entire landscape just makes you want to sing. And sing you must. The scenery also explains why, next to music, outdoor activities are probably the second most popular thing to do. On any day when the weather permits, you'll see folks at the golf course, fishing, camping, canoeing or just walking. While driving is certainly the best way to get from one point to the next, Tennesseans lock up the car and take to the wilderness or concrete jungle each time they get the chance. To have a barbecue meal and then go hiking is truly the Tennessee thing to do. You indulge your taste buds before helping out the body a little. Anyway, when it's all said and done, the land of music, mountains and fine food dazzles in so many ways. Dance in a saloon, swim in a lake or cruise through Blue Ridge. Tennessee is a place that lets you get your kicks, and that's what makes it all tick.

TN Renter Confidence Survey
National study of renter’s satisfaction with their cities and states

Here’s how TN ranks on:

Overall satisfaction
Safety and crime rate
Jobs and career opportunities
Recreational activities
Quality of schools
Social Life
Commute time
State and local taxes
Public transit

Overview of Findings

Apartment List has released Tennessee’s results from the third annual Apartment List Renter Satisfaction Survey. This survey, which drew on responses from over 45,000 renters, provides insight on what states and cities must do to meet the needs of 111 million American renters nationwide.

"Tennessee renters expressed general satisfaction with the state overall," according to Apartment List. "Interestingly, ratings for Tennessee vary widely across categories such as jobs and career opportunities and social life."

Key findings in Tennessee include the following:

  • Tennessee renters gave their state a B overall.
  • The highest-rated categories for Tennessee were state and local taxes and pet-friendliness, which both received A grades.
  • The areas of concern to Tennessee renters are commute time and public transit, which both received D grades.
  • Millennial renters are very satisfied with their state, giving it an overall rating of A-, while renters who are parents are more satisfied, also giving it an A.
  • Tennessee did relatively poorly compared to other Southern states, including Virginia (A) and North Carolina (A-) but earned higher scores than Kentucky (D) and Arkansas (F).
  • Tennessee earned similar scores to other states nationwide, including Arizona (B), Pennsylvania (B) and Maine (B).
  • The top rated states nationwide for renter satisfaction include Colorado, Alaska, South Dakota, Idaho and Minnesota. The lowest rated states include Wyoming, Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia and Louisiana.

Surveyed Cities in Tennessee