When you’re in the market for a new home, there are a lot of factors to consider. Will you build or buy a new home? What’s the budget? Where exactly will you live? Are there good schools nearby? How long is the commute to work? How busy are the streets? What are your “must-haves” and “deal-breakers”? All of these questions and more need to be answered before you can find your dream home. That’s why we have compiled some of the top tips for home buyers, specifically in the Knoxville area, to help you answer these questions and narrow your search.

Realtor vs Builder

Whether you choose to build a new construction home or purchase an existing one, you’ll need knowledgeable professionals to help you out. These professionals will either be Realtors/ Brokers or Builders/ Contractors. It’s important to carefully consider and choose the best professional for you and your circumstances. Spending time researching and comparing different realtors and builders will be greatly beneficial down the road. Even if you find the most reputable and successful realtor or contractor to hire, he or she may not be a good fit for you. You will spend a lot of time communicating and house shopping with this person. You’re entrusting them to understand what you’re looking for, find it, and get the results you want– and fast! Clearly, there are some important characteristics to be looking for as you interview realtors and/or builders.

First, how much does this professional know about Knoxville? Being proficient in the layout of their city is important, as they will help you find and/or build the best home for you and your family. Second, how much experience do they have– in real estate or construction? Third, research several companies/individuals and compare. Contact the ones you’re interested in to ask if they could possibly meet with you. As you meet with them, have some questions ready and share what you’re looking for in a home or new construction. Ask them how they think their prior work experience translates into being a successful realtor/contractor for you. Then, once you choose your professional, you can start discussing the following points as you both search for a house or floor plan design.


Know before you start shopping or customizing your new home what you can afford. Add up all of your income and outgoing expenses. Be sure to budget for savings, emergency funds, and potential costly mishaps, as well as new furniture and items for your new home. According to Dave Ramsey, renowned financial expert, you should not spend “more than 25% of your monthly income on a 15 year fixed-rate mortgage.” You can read more about budgeting for your home from Dave Ramsey at: Home Buying Budget.

An experienced Knoxville realtor/home builder will show you quality homes that meet your needs and are within your budget.

Love Your Location

We’ve all heard it, “Location, Location, Location!” Clearly, location is an important factor in the home buying process. It may even be a non negotiable or deal breaker in your home search. Some of the primary criteria for evaluating your next home’s location is the community, surrounding area, proximity to the town center, and commonly the most important, the length of your work/daily commute. When you are house shopping or visiting potential new construction communities, be observant. Take notice of the numbers of cars in driveways, if there are kids out playing, and any other clues as to what kind of people could be your neighbors. Notice on your drive to and from the community what businesses and parks are around. Is it urban or out in the country? If it’s further away from the city, how long does it take to get into town and to your workplace? Is it near the Turkey Creek shopping center, or are there multiple state parks just minutes away from your community? If you have a family or will start one in the near future, what school district are you in, and how do the schools rank in your area?

New Home Necessities

A fun activity in the house hunting process, if you enjoy making lists, is determining your must haves and your deal breakers! You can sit down with your spouse, friends, realtor, or home builder to discuss what you absolutely cannot live without and what you could not possibly live with in a home! Think about the style you want, the floor plan that would best suit your lifestyle, location, yard space, kitchen design, and all the other details that go into a home. What flooring would you like? Is hardwood a must or tile an absolutely NOT? Do you need the fireplace and entryway you’ve always dreamed of? While you may have to compromise on some of these for an existing home, choosing to build a new construction home in Knoxville means you can customize it to fit your wants and needs! The less compromising and more customizing, the better it is and the longer you’ll love living in it.

Compare, Contrast, and Choose

Finally, the natural conclusion to contemplating and completing all of the above tips, comparing homes or floor plans. Your experienced Knoxville realtor or contractor should be able to point you to some quality homes based on your lists and within your budget. Now, you get to compare and contrast homes like they do in the last 10 minutes of an episode of “House Hunters”. Choose the house that incorporates most of your wants and needs and includes as few of your dislikes as possible. Prioritize your needs, compare, contrast, eliminate houses and repeat until you are confident in choosing a home or floor plan.