Realtors® have evolving key roles in helping relocation buyers 

Rick Chantry 

The surge of new residents that escalated during the pandemic continues to drive the Tri-Cities area housing market and much of the local economy. Questions about who these people are, where they are from, why they are moving here and how long will they continue coming here also vexing some residents.  

2022 NETAR President Association Spokesperson

The first thing to remember is what’s happening is something local communities have promoted. Tennessee also has an active program to attract new residents. It’s a demographic necessity to prevent population loss. Things would be different if the region were the domain of young, middle-class families with and having more children. But that hasn’t been the case for over a decade. A lot more residents die every year than babies are born. There’s also a natural out-migration of locals seeking greener pastures. 

During the pandemic, people were looking to flee clogged, high-tax areas, and the promotions of living the good life in NE Tenn. and SW Va. caught on. Our relocation story fit what they were looking for like a glove. Housing was cheaper, there was no personal income tax, property taxes were low, the schools were good, and this place is just a nice price. They heard. They came. 

Combined with a strong local organic pent-up housing demand, it resulted in nearly four years of the strongest area housing markets locals can remember. Home sellers were getting tens of thousands of more dollars for their homes. Double-digit price increases became the norm. So did multiple offers, buying online, no contingencies, and above list deals. Experts cautioned what was happening was not sustainable. Now the question is whether the relocation trend will have the legs to carry it forward.

The FED has, and is expected to continue, raising interest rates until inflation is under control. The question is how long that will take and how much pain consumers and the economy have to endure.  

That’s a dower outlook, but the reality is it’s not the beginning of the end for a healthy local housing market. But it does mean some tactics and strategies are going to change. When the pandemic hit Realtors® quickly adapted to technologies that keep the industry alive. Now new normals are beginning to show up. Negotiating prices and contingencies is slowly regaining a place at the table. Last month more than 300 deals were cinched after sellers same off their asking price. That’s less than half of the closing, but it’s beginning to happen.

Buying a home can be a complicated process. Being an out-of-state buyer makes the process even more challenging. And moving to a new state adds whole new levels of necessary preparation and expenses. However, many – if not most – newcomers make the process a lot easier by partnering with a local Realtor®. And as the current market slowing progresses Realtors® will need to up their relocation buyer strategies and tactics.  

Once the newcomer has settled on the area, they have many questions that go beyond finding the right house and making an offer. More now than ever they are relying on their local Realtor® for advice. It’s a staple because having someone with detailed knowledge of the neighborhoods and local market conditions is invaluable.

There’s a lot to be gleaned from relocation brochures or online real estate websites, but Realtors® have access to an unparalleled network of knowledge of their communities. That network includes their Realtor® family, other real estate professionals, and a professional association (the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors® (NETAR) that provides monthly and weekly market updates with a 100% local focus. 

As the market turnover continues and new market norms evolve, Realtors® will adapt to new demands and strategies because that’s what they do. “The way we used to do it” does not watchwords in a dynamic and evolving economy. 

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region, representing over 1,800+ members and 100+ business partners involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Weekly market reports and information for both consumers and members are available on the NETAR website at