REALTORS® have key role in helping residents move to the area

Kristi Bailey 2020 NETAR President

One of the hot-button topics these days is the out-of-state people who have been moving to the NE TN – SW VA area. The bottom line is we’re no longer one of the best-kept secrets in the relocation game.   

2021 NETAR President

Most local communities have had active new resident campaigns for a long time. So does the state of Tennessee.  But the pandemic and, more recently, the Wall Street Journal and Realtor®.com fired up those efforts with its Emerging Housing Index. The index analyzes 300 metro area’s housing markets, economy, and standard of living. The Journal says its goal is to help readers find the hottest new places in the U.S. to live and own a home. The Johnson City metro area – Carter, Washington, and Unicoi counties – and Kingsport-Bristol – Hawkins, and Sullivan counties in NE TN and Scott and Washington counties in SW VA – were in the top 50 of the fall indices.  Other Tennessee metro areas are on the index, but only the two Tri-Cities metro areas are in the top 50. 

That ups the odds that the relocation will have legs to carry it past the surge of the pandemic relocations. It also has local real estate professionals sharpening their skills at being the last mile of the process. 

Buying a home can be a complicated process. Being an out-of-state buyer makes the process even more challenging. And moving to an unfamiliar area or 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 REALTORS®. That part of the great relocation doesn’t get much attention as to who the newcomers are and where they are coming from, but it’s crucial to the process. 

Once the newcomer has vetted the area, he or she has questions – many questions – to cement the move. To get an answer they contact a local REALTOR®. That’s a staple for real estate transactions everywhere. 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 unparalleled knowledge of their communities and are critical to navigating the complex, sometimes overwhelming, process of homebuying.  

Traveling back and forth between states to look at homes is time-consuming and cost preventative for most, but with today’s technologies, it doesn’t prevent out-of-area buyers from beginning a home or land search online.  And local REALTORS® have become pros at simplifying and focusing those searches.  In fact, some transplants have brought properties sight unseen.  

The role REALTORS® are playing with city, county, and state officials take on added significance when you step back and look at the region’s population challenge. For the past decade or so the area death rate is higher than the birth rate. So, attracting new residents is the only way to sustain and grow the area’s population 

Closer to home for the communities where newcomers settle is the fact that homeownership is not only an investment in their financial future; it is an investment in the life and economy of the newcomers’ new community. That’s because homeowners are more likely to be engaged in local issues and more involved with their neighbors. And REALTORS’® role in this ongoing population churn not only helps the newcomers find a new house, but it also helps make this new place really feel like home.    

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It’s the largest trade association in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region representing over 1,500 members and 100 affiliates involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.  

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