Moving To Middle Tennessee? Here’s What You Need To Know

When it comes to having it all, Middle Tennessee comes pretty dang close. Between the lower price of living, Music City entertainment and tourism, great weather, and endless employment opportunities, there are just countless reasons to pack up your bags and move here already! Keep reading this blog to find out our favorite reasons to live in Tennessee, as well as our top tips for moving safely and efficiently!

Why Middle Tennessee?

Tennessee is home to influential culture, fantastic weather, and beautiful nature. Seeing as Tennessee has no state income tax, there’s no reason why its residents can’t enjoy all three because Tennessee is also listed among the most affordable places to live in the United States. What’s more, Tennessee offers free community college and vocational school programs for residents without an Associate or Bachelor’s degree.

Speaking of, there are several colleges located in and around Middle Tennessee. Vanderbilt, Lipscomb, Belmont, Trevecca Nazarene, Union, Cumberland, and Middle Tennessee State Universities are within close proximity to Nashville, as well as Welch College, Volunteer State Community College, and the Lincoln College of Technology.

If you’re moving here in search of employment, you should know that luck is on your side. According to the US Census, the average Tennessee unemployment rate was just 5.1% in January of 2021. The average rate of unemployment was 6.3%.

Weather-wise, Middle Tennessee is rated 7.3 by BestPlaces.Net’s Comfort Index. We have what’s known as a humid, subtropical climate which means hot summers and mild to cool winters. We’ll call that a win!

As far as entertainment goes, we’re never without something to do here in Music City. Some of our favorite attractions include the Grand Ole Opry, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, the Frist Art Museum, the National Museum of African-American Music, Lower Broadway, and Printer’s Alley.

Did you think we’d forget to mention the food? Nope! We saved the best for last! Famous Nashville cuisine includes hot chicken, hot fish, and some finger-licking good BBQ. There are numerous restaurants, breweries, wineries, and bars to choose from as well!

Why DeFatta?

Are you planning on building the home you’ll move into? When it comes to building in Middle Tennessee, there is no builder that delivers a better experience than DeFatta Custom Homes. We’re proud of the boundless community we live in which is why we go above and beyond to only add to its splendor. That means luxurious, modern homes, world-class attention to detail, and a home that appreciates and enhances Tennessee’s natural beauty.

Tips For Moving To Middle Tennessee

Choose a reputable moving company.

You should consider a moving service that’s been in business for many years because that means it’s survived more, is more likely to have a history of honoring its contracts and warranties, and should have plenty of references to choose from when you ask for references. If the moving service can’t provide you with references, look for one that can.

Your moving company should also provide you a reasonable and binding estimate so that you end up paying what you were told you’d pay. You should also get valuation coverage and a bill of lading, which is a document the law dictates that you should get prior to any move. Avoid movers who ask for upfront payments or tell you that you can’t reach their drivers during the move.

Confirm that the moving company has a TN DMV license before you make your decision. Don’t settle for anything less than professional Tennessee movers or top notch long distance movers. You want all your possessions making it to their new home in one piece after their ride on the moving truck!

Change your address.

You can easily do this online, but make sure you do so a week before your designated moving date. All you need is a debit or credit card.

Get a new Driver’s License.

You’ll need to do so within 30 days of moving to Tennessee to avoid getting a ticket.Change your Vehicle and Voter Registration.

You’ll need to find your vehicle registration information online, but you can register to vote in Tennessee by completing an in person, mail-in, or online voter registration form.

The Bottom Line

From the Great Smoky Mountains to Memphis, there’s a whole lot of Tennessee to see. In fact, we’ve only scratched the surface of all the great resources available to you in Tennessee with this blog post.

But with such a low cost of living, no state income tax, and free community college or vocational training for all residents, there’s no doubt that you’ll have no problem making the most of living in the Volunteer State.

What Should Your Builder Be Doing During Pre-Construction?

If you’re reading this blog entry, you’re likely past the architectural design process and ready to dive into that pesky pre-construction phase. We bet you’re full of questions.

With an organized builder on board, your pre-construction phase will be full of progress, even though a good majority of that progress will be accomplished behind the scenes. You might be wondering what your builder is up to, but rest assured that his or her to-do list is long. Between HOA approvals and city permits to obtain, utility orders to settle on, potential constructability issues to solve, selections to decide on, builder’s risk insurance to quote, a project schedule to organize, subcontractor agreements to execute, key trades to line out, and a budget to refine within each individual section of your project…your builder has full hands.

In this article, we’ll dig into a few of these To-Do list items to put your mind at ease and give you a glimpse of how your builder is laying the groundwork for a successful custom home building experience for you and yours…and from start to finish!

1. Creating (and Following) a Pre-Construction Timeline

Your custom builder should create and send you a pre-construction timeline during this time. This will allow you to hold your builder accountable after the construction phase begins. While every pre-construction timeline is different…just as every home and location and client is different…a good builder will work overtime to make sure you are comfortable with the way things are going. Your pre-construction timeline should generally include target deadlines for the following:

  • Completion of structural engineering
  • Creation of comprehensive construction budget
  • Completion of various surveys, drainage plans, MEP plans, etc.
  • Submission to HOA for approval (and expected approval date)
  • Submission to city for building permit (and expected permit date)
  • Creation of comprehensive selections schedule
  • Execution of sub agreements
  • Kick-off meeting with key subs
  • Preliminary site work (tree removal, temporary fencing, etc.)Keep in mind that these deadlines are TARGET deadlines, not hard deadlines. Your builder’s successes in this stage should be measured not in the exact execution of these dates but rather in the effort of organizing his or her team and responsibilities in order to efficiently and effectively get your home to the starting line.

2. Creating a Clear Selections Schedule

This is of INCREDIBLE importance because making as many selections as possible up front sets your home’s construction up for some serious success. During the pre-construction phase, your builder should provide you with a detailed list of selections and will need your selections to be made before breaking ground. This way, the builder, the interior designer, and you as the homeowner know far in advance what to expect during and after construction. It’s a win-win-win! Some of the selections you’ll be making during this time include:

  • Windows
  • Exterior doors
  • Roof
  • Appliances
  • Plumbing
  • Interior beams
  • Fireplace details
  • Interior flooring
  • Floor plug locations

These selections listed here impact your future home’s structural foundation, and architectural design, as well as the plumbing groundwork and electrical plan. Choosing them ahead of construction is the only way to go.

3. Create a Project Schedule

In addition to the above steps, it is imperative that your builder create a customized construction schedule prior to breaking ground. Doing so provides their team and network of subcontractors a roadmap of accountability and follow through. Review your project schedule with your builder so that you fully understand how the construction of your home will progress as time goes on.

The pre-construction phase may not be the most fun, but it is of vital importance. The efficiency with which your builder works during this phase will have an enormous impact on the rest of your home building journey. We wish you the best of luck!

8 Tips for First Time Custom Home Buyers

When it’s done right, building a custom home is often a once-in-a-lifetime experience. That’s why at DeFatta Custom Homes, we believe that each and every step of the process should be a positive one from start to finish. Below, we’ve listed some of the things we hope our buyers keep in mind as they go, in order to make their custom home building experience as enjoyable and memorable as possible. If you’ve already begun or completed the custom home building process, let us know if we missed any!

1. Create a budget…and stick to it.

When you’re considering building a custom home, the very first thing you should do is decide how much you are willing to spend on the adventure…from start to finish. That way, you and your builder have clear expectations of what’s to come. Be realistic and factor in things like monthly expenses, because your custom home will require upkeep and routine maintenance once it’s been built.

2. Decide what you want…ahead of time.

Do you have a Pinterest account? If not, it might be time to get one. Take time to plan out your style, layout, and must-have design elements before meeting with your builder. Then your builder will be able to direct his or her questions towards your preferences and provide useful recommendations.

3. Do your research…because every builder is DIFFERENT.

Make a list of questions to ask your Custom Home Builder before deciding he’s the one for the job. You might worry it’s an inconvenience, but the right builder will be happy to show you extensive examples of past work…it’s a pride thing.

4. Keep a flexible timeline… you ebb and allow for bumps in the road.

It’s a good idea to expect some ebb and flow in the coming months. Expecting curveballs ahead of time will allow you and yours a bit more peace in the custom home building process as a whole. Set your expectations to allow for hiccups like rain delays and product shortages. You’ll thank us later.

5. Make sure everything is in writing…and know you’re not being annoying to expect it.

This way, you AND your builder won’t encounter any surprises as far as your expectations of each other go. After all, your relationship with your builder should feel like a partnership…and you will work together to make sure the finished product is nothing short of the home you’ve always dreamed of living in.

6. Think through your design decisions…trends don’t last forever.

Start simple by brainstorming and sketching out your ideas. Make lists of features you’re looking for in each and every room. But make sure YOU leave room for designs and styles to change as you and your family grow. Consider function, flow, and fun when you’re designing your ideal floor plan and design aesthetic.

7. Understand your financing options…ALL of your financing options.

The right builder will help you determine the very best financing options for you and your needs. If you have questions, make sure you say them out loud…even if you’re worried the question isn’t valid. If your builder doesn’t have the answer, he or she can point you to a mortgage broker.

8. Most importantly…have fun!

Like we said above, building a custom home should feel like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you’re working with a builder you trust with your vision, you should feel free to soak in every step of the process. Remember that every day of the journey, you’re one step closer to delivered-on-dreams!

5 Features For Your Custom Home Design

One of the best parts about building a new custom home with DeFatta Custom Homes is that you never have to settle for standard features and finishes. We firmly believe that it’s not only “okay” to dream…but that dreams should be encouraged and reflected in every facet of the design. After all, creating a custom home that’s uniquely yours is what makes a custom home so special, and why we’re in business in the first place.

As you’re planning your own custom home, we bet you’ve already come across certain features that you know you want to include in the plan. It’s not because these things are trendy or ostentatious. It’s because they deliver the kind of comfort and convenience you really want. However, you may not have thought of everything. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five “must-have” features for your custom home that you’ll probably want to consider.

A Mud Room

A well-planned mud room is a fantastic place to store and organize your belongings. Mud rooms are generally found with convenient access to the garage and are the perfect spot for containing items that are usually scattered throughout your home. A few common items found in a mud room include dog leashes, coats, shoes, umbrellas, backpacks, hats, mittens, and even school projects as they come.

For even more storage, consider building in cubbies or even individual lockers for each of your family members’ superfluous belongings. If you have a dog, you can also use this space to wipe muddy pawprints before they spread all over the house.

A Walk-In Pantry

Adding a walk-in pantry to your kitchen adds a whole new level of convenience and comfort by going the extra mile to keep your kitchen clutter at bay. You can use your pantry for larger packages of food instead of giving up coveted space inside your kitchen cabinets. A pantry also provides plenty of space for frequently used items as well as store oversized appliances (mixers, bread machines, blenders) that you don’t use as often. What’s more, it allows you to store all of these items at eye-level so they are easily accessible when you need them most.

A Main-Floor Laundry Room

Believe it or not, a laundry room on the main level can make your life a lot easier, because multitasking becomes easier when the laundry room is on the same floor as the kitchen, dining/living rooms, and other social and common “family” areas. Plus, if laundry isn’t your all-time favorite chore, a room that’s designed specifically for the task can make cleaning your clothes less of a burden. With a dedicated laundry room on the main level, you’ll have plenty of space to treat stains before you wash a load, hang clothing that must be air dried, or iron wrinkled clothing items.

We’d recommend including a few personal touches to turn your laundry room into a cozy space. If you have enough room, add a comfortable chair, a laundry sorting table or counter, a matching painting, and a shelf or cabinet large enough for holding all of your laundry supplies.

An Outdoor Kitchen

Building an outdoor kitchen increases your outdoor entertaining capabilities and allows your outdoor cooking experience to be more comfortable and convenient. You’ll no longer be limited to a simple grill on your deck or patio, but instead will enjoy an outdoor cooking oasis that includes a built-in grill, refrigerator, counter space, and even a sink for cleaning up. If you and yours are into entertaining or just enjoy spending time in the Great Outdoors, you can’t go wrong with an outdoor kitchen. 10/10 recommend!

A Wine Cellar

If you already know that you enjoy sampling, collecting and tasting fine wines with your friends, why not take your hobby to the next level with a wine cellar of your own? Depending on the size of your vino habit, you can include a small (closet-sized) wine cellar in your custom home design or ask your us to design a larger cellar that includes a wine-tasting room and storage area.

If you’d like to include dedicated wine storage in your design but don’t think you quite need a full wine cellar, we’d recommend considering a wine chiller in your kitchen. Chillers fit underneath the counter space and keep your wine collection at the perfect temperature no matter when you’re ready to drink it.

Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comments below which kind of features YOU want to see included in your custom home design.

5 Ways To Maximize Your Curb Appeal

When you come home after a hard day at work, a residence with plenty of curb appeal – a trim, yet cozy appearance and careful landscaping – lifts your spirits and gives you a warm sense of pride. In fact, we believe that curb appeal matters just as much when you’re living comfortably in your home as it does when you’re trying to sell it. After all, attention to this type of care is also important in maintaining your property and providing adequate protection from the elements for your house and belongings.

If you’re interested in maximizing your curb appeal — for the purpose of selling your home or NOT — keep reading to learn our top five tips for doing just that!

Replace Your Front Door

If your door is old or in disrepair, consider replacing it. But if it is in good shape, repainting can be just as effective—and far less expensive. We’d recommend choosing a color that compliments your space. While bold and bright hues, such as turquoise and cobalt, are attention-grabbing and very popular now, something more traditional such as charcoal black or burgundy will always appeal to the masses.

Spruce Up Your Driveway

Even your driveway can make a big statement. Having your asphalt or concrete driveway cleaned and sealed will only set you back about $400 to $600, but that shiny “new new” will make a big visual impact.

Over time, dirt and dust can also make additional surfaces on your home appear dingy. Spending the extra money to have your house, walkway, and front porch pressure washed can go a long way. Read more about that below!

Give It A Power Wash

Over time, algae, mold, and mildew growth can migrate under the siding and lead to expensive replacements and significant health concerns. Power washing your home on a regular basis will prevent buildup and lead to a healthier, cleaner living space…not to mention more pleasing to the eye.

While you’re at it, consider washing your windows for a sparkling, streak-free look. A little elbow grease and cleaner goes a long way!

Add Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting makes every home look better at night. But path lights, flood lights, and lamp posts also add a safety benefit because they increase your home’s visibility and in doing so, beef up your sense of security.

Consider adding new front door sconces and a few lamp posts if you’re working on a budget or looking for something easy to install. In fact, solar-powered path lights cost around $30 to $50 each and if you stick them in a sunny spot, there’s no need for any wiring either!

Add Landscaping

We saved the most obvious for last! A lush lawn is the holy grail of curb appeal, but you can cover a lot of ground with a mower and a container garden. Add a few potted plants to your front entry space or some window boxes on your front porch.

If you go so far as to add shrubs and bushes, make sure your regularly trim, mow, and edge your yard to keep up that fresh look.


Building or Buying? Some Points To Consider Before Making Up Your Mind

To buy a home or to build a home? That is the question. But when searching for a place to put down roots, it can be difficult to find one that has everything you want and need—especially if you have a specific location, location, location in mind. On the other hand, building a home from scratch takes guts and gumption, and if you hire the wrong team, it may not be as easy or cost-effective as you hope it to be at the start.

All in all, there are several factors to consider before deciding whether building a home or buying a home is a better option for you and your family. If you’re on the fence, keep reading to help make this life changing decision a little bit easier!

Pro Building: You can always get what you want.

The biggest advantage of building your own home is that you know you can get exactly what you want—as long as what you want fits into your price range, that is. Since you’re building your home from the ground up, you will be able to customize your home’s layout, flooring, colors, and unique features. In addition, you should consider the following pros listed below.

  • Newer homes are usually built to meet current building codes.
  • Newer homes are most always more energy efficient and include updated features.
  • You’re the first owner of your home and have a hand in creating it. No mystery there!
  • You won’t have to worry about repairs and replacements any time soon.
  • There is no competition amongst other home buyers. Save yourself some stress!
  • Newer homes are not made with toxic materials such as lead paint and asbestos.

Con Building: Good things take time.

The most important “con” to consider before building a home is that it may take much longer to make it to move-in day. The US Census Bureau estimates that it takes about 7 months to build a home from start to finish.

However, bad weather, natural disaster, and human errors can make the process take even longer than 7 months. The average time to close on a home purchase is just 45 days. In addition, you should consider the following cons listed below.

  • If you don’t work with a good builder, there may be unexpected costs and price increases.
    Between plotting out the land, creating a floor plan, and choosing materials, finishes, and colors, there’s a lot of decisions to make!
  • Get out your green thumb because you’ll also need to create a landscape.
  • While you don’t have to deal with a seller, you also may not have the opportunity to negotiate a lower price.

Pro Buying: It’s less of a commitment.

As exciting as building a home may be, it can also be a stressful experience…especially if you choose the wrong builder to help you along in the process. However when you build a home, you won’t have to worry about purchasing land, working with a builder, and making sure all of the design decisions stay within your budget. (Although, you won’t have to worry about much of that if you work with DeFatta Custom Homes anyways.) In addition, you should consider the following pros listed below.

  • You may be able to move in sooner rather than later as it takes less time to purchase and close on a home than it does to build one from scratch.
  • You won’t need to grow a lawn, wait for trees to mature, or figure out landscaping as your home will most likely already feature an outdoor landscaping design.
  • You may be able to negotiate a lower sales price.
  • You can make upgrades while you live in the home or once you have the time and money to make them happen.

Con Buying: You’ll have to make a few sacrifices.

While it can be stressful to build a home from scratch, if you work with the right builder, it allows you to have everything you’ve always wanted. That is almost never the case when you buy a home, as it was originally built to suit someone else’s lifestyle entirely. In addition, take a look at the following cons listed below.

  • Older pipes, electrical systems, and appliances may require costly maintenance, repairs, and replacements.
  • What’s more, older HVAC systems may result in higher energy costs throughout the year due to age-related inefficiencies.
  • You may experience buyer’s remorse if you decide to settle or compromise on what should have been dealbreakers.
  • Dealing with competition in the housing market is stressful in and of itself, especially if you’re looking to buy in a sought after neighborhood.

To close, we will leave you with this advice:

If you’re not sure whether you’d like to build a home or buy a home, give one of our experts at DeFatta Custom Homes a call. We’re happy to help you make the right decision for you, whether you decide to build with us in the end or not. We are looking forward to helping you find your dream home by any means necessary!

Meet Our Sales Team

A sales team like ours deserves to be talked about, so today, we’d like to introduce them to you! Small but mighty, our two-person custom home sales team handles all of our new home sales and works extremely hard to make sure that each and every one of our customers receives all the help and support they need during the entire buying process. From start to finish, our detail-oriented, multi-specialty Sales duo goes the extra mile to ensure that all of our customers find the home they’ve always imagined living in.

Meet Christy Bashlor!

Christy Bashlor, a licensed Affiliate Broker and accomplished residential realtor, joined our DeFatta Custom Homes Sales Team in 2018. Well-known as an expert adviser for buyers and dreamers looking to purchase custom dream homes, she has even been featured on House Hunters Renovation on HGTV, season 11/episode 3! When she’s not selling real estate or working hard for our clients, she’s most likely spending time with her husband, Shane.

We sat down and asked Christy some questions about her past, present, and future, and here’s what she said:

When did you first realize you wanted to work in real estate?

“Before I became a realtor, I was in the restaurant business, so serving people and supporting my community has always been my passion. When I decided to change careers I wanted to keep those passions alive and real estate seemed like a great fit. Being a realtor, I love getting to meet and work with folks that I may normally have never had the opportunity to meet. Getting to help them navigate through major times in their lives gives me great satisfaction, I love being a small part of their journey and community.”

By now you’ve worked in real estate for quite some time. Why should people buy a DeFatta Custom Home?

“As I was looking into custom homebuilders, there was one word that continued to stand out at DeFatta Custom Homes and it was INTEGRITY. The definition of INTEGRITY is “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”. The DeFatta motto is “if it’s not right, it’s wrong and we are going to make it right”. As an agent it is important to me to be able to stand behind what I am delivering in my sales presentation. I am proud to represent the DeFatta’s because of the strong moral principles that the company is built on.”

What makes you the most proud about being a part of the DeFatta Custom Homes team?

“Every person on our team cares about the folks that we work for on a daily basis! We feel honored to be able to help folks navigate through the process of building and purchasing a new home. Walking folks through one of the largest investments they will make in their lifetime is a job we take very seriously. Delivering an experience they will forever remember as a positive one is what our team strives for with every person and home.”

Meet Haley McKnatt!

Haley McKnatt, a licensed Affiliate Broker, joined the DeFatta Custom Homes Sales Team in 2018. As a lifelong resident of both Maury and Williamson Counties, Haley is knowledgeable with the area and all it has to offer. Her passion for finding the right home for her family combined with her love for real estate, home design, and affordability led her to a career which allows her to help others find a home that meets their needs and complements their lifestyle. While the buying and selling process can be stressful, she will focus on making the transition as smooth as possible. When she’s not selling real estate, Haley enjoys spending time with her husband, Len, and their children, Mason and Maclaine.

We also asked Haley some questions about her past, present, and future, in real estate and here’s what she said:

When did you first realize you wanted to work in real estate?

“Real Estate has always been fascinating to me. Prior to becoming a Realtor, I was a Registered Nurse for 20 years. I love helping people, gaining their trust, and guiding them through their journey which had many parallels to all I loved as a nurse. The only difference is now I get to guide them home!”

By now you’ve worked in real estate for quite some time. Why should people buy a DeFatta Custom Home?

“It’s not often that as a Buyer, you have the opportunity to work alongside the owners of the company as you build your new home. Many times, you would never meet the owner! I love that The DeFattas stand by their word and mission of the company…’building a distinctively different home with an exceptional experience.’”

What makes you the most proud about being a part of the DeFatta Custom Homes team?

“Character. Our team is family. We work together in all things to provide our customers a truly exceptional experience by doing the right thing. Our goal is to have our buyers as customers for life.”

Christy and Haley are both extremely valuable members of the DeFatta Custom Homes family and we’re so happy to have been able to introduce you to them today. If you’d like to get to know them even better or are in the market for a new custom dream home, give us a call or get in touch! We look forward to hearing from you!