Cost of living -

7 Things to know and do before moving to Tennessee

Tennessee, also known as the country music state, is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. It is the 16th most populated state in the USA. It is a state that is popular for its country music and the Grand Ole Opry. Apart from the music and the captivating sights to see, there’s one thing that Tennessee has in abundance, i.e., exquisite food. 

This is not it; you’ll be awed by the fall season in Tennessee. It’s breathtaking! Tennessee also has a low cost of living and a good job market. 

If you are considering moving to Tennessee, there are several things that you need to be prepared for. Here are 7 things you need to know and do when moving to Tennessee.

What to Know Before your Move to Tennessee

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1. First steps before moving to Tennessee

Finding a job 

Some of the country’s biggest firms, such as Amazon and Mitsubishi, are planting roots in Nashville and bringing thousands of jobs. 

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the largest employer in the city. That is not all. HCA Healthcare Inc., the world’s largest healthcare company, also has its headquarters in Nashville, so there is no shortage of employment opportunities in Tennessee.

Getting there 

Find a reliable moving company, truck rental or moving container

For your move to Tennessee, you will need to hire a reliable moving company or take on the move yourself. To find the best moving company in Tennessee, look for good reviews, a professional-looking website, and years of experience.

Planning a move to Tennessee? Have a look at our selection of the Best Moving Companies in Nashville and Memphis.

Must dos before your arrival

  • Update Your Address: Changing your address is a crucial step when relocating. You can easily set up mail forwarding either online or in person before your move. Remember to update your address with various organizations, including the SSA, DMV, and home services. To ensure you don’t miss any important notifications, refer to our comprehensive change of address checklist, which covers all the places you need to update when moving.
  • Weather Preparedness: Be ready for Tennessee’s diverse weather like cold winters and hot and humid summers. Check local forecasts and pack accordingly, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the region’s climate variations.
  • Apartment Hunting: Plan ahead by researching and scheduling apartment visits before your arrival. This proactive approach will help streamline your housing search process and ensure a smoother transition.

Upon your arrival in Tennessee

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers. 
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.
  • It would be convenient to purchase a daily transit pass to save money. The 31-day public transit bus pass in Nashville is $55.00.

Exchanging your driver’s license

Procedure for new driver’s license and vehicle registration in Tennessee

When moving to Tennessee, you must exchange your driver’s license and register your vehicle within 30 days of moving, otherwise you may be fined. To exchange your driver’s license, you can apply in person at your local DMV Office or online by using the Driver’s License Application service.

Documents Needed for Tennessee Driver License and Vehicle Registration

  • TN driver’s license or ID number
  • Mailing address
  • Last 4 digits of your Social Security number (SSN)
  • Payment for driver’s license replacement
  • Current license or certified copy of driving record or other acceptable ID
  • If you are submitting a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR), it must be original and issued no more than 30 days prior to your Tennessee application date.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal presence.
  • Proof of Tennessee residency with your name and resident address.
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Either the name and address of the lienholder to whom you are making payments OR, in the event of no lienholder, your out-of-state title.
  • Out-of-state license and registration

Setting up a bank account 

When moving to Tennessee, it’s essential to establish a local presence by setting up a bank account. This state follows the same procedures and regulations as in other states. Regions Bank has more than 250 branch locations in Tennessee, and it is convenient for every local because it is accessible.

Getting health insurance

Getting health insurance is an excellent way to get peace of mind when it comes to your health. With health insurance, you will not have to worry about spending a ton of money in case of a health-related emergency. Healthcare is regulated by the state in the US and so the state of Tennessee proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose Tennessee as your state and create an account.

Best places to live in Tennessee


  • Brentwood: Known for its excellent education system, music scene, and sports, Brentwood is a reputable city with a population of 40,000. It offers outdoor activities in numerous parks and features an airport, although real estate prices have risen recently.
  • Franklin: With 68,500 residents, Franklin is a desirable place to live, offering lower housing costs compared to Brentwood. The area boasts a sound education system, a friendly community, and over 200 eateries.
  • Germantown: With a population of 40,000, Germantown is an affordable option with a strong economy, controlled crime rate, and the state’s highest income. It also boasts a top district school rating.

Best School Districts in Tennessee:

  1. Collierville Schools: Located in Collierville, this top-rated public-school district serves 9,188 students with a 16 to 1 student-teacher ratio.
  2. Maryville City Schools: Situated in Maryville, this district accommodates 5,443 students with a 17 to 1 student-teacher ratio and excels in college preparation, health, and safety.
  3. Williamson County Schools: Ranked as the top public school in Franklin and the 3rd best in Tennessee, this district serves 41,387 students with a 17 to 1 student-teacher ratio.
  4. Alcoa City Schools: A highly rated public school district with 2,134 students and a 17 to 1 student-teacher ratio, known for its dedicated teachers.
  5. Greeneville City Schools: Another highly rated district with 2,940 students, a 15 to 1 student-teacher ratio, and a reputation for being the safest school district in Tennessee.

Consider getting home insurance

Getting home insurance is a critical type of financial protection from any expected damages caused mainly by natural disasters. Your home will be covered in case it is damaged by bad weather, burglary or natural disasters such as tornadoes, hailstorms and wildfires (some common one’s in Tennessee). 

Setting up home services 

Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Associated is an association of 60 county electric providers and municipalities that provide services to over 2.4 million homes and businesses across Tennessee. 

You can visit their website to find out about the electricity providers available in your county. For gas and water supply, the Tennessee Public Utility Commission can be contacted, or you can visit their website to get information. TPUC is responsible for setting the service standards and rates of privately owned natural gas, telephone, electric, and water utilities.

The best internet providers in Tennessee will have bundling options, various speeds, and multiple package options at reasonable prices.

Should you rent or buy?

Tennessee is renowned for its affordable housing options, especially in suburban areas further from the city. However, in cities like Nashville, the cost of living has seen an increase, particularly in recent years. If you have the ability to save for a few months, purchasing a property can be more economical than renting, ultimately depending on your personal preferences and lifestyle.

Cost of rent in Tennessee


1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Nashville (Outside of Center)



Numbeo (Oct 2023)

Cost of buying a property in Tennessee


Average home price 



Zillow (Oct 2023)

Cost of living in Tennessee

Cost of living in Nashville


Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center



Numbeo’s grocery list ($70.09 multiplied by 4)



Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage


Internet with 60 Mbps


Transit pass



Meal, taxi, movie


Gym membership 




Numbeo (Oct 2023)

5. The weather in Tennessee

On average, there are 207 sunny days per year in Tennessee. The highest temperature in Summers is 88° and the Winter low is 27 degrees. Tennessee averages 5 inches of snow per year and 53 inches of rain. Fall seems to be the favorite season of people residing in Tennessee. 

It has a breathtaking feel. It’s colorful and vibrant. People visit Tennessee from miles away to experience the memorable fall. Spring in Tennessee is probably the most attractive season because humidity is low, temperatures are mild, and nights are chilly.

6. What to do as a local in Tennessee

Tennessee offers a unique advantage to its residents who own affordable homes, as it allows them to allocate their resources towards various activities. The state is renowned for its vibrant music scene, with live performances occurring in bars, music venues, and honky-tonks, particularly in cities like Memphis and Nashville. 

Additionally, outdoor enthusiasts can relish the scenic landscapes of the region, such as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which offers hiking and camping opportunities.

One of the things that locals truly cherish about Tennessee is its culinary heritage. The state is famous for its delectable offerings, including hot chicken, BBQ ribs, and mouthwatering biscuits and gravy

From eating out, to attending live country music festivals, there’s so much to explore in Tennessee. Some of the must-visit attractions in Tennessee include Dollywood, Graceland and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

7. Fun facts about Tennessee

Fun Fact #1

The Lost Sea, Sweetwater, TN is the largest underwater lake in the USA.

Fun Fact #2

A whale is the only animal you’re permitted to hunt from a vehicle in Tennessee.

Fun Fact #3

Tennessee is the birthplace of country music.


Moving to Tennessee offers employment opportunities, a low cost of living, and diverse seasons. Before your move, secure a job, update your address, and prepare for the climate. Upon arrival, get familiar with your neighborhood, exchange your driver’s license, and set up local services. 

Consider renting or buying a home, as Tennessee offers affordability in suburban areas. Enjoy the vibrant music scene, outdoor adventures, and delectable cuisine. Don’t miss attractions like Dollywood and Graceland. Tennessee’s unique aspects include the largest underwater lake in the USA and the birthplace of country music.

Are you moving soon? Discover the best movers for your move to Tennessee


Widgets Magazine


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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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