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Kingsport - Johnson City - Bristol The Tri-Cities area
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Old 06-10-2022, 05:47 PM
66 posts, read 221,503 times
Reputation: 60


I made business trips to Tennessee annually in the 1980s and 1990s and fell in love with the area and the people. I told my wife way back then that Tennessee would be a great place to retire to. Well, that time has come.

Here's the problem: We're 2,500+ miles away and can't travel to see a house before it sells. We absolutely will not put down any earnest money on a house without first seeing it in person. Been there, done that, never again.

We are now considering just building a home. In doing so, you can get exactly what you want on a piece of land that is located where you want.

I'm hoping you folks who live in the Tri-Cities area and have knowledge of new home construction or are in the real estate business can answer a few questions:
  1. Are new home builders swamped? How soon would you estimate that construction could begin? I don't expect this process to start immediately, but if it's going to be 2 or 3 years down the road I may have to rethink this.
  2. What is a ballpark price per square foot for building (construction only - no land acquisition or site prep). I realize there are many factors involved in this. I'm not looking to build a McMansion with gold toilets. More like 1,800 to 2,400 sq ft Craftsman type home.
  3. I have found several builders in the Tri-Cities area that have great reviews, but I'm hoping to get some recommendations from others who have either had a home constructed or know someone who has. I would also like to know if there is anyone I should avoid. I assume any endorsements or slams would have to come to me via direct message.
The wife and I promise that we WON'T bring with us ANY of the craziness associated with California. That's what we're trying to get away from. Really. . . I promise.
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Old 06-11-2022, 10:25 PM
12 posts, read 11,369 times
Reputation: 21
This is south of the Tri Cities area so perhaps a little more expensive, but when we recently talked to a builder in the greater Asheville area, they quoted starting prices were $350 a sq-ft and did not include a basement. This did not include land obviously. And timing was a little vague. Prices are fairly high out here (CA soon to be transplant to NC) in NC, but not as bad as the SF Bay area (people are asking >$1000 sq ft) and are only going to go higher as fuel and materials and labor keeps going up up up.
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Old 06-12-2022, 01:59 PM
Location: Seattle
7,547 posts, read 17,290,163 times
Reputation: 4893
If your budget allows, it's probably much easier to find an adequate rental, plan to live there for a year (or two), and either get rid of most of your belongings or also rent a storage unit. (Pro tip, storage units are cheaper in more rural areas, so find something even 1-2 hours away from your house, since you ideally won't be needing to access it much.)

Seems a lot easier than trying to conduct all of this business from across the country!
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Old 06-14-2022, 08:35 AM
Location: TN/NC
35,169 posts, read 31,490,161 times
Reputation: 47682
This here is a nice, newer build that is around $225/sq. ft in Johnson City.


Custom construction will probably be $275+ sq.ft.

From what I know, yes, new building is fairly heavily booked out, but not to the tune it was early in the pandemic. Like anywhere else, supply chain issues and a lack of labor are causing problems.

I will say this - this area is not the bargain it was even a few years ago. I bought my home in 2019, and it has appreciated about 50% since then based on comps here in Bristol. It's also been "discovered," not as much nearby western NC, but more people from outside the area are moving in, especially in Johnson City.
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