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Cheap Houses for Sale in Chattanooga TN: A Strategic Investment Guide

Chattanooga, TN: A Booming Market

The search for cheap houses for sale in Chattanooga, TN, is gaining traction among investors due to the city’s impressive growth.  Chattanooga is actively enhancing its infrastructure to keep pace with this development, featuring three major hospitals, an expanding airport, and being home to significant industries like Amazon, Volkswagen, and Tesla. The city’s 9% population increase last year positions it as a prime location for affordable housing opportunities, blending cost-effectiveness with the potential for property appreciation. Notably, esteemed publications such as Southern Living and The New York Times have ranked Chattanooga as one of the best places to live in the South.

The Attraction of Low Vacancy Rates in Chattanooga

Investing in cheap houses for sale in Chattanooga, TN, is particularly appealing because of the city’s low vacancy rates. With more people moving into to Chattanooga than out Chattanooga’s population is expected to continue to grow at the 3% rate it has in the past 3 years. This trend means that once you purchase a property in this category, it’s highly likely to be rented out quickly, ensuring a steady return.

Spotting the Right Cheap Houses for Sale in Chattanooga, TN

When searching for cheap houses for sale in Chattanooga, TN, location is paramount. Consider areas near major employers like Amazon and VW, which are great for finding cheap houses for sale and ensuring tenant demand. Additionally, understand the varying appreciation rates of different neighborhoods in Chattanooga, as this impacts the investment value of these cheap houses.

Mitigating Risks When Buying Cheap Houses for Sale in Chattanooga, TN

  1. Location: Location is paramount in real estate investment, just as it is in home buying. Key factors to consider include proximity to quality school systems and shopping centers, as these amenities significantly enhance a property’s appeal. It’s beneficial to target slightly more populated areas, which are likely to attract a greater number of tenants. While downtown lofts may offer appeal, they often come with higher turnover and less favorable deals. Optimal areas for investment might be those near major businesses like Amazon and VW. These companies attract corporate employees who often seek rental accommodations, typically for short-term periods of one to two years, presenting a solid opportunity for rental properties.
  2. Appreciation: When considering investing in cheap houses for sale in Chattanooga, TN, it’s crucial to examine the rate of appreciation in each area, as this can differ significantly. The primary goal of such an investment is not just to earn rental income but also to benefit from the property’s appreciation over time. This appreciation is key to building equity in the home, ensuring that when it’s time to sell – whether in a year or a decade – the value of your investment has substantially increased.
  3. CAP Rate:  Understanding your capitalization (cap) rate is vital in real estate investing. This rate represents the expected return on an investment property. Generally, a cap rate between 5% and 10% is deemed favorable. However, it’s important not to confuse this with a ‘safe’ cap rate. The ‘safe’ cap rate is a more personalized measure, reflecting the level of risk you are comfortable with in your investment.
  4. Expert Guidance: Work with a real estate agent who has deep knowledge about cheap houses for sale in Chattanooga, TN, and can calculate accurate cap rates. More than an agent that will just open doors.
  5. Diversification: Include a mix of property types, such as commercial and residential units, among your cheap houses for sale in Chattanooga, TN, to balance risk.
  6. Property Management: Never underestimate the cost of property management. It’s essential to have an efficient property management team in place. Take the time to conduct thorough interviews, review their track record and get feedback, ensuring they are well-equipped to handle rent collection, tenant issues, and other related tasks. While some investors might consider managing properties themselves to save costs, I often advise my clients to opt for a professional management team. This approach allows investors to concentrate on expanding their portfolio rather than getting entangled in the day-to-day demands of tenant management, which can be time-consuming if not handled properly

Pricing Dynamics in Chattanooga’s Market

Understanding the price range in different areas is crucial for anyone interested in cheap houses for sale in Chattanooga, TN. For example:

  • In the Ooltewah area, influenced by the presence of major employers like Amazon and Volkswagen, the real estate market is more competitive. Cheap houses for sale in this area are priced between $250,000 to $350,000, which, given the market dynamics, are considered relatively affordable options likely to attract renters.
  • If you’re eyeing the southside of Chattanooga for investment, your search for cheap houses for sale in Chattanooga TN will range from  $175,000 to $250,000. These properties make excellent rental options due to their more affordable pricing. The area is currently undergoing significant development, with numerous construction projects underway. This phase of growth makes it an opportune time to invest in this part of Chattanooga.
  • East Brainerd, renowned for its quality schools, presents inexpensive housing options in Chattanooga, TN, with prices ranging from $200,000 to $300,000. The presence of these esteemed educational institutions enhances the value of rentals in this area, as families are often willing to pay a premium to access these schools for their children.
Search East Brainerd

The Unique Opportunity of Duplexes

Many of my new investors start with a more manageable approach rather than diving into unfamiliar territory. Instead of purchasing a large house in an unknown area, I recommend beginning with a smaller duplex. Living on one side of the duplex offers the advantage of being on-site to address any tenant issues directly. This strategy is particularly beneficial for first-time investors.

In Chattanooga, the duplex market is quite varied, but generally, duplexes are more affordable across different neighborhoods. Their unique structure often makes them less appealing as personal residences, which in turn makes them excellent investment opportunities. Duplexes, as a subset of cheap houses for sale in Chattanooga, TN, start at about $150,000. In Chattanooga and its surrounding areas, this for your smaller duplex, typically around 800 square feet with one bedroom and one bathroom per unit. These units can potentially be rented out for between $1,000 to $1,500 a month, making them a very attractive option for those starting in the investment journey.


The market for cheap houses for sale in Chattanooga, TN, is ripe with opportunities for building wealth through real estate investment. Whether targeting duplexes, residential homes, or commercial properties, Chattanooga’s diverse market caters to various investment strategies and risk profiles. With its expanding population, consistently low vacancy rates, and a variety of affordable property options, Chattanooga stands out as a promising destination for investors seeking cheap houses for sale.

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