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Success Stories

Welcome to Tennessee!!

Homeownership 2024
Brian Ranger's Home

Nothing says welcome to Tennessee better than owning a new home. When Brian Ranger decided it was time to leave California and move to Tennessee, he hoped that this would be his opportunity at homeownership. Now, nearly 4 ½ years after successfully buying a Tennessee home, Mr. Ranger shares that he “loves his home and community.” “Some cannot believe that a guy who spent 65 years in Southern California, could easily adjust to very rural living,” Ranger said. “But it sure suits me well.”

In January 2020, Brian contacted the USDA Rural Development office in Union City to begin the process of purchasing his first home in rural Henry County.  “I was surprised how easy the process appeared to be and that I actually might be able to purchase my first home”, Ranger said.  Brian was on a fixed income and USDA Rural Development was going to be the catalyst in making his dream of homeownership become a reality. 

The early stages of his residency in Henry County, was not without its own challenges. Mr. Ranger moved in March 2020 and on his first night in his new home, was “welcomed” by a tornado that touched down close to his home. Brian knew then he’d better get familiar with watches, warnings, and when to shelter in place. As a result of the storms, he became a Storm Spotter and then an Advanced Storm Spotter with the National Weather Service. He has gained great information from this opportunity and is on a better path towards severe weather preparedness. Although it is still unsettling to hear the weather radio blaring, he states that he is better prepared.

If a tornado wasn’t enough, the COVID 19 pandemic struck the world by surprise in March 2020. The freedom of everyday living was severely restricted. Masks, social distancing, increased hygiene precautionary measures and generally becoming a “hermit” was his plan for a couple of years. “I didn’t know any of my neighbors,” Ranger said. “We communicated only from quite a distance, and I welcomed folks driving by with a wave. Certainly not a California practice, but one I still welcome.” Brian even avoided going to the grocery store for two years and got REAL familiar with home delivery service.

Shortly after moving into his home and reeling with the reality that the pandemic had placed on his everyday life, Brian was adopted by a stray dog, a sweet Jack Russell Terrier. “I love animals,” Ranger said. “But I wanted the responsibility of a pet like a hole in the head.”  Brian had planned to spend plenty of time in Nashville, The Smokey Mountains, and just generally goofing around…but COVID changed all of that and he was bored to tears. During what was described as a “Heavy Freeze”, the local media outlets advised residents to cover their plants and bring any pets inside and out of the cold. “I couldn’t leave her in the cold,” Ranger said. “My new best friend ‘Claire’ has spent every night thereafter in the house either on my lap or under a down comforter. She has served as my best friend, therapist, teacher, and happiness. She’s much more than ‘just a dog’.”

As the pandemic seemed to come under some control and people were beginning to gather again, Brian discovered the local American Legion Post #89. It’s only a couple of miles from his home and loaded with people who volunteer their time to help the community and local veterans. He was even invited to join the Sons of the American Legion, as his father served in World War II. Brian is now in his 3rd year of membership. The American Legion Post #89 is a group of awesome, generous people and he’s proud to be a part of them.

Even though Springville, Tenn. is a far cry from Long Beach, Calif, it is everything Brian hoped it would be, plus more. Mr. Ranger retired before relocating and was going to have to learn how to survive on a fixed income. The lower cost of housing in Tennessee made that affordable. He was thrilled that he was able to purchase a 1,300 square foot home on almost an acre of land, close to the Kentucky Lake for far less than he was renting a one-bedroom, 300 square foot apartment in California. Mr. Ranger continues to be super appreciative of Mary Hickman and Jennifer Sweatt, employees of the USDA Rural Development’s - Union City Area Office, for helping his dream of homeownership become a reality.

When asked what advice Mr. Ranger had for future homeowners, he responded with:

  • Enjoy the great interest rates offered by the USDA!
  • Make sure to identify a “Safe Place” within your prospective home to ride out severe weather when it arrives. If I could make one change to my living conditions, that would be it.
  • Get a good portable generator and gas cans to operate basic necessities.
  • Get involved in your community, get to know your neighbors!
  • Enjoy the lightening bugs, bullfrogs, deer, squirrels and all the cool stuff nature has to offer.

To learn more about homeownership opportunities with USDA Rural Development - Tennessee, contact your local office or visit us online at www.rd.usda.gov/tn.

Obligation Amount:
Year(s) of Obligation:
Congressional District:
  • Tennessee: District 8