The Nashville, Tennessee area is best known as being the birthplace of country music and a major hub of rock and roll. Stars from Johnny Cash to Toby Keith have all called Nashville their homes at one time and would not have likely made it to stardom in any other city.

The music industry in Nashville reflects the city’s mythos as the place where stars are born. With an estimated local impact of more than $6.4 billion, the music industry provides more than 19,000 jobs, making Nashville, arguably, the most important center of music in North America, if not the world.

However, Nashville is much more than just honky tonks and the Grand Ole Opry. In fact, the city’s largest industry isn’t even music, not by a long shot. The Nashville area’s healthcare sector is among the most vibrant of anyplace in the United States. Contributing over $30 billion to the local economy, it is the city’s main source of employment and the most important driver of its economy.

Nashville also has many other industries that make it a very well diversified economy, able to withstand economic downturns better than elsewhere in the country. This is reflected in the city’s very low unemployment rate of just over 3%. The city also has a decent median income, at about $47,000. This is also in the context of a city where the cost of living is much lower than in other major metropolitan areas, such as New York or Los Angeles.

The housing market in Nashville has done spectacularly well since the housing crisis of 2008. In fact, the price of the median home in Nashville has nearly doubled since the housing market bottomed out in 2012. Still, the Nashville Metropolitan area remains one of the more affordable cities in which to live and raise a family. The fact that housing today is more expensive than at any time in the past in no way implies that Nashville is not a fantastic city in which to consider buying a home.

That’s not to say the city isn’t without its problems. Like all metro areas in the United States, Nashville has its bad areas. Schools in the Nashville Metro Area range from very poor to excellent. Thus, it is extremely important for those with children or who are planning on starting a family to pay extremely close attention to the quality of schools in the neighborhoods in which they are looking to buy.

Likewise, Nashville, as a whole, has relatively high violent crime rates and very high property crime rates. However, when compared to cities of similar size, its crime rates for both violent and property crime are about average. What’s more, the majority of crime in Nashville is highly concentrated in certain neighborhoods. Thus, as always, it pays to be very discriminating about in which neighborhoods one is considering purchasing a home. As in other large cities throughout the United States, just a few hundred yards can mean the difference between a leafy, old-money enclave and a war zone.

What types of mortgages are best for Nashville residents?

While there are many types of mortgages, as a rule, the simplest ones are the best for those looking to buy a primary residence in which they’ll live for the majority of the time. While some mortgages, such as adjustable rate, zero down and balloon mortgages have legitimate uses, they’re best left to sophisticated investors with a deep understanding of risk management and who often have the benefit of limited liability protection. For most homeowners, going with anything but a linearly amortizing home loan is not just imprudent, it seriously increases the risk of adverse events, including foreclosure and loss of all equity in the home.

A linearly amortizing home loan, on the other hand, means that the homeowner will have constant payments that will last over a defined period, at which time the homeowner will have clear title to the property. While these loans are still secured, with the underlying property serving as collateral, a condition which transfers non-payment risk substantially to the borrower, they are far less risky than some other types of mortgages. For primary residence home buyers, keeping it as simple as possible is never bad advice.