If you’re thinking about selling your cabin, this article is for you!
You might be surprised to learn that investment cabins make up roughly half of our local real estate market in the Great Smoky Mountain area. People come from all over to purchase them, so many of them are not locally owned. Of course, finding the right cabin to buy takes time and requires a bit of consideration, research, and understanding about what’s needed to make it the best source of income. This can mean a long, drawn out process for people who come from outside the area, and can result in a search that requires many visits over several months before the buyers find the perfect investment cabin for them. Selling your cabin quickly requires you to be a bit proactive before you put it on the market.
The first step in selling your cabin is to understand its market value. You need to know what prospective buyers are looking for (probably some of the same things you were looking for when you bought the cabin).
One of the most valuable pieces of information when buying an investment cabin is what its maximum rental income value can be. This makes it equally important when selling your cabin to know how to demonstrate its potential as an investment as well. In order to get top dollar for an investment cabin when you sell it, it needs to already be renting very well. The more it collects in rental income, the more you can ask for when you set your purchase price. While there may not be much you can do about the rental history once you decide on selling your cabin, there are things you can do to the cabin itself to improve its appeal to prospective buyers walking through. Your goal when selling your cabin should be to actually cause those prospective buyers to see the potential increase in the rental revenue.
In fact, if you are thinking about selling your cabin, there are several things you can do very quickly that should help to maximize the value.
First, deep clean the cabin. This seems simple, but most cabins get dirtier and dirtier as time passes. A regular cleaning won’t get the job done the way a deep cleaning will. As realtors we repeatedly see a clean property bring many more dollars than the one that didn’t get the deep clean. Do some pressure washing, put a fresh coat of stain on the areas that are showing wear, and silly things like making sure every light bulb works! You will not believe how buyers devalue your cabin when “little items” don’t work. They start becoming suspicious that big scary items don’t work that are behind the tongue and groove, like the hot water heater or the heat and air system!
Secondly, prune, chop, mow, and throw around some fresh mulch! Give your landscaping some attention. This is literally worth thousands of dollars in value when you are selling your cabin. When a buyer arrives at your cabin, the yard outside is their first impression and you want them to have a great feeling about the cabin before they go inside. Get your family to help if you can’t afford to hire a professional landscaper. Personally. I always was successful bribing my kiddos with ice cream cones or a trip to the Ole Smoky Kitchen in exchange for their help to get rid of the pesky weeds and leaves.
Our third great secret is to throw out anything broken. This is not the time to be practical, it’s better to have one less chair than a broken one sitting in the cabin. Strip off those worn out window treatments and discard the old area rugs and welcome mats that are very welcoming anymore. Just throw them away! Sometimes we get used to broken items. I can hear my husband, “But it still works.”Oh my goodness, if you have a hoarder that is near and dear to your heart (or maybe you are the hoarder), don’t go “cold turkey.” Take it to your storage unit, hide it in the basement, or under the steps. Just get those broken items out of sight before selling your cabin.
The fourth recommendation on our list before selling your cabin is the most important piece of increasing its purchase value. Get a handyman (we can help you with this if you need a recommendation). Have him do the small repairs you just haven’t gotten around to. Put on the list things such as patch holes where woodpeckers had dinner, fix any leaking pipe, and replace the molding around doors that have become weathered or scratched by pets. Give him a small budget and ask him to do as much as he can with your budget. Ask him to go over your cabin with you and make good suggestions. Look for cabinets hanging a bit off kilter. You might need a light coat of stain on the cabinets if they look worn, or new wood on decks that have rotted. The whole deck doesn’t need to be replaced but if you don’t fix the one rotten board, then very likely you are going to be asked to replace the whole deck. Remember that a buyer is going to have an inspection done and they are going to ask for these items to be fixed anyway. If you get a jump on the repair needs, fixing them before selling your cabin will probably save you money and the buyer won’t be looking over your shoulder while you take care of the items found by an inspector.
Lastly, number five, change out the old TV’s. You won’t believe how buyers look at old television sets that can be replaced for several hundred dollars and say, “Oh my gosh!” They grab their heads and say, “Everything is so outdated!” I say as their agent, “It’s just a TV. We can change that!” But it settles in their mind that they are purchasing an outdated cabin. It is true that a new flat screen television makes a large difference in renters choosing it over other cabins. I think renters use the age of the TV’s and electronics as a barometer on the condition of the cabin. Remember, if you won’t replace it, then the buyer will have to and that is money you will be giving up when it comes time to start negotiating the price. And usually, the buyer doesn’t offer a few hundred less, but a few thousand, as that is the value in their mind.