Great real estate values in the Great Smoky Mountains
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Deborah Korlin

Deborah Korlin is the owner and principal broker of Century 21 MVP in Sevierville, Tennessee, covering real estate in the Great Smoky Mountains area.
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When I meet with people excited about investing in rental cabins, one of the questions I am often asked is, “Should I buy a resort cabin or one that’s more private?”

My answer is, “yes and yes!”

No really, the choice between resort cabin and private cabin comes down to personal taste. My recommendation is to choose the one that fits your own preference, or even better the one that offers the best value for the price.

When it comes to rental, neither type is more dominant over the other. We have a group of renters who love privacy and we have a group of renters who want the resort atmosphere.  Our area has such a variety of offerings that it can meet the vacation goals of anyone who comes to visit us. For some people, a trip to the Smokies is about getting away from the hustle and bustle, so they love their privacy. They want the quiet seclusion of the mountains. But others come here with a different set of goals for a vacation. They want to meet different people from other states and share their stories.

Resort cabins

Cabins in a resort setting come with a number of community-minded amenities, such as a miniature golf course, a public pool, a walking path, and/or a picnic area. These resorts need those additional attractions because the type of people staying there are generally the extroverts who private cabin or resort cabin?enjoy meeting other people and interacting with their fellow vacationers. They want to be close to the shopping centers, to the local shows, and to feel safe while they are visiting. These people (your renters) will be shopping, dining, going to Dollywood, and driving through the National Park, or riding go-carts.

Private cabins

The renters who come here looking for a quiet get-away are the folks who don’t want to drive at a snail’s pace on the Parkway with all the traffic. These folks don’t mind the curvy roads. For them, that’s part of the adventure! They will be more tolerant of the gravel and the steep drives as long as it is quiet and pristine when they get there. If they see a bear on the deck, then it was a perfect visit! The ones who enjoy privacy aren’t here to shop or visit the attractions. They’re spending their time hiking, cycling, and rafting. They know the backroads around the traffic!

From a buyer’s standpoint, the things you need to think about when deciding which type of cabin you want to invest in are the maintenance and upkeep costs. While there are several typical expenses that every cabin owner must bear on his or her own, in a resort setting homeowners association (HOA) fees can offset expenses for things like road maintenance, property upkeep, and in some places utilities. They also pay for the public amenities at the resort, like the club house or the public swimming pool. A development/resort with an HOA could vote to increase the costs, though that is rare given that a majority of members have to support the increase.

Cabins outside of development or resort areas generally aren’t part of an HOA so while you won’t have the same fees as ones that are, as a cabin owner you will have to bear the unexpected expenses on your own. Landscaping can be one of the biggest challenges in a private cabin. The more we change nature, the more we have to maintain it to keep it the way we made it. The advantage of having a private cabin is that you have more control over what happens with your cabin. You don’t have HOA guidelines you have to follow and you are more likely to own the land around your cabin instead of just the footprint it sets on.

So to summarize, this is one of those awesome choices where you can do what you want!  (You know I don’t say that too often.)

If you’d like to learn more about investing in rental cabins, and the differences between those in resorts compared to private rental homes, contact my support line at 865-654-2111 or my office at 865-429-2121.

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