Selling in a sellers’ market can mean increasing your rental income

Many of you who have been keeping up with my monthly articles know that our market here in the Great Smoky Mountains is a sellers’ market, particularly in the area of vacation cabins that provide rental income. A good cabin with strong rental income potential – even when it isn’t already performing at the level that it can be producing – are under contract with a buyer in about a week. In some cases, real estate agents in the Smokies have buyers who are waiting for a cabin that fits their goals even before we get the listing, and so it’s not uncommon these days for a rental vacation cabin to be sold before it’s listed. It’s also not uncommon for a cabin to get multiple offers within a day or two of being listed and then being sold for the “highest and best” offer shortly after.

For those of you who own a cabin and are thinking about selling, this is awesome news! It means you can probably sell the cabin for quite a bit more than what you paid for it if you bought it after the housing market crash nearly 10 years ago. And if you bought it before the crash, I have great news for you, too: our market is reaching the price levels of that time, so you can sell it for what you paid. Just recently, our MLS saw a 2-bedroom cabin listing in Starr Crest for a little over $400,000. I haven’t seen a 2-bedroom cabin of that size around here go for that much since before the market crash in 2008!

Increasing your rental income

If you love your cabin and are blessed by the value its rental income is adding to your budget, maybe it’s time to start thinking about how you can turn that cabin into an even bigger profit. Many of our clients who worked with us during the downturn are now reinvesting their profits from the sale of their cabin into a bigger cabin, or one with better amenities such as an indoor swimming pool, that is opening up the opportunity for them to earn more rental income.

My staff and I would enjoy the opportunity to talk with you about how this works and determine if selling your cabin to buy a newer one is something that would be a great fit for your financial goals.

Call me at 865-765-6157 or Greg at 865-643-2103 and we will be glad to show you how you can increase your rental income.

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Handling the home repair proposal

When selling a home, one of the most important steps in the process is negotiating the home repair proposal after the inspection.

Last month, we looked at the home inspection and home repair from the buyers’ perspective, so this month we want to take a look at it from the sellers’ angle. Real estate agents aren’t home inspectors, and we often don’t know everything that might need fixing in a property. If you as the owner of the property know of and share a particular issue with the agent, then of course it is our job to make sure that is disclosed as part of the listing. In fact, one of the first things I do in preparing a property to list is to provide a disclosure form as part of a set of required documents giving us permission to sale their property. This property disclosure form lists out all the items in your home or cabin that you’re aware of about the property – age of the roof, any updates or upgrades to the home, any conditions that the law requires for you to share with buyers about, etc. If you haven’t lived in the home for several years, you may choose to fill out an exemption form instead. This is often the case with vacation and second homes that are on a rental program. You’re just not going to know everything about the condition of the property if you aren’t actively living in the home. Even when you do live there full-time, you may not be aware of potential problems that your buyers could end up being responsible for if they closed on the property without discovering it beforehand. So it’s in their best interest as the buyers to have a home inspection done.

The home inspector will:

  • test the plumbing;
  • test the electric outlets;
  • inspect the crawlspace for possible cracks or mold;
  • inspect the fireplace;
  • inspect the home exterior for signs of wood destroying insect damage; and
  • look for signs of water damage or problems along the gutters and on the roof that may not be noticeable to the untrained eye.

The home repair proposal

Once the inspection is completed, the buyer will identify the items that matter the most to them and coordinate with their agent – if they have one – to put them into a home repair proposal for you to consider. As a seller, it’s important not to panic when you see the repair request items. A home inspector is hired to find every potential issue in the home so that the buyer can make the most informed decision possible. Most good home inspectors will seek out problems and potential challenges so that the buyers know as much possible about what’s going on with the house before they buy it. It’s important for you to work with your agent to help you determine the best response based on your situation. If you have the resources to make the requested home repairs, that’s often the best choice. Or if you can’t do them all, pick the ones that are the most important and offer to do those. Another option is that you could negotiate a lower sales price to allow the buyers to fix the home repair items on the home repair list themselves. Your real estate agent should be able to negotiate the home repairs on your behalf and, when needed, help you find people who can do the work to fix those items so you can get accurate estimates in case the owner chooses to reduce the price instead.

Keep in mind that simply refusing to address the requested home repair proposal items could mean the buyers will walk away, and if the items are significant, you will have the same challenge with the next buyer who comes along if you don’t work out a way to fix the items. Of course, the buyers have the choice to walk away after a home inspection is completed if they don’t like the report, so it’s sometimes good to ask your agent to follow up to see if you can find out what made them decide not to buy your home. Perhaps it’s something you can fix before the next offer comes in so it doesn’t end up being a challenge to overcome with a new buyer on the next home repair list.

Cabin in the woods offers perfect country home living

If you are looking for a cabin in the woods where you can enjoy quiet country living, this stunning true log mountain country home on almost 3 acres could be the perfect place for you! Nestled in a private country setting far enough away to enjoy nature but still close enough – just a short 10 minute drive –  to downtown Sevierville, this country home cabin offers the best of both worlds!

country homeThe country home on Lena Acres Rd. offers two bedrooms and two full bathrooms with an open floor plan on the main level, a loft perfect for a third bedroom, and newly finished space down below. Newly add tongue and groove throughout the cabin, wood floors, updated hardware, new faucets, appliances, freshly painted walls, and carpet added downstairs all make this the perfect living space.
Outside, an oversized, insulated three bay garage is perfect for the car enthusiast. Or, it could be be your next workshop or storage. The property also comes with a large, in-ground fire pit that has been pebbled perfectly for entertaining family and friends! In 2018, the property received a fresh load of gravel for the graveled driveway leading up to property.
More recent upgrades to the property include a new water heater, new HVAC system, water filtration system, replacement of insulation and new caulking around windows, new stain on the front porch, a refractory in fireplace, and new roof and porch for the chicken coop. The garage received new chinking, and a new TV antenna! This house is move in ready!

To learn more about this country home, click here.

To schedule a visit to this country home, call or text me at 865-765-6157, or my support line at 865-654-2111.

Custom built lodge offers investment potential

custom built lodge

This featured “Cabin of the Month,” a custom built lodge in Wears Valley, can easily be converted into an investment.

You’ll admire the stunning long range mountain views from this custom built lodge retreat located just 15 minutes from the Pigeon Forge Parkway and only 5 minutes from the “back door” entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Situated in the heart of Wears Valley, this 3-bedroom, 3-bath custom built lodge is built with soaring cathedral ceilings and walls of glass that give dramatic effect to the great room. Anchored by a handsome mountain stone fireplace, the custom built lodge’s spacious open kitchen flows through to the dining area with plenty of seating and space to entertain large groups. Views can be had from every room and every angle of the interior. This custom built lodge’s generous floor plan offers a private lofted master suite with a walk-in closet, bidet, dry cedar sauna, and attached office. The home’s 3 bonus rooms, recreation room, and wet bar are offered in the fully finished basement.
Outside, enjoy the landscaped yard and hundreds of feet of the spacious airy decks with multiple covered porches. This custom built lodge was built by the developer of Dogwood Farms for his own personal get-away- which means the attention to detail and quality will not disappoint. The unique and extremely rare pecky cypress tongue-and-groove gives this cabin the a rustic feel that provides Smoky Mountain living at its best! Gently rolling and level lot for a house seat, gives you room to romp with over 8 acres of your very own National Park-esque setting and is 100 percent private accompanied by an outdoor custom fire pit. The lot’s extra acreage offers actual build-able lots for additional cabins that would enjoy this same fantastic view.
Lastly, the cabin has recently received some updates, including a new roof, new stain, re-surfaced driveway, recently upgraded HVAC with 3 separate units (one for each floor), on demand gas hot water heaters, new main level carpet and porcelain tile, and updated bath plumbing, and lighting fixtures. This custom built lodge is move in-ready or just a few steps away from becoming a cash flowing second home!
To learn more about this property, click here.

If you’d like to schedule a visit to see the custom built lodge, please call me at 865-765-6157 or my support line at 865-654-2111.

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Sherwood Forest resort investment cabin offers amazing opportunity

Our featured “Cabin of the Month” is this amazing investment cabin located in Sherwood Forest resort!

Sherwood Forest resort in Pigeon Forge is one of the top rental vacation investment cabinresorts in the Great Smoky Mountains! This 4 bedroom investment cabin comes with its own indoor pool and full theater setup, providing your guests with the very best of amenities needed to make an outstanding rental experience. Indoor pools in rental cabins generally pay for themselves, and cabins that have them can produce significantly more than those that don’t because they continue to attract guests in the cold winter months at the beginning of the year.
This fantastic investment property is only 5 years old and has a low HOA fee.
To learn more about this investment cabin, click here.

To schedule a showing at this investment cabin, call our office at 865-429-2121 or my support line at 865-654-2111.

Don’t miss seeing this custom built Sevierville home!

custom built homeIf you’re looking for your next home in the Great Smoky Mountains region, this beautiful stone custom built three-bedroom home just might be it! Located just minutes from downtown Sevierville, this more than 2,000-square foot home sets on a private lot with gorgeous landscape! Its open concept floor plan comes with hardwood floors throughout, a stacked
stone gas insert fireplace, stainless appliances, an eat in kitchen and formal dinning.

Inside the custom built home

The master suite of this custom built home is located on the main floor,  and you’ll want to check out the enclosed sun room with its walls of glass that offer an opportunity for you to take in nature and the surrounding wildlife.  The home also has custom built-in bunk beds, an oversized garage, and a workshop on the base level. The setup is perfect for storing all of your tools for your next big project.
Out back you will find a large entertaining space that is beautifully landscaped to enjoy flowers almost all year long, a deck area, nature path, handcrafted workshop/storage shed, and a tree house!
To learn more about this custom built home, click here.

To schedule a showing at this custom built home call me at 865-765-6157 or my support line at 865-654-2111.

Sherwood Forest cabin is fantastic rental income producer

If you love the mountains, you will absolutely adore the gorgeous, up in the clouds Smoky Mountain View from this top Sherwood Forest rental income producing cabin.

Centrally located and just 5 minutes from the Pigeon Forge Parkway (10 minutes to Gatlinburg), this cabin has the potential to be an amazing rental income producer. Sherwood Forest Resort is one of this area’s most popular resorts because of its convenient location and beautiful views of the mountains!
This 5 bedroom, almost 1,500 square foot rental cabin is fully outfitted with a full sprinkler system and rental income producing cabinother features, including a private, indoor swimming pool, a lofted game room, and theater room. These amenities will keep this cabin relevant as a superb rental income producer for years to come. The cabin is designed with grizzled tongue and groove throughout, walls of glass, and cathedral ceilings to make this a true mountain home. Handsome granite and honey colored cabinets bring home the Smoky Mountain feel. And of course, the high rental income potential makes this a perfect income generating second home or an investment on auto pilot!

Click here to learn more about this rental income producing cabin.

If you’d like to schedule a visit or have other questions about how to make rental income with this property, call me at 865-765-6157 or 865-654-2111.

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3-bedroom Sevierville home is just minutes from all the attractions

Sevierville homeClose enough to get to any of the attractions and activities in the Great Smoky Mountains area but far enough off the beaten path to avoid the tourist traffic during days of high activity, this Sevierville home could be the perfect place to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Sevierville home is conveniently located

Located just minutes from Douglas Lake, downtown Sevierville, and Pigeon Forge, this three-bedroom, two-bathroom home offers main level living with an additional finished walkout basement, 3 fireplaces (2 are made of stone), and other upgrades throughout. The home comes with a detached garage/workshop space as well.
Relax in this luxurious master suite with a sitting room and double French doors that lead to a private screen porch, or cozy up next to the stone
fireplace, The house offers ample storage with its 3 closets. Outside, you will find the perfect space in the 30×40 detached garage/workshop wired for 220, airlines for a compressor, and tall enough for use of a car lift.
The Sevierville home’s other interior features provide a fantastic setting for you to relax and enjoy in. The home’s beautiful kitchen with high end Tessaro counter top also comes equipped with all upgraded whirlpool stainless steel appliances, extra tall cabinetry, and built in pantry for additional storage. The large open living room has vaulted ceilings and features a stone fireplace. The double French doors open to a huge 56-foot screened porch with a metal roof, perfect for listening to the rain. On the main level, you’ll also find the laundry room and office space. Adjoining the master bedroom is a large master bathroom including a jetted tub!
The finished walkout basement is perfect for entertaining. Also downstairs, you’ll find the perfect space for additional built in storage, a fireplace, kitchenette and bar, and another large storage room. The home exterior offers easy outdoor maintenance with its composite front decking and vinyl siding. You’ll also have a place for RV parking with electrical hookups, a private backyard on the more than one-acre lot, and a 2.5 attached garage with attic space.  The house is hooked up to city water and has a septic tank. Underground utilities. Home Warranty included!
Finally, all items in this Sevierville home and workshop are not included but can be purchased.

If you’d like to schedule a time to see this Sevierville home, contact our office at 865-429-2121.

Understanding the appraisal

In this article, I’d like to share with you about one of the most important steps in a home sale where a lender is involed – the appraisal.

If you’ve been following my articles over this past year, then you already know our region – the Great Smoky Mountains, including Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and the surrounding communities – are in a season of very low inventory for property sales. This is especially true of our rental and vacation cabin market. As a result, the values of these properties have increased and the market for vacation and rental cabins has climbed steadily over the last couple of years at a rate that has outpaced lender appraisal values.

Appraising the value of a property can be one of the most challenging, and probably the most stressful, aspect of the process for buyers in a market where appraisal values don’t reflect where the market is at in terms of purchase value. This is mostly because lender appraisers are looking at the value of the property in a different way than everyone else, and with a different purpose. The purpose of a lender appraisal is to determine how much the lender can sell the property for in the event of a foreclosure. So even though the buyer is paying for the appraisal, the appraiser making the determination is actually working for the lender.

Appraisal is an art, not a science

As you know, when a foreclosure is put up for sale by a lender, it’s not priced at the market value. It’s priced below the market value because the financial institution is just trying to recoup as much as they can get for the property. So appraisers have to work from that angle in determining the appraisal value for the lender, and they have to follow specific restrictions. They have to find comparable sold listings within the last 3 to 6 months. If the property is in a subdivision or resort, they must use sold properties from that particular location. Obviously, appraisers can’t go into homes that were sold and take a look around. So the most efficient method for them is to look at closed listings in the association MLS, tax records, and any photos that are included with the closed listing report. It’s a difficult job, especially when you begin to understand some of the problems with doing it this way.

First of all, the reports don’t always accurately reflect the condition of the property. Rarely do tax records identify updates to the interior of the property. Sometimes the square footage is recorded incorrectly. The cabin could be smaller or larger inside than the tax record indicates. Regarding MLS records, the photos may be out of date. That pristine looking cabin exterior in the front photo could have been taken a week after it was built… 10 years ago. Today it might be full of bee holes and in serious need of a new staining. So of course it sold two months ago for $15,000 less than the one you’ve made an offer on where the one you want to buy today has been well taken care of and doesn’t need any major updating.

Appraisers also are required to look at square footage differently than the average buyer or seller. A lot of times, people look at the total square footage to determine how big the cabin is. Even when these numbers are correct in the written record, what the lender’s appraiser is looking for is how much is “above grade” and how much is “below grade.” So maybe you picked out a cabin that has a total of 2,000 square feet, but the appraiser who looks at it notices the cabin square footage is perfectly split between two levels. So, the 1,000 square feet above the mountain’s edge in that hypothetical cabin is considered above grade and worth more than the downstairs – even when that lower level has a window facing the perfect mountain view. Any level of the cabin that is 1 foot below ground is considered basement.

So that’s how the appraiser works through the process. In my next article, I’ll share some ways you can handle an appraisal that might come in below the offer price.

Eight bedroom rental is “Cabin of the Month”

eight bedroom rentalOur cabin feature this month is an eight bedroom rental property located in Wears Valley.

You’ll be “Steppin’ on the Clouds” in this gorgeous eight bedroom rental cabin in Wears Valley. This is a fantastic income-building investment, on track to pass $170,000 in gross rental income this year!

With its absolutely magnificent panoramic 180-degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains, you and your guests will love relaxing in front of one of the best views of the National Park any rental cabin here has to offer. Enjoy the cabin’s large fire pit or hot tub, or make your way over to the nearby resort at “The Preserve” to go swimming in the pool. Best of all, this cabin is just minutes from the National Park!

You’ll find plenty of activities inside this eight bedroom rental as well, ranging from the cabin’s fully outfitted gaming room with air hockey, foosball, and a pool table (not to mention an arcade game system). The cabin also houses a fantastic huge theater room. The cabin’s design includes handsome tongue-and-groove, gleaming large wood beams, walls of glass, and a stone fireplace centerpiece. It’s the perfect place for a relaxing vacation getaway, and can sleep up to 28 guests.

To learn more about this eight bedroom rental cabin, click here.

If you’d like to schedule a visit to see this eight bedroom rental cabin, contact me at 865-765-6157 or my support line at 865-654-2111.