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.

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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.

Solving the appraisal challenge in an increasing market

When buying a home or vacation cabin, one of the most crucial steps in the process if you’re working with a lender is the appraisal. Appraising the value of a property can be one of the most challenging, and probably the most stressful, aspects of the process for buyers. This can be especially true in a market where appraisal values don’t reflect where the market is at in terms of purchase value. As I discussed in last month’s article, 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.

In our market, as we continue to work with a low number of properties for sale, the sales price of cabins has continued to rapidly increase over the last 12 months. We’ve seen a slower pace on our local residential market, but home values are also increasing. If you as a buyer have an appraisal that comes in under the offer price, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to buy the home. You and your agent have a few different options to help you work out a solution with the seller.

Ways to address the appraisal

The first thing I tell my buyers when the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price is, “Don’t panic.” We look over the appraisal report and re-evaluate our own comparable group of sold listings to see if we’ve missed something about the property. An appraiser can go back as far as 12 months, and is required to first use anything that’s sold within the same subdivision or resort community. The appraiser is limited on what he or she can do to review those sold properties. They rely heavily on MLS and tax records, so when those documents aren’t completely up to date, it can skew the data in a way that might hurt your appraisal.

Once we are certain our offer was appropriate for the market, if we’re comfortable with it we will ask the seller to agree to reduce the price to match the appraisal value. Remember, the lender won’t borrow on more than what the home is determined by the appraiser to be worth, so if the seller won’t lower the price then the next choice will be to see if we can split the difference with the seller or simply agree to pay more out of pocket. So for example, if the purchase price is $200,000 but the appraiser determines the value of the property to be $190,000, then you would have to either get the seller to agree to reduce the price by up to $10,000 or work out how to pay that amount out of your own pocket.

As a last resort, we can try to work with the lender to resolve it, but the truth is it is very hard to get an appraisal value overturned once it has been determined. We absolutely cannot pressure appraisers to price the appraisal value of the property at the amount a buyer offers a seller.

Next month, I’ll share some ways I help sellers to price their property correctly so that the appraisal value meets the expectations correctly. In the meantime, if you have questions about appraisals or anything else regarding the local real estate market, I and my staff are always available!

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.

Setting the right sales price

When home and cabin owners make the decision to sell, the first thing they want to know, of course, is what the correct sales price for their property should be. Working every day with the market, I watch what’s happening with sales prices and I keep up with the trends of what’s happening. Right now, we are in a sellers’ market due to the low number of properties for sale, so the demand for homes and cabins is continually driving up the sales price.

Before most clients contact me, however, they’ve already turned to the internet for their research into setting the correct sales price. Real estate marketing websites use computer generated figures based on a total sum of properties without any input from a human. So they don’t take into account all the little things that appraisers are going to care about when they come out to see if the lender should finance the purchase. As a result, the internet estimates are generally incorrect. Sometimes, they are too high. Other times they are too low. For cabins, this number is derived by including all the very expensive log cabin construction in our county – lumping every kind of construction together. To the computer there is only one category and it is called “residential,” whether it is overnight rental cabins or true residential like your house. Clients who list with me will ask if the estimated sales price will hurt the sale of the home if it doesn’t match what we have priced it at based on market comparisons that are more “apples to apples.”

Well, here’s the good news, sellers: the online sales price estimate isn’t going to hurt us.

As a matter of fact, we’re going to use it as a marketing tool! We have estimates like this all the time and we make them work in our favor – even though you and I know that the estimate is not accurate (and actually buyers and buyers agents do as well).

In the Great Smoky Mountains Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service, there is no division for the type of properties we have in Sevier County. If it has bedrooms, it’s a residence – even if it is a 12-bedroom log lodge bringing in an income of $300,000 a year.

The sold numbers that throw this off are our new construction log home cabins which run $170-$280 a square foot. (True residential properties are still running right at $100 a square foot to build.) When the computer picks up these log cabin numbers it just creates estimates that are well, not accurate. It doesn’t fit the programming pattern, so it messes it up. Some computer programs also don’t seem to be able to keep up with the pace of the market, which can be a problem for someone who is selling their house based on today’s sales prices and not on a price from 90 to 120 days ago.

Until we’re all replaced by computers, sellers and buyers still need people who can look at all of the data and not just one piece of it to help determine the correct sales price for a listing on the market.

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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.

Private log cabin can be your dream home

If you’re looking for a private log cabin to live in, you won’t want to miss seeing our featured “Home of the Month.”

This beautiful, private log cabin home built in 2000 has everything that you need to relax in total peace and quiet. This four bedroom, six bathroom home measured at more than 6,000 square feet offers plenty of space for the whole family. From soaring cathedral ceilings, stacked stone fireplaces, four huge bedrooms with walk-in closets, a great/recreation room, and the private in-ground pool and sauna, this house has just about everything.private log cabin
Located in the gated Walden Cove subdivision, you are surrounded by nature at every turn of this property’s more than two acre layout! Sit out by the pond and listen to the fountain or by the creek that runs through the property year around!
With so much space throughout this private log cabin, the possibilities are endless! This is a very unique property with no detail spared! Come see this home for yourself and fall in love with your own private Smoky Mountain estate!
To learn more about this property, click here.

To schedule a visit to this private log cabin, contact me at 865-765-6157 or my support line at 865-654-2111.

An update on our changing market

Due to our low number of properties on the market, we have seen prices continually climb on what’s available over the last nine months.

Many of you who follow our monthly newsletter and keep up with the articles we write each month about buying and selling properties in the Great Smoky Mountains region either currently own, or have owned properties, here in the past. Many of you also are in the market for something else to own, either in addition to what you have now or as an “upgrade” to your current vacation/rental cabin. And you’ve probably been keeping up with our articles about how the market has changed. It’s a sellers’ market – not just here, but in a lot of places around the country. The number of homes for sale is down from where it was a year or two ago. So when something new comes on the market, it really doesn’t stick around that long.

It’s true. Many listings in our market have offers within a matter of days if they are priced correctly (especially when they are priced a little under) current market values. My agents and I have had listings that were “under contract” within as few as three days. We frequently tell clients at showings, “This won’t be on the market next week.” It’s just where our market is right now.

So what can you do? Well, the first thing to keep in mind is that the deals of changing marketlast year are gone. If you do stumble upon something that’s brand new to the market and it is priced low, the offers that come in are going to be above asking price. The winning buyer won’t be placing any sort of contingencies on the offer, and you can forget about negotiating back and forth through a series of offers and counter offers. While you’re trying to get a discount on the price, someone else is coming in with a full price – or above asking price – offer that’s going to win. It’s a tough place for a lot of buyers to be, especially ones who have bought in our market in the last few years after the downturn, but it’s important to know that going into any offer you want to submit. Those days are over, at least for the time being.

Secondly, as prices are going up on properties, rental rates are rising along with it at many of the rental companies in our area. Large cabins are not as readily available for purchase as they once were, and so smaller cabins have quickly become the focus. We’ve also seen a significant reduction in sales of cabins in our more popular resorts, such as Sherwood Forest and Legacy Mountain. Where once there were about a dozen or so cabins for sale in each those areas at any given time a year or two ago, today there is half or even less than that.  But the good news is that there are still strong investment properties to purchase that will cash flow positive every month.  We are also building again so new construction may be a really good option for you.  This market is not for the timid.

This year, about a third of the properties I’ve listed have sold at or above asking price. We’ve had some where we ended up with multiple offers, even in places that haven’t traditionally been high demand areas in the past.

When national investors have analyzed the entire United States, Sevier County comes up in the top ten places to invest for overnight rentals. It’s also one of the most beautiful and inexpensive places to retire.  So be a good student of what is available and don’t be shy about an offer on a good property. If you can accept that, you will have a solid investment for years to come, whether it is your personal residence or an overnight cabin or chalet.

In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about the current market and where we are probably headed – whether you are buying or selling – my staff and I are always here to answer questions.