This 1-bedroom cabin is March feature

For our March “Cabin of the Month,” we’ve chosen this 1-bedroom cabin nestled in Parkside Village.

Taken care of by a great owner, this 1-bedroom cabin offers the perfect opportunity to get away from it all and just relax in the quiet of the woods. Located in the heart of Wears Valley, this is your1-bedroom cabin chance to own your very own quaint one bedroom and one bath. Make it your second home or continue to enjoy it as an income producing rental property!
The great open floor plan flows well and is perfect for you and your closest family. Adorned with small handcrafted details that really make this cabin stand out from the rest. Step out onto your back deck that is wonderful for grilling or enjoying a cup of coffee on a crisp Tennessee spring morning.  And of course, it comes equipped with a covered hot tub so that you can enjoy a relaxing soak, rain or shine!

To learn more about this 1-bedroom cabin, click here.

If you would like to schedule a visit to see this 1-bedroom cabin, contact me at 865-765-6157 or call my support line at 865-654-2111.

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Cedar Falls log home is our ‘House of the Month’

With a focus on main floor living, this beautiful Cedar Falls log home has a open floor plan perfect for family and guests.

FroCedar Falls log homem its huge kitchen with stunning granite counter tops and gleaming marble floors accented by stainless steel appliances and custom maple cabinets to the living and dining areas adorned with sturdy timber rafters and gorgeous tongue and groove walls, you will love this Cedar Falls log home.
Totaling nearly 3,300 square feet, this 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath log home comes complete with a 15-foot long wet bar including a built-in wine cooler and plenty of storage for those party essentials. It’s the perfect addition for hosting guests.
Next, you’ll also find located on the main floor the enormous master suite with two huge walk-in closets, each offering its own built-in shelving. Along with the master suite, the main floor is set up with a second full bath and the laundry room. Just off the master suite is a bonus space that can serve for whatever function you need, be it office, dressing room, or just another bedroom space. That room opens to the screened porch where you can sit and enjoy the beautiful view of the outdoors.
Downstairs, you’ll find more bedroom space and other amenities. The lower level has its own group of bedrooms and play/work space, another full bath, media room and a mud room.
The beauty of this home extends to the outdoor surroundings as well with its beautifully landscaped patio and wooded surroundings.
This Cedar Falls log home can serve either as a rental, vacation home, or permanent resident. Cedar Falls is a beautiful community with a pool, playground, fishing pond, and a wedding chapel and pavilion by the creek.

To learn more about this Cedar Falls log home, click here.

If you’d like to schedule a visit to this Cedar Falls log home, call me at 865-765-6157 or my support line at 865-654-2111.

Sky Harbor ranch home could be a perfect vacation getaway

For our featured “House of the Month,” we’ve chosen this wood-sided ranch home.

ranch homeThis beautiful three bedroom, two bath ranch home located in Sky Harbor is the perfect place for a vacation home! With its open concept floor plan, this more than 1,700 square foot house encompasses the living, dinning kitchen and game room with beautiful handcrafted wood fireplace to center the great room.  You and your guests will enjoy the full size pool table with bar and entertainment area. Outside, you can enjoy the privacy of the deck as you relax in the hot tub or have supper inside the screened-in porch.
To learn more about this ranch home, click here.

To schedule a visit to see this ranch home in Sky Harbor, call me at 865-765-6157 or my support line at 865-654-2111.

Vacation cabins are still possible, even in a sellers’ market

vacation cabinWith the shortage of cabins on the market and the high demand to replace them by people who lost their cabin in the wildfires almost a year ago, those of you who dream of having a vacation home in the Smokies are facing some tough competition from buyers with insurance checks in hand. But you can still live your dream if you are willing to make some concessions.

First, you need to know going into the cabin buying process that you may have to offer a little more than what the properties were going for a year ago. Our area is a sellers’ market right now, and property market values are reflecting that in the offers we are seeing. This means you may be competing with investors who are looking for a place that will generate a decent income on the rental income market. To make sure you come out on top, you are going to have to offer your highest and best price.

With that in mind, a higher offer using lending means getting the property appraised for the amount you are offering might be a challenge. As market values have rapidly risen, the appraisal values – the determined worth of the home to help lenders decide if they will approve the requested amount on a mortgage – have not really kept up. But there are things you can do to help it appraise for more. For example, appraisers can consider the gross rental income in the value of the cabin. So, I and my staff will help you find a great rental company able to bring in an amount that will make the cabin worth more in an appraisal.

How you can rent your cabin and still enjoy it

But you may say, “I don’t want to rent my cabin because I don’t want to share it!” That’s okay. We can help you figure that out, too. We know rental companies who will take great care of your property and your belongings. You can use it as much as you want, but when you’re not there you’re going to want to generate income on it to help with the mortgage. And you can do things to make sure it is being rented by guests who will care as much about taking care of the cabin as you do. 

  1. Outfit it with the very top end furniture, appliances, and amenities. With the better quality items in the cabin, you can charge a higher price per night to help pay for those items. Give more, and ask more.
  2. Appeal to a smaller group of people. Limit the number of people allowed to rent your cabin. If you try to pack in more people, you will attract groups that are looking to spread the cost around and the more people in the cabin at one time, the more likely things will get broken.
  3. Prohibit pets. The last thing you want when you come to your “home away from home” is to discover pets have destroyed your favorite lamp, or scratched up the flooring. You can bring your pets, of course, but there’s nothing requiring you to let other people bring theirs!
  4. Pick something in a private area. Even something private can still be part of a resort, such as Brothers Cove, or Shagbark – which is protected by a guard gate around the clock. Maybe you would like a cabin in a residential type setting such as Sky Harbor (as long as crazy, winding roads are your thing).
  5. Look for something you will have to remodel. I often tell clients our number one goal in helping them buy something is to find someone else’s mistake that they can correct affordably. It’ll be cheaper to buy, and the money you put into remodeling will pay for itself with the additional rental income it generates. When furnishing or remodeling, make sure to choose materials that are more durable – ceramic tile, granite, distressed woods, stone, slate, etc. Avoid things like soft pine that scratch easily, or carpet that will stain and tear over time. Also, sheetrock is generally something you should replace with wood walls, tongue and groove, or something that gives it more of a traditional cabin feel.
  6. Have the cabin deep cleaned once a year. If you do this right before you come for your big vacation trip of the year, the positive impression it will leave for you as you walk in on the first day will help set the tone for the whole trip!

In conclusion, if having a cabin here that you can use for vacationing any time you want is a dream of yours, don’t let the current market situation discourage you. Lenders’ rates are low and most lenders only require 10 percent down payment. If you can swing it, you should put down 20 percent so that you aren’t charged what’s called PMI. It’s a form of insurance required by the bank when you owe more than 80 percent of the loan value. And, don’t wait. As the economy improves, the more buyers there will be. While we are in the process of building back what was lost, and building new cabins in new areas, the shortage of available properties here will continue. So the longer you wait, the more the cabin is going to cost.

If you want to learn more, or need help finding a vacation cabin that’s right for you, I and my staff are always here to help!

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Sevierville house recently updated

This Sevierville house offers “Smoky Mountain Living” at its best!

Sevierville houseLocated as you are just coming into Wears Valley, this Sevierville house is our October pick for “House of the Month!” The owner has recently updated the property with a number of items, including the addition of a new deck. This 3 bedroom, 2 bath home offers approximately 1,800 square feet of living space on a gorgeous large wooded lot.
The Sevierville house’s spacious, open floor plan, comes equipped with a beautiful stacked river rock fireplace, a large kitchen with lots of oak cabinets,  and offers a private, dramatic upscale feel, new deck off the sun room area!
Even though you are just minutes from downtown Pigeon Forge, you will feel like you are in your own park. Nestled in the beginning of Wears Valley, getting to this Sevierville house just takes a quick cross of a creek and short drive up the mountain.
To learn more about this home, click here.

If you’d like to schedule a visit to this Sevierville house, call me at 865-765-6157 or my support line at 865-654-2111.

Dandridge home offers joy of country living

If you’re looking for the peacefulness of country living but still want to be close to the excitement of the Smokies, you won’t want to miss seeing this Dandridge home.

country livingEnjoy the quiet of country living as you admire the beautiful panoramic views from this upscale custom built home overlooking Douglas Lake and The Great Smoky Mountains! This three bedroom, three bath home is extremely well maintained. Its light and airy open floor plan comes with a master suite and generous master bath on the main level. Dual vanity sinks, jetted tub, and a powder station make this home luxurious. The flooring offers luscious new carpet throughout, under soaring cathedral ceilings. Walls of glass adorn the great room to maximize the views of your country living setting!
Built in 1998, this home includes more than 3,200 square feet across three levels. Upstairs, you will find two spacious bedrooms. A recreation room and very large garage are located downstairs. The walls have been recently painted and spotless ceramic tile was added in this home’s high end kitchen. Those aren’t the only updates. This home has just had a brand new roof, and you’ll never wonder if your yard needs watering with your built in sprinkler system! The home sets on a level lot with mature landscaping, and is in a very nice subdivision surrounded by high end homes. Best of all, you’re conveniently located just 15 to 20 minutes from Sevierville along Douglas Dam Road, and just minutes from historic Dandridge. So you won’t have windy curvy roads to contend with when you want to drive into town.
To learn more about this home, click here.

If you’d like to schedule a visit to see this ‘country living’ property, call 865-765-6157 or 865-654-2111.

Should I buy a condo or a cabin?

When people call about buying vacation or investment property, one of the first questions I am often asked is, “Should I buy a condo or a cabin?” The answer is, “Yes, you should!” Both have great, attractive qualities and serve specific goals, so it really comes down to what your personal preference is for owning a home in the Smokies.

Why You Should Buy a Condo

Should I buy a condo or a cabin?Condos are the best investment when knowing that what you’re getting will be low maintenance is the most important concern. When you buy a condo, you don’t have to worry about who is taking care of the roads or whether someone may be thinking about building on the next lot over and blocking the view of Mt. LeConte. You have the support of the homeowners association to take care of the building maintenance, the grounds, the roof, etc. In a condo, you’re close to the action for shopping and other activities that make our area so popular. If you’re planning to use the property more for your own purposes than for rental income, a condo can fit that need with a lot less upkeep.

If keeping your costs low is important, then another thing that makes the choice to buy a condo is that insurance is cheaper than on a cabin. You’re basically insuring the contents of the condo unit, so the cost per square foot is about half when comparing apples to apples with a cabin.

And yes, condos can make money if you choose to rent yours out. While you won’t make as much with a condo as you might with a cabin, you can still generate income to help with the mortgage, put in that new flooring, or just have some extra spending money for your next visit to your home away from home. As a condo owner, you are competing with the hotels and timeshares around here. So you have to make sure you are offering a little more for your guests. A well set up, effectively marketed one bedroom condo can bring in about $25,000, and in some places we’ve seen units generate as much as $30,000. Due to the fact that your unit is the same as your neighbor’s, there is a ceiling on what you can earn, though. Changing out the flooring or making other updates won’t really add to the value if you decide to sell it. If your neighbor’s unit sold for $150,000 last week, then that’s about where you can expect your price will be this week, in general.

Why You Should Buy a Cabin

The best reason to buy a cabin instead of a condo can be summed up with two words: rental potential. Where condos have a ceiling on what they can earn, cabins have a wider spread and are really only limited by their size, location, amenities, and what the views around them are. Some cabins have HOA fees, but just as many do not, or have a very low one for things like road maintenance. You can make improvements, add amenities, and update the décor to raise the value of the cabin.

Cabins in the Smokies also tend to attract a larger pool of customers, people who want the unique experience of sleeping in a cabin in the woods. For some, the cabin stay is the main part of their vacation. So you’re not competing with the hotels and timeshares.

You can also change and update your cabin the way you want and if you make the right changes, they will add value to the property. But you will have to take care of the maintenance yourself or pay someone if you’re in an area without an HOA that includes that. You’re responsible for making sure the cabin is stained and treated for bees on a regular basis.

Next, we created a test for you to see whether you should buy a condo or a cabin.

Rate your stance on each of these scenarios on a scale of 1 to 10.

  1. You see a bear from your window. How awesome is that? 1 = The opposite of awesome! 10 = Best day ever!
  2. Bees are swarming around the door to your home. 1= Call pest control! 10 = Let’s build a beehive!
  3. The roof is leaking. 1 = Time to call my real estate agent. 10 = Time to get my hammer and nails!
  4. You notice grass growing up along the sidewalk. 1 = Spray some weed killer right away. 10 = It’s just a couple blades of grass.
  5. You decide to change out the green carpet with hardwood. 1 = I don’t care if it adds value, I just want to change it. 10 = This had better make my property worth more!

If you scored above 40, you would probably prefer a cabin to a condo. You enjoy nature and you don’t mind taking care of the structure yourself (at least, not enough to dissuade you from living in a cabin).

If you scored lower than 25, you will probably want to buy a condo rather than a cabin. You need a property that is well maintained and you want to enjoy your space the way you like without worrying too much about making money on it.

If you scored between 25 and 40, you could go either way. The cabin you need is something in a resort that is maintained by the HOA or by a rental company. Maybe you want a cabin you can outfit in a way to make it worth more but want to be around people while you’re working, or perhaps you don’t want to see grass on the sidewalk but hope the bear will come up on the deck to say hello. Part of what makes the Smoky Mountains so great is that there’s something here for everybody! If you want to learn more about rental properties or need help to buy a condo or a cabin, we are here for you!

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Resort cabin, or a more private one?

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.

Custom built home in Pigeon Forge

You won’t want to miss seeing this custom built home in Pigeon Forge.

This custom built home is centrally located, yet nestled in a quiet wooded subdivision in the residential heart of Pigeon Forge. It’s only a half a mile from the Parkway and the new Publix grocery. Its refined yet rustic details define this remarkable property. Nestled on almost a full acre of land on Sharon Drive, this four bedroom, three bath home spans more than 2,600 square feet of living space and has undergone several updates, including quartz counter tops, solid hardwood floors, a gas stove with stainless exhaust, and a 30 year dimensional shingle roof.
On the main level, the master bedroom offers its own full bathroom and a walk in closet. The laundry room includes a gas water heater and custom built homedryer. Relax comfortably in the living room next to the room’s large stone fireplace. Admire the room’s cathedral ceilings and hewn beam accents.  The hardwood staircase and banister lead to two upstairs bedrooms and another full bathroom. Downstairs, the finished walkout basement features a large gathering/bonus room, a two car garage and a utility room.
The outside property is a gorgeous wooded lot overlooking Pigeon Forge with a large back deck and seating area, which allows for quiet dining or entertaining family and friends.
You can view more details about this custom built home and additional photos here.

To learn more or schedule a showing at this custom built home, call our office at 865-429-2121.

Sherwood Forest rental cabin offers great opportunity

rental cabinIf you’re in the market for a second home or investment  rental cabin in a popular Smoky Mountains resort, you won’t want to miss seeing this one!

This more than 2,000 square feet four-bedroom, three bath rental cabin in the area’s popular Sherwood Forest resort is our featured “Cabin of the Month” for April.

With its tremendous views of the Great Smoky Mountains from inside the cabin or from the comfort of the hot tub on the deck as well as its close proximity to all of the activities and attractions in the area, this rental cabin is sure to attract guests. Built as a true log cabin in 2004, the home’s interior offers a spacious open floor plan. In the main room, guests can sit by the warmth of the beautiful stacked stone fireplace while they admire the soaring cathedral ceilings, stunning tongue and groove, and walls of glass that offer them the opportunity to take in the view. In the upstairs loft, guests can continue to enjoy the view over a game of pool.
Located in the prestigious Sherwood Forest Resort, you and your guests are just minutes from all of the major attractions of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains Naional Park! This can be either the perfect second home or an amazing investment opportunity!
To learn more about this rental cabin, click here.

To schedule a showing at this rental cabin, call me at 865-765-6157 or my support line at 865-654-2111.