Don’t miss seeing this Kodak home!

This 3-bedroom, 2-bath home in Kodak is our featured “House of the Month” for May. Conveniently located, just 2 minutes to I-40, this home offers easy access to Knoxville, Jefferson City, Sevierville, the Great Smoky Mountains, Morristown, and Dandridge! Perfect for anyone who needs lots of storage, the home comes with a detached shop (w/ electric), two storage buildings ( one with electric). With its one-level living, this 3 bedroom 2 bath home is easy to get around in. The home sets on a level, fenced-in back yard. The home also has a recently remodeled kitchen and new HVAC and water heater.

Click or tap here to learn more about this home.
To schedule a showing, contact our team at 865-654-2111.

Effects of coronavirus on Smoky Mountains tourism

The coronavirus has definitely taken most of us by surprise.  This is an unusual challenge we are facing as a nation and as a world community.   However, mankind has an amazing resilient nature.  In times of deep suffering and challenge we see what we are made of, and we often find sacrifice, love and honor in new and unusual places. 

Three years ago we weathered a major fire that burst out of the National Park, just as we were recovering from an economic downturn that had hit the nation.  We found then that we were “Mountain Strong” and I believe we will find that we still are.  And I am sure that we will also find that “God’s Grace is still Amazing!” as well.

Sevier County has always been the destination to “GO TO” when there is uncertainty.  When the terrorist attacks of 9-11 of 2001 made flying overseas or across the nation seemed highly risky we became the go to- vacation destination.  Even a few weeks ago when cruises seemed like not such a good pick- vacationers reported then that they drove to “their Smoky Mountains” instead.  I expect that to continue through this time as we wind down the coronavirus threat throughout the summer. 

I think we can expect that large gatherings will continue to be avoided.  Hotels and close quarter venues will not be popular for some time, probably until the end of the year.  We will continue to have large crowed entertainment areas opening very slowly or sitting out the next tourist season.  Outdoor events, hikes, camping and nature herself will be the focus of family or group getaways. 

Cabins that have their own entertainment centers in them will rise in popularity as a destination in themselves.   A luxury cabin will allow for private dining and safe cooking, something we have come to take for granted, and that may become a special amenity in itself or at least a comfort.  I for one would rather cook with a view!

The Great Smoky Mountains are within one day’s driving distance for 75% of the population of the US, making transportation by car easy.   This will be in our favor.  We are the most visited National Park giving freely its beauty and rest to America without any charge.   The Great Smokies will continue to be and may even be stronger.   We ended 2019 with 12.5 million visitors to our National Park.  That was over a million more than any other year.  The good news for cabin owners is that we could reduce that number significantly and still have an amazing rental revenue for our overnight rental cabins.  

If the manner in which we were able to work through the last economic downturn is any indication at all we will weather this challenge as well.  The last downturn hit many tourist destinations hard but it did not affect the luxury cabin rental market. 

Hotels and low end cabins and chalets were negatively affected however.  The budget renter is often hit the hardest when there is a crisis.  They often do not have savings, they can struggle with discretionary income when jobs are squeezed and they will often not have the money to travel.   I think we can expect the same for this crisis.    

We have three months in our calendar where visitation to our area is at its lowest: January after the first week, the month of May and the last two weeks of August (with the exception of Labor Day weekend) and the mid two weeks of September.  

This April and May I expect to be very quiet.  If you are a cabin owner prepare to not count on much income in May;  plan to come and stay yourself should the coronavirus allow!  That or send your favorite cleaner to do a deep clean in exchange for a complementary stay.  Or if you have a friend that lays tile or is a splendid decorator send them to work on your cabin. 

Take heart – we noticed that in the last challenge, the high-end cabins that were special, taken care of and updated did not drop off in rental revenue.   However, they did take rental revenue away from the outdated cabins; cabins that have not been keeping up with amenities and décor will feel the pressure to compete with a smaller pool of renters as we pull out of this crisis.

With this in mind if you purchased a cabin ten years ago and have not spent money updating it, you should perhaps consider selling it now or updating it.  Do not sit back but proactively place yourself in a strong position for this next season.  Now is still a good time to sell as we may have hit the peak in appreciation for this year.  We still have the sold comparables from this last season to price your cabin at the top of its value.  

When times are tough people love to retreat together, refresh, renew and let nature encourage their souls.  We did not see Americans stop vacationing during the downturn.  They didn’t buy as many souvenirs but they did visit their Smokies.   I expect the same this time.

Entering a new season in 2020

I hope you and your family are staying safe as we navigate the global challenge of the coronavirus.

As a cabin owner, it’s important to me to keep you updated as to the values of your real estate in the Great Smoky Mountains. This is a very unusual time, and a very difficult time to predict what the aftermath of this crisis is going to mean to real estate values. However, we do have data from our last challenge with the National Park Wildfires. And, we have insights that we gained as we worked our way through the national economic downturn more than 10 years ago. So, we can see ahead at least to the end of this year.

To understand it a little better, let’s look at where we were right before this all began. We just came through the first quarter of 2020, with record sales and high values. Visitation to our area and occupancy rates broke records. We saw over 12.5 million visitors to the National Park (setting a new record). We climbed to the top of the market in terms of property values and reached pre-economic downturn figures. Inventory continued to be down being a part of keeping values high. Then the coronavirus happened…

So what to expect?  Of course April and May will be very extremely quiet. The National Park is closed at the moment as well as all our large venues, Dollywood Theme Park, our shows, our convention centers.  Rental income will be fairly dismal.

We believe two new sellers emerge out of this crisis.  Most of our cabin owners have significant equity in their cabins. We are fairly certain that there is going to be flurry of cabin sellers over the summer. These new sellers are going to use their cabin equity through a sale to help their families heal financially. The other seller is a second home owner who did not make a purchase that pays for itself and will need to sell as their discretionary income will not allow them to continue this luxury as the rental market makes a comeback. It will be about the middle of the summer before these sales will be recorded. This is important as these sales will almost surely drive values down. However we expect there to be continued demand among buyers.  So it’s not likely that we will see dramatic shortsales or high rates of foreclosures the way we did in the downturn. We believe that lending will continue to offer low rates making it attractive and possible for buyers to purchase. We think some of the more creative loans will disappear and banks will become more conservative on terms and approvals of loans. But healthy sales will continue but not at the level of 2019.

Therefore, we are going to recommend that if selling is to your advantage you go ahead and get ahead of this group.  If you are in a position to hold your property we recommend that you remodel, deep clean, enjoy your property. We are here for you if you want to discuss this in more detail.  We are working from home at the moment! But so are you! My cell is 865-765-6157, or you can email me at deborahkorlin@gmail.com – text is always wonderful as well. 

In the meantime, if you have time and want to read more sign up for my monthly email newsletter and get on my blog site.  I will continue to follow the results of this crisis and what it means to Smoky Mountain Real Estate values.  We will also update you on events as we open the National Park again and all our attractions, shopping and restaurants in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area.  We will also list investment opportunities as they appear, featuring homes and cabins currently on the market.  If you have money to invest in a cabin, let us know that as well. We have sellers who won’t list their properties on the market  publicly as they do not want their rental company to withdraw marketing efforts but they would sell.  They want to buy stocks – imagine that. They expect a rebound in several years, believe they will double their money, and then return to the Smokies to build some more over-night rental cabins with their profits! 

Goodness! It’s a crazy time no doubt!  My company and I sincerely hope and pray you are weathering this storm well and I know we will all appreciate the sunny days ahead.

4-bedroom home in Lenoir City is ‘House of the Month’

If you’re looking for a place away from both the hustle and bustle of the tourist traffic of the Smokies as well as the busy city life in Knoxville, you’ll want to check our our featured “House of the Month” for January. This recently remodeled lovely home is located within walking distance of Lenoir City High School! Plenty of interior features including wrap-around counter space, 2 full tile showers with glass doors, powder room, soaring cathedral ceilings in the great room, recently painted interior, all brick (low maintenance) construction, level yard, in ground sprinklers, wrap around porch, family fire pit and much, much more!

This home is family ready with 4 full sized bedrooms with generous closet space. Just minutes to downtown Lenoir City and perfect for the daily commute to Knoxville. Hop on I 40 and be in town in just minutes!

To learn more about this home, click here. To schedule a showing, call us at 865-654-2111.

Sevierville home offers the best of country living!

This spacious four bedroom, three and half bath home located on the Little Pigeon river is in the most desirable of locations: an upscale neighborhood just minutes from shopping and dining, hospital services, and all the local action but still private enough to make you feel like you are so far away from the hustle and bustle of tourist activity! You will love the huge flat backyard ( three-quarters of an acre) that meets the beautiful tree lined river. As you pull up to the front of this property, you can enjoy the luxury of your own curved wraparound driveway. No steep windy roads, but still the best of Smoky Mountain living!

The home’s wonderful open floor plan includes a large master suite on the main level as well as formal dining space and an eat-in kitchen with scenic views. Hardwood flooring and a large gas fireplace complete the main level area. Upstairs are more bedrooms and downstairs you have additional room that can be used as either bedrooms or office space and large media room! With more than 3,600 square feet of living space, there’s plenty of room to relax.

If you’d like to visit the property, call or text us at 865-654-2111. You can also see more details about the home here.

New construction: picking the right lender

Last month, we talked a bit about the re-emergence of building in the Great Smoky Mountains. With the market on the upswing due to so few cabins on the market and a huge demand among buyers, the prices on existing property have steadily climbed to a point not seen since before the downturn. As those prices began to reach the cost of building, new construction is beginning to appeal to buyers.

If you are excited about the possibility of owning your own vacation or rental cabin but can’t find exactly what you are looking for on the market and have the patience to wait out the building process, you may be at a place where building your own cabin is your best option!

As you work out in writing exactly what you are looking for in a cabin and picked the perfect builder to construct your dream cabin on the perfect lot for where you want the cabin to be located,  you’ll also need to be interviewing lenders about their different types of loans. One of the most important things you will need to know is how the project is going to be financed.

If you are very fortunate, you may come across a development project with the design you’re looking for where the builder is being financed by the lender directly. So then you would just buy the property as you would any existing home or cabin once it’s finished. The floor plans are pre-designed and while you may have some say in changes, most of the time it will be built according to the approved specifications.

Another great way to manage the financing of the project is to find the lot that meets all the goals of your floor plans and purchase it ahead of starting the project. If you have the cash to purchase the lot or if you can afford to wait until the lot is paid off, it’s possible the lot can be used as the down payment for the construction project. You just need the design to appraise for enough that the lot will cover the down payment. This is where the expertise of a real estate agent can be invaluable.

Different lenders offer different types of loans, so it’s important to know what your options are with the lender you pick to fund your project. Some will offer construction loans so you may have two closings – one for the construction project and a second for the conversion of the loan into a traditional mortgage. Others will offer a one-time closing.

During the building process, the lender will issue draws. These are payments made to the builder for materials, work performed, etc. As the buyer, you are generally only responsible for the amount borrowed on with each draw and payments you make are interest-only for the duration of the building process. So you can know fairly well ahead of time how much you can expect your payments to be as construction progresses.

If building your own cabin is the path you are considering, we can help you. We have worked with a number of builders on dozens of construction projects and would be glad to share our experience and expertise with you.

Quiet Sevierville home is close to all the attractions

For our “House of the Month,” we’ve chosen this newer home located at Landmark Point Garden Villas.

This well maintained Sevierville home could be the perfect open concept floor plan you’re looking to move into! All on one level, this three bedroom, two bathroom home also comes with an enclosed sun room where you can enjoy the comforting natural light and the nature around you! Vaulted ceilings in your spacious living area with a tile fireplace center your great room. The large kitchen comes with stainless appliances, granite counter tops, stunning cherry colored cabinets and room for dining. The home’s private master suite has its own walk-in closet, over-sized whirlpool, and glass door shower. Also, the home’s two-car garage provides the perfect space for parking.

In a developing yet relatively quiet subdivision, this Sevierville home provides low maintenance easy living while still just minutes from shopping, LeConte Medical, Dollywood, and the attractions of Pigeon Forge!

Click here for more information about this home. If you’d like to schedule a visit, call or text me at 865-765-6157 or my support line at 865-654-2111.

Now is the time to sell!

I’m sure those of you who have been keeping up with my newsletter have heard me say this before: if you have a vacation cabin you’ve been thinking about selling, now is the time. The real estate market in our area has reached a point where buying is about the same price as building. Resort communities such as Sherwood Forest, Starr Crest, and Legacy Mountain that perform the best among rental cabin resorts in our region are selling at prices not seen since before the downturn in 2008. Plus, the number of cabins for sale in our market is incredibly low. So between the lack of inventory and the increased demand among buyers looking for cabins to buy, the prices have significantly increased.

As a result, building is making a comeback. New areas are being developed for cabin construction. As more cabins are built over the next year, the supply will start to level out and we could see sales prices slip just a bit as the demand is met. In the meantime, this could mean a great opportunity for you if you are ready to sell.

Now is the time.

One of the first steps to take in considering selling is to see for yourself what your cabin is worth in today’s market and compare it to the price you paid when you bought it. We can definitely help you with finding those two things out! Just give us a call or send an email or text. I look forward to hearing from you! I can be reached at 865-765-6157 or 865-654-2111, or by email at deborah@deborahkorlin.us.  You will be pleasantly surprised by what you discover. Remember, now is the time.

Brick Ranch home offers country living

brick ranchBrick Ranch home is May’s ‘House of the Month’

This 3-bedroom, 3.5 bath gorgeous brick ranch style home with a completely finished basement could be the perfect home for your family (and for the in-laws)! With separate outside entrances to both floors, full kitchens on both
levels, and washer dryer hookups, this home in Deer Valley subdivision offers all the joys of country living. Measuring a total of more than 3,300 square feet, this brick ranch home has stunning upscale finishes throughout, an open concept floor plan, master suite on main floor, large open windows to enjoy natural light, stainless appliances, an oversized two car garage, and two story decks to enjoy the outdoors or for entertaining your guests. With its well maintained lawn and landscaping, this house is truly move in ready!

To view more of the details about this brick ranch property, click here.

If you’d like to schedule a time to visit this brick ranch style home, call me at 865-765-6157 or my support line at 865-654-2111.

Building is making a comeback

As we reach a point where listings are scarce, we are entering a new season where building is making a comeback! It is an exciting time, as we have not had much new construction since the downturn more than 10 years ago. Since that time, it’s been cheaper to buy than it has been to build, but these past few months we have seen that trend began to shift. The number of residential properties for sale in our market is the lowest it’s been in quite some time. This has resulted in prices – especially for vacation rental cabins – increasing significantly, finally reaching a point where they are selling for amounts during the peak times in the early 2000s.

The top 3 reasons to choose building over buying

Over the last year, we’ve seen many buyers become discouraged with the market prices, which is understandable. But if owning a vacation cabin is something you’d like to pursue, there are a lot of great reasons to consider building. The best reason to pick building over buying is that you can create your cabin to meet the current trends that make it as profitable as possible. For example, a cabin with an indoor pool will gross significantly more than a cabin without one, and there are options for building a cabin with an indoor pool at a price that makes sense. It doesn’t even have to be a big cabin like it once did as the price for building a 1-2 bedroom cabin is much more in line with where the prices for buying an existing cabin are now. Indoor pools pay for themselves.

Secondly, you can pick your location. That doesn’t sound like a big deal until you consider the fact that with so few cabins, the ones in the best locations that are priced correctly will have offers on them even before they are listed due to the high demand, or multiple offers on them within a day or 2 of being listed. But there is an abundance of lots in a variety of places and many of these have fantastic views. So with the number of lots so high, you can almost assuredly find a place that will have the surroundings you want, whether that be a wooded area or one up on top of a mountain where your guests can admire the view.

Third, lenders are providing competitive options for building as it becomes more popular. We’ve had several lenders reach out to us about their construction loan options in the last few months, some of whom have revamped what they’re doing to keep up with the changing market.

If you haven’t found the vacation cabin you are looking for, building may be the best option for you. We’d love to talk with you about how we approach new construction and help you find the perfect lot for your goals!

(Or if you just want to know more about the pros and cons of building, we are here to help with that, too!)