Shagbark Resort cabin can be the perfect vacation home

Our featured “Cabin of the Month” for July is a privately located resort cabin offering Smoky Mountain living at its finest! This 3-bedroom, 3-bath vacation home sits atop the mountains in the gated Shagbark Community. With its round-the-clock 24/7 gate, the on-duty guard watches over the only entrance to the community.

Handsome tongue and groove as well as cathedral ceilings designs adorn the interior of this cabin. Its spacious open floor plan offers extra space for all the family and is great for entertaining large groups. Outside, the cabin’s large wrap around decks with covered portions are perfect for relaxing.

Privately located within a gorgeous woods setting, Shagbark Resort is just 12 minutes away from the Pigeon Forge Parkway and 12 minutes from Wears Valley and the back entrance to the Smoky Mountains National Park. There is ample opportunity to use the back roads to avoid traffic and make your way around Sevier County to just about anywhere you want to go!

Click here to learn more about this vacation cabin. To schedule a visit to see the cabin, you may text or call me at 865-765-6157 or my support line at 865-654-2111.

Buying in a sellers’ market

sellers marketAround this time last summer, I shared with you that we are living in a sellers’ market in the Great Smoky Mountains. One year later, that fact hasn’t changed. The number of properties available – particularly vacation rental cabins, since that is our primary residential market in this area – has dropped below where it was last year while the number of buyers looking hasn’t. In fact, the interest among potential buyers has continued to increase, which has in turn continued to drive up the prices of available homes. This is great news for your if you own a cabin and are considering selling it, but it has proven to be somewhat frustrating for buyers who find the prices to be a little more than they were planning or who don’t want to make a seemingly impulsive decision and end up either missing out on the cabin they love or just giving up on the idea completely.

However, if you’re in love with the dream of owning a vacation cabin in the Smokies, there’s hope. There are things you can do and ways you can approach the opportunity, even in this market. The three things you want to focus on is making the successful bid, making it make sense with your investment plans, and making sure the decision to make an offer doesn’t feel impulsive (if like many of us that is an area you struggle with).

Study the market ahead of time. We frequently send out listings via email to people based on criteria they provide us weeks, even months, ahead of their plan to visit the area and pick a cabin. Of course, just about everything you look at now will be under contract and/or sold before your trip in the fall. However, the more you know about what’s on the market and what the prices look like before you make the trip, the easier it will be for you to spot exactly what you want when you go inside the home or cabin that will be for sale when you get here. And it won’t feel quite so impulsive when it matches something else you saw weeks ago that you really loved online.

Ask your agent to preview the home. When you live in another state, making a day’s drive on a Tuesday afternoon to see a cabin Wednesday morning before driving home in the afternoon so you can be back at work on Thursday isn’t always the most practical. If you don’t have a way to view the cabin before Friday afternoon, it might be under contract by then. So one of the services we offer our clients who we know are serious about buying a property is to go and check it out for them. We know what they are looking for in a home or cabin and can usually send photos or videos, or give a call while we are at the property walking around. Then, you can make an informed decision about the specific property and if you like it based on your agent’s feedback, be able to go ahead and make an offer following the tips I suggested last year.

Consider building your own home. The other good news is that if you can’t find exactly what you want, or you have time to plan out your vision for owning property in the Smokies is that building is making a comeback because of the shortage of properties for sale. So that is an option you should consider.

If you would like to know more or need help navigating the market, my staff and I would enjoy the opportunity to work with you on your adventure! You can call or text me at 865-765-6157 or my support line at 865-654-2111. I can also be reached via email: deborah@deborahkorlin.us

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!)

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.

Mountain home can be the perfect rental investment!

Our featured “Cabin of the Month” for February is this beautiful private mountain homemountain home situated in the heart of Wears Valley! Its gorgeous mountain views from the double back deck and an open spacious floor plan are perfect for entertaining a large group. With its 4 bedrooms each set up as master suites and large game room, this mountain home makes for the perfect overnight rental!
Conveniently located just 15 minutes from Pigeon Forge, this mountain home provides instant access to the newly opened Foothills Parkway addition! Located on easy to drive roads, plenty of privacy, and a mountain view all make this home a dream getaway for you and your guests!
If you’d like to know more about this property, click here.

If you’d like to schedule a showing at this mountain home, call or text me at 865-765-6157 or call or text 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.

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.

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.

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.