Newly built in Starr Crest Resort

The incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail creates the perfect blend of Smoky Mountain cabin getaway and contemporary rugged living in this 3-bedroom cabin! Its 180-degree (and then some!) views of the Great Smoky National Park from the 3 stories of decks, its soaring cathedral ceilings, handsome grey-stained tongue-and-groove wood floors, and modern finishes all bring this masterpiece together. The main floor boasts a spacious and open kitchen as well as dining and living spaces for easy entertaining and gathering. The generous master bedroom on the top floor features a wall of glass for privacy and allows you to take in the view while lounging in bed. The downstairs offers a common game and sitting area along with 2 bedrooms and full bath including a double vanity. All cabinets and vanities are painted maple with soft close hardware from Maddron Cabinetry.

This cabin, built this year, is located in Starr Crest Resort – one of the most popular resort destinations in the Pigeon Forge area!

Click or tap here to learn more about this cabin.

To schedule a showing, contact our team at 865-654-2111.

Introducing Lake Haven Resort at Douglas Lake

As we work our way through the challenges with the coronavirus, one question we are frequently asked is how the real estate market here is doing. Before this happened, we were in a sellers’ market due to a low number of properties for sale and a high demand among buyers. The result of that sellers’ market has been a strong focus on new construction with many new construction projects planned for this year.

That hasn’t changed. The need for new residential and vacation cabins is still there, and the good news is that there are developers and builders working to meet that demand. One of the areas we have been working with developers is a new resort at Douglas Lake. We are very excited to announce Lake Haven Resort as our most recent construction development project!

Work has already begun to create this gated community. Several of the cabins planned for the resort in the first phase of construction will have lake views in a high-ridge pristine park-like setting. These cabins will be built as one and two bedroom homes that can be placed on an overnight rental program with gross rental income projections of up to $40,000 depending on how much you use the cabin for yourself. As we move into the second phase, owners of cabins built in the current first phase will have the first option on owning in the second phase.

The purchase price for these cabins starts at $199,000 and we have several lenders who will finance the construction project. Contact us to find out more about this project and see if it is right for you!

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.

Building in 2020

As we approach spring of 2020, we continue to see a strong sellers’ market for our vacation cabins here in the Smokies, meaning we have a low number of cabins for sale and a rising market value for properties with strong rental potential. Our theme for last year was “building is making a comeback,” and our theme for this year is “a season of building.” Many new construction projects planned in 2019 are now underway and more lots are continually being developed as places to construct cabins (and traditional homes, too).

If you currently own a vacation cabin, this is the best time to sell. The market value compared to building has not plateaued, and if you’ve owned your cabin for a while, it’s likely you could take what you make from your sale and put into a new construction. This will mean new amenities, updated designs in line with the current trends, and a concept utilizing both of those ideas that will translate into higher passive income for you. For example, cabins with indoor pools are performing better than ones without because they attract people at times of the year such as January when there are less people coming in for a visit. The National Park is closed during the winter, but people will still rent a cabin to go swimming in its indoor pool.

Those of you who have followed my newsletter will know our top local resorts are Sherwood Forest, Starr Crest, and Legacy Mountain. Last year, cabins in those resorts sold at prices that hadn’t been seen since before the downturn in 2008. Along with that, we saw the time to receive an accepted offer for many cabins – not just in those resorts, but in general – drop from a few weeks to a few days. This trend is continuing even now. So if you’re thinking about selling, 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.

And if you’re considering buying, this is a great time for you as well if you are able to make the decision quickly. I’ve talked before about how to put the strongest offer forward for the cabin you want. Although prices are higher, the rental income for these properties continues to be strong. You will want to hold onto the property for as long as possible until you reach a point where you can sell it and invest the money in what you have planned for your next season, whether that is a bigger cabin or another life goal you are working toward. Our tourism industry attracted a record number of people in the last year, with totals breaking more than 12 million people. And we know that the majority of people who come here want to stay in a vacation cabin.

If as a buyer you are more interested in building, that is definitely an option. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you will have to wait a little while to start making money, as it takes between six to nine months to build. Some builders are financing their projects and then selling when completed, but most are requiring buyers to secure their own construction loans to fund the project.

Remember, now is the time.

Resort cabin is ready to rent!

If you’re looking for an investment that is ready to go, you won’t want to miss seeing this recently remodeled cabin at Hidden Springs resort! The basement is finished, with a newly added game room and additional bedroom! The cabin’s recessed hot tub and generous game room provide plenty of space for guests to relax and take in the mountain location of this home. Just minutes from Dollywood and Pigeon Forge, this cabin is conveniently located within a short drive of the area’s major attractions! Resort features and indoor and outdoor pool that allows guests to swim year round!

To learn more about this cabin, click or tap here.

To schedule a showing at this cabin, call or text our team line at 865-654-2111.

Looking to build? We can help!

As we wrapped up 2019 – a year of watching building begin to make a comeback – we saw resorts expand into new areas, new resorts begin to develop, and cabins to be built in new areas across the county. Wears Valley quickly became a popular destination choice as visitors discovered the roads that lead directly into the National Park from that side of the county.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with local developers and builders to expand the rental cabin options through new construction, too. In Hibernation Station, we’ve introduced buyers to the development of that resort. Cabins there range in size from as small as two bedrooms up to 16 bedrooms and are being built with indoor pools, which increases the overall rental income these cabins can make. Right now, there are six lots still available but they are going fast!

We are helping builders and developers with lots in several existing resorts, too. In Eagles Ridge resort, we are working with a seller who will build to suit the next owner. The lot can accommodate a large 8-12 bedroom cabin or two smaller cabins if you prefer. Down the road in Sherwood Forest, two 6-bedroom cabins measuring almost 5,000 square feet can be built within as little as 2-3 months from the start of project date. And in Black Bear Ridge, there’s an 8-bedroom cabin underway if you’re looking for something larger.

Lastly, in addition to these, if you’re looking for a smaller cabin that comes with an indoor pool, a log home company is working to build cabins with two to four bedrooms at Alpine Mountain. At Eagle Crest, 1-3 bedroom cabins – also with indoor pools – are available.

We will have more to announce as the year progresses about other new construction projects taking place across the Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Wears Valley area! In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about any of these projects or need help with your own project, we would love to talk with you! If you currently own a cabin, we can show you how you can sell it to finance your new construction project. Call our team line at 865-654-2111 or reach us at the office at 865-429-2121.

Make this cabin your vacation destination!

This recently remodeled Hidden Springs resort cabin is our featured “Cabin of the Month” for 2020! With its finished basement, game room and additional bedroom recently added, this cabin can be a great vacation or rental opportunity! This 3-bedroom cabin is conveniently located just minutes from Dollywood and Pigeon Forge!

The recessed hot tub and spacious game room provide plenty of comfort for guests to relax. Your guests will enjoy the adventure this mountain location home has to offer. In addition to the cabin amenities, the Hidden Springs Resort features an indoor and outdoor pool that allows guests to swim year round!

To learn more about this 3-bedroom cabin, click here. To schedule a showing, call us at 865-654-2111.

Finding the Win in Real Estate in 2020

Throughout 2019, our theme has been “building is making a comeback.” And it has. We’ve seen so many new cabin construction projects over the last year, including a few resorts we helped developers and builders to implement. Hibernation Station was one of our team’s most exciting projects! We absolutely love some of the new products!  In particular “log” cabins that are being constructed from a special concrete that is not only indistinguishable from a traditional log cabin, but also higher quality and lower maintenance.  Carpenter bees aren’t going to bore into concrete! 

Part of what has made building so popular is the fact that we have a shortage of available cabins for sale. As early as last spring, we began to see prices climb on vacation rental cabins due to the high demand among buyers, and if it was an awesome cabin, the demand was even greater. This past year, it was not uncommon to see a cabin receive multiple offers within days, sometimes hours, of coming on the market. And the later it was in the year, the more those offers were. Our team has had several cabins listed that were under contract within a day or 2. The demand has just pushed the prices higher and higher, until we will very soon reach a point where the cost to buy a cabin matches the cost to build one.

So going into 2020, the most important thing to keep in mind when building a cabin is that you need to build with the current trends in mind. You want to stay on the front of the changing designs.  You will want your new investment cabin to reflect what people are looking for now and tomorrow. Before you all go away screaming and pulling your hair out, here are a few tips to keep in mind that will make the project easier to manage.

Choose the floor plan that best fits the most popular desires. Some of the concepts that are out of date now are elements like tiny kitchens where the refrigerator is positioned up against the stove, whirlpools in the bedroom, no game room, no special media-theater amenity and non-existent outdoor areas because the cabin is sitting at the edge of a wooded cliff overlook. Instead, the next generation of cabins will have larger kitchen spaces, a defined dining area, a private bathroom for every bedroom, and space for outdoor living, kitchen, fire pit area. Indoor pools and swim spas are also popular if you have the space in your floor plan to include them. All of these amenities will add to the gross rental income and should pay for themselves. Elements that have never gone out of style; walls of glass, rustic elements, the cabin look and feel, drama and openness to the floor plan, lofts.

Be patient with the construction process. As building becomes more popular, the wait time for a cabin to be built can increase. Even after you pick out the lot that can accommodate the design you have selected, you may find that you need to wait a little while due to other steps before building can begin. You will need to secure permits and HOA approvals, conduct surveys and appraisals- all before you break ground. So while you’re waiting, you’re obviously not making money on your investment. You need to make sure you can manage the long game until your cabin is finished. As a good rule of thumb, plan on about a sixteen months from start to finish.

Be willing to sell an existing cabin to finance your new build. If you have a rental cabin already, don’t remodel it – sell it. It’s less expensive to build something correctly than it is to remodel. Additionally, new cabins are at the top of the rental market because of the adjustments in the amenities. So it will cost as much or more to remodel something existing to make it match what’s being built new (where it’s even possible), but probably won’t increase the value to match that of a new cabin. The value of a new cabin is between 20 to 25 percent more than an existing cabin of similar size. In fact, many of our top investors making their living on vacation cabins are selling their existing cabin to build a new one. Roughly 90 percent of our Hibernation Station clients were people who owned in another popular resort, Sherwood Forest.

In the coming months, we will be sharing details on new resort projects that are developing and what is happening with the existing cabin market. I expect the trend of multiple offer situations on existing cabins to continue, so if you prefer to buy than to build you will need to prepare yourself to win the bid. I will share more on how to do that in my next blog article.

Making the Most from Your Cabin Investment

As we near the end of 2019, we’re reaching that time of year where cabin owners who are thinking about their taxes in the spring make the decision to sell their investment/vacation property. Maybe that’s you. In terms of where the market is at, this is the time if you’re thinking about selling.

In my November blog, I talked about why that is true. Low inventory coupled with a flurry of buyers that hasn’t really slowed down despite the lack of properties to choose from has resulted in a resurgence of new construction. 2020 will be a season of building and property values will start to plateau once the construction projects takes root. So if you’re holding an older cabin, now could be a super good time to take advantage of the cycle and sell it. You can purchase something new for just a little bit more. 

The question we are hearing from our buyers and sellers now is how long until we reach the top of where cabins can cash flow positive? Until about two years ago, we were seeing cabins gross roughly 15 percent, on average, of what they sold for. So this means a cabin that sold for $200,000 was yielding a return of about $30,000 gross rental income. Then you’d have the split with the rental company if you were using one, and pay your expenses from your net income. That amount would vary based on taxes, HOA dues, amenity fees, etc. Now that same $200,000 cabin is likely to sell for $325,000 but with about the same gross rental income. You might be able to negotiate a slightly better split with the rental company, but you’re probably looking at around 10 to 12 percent of the sales price in gross rental income, rather than 15. So it will still provide positive cash flow.  We have also seen gross rental revenue increase in cabins that were upscale, fully outfitted and had amenities like a fire-pit;  therefore it is possible that the reduction is actually an increase for some.

So when will we plateau, or slow down in terms of market prices?  I believe it is likely when the purchase price rises to the point that the revenue only covers costs and no longer makes an income.  Then our properties become attractive to those who desire a true second home. Those in the market will be owners who only want revenue to defer some of the cost, whereas a true investor will look elsewhere for passive income. It will be much like you see at the beach where those who are wealthy and have discretionary excess income purchase a second home for their enjoyment and if rentals defray maintenance cost and HOA dues they’re pleased. 

But right now is a wonderful time to sell high if you bought low and a wonderful time to buy something that will cash flow positive pay for itself and give you a tax write off.  Where else can you stay in your investment and watch the sunset? Not in your stock and bonds!

If you’re thinking about buying a rental cabin as an investment, there’s a win for you, too. What’s important is that you buy sooner rather than later and prepare to hold it even if the market plateaus or enters another downturn. Even in the downturn more than a decade ago, our clients who prospered through it did so by using the rental income to pay the cabin off. Then, they waited until the market was on the upswing before selling. Even in those years when property values were low, rental income didn’t change.  In a downturn we become an even more attractive destination.  Vacationers who were going overseas playing in the Caribbean decided to stay closer to home and to drive to their vacation destination rather than fly. Americans believe in vacationing! It’s very close to mom and apple pie. And since we are within a day’s driving distance to 75% of the population of the United States.

Whenever you can it is always a good move to own the latest, greatest, newest, largest in short to have the best.  And sometimes that means remodeling, refreshing, or just buying new. As time marches on, make sure your investment stays strong and at the top of its potential performance! 

My team and I are always here to answer any questions you may have about our local real estate market. Call us at 865-654-2111! We would love to talk with you! We never mind giving you specific values on your property so you can make informed decisions. 

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.