The vacation rental business is thriving. With the rise of social media influencers and digital technologies, people now want to travel more frequently. Even within the United States and internationally, of course, it has become a frequent occurrence for individuals with their families, friends, or loved ones to set out exploring new places.
A recent report revealed that almost half of Americans were planning to travel more in 2023. Moreover, 45% also said they expected to spend more on travel during the year despite the fact that almost all costs associated with it, like airfares, accommodation, etc., have risen, especially in the past year, owing to the rising demand for traveling and inflation.
As a result, investing in a cabin, especially out in the mountains, can be extremely profitable. And when talking about mountains, why put your money anywhere else when you have the Smokies, a range that houses the most visited national park in the U.S. According to a report, almost 13 million people visited the Great Smokies in 2022!
With that in mind, here are a few tips for buying your first cabin in these majestic mountains:
Decide on the Type of Cabin You Are Looking For
When buying a cabin, particularly somewhere in the Great Smoky Mountains, the first step should be to hire a realtor who can help you find Smoky Mountain cabins for sale according to your preferences. A professional will help you determine the type of cabin that suits your preferences and needs.
The first type is prefabricated cabins, which are a relatively cost-effective option. These cabins are typically built in a factory and transported to the site. Commonly made from a combination of metal and wood, these accommodation choices emerged only a few years back due to the demand for a more comprehensive solution in the lodging and travel industry.
The next type on the list is A-Frame cabins. Given the name “A-frame” and widely recognized for their distinctive triangular shape, resembling the letter "A," these cabins are not only aesthetically appealing but also highly functional. Their sloping roofs help shed snow in the winter and rain in the summer. These cabins are a common sight, especially in mountainous areas. Their interiors have become extremely modernized, featuring stunning furniture and state-of-the-art amenities.
The last option on the list is log cabins. This cabin type exudes a rustic charm and a sense of nostalgia. For travelers who are seeking a classic mountain experience, log cabins are an excellent choice because of their visual appeal and truly pleasing vibe. They provide durability and insulation, making them suitable for every season as well as a great investment from a maintenance standpoint.
Which Options Fit Your Budget?
Once you've decided on the type of cabin, it's time to consider your budget. The budget will play a significant role in narrowing down your options and ensuring a stress-free buying experience. The best idea is obviously to buy from someone who already owns a cabin and has listed it on some website because that allows you to get the most value for your money. However, if you don’t have the budget to purchase outright, you can explore financing and mortgage because the rentals can help pay the monthly dues.
Consider Mortgage and Financing
Although not technically, the mountain cabin is still a piece of commercial real estate if you plan to rent it out. Naturally, then, you can be smart about how to afford the cabin. In this regard, one effective option is to explore your financing carefully. You can sit down with someone who has experience of similar, prior transactions and calculate your budget, down payment, as well as monthly mortgage payments. Factor in interest rates, loan terms, and any additional fees. Compare these against the rent you might get and how much this will profit you in the long term.
Take Into Account Different Aspects of Vacation Rentals
If you plan to offset some of the costs that you incur over a period of time keeping the cabin by renting out your cabin as a vacation rental, here are some essential factors to consider:
Repairs and Maintenance
Mountainous regions typically have less-than-ideal climates. There is more rainfall and snow, and the majestic natural marvels might block sunlight for most of the day as well. The temperature is especially unpredictable in the Great Smoky Mountains. Summers in the National Park are usually humid and hot, while winters are cold and wet.
As a result, maintenance can be a challenge if you own a mountain cabin and even more so if you choose to rent it out. Regular maintenance and occasional repairs are inevitable in both cases because if you don’t rent it, the cabin will stay vacant most of the year, and if you do list it as a rental, travelers can cause damage to the place.
Therefore, it is important to budget for these expenses to ensure your cabin remains in immaculate condition for guests or personal use.
Is the Location Ideal for Vacationers?
Another vital point of consideration if you are planning to rent out the place, is to determine whether the location is feasible for travelers or is exceptionally remote. A few points to bear in mind include the proximity to popular attractions, outdoor activities, and scenic views, as these things can significantly impact your rental income and even your personal experience when you visit the cabin.
While you are at it, also consider how easy it is for potential renters to reach your cabin. Accessible locations tend to attract more visitors.
Visit the Property Physically Before Making the Purchase Decision
Never underestimate the importance of visiting the property in person. While online listings and photographs provide a glimpse, experiencing the cabin and its surroundings firsthand is essential.
During your visit, pay attention to the following:
- Condition of the Cabin: Inspect the cabin's interior and exterior for any signs of wear, damage, or structural issues. Ensure all systems (plumbing, electrical, heating) are in working order.
- Surrounding Area: Assess the immediate surroundings. Are there any potential concerns, such as wildlife encounters or accessibility issues?
- Seasonal Considerations: Visit the property during different seasons to understand how it performs year-round.
Being one of the most visited tourist destinations in the U.S., purchasing a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains or surrounding towns is undoubtedly a great investment. Consider this a home away from home, even if you don’t want to rent it out soon. Hence, you need to factor in important things like budget, location, and the type of cabin most suitable for you before making a purchase. Hire a reliable realtor who knows the area well, and always schedule an in-person visit before you sign that agreement. Good Luck!