13 years ago when my wife Karen and I first moved to Sevier County it was pretty easy to make a vacation rental property pay for itself. In fact, the vacation rental industry has been in the Gatlinburg area since the early 1960's and has thrived during the many years since. With hundreds of rental management agencies and many thousands of overnight rental cabins and chalets this very success has become our area's biggest challenge. Due to the recent building boom of the past 5 years our Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Cobbly Nob/Wears Valley area has an oversupply of properties available for vacationers to rent and not many of these homes are still able to clearly cover their entire expenses.

There are however exceptions and the three bedroom, three bath log look cabin that we just listed is one of those happy situations where the owners ARE producing rentals that exceed the total cost of ownership. What is unique about this cabin? Several important items are in it's favor:
  • A Chalet Village location just 5 minutes from downtown Gatlinburg.
  • Newer construction (built in 2006) in excellent condition.
  • Strong marketing description and good photographs.
  • A direct marketing arrangement that eliminates the rental management company.

While there are many cabins and chalets built in the past 2 years and several of those are in Chalet Village above Gatlinburg the most important keys to this property's success are the 3rd and 4th bullet points above.

A good, sharp, and attractive photograph is key to marketing just about anything and real estate certainly is no exception. I have spent many thousands of dollars on my photography equipment for just this reason. My camera and lenses have paid for themselves several times over and we have even listed properties that other firms have had for sale and promptly sold them BECAUSE of the very high quality of the photographs we have been able to produce. Marketing a vacation rental property to prospective renters also requires pictures that cause the viewer to want to rent THIS cabin or chalet from among the many available.

The most important point of all of the above however may be the marketing channel the owners have utilized. While rental management companies here have always charged a 40% fee for management of the properties these owners have found for them what seems to be a better alternative. The vrbo.com site that markets this property is so much less expensive than traditional rental managers that the owners can charge a little less to guests, pay separately for cleaning, and still bank more net after all expenses. This route is definitely not for everyone as the owners DO have to take phone calls from people that are interested in renting their cabin but they have decided that the additional revnue is worth the additional required effort! The owners have another project in mind back home in North Carolina so they have priced this cash flowing cabin to sell.

For all of the details including a complete summary of revenues and expenses for this Gatlinburg real estate bargain, please contact me.


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