What to look for in a good second home/rental property.
by Tammy Meissner, Smoky Falls Real Estate
Visitors to the Smokies are often enamored by the beauty of the mountains. They find themselves coming back, time and time again. Some have even taken the next step in acquiring a special place of their own. Those people may have known very well exactly what they had in mind in choosing a second home. Certain amenities however are important if you are looking for a second home that can generate its own income as a short-term (vacation) rental. In the case of rentals versus income the criteria may indeed be different.
You have to start by asking yourself, what makes a good rental. Well, there are a few basics that cannot be ignored. First and foremost you must have a view. After all, what do people come to the mountains to see? Views of the mountains can be had from all elevations but often what people desire is the “killer” high elevation panorama. Second to that of a view of the mountains would be a view of a rushing creek. The peaceful sound of a roaring creek or falling stream is what many vacationers desire. The possibility of fishing from their cabin is even better. Of course even perfection can come with some drawbacks. High elevation views may also simply mean hard to get to in the winter. Steep winding roads are hard for some “flat landers” to get used to. Cover them with snow and a touch of ice, and that’s trouble… just waiting to happen. Before you pick a location, know the access, summer and winter both. And prepare your guests for the conditions.
As in all real estate the three most important words to remember are: location, location, location. Consider the community and distance to attractions that people like to frequent. They want to be far enough away so privacy is not a problem and yet most do not want to be too far away …feeling like Lewis and Clark, blazing new territory.
The type of home also plays a factor in the success of the rental. Log homes or wod sided homes rent better, period. Homes with lots of wood in them also do well. Most everyone who looks for a rental in the mountains is looking for a “cabin”, whether its a trappers shack in the woods or a million dollar 5 bedroom/6 bath home, its still a “cabin”. The more they feel like a cabin , the better they would do.
Size does not matter because there are all sorts of vacationers looking. A one bedroom is great for honeymooners, or add a loft or more bedrooms and you are great for families or multiple couples. Three or more bedrooms are good for extended families or groups. One word of caution, the more they sleep, the more they are prone to wear and tear just by the shear amount of traffic in them.
When furnishing a rental you will want to consider making it look more like a home, not a rental. People are more comfortable and seem to respect the home more if they think it’s your home and not just a business. As a property management company we only suggest not placing things in the home that cannot be replaced, because luck has it that the more special it is the more likely it will be the first thing broken.
North Carolina and Tennessee rental properties are governed by state laws and regulations. There are strict guidelines for the rental of property. Rental property is not to be confused with B&Bs or hotel/motel type lodging. The rules and regulations for rental property is very different and should be thoroughly investigated before you make a decision.
If you make a good decision selecting a vacation home investment, you should enjoy years of enjoyment, and also so added income as well. Take care of your investment and it will in turn take care of you.
If you are looking for assistance a real estate agent that works for a company with a strong property management department would be your greatest asset. Do your homework and see whose marketing is reaching the potential tenant the best. Chances are they will know the rental market the best and can share with you the secrets of successful vacation rentals.
Smoky Falls Real EstateP.O. Box 18312629 Soco RoadMaggie Valley,NC28751
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