Pioneer Vacation Rentals

Buying additional Smoky Mountain Cabins

Posted by on August 18, 2017

So you’ve purchased a cabin in the Smoky Mountains and everything is going great! Rentals are good, you’re making a little profit, and you’ve got a vacation spot that you can use yourself from time to time. Are you considering adding to your property by buying additional cabins in the Smoky Mountains? What would it take for you to own multiple cabins and still manage everything?

If you’re ready to take it a step farther and try your hand at owning multiple vacation rentals, you’ll need to proceed with caution, don’t rush into anything and be properly prepared.


Four Bedroom Cabin in GatlinburgYou’re going to need 20% of the purchase price for a down payment on each new cabin you buy. You won’t qualify for any perks to homebuyers when applying for loans such as FHA or USDA loans be, as was he case with your first cabin purchase, this isn’t your primary residence. You also may need to increase your reserve cash and keep at least enough cash on hand to survive for six months of payments on all properties you own just in case any problems arise keeping them rented.

When you purchase additional smoky mountain cabins, you may not be able to use rental income from your existing vacation rental as payment for the new cabin. It is possible that you can use some of the income if you can prove two years’ experience in successful vacation rentals management. You can use an inheritance for the down payment if you can trace the source of the money, if that’s an option for you.

There is the allure of using the rental income from the vacation rentals as a source of retirement income. The rental may cover the mortgage payment on the vacation rental and then some, which then creates a source of income for you. Then, once the mortgage on the vacation rental is paid off, the rental fees become a true source of income that can be very beneficial in your retirement years.

Another reason you may be interested in purchasing additional cabins in the smoky mountains is for the investment that leads to appreciation when you sell them at a future date. You may be able to sell your vacation rentals at a much higher price in future years, which will then give you income.


When purchasing additional smoky mountain cabins, you need to have a plan in place so as not to cause yourself financial strain. You’ll have to know what monetary reserves you’ll need to maintain in case the cabin doesn’t rent as well as expected, especially in slow seasons. You’ll have to carry the mortgage payment, utilities and insurance out of your own money when you don’t have rental income.

When something breaks, you’ll have to fix it. Immediately. Just like your original smoky mountain cabin, you’ll need to keep money in reserve for repairs and replacements if needed of appliances or maintenance work that needs done. You’ll need to keep a cash reserve handy for each cabin, since each cabin you own will have its own unique problems now and again. When problems arise you’ll need to fix them immediately or they’ll just get worse.

Owning more than one vacation rental cabin shouldn’t be considered a liquid investment that you can dispose of quickly. If you decide to sell one of your cabins in the smoky mountains, it may take some time, so you need to plan for that and be prepared.

When considering the purchase of an additional cabin in the smoky mountains, research it fully, get its rental history and compare that to other cabins in the area. If you’re buying this for an investment, you’ll want to know how frequently this cabin actually rents and if there are repeat guests. If you have the rental history, you can be prepared for future slow times and get an idea of the income possibilities for this particular cabin. Do you have the help of a buyer’s agent? It could be a great asset to have a knowledgeable buyer’s agent working with you to locate and determine smoky mountain cabins might be a good fit for your real estate investment portfolio.


A few things you’ll also need to keep in mind when considering the purchase of additional cabins in the smoky mountains are things like when your annual returns go into the negative. If you have a major repair or the bookings haven’t been so good, you may end up with a loss year. When this happens, you’ll need to make sure you have enough money in reserve to keep from sinking.

Take a close look at the average nightly rate for the cabin. Larger, more expensive nightly rentals won’t rent as often as smaller, cheaper cabins. Larger cabins rent to larger groups, of course so you’ll market those totally different than a one- or two-bedroom cabin which would be great for couples or small families. Do you want more rentals with less profit margin or fewer bookings with a higher profit margin? You can find out all of this from the property manager or real estate agent listing the cabin. You can have your buyer’s agent find out for you.

Another thing you’ll have to consider is that when you own multiple cabins and you want to visit each one, personally. Will allow family or friends to stay in you smoky mountain cabins for free? This decision may have an impact on your rental bookings and will you make them pay for the cleaning fee to clean the cabin after use if they are going to stay for free? Just food for thought.

Owning multiple cabins is a huge investment but it can also be a source for a nice income if managed properly. If you’re considering managing the cabins yourself, it can very easily become a full time job. If you’re not ready to make that personal commitment, your best bet would be to hire a professional vacation rental manager, like Pioneer Vacation Rentals, to manage and maintain all of your properties. A professional vacation rental management company will take care of most everything involved with the bookings and maintenance scheduling. They can also take care of small repairs and such thereby taking the pressure off of you, the cabin owner.

And as far as reserves for upkeep of the cabins, you should have put away about 2.5% of the cost of the cabin for repairs and maintenance costs. So if you purchase a $200,000 cabin, you’ll want to keep about $6000 in reserve in case any problems arise. The secret is to be prepared for anything that MAY arise so it can be handled quickly and in a professional manner so as not to affect bookings or impact reviews by your guests.

All in all, multiple cabin ownership can be quite rewarding. If you keep everything in order and let your property manager help you, you won’t have many problems owning more than one cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains.


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