Pioneer Vacation Rentals

Choosing the Right Gatlinburg Cabin

Posted by on July 10, 2017

If you have worked out your budget for buying your new rental cabin, it’s time to move to the next step. Deciding what sort of cabin you’d like is exciting and satisfying. There are so many questions to be answered it can be a bit daunting but in the end, once you decide what sort of cabin you’d like, the purchase of your cabin will be very rewarding.


In the search for your new cabin, the decision on size and style are two things that can greatly impact your purchase. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Are you going to be using the cabin yourself as a vacation getaway?
  • Are you purchasing the cabin with the intent to live in it permanently in the future?
  • Are you purchasing the cabin just as an investment to use as a vacation rental?


Budget for your RentalThe answers to the above questions will color your cabin choice. Here are some thing to think about when you decide which way you’re going with this. If purchasing a cabin as an investment only, consider a one or two bedroom cabin over a larger one. Though the rental fee on one and two bedroom cabins may be lower than a larger one, they tend to rent more steadily than say a five or six bedroom cabin. True, the rental fee on a large cabin is of course higher but a couple will not be renting a five bedroom cabin for a romantic getaway. The larger cabins are more in line with family reunions, wedding parties, large family gatherings or corporate getaways. If you want a more steady income from your property, you’ll more likely get it from a one or two bedroom cabin that is suitable for a couple or small family.


What type of cabin should also be kept in mind when you begin your search. Do you want a rustic log cabin, a newer log cabin, a cedar chalet or something more in line with a mountain retreat that is built more traditionally? A rustic log cabin is considered historic and quite cozy, perfect for a honeymoon or romantic getaway, which is what a lot of people think of when they come to the Smoky Mountains. If you’re thinking of a rustic log cabin, you’ve also got to consider the upkeep that goes along with it. Log cabins need adjustments as they settle. Also they need their logs cleaned and re-stained every so often to keep them not only looking nice, but in good order so they don’t deteriorate. This goes for newer log cabins also. The logs will need adjusted as they settle so you need to be prepared to do this yourself or have a caretaker do it for you. You’ll also want to consider something along the lines of controlling the carpenter bees from eating holes in the exterior of the cabin. This is a common problem and there are many ways to take care of it. You can research remedies yourself or hire an exterminator. Log cabins are also considered to be more rustic and the furnishings should reflect that with log beds and rustic tables, etc.


A cedar chalet is a bit more maintenance free than a log cabin. A chalet gives the impression of being a bit more lush and upscale than a rustic log cabin. Cedar is a natural deterrent for carpenter bees so they shouldn’t be a problem and won’t drill holes in the siding. When you think of a cedar chalet, think of large windows with big comfy leather couches and plush rugs and mountain views with a bit higher end amenities. A cedar chalet will still need outside maintenance with cleaning and re-staining or painting, depending on what your preference is.


A more modern sort of cabin? Sure, there are cabins that are more to the style of a regular house. If that is what you’re looking for, the maintenance will be similar to a normal home with the exception of being located in the mountains.


That being said, owning a cabin in the mountains is a special thing that come with special situations. It’s not uncommon for power outages in the mountains along with storms with winds that can bring down tree limbs. You’ll need to be aware of the location of your cabin whether it be on mountaintop or a more wooded location.


So, you’ve determined the size of your cabin and the style and are now wondering what’s next. The most important thing to consider is exactly how you’re going to use the cabin. If it’s just an investment, you’ll want something that will draw guests with little expense for yourself. A one or two bedroom, more than likely log sided but chalets do well also, and consider the location too. You can go one of two ways—near Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge with a city view or a bit farther out with a mountain or valley view. You’ll also want to consider whether you have a water feature such as a creek or do you prefer a mountain or wooded view with seclusion.


If you’re going to use the cabin as your own vacation home, renting it out as a way to help with the mortgage or upkeep, you’re decision will be what it is that you want. Do you want to be near the city? Do you want to be farther out without the traffic and lights and more in the wildness of the mountains? Do you want to be five miles away, ten miles away or one mile away from the Parkway? Do you want to be in a resort community? Do you want to be in an HOA? All of these questions need to be considered and then you’ll be more ready to make your decision.


Now, if you’re desire is to someday move to the Smoky Mountains permanently and buying a rental cabin is a way for you to buy your future home and rent it out to help pay the mortgage while you continue to live elsewhere, your choice in cabin should have some major questions answered before you decide which one is for you. Living in a rental cabin can be a dream come true but one thing to consider while looking for your dream cabin is space. Most rental cabins are built for just that—rentals. They will have large living rooms and bedrooms with small kitchens. They will have little to no closet space. After all, most people will only rent a cabin for a few days to a week or two so they won’t have the need of large closets or storage space. If you’re planning on living in your cabin once you’ve purchased it or at some future date, you’ll want some storage and some closet space and also, consider the parking area. Will you have enough parking area for your cars or for when your family comes to visit? Garages are a rare thing when it comes to a Smoky Mountain cabin. Do you want a cabin with a larger kitchen? Is there enough cabinet space? If you will be living there year round, will you be able to get in and out on your road? Do you want neighbors close by? Do you want seclusion? Do you want to be in a resort with the amenities like swimming pool and tennis court or golf course nearby? Are you going to hire a rental management company like Pioneer Vacation Rentals to care for your cabin until you are ready to move in permanently? All of these questions will be important if this cabin purchase will be a long term ownership for you and at some point, your main residence.


With all of these questions in mind, it would be a plus to have them answered before you begin your search so that you can rule out cabins that aren’t suitable to your taste. Make a list of your ‘must haves’ and then you can begin the next step—should you use a real estate agent or buyer’s agent? We’ll address that question in our next article.


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