Avoid Short Term Rental Mistakes in the Smoky Mountains

Avoid Short Term Rental Mistakes in the Smoky Mountains

  • Lisa Sinclair
  • 09/20/23

The Smoky Mountains have witnessed a surge in the short-term rental (STR) market since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the workforce adapting to remote work arrangements, individuals soon realized they could set up their virtual offices from any location. This newfound flexibility, combined with the desire for secluded getaways away from crowded vacation spots, has ignited a robust demand for STR properties in the enchanting Smoky Mountains. As this trend continues to flourish, both seasoned investors and newcomers have eagerly ventured into acquiring properties for marketing as short-term rentals.

Owning an STR in the Smoky Mountains can prove to be a lucrative investment opportunity. Apart from generating additional income, these properties tend to appreciate in value over time, and owners might even have the chance to enjoy the serene mountain setting themselves. However, it's important to understand that managing an STR is more complex than simply placing a lockbox on the door and changing the linens. Before diving into this market, prospective investors should take the following five factors into account:

  1. Local Zoning and HOA Regulations: While it may appear obvious, many individuals each year purchase homes with the intention of converting them into STRs, only to discover that local authorities or homeowner associations (HOAs) have strict regulations in place. These regulations might require properties to be rented for a minimum duration, often exceeding 30 days, to comply with HOA or zoning laws specific to the Smoky Mountains area.

  2. Effective Property Management: Choosing the right property management company is crucial for success. An inadequate management team can result in negative reviews, property damage, and financial mismanagement, all of which can ultimately harm the homeowner's bottom line.

  3. Property Condition: When purchasing a property for an STR, it's important to consider its condition. While minor cosmetic upgrades can be manageable, investing in a home with substantial repair needs might not be wise. Choosing a property that aligns with the local market's expectations is key.

  4. Understanding the Guest Perspective: Investors should avoid the common pitfall of buying a property solely based on personal preferences. Instead, they should think from the perspective of potential renters. What would attract guests to the Smoky Mountains? Finding a property that caters to these expectations is essential.

  5. Professional Management: Operating a vacation rental in the Smoky Mountains is a demanding endeavor that requires a full-time commitment. Even if an owner is handy, it's highly recommended to enlist the services of a professional management company to handle the intricacies of managing an STR effectively.

Travelers seeking short-term rentals in the Smoky Mountains are drawn to the allure of privacy and intimacy amid nature's beauty. However, they also expect a level of service akin to that of hotels. Meeting these high expectations is a significant responsibility. Therefore, potential investors looking to purchase a home for use as an STR in the Smoky Mountains must carefully contemplate all the aspects of this unique form of ownership to ensure a successful and rewarding experience for both hosts and guests alike.

Work With Lisa

Lisa Sinclair is a premier real estate agent with a commitment to excellence and specializes in home sales in West Knoxville and the surrounding areas. Whether representing buyers or sellers, she helps her clients achieve their long-term real estate goals through her local market knowledge and professionalism, making her a successful and trusted agent throughout the greater Knoxville area.