How time changes things! I remember telling buyers a couple of years ago to be careful of the very small cabins – some without even a single bedroom. The typical floor plan (if you could call it that) was a single room cabin with a kitchen in one corner, a fireplace in another, a bath in the third corner, and a jacuzzi style tub in the fourth corner. The first thing that one noticed if you could look past the great rental numbers was that there was absolutely no room for any sort of storage. Many cabins didn’t even have a single closet but rather a pole stretched across a corner of the room or possibly an armoire. Obviously, these homes have no possible use other than as a vacation home. They certainly can’t be rented as residences due to the tiny kitchens and the total lack of any sort of storage.
Additionally, the log type construction makes remodeling or any adding of additional living space very problematic and expensive. Besides the structure, the other part of a real estate investment that accounts for value is the land involved. Sadly, many of these homes have postage stamp sized lots that don’t allow for the addition of a garage or carport or adding to the home itself.
For the entire thirteen years I have been in the business of marketing Sevier County real estate I haven’t seen a tougher market. While this currently is not something peculiar to our area, it is also the first time that even oldtimers have seen a down market here. Folks who have been involved in our Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville real estate industry for many years say that they have never seen anything like what we are looking at now. With nine foreclosures posted in today’s newspaper alone, we are looking at a very difficult market if you are a seller.
Bright spots? If you are a buyer this is a fabulous time to be looking. Motivated sellers are not hard to find and listings are plentiful. While the premium properties aren’t being punished anything like the small, specific use type cabins are, there are bargains everywhere. If you are interested in buying a home for 20% less than what it sold for just a couple of years ago that can now be done in some areas of the county. In fact, I’ve never seen a better time to be a buyer and am looking for something to buy for myself right now. If you’ve always dreamed of having a home in the mountains this just may be the best opportunity we will see for a very long time. If we may assist in any way with any property here, please let me know. Even if you are looking to sell, we will be glad to help – but you will probably need to be patient!