Smoky Mountain Vacation Rental Owners

Posted on 8/19/2022

Owning a Vacation rental in Gatlinburg: What You Need to Know

If you're thinking of buying, or already own, a vacation rental property in Gatlinburg, congratulations! You picked a solid rental market. Vacationers love this Smoky Mountains city. Gatlinburg is the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which keeps smashing visitor records yearly, drawing more than 14 million visits in 2021. Gatlinburg is one of the 10 "most searched cities" in America when people are researching vacation rentals, coming in at No. 7.

So you know that the eager guests are out there. How do you ensure you're ready to own a terrific rental where guests are happy, and you're making money? Here are four basics for launching a successful vacation rental in Gatlinburg.

Work with a local property management company

You can manage your vacation rental, but why not let a management company deal with marketing, booking, guest payments, and daily guest needs and problems? You'll pay a fee but will save yourself work.

Look for an experienced property manager with deep knowledge of the area. A local manager can advise on what to charge in this specific market, which amenities guests desire most, and what upgrades your particular property needs to stay competitive.

Get the proper permits and licenses

Your rental property is a business. Find out what permits and licenses you need, which city, county, and state offices are involved, and what the required permits cost. For instance, if your cabin is inside Gatlinburg's corporate limits, you need the city's "tourist residency permit" plus fire and building inspections. The fee is $200 for a two-bedroom property (plus another $75 for each additional bedroom).

Get pro-tax advice

Don't start anticipating how you'll spend your rental profits until you've also anticipated taxes. You'll owe taxes on your rental income and property taxes. Line up expert tax advice, so you know what to expect.

Budget for other expenses and amenities

Vacation rental owners should plan for homeowners' and liability insurance, homeowners' association fees, utilities, maintenance, and repairs.

Be ready to invest in amenities, too. Guests expect specific amenities almost as givens–Wi-Fi, upgraded TVs, a streaming or cable package, a washer, and a dryer. Some extras, like hot tubs and ample outdoor furniture, are so common in Smokies cabins that you should consider adding them too.

Colonial Properties Cabin and Resort Rentals are ready to help rent your Smokies property! Contact our Owner Success Team at 865-365-0240 today.

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