Vacation Rental Occupancy Rates: What They Are and Why They Matter

Maximizing your vacation rental occupancy rate is important for maintaining the highest return on your investment property, and that’s something we all want, isn’t it? 

This blog post will walk you through what occupancy rate is, how to calculate it, and a few practical tips to increase yours. 

How to Calculate your Vacation Rental Property Occupancy Rate?

Occupancy rates are calculated by taking the percentage of time a vacation rental property is booked and comparing it to its total time available for bookings. 

Let’s walk through an example. You own a STR in the Smokies and you like to use it for 2 weeks at Christmas, two weeks in the summer, and one week in the fall – for a total of 35 days. 

Which means that your short term vacation rental is available for a total of 330 days. 

Formula: (total days booked/total available days) * 100

If you home is booked for 175 of those days, your occupancy rate is 53%
If you home is booked for 225 of those days, your occupancy rate is 68%

 

What Occupancy Rate Should I Be Looking to Hit for My STR?

Average Airbnb occupancy rates vary from market to market and year to year. You can see how the national average occucancy rate has fluctuate, per AirDNA

  • Trailing twelve months (TTM), March 2023 to February 2024: 55.1%
  • 2023: 55.4%
  • 2022: 58.6%
  • 2021: 60.3%

There are numerous ways you can improve your vacation rental occupancy rates!

 

Optimize Your Price to Increase Your Short Term Rental Occupancy Rate

Pricing is one of the most straightforward ways you can impact your occupancy rates. Utilizing dynamic pricing allows you to adjust your nightly rates based on the demand patterns.  

This gives you the ability to 

  • Offer discounts for longer stays 
  • Incentivize last minute bookings 
  • Lower your rates during slower periods. 

 

Elevate Your Amenities to Improve Your Vacation Rental Occupancy Rate

Set your home apart from the pack by elevating the amenities you offer. That can be done in a number of ways – a more comfortable space, items not found in most rentals, or personal touches upon check in. 

Spend just a bit of time thinking about the things that matter to you when you go on vacation, and decide how you can improve them in your rental! 

Is it important to you that the vacation rental you stay in feels like home? In what ways can you bring a bit of “home” to your rental? (We don’t know anyone that doesn’t like comfy couch blankets…)

Is it important that the short term rental you stay in be unique? What items can you provide in your rental that aren’t found in most others?

Do you feel extra special when you find a personal touch left by the host when you check in? In what ways can you provide those for your guests?

 

Expand your Sleeping Areas to Increase Your Occupancy Rates 

Expanding your sleeping areas allows you to cater to larger groups of people. 

We all know how fun (for the most part) going on vacation with people you love is – why not do your best to make sure everyone is comfortable? 

There are so many ways you can expand your sleeping areas 

  • Could you make one of your rooms a double queen room – hotel style?
  • Could you add bunk beds to the game/recreational room?
  • Could you switch your couches to sleeper sofas?

Not sure how to best expand your sleeping areas? This blog offers practical tips to transform tight spaces into cozy sleeping areas

 

Hire a Professional Property Manager so That You Can Increase Your Occupancy Rates

You might be managing your rental from afar right now, which sometimes makes things hard to react to quickly. 

It’s important to run your numbers before you decide to hire a professional property manager, but you might find that the lift in occupancy rate is worth the cost! 

There are multiple types of property management options you can choose from! 

 

There are tons of other ways you can increase your vacation rental occupancy rates! 

  • Encourage your guests to leave reviews 
  • Offer your guests an incentive to book another stay with you 
  • Optimize your listing – titles, descriptions, and photos
  • Run promotions
  • Consider upgrades

 

Improving your vacation rental occupancy rate isn’t a one and done issue. It requires your continued attention. 

By monitoring your results, evaluating your data, reviewing guest feedback, and taking action on those items you can be sure to see improvements in your occupancy rates. 

 

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist for Your Short Term Rental in the Smokies

 

The weather is clearing, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping and now is a great time to go through a Spring Maintenance Checklist for your Short Term Rental in the Smokies. 

This blog post will walk you through 7 areas that could use your attention this spring. 

Performing regular maintenance on your short term rental helps you maintain the value of your home and to prevent costly repairs as your home ages. 

 

#1 Inspect the Exterior of Your Home 

Winter can be rough on your home’s exterior! Spring is a fantastic time to take a good look to evaluate if your home might need repairs.

Begin your visual inspection by looking for cracks, peeling paint, warped boards, or loose siding. 

If your home’s exterior is looking a bit dated, Spring is a great time to schedule a fresh stain, or siding replacement. 

 

#2 Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts 

Proper gutter and downspout maintenance may seem like a small task, but it can save you from costly headaches in the long run! 

Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to water damage, foundation issues, and roof leaks if not attended to. 

It’s important to remove obstructions and ensure water is being directed away from your home’s foundation. 

 

#3 Inspect and Clean Your HVAC System

Spring is here, which means that summer is well on its way! And summer in the Smokies is no joke – it’s important that you prepare your HVAC system to function optimally for the busy summer season. 

An HVAC inspection can extend the lifespan of your system and ensure it’s operating optimally! 

Your HVAC inspection may include: 

  • Replacement of filters
  • Inspection of ducts for dust, mold and debris
  • Testing of fan motor
  • Check the HVAC cabinet for leaks
  • And More 

Completing regular maintenance on your HVAC system is an excellent way to prevent costly and untimely repairs. 

 

#4 Inspect Your Doors and Windows

Now is the time to check your door and windows for any air leaks, gaps, or cracks that might need to be repaired. 

In order to maintain a tight seal you may need to replace weatherstripping around your doors, or caulking around your windows. 

If your doors and windows are aging you might consider a replacement to more energy efficient materials. 

 

#5 Inspect Your Deck or Patio 

It’s officially porch season! It’s time to give your space a good clean – remove debris, dirt, or mildew buildup. 

Once clean, you’ll want to inspect your decking for any signs of water damage, loose boards, railings, pest damage, or any other damage. 

You might consider adding a fresh coat or stain or sealant. 

Taking care of small issues on your deck can help prevent costly repairs in the future. 

 

#6 Inspect Your Roof 

Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements. 

Take a close look at your roof as part of your spring maintenance routine. 

You’ll want to look for missing, cracked, or loose shingles, as well as any water stains or leaks in your attic or ceiling which could be a sign of something more serious.

If you notice any serious issues or are unsure about the condition of your roof – call in a professional roofing contractor so that they can compete an inspection for you. 

 

#7 Pest Inspections and Prevention

Pests like porch season too! Now that the weather is warmer, household pests are coming out to play.

Completing some of the other items on the Spring Maintenance Checklist like inspecting your doors, windows, deck, and roof will help you keep pests at bay. 

You may also want to 

  • Take a look around your foundation for any cracks 
  • Make note of any area where you see droppings, chewed materials, or nesting areas

If you have any infestations or disturbances due to pest it’s best to call in a professional pest control service.

Learn more about common pests and how to prevent them here! 

 

As a short-term rental owner in the Smoky Mountains, completing preventative maintenance on your rental property allows you to keep your home in tip-top share, which provides a steady stream of bookings and repeat guests! 

 

3 Amenities to Maximize Your Short Term Rental Income

In this blog post, we’re diving deep into three amenities that can help you maximize your rental income: pools, gyms, and hot tubs.

AirDNA provides a few stats related to the availability of these amenities 

  • Pools are found in 44% of luxury properties, versus 25% of budget properties.
  • Hot tubs are featured in about 33% of luxury listings, while only 5% of budget properties include them.
  • Gyms appear in approximately 24% of luxury properties, compared to 16% in budget listings.

 

 

Pools 

There are so many different ways you can provide pool access for your short term rental – resort pool, inground outdoor pool, above ground outdoor pool, stock tank pool, swim spa, or inground indoor pool, and probably many more creative ideas we haven’t listed. 

Most often we see these three types of pools at short term rentals in the Smokes 

  • Resort access 
  • Inground indoor 
  • Swim spa 

Why a pool at your short term rental?

Providing a way for your renters to create memories with the group they are traveling with without leaving your property is a huge benefit! 

Not only is this a benefit to your guest, but can be a benefit to you as a property owner through increased desirability and the ability for higher nightly rates. 

 

Maintenance considerations for the pool at your short term rental

You’ll want to consider ongoing maintenance when deciding if a pool is right for you as a short term property owner, such as 

  • Regular cleaning and chemical treatment.
  • Safety measures (fencing, pool rules, etc.).
  • Potential liability concerns and insurance coverage.

“Specifically, luxury listings with pools see a Revenue Per Available Rental (RevPAR) increase of around 38% compared to those without pools.”

 

Hot tubs 

Your guests have most likely packed their schedules full of fun things to do while they are in town, whether that be a full day out on the town or hiking in the Smokies. 

Providing a way for them to wind down and relax after a long day is such a benefit! 

Not only does a hot tub provide a relaxing experience for your guests, it can also be a benefit to you as property owner by complementing your outdoor space and allowing you to command a premium nightly rate. 

You’ll want to consider ongoing maintenance when deciding if a hot tub is right for you as a short term property owner such as regular cleaning, chemical treatment. As well as, potential liability concerns and required insurance coverage. 

“With a reported RevPAR increase of around 33% for luxury properties with hot tubs.”

 

Gyms 

Maintaining your health is extremely important – what a benefit to provide the ability to do so without having to take additional time out of their well deserved vacations to find the opportunity to do so. 

Adding a gym, whether big or small, to your vacation rental allows you to meet the needs of health conscious individuals conveniently

You’ll want to consider potential liability concerns and required insurance coverage when deciding if adding a gym to your short term rental property is advantageous for you. 

“While the inclusion of pools and hot tubs offers the largest RevPAR and occupancy boosts for higher-tier properties, the inclusion of gyms actually benefits lower-tier properties more. They experience a larger boost in RevPAR and occupancy rates.”

 

*It’s important to note that the information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. While we have made every effort to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. 

 

Understanding the 2024 Short Term Rental Permit Program in Sevier County

Sevier County is releasing a new short term rental property permitting process!

If you could like to receive a packet from the County explaining the program —  fill out this form and you will receive one. (Note: we submitted our information and are still not in receipt. We’re unsure of when they will be sending out the information)

The packet will contain a letter explaining the program, the application, a “Pre-Inspection” checklist, and all of the contact information if anyone has questions.

Here’s what we know so far:

The permit application period will open on January 1, 2024.

Property owners have until June 30, 2024 to apply for a Short Term Rental Unit Permit to be assessed with the codes from the time their home was built. 

From what we understand, as long as the house is permitted, and does not lapse — the permit passes with the sale.

Example: You bought a house that was built in 1990. You apply for a permit before 6/30/24. Permit gets approved, you never let it lapse. You decide to sell in 2025 — new owner gets to take over permit (that was issued against 1990’s building codes).
Win.Win.Win for everyone! 

It’s imperative that you apply for your permit before June 30, 2024.

The inspection/permitting program allows the Sevier County to inspect all STRUs in our county to ensure that all life safety measures are in place and that there are no obvious hazards that could result in causing harm or death to any residents or visitors. The inspection includes fire safety, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, electrical safety, structural integrity!

The cost will be $250.00 for a STRU that sleeps 12 or less and then for any STRU that sleeps 13 or more, the cost would be $250 plus $25 per additional occupant (person). Occupancy will be stated when each property owner or management company submits their application; however, upon completion of inspection, we will verify that there are not sleeping accommodations for more than what is claimed and that it is not being advertised for more than what is claimed.

Due to the fact that there are approximately 6,500 rentals in Sevier County (outside of the cities), they will be completed as received and then the following year (2025) the owner will receive a renewal invoice the month that their inspection was completed in 2024. Example: if your property wasn’t inspected until June of 2024, then you would receive the renewal invoice in June of 2025; this would then stagger when permits were issued.

The county in the process of getting additional information on the county website. We are going to add some of the frequently asked questions in the near future as well to hopefully help answer some of these questions.

Answers to a few questions you may have:

Sprinkler Requirements
Short-Term Rental Units that are more than 3 stories, more than 5,000 square feet, or sleep 13 or more people and were built before February 1, 2016, will not be required to install a fire suppression system as long as they meet the following:

1.) The property owner applies for a STRU permit between January 1, 2024, and June 30, 2024

(However, if there are not adequate means of egress in sleeping areas then the sleeping capacity may have to be reduced or an alternate solution be determined)

2.) IF you don’t self-apply for a STRU permit during the above-referenced period – that exemption may be void.

Short-Term Rental Units that are more than 3 stories above grade, more than 5,000 square feet, or sleep 13 or more people and were built after February 1, 2016, will be required to install a sprinkler system.

If the property is only meeting the one rule of sleeping more 13 or more then reducing the occupancy will be an option. However, this is due to the rules and regulations of the State of Tennessee which Sevier County must follow.

For Properties Located in the City of Gatlinburg – Nothing changes.
ALL STRs in Gatlinburg corp. city limits must apply for and/or renew their TR (Tourist Residency) permits and are subject to annual fire/safety inspections. You likely know who you are; however, if you have doubts, call the city at (865) 436-1400.

For Properties Located in the City of Pittman Center – Nothing changes.
As of 2/20/2020, ALL STRs in the corp. city limits of Pittman Center must apply for and/or renew an ATRP (Annual Tourist Residency Permit) and are also subject to annual fire safety inspection. You likely know who you are. If in doubt, call the City of Pittman Center (865) 436-5499), give them your property’s street address, and they will let you know.

For Properties Located in the City of Pigeon Forge – Nothing is in place – YET.
According to the Sevier County Fire Administrator, it’s in the works – but nothing is final yet. As we hear more, we will let you know.

For Properties Located in the City of Sevierville
They have approved a S.T.O.P. (Short-Term Operational Permit) program.
ALL STRs in corp. city limits must apply for and/or renew this annually. STRs are also subject to annual fire and safety inspections. If you have any questions, call the city at (865)453-5504

Therefore, if a property is being rented that was built after February 1, 2016, and it is sleeping 13 or more occupants and does not have a sprinkler system it is not in compliance with the state rules and regulations and does not have a Certificate of Occupancy for 13 or more.

So, if you reduce the number it sleeps, there might be an exemption available…

 

We’ll update this blog post as more information becomes available!

The Essential Guide to Emergency Preparedness for Short Term Rental Owners in Gatlinburg, TN

 Emergency Preparedness for Short Term Rental Owners in Gatlinburg, TN and the surrounding areas

In light of the recent uptick in unbecoming weather as we are nearing the anniversary of the Gatlinburg wildfires in 2016 we thought now might be a good time to pull together resources for you, a short term rental property owner, about emergency preparedness relative to Sevier County, TN. 

 

Understanding Local Risks

Sevier County is very fortunate to experience all four seasons, but that often means weather comes along with those seasonal changes. Below are a few natural occurrences to be aware of: 

  • Floods: The mountainous terrain and bodies of water in Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas make it prone to flooding, particularly during heavy rains and rapid snow melts. Flood risks are higher in low-lying areas and near streams or rivers. It’s important that you check the flood zoning for your property and understand the potential impact heavy rainfall or snowmelt may have on your property. 
  • Severe Storms: Gatlinburg experiences severe storms, including heavy rainfall, lightning, and sometimes hail. These storms can cause damage to properties and disrupt essential services, like electricity. 
  • Wildfires: The Great Smoky Mountains are susceptible to wildfires, especially during dry seasons. Factors contributing to wildfires include the region’s forest cover and sometimes human activities. 

 

Importance of Staying Informed About Local Risks Through Reliable Sources

Reliable resources allow you to respond effectively to natural disasters. Here are a few resources that will allow you to stay in the know, even when you are not in town. 

 

Developing Your Emergency Plan

There are a few steps that you can take to begin developing an emergency plan for your short term rental property. 

Complete an assessment. 

    • Determine what specific risks might be associated with your property, considering its location, structure and surrounding environment. 
    • Determine what resources you may need to stock your property with such as safety equipment, supplies, and communication tools. 

Develop a Strategy 

    • How will you mitigate risks?
    • Will you improve exterior materials?
    • Will you provide additional safety equipment?

Create Response Procedures

    • How will you communicate with your guests and/or property manager?
    • In what ways can action be taken in the event of an emergency to mitigate damages? Are those steps clearly outlined and displayed?

 

The Sevier County Sheriff’s office provides an extensive resource for developing your emergency plan.  Here are just a few components you might want to include. 

  • Evacuation routes 
  • Shut off procedures for utilities 
  • First aid measures
  • Safe shelter locations 
  • Communication plans

It’s important to continuously improve and update your emergency plan based on feedback from these authorities to ensure it aligns with local standards and practices.

 

Communication with Guests During Emergencies


It’s important to ensure you have a way to communicate with your guests about what to do in case of an emergency and during emergencies. 

You can prepare guests for potential emergencies by designing a Guest Information Packet

This packet can include information like 

  • Emergency procedures 
  • Maps showing evacuation routes and safety equipment locations.
  • List local emergency resources, including hospitals, pharmacies, and shelters.

Utilize a way to communicate digitally with guests via email, SMS, or property management apps to provide real-time updates on weather alerts and emergency situations.

 

 Additional Measures for Guest Comfort and Confidence

Equipping your property with items like emergency lights, blankets, and basic supplies adds an additional layer of comfort for guests during unforeseen situations.


Taking a proactive approach to emergency preparedness is an investment in the safety and well-being of your guests and property! Remember, preparedness is an ongoing process, evolving with the changing landscapes and weather patterns of Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas.

3 Common Pests Found in East Tennessee Short Term Rentals and How to Prevent Them

As a short-term rental property owner in East Tennessee, it is important to prevent pest infestations. Pests not only damage your property, but they can also negatively impact your guests’ experience. In this blog post, we will explore how to prevent their infestations in short-term rental properties.

East Tennessee’s warm and humid climate provides an ideal environment for various pests to thrive, including flying insects. Some common insects found in short-term rentals in East Tennessee are:

  • Carpenter bees are a common pest found in East Tennessee homes. They look similar to bumblebees but can cause significant damage to wooden structures, including decks, fences, and outdoor furniture. 
  • Carpenter ants are another common pest found in East Tennessee homes. They can cause significant damage to wooden structures, including walls, floors, and furniture. 
  • Eastern subterranean termites are a common pest found in East Tennessee homes. They can cause significant damage to wooden structures, including walls, floors, and foundations. These termites live in the soil and feed on wood, so it’s important to maintain proper moisture control to prevent infestations. 

It’s important to address any pest infestations in your home promptly to prevent damage and avoid further costly repairs.

Regular cleaning, maintenance, and inspection practices are essential to prevent pest infestations in short-term rentals. 

Below are some tips to help keep insects away:

  • Seal entry points and install screens on doors and windows. Gaps and cracks in walls and doors allow insects to enter.
  • Close doors and windows when not in use to prevent insects from entering.

In addition to regular cleaning, maintenance, and inspection hiring a professional pest control service can help eliminate pests and prevent future infestations. 

Benefits of hiring professional pest control services are:

  • Experienced technicians who can identify and eliminate pests effectively.
  • Customized treatment plans to address your property’s specific pest problems.
  • Regular inspections to prevent future pest infestations.
  • Pest control companies may set up pest monitoring stations to detect any signs of pest activity before a full infestation occurs.

Pest control companies can help prevent future infestations and keep your property pest-free. It’s important to work with a reputable and experienced pest control company to ensure that they use safe and effective methods to prevent pest activity.

Preventing pest infestations in short-term rentals in East Tennessee is crucial to ensure the comfort and safety of your guests. By following the preventative measures discussed in this blog post and utilizing professional pest control services, you can keep your property pest-free. 



CNBC – Top States for Doing Business

Expounding on our email from last week!

Last week we shared an article from Area Development, “The 2021 Top States for doing business”,  

This week we’d like to share with you an article from CNBC, “America’s Top States for Business”

In 2021, CNBC names Tennessee the #5 state! 

CNBC scored all 50 states on 85 metrics in 10 broad categories of competitiveness. Each category is weighted based on how frequently states use them as a selling point in economic development marketing materials.

You can read more about their methodology here.

See where your home state falls here.

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development shares with us the reasons they believe you should select Tennessee’s business-friendly environment: 

  • No personal income tax on wages and salaries.
  • A right-to-work state.
  • A long history of fiscal responsibility that crosses party lines.
  • Lowest state debt per capita in the country, per The Tax Foundation.
  • Second lowest in the U.S. for state and local tax taxes paid per capita, per The Tax Foundation.
  • Triple A rate by all major rating services.
  • Successful overhaul of our tort and workers compensation laws.

Second Home FAQ

 

UPDATED: JULY 2021

Thinking of financing a second home or investment property in the Smokies? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from our buyers purchasing their first vacation home:

1. What is the minimum amount I can put down?

For second home properties, our buyers can put as little as 10% down. If you are putting less than 20% down, there will be private mortgage insurance included in your monthly payment until your loan balance reaches 80% of the home’s original value. As of October 2018, the rates for mortgage insurance have remained as low as .30% annually (or $75/month for a $300k loan amount) for borrowers with good credit. Investment property loans require at least 15% down.

2. What do rates look like?

Like all correspondent lenders, we get new rates sheets every day when the market opens. We start with the base rate and add adjustments for loan size, loan term, down payment, and credit score when calculating a client’s rate. Second home rates are now slightly higher than primary residence and higher rates apply for investment property loans.

Note: The conforming loan limit is $548,250 which means loans over that amount are considered jumbo loans and have their out separate guidelines to qualify on.

3. If rates are higher, why would I use the investment property product? What’s the difference?

Certain buyers are better suited for an investment product. This might include someone who:
* Requires future rental income from the property he or she is purchasing to qualify for the loan
* Already owns a second home in the Smokies
* Has no intention of using the home for personal use (this would include renting the property out on a long-term lease)
* Intends to use a property management company that will not give the owner control of when they can stay in the home.

4. Can I do overnight rentals if I use second home financing?

Yes! Just make sure that you maintain the ability to block out time for personal use. Black-out dates for peak seasons and holidays are a deal breaker.

5. I have decided that the second home product is best for me, but I noticed that my seller included language in our sales contract requiring me to use a specific management company. Will that cause any problems with my loan?

It could! If that language is present we will be required to review the management company’s contract to determine that you will be able to use the home for personal use at your discretion per second home guidelines.

6. What’s the minimum credit score needed to qualify?

The minimum credit score for investment and second home purchases is 620. If you are unsure of where you stand, give us a call and we can go over this with you. If you are short of qualifying, we may be able to increase your score within 7 business days!

7. Ok, I’m pre-qualified and I found my dream house. When can we close?

You and your seller will negotiate a closing date at the time your sales contract is signed, but most purchase and sale agreements set closing for about a month after the contract is bound. This allows time for you to collect and submit your credit documentation to us, the appraisal to be completed, and for title work to be completed.

 

Why now is the time to sell and buy vacation homes in the Smokies

Why sell now and why buy now?  

Many of our clients are investors or have second homes in our area.  Is now the time to sell your rental cabin or buy one?

The market is strong for cabins and currently under-supplied.

January and February are strong sales months.  We tend to get serious investors in those months because they know cabins are easier to show with less occupancy.  They understand buying earlier in the year means they’ll receive spring break, summer, fall and holiday income.  That type of educated buyer is of the highest quality and they are more prevalent in the first quarter.

If you’ve been thinking about selling let us know.  We’ll be happy to evaluate your property free of charge.  Together we can determine if now if the right time for you.

 

Featured Properties:

Fantastic Cabins, Amazing Views

3 BD/3.5 BA 2434 sq.ft log cabin with a terrific mountain view,  $70,000 in rental income last year, making it one of those rare finds. Sure to sell quickly.   More Info
————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–
$349,90  ID#: 213840
4 BD/2 BA, nearly 1,900 sq ft, log cabin, located off Ski View Drive, complete w/amazing views of Mt. LeConte, the Smokies, & Ober Gatlinburg.  Ideal as a permanent or 2nd home, or as an overnight rental.  More info

Tools for Real Estate Investment 101: Self-Directed IRA’s and Your Real Estate Investment Needs

Real Estate Deals

As home prices continue their gradual trend of rising during 2013, there are various investment tools that can be utilized by potential buyers and/or sellers in considering whether or not to invest in real estate, especially here in the Great Smoky Mountain real estate market. Today, we will focus on one of these investment tools, which has gained popularity in recent years, namely that of the self-directed IRA (Individual Retirement Account).

A Self-directed Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is not your typical IRA since it allows the account owner to invest in a wider set of assets than those offered by custodians and trustees of traditional IRAs. This separates a Self-directed IRA from other types of IRAs since the account holder can decide what permissible investments to put his or her money into without having the custodian or trustee set a limit on what investments to pursue, hence the term “self-directed.” In other words, the account holder is limited only by the rules set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and of course, his or her choice of investments. In addition, the custodian or trustee is also in charge of facilitating all other transactions that involve the Self-directed IRA.

Some potential advantages of using a Self-directed IRA include, but are not excluded to, the following:

1.) Having a Self-directed IRA allows an account holder to purchase properties anywhere that’s allowed by law. Almost every type of real estate is permissible such as residential and commercial property, real estate options, and the like.

2.) Purchasing property can also be done without paying all the required capital. For example, account holders can participate in a limited liability company (LLC) that directly invests in real estate.

3.) Many account holders have already taken advantage of the current buyers’ market where property prices are low and foreclosure rates are high. They can attest to how they’ve benefited from their diversified portfolio within their Self-directed IRA.

4.) Usually, real estate investments purchased within a Self-directed IRA are intended as long-term investments. This means that once an account holder buys a property, they will hold onto it until its value appreciates and is ready to be sold. In other words, the “buy-low, sell-high” concept is well suited for this type of IRA.

5.) Selling an IRA-owned home lets the owner avoid paying capital gains tax if the proceeds are rolled back into the IRA. This especially applies to those who rehab properties in rundown condition and flip them for quick profit.

However, there are limitations as to what a Self-directed IRA can do, including, but not excluded to, the following:

1.) The Self-directed IRA cannot purchase real estate from a “disqualified person” either directly or indirectly. It also prohibits a “disqualified person” from using a property purchased within a Self-directed IRA. A “disqualified person” includes, but is not excluded to: Your spouse, your lineal ascendants/descendants and their spouses, plan fiduciaries (including advisors, custodians, and administrators), an entity (i.e., estate, corporation, etc.) where you own at least 50% of the voting stock, directly or indirectly, and anyone providing services to the plan.

2.) The purchased property cannot be used by the account holder – not even for a night. Only qualified people may use it and this does not include one’s relatives. Unless the account holder is 59 and a half years old and retired, then living in the investment property is deemed illegal.

3.) Account holders and family members cannot buy or sell property directly from their IRA. Likewise, it is also forbidden to buy or sell directly from the companies or enterprises that they own.

4.) Borrowing or lending money from the IRA is not allowed, and the IRA cannot be used to lend money to family members or as collateral for any type of loan.

5.) IRA funds and personal accounts cannot be combined or co-mingled.

6.) Those involved in the servicing of the Self-directed IRA account are not allowed to participate in any transaction that involves the account.

With a Self-directed IRA, you will have to find a reliable custodian or trustee to open an account and comply with the IRS requirements, and set up the account with a bank or other financial institution. When an investment property has been selected, the account holder would then authorize the custodian to pay a deposit from the Self-directed IRA by signing an authorization form. After which, the account holder must complete the necessary documents and forward them to the custodian or trustee. The closing agent will then coordinate the remainder of the transaction and release any additional funds required.

Finally, Self-directed IRA’s, like any other investment in real estate, do involve a lot of risk. First, it is recommended that one invests only 25 percent at the most if you are not inclined to be a “risk taker.” With the prices of properties at their current levels, you can probably find one that you may like. Second, keep in mind that the Self-directed IRA is making the investment — not you or anyone else. You can’t simply take the cash flow that you earn from your investment property since the custodian or trustee is in charge of it through your IRA. Third, be sure to leave enough funds in your Self-directed IRA to cover unexpected expenses related to your property, such as tenant turnover, maintenance and repairs. This will put you in a safe position should you incur any “additional” costs. Finally, please always seek the advice of qualified real estate investment professionals that can help you find the properties that would be best suited for your overall retirement goals. Like anything else, always ask questions, and make sure to get as much as information as you can before using this investment tool, or any other investment tool, before deciding to act on it.

With this basic knowledge and understanding of a potentially powerful investment tool for real estate, why not see what the Great Smoky Mountains real market can offer you today? Please feel free to browse our available properties, and let one of our buyer specialists help realize your home ownership dreams today! Come and see what the Great Smoky Mountains can offer you today!

Here Are A Few of My Featured Listings:

Nice Ranch-Style Home in Sevierville! Beautiful, well-maintained, 1,300+ sq ft, 3 BD/2 BA ranch-style home located in Sevierville, is walking distance to the nearby Pigeon River, along with being mins. to Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, and downtown Sevierville! Type: Single Family Home Location: Sevierville,TN Price: $159,900 Get more information >
Beautiful Private Cabin w/City View Beautiful, private 4 Bedroom/3 Bathroom cabin located just below Ober Gatlinburg w/a 20-mile view! Type: Single Family Home Location: Gatlinburg,Tennessee Price: $195,000 Get more information >
Great Views & Privacy This three level cabin has consistently produced right at $30k a year in rental income every year since 2007! Located on a private lot it features a great view and a lot of windows and deck space for enjoying the scenery Type: Single Family Home Location: Pigeon Forge Price: $279,900 Get more information >


The Jason White Team
Century 21 Four Seasons Realty
1441 Wiley Oakley Dr
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Toll Free: 877-678-2121
Fax: 865-436-7227
Email: jason@jasonwhiteteam.com
Website: www.SmokyMountainLifestyle.com