Where should I buy a mountain vacation rental?

40 Replies

Bee Hive,

I would love to hear some thoughts/suggestions on where my wife and I should do our next vacation rental.  We have owned long term rentals for quite some time and recently bought a vacation rental in Fort Lauderdale and LOVE IT!  For our next purchase we would like to be somewhere in the mountains.  Criteria would be:

1.Mountain Views

2.Rentable nearly all year found.  i.e. hiking activities when its warmer, preferable skying in the winter

3.Relatively close to an airport <1.5 hours

4.No Crazy overpriced markets---no Breckenridge, Telluride here

5.Local government supports short term rentals*** this is an absolute must.  

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Try Wynnewood Oklahoma or Robinson Illinois.  You'll have to be a bigger ruffian than your tenants.  I'm a big ruffian.

Gatlinburg is the #1 vacation rental market in the country for having (almost) all of the things you're looking for.  The only thing you're not gonna like is the "skiing" is basically a 100 foot tall sheet of ice.  Doesn't matter for rentals but if you're looking to use it yourself that's the only thing you're not gonna like.

Originally posted by @Ryan Moyer :

Gatlinburg is the #1 vacation rental market in the country for having (almost) all of the things you're looking for.  The only thing you're not gonna like is the "skiing" is basically a 100 foot tall sheet of ice.  Doesn't matter for rentals but if you're looking to use it yourself that's the only thing you're not gonna like.

 I’ve taken my family to ski Ober Gatlinburg and Maggie Valley several times and we loved it. Smokies skiing is no Park City Utah, but it’s certainly adequate for a fun day of family time!

Originally posted by @Collin H. :
Originally posted by @Ryan Moyer:

Gatlinburg is the #1 vacation rental market in the country for having (almost) all of the things you're looking for.  The only thing you're not gonna like is the "skiing" is basically a 100 foot tall sheet of ice.  Doesn't matter for rentals but if you're looking to use it yourself that's the only thing you're not gonna like.

 I’ve taken my family to ski Ober Gatlinburg and Maggie Valley several times and we loved it. Smokies skiing is no Park City Utah, but it’s certainly adequate for a fun day of family time!

I actually live outside of Park City, Utah so I'm just being snobby :P

You could take a look at north Idaho. Around Sandpoint. Close to skiing at Schweitzer Mountain. Plus you have Lake Pend Orielle there as well.

Well I would say Smokies too cause that is where I have and am still investing, however, it sure does feel like it is getting close to not meeting @Nicholas Libertin criteria #4 - No Crazy overpriced markets.  The prices are starting to reach the absurd in that market right now.  

I am getting a ton of feedback for the Smokies.  Anything out west?  I have called a couple real estate agents in different areas...it seems most of them have stringent vacation rental laws.  

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Originally posted by @Ken Boone :

Well I would say Smokies too cause that is where I have and am still investing, however, it sure does feel like it is getting close to not meeting @Nicholas Libertin criteria #4 - No Crazy overpriced markets.  The prices are starting to reach the absurd in that market right now.  

It's overpriced relative to a year ago but not relative to returns or relative to the type of places he mentioned.  It's not somewhere like Steamboat springs where you pay $3million to get a place that returns $80k/yr gross. 

Originally posted by @Nicholas Libertin :

I am getting a ton of feedback for the Smokies.  Anything out west?  I have called a couple real estate agents in different areas...it seems most of them have stringent vacation rental laws.  

Out west is difficult, because anything near a major ski resort is going to have pretty jacked up prices.

You might want to check out Ogden Valley (Huntsville, UT, Eden UT) which is hot in the summer due to the lake and has a couple world class ski resorts, both of which are expanding even more.  I'm not sure if returns are great there or not.  When I looked pre-pandemic they weren't, but like a lot of places the vacation market there has likely quintupled since then.

It's not "cheap" but I think it's going to be about as cheap as you'll find for ski resorts that are THAT good.

Originally posted by @Nicholas Libertin :

I am getting a ton of feedback for the Smokies.  Anything out west?  I have called a couple real estate agents in different areas...it seems most of them have stringent vacation rental laws.  

Prescott AZ. Or Flagstaff. Checks all your boxes. Super STR friendly - by state mandate.

Yea I don't know anything about out west, but you are right it is NO WHERE near those kind of prices for that return.  That is truly insane.

Originally posted by @Ryan Moyer :
Originally posted by @Ken Boone:

Well I would say Smokies too cause that is where I have and am still investing, however, it sure does feel like it is getting close to not meeting @Nicholas Libertin criteria #4 - No Crazy overpriced markets.  The prices are starting to reach the absurd in that market right now.  

It's overpriced relative to a year ago but not relative to returns or relative to the type of places he mentioned.  It's not somewhere like Steamboat springs where you pay $3million to get a place that returns $80k/yr gross. 

Originally posted by @Ken Boone :

Well I would say Smokies too cause that is where I have and am still investing, however, it sure does feel like it is getting close to not meeting @Nicholas Libertin criteria #4 - No Crazy overpriced markets.  The prices are starting to reach the absurd in that market right now.  

Absurd is a relative term.  If you compare the typical yield in the Smokies compared to most other resort areas in the continental U.S., it's still a bargain.  Are the yields as generous as they were two years ago?  No. 

The prices in the Smokies and southern Appalachians are a fraction of comparable areas out west.  Buy and hold.

oh I get it.  It just hurts more now 😜
Originally posted by @Collin H. :
Originally posted by @Ken Boone:

Well I would say Smokies too cause that is where I have and am still investing, however, it sure does feel like it is getting close to not meeting @Nicholas Libertin criteria #4 - No Crazy overpriced markets.  The prices are starting to reach the absurd in that market right now.  

Absurd is a relative term.  If you compare the typical yield in the Smokies compared to most other resort areas in the continental U.S., it's still a bargain.  Are the yields as generous as they were two years ago?  No. 

The prices in the Smokies and southern Appalachians are a fraction of comparable areas out west.  Buy and hold.

We have two STRs in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  They have hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, tubing, mountain climbing.  It was recently rated best place in New England for fall foliage.

Mike