10 Things to Do After Buying a Short-Term Rental in the Smoky Mountains

Are you the proud owner of a short-term rental property in the picturesque Smoky Mountains? Congratulations on your investment in one of the most sought-after vacation destinations! Now that you’ve secured your property, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with the next 10 essential steps to take after purchasing your Smoky Mountains short-term rental.

I’m Sarah Fleming, co-owner and designer at Summit & Shore Design Co., and I understand that turning your property into a successful rental can be a daunting task. That’s why I’m here to simplify the process and guide you through the journey. In this blog post, we’ll break down the crucial actions you need to take to maximize your rental’s potential and provide guests with an unforgettable Smoky Mountain experience.

So, let’s dive in and transform your investment property into a thriving short-term rental that not only pays off but also brings joy to every visitor who steps through the door.

Top 10 things to know about the smoky mountains

1. Interior Design

First impressions matter, and the interior design of your STR can make or break guest experiences. Invest in stylish-commercial grade furnishings, comfortable beds, and a cohesive design theme that reflects the charm of the Smoky Mountains.

Why commercial grade furnishings? Quality built furniture last longer, markets better, provides a better customer experience, and reduces the amount of maintenance required from you!

2. Professional Photography

High-quality photos are essential for attracting guests. Consider hiring a professional photographer to capture your property’s beauty, both inside and out.

We always encourage our investors to invest in high quality marketing! It greatly increases the profitability of the property and helps your property stand out from among the crowd on all the search engines.

Quality marketing includes: exterior images, interior images, aerial photography, twilight images, virtual tours and videos. All of these should be done through a professional interior photographer that understands what your property needs to gain maximum exposure.

3. Online Listing Optimization

Make your property stand out on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO by optimizing your listing. Use descriptive titles, appealing descriptions, and eye-catching photos to attract potential guests.

For more information on listing optimization click here!

4. Smart Locks

Enhance security and convenience by installing smart locks. These allow guests to check in and out easily while providing you with control and monitoring capabilities.

Be aware – every listing platform has different language in their terms of service regarding security & privacy. Smart lock and cameras should be used to enhance the guest experience in a way that complies with your listing platforms terms of service.

5. Cleaning & Maintenance

Maintain a spotless and well-maintained property. Your cleaning and maintenance vendors not only work to satisfy guests but also prolong the lifespan of your investment.

Taking time to find the right cleaners and service providers for your properties are well worth the investment. These people are your eyes and ears on the ground. Don’t forget that a little tip beyond their normal rates goes a long way in making sure you are a priority to your vendors.

6. Property Management

Self-Management or Professional Management? We could spend a lot of time on this hotly debated topic but here is the fact. Not all management companies are created equal and not all self managers are created equal either. Everyone has different circumstances that will impact the decision you make regarding property management. Self managing means this is no longer a passive investment and hiring a management company means you will be giving up 20-40% of your revenue to go towards making this a passive investment.

Our advice is simple; if you do not have the time or desire to self manage then hire a property manager. When hiring a property manager have a in depth understanding of how they will market your properties, what additional fees they collect and what impact that will have on your bookings, and whether or not they are providing you with the services you need.

For those that choose to self manage this means you will need to set up systems, software, and process that fulfill all the needs of your property, vendors, and guest. We do not cover this in this blog but will be creating information for you soon!

7. Business Setup

Formally establish your STR business by choosing the right legal structure, registering your property, and obtaining any necessary permits or licenses.

8. Tax Considerations

Understand the tax implications of your STR income, including income tax, occupancy tax, and any deductions you may be eligible for. Consulting with a tax professional is a wise choice.

9. Bank Account

Open a separate bank account for your STR income and expenses. This will help you keep track of your finances and simplify tax reporting.

10. Cost Segregation Study

Consider a cost segregation study to maximize your tax benefits. This analysis can help you identify specific assets within your property that can be depreciated more quickly, reducing your tax liability.

Have you never heard of a cost segregation study? Well now you have and you will love it. Our financial director Matt Tatum is a CPA & Cost Segregation Specialist who would be happy to help you. Check out this video with Matt on Cost Seg Studies and schedule a time with him to learn how you can use this to keep more money in your pocket!

Bottom Line:

In conclusion, owning a Short-Term Rental property in the Smoky Mountains can be a rewarding venture, but it requires careful planning and attention to detail. By focusing on interior design, photography, online optimization, security, cleanliness, property management, legal matters, taxes, banking, and cost segregation, you can set your STR on a path to success. Best of luck with your new investment, and may it bring both joy to guests and prosperity to your business.

Rachel beasley, smoky mountain tn realtor

Learn more about Summit & Shore

Summit & Shore Design Co. can turn your space into something extraordinary! Launched in 2023, Summit and Shore has combined quality with affordability to help you find the best furniture for your unique place. Learn more today!