Let me start off by apologizing for the lull around here the last few weeks. It’s not for lack of work or progress around the house but because we’ve been gearing up for a new project. Now finally, after a month and half, all the final details have come together and last week we closed on our very first investment property. I’m so excited to introduce you to the soon to be White Mountain Cottage, a small A-frame chalet in Gatlinburg, TN. Our plan is to fix it up and use it as a short-term lease/vacation rental.
For those of you who have been following along you know that we bought and moved into our first fixer upper, The Dutch Farmhouse, last summer. Over the last 12 months we’ve been busy with a master suite renovation, a kitchen renovation, and a few other small projects. But something we haven’t talked about is our desire to move beyond just fixing up our own home and pursue other opportunities and investments.
You may be asking why now and why a rental? My husband and I have tossed around the idea of investing in real estate ever since the purchase of our first home in 2012. In fact, we considered keeping that house and renting it out, but when we found and fell in love with our current home we knew we needed to sell to afford the necessary renovations. At that point we decided to put our investment dreams on hold for the sake of what will hopefully be the home our family grows up in.
Now that we’ve finished up two of the four necessary renovations and we’re living comfortably we decided to put a halt on projects here for a bit and look into other opportunities. Over the summer, with the help of our real estate agent, we looked high and low for a flip project close to home, but the market in Nashville is extremely competitive and we quickly decided it just isn’t the right fit for us at the moment.
But rather than calling it quits, my husband brought up the idea of buying an investment house in Gatlinburg that we could fix up and use as a vacation rental. At first I wasn’t sure but then he started filling me in with all the details. Turns out that the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area in East Tennessee has consistently ranked well in the top 10 ROI areas around the country for years, and that in 2016 the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the most visited national park nationwide. So, his crazy idea started seeming less crazy and I jumped on board, albeit a little hestantly. In late July, we headed out on a one day trip to meet with an agent and look at a few houses in the area. We saw three houses that day and found one that peaked our interest. Fast forward a few months and here we are.
Honestly, this is a new ball game for us. Renovating your own home over time isn’t the same thing as getting an investment property ready to go. Not to mention we’ll be commuting 8 hours roundtrip to work on the house on the weekends. We’ve already made the drive several times in the last few months and we are quickly getting used to it. We will be working with a few contractors in the beginning to get things going but after that we are taking on most of the work ourselves. A big part of this project will be sticking to our budget and planning our weekends efficiently. Time is money and every dollar over budget or extra weekend of work is money out of our pockets and a delay in getting this house ready for rent.
While the money/cost aspect is important and ultimately the goal of investing, it is not the only end game for us. We are looking at this project as a stepping stone that will lead us down a path of pursuing our passions. We have always loved real estate, have talked about getting realtor licenses, looked into house flipping, and we have enjoyed renovating and improving our own homes.
Pay attention to the things you are naturally drawn to. They are often connected to your path, passion, and purpose in life. Have the courage to follow them.
My husband and I enjoy the challenge of turning something most people would overlook into something worthy of a second look. Whether its houses or furniture we like to bring new life to old things and we enjoy doing it together.
Projects like this take time, hard work and dedication. As a young family, we are acutely aware of the sacrifices it takes to make these things possible. Our girls are young but our hope is that they grow up seeing us making tough choices and working hard to make our dreams a reality. We want to instill in them that your dreams are always within your reach if you are willing to work for them and it’s important to pursue things in life that excite you.
We are eager to get to work and already know just what we want the house to look like when we are done. I am excited about the opportunity to go beyond my safe “farmhouse” style and try something a little different. We are excited to share our journey with you as we learn, grow and evolve through this experience. And just maybe somewhere along the way we might inspire some of you the same way others have inspired us.
As always, thank you for following along with us and for all your sweet comments and support here on the blog, Instagram and Facebook. I’ve been busy with design plans and have so much I want to share with you here on the blog. Its my goal to do a better job documenting the whole process this time around. I have a lot of ideas and a list things I hope to share with you over the next few months.
But before we get to the projects we need to introduce you to the house. So next week we will share the official “before” photos and go into detail about all our plans for updating and renovating each space. Make sure to subscribe below so you don’t miss anything!