Driving Towards FIRE,  Financial Coaching Blog,  Investing In Retirement,  Our Story

We’ve Been Vacation Rental Owners for 4 Years Now

4 years ago we took a chance…

And purchased our vacation cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains. It was our first time investing in what would become a short-term vacation rental that we intended to self-manage initially from our home in Nashville and later while on the road fulltime in our RV. And we’ve been remotely managing ever since.

I cannot tell you the hours we spent researching STRs & vacation rentals, analysis paralysis they call it…

But what I can tell you is that this purchase was the single most important purchase for our FIRE dreams. Not only important, but quite significant as well.

Significant for multiple reasons…

1. This 1200 sq ft cabin built in 1999 has been our biggest ROI to date.

2. It provided us a home to stay when we needed a break from the RV and a haven when the Pandemic first started and our jobs were canceled.

3. Semi-passive income for the remainder of this year. This allowed us to extend Meredith’s maternity leave by more than 4 months without disrupting our savings and other goals.

4. Because we bought at a low price, our expenses are also low, but with STRs you play the risk vs reward game and in our experience the reward is much higher than the risk. This reward is certainly higher than that of long term rentals, but that is our opinion.

5. We love the Smoky Mountains and it only made sense to invest in an area that we know and frequently visit. That’s usually the wise advice regarding investments. Invest in what you know and what you like, but take mitigated risks along the way.

Real estate in our opinion will always be the best investment you make and there is a right way to do it. Understanding the path you wish to take, researching that path, finding like-minded resources to share ideas, and gathering as much knowledge of the path from others that came before you are all critical components of any investment.

Once you do that, don’t hold back.

Stick with it, even in down times.

Investing of any kind is a short term game, for a long term win. Success isn’t found by climbing too fast or moving too quickly, it’s found by consistently riding the wave as it ebbs and flows.


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