FINALLY we get to share our next project with you all!!! This has been a long, long time coming. Maybe not this cabin in particular, but our very first dedicated short term rental! This cabin, located 30 minutes outside of Chattanooga, TN is going to be a short term rental that we will use periodically! We published a podcast all about it here. In the podcast, we are sharing why we decided to transition from long term rentals to short term rentals, why we landed on this particular area of the country, and our many plans for this home! Oh, and It is actually already available to rent!
The cabin will be listed for rent on Airbnb and VRBO by mid September!
Some of you may know that Ty and I dipped our toes into investing in long term rentals. On the podcast, we share how a deep love for travel instilled a longing to find a greater sense of "freedom"...more time together, flexibility, and location independence. The first step in working toward a lifestyle with more freedom was to pay off our debt. We flipped our way out of student/car loans, and began living debt free after our third flip. Next, we found ourselves eager to create some automated income (when discussing long term rentals, a lot of people refer to the "passive income"...but if we have learned anything in five years, it's that real estate investing is not passive! It's a lot of work!). Creating recurring income by way of rentals intrigued us. We dedicated months to learning about real estate investing by way of the Bigger Pockets podcasts, learning from others who are successful landlords (both my brother and sis-in-law, and Ty's best friend have invested in rentals and were/are a wealth of information and knowledge!). We built our first long term rental several years ago. After one year of renting the house out, our mentor encouraged us to scale. What could we do to accelerate our goals and scale the business? Long story short, we found a lot zoned for multi-family and built four townhomes.
Fast forward to 2020, a year of introspection for many of us. We realized that being landlords of long term rentals was not a passion project. We didn't love it, and felt drawn to take our business in another direction. We decided to sell our single family rental, create a condo association for the townhomes and sell all four individually (which required a lot of legal work and many months to navigate!). We learned so much and are immensely grateful for those experiences, which ultimately lead our business to this next chapter.
I have been blogging about home design for nearly eight years now! Home design and real estate has always been a passion of mine. Ty began participating in the blog just after we got married (five years ago) by sharing travel guides. Travel is Ty's great passion. The man will ask to book a trip any time we have two consecutive days with no plans! We have been to 48 states in five years, and hope to hit the last two after baby arrives! I love the way he lights up when he shares memories from our travels or begins planning a new adventure.
We began staying in Airbnbs (verses hotels) a few years ago and grew to absolutely love it. When I can't sleep at night, I look at Airbnbs in random locations, saving homes with beautiful interiors or idyllic settings. Staying in a curated space that mimics the vibe of its location certainly enhances the experience. We began discussing our desire to own (either renovate or build) short term rentals just before purchasing the Holland cottage, where we are currently living (temporarily). As we have shared before, we bought this home with plans to put it on Airbnb.
Our trip to Big Sky, MT last summer compelled us further. We, along with our close friends, explored Yellowstone NP and the Grand Tetons NP, ending each day with a home cooked dinner at our Airbnb and wine on the deck. Life-altering, epiphany-filled conversations took place on the Adirondack chairs overlooking a perfectly still lake directly in front of Lone Peak. See photos from that trip here.
It was that weekend that initiated a burning desire for curating short term rentals and creating spaces where others can make rich memories with loved ones. We wanted this to be our life, and decided it was time to take some risks and pursue this business! Airbnb is the perfect marriage of Ty and I's two passions: home design and travel. After a myriad of experiences and endeavors, it feels like we've finally found our element, and we couldn't be more excited to get started.
We signed a contract to build a home in the 30a, FL area last summer. The home was suppose to be built in one year. We were so excited. I spent months working on the design, sourcing furniture, and writing blog posts. We were waiting until we broke ground on the construction before sharing with you all. Long story short, delay after delay occurred, and the builder was not able to provide any confidence as to when the house would be completed. It was costly for our investing (and flipping) business to have that project in limbo. It began to stress me out immensely, especially just after we found out we were pregnant. Ultimately, we signed a mutual release and began to look for another property. We were disappointed and had grown emotionally attached to that property, but we now understand that there was something better in store! In a wild turn of events, our very close friends (who came on that MT trip with us) ended up investing in a short term rental in the 30a area. We helped them decorate that home (see this blog post). We have plans to rent their home this upcoming year, and it's almost like having our own little slice of the beach! We are also keeping the 30a area on our radar and hope to one day add that to our repetoire of rentals!
We began searching across the entire country for the right market to invest (literally). We weighed things like rental rates, occupancy rates, property values, short term rental restrictions, property taxes, etc. Long story short (you can learn more about the process in the podcast!), we landed on the Chattanooga, TN area! The cabin is technically in Georgia, just across the GA/TN border and only 10 minutes to Cloudland Canyon State Park (great hiking, waterfalls, and views!). We love its proximity to Chattanooga which is a vibrant city with local eateries, craft coffee, and shopping (the cabin feels remote, yet is only a drive from Whole Foods...the best of both worlds if you ask me!). The rental is located on the most gorgeous golf course on Lookout Mountain; the cabin is at 2000 ft elevation! The community has miles of hiking, waterfalls, rock climbing, tennis, swimming, and a beautiful club house and restaurant. They even host outdoor concerts on the weekends. Check out this video for more about the nature surrounding McLemore.
Ty and I don't really golf, which might make this feel like a random choice! We agree, ha! When thinking about spending long periods of time nestled in a rural cabin in the mountains, we feared that we would miss the ability to take long walks outside our front door (as I wouldn't feel safe walking alone in rural, mountainous area). We love to be active. After visiting this community and touring the cabin, we saw opportunity to enjoy the quiet of the mountains, while taking our active lifestyle with us. We know that we will love the amenities (specifically hiking on the property, tennis, swimming, and walking the course in the evening!), especially with a kiddo in tow! We hope to learn to golf. We know our guests will love these amenities, too!
Remember when we speed-decorated our friends' beach house in 10 days, just in time for their first renters to arrive? We definitely never thought we would face such a unique challenge again. Well, well, well.....who's ready for round 2??? We have 9 DAYS to fully furnish and decorate this cabin! We close on the cabin and have renters lined up to stay 9 days later. To make matters more crazy, I have to go to California for work within that timeline. Oh, and I'll be 6 months pregnant...ha! IT'S AN ADVENTURE!!!
Stick around as we will be sharing a "before" tour here on the blog in a few days! Following, I'll be sharing the design boards that I have created for the cabin so you can get a sense of how we plan to decorate the home! And be sure to check back in August when we will driving 2 trucks 10 hours down to GA to decorate this 2400 sf, 4 bedroom cabin in just over a week (thankfully, my Mom and Dad are gracious enough to come help this pregnant lady unpack and build furniture! Grandma and Grandpa are always up for an adventure and are no longer surprised by our wild ideas! They hardly blinked when we told them we bought a cabin in Georgia. Let's not forget that they have flipped 20 houses and have 9 kids - I get these outlandish ideas from somewhere!)
We can't wait to take you along as we tackle the #HTcabin! Many renovation projects ahead!
Come visit!!! Link to rental here!
Hannah and Ty