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Updated Tour of Parker Creek Marina

I’ve heard all about this food boat that is operating out of Lake Martin’s Parker Creek Marina.  I haven’t seen it yet, so I thought I’d drop by.  I went during the week, so the marina was closed and I didn’t learn anything about the food boat.  But it was a pretty day and it gave me a chance to video their new dock.

I don’t know exactly what Parker Creek has in store for next summer, but something’s going on.  If you have any updates, let me know.

If you’re looking to buy waterfront real estate, that means you probably want a boat.  And if you have a boat, you probably need some gas.  When showing Lake Martin waterfront homes, I often get these questions, “Where is the nearest marina?” ” How do you get there by land?” and “How do you get there by water?” If you’re looking for waterfront homes for sale in the Parker Creek area, then take a look at what Parker Creek Marina has to offer:

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Destination Peanut Point

One of the things that I love about Lake Martin is that I am constantly learning about new spots - rope swings, skiing sloughs, hiking trails, fishing haunts.  Despite the fact that I’m a full time real estate agent here, and despite the fact that I grew up in Alex City, rarely does a week go by where I do not learn of a new road or a new slough on Lake Martin.

For example, I read a recent issue of LAKE Magazine, and I learned about Peanut Point (“A Visit to Peanut Point” July 2014).  I know, I know, many of you readers are rolling your eyes right now.  How could I not know about Peanut Point??  But after I read about it, I had to seek it out.  I realized I had driven by there once before, last May, and wondered, “What in the world is going on here?”

We have some good friends who have a lake house on what they call the “Non-Palooza” side of Lake Martin, and they are Peanut Point regulars.  They offered to bring us by, and it was a lot of fun! There’s something exciting about driving up by boat and getting boiled peanuts.  Lake Martin + boiled peanuts = Fun.

Peanut Point

Granted, I am a huge fan of boiled peanuts.  A couple of football seasons ago I boiled a bushel of my own one Saturday for a marathon session of watching SEC football.  I ate so many that the next morning I awoke convinced I had a stomach virus.  My wife gently reminded me that my sodium intake the previous day was gargantuan.  Never-the-less, she let me lay out of church that morning.

To find Peanut Point:  There’s a very small cut thru on the west side of Woods Island.  It separates Woods Island from the mainland where the Alex City version of Young’s Ferry Road peters out into a dirt track.  If you don’t know where that is, go to Bay Pines Marina and ask them.  They will tell you to travel south/southwest, or about seven o’clock on the clock face.

Map to Peanut Point Lake Martin, AL

A gentle reminder to my readers that I am a Lake Martin realtor, and I do not sell boiled peanuts.  If you call me to ask if Peanut Point is open, I will tell you “Yes!” 100% of the timeI’d love to help you research Lake Martin real estate, but I’m leaving the boiled peanuts to the experts.

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What Your Kids Think about the New Lake House

Kids like Lake Martin.  They like waterfront homes on Lake Martin.  And they are naturals at giving their testimonials on video – no coaching necessary.

This video below was sent to me by my buyers, the new owners of a lake house in Parker Creek.  Their daughter volunteered to give their family’s testimonial for me, and I think she does a great job.  Most adults cringe when asked to be in front of a camera, even if it is just my iPhone.  The fact that some agree to do it, I hope, is proof that they valued my help in the transaction.  But a kid?  Why didn’t I think of this before?

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And on the flip side, I’ll bring back this video from 2010, where a mom (and friend of our family) talks about why she, as a parent, loves Lake Martin. There’s a lot of wisdom in what she says – see if you agree:

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So – if you’re looking for a way to bond with your kids, try Lake Martin.  As a full time Lake Martin real estate agent, I’m happy to hook you up with a home or lot here.

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Lots to Do at Russell Crossroads at Lake Martin

Lately, when selling Lake Martin waterfront real estate, I’m talking a lot more about the growing number of off-the-water Lake Martin activities – things to do that add to the fun we have year round and simply make life here more convenient.  Our exceptional on-the-water activities are the obvious sell, so it’s fun to get to brag on our fall, winter and spring attractions, too.  We are becoming a well-rounded second home market.

Take Russell Crossroads, for example.  There’s been so much going on there this summer: Yoga on the Green, Friday night concerts, wine tastings.  But did you know that a lot of what Russell Crossroads offers is not summer specific – the restaurants, the grocery and deli shopping, the stables, the trails.  You can enjoy these all year long.

I realized I had not shot a video from Russell Crossroads in a couple of years, so here’s quick, updated tour.  For buyers out there who are wondering what Lake Martin offers in the non-summer months, check it out:

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I’m a full time Lake Martin real estate agent, and I can help you with any property in the Lake Martin Area MLS.  Give me a call (334 221 5862) and lets talk about making Lake Martin your year round vacation destination.

Related blog posts and videos:

Grab Your Bike and Meet Me at the Market

Russell Forest Trail Hike Video

How to Get to Catherine’s Market by Boat

When at Springhouse, Follow Sam’s Advice

Warning: Catherine’s Market Has Ice Cream

 

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When at Springhouse, Follow Sam’s Advice

That would be Sam Fonte, the Restaurant Manager and Certified Sommelier at Lake Martin’s Springhouse restaurant.  In early July, my wife and I left our kids at the cabin with their grandparents and had a date night dinner at Springhouse.  The whole evening was outstanding, and Sam was a big part of the experience.

That Springhouse can exist at Lake Martin is pretty incredible.  The food is so good, the staff so competent, and the atmosphere so elegant, it is easy to forget you are in rural, central Alabama.  Even our Atlanta foodie friends are impressed – one couple compared the quality of food and service at Springhouse to upscale Atlanta restaurants that charge a whole lot more.  Hats off to all involved who make this restaurant work so well.

Cheese Plate Springhouse Lake Martin

Cheese Plate with local honey, blueberry jam, walnuts, angel biscuit.

I’m smart enough to realize that liking good food and wine, and knowing about good food and wine are two different things, so when I eat somewhere nice I ask a lot of questions.  My wife usually cringes when I start peppering the staff with queries, but even she gave in once the food and drinks began to arrive at our table.  The highlight of the meal was dessert: Sam recommended a Sherry to pair with the Samoa Ice Cream sandwich and Wow!  I must rethink my Lake Martin + Food associations.  I love a blackened catfish sandwich with hush puppies, but I also like the 1985 Don PX Gran Reserva with vanilla ice cream.

Dessert at Springhouse Lake Martin

Samoa Ice Cream Sandwich with Sherry

And now we can all have both!

If you haven’t tried Springhouse, I highly recommend you go.  They serve dinner Wednesday-Saturday from 5:30pm – 10pm, and brunch on Sunday from 10am – 2pm.  Call a few days ahead for reservations  (256.215.7080) during the summer.  Please do not call me, however, for I am a Lake Martin real estate agent, and I cannot make a reservation for your party of four.  Ask Sam if you have any questions and enjoy fine dining at Lake Martin!

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Water Depth Measurement, Boy Scout Style

When selling Lake Martin waterfront real estate, the worlds of work and fun often collide to produce a work day like last Friday at the lake.

As I’ve mentioned here before, Alabama Power dropped prices on the lots in Phase II of Shady Bay a few weeks ago, and there has been a lot of interest from buyers.  One particular buyer was referred to me by Lake Martin homeowner and architect, Bryan Jones.  (Bryan was recently featured is LAKE Magazine for his design of Lake Martin’s first Passive House.) This buyer was interested in two lots in Shady Bay, and wanted more info on water depth in front of both lots.  Bryan – always looking for an adventure – asked if I wanted to come and help him measure the water depth for this client.

But he was not interested in using the depth finder on my boat.  As sophisticated as he is in his fancy Atlanta office, he wanted to take these measurements using his kayak, his tape measure, some wooden stakes, a piece of paper and a red ink pen. Old School. We recruited our wives to help.

Shady Bay Water DepthWe had two lots, side by side, to compare, and we wanted to know how deep the water would be off the end of each hypothetical dock.

Step one of this highly technical procedure was to place some stakes on the shore – on either edge of each lot, and in the approximate middles.  We then stretched a long tape measure out over the water and took three different depth readings (with a yellow measuring tape).  We picked increments of around 20′, around 50′ and around 60′ based on Alabama Power’s shoreline guidelines (linked here) and the HOA’s rules specific to Shady Bay.  It rained on us a little, but such adventures are not thwarted by a little rain.

Shady Bay Depth MeasurementShady Bay Depth MeasurementShady Bay Depth MeasurementShady Bay Depth MeasurementShady Bay Depth MeasurementShady Bay Water Depth Measurement

Shady Bay Lot Water Depth Measurement

The measurements we took helped my client make his decision, and he submitted an offer on the lot.

So why go through all this trouble, when we could have just breezed through Shady Bay and gotten a reading from my boat’s depth finder?  Because we love the lake and the lake is fun.  If you are ever around Bryan and his wife, Allison, their passion for Lake Martin adventures is contagious.  That’s what a lot of us seek when we come here – a chance to slow down and be a part of an authentically fun moment.

When our “work” was finished, we headed south in the boat and had pizza at Chuck’s .  Then back north for peanuts at Peanut Point.  It was definitely a good Friday.

If you’re interested in Lake Martin real estate, I’d love to get to help you, too.  I’m a full time Lake Martin realtor and I’m up for the adventure.  I sell across the entire lake, and I sell nothing but Lake Martin.  Give me a call at 334 221 5862, email me at john @ lakemartinvoice.com, or click here to contact me.

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Warning: Catherine’s Market Has Ice Cream Cart

Attention all parents and all people who like ice creamCatherine’s Market has a new temptation for you.  If you’re a fan of Russell Crossroads and Catherine’s Market, like I am, then please be advised of this devious plot they have unleashed upon us.  They have an ice cream cart sitting outside on the corner, w/in eyesight of the outdoor dining area.

Catherine's Market Lake Martin Ice Cream Cart IMG_7765 IMG_7767I would like to be able to say that I have the self discipline to avoid buying ice cream, but sadly, I am at the 100% purchase rate.  The first couple of times I told myself it was for market research.  Next I had to tell myself that I was being nice to my kids.  The result is I’ve bought ice cream every time I’ve been there lately.

If you want to resist this temptation, try and sneak in and out of the kitchen’s back door. They probably won’t allow you to do this for health code reasons.  Realistically, you’re going to have to put on some blinders, don’t look to the left, and quickly enter the front door.

If you fall victim, well then, enjoy!

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Lake Martin Gets Bigger and Smaller

Yes.  Lake Martin is now bigger AND smaller.

When I talk to people about Lake Martin waterfront real estate, they are usually amazed by the size of our lake770 MILES of shoreline is the number I’ve told people for as long as I can remember.  That’s a huge lake, especially when you consider only 30% of the shoreline is developed.

But a new measurement is showing we have even more shoreline than that!  880 miles to be exact.  According to an article in the Alexander City Outlook, Alabama Power’s new measurements show the lake has MORE shoreline but LESS water (measured in acres) than previous estimates revealed. I was once a pre-engineering major, and among the many reasons I washed out was the fact that I can’t grasp how you can have more shoreline but less acreage. Nevertheless, this is interesting news!

Everyone adjust your Lake Martin trivia accordingly.

DCIM101GOPRO

The Lighthouse From Up High by: John Coley

Here’s the Outlook article:  New figures show Lake Martin has more shoreline 

Also – according to this article, we may not know whether FERC has approved the new winter water level request until next summer.  So don’t expect an answer anytime soon.  These. things.  just. take. a. long. time.  To read more about the relicensing of Martin Dam, check out the links below:

Update on Lake Martin’s FERC Relicensing

FERC Lake Martin Meeting Recap

If you’re considering a Lake Martin real estate purchase at Lake Martin, give me a call.  I’d love to share my knowledge, my experience, my trials, and my errors, with a good bit of Lake Martin trivia thrown in on the side. No extra charge!  John Coley  334221 5862, or click here to contact me.

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The First Thing to Do When You Buy on Lake Martin

We’ve had our first closing of a Lake Martin waterfront lot in Phase II of Shady Bay!  Alabama Power recently dropped the prices on all of these lots, and we’ve seen a lot of action, plus the first closing.  There are twelve lots remaining in Phase II.

As an accountant an a realtor, I get geeked up about the numbers and the business side of a sale, so when I asked my Shady Bay buyers what their first step would be now that they owned the lot, I expected them to say, “Meet the builder at the lot,” or “Go over house plans with the architect.”  Something business-y.  But that was not their plan, and I love what they said!  Check it out:

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Now that is the first thing to do when you buy on Lake Martin!  I am so happy for these lot owners and I look forward to watching them create their dream home on the water.  Thanks for letting me share your excitement with my readers!

Like I said, the price drops at Shady Bay have created a lot of interest from buyers.  Shady Bay is an established neighborhood on the northeast side of the Lake Martin.  That means you can relax on the water, but still be in Alex City in minutes – the grocery store, the hospital, the schools, Highway 280.  It’s a great mix of city/vacation, and because it is close to Highway 280, a lot of things are close to Shady Bay.

For more info on Shady Bay, click here   If you like what you see, give me a call at 334 221  5862, and let’s talk about what this neighborhood has to offer.  I’m the listing agent for Shady Bay, but as a member of the Lake Martin MLS, I can help you with any property in the MLS, regardless of who has it listed.  For a quick tour of the neighborhood, check out the video below:

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Sold in 10 Days on Lake Martin

What does it take to sell a waterfront Lake Martin home in ten days?  That’s what happened with this Little Kowaliga property.  Since this home was a Lake Martin Voice Realty listing, I wanted to share this success story with you.  I also brought the buyers to the home, so I’m familiar with both parties.  While it is certainly not the norm to have a contract within ten days on Lake Martin, it’s a worthy goal.  So let’s unpack how this sale worked and see what lessons it offers.

457 First Street on Lake Martin

1.) The sellers had their lake home in great selling condition.

It looked good.  It was uncluttered, it was depersonalized, it was clean – all the tips you see on HGTV.  This is huge, and it does not always happen.  You’d be surprised. Let’s face it, people buy waterfront homes on Lake Martin to have fun – and a lot of times having fun gets in the way of keeping a tidy home.

2.) I had buyers who were ready to buy a Lake Martin home.

A large part of a realtor’s commission should be access to that agent’s “inventory” of current buyers who want to buy a Lake Martin home RIGHT NOW.  Not maybe, not hypothetically, but right now.  I had a buyer who was ready. This couple was familiar with Lake Martin already, and had been looking both online and in person. They were well researched on the Lake Martin market, and knew what they wanted.

Realistically, realtors do not always have that perfect buyer already queued in the wings, but another resource a realtor should bring to the table is his or her ability to go out and find other buyers.  That takes a strong marketing presence. That’s why I blog about Lake Martin – ninety percent of buyers look on web, and for the vast majority that is the first move they make, so I think our internet presence should be a big priority.

A strong web presence (website, youtube channel, pictures) is an absolute must. But you can have the prettiest pictures in the world and it doesn’t mean squat if it doesn’t get found. Your agent MUST have a site that can stand out of the noise of the web and get found by Google. That’s why I blog about Lake Martin in general, and real estate specifically. The search engines recognize this site as a strong resource, and visitors to my site (thank you very much) are the proof in the pudding. We have been blessed with about a million hits from literally hundreds of thousands of unique visitors since I have been blogging (2007).

3.) Maybe most importantly, the sellers had an honest assessment of pricing.

What is a home worth?  Really?  In spite of all of the real estate info available to buyers and sellers online these days, buying or selling a home is still a pretty personal transaction.  Objectivity can be difficult.  The sellers of this Little Kowaliga home had tested the market for 252 days at a higher price with another listing company.  They were willing to try again at a price more closely aligned with what our market was telling them.  The result was a sale.  In ten days.

4.) The media.

And specifically, a huge amount of pictures.  Most buyers are coming from out of town and can’t swing by the home during lunch to check it out.  For obvious reasons, I want Lake Martin to be known for its awesome real estate marketing. I want people to be blown away by the care we take to sell Lake Martin.  I want the info on all of our MLS properties to be readily available, completely thorough, and of the highest quality.  So we select the best forms of marketing and then get out of the way (No sassy glamor shots of me with my arms folded. No talk about my “team.” People want a lake home, not an agent).  In this case, we chose seventy two quality pictures of the Little Kowaliga home and put them on the MLS.  And on our website.  And on Flickr.

I am still surprised, however, that in this age of no cost digital pics, I still see agents in the MLS that mail in their media efforts.  I see homes with five pictures of a property, two of them are out of focus, and one contains their thumb.  I don’t get it. Let me say a word to people who are thinking about selling their Lake Martin property – check out the past listings of the agents you are considering. First of all – can you even find their listings? If you can’t, how do you expect a buyer to find them? And if you do find them, do you see vague directions? Lackluster verbal descriptions? Poorly lit and out of focus pictures? And I will say it – A TOTAL LACK OF VIDEO?

Why do you think this agent will do anything different for your property?

It shouldn’t matter what kind of property you are selling, I believe it is up to us agents to put in 100% effort to sell your waterfront properties.  I’ll never be confused with Ansel Adams or Steven Spielberg, but I can say that I will do my best to give not 5, but 45 clear pics of any property I have the honor of listing.

5.) Video video video.

We put out a great full motion video tour of the home.  Not a slideshow of the same MLS pics set to muzak.  We’re currently working on incorporating aerial shots of the properties into the video home tours, and that looks really cool. The video below is the one we made for the Little Kowaliga home; we try to squeeze  every possible bit of info about the property into these videos in under 3 minutes.  We want buyers to know exactly what the seller is offering, with no surprises once they arrive at the home in person.

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We also did a quick aerial video of the outside of the Little Kowaliga home. It’s amazing how much additional info you can gain from this vantage:

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10 days on the market was all it took in this case.  Like I said, this is not the norm for Days On Market, but the transaction is more likely to move quickly if all of these factors are considered.  And of all of these, an honest assessment of pricing is probably going to be the biggest factor.  I love Blizzards from Dairy Queen a whole lot, but I will not buy one for $10, even if it is the best looking Blizzard I have ever seen, and it is 105 degrees outside.  Its value has been set in the open market and I know I can get a comparable Blizzard for less on down the road.

So – Lake Martin homeowners, are you considering listing your home with a Lake Martin realtor?  If you are, and you like what you’ve seen here, I’d love the opportunity to talk with you about your property.  And if you are a buyer, I’d love to help you thoroughly scour the lake inventory and gather as much info as possible on homes that may meet your needs.  If you’re interested in a listing that is not mine, and you feel like you need more info, I make private video tours of other agent’s listings and provide you with a private YouTube link.  Call me.  John Coley  334  221 5862 or john (at) lakemartinvoice (dot)com.

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