Lake Martin Voice Realty
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Anytime is a great time for taking pictures around Lake Martin.
I can think of so many great occasions – times when you want to say “look at me, I’m still fishing and you’re at work,” hiking, hunting, or just plain ole hanging out.
If you are like me, you imagine these perfect photo opportunities and how good they would look on social media. Your subject looks dazzling. The picture is composed so well that Kenneth Boone would nod in artistic appreciation. Your “friends” on Facebook would seethe with envy, yet comment something like “so cute” or “time, please slow down!”
If you are like me, you also mess up just about 99 out of 100 shots you take. Everyone’s hair is combed; the dog is looking directly in the camera; the kids appear genuinely like a gunfighter in a spaghetti western. Ugh!
The same goes for real estate photography.
Sure, I will grant you, no one is likely to print out a picture of your home from the MLS and hang it on their fridge. It probably will not go viral like the “Back to School” shots of your kids, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Having really good pictures of a home that is for sale is still paramount in my business. I really like all of the media that we have these days – video, aerial footage and 3D walkthroughs – but that doesn’t mean we agents should forsake the humble photograph.
The most important picture is the first one listed in the MLS or online. That’s because we know from the numbers that 90% of homebuyers use the web to scout for homes. A great majority of people’s first move is to look online, not call an agent. That lead picture is the home’s mug shot. It is the maker or breaker. If the first picture doesn’t look good, the ever-roving eye of the buyer will move on without a click.
That is why it’s really important to take the best pictures possible. Everybody knows this, but at the lake it means getting really nice shots of the lake side of the house. For a waterfront home, the lake side is the main side. Buyers come for the lake, so the lake is the most important thing.
It sounds pretty elementary, but time and time again, I see pictures on the MLS or on other sites where it’s obvious that the agent or owner did not take this into account. If I were a seller of a waterfront home on Lake Martin, I would insist on the best media possible – pictures, 3D tours, etc. The whole nine yards. I would make the main thing the main thing. Show me a great picture of the lakeside facade.
One of the steps in getting great pictures is having superb lighting. The best possible. I am nowhere near a professional photographer, but at least I try to get the best light. To do that, I have to figure out the time of day that is going to be most flattering for the outside of the home. This differs for every home on Lake Martin because the lake side of the home might be facing in any direction.
If you have a west facing home and take early morning pictures, your results will be draped in shadow. You have to plan around that.
Also, at Lake Martin, many waterfront homes sit on wooded lots, so you have to take that into account. What sun angle would be best to avoid the trees casting shadows all over that outdoor kitchen? Not just morning or afternoon, but what exact time of day? If you were really doing a good job, you would want to take pictures of every side of the house.
Do you need to come back another day at a different time and take more pictures or video of different sides of the house to take advantage of differing light situations? Will it be cloudy the day you try?
How then, can you plan for shadows and the path of the sun? Does it require camping out and taking notes for an entire day?
Enter my not-so-secret-weapon-of-a-website: suncalc.net.
I was tipped off to this website by my friend and architect Bryan Jones. Architects are another group of professionals that really pay attention to the sun.
This site will tell you the best time of day at any place around the world. Just plug in an address, and you can see the sun’s path at any given time on any given day of the year.
Where should you take pictures Easter morning at Grandma’s house? When’s the best time to photograph your dock at the lake? All of these questions can be answered at suncalc.net.
Incidentally, if you want to shoot Acapulco Rock in the full sun in the middle of August, try 11:05 a.m.
Note: I originally published this article in my monthly column in Lake Magazine. I am proud to write about Lake Martin Real Estate for Lake Magazine.
So how do you feel about Mondays? Maybe a free boating clinic at Blue Creek Marina on Lake Martin would help with Monday blues!
One Monday a month from now thru October, captains from Blue Creek Marina will focus on a different boat type to help you learn to safely operate and dock your boat.
Registration is required. Space is limited. Hours for the clinics are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call Jennifer or Nicole at Blue Creek Marina to reserve your free spot. 256-825-8888.
Snacks and bottle water provided – bring your own lunch.
See the schedule listed below.
March 6, April 3, May 1, June 5, July 10, August 7, September 11, October 2
March 13, April 10, May 8, June 12, July 17, August 14, September 18, October 9
March 20, April 17, May 15, June 19, July 24, August 21, September 25, October 16
If you would like the best app for Lake Martin, Alabama, complete with events, eats, home search, and landmarks, please see my Lake Martin Voice App. It’s free! Just search “Lake Martin Voice” in the app store.
It is no secret that I love to fish for striped bass at Lake Martin. And I am always looking to improve my game.
This picture from a few years ago was taken here at Lake Martin in the Fall and yes it was chilly. Here it is March and it is time for a March report from David Hare.
I always pay attention to David Hare’s striped bass reports. David is the owner and head guide at Alex City Guide Service.
Please see his report for March below. Also pay attention to the Striped Bass Class (bet you can’t say that fast without laughing). The class is March 25 – it is a great opportunity to get some help with catching striper. Click here for more information about the class.
I also pay close attention to David’s Facebook page.
If you have any questions, please contact David directly at:
Lake Martin Striped Bass March Report, by Captain David Hare
Sitting here on 2/08/17 trying to give you a March report! Well I’m going to tell you what should be happening based on past years of guiding here and living on this lake.
March is a month that you could find stripers on most any part of the lake, however some of my favorite places in March are in the creek channels for example: (but not limited to) Elkhatchee, Blue Creek, Big Sandy, and others. Creeks do not hold all the stripe by any means but for me they produce very well. The next several weeks (12-14 weeks) you can have lots of fun fishing creeks for trophy size stripers. In fact a couple years back on March 13th one of our guides boated a record 52 lb. ‘er at the mouth of a creek channel. That same day we had several fish in the 30 to 40 lb. range. That being said – March produces monsters.
I know, I know I haven’t told you what to fish with or how? It’s no secret that we (Alex City Guide Service) specialize in live bait fishing which for most people is a very challenging way to fish due to catching shad and not to even mention being able to keep them alive, so what you can do is go out and catch you some bream on a hook and line, keep them alive and go right then and fish them on planer boards in these areas. Take your time and your patience and work creek areas and you just might be surprised at what you catch.
Say that sounds like a lot of work, time and trouble? Well that’s when you just pick up the phone and call me to book a trip of a lifetime. We are considered the go to guide service on Lake Martin and year after year we entertain thousands of clients and produce some of the best catches in the South.
Now for you anglers that want to learn techniques to be able to catch stripers on most any striper lake we have a seminar here locally on March 25, 2017. This seminar is going to focus on live and artificial baits, locating fish, planer boarding, downlines, trolling, tackle, rigs and rigging, gear, electronics training and more ….. Pro’s Capt. Cefus McRae of Nuts & Bolts of Fishing, Capt. Mack Farr of the popular Capt. Mack Umbrella Rigs and Tackle, and myself – Capt. David Hare, owner and guide of Alex City Guide Service on Lake Martin are going to be giving presentations. This seminar is a must for the novice and an eye opener for the most advanced striper fisherman. It starts at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. Lunch is included and there will be door prize drawings. It’s a no brainer when you get all this at only a $75.00 admission fee. For reservations and more info contact Capt. Cefus McRae by logging on to Nuts & Bolts of Fishing 2017 Seminar Series. Seminar will be rain or shine inside the Alexander City SportPlex Cabin.
Until next time tight lines!
Capt. David Hare
The Nuts & Bolts of Fishing Seminar – Springtime Striper Strategies on Lake Martin on Saturday, March 25 is a full day live, interactive seminar focusing on targeting and catching stripers this spring.
Nuts & Bolts of Fishing seminars provide the ‘nuts and bolts’ of what anglers want to know and need to know to become more successful on their regional lakes and reservoirs. This event will highlight striper fishing on Lake Martin.
The presentations include:
- Getting the Most from your Electronics
- Tackle, Tactics and Rigs
- Locating Fish
And more – plus there is a Q&A session with the Pros at the end of the day.
Admission is $75 and includes lunch and prize drawings.
Location is the SportPlex Cabin at the Bailey Sports Complex in Alex City. Click here for directions. Saturday, March 25, the doors open at 8:30 a.m. and the event takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
I don’t have a fishing boat and mostly fly fish for the striped bass here on Lake Martin. However, I am always curious about how the bait fishermen and those who use conventional tackle go about it. I asked Capt. McRae a couple of questions that I think you might like.
Q: I have heard that the first step in finding striped bass is to find the bait. Do you agree? Striped bass are a nomadic fish. They don’t have a ‘home’, like largemouth bass. Instead, they follow the kitchen. Stripers have to eat a lot because they are always on the move. So, yes…find the kitchen, and the stripers won’t be far away. But finding bait doesn’t always mean there will be stripers ready to eat. Obviously there has to be lots more bait in the lake, compared to the striper population…otherwise, they would eat it all up in a few days. So another way, especially in the winter and early spring, to locate actively feeding gamefish is to look for the birds. Seagulls cannot dive under water to get food, like loons for instance. They depend on stripers to push the bait to the surface for easy pickings by the birds. Locate whirling, diving seagulls and you’ve found the mother lode.Q: I am mostly a fly fisherman. Will your seminar be covering any tips that I could use? The content would definitely be beneficial. We don’t necessarily have a full length presentation on fly fishing, or specific flies and streamers to use but…. the same techniques we use for pulling planer boards can work very well for the long-pole angler. Fishing on an overcast day in the winter, when the fish have the freedom to be anywhere in the water column, will keep the fish close to the surface for the fly angler. Sinking lines and streamers that mimic herring or shad will work really well. The key is locating them. And location is exactly what Capt. David Hare will be sharing. Stripers will come from great depths to take a fly, but they have to know it’s there, and they have to be ready to eat. Fishing the upper Tallapoosa in the spring where the water is only 6 to 10 feet deep is a prime example of a great place to fish. And it’s the same places we pull planer boards. The baits behind the boards are only a few inches to a foot deep and the stripers will explode on them. It’s quite a sight. We also throw a lot of small bucktails for stripers on Lanier and Hartwell. When they are zoned in on small shad or threadfin herring, we use crappie minnows and small bucktails. Essentially matching the hatch. We do a lot of fly fishing on Lake Lanier in the winter and early spring using those same tactics and it’s extremely fun and can be very productive.
This sounds like a great way to learn more about striped bass fishing here on Lake Martin. And it’s perfect timing for the Spring!
Register online at NutsandBoltsFishing.com. Seating will be limited, so be sure to sign up early!
Questions? Contact Capt. Cefus McRae at 404-402-8329 or [email protected]
If you are curious about old cabins around Lake Martin (some maybe from the 1950s as advertised above) you are not alone. Here’s a question one of my buyers emailed me the other day:
Q: We have been renting houses on Lake Martin for years. This past weekend we took a long boat ride looking around. We saw several old cabins that looked unused. Just curious as to if these ever go up for sale?
A: Thanks for the email. That’s a great question. I see old cabins around Lake Martin all the time, too. Most (99%) of the time there is a reason for it. Like, maybe it’s an old family cabin and they can’t decide what to do about it. I can’t blame them, because it is hard to give up on generations of memories!
Or maybe the person has decided to hold on to it in order to get more when they sell in the future, but doesn’t want to fix it up. I can’t blame homeowners like this, either. Historically, Lake Martin (like most waterfront real estate markets) has had very high appreciation over the long term.
Or, maybe the owner would sell it but they have a crazy high price in mind (this happens a lot). Honestly, I can’t relate to home owners like this. I know that your home is “one of a kind” – but people will compare to others. When buyers come to Lake Martin, they typically will walk through seven or eight homes per visit. This is after whittling down a list of twenty they found on the web.
My rule of thumb is, if they want to sell it, it would be on the market. These type of cabins get calls, emails, and letters from people all the time (mostly agents) that want to buy it. They are presented with many opportunities, so if you as a buyer contacted them, you will likely be joining a long list of interested parties.
A more likely scenario happens when home owners call me and ask what I think their Lake Martin property is worth. At least those folks are considering selling, but not always. With a second home market like Lake Martin, you’re dealing with buyers that don’t “Have” to buy, and sellers that don’t “Have” to sell. That makes it kind of unique.
Does Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors (LMAAR) have ALL the listings for Lake Martin or are there some listed through realtors that are not on that site?
Several months ago I had a potential client ask me the question – “Where are Lake Martin homes listed for sale?” He told me that he and his wife were constantly looking (more looking than anything) for a home to purchase at Lake Martin. They checked the LMAAR website several times a month to look.
LMAAR has 99.5% of all properties that actually sell on the Lake. If you look on the Montgomery Area Association of Realtors (MAAR) website you’ll see 10 to 20 at any given moment but all of them are also listed on LMAAR. Occasionally there will one on MAAR that is not on LMAAR, thus my < 100% number. All of the agents that are serious and full time about Lake Martin (like me) live and breath the LMAAR MLS.
To help my clients I can set up an account on my LMAAR MLS feed. Click here for the link. It is not public and no one else will see it.
Setting up your account will help you save the properties you have seen and share feedback with your spouse. It can also be set up to auto alert you by email when something pops up in your area and price range. If you aren’t interested in registering, no sweat, but some folks like to be alerted so they don’t miss anything, and properties in some Lake areas are going fast these days.
Have you heard the news? We are excited to hear that two cool businesses are coming to downtown Alexander City.
You are already familiar with one of them – Lake Martin Pizza. Its current location in Dadeville will remain open. They have signed a lease on a Broad Street location in downtown Alex City for their second location. We can’t wait!
Lake Martin Pizza is known for their New York style pizza, fresh local ingredients and great service! One of my favorite pizzas at Lake Martin Pizza is named Kira’s Favorite.
If you love craft brew beer like I do then the second new business to downtown Alex City will be one you will be excited about! Fermenter’s Market on the Green will be opening soon.
Sylacauga is the home to Fermenter’s Market at the Rex. So if you have been lucky enough to have visited that location you will have an idea of what to expect in Alex City – an excellent selection of craft beer, great wine and your favorite cocktails.
Click here to read the article from the Alex City Outlook for more information.
To stay in the loop about all things Lake Martin be sure to download the free Lake Martin Voice app!
Would you love to live on Lake Martin and near a golf course?
This contemporary Lake Martin home is great for a large family or lots of friends – four bedrooms, three bathrooms, two living rooms, two fireplaces, a screened porch, year round water, gentle slope lot, boat lift, boat ramp, covered dock with a cool slide, covered gazebo – the list goes on and on.
Watch the video below for a quick tour of 452 Locklear Drive.
Are you familiar with Lakewinds Golf Course? Lakewinds is a public, old style golf course owned by Alexander City. It is located five miles east of downtown Alex City – click here for the google map link.
Watch the video below for a quick aerial tour of Lakewinds Golf Course.
Golfers are welcomed 7 days a week – call 256-825-9860 for a tee time.
The State of Alabama requires a certain amount of education before one can sit for the real estate licensing test. One huge part of the licensing education is a discussion of professional liability. The training includes a seemingly constant refrain that the potential agent should always quote sources and encourage consumers to consult an attorney. When I took those courses, I often wondered; if we are steadily telling people to consult an attorney, why do they need an agent?
The answer is a wise one: Let lawyers practice law, and let agents stick to real estate.
As such, I would encourage the reader to consult an attorney on all of the matters below, as I am just a real estate agent. Not a lawyer.
With that disclosure out of the way, I would like to talk about subjects that sometimes cause confusion when buyers and sellers negotiate a real estate contract. In Alabama, the law says that everything is negotiable. There are no standard terms or standard rules.
I will say that, from market to market, we do find that local customs prevail. I find it interesting that even in the same state there are varying degrees of “normal.” Agents from other areas, such as Montgomery, Auburn, Birmingham or even the beach, show property here at Lake Martin, and sometimes, even present offers. When that happens, there is usually a frank discussion between agents to identify the parts of a contract that might be different in each region. Even when both agents are from the lake, a clear understanding of all the contract terms is paramount. I will attempt to touch on a few parts of the sale that might possibly be confusing.
One important part of a real estate transaction is figuring out when the buyer actually takes possession of the real estate purchased. In the case of a lot purchase, it is really no big deal. Usually, the seller has little or no property on site; therefore, there is nothing to move. But what about a home purchase?
In this situation, buyers and sellers can agree to just about anything. Two possibilities are: 1) buyer takes possession at closing, or 2) buyer takes possession, say, two days after closing. I have seen cases where the seller doesn’t move out, but instead rents back from the buyer for a month.
Admittedly, around Lake Martin, closings like that are pretty rare. That is understandable, as most buyers use the properties as vacation homes and are looking forward to vacating as soon as possible. In many a closing, the buyers drive up to the closing attorney’s office in a U-Haul, loaded to the gills and ready to move and hit the water for some fun.
Sometimes, sellers might want to wait and not give possession until after the actual closing. They might think, why should I move all of my stuff out before I am absolutely sure that I will get my money? I can see their logic, but the same could be said by the buyer. Why should I give them my money when they haven’t even started moving out yet?
The point is this: Be sure to read the contract and negotiate based on your preferences; however, I would guess that 95 % of the time, possession is given at closing here at Lake Martin. Maybe this gets back to the high second home rate in the area. Maybe it is because, many times, furniture is involved, and that cuts down the burden of moving.
Speaking of furniture, that’s another area of the contract that sometimes causes confusion. I get a lot of buyers that ask a common question when walking through homes, “Is the furniture included?”
Again, it pays to be really specific. As a buyer, if you can’t imagine finding a kitchen table more perfect for your family, go ahead and write it in the contract. If you are the seller, and you know that no matter what, there is no way you can part with your MeMaw’s antique rocker, it is wise to specify it as excluded in the contract.
Exclusions can work on the buyer side, too. I have had a few buyers say, “they better be sure to get that junk in the yard out of here,” and we have had to write it in as an exclusion.
One last word on furniture and any other personal property: Consult your lender on the wording here. Some underwriters have major objections to seeing anything, even refrigerators, included in the real estate contract. Other loan underwriters don’t mind, as long as you state that they are adding no value to the real estate purchase. Check before you write it up.
Surveys are another example of possible confusion. I have had agents tell me there is a law in the State of Alabama that says all sellers must provide a survey. That is incorrect. In fact, most brokers’ contracts are written in such a way that you have to check a blank to stipulate who will pay for a survey, buyer or seller. Again, consult an attorney to be sure you understand the contract.
Did you clean up after yourself?
If you are a seller in the home transaction, is there a clause in the contract that addresses the cleanliness of the home? If you are the buyer, is this a high priority? If so, make sure you have some language in the contract that covers it. Also, maybe you had better schedule a walk through before closing, so you can make sure the contract was followed. There are many definitions of “clean,” so in my opinion, it is difficult to address this in writing.
When I am advising sellers on this subject, I ask them to go overboard. I have never seen a buyer complain that a house is too clean. The main point here is that nothing is standard. Sellers are not required to dust the first bunny. Put it in writing.
Those are just a few areas of the real estate sale that might cause potential misunderstandings. To find out more, talk to your real estate agent, and yes, consult an attorney.
Note: I originally published this article in my monthly column in Lake Magazine. I am proud to write about Lake Martin Real Estate for Lake Magazine.
Don’t tell anyone, but a few weeks ago I played hooky from work.
I fished with Drew Morgan of East Alabama Fly Fishing. We floated the Tallapoosa River, just above Lake Martin.We put in at Horseshoe Bend and floated down to the boat ramp at Jaybird Landing. He took me down on his boat, which is perfect for fly fishing like this.
It was a beautiful day! The weather was clear and warm for October. The Lake Martin area is suffering a drought, so river levels were low. The flow was at about three feet when we started. Low, clear water makes fishing a little tougher, and we had to get out and drag the boat over a spot or two. But other than that, it was picture perfect!
We caught a few spotted bass, a few redeye bass, and several bluegill. White poppers seemed to be the most popular fly of the day. I had to catch my breath when I saw a big (fifteen pounds or so) striped bass cruising the shallows by Jaybird. We were trolling a “Game changer” fly at the time, which I thought might incite a strike. No dice. In hindsight, I sort of wish I would have pulled in the line and cast in his general direction. At the time, however, the fly was trolling and tracking to go right by his line of travel, so I let it go. Seeing a big fish like that sometimes makes me freeze up!