Lake Martin Voice Realty
Archive for the 'Lake Martin Area Info' Category
Wildlife diversity, for sure!
Every time I head to StillWaters to show a home or condo for sale, my “web staff” knows I’m coming back with new wildlife photos. To date, I’ve captured lots of deer, ducks, and herons. In fact, I have a wildlife photo file on my computer just for StillWaters.
I was in StillWaters twice last week, and both times I saw turkeys on the golf course. The first time, it was this crowd below: two jakes (immature males), and one mature long beard.
This guy was definitely the boss. He was standing by the road, and let his minions above walk ahead of him to clear the way and make sure there were no dangerous golfers around. For those of you unfamiliar with turkeys, I will let you know, the length of his beard (that straw looking hair poking out of his chest) is pretty impressive. I tried to get a little closer, but this was the best I could do from 100 yards with a 300 mm lens:
A week later I was leaving a listing appointment in StillWaters. I got to almost the same bend in the road and noticed another turkey was standing with one foot in the road, gobbling his head off. A car passed him, he took three steps back, then stepped back out and double gobbled. As an avid turkey hunter, I was amazed. This was a week into May, and turkey season was over on April 30. It just goes to show you that, even in the wilds of StillWaters, the primal procreative drive of nature does not hew to man’s law. I eased my car up to him, and he walked back into the woods. This was the best shot I got of him, below. Maybe he was the same boss I saw a week earlier:
So many people come to Lake Martin because of its natural setting; wildlife sightings are just a normal part of the day. It’s different than some other popular getaways in the South – it’s a place to slow down and enjoy people, the water, wildlife, and the peace and quiet. You can bring your kids and they may actually hang out with you!
That reminds me of a favorite Lake Martin testimonial I shot while at a school function a few years ago that sort of goes along with this theme. See if you don’t agree . . .
If this is the kind of vacation spot you’ve been looking for, check us out at Lake Martin! I’d love for you to use this website to explore the neighborhoods, the people, the events, and the waterfront properties. Check out my Lake Martin Voice Realty YouTube Channel where I have over 300 Lake Martin videos divided into five playlists (Community Info, Neighborhoods, How to Use the MLS, Home Tours, and Client Testimonials).
And if you’d like to talk Lake Martin real estate, give me a call at (334) 221-5862 or click here to email me. I’d love to be your realtor!
Sometimes a Lake Martin waterfront purchase is all about the lot. Sometimes it’s all about the home. In this case, for my buyers, it was all about where to put their three teenage boys plus their friends. Two summers ago, Kent and Andrea found a cabin with a large wooded lot and a great view of Parker Creek near Parker Creek Marina. The cabin was cute, but they really needed a little more room . . .
If you’re looking for a home on the west side of Lake Martin (Kowaliga Bay, Little Kowaliga / Real Island, Parker Creek), you’ll find a good number of older cabins that are dated or don’t have a modern, open flow. Some of these cabins have been added onto over the years and are a little wonky. But if you like the lot and the view, I urge buyers to be open minded about the home – that is the one factor you can change. Sometimes buyers have a hard time visualizing a remodeled home while standing in the midst of fake paneling and little choppy rooms, hence my recent efforts to share some recent renovations and give buyers inspiration.
I drove by Kent and Andrea’s house in my boat last week and took a few pictures. They graciously said I could share them with you, to give you a taste for what a remodel or facelift can do for an older lake home. They expanded the home, adding living and sleeping space, but did not stray far from the original footprint. The result is a fun home with modern conveniences and room for all the guys:
Pre Renovation View from the Water:
Post Renovation Water View:
Pre Renovation Street Side of the Home:
Post Renovation Street Side of the Home:
So how do you know how much money to put into a Lake Martin renovation?
Think about the LOT first. You don’t want to overbuild, so consider things like water depth, view, privacy, etc. On a lot like this, with a view like theirs, Kent and Andrea could not really overbuild. It’s an awesome lot. In the back of a tight slough without year round water, however, buyers need to be conservative.
If you’re looking for a home in the Parker Creek area, check out my Parker Creek Neighborhood Page. Here you’ll find all kinds of info on this part of Lake Martin, and most importantly, you’ll find a live MLS listing all the homes that are currently for sale in Parker Creek. I have Neighborhood Pages for most of the neighborhoods on Lake Martin, and they’re a great resource to utilize when house hunting.
If you’ve been searching the MLS and are feeling frustrated with the homes you see, give me a call. I can help you pinpoint the homes in your price range with most potential. That’s my job. My number is (334) 221-5862, or you can click here to email me. I’d love to be your realtor.
I will bet you didn’t know that there is a home on Lake Martin that is a full 13 feet under the water’s surface.
I didn’t know about it either until my friend and fellow realtor Gordon Pickler at RealtySouth told me about it. I don’t know why the sellers are selling it, but Gordon has it under contract and is assisting the buyers. During the course of getting it closed, they found out that our good friends at FEMA have it listed as 13 feet below the flood plain line.
(Just so you know, FEMA is the sole agency that is the judge and jury of whether or not you need flood insurance at Lake Martin. They are also the only entity that sells flood insurance. And the obvious question is how can a home sitting up above the elevation of the top of the dam be flooded?)
Anyway . . . FEMA gave Gordon’s prospective home buyers a quote of $7,218 per year for flood insurance. That sounded a little steep to the buyers so they called FEMA to appeal. No dice. FEMA was firm. They had received the surveyor’s Elevation Report – where he shot the lowest elevation of the home. FEMA insisted they read these reports all day and have used it to come up with the quote of $7,218 per year.
Undeterred, Gordon convinced the engineer that did the report to call FEMA himself and beg their case. It worked. The engineer was able to help FEMA read the report correctly – the home is 13 feet above the flood plain. Not below.
Thanks, FEMA, for another day of serving the taxpayers. True, they didn’t get any flood insurance money out of the deal, but they were able to waste a full day’s worth of time for a realtor, an engineer, and a buyer. Score another for Big Brother.
For more information on this topic, see the posts below:
There’s no turning back – renovations on this waterfront Lake Martin home in Real Island are well underway.
(For the first installment in this series, CLICK HERE for Real Island Renovation Begins)
If you love home projects, these pictures will make you excited. If you’re not the project type, then you’re feeling a little anxious. But Lee and Amelia loved this Real Island lot, and knew right away they would update the home before moving in.
Great view of Lake Martin, by the way!
It is very common to see this kind of radical renovation on the western side of Lake Martin. The Little Kowaliga / Real Island area is one of the older parts of Lake Martin, and thus has slowly populated over time to include tiny cabins that are next to million dollar homes. Generally speaking, the lots in this area are a little bigger, more wooded, and less sloping, and the feel is more rural. (Of course I can always find the exception to that statement.) AND, there are really no undeveloped lots left. When you see new construction on a waterfront lot in Little Kowaliga, odds are that person has torn down an old cabin or mobile home.
Contractor Doug Fuhrman of Southern Traditions Construction helped Lee and Amelia rethink the floor plan of the existing cabin, adding only about 400 square feet to the overall footprint, but moving things around to make the home work better.
For example, by bumping out the bedroom side of the home, they were able to expand the third bedroom and bathroom, and add a master bathroom:
The homeowners knew they wanted to be in this area, and knew their budget, so renovation makes sense. But for those of you who are not looking for a construction project, there are also new homes to be found on Lake Martin – both in and out of official developments. For example, in April 2013 Alabama Property Company released twenty nine new lots in Emerald Shores on the eastern side of the lake, you’ll see new construction there. Russell Lands is always building new homes in their various neighborhoods, and there are even a few flippers around, though not nearly as many as in 2007.
A Lake Martin realtor can cut through the hundreds of MLS listings and quickly identify homes that are move-in ready, or tear down opportunities. I’d love to help you out with your Lake Martin search, so call me at (334) 221-5862, or CLICK HERE to contact me.
Lake Martin Voice Realty is excited to team up with Alabama Power and offer 29 new deeded waterfront lots for sale in Emerald Shores.
Emerald Shores is a waterfront neighborhood on the eastern shores of Lake Martin. These are big, wooded lots surrounded by the big water of Blue Creek. They’re part of an already established neighborhood (entrance signs, roads paved, utilities, boat ramp, common area trails), and they’re close to all the east side Lake Martin restaurants, marinas, and landmarks.
Lake Martin Voice Realty is proud to be the Listing Agency!
The first phase of Emerald Shores began in 2004. 17 lots were sold at that time, then six after that, and now 29 more are available. There’s a lot of choice for buyers here: lots range in size from 0.6 to almost 2 acres, and waterfront footage ranges from 115 feet to over 1,000 feet of shoreline per lot. At the center of Emerald Shores is a 17 acre wooded common area with a paved walking trail. A neighborhood boat ramp makes it convenient to launch your boat.
Another big perk for many buyers: covered boat docks are allowed in Emerald Shores. That’s a big deal on Lake Martin.
For more information on these deeded lots, CLICK HERE, or give us a call at (334) 221-5862. We have plat maps, tax maps, photos, a video tour – everything you need to learn the lay of the land.
Emerald Shores is on the east side of Lake Martin, so it is convenient to Atlanta, Auburn, I-85, and Highway 280. By car, take Highway 49 and turn onto Highway 34. Turn left onto Win Blu. At the stop sign, turn left onto Holiday Drive. Take 1st right onto South Holiday. Follow all the way to Emerald Shores entrance. By boat, it’s on the north side of Blue Creek as you drive toward StillWaters.
For a quick video introduction to Emerald Shores, click below:
And for a video tour of the Blue Creek area, click below:
Unlike some crazy civil engineering projects I’ve seen, this tunnel under Highway 63 has major significance for the Lake Martin area. Most of you know that there’s been road construction near Russell Crossroads for about 3 years now now. Part of this construction project is a nifty tunnel.
This tunnel is a really big deal for Russell Lands and therefore, Lake Martin real estate. It’s a huge part of Russell Lands’ plan to link together their waterfront neighborhoods of Windermere, Windover, Windermere West and The Ridge to west side of Highway 63′s Willow Point. The central hub of all of this will be Russell Crossroads.
Right now the idea is to open the tunnel road to hikers, runners, bikers, golf cart and horse riders. I love the it.
I think this will be especially transformational for Windermere, Windover, and Windermere West which do not have neighborhood amenities. After the trails and roadways are complete and christened for use, homeowners in Windermere, Windover, and Windermere West will figure out that Saturday morning coffee at Catherine’s Market is a five minute golf cart ride away. Big things will happen.
I can envision a lot of other things happening along this trail system. The fact that you don’t have to cross Highway 63 opens up a realm of possibilities. Willow Point people can ride to The Ridge Marina on their golf carts. People in The Ridge can mountain bike through the tunnel and explore Russell Forest trails. Homeowners in Windermere and Windover neighborhoods can do all this, plus go to SpringHouse restaurant or Willow Point Country Club. The ease and sense of community will be a great thing.
This really reminds me of Sandestin in the late 1970s. If you are old enough, like me, to remember the original Sandestin, it used to only be a residential development on the bay side, and an unconnected beach on the gulf side. You had to get in your car to cross Highway 98, and the whole thing was disjointed. Then they put a tunnel under the highway, developed out some commercial space, and suddenly everything in between flourished.
I’m not saying the Russell Lands is about to have a mega development like Sandestin, but I am saying that all of these neighborhoods are going to truly be able to use Russell Crossroads. I think it will increase property values in all of these developments. Russell Lands has pumped millions into this project, but homeowners will reap the benefits over the next 5-10 years.
If you’d like to know more about homes in the above mentioned neighborhoods, check out my Neighborhoods page, give me a call at (334) 221-5862, or CLICK HERE to contact me via email. I can help you with any property for sale in the Lake Martin MLS, regardless of who has it listed.
I take Lake Martin wildlife pictures all over the lake, but I need to create a specific photo file for “Wildlife I Have Seen in StillWaters.” Lake Martin is a rural area, so animals coexist with lake lovers on all sides. StillWaters is a huge gated golf/lake community with on and off the water homes, townhouses and condos, and it seems that wildlife like the deer I spotted last week call it home, too.
This one was grazing on the side of the road as I drove to a new listing of mine in StillWaters, 100 Harbor Point Place Unit 613. If you look closely you can see the early formation of his antlers. It’s amazing how deer were created to blend in so well with their environment. You can barely see his back in the photo below:
If you like the idea of being in an established, gated golf and waterfront community, and enjoy neighbors of all kinds, StillWaters might be a good fit. If you’d like access to all StillWaters’ amenities, but prefer to leave the yard work and home maintenance to someone else, check out my listing, 100 Harbor Pointe Place Unit 613. It’s a 2 bed/2 bath off-the-water condo with a deeded boat slip, and it’s right across the street from Harbor Pointe Marina.
It’s currently listed for $131K – a great deal when you consider its location within StillWaters and all of the amenities owners can access.
Here’s one more parting shot of our friend and StillWaters neighbor. If you’re interested in homes or condos in StillWaters, or real estate anywhere on Lake Martin, give me a call at (334) 221-5862, or contact me by CLICKING HERE. I’d love to be your realtor.
I spotted these pics on Lindsey Harris’ Twitter feed, and thought they were super cool. I don’t get to see Lake Martin from this vantage point very often.
Her cousin, Eric, took Lindsey and a friend for a Sunday afternoon joyride over Lake Martin in his plane. I always want to know what kind of camera people use, and Lindsey said she used her Canon t3i to take the pictures. She graciously said I could share them with you.
Can you spot some Lake Martin landmarks? If you have any cool pictures of Lake Martin from above or below the water, send them to me and I’d love to post them. Or, if you have them on a site like Flickr, here’s a link to my Flickr account.
If you’re interested in Lake Martin real estate, give me a call at (33st4) 221-5862, or CLICK HERE to contact me via email. It doesn’t matter is you’re in the earliest stages of dreaming about a future lake home, or if you’re ready to buy in the next week - I work with people for weeks, months, and often years. Give me a call and put me to work!
Around Lake Martin, if I can’t be in a boat, put me on a hiking trail.
The cooler months at Lake Martin are perfect for hiking. We’ve got lots of elevation here, and I never miss an opportunity to remind my kids that Lake Martin is at the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains. These trails include great views from high points, and woodsy paths that take you right down to the water.
If you want more info on hiking the Cherokee Ridge system of trails at Lake Martin, go to CRATA.org. This is the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association’s website, and they’re the folks who maintain these trails. Please don’t call me – I am but a realtor who likes to hike.
I also wanted to review and plug a cool smartphone app that I downloaded from AllTrails.com. AllTrails is a database for thousands of trails across the U.S., plus it allows you to map and save your own trails, and view and rate trails that other hikers have entered. FYI - I hiked the Chimney Rock Loop trail and here’s what the app recorded:
Pretty cool! I hope to enter more trails and share them with fellow Lake Martin hikers. If you get out there, try the AllTrails app and let us know where you’ve been! A comprehensive record of Lake Martin trail hikes would be a useful tool for hikers, plus it would be a great marketing tool for businesses looking to attract new visitors to the area.
If you see a great Lake Martin property for sale while on your hike, give me a call at (334) 221-5862 or click here to contact me and put me to work. I’d love to be your realtor, and I’d love to help you find your Lake Martin home.
In the first installment of this three part series (Extreme Seawall Failure at Lake Martin), we looked at a wooden sea wall in the Jacksons Gap area that had completely failed. Scott Henderson of Henderson & Coker Contractors in Alex City is rebuilding a new concrete seawall in its place, and he was nice enough to let me peek at the guts of this project. During the summer, when Lake Martin is at full, or nearly full pool, we only see the tops of these hugely important structures. There’s a lot going on beneath the surface, though, and winter is the time to check it out.
A lot of folks are surprised by the cost of a new seawall, and I think this video will give you an idea of why it’s so expensive, and what’s involved: a whole lot of work, and the kind of work that is best left to the experts. But if you do it right, like the homeowners of the wall under construction in this video, you won’t have to do it twice.
If you’re thinking about buying a waterfront home or lot on Lake Martin, it’s important to check out the condition of the existing sea wall, or get an estimate for a new sea wall. Home inspectors do not include sea walls in the scope of their inspections, so call a professional contractor and let him check it out for you. And, as always, you must contact Alabama Power for approval of ANY shoreline projects, including seawalls.
I’d love to help you find your Lake Martin home, so give me a call at (334) 221-5862, or click here to contact me, and let’s get to work!