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Archive for the 'Events' Category

First Annual Castaway Island Paddle Board Race

Attention Lake Martin paddle boarders – or those who might want to be:

– there is a free paddle board race at Anchor Bay Marina on Saturday, June 30, 2012!  Anchor Bay Marina, Lake Martin Dock Company, Harbor Docks Grill, Benton’s Grading and Paving, along with Lake Martin Voice Realty, are sponsors. We are really excited to bring a little race to the lake.

Castaway Island Paddle Board Race Details:

When: 10:00 AM on June 30, 2012 (registration starts at 8:30 AM).

Anchor Bay Marina – Lake Martin, 2001 Castaway Island Road, Eclectic, AL 36024

FREE  (contrary to the ad in Lake Magazine, we worked it out so there’s no charge!)

3 ways:

  1. CLICK HERE to fill out an online form, or
  2. Go by Anchor Bay Marina or Lake Martin Dock Company
  3. Walk up at 8:30 on race day, fill out a form or print this one and bring it before race time

Course: We will start on the sandy beach and paddle in a 1/3 mile triangle towards Kowaliga Bay and back.

  This will depend on who signs up, but we are planning a 1/3 mile Sprint Race and a 1 mile Race.

Bring your own paddle board (any type or size), paddle, PFD (aka life jacket, required by AL Marine Patrol), hydration, and any other water safety gear that you need.

Spectators: They have cleared out the point going out to the big water, so if you plan to just watch, register anyway, let us know you’re coming, and bring some chairs and refreshments and hang out to cheer!

After Party: Everyone is invited back to Harbor Docks Grill for the after race party.  It’s all within easy walking distance of Anchor Bay Marina and the race site.

Parking: Signs will be up race day, but there probably will be more room to park if you come by car.  We’d love you to come by boat, too, but there is a limited amount of boat slips available.

If you have never paddle boarded before, it would be a good time to come try one out. Paddle boarding, aka Stand Up Paddling (SUP) is super popular on the coast and increasingly so here at Lake Martin.

This race is the brainchild of Sharon Johnston of Lake Martin Dock Company. Sharon caught SUP fever when visiting the Destin area a couple of years ago. She fell in love with a local paddle board company named BOTE, owned by Magda and Corey Cooper. She ended up buying a board and loving it so much that she wanted to help bring the sport to Lake Martin. Sharon is an enthusiastic person, so she figured the next logical step was to become a dealer for BOTE Boards here at Lake Martin.

This race is an extension of that same passion – a love for the sport and a desire to help spread it here at Lake Martin. Following that theme, the race will be free to anyone that would like to come. We do ask that you register by CLICKING HERE and filling out the form so we can know how many to expect!

Speaking of RSVPs, without Anchor Bay’s sponsorship and volunteering the spot, we wouldn’t have a place to race! Anchor Bay has areas to park cars and boats, but if you could let us know how you plan to arrive;  that will help us plan for parking. Mike and Linda Sharman at Anchor Bay have been so gracious to hop into the spirit of the event and will be great hosts, I know.

Goals Are Safety And Fun

Our #1 goal is that everyone be safe. We have registered with the Alabama Marine Police to make sure they approve of everything. Our #2 goal is for everyone to have fun. This will not be a super serious, high testosterone, Iron Man / Ninja Warrior race. I’m sure there will be some paddlers that will race very hard and want to win, but again, we are just happy to get together with fellow and potential paddlers. This is what this race is about.

If you have never tried a paddle board, this would be a great time to try. A few representatives from Lake Martin Dock will have BOTE Boards that you can demo. Make sure to mention the “John Coley discount” :)! If you wanted to buy one there, I’m sure they wouldn’t object, but again, that isn’t what this is all about.

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Water’s Edge Real Estate Auction Results

Aliant Bank held a real estate auction for the Lake Martin waterfront neighborhood called Water’s Edge on Saturday, March 10, 2012. Since I have written a lot about this auction in the past, and have many inquires about it, I thought I would write this post to summarize my thoughts and the results of the auction.

Please Read This Disclosure

Before I begin, please be clear that I am in no way affiliated with Aliant Bank, though I am a retail customer of theirs. Neither am I affiliated with the auction company J.P. King, Water’s Edge subdivision, or any party whatsoever. I am merely an independent Licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Alabama. I was once the Listing Agent for only the homes at lots 1 and 2 of Water’s Edge. I stress that it was for those two homes only, and that agency relationship ended Memorial Day Weekend of 2011. I have no inside information. I gathered information used for my below observations by simply attending the event and writing down what happened, just like any person in America could have. To get any sort of official results or comment on the auction, the best source is either the seller, Aliant Bank, or the auction company, J.P. King.

Waterfront Auction Results

If you are merely wondering what happened and what sold, the short answer is: Nothing.

We all knew, and it was fairly and clearly disclosed by Aliant and J.P. King, that this was not an absolute auction. The bank had reserve prices for everything and they were not under compulsion to sell. Apparently none of the winning bids for the waterfront homes, waterfront lot, nor off water lots were high enough to meet reserve prices. So if that’s all you want to know, you can stop reading here.

Video And Audio Lockdown Enforced By J.P. King

Readers of this blog know that I am a big believer in real estate video. Pictures are great and I take plenty of them, but video is a category killer, especially for our waterfront, rural, second home market. My heavy use of video to market homes, lots, and the area in general has been huge blessing. I can’t really take credit for this phenomenon, because I owe it mostly to my clients’ questions like “what does the view look like from the dock?” or “what does the neighborhood look like from the water?”

I made no secret about my intention to video the Water’s Edge auction. I think it was the most significant real estate event for Lake Martin this winter. Why wouldn’t I video it? I studied the auction rules and found no prohibition. So there I was, about 45 minutes before the bidding started, with my trusty camera in hand. People were milling about, chatting, and enjoying the complimentary cookies and cokes. I stood back and panned once about the crowd.

I was immediately approached by a lady in J.P. King garb. She stuck out her hand to me as if to shake and introduce, but she didn’t offer up her name. I believe “Beverly” was on her name tag, but I could be mistaken. Once I introduced myself, she wagged a finger at me and said, “No video. You will have to turn that off.”

Me: “Don’t worry, if you don’t want me to tape the bidding, I won’t. When it starts at 1:00, I will turn it off.”

Beverly: “No, you can’t video right now either.”

Me: “Not even before the auction starts?”

Beverly: “Nope.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I didn’t see that prohibition in the auction rules.”

Beverly: “Well, it’s in there.”

Then I walked over to the registration table and carefully read through the rules again. I didn’t see any such prohibition in the rules, so I walked back over to Beverly.

Me: “Excuse me. I don’t mean to be a pest, but I can’t find anywhere in the rules that says I can’t video.”

Beverly: “Hang on.” She turns and beckons to another lady that’s standing near the front table. As the lady come near, Beverly turns to me and says “This is Christie King.” I assume by Beverly’s verbal emphasis on “King” and the lilt of her eyebrows as she said it that Ms. King is of relation to the company ownership. This is only an assumption as our introduction was brief and Ms. King’s title was not offered to me.

Ms. King: “You have to put that away. No videoing. It’s not negotiable.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I would have never brought my camera if I knew it was against the rules, but I didn’t see anything prohibiting it in the auction rules.”

Ms. King: “It’s not in the rules. It’s our company policy. We don’t allow it.”

Me: “Why not?”

Ms. King: “It just isn’t. We are videoing and we don’t allow anyone else. Period. You can’t video.”

Me: “Not even the pre-auction festivities?”

Ms. King: “No. Why would you want to video anyway?”

Me: “I’ve been promoting this a lot on my blog. I am in the Lake Martin real estate business and I film big events here at the lake. I think it’s a big event for the lake, don’t you?”

Ms. King: “Yes, it’s a big event.”

Me: “I think a lot of people would want to watch a video about a big event like this.”

Ms. King: “Well, you can’t video anything. What would you do with the video, anyway?”

Me: “I would put it on my YouTube Channel and on my blog.”

Ms. King: “Well, you can’t. Our policy.”

Me: “Yes ma’am.”

I turned and went back to my truck and put up all of my video equipment. Fast forward 45 minutes to 1:00, auction time. The auctioneer takes the podium and asks everyone to gather under the tent. Everyone sat down and got quiet as the auctioneer read through the red tape and disclosures. That took about five minutes.

Then he said, “okay ladies and gentlemen, we are now ready to auction, err… hold on.”

This same Ms. King was talking with him and apparently asked him to stop. She got up from her position next to him at the head table and started walking determinedly in my direction. Please keep in mind that I am standing outside the tent behind a buyer that I helped register. Also keep in mind that I had my iPhone in one hand and the bid sheet in the other. I am pretty sure that 90% of the other 100 people there had smart phones as well, but Ms. King walked directly up to me, and only to me.

Ms. King: “Are you audio taping this?”

Me, kind of incredulously: “What?”

Ms. King: “Are you audio taping this?”

Me: “No ma’am.”

Ms. King: “Audio taping is against the rules, too.”

Me: “I’m not taping anything.”

Ms. King: “Because if you are audio taping this…”

Me, interrupting: “Ms. King, I am a rule follower. I am not here to disrupt anything. I give you my word I am not recording in any way. I don’t recognize your right to ask to see my phone, but I do volunteer to let you look at it to assure yourself I am not taping.”

Ms. King, flicks a hand up in the air and walks away: “OK, well, that’s fine, if you say you’re not taping…”

Me: “I’m not.”

Again, I stress, she didn’t talk to anyone else. Neither did the auctioneer make a public announcement against taping anything. Ms. King sat down at the table, nodded to the auctioneer, and he began, “OK, ladies and gentlemen, at this time we will start to receive bids….” and away he went.

Detailed Account of Water’s Edge Auction Results

Many of you readers have asked me exactly how the auction was conducted. There was lots of curiosity out there on how it would happen, like, would they try to auction the entire thing first? Or break it into parcels? Would you get to pick your lot? In general, the auction order was:

1. The “Island” portion, they marketed this as Narrow’s Point at Water’s Edge – but most people know it as the end of Coosa 20. It had 2 older waterfront homes and 9 waterfront lots.
2. The Cottages portion – this is where the 2 new homes were built. Only one of the new homes was in the auction, but 8 other waterfront lots were included in the bidding.
3. Off water lots

1. The Island Portion

First up, they auctioned the older but fixed up and woodsy waterfront home on the end of the point. They called it Lot 1. The high bidder there was $300,000. Next was Lot 2, an older and less craftsman home, and the high bidder was at $215,000. After those two were completed, I felt there was only a small chance that the bank would take bids that low. I also felt this did not bode well as an indicator for the rest of the auction.

Next, they auctioned the rest of the waterfront lots on the island, but here they did it as “buyer’s choice.” They explained that they would auction in general, and the high bidder could buy which ever or how many lots he or she desired at that price. The highest bid first was $85,000, and the buyer picked Lot 11, or the one right next door to the home on Lot 1. The second and third bidders were at $85,000 also, and chose lots 10 and 8, respectively. The other six waterfront lots went from a low of $67,500 to a high of $70,000.

The next phase was extremely, extremely, curious to me. They announced that they would “re-bid” any parcel that anyone wanted. The auction company said that there was “great demand” to re-bid some parcels and they would put them back on the block. If you were the winning bidder the first time around, don’t worry, they said, because you will have a fair chance to “defend your original bid” aka bid higher. Perhaps this is normal, but it struck me as odd. Why not re-bid 4 more times? I was anxious to see how the crowd would respond, and if this would spur prices more acceptable to the bank. In the end, by my count, they only re-bid 4 lots. The bids were higher the second time around by an average of about $9,000. For example, Lot 9 bid for $70k the first time and $79k the second.

Next, the auctioneer announced that the bank has decided to offer a “once in a lifetime, unique opportunity” to buy the entire Island portion, unfinished, as is. The high bidder for the entire parcel, if acceptable to the bank, would take precedence over the individual lot high bidders. The bidding began, and the high bidder was $1,350,000. Since that was only slightly higher than (by my unofficial count) the $1,183,000 sum of all the individual bids, I thought it inconsequential. After this, the auctioneer announced that they would take a short break to let the bank consider all of the bids.

About five minutes passed. The auctioneer came back to the podium, thanked everyone profusely for bidding, but said something like “at this time, Aliant has selected to keep these pristine lots rather than sell them for too low a price.” This caused a great degree of grumbling in the crowd. Ten or fifteen people abruptly left. A few asked questions like, “so the bids weren’t above their reserve price?” And he answered, “no.” I can’t imagine that anyone thought the bids were absolute. Aliant and J.P. King did a good job of disclosing the there were reserve prices on everything, so if anyone was mistaken about that it’s certainly not Aliant or King’s fault, in my opinion.

2. The Cottages Portion

The auctioneer didn’t hesitate for long, but flowed right into bidding the Cottages area. This consisted of the one remaining new home, and 8 waterfront lots. He talked briefly about the unique opportunity to own such a pristine place on Lake Martin, and started the bidding on the home at lot 2. Here’s where I got nervous.

I was concerned because I had a friendly “loser buys lunch” wager with fellow Lake Martin Voice Realty agent John Christenberry. He thought that the older home on lot 1 on the island would bid within 10% of the new home on lot 2 of the Cottages portion. I disagreed, and came out the winner, as lot 2 of the Cottages’ high bid was $390k, or a comfortable 30% above lot 1 on the Narrows. Confident in my win, I settled back to watch the rest of the auction, dreaming of a Gulf Shrimp Po Boy and wine lunch at Springhouse. Appetizer. Dessert. I plan to stick it to him.

Back at the auction, J.P. King then moved on to the waterfront lots of the Cottages section. Since no more waterfront homes were available, and (I guess) since many buyers realized the bank had high reserve prices, most all of the bidders got up and left. Maybe 20 bidders were left under the tent. There were still plenty of people around, mind you, but they were lake realtors like myself, Aliant Bank folks, auction staff, and neighbors walking their dogs. J.P. King auctioned these waterfront lots just like the ones before, or buyer’s choice. The high bidder selected the lots.

Lot 10 was selected first by a bidder at $75k. Lot 7 followed at the same price, then lot 3 went at $72.5k. The rest went for decreasing increments with the last at $67.5k.

3. Off Water Lots

The off water lots of Water’s Edge were the last to be auctioned. I will admit a bit of confusion on this portion. I was paying attention very carefully but I had a hard time keeping track of which lots were selling. They bid this as a buyer’s choice also, so sometimes the bidders would shout out their desired lot by the lot number, and then sometimes it was by the parcel number designated by the auction sheet.

It seemed to me that only 9 or 10 people were left that were really bidding. Each high bidder had to announce their bid number and I wrote that down on the form provided. The highest off water lot went at $6,500 and the lowest at $1,250. By that point in the day, the bidding was loose and casual. One guy was even letting his kid bid by going “yeeeeeep” like they do on Storage Wars. It was funny.

The End

After all the bidding was completed, the auctioneer asked for more patience as they talked with the bank to see if they would accept the bids received on the Cottages portion and the off water portion. After about 10 minutes the auctioneer came back and said they haven’t decided yet, but all high bidders would be contacted by noon, Monday, March 12, by the bank. He thanked us all, and that was that. It was over.

I have since talked to some winning bidders, and they were eventually contacted by Aliant. They were told that the bank has a buyer for the entire project, that they were currently negotiating with them, and they would let the bidders know what happens. I don’t really know what to make of this. Did Aliant have a large buyer in their pocket the entire time? If so, why the auction? Was it an attempt to demonstrate value, or just a grand negotiating tactic? Mine is not to reason why. One thing is clear – the auction on March 10 did not produce one single real sale at Water’s Edge. I can’t know if this accomplished Aliant’s goals or justified the cost of the auction, because I don’t know their goals. I also don’t know how much it cost them to hire J.P. King to do this. I have talked to people familiar with auctions of this size, and they said it can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000, depending on things like advertising, signage, and entertainment.

Statement On Consumer Preference Of Lake Martin Buyers

Lack of real sales aside, the Water’s Edge auction to me was always much more interesting as a study in consumer preferences. By consumer preferences, I mean, are Lake Martin real estate buyers desiring an auction format rather than dealing with realtors? Would they be swept up in a fever pitch to pay at or above market values? You never know. Music industry execs didn’t think that consumers would want to buy one song at a time, either. Boy were they wrong about iTunes.

My general opinion was that the bidders were unfazed by the pace or the presentation of the auction format. Occasionally, the auctioneer would pause and describe what a pristine opportunity this was. This didn’t seem to increase bids. Also occasionally the fellows working the crowd for J.P. King would take part in the excitement. Their official job seemed to be to help the auctioneer spot bids, but sometimes they would holler out something like “woo-hoo!” or “that’s what I’m talkin bout!” when someone would bid. They would mill about the crowd, offering to lighten the mood with jokes like “at these prices, I’d give em for Christmas presents!” which drew chuckles the first time but not the second. They also tried well meaning picture painting by saying, “hey folks, can’t you imagine waking up to that nice view every morning, ya-hoo!” Still other times they would pause the action and ask a procedural question like, “Mr. Auctioneer, is it true that there is no buyer’s premium if these good people purchased today?” whereas the auctioneer would respond with, “that’s right, ladies and gentlemen, with no buyer’s premium, what you bid is what you pay. What do you say, folks, let’s ….”

This whole process fascinated me. People bid, it is true, and occasionally the above encouragement led to a few more additional bids from where it had stalled before. But those additional bids were, for example, from $65k to $66k, not to $120k like I think the seller had hoped.

Maybe other auctions are different, I sure am not an expert. But I can say that at Lake Martin, on that day, for Water’s Edge, buyers did not seem to be swept up into a mindless, piranha feeding frenzy of buying. In other words, they did not check their brain at the door, they had a good idea of what they wanted, and stuck to it.

Obviously, I am biased as I am a real estate agent. But the whole thing confirmed for me what I hear from my buyers: second home and lot purchases are a big deal. Quite often my buyers have been thinking or dreaming for years about this, and dedicate many months to research and consider all of their options while they are actively looking. They don’t like pressure, and they don’t like to feel rushed.

What’s Next With Water’s Edge

Many people have asked me what I think Aliant will do with Water’s Edge. I have no idea. Is it true that they have a buyer for the entire development? You had better ask them. I still say, after all of these years, that Water’s Edge, Eagle Point, whatever you want to call it, has tremendous potential. It has had some snags in the past, it is true. But I have seen what someone with talent can do with it. Bryan Jones looked intensely at Water’s Edge and drew up one of the coolest master plans I have ever seen. Can someone buy it all and flip it and become rich? I doubt it. But I still like it, and will be watching just like everyone else.

I’m sorry this post is so long, but I didn’t want to break it up. If you actually read the entire thing, I thank you. Come by my office and I will buy you a Slim Jim as a reward. I’m exhausted.


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Live Tweeting From Water’s Edge

If you are interested in the Water’s Edge auction of waterfront lots and homes on Lake Martin, please check my twitter feed http://twitter.com/LakeMartinVoice

I can’t video. Kristi King of JP King Auction Company shut my video down so I’m limited to updates on Twitter.

They have auction the point so far but have just announced that none of the bids were accepted on the point. Now bidding the rest.

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Should My Second Grader Bid For This Lake Martin Neighborhood?

Aliant Bank is auctioning the Water’s Edge neighborhood on Lake Martin.  It’s going off tomorrow at 1 PM at the end of Coosa 20.  PLEASE NOTE IT IS A NON-ABSOLUTE AUCTION.  This means they have a reserve price, if the winner is too low, THEY DON’T HAVE TO SELL.

Water’s Edge, formerly known as Eagle Point, was a proposed waterfront development on the Big Kowaliga section of Lake Martin.  It was (by my unscientific estimation) one of the largest, if not the largest, waterfront loan in Aliant’s history. It is located at the end of Coosa County Road 20, directly across the water from the old Veazey’s Marina near Willow Point.

Aliant loaned the money to real estate developers that tried to market it as Eagle Point on Lake Martin, but the bank ended up taking that land back, and now has hired auctioneer JP King Auction Company to auction off the whole shebang.

Should My Second Grader Bid On It?

My second grade son has a little savings account with Aliant Bank.  You know the type – you go in with them to open it up, it’s all cute, the ladies in the bank give him lollipops and what not.  When he gets $10 for his birthday, I have tried to encourage savings by telling him I will match whatever he deposits.  We call it my 401 “J.”

He’s not very old, so he hasn’t had many birthdays. No matter, because Aliant, or at least J.P. King, thinks he has enough bling to swing at the auction.  Yes, they sent an auction flyer directly to him in the mail.


Yes, they are marketing to my second grader.  Do they really expect him to bid for lots that are worth, in total, at least a couple million dollars?

I am sure they don’t. Obviously, they sent it to all account holders if they are sending it to a minor with about $34 in his account.

But it does draw one into questioning the manner that Aliant thinks this property will sell, and the advertising used to get it done.

Will this auction be a success for Aliant?  Will they sell all of the lots and homes in a non absolute auction, without neighborhood covenants and restrictions (maybe they will be present at auction, I don’t know), with minimal advertising strategy, virtually zero web presence, and minimal effort to garner referrals from Lake Martin realtors?

I have no clue.  We will see, though.

JP King Auction Company Puts Broker Registered Buyers At A Disadvantage

Because I am a glutton for punishment, blissfully disregarding the “fool me twice shame on me” principle, I have been registering people for this auction.  Don’t contact me now, it’s too late.  JP King requires that broker registrations be turned in yesterday.  If you are just now reading this and want to bid, you’d best contact JP King Auction Company directly here.  Good luck.

So why do I think that JP King puts broker registered buyers at a disadvantage?  Because they pressure buyers to declare an opening bid when they fill out the registration form.

That’s right. Any real estate broker that helps a buyer register has to fill out a blank that says “Opening Bid.” I think this is antithetical to the whole auction concept.  The reason buyers like auctions is (they feel at least) they start low and go high.  JP King wasn’t forcing the buyers they register to make an opening bid.  So why require it of ones that us brokers register?  And what buyer in their right mind would toss out an opening bid, a week before the auction, without any neighborhood covenants, deeds, and restrictions?  And what real estate broker would encourage a high opening bid if they care one whit about their reputation or their buyer?

JP King’s answer to this was: this is how we calculate the Broker Referral Fee.  For this auction, they offered to pay the broker (e.g., me) 2% of the opening bid and 1% of any amount above it.  See —> trying to get brokers to pump up prices.  Again, I feel this is antithetical and just downright dumb.  My policy was to disclose all of this to the buyers.  It didn’t matter to the buyers because in this auction they are paying no buyer’s premium (aka commission) like they do in most every other auction, and I do applaud JP King and Aliant for that aspect. When I registered my buyers, we defeated this by entering a nominal amount like $50 in the opening bid amount.  I cleared this with JP King ahead of time, but when we turned the registrations in, I was told by a very nice JP King representative that “(the) VP (of JP King) just cannot go to the seller with such a low opening bid” even though they had already approved that.

I dug deeper into JP King’s registration packet and found a clause that said we could leave the Opening Bid amount blank.  When I pressed this point, the very nice rep said “yes, that’s OK.”  I countered with, “so you would rather us leave it blank, which is in effect an opening bid of zero, than to put in something like $10?” She: “yes.”  Therefore we left it blank.

My point at telling this story is to illustrate my opinion of the extreme pain in the neck it is as a real estate broker to register someone to bid on this auction at Lake Martin.  Maybe other JP King auctions are different.  Maybe in other markets and other locations, their Broker Registration process is smooth, easy, nice, and encouraging to brokers.  But I can say that in my experience with the auction by Aliant at Water’s Edge, it was a huge pain in the neck.  Information flowed like molasses. I started quizzing JP King for auction information the second they made this public, and I found that quite often I was getting info later than people that called them directly.  I also was discouraged by their flip flop on the Opening Bid concept. Principally, the fact that they make it so hard and pressure the broker to pressure the buyer for a high opening bid, I feel that, in this particular case and this particular auction, JP King Auction Company put broker registered buyers at a disadvantage.

Do you think they tell potential sellers this?  Do you think, when the VPs of JP King are on the phone or in a meeting and trying to close a potential seller on hiring them, that they tell sellers what a great relationship they have with the local real estate brokers?  And how everyone will flood in to register all their buyers?  Hogwash, I say, if my experience was typical.  Then again, maybe this was an anomaly.  Maybe all of their other auctions are daisies and tulips.

Sour Grapes?

“This is all just sour grapes, John, because you had two of these homes listed before. You’re just an auction hater because you are a greedy, slimy, real estate broker,” you might say.  Maybe you’re right on all cases of that statement.  I am human, and therefore by definition a flawed, fallen sinner.  When I think back a couple or three years ago and remember the dreams we all had to resurrect Eagle Point into Water’s Edge, and now to see it like it is, I can’t help but pine for how well it could have gone.  I don’t hate auctions.  I just don’t like any seller not getting the best service.  I think this auction has a lot of hurdles to hop (no one knows the covenants and restrictions ahead of time, will these apply to off water lots, when will roads be done, limited inspections, limited information, it might rain) but I wish them the best.

I am not a Democrat, I am not a Republican.  I am a capitalist in almost the purest sense of the word.  I am for freedom and the American way. If this works for Aliant, more power to them, I say.  The market has spoken.

More Information about Water’s Edge At Lake Martin

I have written extensively about Water’s Edge in the past and also taken tons of video. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND that these are old posts from when I had the homes listed, so the pricing etc. NO LONGER APPLIES:

Aliant Bank Auctioning Water’s Edge Development On Lake Martin

 Lot 2, Water’s Edge

Does Ceiling Color Keep Away Bugs?

Water’s Edge Featured In Lake Magazine

Lake Martin Seawall Construction

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Lake Martin Cleanup Today

If you’re in the Lake Martin area today, come by Cathouse Marine today and help clean up the lake!

Several area businesses and volunteer associations are out here now. There’s a dumpster, so pick up some lake trash, come by and dump it. While you’re here you can donate to Children’s Harbor and enter to win some cool Lake Martin photos by Mike McKay of Lake Martin Event Pics.

I can’t give away lake homes but I can give away co-colas, so drop in, say hi, and have one!

Members of the Union Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad are here showing off their trucks, too.


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Lake Clean Up Day At Cathouse Marine

Steve Northington of Cathouse Marine is sponsoring a Clean Up Lake Martin day on Saturday, March 3, 2012.  He will have a dumpster there so you can collect trash along the lake shore or lake roads and bring it in to the dump.  You don’t have to register or be assigned to a collection team.  This is a grass roots effort, just get out there and help clean up the lake!

I salute Steve, his crew at Cathouse, his wife Dee Dee, and all volunteers.  It’s easy to complain or wait to be assigned something to do, it’s nice to see folks taking the initiative and diving in to help.  Steve has me “on the billing” for an appearance.  I am showing houses that day to a guy coming in from Arkansas and we’ve had his trip planned for quite a while.  I don’t know what time I will be there in the afternoon, but I doubt many people will miss me early.

Even if you can’t pick up any trash, please go by there and meet the other participants.  You will have a chance to meet a member of the Marine Patrol, and also to have some opportunities to help out some Lake Martin area charities.

I can’t wait to be there, to see lots of old friends and make new ones. Steve has a special place in my heart as the guy that rescued my Sea Ray Sundeck from certain salty death.  I owe him big time.  He’s a giver and this event is a prime example.

Here is the latest info from Steve, taken from this post on LakeMartin.com:

“We have had several emails and calls with specific questions about Lake Martin clean-up day. I have never done anything like this before, so if I screw it up don’t give to hard of a time.

When: Saturday, March 3rd, beginning at 9:00 am.

Location: Cathouse Marine, 6905 Hwy 49 S, Dadeville, AL, 36853. Just North of Blue Creek Bridge.

Organization of crews? — It is up to individuals or organizations to form a crew.

Other notes and facts are — Advanced Waste Disposal will be providing a large dumpster that will placed at Cathouse Marine for deposit of Lake shoreline garbage. Please limit deposit of trash that is gathered from the shoreline, and not burnable debris such as sticks, straw, etc. Should you not be involved with a crew, please gather all the trash from your personal shoreline and haul it on down.

The Alabama Marine Police will be on site during the day to address Lake Martin boating safety concerns, Alabama Boating laws and regulations and answer any general Boating questions. An Alabama Marine Police Boat will be on hand so please bring the kids.

There will be NO Children’s Harbor Donation drop off site. Instead, area businesses are providing the following offers in exchange for cash donations, and ALL Monies will be paid to Children’s Harbor.

  • Lake Martin Event Pics (Mike McKay) offers a Gorgeous picture of “Children’s Harbor Lighthouse”.  On display now at Cathouse Showroom!
  • Mark Kosmac of Clearwater Marine and Union Community Volunteer Fire and Rescue will be on hand for locals to ask questions about local service in your area. (Other local search and rescue organizations please call)
  • John Coley, of Lake Martin Voice Realty, will attend and answer any questions about local property sales and forecast.
  • LMRA is possibly having a membership drive on location that day as well.

If I have forgotten anyone, sorry, and I will update later in the week.

If you have ANY other ideas, help or be involved, please contact us. Like I said, I have never done this, and all ideas are certainly welcome.

Contact info:
Cathouse Prattville, 334-358-2838 Dadeville, 256-825-3388
email, [email protected]

Steve Northington”

Thanks again to Steve and all of the participating sponsors.  Thanks also to everyone out there that plans to pitch in to help clean up Lake Martin!

I would love to think of something to give away, but as a real estate agent, I don’t have much to offer in the way of something you can carry home and hang on the wall.  Maybe I can give a free home or lot valuation to whomever checks in to Cathouse the most on Yelp or FourSquare.  Then again, I do those for free anyway.

If anyone out there has any suggestions for me, please advise.

See you there on March 3!

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Register For Russell Forest Run

Russell Forest RunLake Martin area runners take note – The third annual installment of the Russell Forest Run is scheduled for Saturday, February 25, 2012.

If you have run races before through Active.com – you will be saved a step in registering.  If not, that is OK too, an account is free.

The race fee is $40 for the 10k and $20 for the 5k.

I plan to run again this year, it’s my third year in a row. It is the only 10k I have ever run in, so I don’t have much in the way of comparison.  I think it’s hilly, but my Birmingham friends tell me it is not so bad.  Whatever.

At any rate, it gives me great motivation to stay active while I train for it.  Even though it’s not very hilly where I live, and I run only on roads or the treadmill, that seems to prepare me pretty well.

The race is run over the trails in Russell Forest.  Honestly, “trails” – is not quite accurate, they are really dirt roads.  True, there are sections that are gravelly, but for the most part it is hard packed red clay.  The roads meander through the woods by Lake Martin, and are just beautiful. Many moons ago, when Russell Lands still leased that area for hunting, my dad used to take me quail hunting all through there.

I think one of the best parts of the race is the after party.  Russell Lands the power of Russell Crossroads and has the Chef from Springhouse there serving tasties (I think they did a squash bisque last year) and the folks at Catherine’s Market are supposed to have cold beer and drinks.

Plug For Runkeeper

To anyone that is training for the Russell Forest Run, or if you like to run or walk in general, take note of the Runkeeper app.

A friend of mine told me about this app for my iPhone. I love it for many reasons.

First, it’s free. Secondly, it keeps up with all of your workouts and syncs them to the runkeeper.com site. You can set your own running routes, and it calculates distance for you. When you start your run, you let it know what route you plan to run, and it tracks the GPS on your phone and updates you with distance, time, and pace announcements through your earphones. You can even select what playlist you want to play while you run, and whether or not you shuffle.

When you are done, you let it know, and it uploads your results to your private runkeeper.com account.

My only complaint is that it is not compatible with my heart rate monitor. I have one of those older chest strap monitors that transmits your heart rate. It works great on the treadmill but my iPhone 4 won’t put it through to runkeeper. Maybe it’s an iPhone thing, I don’t know. It would be really cool to be updated on my heart rate because that’s how I train anyway, not by timed pace per mile.

Enough about me.

I hope to see YOU at the Russell Forest Run. It’s a fun event that shows you that there’s plenty of things to do around Lake Martin in the winter.

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They’re On A Mission From God

If you plan to be at Lake Martin on Valentine’s Day, and are wondering what to do, you may want to check out the Blues Brothers Revue in Alexander City.

That’s right, Jake and Elwood have gotten the band back together, and they are performing at the Benjamin Russell High School Auditorium in Alex City on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012, at 7:30 PM.

They are playing complete with the intercontinental Rhythm and Blues Band, with a “piping hot” horn section, with gospel singers, and dancers. In fact, their sax player Murph Dunne got in a huge fight with his wife. He lost her and a job to be here, so the least you can do is show up.

I will grant you, there will be a few elements missing from the normal show. While they do feature gospel singers, I am pretty sure that James Brown will not be doing back flips on a trampoline. But on a positive note, there will be no crazed women firing M-16s at the boys.  Here’s a link to their latest promo video.

Seriously, this is for a really good cause – The Alex City Arts, and was funded in part by a grant from the Alabama State Council of the Arts.

Doors open at 7pm. Tickets: $15.00 for adults, children 12 and under $5. Tickets will be available February 1st at the Russell Hospital Gift Shop; The Chamber of Commerce; and ‘Main Street’, Alexander City, or at the door. For more information call; Ron Morgan, President, Alex City Arts at 256.234.9806 or e-mail [email protected]

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Aliant Bank Auctioning Water’s Edge Development On Lake Martin

Aliant Bank is auctioning the Water’s Edge neighborhood.

Water’s Edge, formerly known as Eagle Point, was a proposed waterfront development on the Big Kowaliga section of Lake Martin. It was (by my unscientific estimation) one of the largest, if not the largest, waterfront loan in Aliant’s history. It is located at the end of Coosa County Road 20, directly across the water from the old Veazey’s Marina near Willow Point.

Aliant loaned the money to real estate developers that tried to market it as Eagle Point, but the bank ended up taking that land back, and now has hired auctioneer JP King to auction off the whole shebang.

I have read JP King’s promotional materials and also called and emailed them for more information. At the time of this writing, they did not have a location map, neighborhood covenants and restrictions, but did have about 15 photos. Here are the major points:

Date: Saturday, March 10, 2012
Time: 10:00 AM Central Time
Place: “On Site” – I don’t know which part of the property that means, but if you take Coosa County Road 20 all the way east, surely they will have signage up.

Disclosure Of My Extreme Bias

I have a lot of personal bias when it comes to both Aliant Bank and Water’s Edge, nee Eagle Point.

Firstly, growing up in Alex City, I either know or am related to just about everyone that works there. Fine folks and experts at Lake Martin lending. In fact, they are about the only source that I know of right now that will loan on Alabama Power leased lot homes.

Secondly, I have a lot of personal history with Water’s Edge / Eagle Point. I helped Aliant do much of the homework (market studies, comparable sales, realtor stuff, etc.) when they first foreclosed. I also listed two of the spec homes that they had for sale. I had those homes listed during the construction phase and for several months after they were completed.

However – and this is a big however – I never listed any of the lots nor the Island parcel. Not the lots close to the spec houses (which the auctioneer is calling “The Cottages at Eagle Point”), nor the “island” portion (which the auctioneer is calling “Narrows Point at Water’s Edge”).

The only time (to my knowledge) that Aliant has put any of these lots on the market was when they listed lots 3 and 4 with Rhonda Gaskins at RealtySouth, the brokerage that listed the homes on lot 1 and lot 2 after my listing period expired. As was apparent in our Lake Martin MLS, they listed the lots for $195k and dropped the price to $159k before that listing expired late this fall.

Why The Water’s Edge Auction Will Be Interesting

I think Aliant’s auction of the foreclosed Eagle Point / Water’s Edge waterfront development will be interesting for three major reasons:

1.) Waterfront auctions on Lake Martin homes, lots, and other property have not gone well in the past. Foreclosed or not, I can only think of one auction where a sale has been consummated in the last five or so years. I sell Lake Martin real estate for a living, and that’s the sole example of success, but I can also recall five or six aborted attempts. One in particular, the auctioneer allegedly marched off in a huff after no one submitted an opening bid.

2.) The auction is not absolute. This may change, but as of this writing, according to auctioneer JP King, none of the parcels is being sold absolute.  Selling absolute means, essentially, if you bid $1, and you’re the high bidder, you get to buy it at that, regardless. If it’s not absolute it means that the bank has a minimum price, and if the bids don’t meet their minimum, they are not compelled to sell to you. Granted, this may change. When I talked to the auction company, they admitted that their information was incomplete right now. (Sidebar – the auction is in about 10 weeks. When will it be complete? Who will bid without complete information?)

3.) Only two of the lots have ever been on the market. As mentioned above, they last asked $159k each for lots 3 and 4 on the “Cottages” parcel. They have never – repeat never – put the island portion on the market (that is the parcel they call The Narrows).

Would you like to bid on waterfront lots or homes at Water’s Edge? Please contact me using this form or call me at 334 221 5862.

More Information about Water’s Edge At Lake Martin

I have written extensively about Water’s Edge in the past and also taken tons of video. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND that these are old posts from when I had the homes listed, so the pricing etc. NO LONGER APPLIES:

 Lot 2, Water’s Edge

Does Ceiling Color Keep Away Bugs?

Water’s Edge Featured In Lake Magazine

Lake Martin Seawall Construction

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Tornado Recovery Action Council To Meet At Children’s Harbor

The Tornado Recovery Action Council comes to the Lake Martin area with a meeting at Children’s Harbor.  The meeting is on Monday, September 26, 2011, at 6:30 PM.

Their stated purpose is: “building a better Alabama and preparing for future disasters.”

They want to hear feedback from people in the Lake Martin area who were affected by the April 2011 tornado.

For more information about this meeting, please contact the TRAC directly through their website: TRACalabama.org

Here is their flyer:

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