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Archive for the 'Lake Martin Living' Category

Treasured Mile: Anti-Litter Program for Lake Martin

Did you know that you could make an impact on keeping Lake Martin litter free? Lake Martin Resource Association (LMRA) has launched the Treasured Mile Program to promote a litter-free lake environment.

Individuals and groups can adopt a section of Lake Martin’s shoreline or an Alabama Power Company island for regular litter patrol and cleanup. Volunteers who adopt a portion of the shoreline or an island will help to maintain the beauty of the lake for a two year period.

Helping sponsor the Treasured Mile Program is Alabama Power Company and Russell Lands. “The Treasured Mile Program is a great opportunity for those who love and appreciate Lake Martin to make meaningful contributions toward the scenic and environmental preservation of the lake for current and future generations,” said Rhett Hanks, Lake Manager for Alabama Power Company.

More information can be found on the  LMRA website including application forms and a map showing you the latest areas that have been adopted and which areas still need adopting. This is your opportunity to help make a cleaner, healthier Lake Martin. Get involved and give back! Let’s keep Lake Martin beautiful.

Click here to read an article from Alex City Outlook by John Thompson, President of LMRA. Call John at 334-323-7880 or email him – [email protected] if you have any questions about the Treasured Mile Program.

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First, Focus on Photos

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 4.00.40 PM

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.

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Free Driving and Docking Clinics

(photo courtesy of picturequotes.com)

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.

 

Pontoons:
March 6, April 3, May 1, June 5, July 10, August 7, September 11, October 2

Towboats:
March 13, April 10, May 8, June 12, July 17, August 14, September 18, October 9

Sterndrives:
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.

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Fishing For Striped Bass in March on Lake Martin

It is no secret that I love to fish for striped bass at Lake Martin.  And I am always looking to improve my game.

Lake Martin striped bass

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:

Alex City Guide Service
Captain David Hare
256-401-3089

[email protected]

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
256-401-3089

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Nuts & Bolts of Fishing Seminar – Springtime Striper Strategies on Lake Martin

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]

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Are older Lake Martin cabins ever for sale?

(advertisement courtesy of The Alabama Department of Archives and History)

(advertisement courtesy of The Alabama Department of Archives and History)

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.

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Win A Lake Martin Plug Day 2017 T-Shirt!

Lake Martin’s Plug Day- March 1, 2017! Win This T Shirt!

 The official start of Lake season is here!

For a chance to win this shirt:

1) Download the FREE Lake Martin Voice app (if you haven’t already).
2) Take a screen shot from your phone showing that the app is installed.
3) Email me: [email protected] or post it on Instagram and tag me (@LakeMartinVoice) ! I’ll draw a winner from the submissions!

Here at Lake Martin the day that Alabama Power starts filling up the Lake is known as Plug Day. We look at it as the official start to spring and lake season. This year the lake has been coming up a few days early anyway, so we’ve had a head start!

Celebrate with me – watch the water level rise, come to the Lake, it is time to start playing! Oh and why not go for a chance to win this t-shirt, made by local artisan North Lake Crafted!

I created my app to keep you up to speed about all of the fun events at Lake Martin along with a list of the area restaurants, shops and marinas  – and home search !

Most importantly for now – to watch the water level at the Lake, download the FREE Lake Martin Voice app!

Are you wondering why and when Lake Martin water level changes? Here’s a link to everything I have written about the Water Level at Lake Martin.

I don’t make T Shirts or apps for a living. I sell waterfront real estate here at Lake Martin. I’m John Coley and if you’d like help buying or selling, please call me at the number at the top of the screen or Contact Me Here.

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It’s Not Shiplap

What is shiplap? It has nothing to do with ships regardless of its name.

Shiplap (a type of wooden board used on exterior walls) is a hot decorating trend that has seen “…a serious surge in popularity in new renovation, thanks in large part to its extensive use on shows like HGTV’s Fixer Upper” – according to several home renovator blogs. However, it is often confused with tongue-and-groove siding.

Chip and Joanna Gaines – HGTV’s Fixer Upper

Sorry Chip and Joanna – you got it wrong. I love you and everybody I know loves you but shiplap refers to a groove not the look of the finished product.

 

 

 

Doug Furhman of Southern Traditions Construction helps explain the differences of shiplap siding and tongue-and-groove siding in the video below.

As a Lake Martin realtor I can help you find your Lake Martin home and quickly identify homes that are move-in ready, tear down opportunities or just in need of some shiplap siding. 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.

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Where are Lake Martin homes listed for sale?

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.

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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.

lmv-mls-set-up-screen-shot

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.

My name is John Coley and I would love to help you find your Lake Martin home.  Give me a call at 334-221-5862 or contact me here or email me at [email protected].

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The Renovator’s Special – 106 Windy Trail

106 Windy Trail – Lake side before and after

Here is helpful information from one Lake Martin couple who purchased a fixer upper.

When I met with the homeowners back in December, I had no idea (and neither did they) that they would decide to sell their Lake home. I wanted to write an article for Lake Magazine about remodeling at the Lake and stopped by the cabin to take some “after” photos and ask a few questions.

Remodeling is popular these days. If you are unaware of this trend, just flip on the TV. Waco, Texas, has the adorable Chip and his wife Joanna. Los Angeles has Christina and whatever male she decides to include on her show.

So in going along with the trend of “old to new,” I thought I would write about lake home remodeling. When homebuyers come to Lake Martin, they often wrestle with this issue.

“Do I want to buy a brand new home? Or am I up for a remodel of an older home? How large of a remodel project would I like?” they might ask themselves.

I thought it might be helpful to talk to a couple that has actually been through the process and hear what they have to say. Granted, their experience is personal and limited to one home. But, they did put considerable thought into their remodel, and it might be entertaining and enlightening for all.

Here is their story:
Don and Kristie are from Birmingham, Alabama. They bought their home in 2011. It is located on the north side of Lake Martin and was originally built as a fish camp style home with concrete block construction. It was extremely functional but short on refinement.

The home’s original construction date was listed at 1960, but subsequent owners had made improvements along the way. While Don and Kristie loved the home as it was, they naturally sought to personalize it. Here’s a Q&A of their Lake Martin remodel story:

When you first started your home search, did you want to buy a home that was move-in ready, or were you looking for a fixer upper or a project?

Our first priority was to buy a home with great water frontage with pretty view and a level lot for kids to play. At our price range, that dictated a fixer upper.

When you bought it, did you envision fixing it up this much?

Yes, but not with any definitive timeline. It was just as we could afford with money and time. There was no rush because we did not live there full time, so it was nice to do a little and walk away for a bit. Being patient helped us to get to know the house and what we really wanted out of it.

106 Windy Trail Living Room before and after

 

What was your first project, and was that the same project you planned when you bought?
The house was quaint and charming, but we wanted to personalize it to our tastes. We pulled out all carpet and baseboards and slowly started to replace with a floating floor and new baseboards. During that process, we took what furnishings came with the house to refurbish pieces with paint and distressing. That helped to clear some stuff and allow for flooring. It also helped us to visualize how to put each space back together from a decorating standpoint.

Which part gave you the most instant gratification?

Paint. Paint will transform a space. If the ceilings in a lake house are not that special, consider painting them the same color as walls. It really opens up a room and makes it feel larger. That is something many people will look sideways at you for suggesting until it’s actually done.

Which part was the least fun to spend money on?

Electricians and plumbers.

106 Windy Trail Sun Porch before and after

Did you experience “project creep,” e.g., “as long as we are fixing X we might as well fix Y?”

A tad but not tremendously. To offset the creep, we would look for ways to do things inexpensively but still with good impact, things that we might not otherwise do if it was our primary home. For example, in the kitchen, we had white Formica countertops that were fine for a lake house. But we added the pass-through and purchased a remnant of honed granite for the bar top. Instead of spending thousands on the kitchen countertop, we found Formica that was basically identical to the granite. It only cost a few hundred dollars, and it looks fine for the small space.

How did you budget for this? Did you decide on a total amount to spend and wait until you had it and then start, or did you know that you wanted to do this or that project and just did it?

The rule was, if we couldn’t pay for it out of pocket, we were not doing it. That governed our time and pace. With it being a second home, we were not so antsy to ‘get it done’ immediately.

Anything you would change?

I wish I had peeked at the ceilings in the oldest part of the house during renovation. I always wondered why the ceilings were lower in the old original camp house. Far down the road after interior was done, we were working on the sun porch that required us to reveal part of the ceiling, and it was discovered there was old tongue and groove on the ceiling. It was one of those moments of “who the heck covers this up!”

What was the hardest part of remodeling from afar?

Just having to be patient knowing we had limited time to work on it and making ourselves stop to enjoy the view every now and then.

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.

For more info about 106 Windy Trail contact Listing Agent John Coley at 334-221-5862 or by clicking here or email him – [email protected]

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