Lake Martin Voice Realty
Archive for the 'Lake Martin' Category
Is it true that one of the events that affects Lake Martin area hotels is a NASCAR race? Absolutely. A recent article in the Alexander City Outlook points out that area hotels are jam packed with race fans whenever the track at Talladega is running. The spring and fall races are so big that they top even Auburn football games in terms of economic impact.
How can this be? The Talladega Superspeedway is only about 45 minutes from Alexander City. When a NASCAR race is at Talladega hotels and restaurants in a 150 mile radius are affected. Talladega has a capacity of about 143,000 official seats and allows hordes to crowd the infield. People also camp outside the track for days. It is crazy.
Needless to say, that craziness means dollars to cities nearby, and the Lake Martin area is no exception. So, if you are reserving rooms around the Lake, you may want to avoid the weekends of April 29 and October 7, 2007. If you plan to cruise around the hotels looking for NASCAR celebrities, don’t bother. Ricky Bobby and all of the other big hairy American winning machines fly home after the race.
Looking for the fastest directions to Lake Martin? Or maybe a better way to get there from here? We all have our tried and true routes, but recent road work has opened up a few new ways to get to the fun faster. Also included are a few well worn trails, so take a look – maybe it will give you more time on the water!
- 1. From Montgomery / Atlanta to Blue Creek / Stillwaters / County Road 34 – Now the fastest way to get to the east side of Lake Martin is to take Interstate 85 to the Tuskegee exit (#32) and take Alabama Highway 49 North. This route is back in action since they have fixed the bridge over Sougahatchee Creek. It is windy and wicked but the best way to get to everything east of Chuck’s Marina. West of Chuck’s to Martin Dam, it’s a toss up between this way and taking AL highway 229 at the Tallassee exit.
2. From Birmingham to Parker Creek / Real Island – unless you are in the Oakachoy Slough (in which case take 280 into Alex City & Elkahatchee Road) – then the best way to get from Birmingham to this side of Lake Martin is to take highway 280 to Alabama Highway 9 South in Kellyton. From Highway 9, take either Coosa 20, Coosa 2, or Highway 259 to Coosa 24.
3. From Auburn – If you are heading to the south end of Lake Martin, take Shug Jordan Parkway to North Donahue to due west on Lee County 72, to west on Alabama Highway 50. If you are headed to the north (Alex City) end of the lake, take 280 west.
4. Highway 229 from Tallassee to Little Kowaliga – If you are heading on north 229 from Tallassee and are headed to Little Kowaliga, there’s no need to follow 229 to 63 and then go south to Elmore County 80. Take a left on Elmore County 357 aka Deer Track Road. Take a left on 407 (East Cotton Road). Continue on 407 as you cross Highway 63. 407 will T into Elmore County Road 80 at Mt. Hebron. That one will save you 10 minutes.
5. From Coosa 2 to Parker Island Road / Coosa 24 / The Needles Eye – I saved the best for last. For anyone trying to get from the Real Island / Parker Creek Marina area to the Needles Eye area, you know that getting around that slough takes forever. But – the shortcut is a dirt road that is on Coosa 2 about 1 mile west of where Elmore 55 intersects it. This road runs north and south between Coosa 2 and Coosa 24. It crosses the headwaters of Parker Creek, so it can be muddy. I’m sorry I don’t know the name of the road, but … isn’t that the case with all of the best shortcuts?
Know another great shortcut or cut through? Let me hear about it! I am already compiling another list for my next post. Don’t worry, you’ll get the credit.
It’s easy to make mistakes when buying a home or lot on Lake Martin. Whether you are a wizened real estate pro or a newcomer looking for your first property, there are some pitfalls that everyone needs to avoid. Heck, you could say that about anywhere, though, because real estate is such a local thing. I make my living selling real estate in the Lake Martin area, but if you dropped me off in Craig, Colorado, or Nicholasville, Kentucky, I would be just as lost and in need of local advice as the next guy. Here are 5 mistakes that you can avoid on Lake Martin (no particular order of importance):
1. Don’t waste your time calculating price per square foot of waterfront homes. As a former math major and current recovering accountant, I struggle to ignore this siren call every day of my life. I want so badly to have a piece of data like this to graph, make bar charts, build trend analysis, and otherwise calculate to the fifth decimal point. Alas, it is useless. So much of the market value of a Lake Martin waterfront home is in the lot, not the home. The lot drives the price, and very few lots on the lake are exactly the same. Even when the lots are pretty comparable, the homes are different, even on the same street. Yuppies in McMansions sit next to rasslin fans in shacks. Even in neighborhoods of similar construction, the lot drives the price.
2. Calculating price per waterfront foot of a lot is almost as useless. Well okay, you say, since on Lake Martin the lot drives the price, why can’t we value a lot by comparing it to other lots that have sold and divide sold prices by the amount of feet of waterfront they had? Nice try, but this still will trip you up. You can apply rules of thumb, such as, anything over 200 feet on a point lot should be priced at a premium, but you still have variables such as view, steepness of lot, etc. If you have a swampy 300 foot lot in the back of a cove that is on 1 foot deep water and the neighbor’s dock is 3 feet from yours, it will sell for much less than a gently sloping, 200 foot lot with a “big water view and a sandy beach. Try to graph that relationship; I dare you. I have tried and failed. I am considering creating a prestigious prize to challenge the nerd community, maybe they can come up with one.
3. You bought the house but you don’t own the lot underneath it. In most cases, when you buy a home on the lake, it is on a deeded lot. But, some homes on Lake Martin are built on leased lots. That means you own the home and all other improvements on the property, but Alabama Power owns the dirt. You lease it from them and pay them a monthly lease fee. When you buy the home you assume the terms of the lease that the previous owner negotiated with Alabama Power. Monthly lease rates and terms vary widely. Have an attorney check the lease before you buy. All other things being equal, a house on a deeded lot is worth more than the same one on a leased lot.
4. You take time to think about it. Contrary to a lot of other second home markets in the South, Lake Martin is still a sellers’ market. Sure, some sellers put ridiculous prices on their homes and therefore they take a while to sell. But if it is priced right, property still moves in a matter of days, not weeks. I’m not advising running out and buying willy-nilly, no. Let a local real estate agent help you. Do all of your research very carefully so that you know exactly what you want and how much you would like to invest. That way when something pops up on the Lake Martin MLS that you like, you can move swiftly and with confidence. Once you decide to offer, do it fast.
5. You don’t make an offer because the seller is asking too much. As I mentioned above, Lake Martin is in a sellers’ market right now, but sometimes things are still overpriced. I advise buyers to make an offer based on what they would pay. You never know, sometimes the seller will come to their senses and back off a ridiculous asking price. Maybe your offer will finally convince the seller to come down. Too many times I have heard buyers say, once discovering the selling price of a property they liked, “if I would have known they would have taken that, I would have bought it. The only way to find out is to pony up and make an offer.
Can you think of any other mistakes people make? Leave a comment below, and we will edit this article to include your submission!
The Jazz Fest– the Lake Martin area annual music festival that is free to the public – has been scheduled for Friday June 8th and Saturday June 9th, 2007. Mark your calendars and plan to be in the area, because, as always, some great bands will be on hand to entertain you.
The music on Friday night will be held under the stars in downtown Alex City. Saturday night it will be at the Lake Martin Amphitheater just south of the Kowaliga Bridge on AL Highway 63. I’m giving you plenty of notice so that you won’t miss the biggest area concert event of the year. It’s a BYOB event, so you won’t get stuck buying a 12 ounce cup of beer for $12, but it is also BYO common sense, so please drink responsibly.
Just because the admission is free doesn’t mean that the music stinks. In fact the Jazz Fest has a reputation for booking folks just before they make it big. I am on the Jazz Fest Committee this year and you can be assured that this year will be no exception. I will post the lineup here as soon as they have it booked. Last year they had bands like Tinsley Ellis, the Subdudes, Marc Broussard, and the Deadstring Brothers in the lineup.
In prior years such names as Los Lonely Boys, The Derek Trucks Band, bluesman Taj Mahal, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Dickey Betts, the Radiators, and Dr. John have made the event a must do for anyone in the Lake Martin area.
If you would like to help the event remain free (read … donate and become a sponsor) you can either go through the contacts on the Jazz Fest web site or you can contact me. If you just want to enjoy the music, great, I will see you there!
BONUS TIP – The Derek Trucks Band– is scheduled to play again at the Lake Martin Amphitheater on Memorial Day weekend, Sunday May 27, 2007. Gates open at 4:30 PM, but you’ll have to pay to see this show. I’ll post ticket details as soon as they come available.
Psssst .. There are 4 new construction projects on Lake Martin that might be news to you. Everyone loves a juicy piece of gossip, and the only thing growing faster than the Lake Martin real estate market is the grapevine that spreads the news about it. Are any of the new construction projects below going to be near your lake place, or the one you plan to buy?
- 1. The Bluffs at Copper Creek
- Location – Off of Centerport Road and Highway 50
- Concept – Condominiums
- Density – 8 buildings – 3 stories each, 10 units per building or 80 total
- Price Range – looks like the first phase is $341,000 to $431,000
- Available – First buildings to be ready by “late Summer 07
- Lowdown – This is on the Cooper Branch of Blue Creek. How they got from Cooper to Copper I do not know. Maybe there is a Copper Creek in Cooper Branch. They’re still working out details such as boat slips and amenities.
- Location – Near Nero’s Rock Road off of Elmore County Road 80 and Highway 63
- Concept – turn key homes, community waterfront
- Density – there are 93 lots for sale on the master plan
- Price Range – 4 different house plans from $289,900 – $319,900
- Available – taking reservations, no construction is apparent right now
- Lowdown – 93 homes on about 12 acres (per tax map). None of them will own waterfront. There will be a zone along the shoreline that apparently will be owned by the Homeowners’ Association. The 8 planned docks will be community property as well.
3. Crowne Pointe
- Location – Take Highway 50 to Centerport Road to Silverhill Road, all the way at the end of the peninsula
- Concept – Condominiums
- Density – 5 buildings, 3 stories each, 18 units per building or 90 total
- Price Range – resales are priced from $375,000 to $610,000
- Available – all 5 buildings still under construction, buildings 1 & 2 – Spring 2007, 17 for sale on MLS now (you can search it by clicking “MLS Listing Search” on the right margin, no strings attached)
- Lowdown – These units were the priciest until the Ledges at the Ridge and The Pointe in Stillwaters. They took a long time to get going, but they’re closing in on being ready. Big water views abound.
4. Bolton Cove
- Location – Take Highway 9 to Highway 259 to Coosa County Road 20
- Concept – 25 Tuscan villas based around and sharing a Manor, pool, beach, and various concierge services
- Density – 25 home sites
- Price Range – according to the website $700,000 to over $1 million
- Available – taking reservations, construction is not apparent right now
- Lowdown – I guess if the Maestro has Tuscany locked down, Jerry Seinfeld can get a villa here on Lake Martin
Do you see any corrections that I need to make? What about construction updates? Has anyone heard of any other new developments? Break the news here by writing a comment below.
When does the water go down? Does this house have water year round?
I hear this a lot. When people are looking for homes or a lot on Lake Martin, they soon learn that the lake’s water level fluctuates. Depending on your preferences, this might affect where on the lake you choose to be. If you are not aware of the lake level’s changes, it may affect how happy you are with your purchase. If you want to be able to take a New Year’s Eve boat ride, you will be disappointed if you are high and dry with no water in the winter. Or, maybe you prefer a quiet cove off of the main thoroughfare. In that case, don’t over pay for a place that doesn’t fit your needs. You need to learn a little about Lake Martin in order to make the right decision.
Why does the lake level go up and down? First, you need to know that Lake Martin was created back in then 1920s when the company that is now Alabama Power dammed the Tallapoosa River. The Tallapoosa River joins the Coosa River to form the Alabama River near Montgomery. The Alabama flows all the way to Mobile Bay, and is a navigable river. The Alabama River must maintain a certain level so that barges can move up and down it.
So, part of the reason the Martin Dam exists is to ensure that the Alabama has a certain amount of water flow. Since Alabama Power owns the dam, they (with permission of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) decide how to regulate the water level. So how does this affect your lake house?
The Alabama Bloggers must be at the beach for the summer, because we only got 3 submissions this week. Kudos to those who checked in with the office to get it done.
Sniper One has been busy – two submissions in one week. I guess his spotter is helping him reload quickly. In his first post, Sniper One presents Pakistan Honors Osama In Response To Rushdie Knighthood posted at “7.62mm Justice” . As always, he pulls no punches.
His second post is entitled “Jimmy Peanut: Stop Supporting Fatah over Hamas. Alas, I cannot supply a link here because he gets a little blue. You can read it at “7.62mm Justice” . I understand and recognize the Sniper’s free speech rights, but the Voice has language restrictions a tad more modest than the barracks or gun range. But, an interesting article at any rate.
Moving on, Nicki presents Red Cross puts social networking and online tools to good use posted at The Birthplace of the Process of Illogical Logic. I have never read her blog before this, and I welcome her to the blogosphere.
Next week – click here to see who the next host of the Alabama Bloggers Carnival will be.
Here are some great websites for the Lake Martin area that you may find useful:
LakeMartin.com– a great site for what’s going on now.
1. Cable TV / Cable Access Internet
- Charter serves Tallapoosa County
- ComLink Inc serves Elmore County by Kowaliga 800-722-2805
2. Land Line Phone / DSL Internet
- Windstream serves the Eclectic and Kowaliga Areas
- BellSouth (soon to be AT&T) serves pretty much everywhere else
3. Power – Alabama Power serves everything (Hey – what’s the use of building Lake Martin if you can’t serve all of the power to the area?)
4. Water –
- Tallapoosa County
Dadeville – City of Dadeville
Alexander City – City of Alexander City
Walnut Hill – Tallapoosa County other than above – 256-825-9841
- Elmore County – Central Elmore Water Authority – 334-567-6814
- Coosa County 256-234-4784
5. Trash / Waste Removal