Archive for the 'Lake Martin' Category

Results Of Waterfront Condo Auction – Harbor Pointe – Lake Martin

Lake Martin waterfront condo buyers flock to the condo auction at Harbor Pointe in Stillwaters.

Roebuck Auctions held an auction at Harbor Pointe Marina in Stillwaters last Saturday, July 7, 2007.  The bidding started at 11:07 AM, selling 20 units in the Harbor Pointe Condo development.  Chris Boden, representative of Roebuck Auctions, stated he thought the auction went very well.  He estimated that there were about 500 people in attendance and about half were registered bidders.  Boden confirmed that all 20 condos were sold and are under contract to close in thirty days.

Boden went on to say that the boat slips were not auctioned that morning.  They were pulled from the auction due to a “legal snafu” that the sellers were currently working out.  He said that 24 slips are still available, and they would be offered for sale first to the auction high bidders, then to existing Harbor Pointe owners.  Boden also said that some boats were sold, but since he worked on the real estate side, he didn’t really know the details on how that all turned out.

Lake Martin Voice roving correspondent Kirk Wascom had this report:

“I went to the Harbor Pointe Auction at Harbor Pointe Marina this past Saturday.  There was obviously a lot of interest given there were 300 other folks in attendance as well. 


The first condo sold for $385,000 and the last one went for $235,000, not including the 10% fee to be added.  They auctioned the condos on a buyer’s choice.  The first condo sold allowed the buyer to choose his/her choice of the 20 available waterfront condos.  The first one sold and chosen by the buyer would have been the one I would have chosen.


Although I attended the auction more out of curiosity and genuine interest, I did take my checkbook and a letter of guarantee from bank.  During my registration they asked me for my letter of bank guarantee.  However, a buddy of mine who also attended the auction was not asked to present one.  We registered at different times.  I guess it’s like buying alcohol; sometimes you’re carded and other times you’re not. 


In my opinion, I think those who were the high bidders and who got their choice of a condo got a good deal at a fair value.  It was all a win-win position for both sides.  Due to the number of buyers at the auction there was no way anybody was going to get a condo for some low bid price of $75,000 – $100,000.”

 

Thanks Kirk, for that report, and for the inspiration for this series of posts.

Does anyone else out there have a subject they would like to see covered by the Lake Martin Voice?  Speak up!  And watch out, you may be drafted into action like Kirk…..

 

 

Related Posts:

More Info – Harbor Pointe Condo Auction – Lake Martin
Lake Martin Voice Auction Post Linked By The Wall Street Journal
6 Questions To Ask At A Lake Martin Auction

You Are A Lake Martin HOBO

Lake Martin HoboWhether you know it or not, you are a Lake Martin HOBO!

Some Lake Martin area folks have organized the Lake Martin Home Owners and Boat Owners Association – and called it the Lake Martin HOBOs.  You don’t really have to be a waterfront home owner or a license toting boat owner to be a member.  So even if you are merely a fan of Lake Martin, you can join today

Coley Real Estate and the Lake Martin Voice are proud sponsors of the Lake Martin HOBOs.

Why a Lake Martin HOBO?

The Mission Statement reads:

“The organization’s mission is to work together with home owners, boat owners, local businesses, local, state and federal agencies and others to foster long term partnerships to preserve, protect and enhance the overall quality of life of all living things in and around Lake Martin – The Crown Jewel of the South, including, but not limited to, water levels and quality, shoreline preservation, fishing, wildlife, recreational activities and the safety of all boaters.”

Worthy goals all.  I think Lake Martin needs an association like this that will responsive to the people in the area, and that will balance quality of life issues with the realities of Lake Martin’s future development.

Please support the Lake Martin HOBOs!

More Info – Harbor Pointe Condo Auction – Lake Martin

Harbor pointe auction brochure - smallDue to many of you asking, here is more information on the auction for the 20 waterfront condos at Harbor Pointe, Stillwaters Development, Lake Martin, Alabama.

The sellers of the Harbor Pointe condos will do the absolute auctions first. The high bidder on the first one will get a free boat slip. The high bidder will then select which and how many condos that he/she wants at that price. So if the high bidder selects only one, then they do another absolute auction for the remaining 4, and so on, until there are no more. Then the sellers will get together to decide if they want to do any more as absolute. But you know that at least there will be 5.

They not decided when exactly that they will auction the boatslips.

Please note the auction will start at 11:07 AM. You pay a 10% buyer’s fee. You will be required to put down 10% of the price that day as a deposit. You will not be able to have any sort of contingencies whatsoever on the purchase, so if you will want a home inspection, for example, you have to pay for it yourself and have them inspect during the preview / inspection days.

2 of the units are building A. 3 are in building D. The rest – 15 – are in building E. Only 3 of the units are 2 bedroom. All of the rest are 3 bedroom. 1 of the D units is 2 bedroom. The other 2 are in the E building.

Here is the info that I found at the official site of Roebuck Auctions:

Location:

Harbor Pointe Marina
397 Marina Point Road
Dadeville, AL 36853

Date:
Saturday, July 7th, 2007 at 11:07AM CST

Preview/Inspection Dates:
Saturday, June 30th, 2007
10:00 – 4:00 PM
Sunday, July 1st, 2007
12:00 – 4:00 PM

PROPERTY FEATURES:

20 Luxurious condominiums on Alabama’s popular Lake Martin
At least 5 condos will be sold Absolute
The first unit that sells also comes with a free boat slip!
Beautiful 2 and 3 bedroom units
Very high-end interior finishes including:

stainless steel appliances
tile
granite/marble counter tops
More!
Harbor Pointe consists of (5) four-story buildings with common elements:
pool
pool facilities
pavilion
sandy beach
New and existing condo owners will also have the opportunity to buy a boat slip
25 slips will be offered at auction
all boat slips are adjacent to the condos
Unit D203 is set-up as a model unit.
Check-in here at the open houses
Auction will be held at the Harbor Pointe Marina showroom adjacent to the condos

SELLING FROM:
Harbor Pointe Marina Showroom

Real Estate Terms:

The high bidders will be required to place a bid deposit equal of 10% of the amount bid. Deposits will be accepted in the form of cash, checks with bank letter of guarantee, or certified funds.

Buyer’s Premium:

A buyer’s premium of ten percent (10%) will be added to the high bids to determine the total prices to be paid.

Closing:

The entire purchase price must be paid by Cashier’s or Certified Check, or wired funds at closing. No purchase shall be contingent on financing or any other contingencies.The closing shall take place not later than thirty (30) days after the auction.

Related Posts:

Results From Harbor Pointe Condo Auction
Lake Martin Voice Auction Post Linked By WSJ
6 Questions To Ask At A Lake Martin Auction

Lake Martin Voice Post On Auction Linked By Wall St Journal

Lake Martin Voice – your blog for Lake Martin real estate and area information – was honored recently by the Wall Street Journal online. 

On June 30, 2007, the print edition of the WSJ published an article on page B1 entitled “Home Going Once, Going…” about real estate auctions.  On the online version, at the end of the article, my post “6 Questions To Ask At An Auction On Lake Martin” was linked under the heading “Blog Posts On This Topic.”  It was one of only two such blog posts mentioned.  

You can try and click here for the link to the article on WSJ.  It should be active for a couple of days so that non-subscribers can read it.  I printed a PDF copy but it doesn’t show the link, so I print screened it (below).

Lake martin voice link in wsj
As an un-apologetic lover of capitalism, I hold the Wall Street Journal in the highest esteem. 
 
Thanks to all of you loyal readers and linkers that helped get this and other Lake Martin Voice posts noticed.  I try to be helpful by covering topics that interest you – so let me know how I can do a better job!
 
To the Journal authors, thanks again, Jonathan and Ruth!

6 Questions To Ask At An Auction On Lake Martin

Lake Martin Auction property home25 waterfront condos are being auctioned at Harbor Pointe in Stillwaters on July 7th.  Five of those will be absolute.  This auction follows on the heels of one earlier this spring.  Is this a sign of the times on Lake Martin?  Does this signal an end to the seller’s market? Are auctions a way to get a good deal on Lake Martin property?

Like any real estate transaction, every auction is uniqueThe person that does the homework will either come out of it with a fair price or avoid paying too much.

What questions should buyers ask before attending an auction at Lake Martin?

1.  Is this an absolute auction?  Always clarify this, but usually an absolute auction means that they must sell on that day, regardless of price.  Even if someone bids $1 for a Lake Martin condo, they must sell.  If it is not absolute, then ask what the reserve price is.  I’m sure they won’t tell you that, but no harm in asking.
2.  How many / which parcels are absolute? The Harbor Pointe auction will have 5 out of 25 absolute.  But,  if you see an ad for a different auction that says “40 condos for sale, absolute auction” maybe only 2 will be absolute. You want to be clear as to which are absolute and you want to make sure that you’re under the tent when they’re selling the absolute ones.
3.  Have these properties been for sale before?  The auction company may or may not know the answer, or they may or may not be obliged to tell you.  Here’s where your Lake martin real estate property auctionresearch comes in the picture.  How well do you know the Lake Martin market?  Or Stillwaters? Or Harbor Pointe? If the lake properties have been for sale recently, the listing prices can give you an idea of the seller’s expectations.
4.  What do you have to do to be a qualified bidder?  Usually you can give them a check for like $5,000 or something or a letter from the bank, usually it is better to set this up ahead of time, the week before the auction.
5.  What are the fees to the buyer?  Usually the buyer pays a fee above and on top of the bid amount  – this could be 5% to 10% – to cover the cost of the auction and the auctioneer fees.  This is sometimes a big part of their pitch to sellers.  They say, why pay realtor fees of 6% when you can make the buyer pay 10%?  Sellers think they are saving money but it all comes down to what is net to them anyway, and buyers figure that in when they bid and reduce their top number by, say, 10%.  Whatever.
6.  Will you send me the rules of the auction ahead of time? I ask for those.  I read everything.  Every auction is a bit different.  Maybe I will spot something that I didn’t think to ask about originally.
Sometimes I have Lake Martin buyers ask me about things like this, where I am neither the listing agent nor involved in any way. If they are interested, I can call the auction company for the buyer and register them as a potential bidder.  The auction company usually pays an extremely small “referral fee” to realtors like me when they register a buyer that is a high bidder.  This doesn’t cost the buyer a penny more because the buyer’s fee will be the same whether I call them or the buyer calls them directly.  But if I do call, I can ask them all of the above questions and give my analysis.
Lake Martin home auctionIn the case of the Harbor Pointe auction, I would run a buyer a report of all of the sales in Harbor Pointe in the last 2 years, and give a bidder an idea of what the exact market price should be on a condo there.  This gives you a pretty precise point to bid up to without getting hurt too bad.  Again, it won’t cost a dime more, and could arm you with a lot of information for the auction.  If my registered buyer is not a high bidder, they don’t owe me a penny.
I will definitely be watching the auction at Harbor Pointe to see what happens. (Thanks, Kirk, for the idea for this post!)

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New Lake Martin Lunch Spot: Green Valley Market & Cafe

Lake Martin lunch restaurantLake Martin has another great dining choice! The Green Valley Market and Cafe is now open.

The Green Valley Market is located in the Eclectic or Kowaliga area of Lake Martin, next to the Kudzu Corner. They are located on Highway 229 about halfway between where 229 intersects highway 50 at Castaway Island Road, and where 229 intersects highway 63 (aka Kowaliga Road) in downtown Kowaliga.

The Green Valley Market and Cafe sells sandwiches, and offers a good assortment of meat at their meat counter. If you need a lotGreen Valley market outside of food for your Fourth of July party, you may want to ask them about their catering. One of the newer trends on Lake Martin is selling ready to eat casseroles and such for people who don’t want to cook yet would like some home cookin. They sell a lot of the warm up and eat type of fare, which I am sure is very good. They also sell boutique looking spices, and little gifts, etc.

Lake Martin real estate lunchI have tried just about every sandwich they make, and I must say, I am pleasantly surprised. They serve the sandwiches with sides like potato salad or pasta salad, but my favorite is the black bean salad. Usually a lunch menu on the fru fru side does not do much for me, but their sandwiches taste really good. They use good quality meat and give generous portions. It is a great choice if you are looking for something other than fried foods.

Check them out! I recommend them heartily and wish them the best. Their phone is (334)857-3663. Street address is 2415 Red Hill Road, Eclectic, Alabama, 36024.

Related post: Four Great Lunch Meals Around Lake Martin

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Russell Lands’ Fireworks Are On, But Don’t Try At Home

Lake Martin real estate propertyLake Martin’s Fireworks Display on the Fourth of July is one of the best things about the lake area. After years of watching the fireworks show at the lake has caused me to be jaded and judgmental of any other claims to have “the best fireworks show in the land.

Many have worried that this year’s severe drought would prevent Russell Lands from putting on their annual patriotic display. After the state fire marshall banned fireworks in 33 drought affected counties, rumors have been flying around Lake Martin that there would be no fireworks show.

Fear Not! The fireworks show is on! Russell Lands General Counsel Steve Forehand confirmed in a letter that they do plan to have the fireworks display this year. Russell Lands has a “special permit from the Alabama Forestry Commission and the State Fire Marshall.

If you would like to see the fireworks, you can drive to the Lake Martin Amphitheater for the best view. It’s about a mile south of Kowaliga Bridge on highway 63. The Sweet Young Uns, Muse, and Harbor Lights will be playing after the fireworks.

By boat, you can pretty much see them at any point from Kowaliga Bridge to Martin Dam, which will be packed with thousands of boats. If you want an unimpeded view, go to the Cocktail Slough, directly north of the Amphitheater. If you go by boat, take caution. This event makes for the most dangerous time to drive a boat on Lake Martin. Combine the darkness, drunk boat drivers, inexperienced boat drivers, and (this year) exposed islands and it can be a madhouse.

Back to the Russell Lands letter – if you rent a Russell Lands cabin, watch out. Forehand Lake Martin property real estate fireworksreminds you that it is against your lease to shoot fireworks on the property – and it “could result in termination of your lease. That would be a shame.

Help Keep Lake Martin Water Level Up

HelpAlabama Power has requested to lower the required stream flow coming from Martin Dam, in an effort to keep the water level on Lake Martin from plummeting even more.  Click here for the public notice from the Corps of Engineers.

Lake martin real estate helpWillard Bowers, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Alabama Power, made a request on May 15 to Colonel Peter F. Taylor, Commander, Mobile District, US Army Corps of Engineers, to “implement a reduction .. of flow of 10%” on Martin Dam.  He said that if they continue at the current flow, Lake Martin will be at its drought contingency level by July 4.  In short, they want to reduce the flow so that the water level on Lake Martin might have a chance of not plummeting as quickly this summer.

Col. Taylor has responded by notifying the public about this request, to give everyone a chance to have some input.  On page 3 of his notice, Col. Taylor notes that if the proposed changes are NOT implemented,  APC has indicated that the  “impact of maintaining (the current) release to the Alabama River has fallen completely on the remaining storage at Lake Martin…… Lake Martin is projected to be 14 feet below the rule curve by early August.”  I might not be right, but I read that to mean that unless something changes, Lake Martin’s water level will be at 476 by August.

What can I do?

You can contact Chuck Sumner and let him know that you support the proposed reduction in flow from Martin Dam.  Maybe you don’t support it; you can tell him that, too. 

Email:   Chuck Sumner, Inland Environmental Team
           [email protected]  (thanks Mav)

Fax:  (251)694–3815

Voice: (251)694–3857

Snail mail:

District Engineer
U.S. Army Engineer District, Mobile
P.O. Box 2288
Mobile, AL 36628–0001

DEADLINE:  10 CALENDAR DAYS FROM MAY 31, 2007

Please act now!  This won’t restore Lake Martin to its normal summer level, and might not even keep us from dipping below 480.  But at least it gives us a fighting chance!

Drought & Alabama Power Lower Lake Martin Level

Lake Martin’s water level is low this year, and it could get even lower.lake martin real estate water level

Alabama Power says
that Lake Martin’s water level started dropping on May 18 and “could be much lower on July 4.”

It is no news flash that Alabama and much of the southeast has suffered a severe drought so far in 2007.  This follows on the heels of a dry 2006.  Since part of Lake Martin’s existence depends on it maintaining a certain level downstream, it has been affected.

 

The folks at Alabama Power are not optimistic: “most streams that feed our lakes are at the lowest levels ever recorded.”

Lake Martin usually is filled to full pool, or 490 feet above sea level, by May.  As of May 15 it was just under 486, and dropping.  They are even reporting to FERC about the lower water flow.

Again, a quote from Alabama Power: “Martin is not expected to fill above 486 and will begin to drop May 18.”

Get used to it folks; prepare yourselves for reality.

lake martin real estate water alabama powerAlabama Power owns the hydroelectric Martin Dam that dams the Tallapoosa River, creating Lake Martin.  They control the water level to try and balance their power generating needs with ecological effects, recreational effects, and the commercial navigation of the Alabama River, which is downstream of the Tallapoosa.

Alabama Power is currently distributing the word through news agencies and their own press releases  that we had better be ready for a long, dry summer.

 

Related Posts:

When Does The Water Level Go Down On Lake Martin?
Mythbuster: Alabama Power Leased Lots – Lake Martin

Mythbuster: Alabama Power Leased Lots – Lake Martin

Lake Martin Alabama power leased lotAlabama Power has leased waterfront lots on Lake Martin for decades.  Yet, so much rumor, speculation, and innuendo surrounds the topic it remains mysterious to many people, real estate agents included.

Allow me to try to bust the myth on this subject.

Why are there leased lots on Lake Martin?

Lake Martin dam alabama power real estateLake Martin was created in 1923 when the Southern Company (Alabama Power) built Martin Dam on the Tallapoosa River.  They bought up all of the eventual waterfront at the elevation of 490 feet above sea level.  Since old Mr. Ben Russell (founder of Russell Mills), already owned the damming rights to the Tallapoosa, the Power Company swapped him those rights for one half of the waterfront.  Pretty much every inch of the 700 miles of waterfront of Lake Martin at one time or another was owned by either Alabama Power or Old Mr. Ben.

When did Alabama Power begin to lease lots on Lake Martin?

Sometime around in the 1960s, Alabama Power allowed people to build homes on the waterfront, but they retained ownership of the land underneath the home.  The people own the sticks and bricks, the company owns the dirt.  The people paid a monthly lease to do so.  Over the years, depending on the opinions of officers at Alabama Power, the homeowners were given the chance to buy the dirt under their homes.  No rhyme or reason to it, some years they would decide to sell, other years they would institute leases.  That policy continues today.  Who knows, they may decide to start selling lots to leaseholders tomorrow.  They might not.

How does a lot lease work on Lake Martin?

These days, when Alabama Power leases a waterfront lot to homeowners, they have a written lease, just like you would for an apartment.  The lease specifies the monthly rate (currently around $400), the length of the lease (currently twenty years), and the yearly increase of the rate.  The key here is that every lot is different, so if you’re concerned, consult a lawyer.  Alabama Power assigns the lease amount when they offer new lots for lease.  They offer the lots in a bid system, meaning, the homeowners bid offers of cash to pay for the privilege of entering the lease.  If you are the top bidder, then you must pay the monthly lease rate on top of that.

What happens at the lease end?

Again, you must examine each lease to be sure of how it works.  But generally speaking, at the end of the lease, one of 4 things can happen:

1.  Alabama Power renews the lease
2.  Alabama Power sells you the lot
3.  Alabama Power buys the house from you
4.  You pick up the house and leave.

My family has been selling real estate in the Lake Martin area since 1953.  We have never heard of Alabama Power buying a house, or making someone move their house away.  Not that it is impossible, but it is, in my opinion, highly, highly, improbable.  Most of the time they either renew the lease or sell you the lot.  Once again, if in doubt, talk to a lawyer.

Can you sell a leased lot home?

One word answer – YES.  There are plenty of great leased lot homesLake Martin real estate for sale now (like this one) on Lake Martin and many that have sold in the past.  Generally speaking, you can get more house or view for your money on a leased lot house than you can on a deeded lot home, because of the existence of the lease. The transaction works just like a deeded lot sale, except you have the added step of transferring the lease to the new owner.  Alabama Power must approve this transfer, but usually it’s just a matter of paperwork.

Can you finance a leased lot home?

YES – easily.  I almost always recommend that Lake Martin buyers use lenders from around the lake.  Not because I am related to any many of them, but because lake financing is usually a bit different than your standard McHouse in McSuburbia.  Local lenders are especially handy when it comes to financing a leased lot home.  They are familiar with all of the documentation, so it’s a lot easier to work with them.

Do you own a leased lot home and have some advice to add?  Or maybe you have questions that I haven’t answered here.  If so, please comment on this post and I will do my best to answer anything else.

Related posts:

When Does The Water Level Go Down On Lake Martin?

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