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Lake Martin Market Reports Yield Great Feedback

The Lake Martin waterfront real estate market is a unique animal. I try hard to provide meaningful market reports, built on math and not assumptions. I recently sent out my 2013 Year End Review via email. In it, I asked for suggestions on how to improve my report.

Letter from readersI received two very interesting emails, and thought I would publish them here. I would like to once again thank these readers for their input, and continue to ask for suggestions, and challenges, to my published numbers and analysis. With such a small number of homes sold each year, it’s critical to have good information. You won’t ever hurt my feelings if you think I am wrong or looking at something the wrong way. On the contrary, I would love to hear from you.

Here is the first email:

On Feb, 2014,  “Paul” wrote:

Just read though your email – great to see sales and construction activity continue to climb. You mentioned that you do not necessarily see price appreciation…..yet. Presumably you have the aggregate of sales dollars per annum. Does that not evidence any increase in avg sale/property?
Just curious because I was wondering how much the rate environment (which is still very favorable) could have an impact on discretionary/second home real estate purchases.

And my response:

Begin forwarded message:

From: John Coley
Subject: Re: sales data
Date: March, 2014
To: “Paul”

Hey “Paul,” thanks for your email. I don’t really look at aggregate sales dollar figures because I am not sure it is representative. For instance, the aggregate sales data in 2013 is going to be about double of 2008. But – 263 homes were sold in 2013 compared to 137 homes in 2008. If you looked at aggregate sales data you would be tempted to conclude that values have doubled since 2008, which certainly does not meet the smell test. I don’t know of any market anywhere that has doubled since 2008. In fact, I think values dropped slightly in 09 and have been steady since then. My bell curve chart and real world examples (homes bought in 08 that are for sale now) confirm that. But it is certainly interesting to consider.

As to interest rates – I don’t think rates mean a hill of beans to the average buyer. I think their interest rate sensitivity is zero. I have never run the numbers, but now that I know how to do so (I plan to do it like I did for WF footage and lot size) – I might try it. Stay tuned to my blog in the next few weeks, I am publishing the math behind my studies of price per WF foot.

Great to hear from you!

And the second email:

Dear John:
You asked for input on your charts, so being a CPA I couldn’t resist giving some! The chart you are using to determine whether prices are increasing I don’t think is accurate for that purpose. For example, let’s say in 2014 a lot of people in the $700,000 price range bought a lot of houses, let’s say 25% of all 2014 sales – the chart would of course spike at the $700,000 level indicating only that more people are buying houses at that level than they did in previous years. If the $700,000 buyers were buying houses that were previously sold for significantly less (i.e. a big price increase had occurred), the chart would not indicate that.

I don’t know if you have the data, but I believe a very meaningful chart re: price fluctuations would be to calculate the dollar sales per square foot, by subdivision, by year. That would certainly capture any price fluctuations. Since the subdivisions are all in different categories (i.e. comparing the Ridge to Trillium, or Blount’s Point area to Willow Point) cannot be meaningfully done.
I would love to see a chart that lists sales dollars per square foot, by subdivision, by year. Can you get your hands on that kind of data?

Many thanks for your very valuable research.

– “C.E.”

My response:

From: John Coley

Subject: Re: Lake Martin – February 2014
Date: March, 2014
To: “C.E.”

Hey “C.E.”, thanks for your email. I appreciate a fellow numbers guy giving me input. I am always on the lookout to build a better mousetrap and to similarly test assumptions of my own.

Re: per square foot – I think this stat is extremely misleading at the lake. The reason is that so much of a home’s value is tied up in the lot. PSF analysis works well in things like condos where everything is the same, but lake property is way too diverse and has too high a percentage of overall value tied up in the lot. See a post I did on my blog, way back in 2007:

5 Mistakes When Buying Real Estate on Lake Martin

There is zero correlation between sales price and square footage of home.

In that post I also mention the price per waterfront foot of a lot and its deceptive nature. Coincidentally, I just ran the numbers on that using 2013 sales. I will be posting the results on my blog. I did a scatter plot, and a correlation coefficient calculation. Where +1 is a perfectly direct relationship, 0 is no relationship, and -1 is a perfect indirect relationship, I found that waterfront footage only has about a 0.47 correlation, or classified as a secondary correlation by statisticians. Interestingly, the size of the lot (overall acreage) has a zero correlation. This math confirmed for me that when I am valuing lots, and therefore valuing homes, the most accurate method is to start with a comparable sales method, looking at similar location, view, privacy, and water quality. I secondarily adjust for WF footage, and do not adjust at all for acreage.
I will take a look at your suggestion of analysis by neighborhood. I am doing that already for a neighborhood report, but looking at PSF data on homes in a neighborhood will vary even more greatly because of our small sample pool. That’s why I only do price analysis once a year – in Willow Point there were only 8 homes sold in the last 12 months, from 600k to 2.2 million. When your sample pool is that small, it won’t normalize easily, and one home sale can thrown the whole thing in a wreck and make year to year comparisons inaccurate at worst. But all this does make for interesting discussion!!!

Regarding your example of the 700,000 category – if you look at the most recent example, in 2011 there was a spike in the over 1 million range. You can see the hump up there. Spikes like this are the prime reason I broke it all down to price strata, and also to look a year’s worth of sales. I am trying to normalize out the outliers. But again, great food for thought! Thanks!

Thanks for your email!!

It is so humbling that people read my market reports, much less take the time to comment on them and get me to really think about the conclusions I draw.  It helps more than you know.  A huge thanks for your feedback, and please keep it coming!

C.E., in a later email, suggested that I look at the percentage of and direction of change in per square foot pricing on Lake Martin waterfront home sales. His point was that while the raw number might not be useful, the direction thereof might be, kind of like the DJI in the stock market. I think this is a cool idea and worth some further study!

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A Paddle Boarder’s Paradise on Manoy Creek

I have a new waterfront Lake Martin home for sale on the east side of the lake, 108 Leisure Lane, and every time I think about it, I want to head there with my paddle board and spend a few hours exploring.

This Manoy Creek home has 3 beds and 2 baths on a great, flat lot.  Best of all, its neighbor to the east is a 68 acre parcel of Alabama Power Project Land.  That means the area will not be developed, and that makes for privacy, super paddle boarding, fishing and skiing.  I imagine loading my fishing gear on my board, paddling along the woodsy shoreline, maybe making my way across the slough to visit a neighbor. . .

By the way, I’ve had several clients buy in this area of Lake Martin specifically for the great skiing and wake boarding spots.

If you’re interested in this home, or any property in the Lake Martin MLS, give me a call at 334 221 5862, email me at john (at) lakemartinvoice (dot) com, or click here to contact me.  I sell real estate exclusively on Lake Martin full time, and I’d love to help you with your search!

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Client Testimonial: The Full Time Lake Martin Resident

I often talk about Lake Martin being a second home real estate market, and it is, but there are also plenty of families who live here year round.

I had a lot of fun last year helping Jackson and Nicki find their full time Lake Martin home.  Because they were looking for their primary residence, and because they also make their living on the lake (TowBoatUS), their list of essentials looked a little different: school zoning, year round deep water at their dock, access to in-town amenities, a house that didn’t need a lot of renovation, and a firm price range.

The challenge of meeting their needs was exciting for me, and the good news is that after spending several months in their new home, they are really happy.  I caught up with them last week and here’s what they had to say about their experience:

If you’re looking for a primary residence or a second home on Lake Martin, I’d love to talk with you about your search.  I help buyers and sellers at Lake Martin as a full time business, and I work hard to have the most educated Lake Martin real estate client base around.   If you have questions about Lake Martin real estate, and you can’t find the answers on this website, call me at 334 221  5862 or contact me here or email me at john at lakemartinvoice dot com, and I’ll get you the answers.  If you have suggestions for future blog posts, let me know that, too.  Thanks!

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Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Pricing: An In-Depth Study, Part 3

How do we know the value of a Lake Martin waterfront lot?  Have you ever seen two that are exactly alike?  Do appraisers base their finding based on a feeling, or is there a formula?

Yes, there are several formulas, but only one that works at Lake Martin:  Comparable Sales.

Every now and then, out-of-town appraisers come to Lake Martin and are paid to make decisions about property value on our lake.  And they often bring their city-style pricing methods with them.  I’ve seen it enough, and have had to have this conversation with buyers often enough that I felt a real study of lot pricing methods was due.  I wanted to combine our MLS sales data with the anecdotal evidence I’ve been collecting for years.

I’ve been saying for a few weeks now (Part 1 and Part 2 of this series) that Lake Martin waterfront lots are best valued by the Comparable Sales method.  I’ve walked you through two other methods that don’t cut it in our Lake Martin market:  Price Per Waterfront Foot and Price Per Square Foot/Acre.  The time has come address the most accurate valuation tool, the Comparable Sales Method aka the Sales Comparison Approach.

The Comparable Sales Method at Work on Lake Martin

“The Comparable Sales Method uses data from the sales of similar properties to estimate the market value of a piece of real estate.  This is a common method of assessing the value of real estate . . .  In most cases, several similar properties are used in the analysis.” (About.com)  So what I do when helping a potential seller determine a list price for their lake property is look at other similar sales.  A perfect comparable sale would be one that is geographically close,  with a similar view, privacy, water depth, and waterfront footage, etc.  Properties that have already sold are called “comparables,” and the lot you are trying to value is called the “subject.”

When the Sales Comparison Approach is used, choosing the most comparable sales is a critical part of the equation. To make things simple, let’s think about deed restricted developments on Lake Martin first.  The old real estate cliché of “location, location, location” does apply at Lake Martin.  Over the years, buyers have shown a preference to select lots that are inside deed restricted neighborhoods with covenants and homeowners associations.

One takeaway from this study is that the Comparable Sales method is labor intensive.  It requires a working knowledge of the area – otherwise how to know which sales are most comparable?  It also supposes an understanding of what buyers value in a Lake Martin lot.  Like most real estate pricing, it is not an exact science, but I think you can get pretty close.  There is no getting around it, no shortcuts, no magic formula. One simply has to buckle down and find the most comparable sales and then adjust to match the subject. For instance, if a comparable lot sells for $185,000, and I think that its view contributes 10% more value than the subject’s, then I would subtract 10% or $18,500 from the sales price to arrive at an estimation of the subject of $166,500. I try to get two of three more comparables, and average their adjusted sales prices, and presto, I have my estimation of value.

Obviously it gets a little more tricky to find comparable sales for properties that are not in formal neighborhoods at the lake, and there are some that are not.  But it can be done, and done well with the proper research.  The same goes for properties with homes.

The Sales Comparison Approach is also the preferred method by residential appraisers, so we shouldn’t be surprised that is the most accurate here at Lake Martin.

That is not to say that waterfront footage should be ignored – not at all. When using the sales comparison approach, if two lots are ceteris paribus except for waterfront footage, consideration should be given to the lot with more feet at lakeside. 

There is a place for adjustment for waterfront footage, but only as a secondary, fine tuning after first selecting good comparable sales. Much like a set of scales at the doctor’s office has two weights  –  a large one to get you close, and a small to get you exact:

Hopefully this study dispels the impulse of using waterfront footage as a starting point, or as the primary driver of estimated sales price.  The numbers just don’t work. I also hope that using a price per acreage or per square foot will not be used at all.

And now, having read all three parts of this math heavy series on lot pricing, I declare you to be a graduate of the Lake Martin Voice School of Graphs and Charts!  Congratulations!

Caveat:  If you call me to list your waterfront home or lot, and you tell me you have a “feeling” your Lake Martin lot should sell for X because Lake Martin lots generally sell for X per square foot, I’m going to make you go back to Part 1 and retake the course.

Links to Related Material:

Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Pricing: An In-Depth Study Part 1
Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Pricing: An In-Depth Study Part 2

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Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Pricing: An In-Depth Study, Part 2

What do you know about Lake Martin waterfront lot pricing?  In the city, it can be feasible to value a lot using multiple pricing methods, but at Lake Martin, it’s a whole different ball game.  I’ve been telling buyers this for years based on anecdotal evidence, but now I have studied the Lake Martin MLS sales numbers and can back up my claim that the Comparable Sales method is the Lake Martin way to go.

Clichés are so… well ….. cliché. Part of the reason I started my real estate blog way back in 2007 was to examine, and publicize, what is really going on with Lake Martin real estate. I don’t claim to be the only voice for Lake Martin real estate, but I do hope to be a clear voice of the truth, looking past clichés, assumptions, agent puffery, and hocus pocus. Pretty is as pretty does around here. One of the biggest clichés or assumptions I constantly address with my buyers and sellers is how to accurately value a Lake Martin lot. Hence the need for this in-depth study.

In the first post I introduced three possible methods for valuing a lot:  Comparable Sales, Price Per Waterfront Foot, and Price Per Foot/Acre.  Hopefully I’ve already persuaded you that the Price Per Waterfront Foot method does not work as a primary method in the Lake Martin market.  If not, click here to read Part I.  Now I move to the Price Per Foot or Acre method . . .

Method 2:  Price Per Square Foot / Acre

Most consumers do not start their price valuation method with the size of a lot, but I do hear it as a way to justify one lot over another. Curious, I used the same tests of the scatter plot and correlation coefficient to test the relationship of the size of lots to eventual sales price. The result was pretty telling:

Once again, the scatter plot reveals how unrelated the two variables are. If they were dependent, we would expect to see results tightly formulated in a line pattern.  Instead, it is loose.

 Similarly, the correlation coefficient is telling. For square footage or acreage to sales price, it is -0.02. That’s right, it is almost zero. That tells us that the overall area of a lot is even less of a primary driver in sales price as is waterfront footage.  In fact, to return to another cliché, we can say that the size of a lot on Lake Martin has about as much to do with its sales price as the price of tea in China.

Price per acre or square foot is so unrelated, I can’t even recommend it as a secondary adjustment.

In the third (and final) post in this series, I’m going to walk you through the more accurate Comparable Sales method of valuing a waterfront lot.  It, too, will be heavy on the nerd factor, but somebody’s got to crunch the numbers in order to speak real estate truth.  Thanks for hanging in with me – I hope this is time well spent.

If you want to talk Lake Martin real estate – any topic, not just lot values – I’d love for you to give me a call 334 221 5862, or click here to contact me.

Links to Related Material:

Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Pricing: An In-Depth Study Part 1
Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Pricing: An In-Depth Study Part 3

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Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Pricing: An In-Depth Study Part 1

2013 was a remarkable year for lot sales at Lake Martin.

Lake Martin Lot SalesI want my readers to be the savviest Lake Martin real estate audience around.  That’s why I don’t hesitate to throw numbers and charts and graphs at you, and I’m about to get really geeky on you in this three part series about waterfront lot pricing. I also am a firm believer in NOT HORDING my information. Some agents think I am crazy for publicizing my analysis of the Lake Martin market, saying that I should use it to “force” people to call me directly. But, I think, gone are the days when real estate agents hold all of the cards when it comes to information. Say nothing, and the public flocks to irresponsibly incorrect sites like Zillow and Trulia. Much better to put the real, hyper local Lake Martin real estate information out there and try and earn the trust of people that way. Sure, I risk people using my analysis without ever calling me, but that’s the breaks, kiddo.

The following is the result of three months of research that I did for a seller client. I feel it’s so useful, I can’t help but share it here on my blog.

So I ask, “How much do you know about pricing Lake Martin waterfront lots?”  You are about to know more.

Sixty-five waterfront lots sold from January 1, 2013 to December 2, 2013.1  This is a remarkable number, considering that in all of 2012, only thirty-eight lots were sold. Similarly, in 2011, all of the agents in the Lake Martin MLS combined to sell thirty-nine waterfront lots.

In 2013, this brokerage, Lake Martin Voice Realty, was blessed to be listing agency for many of these lots.  I had hours of conversation with potential buyers about Lake Martin waterfront lots in general, and heard many theories about how lots should be priced.  The method I’ve always promoted is the comparable sales method because lots at the lake can vary wildly, by many different factors – view, water depth, feet of shoreline, steeply sloping, flat, in a neighborhood, outside a development, etc.

There are two other valuation methods that I often hear referenced in conversations with buyers – Price Per Waterfront Foot and Price Per Square Foot or Acre.   While these methods might prove helpful in other markets, for other reasons, I don’t think they’re reliable here.

So am I right, or am I just blowing hot air?  The best way I know to find out is to crunch the numbers, and with a very large pool of comparable sales from which to draw in 2013, it was a great time to dig deep into our MLS sales data and find out.

Where Did I Get My Data?

I took a look at the waterfront lots in the Lake Martin Multiple Listing Service that had sold from January 1, 2013 to December 2, 2013. Sixty-five lots had sold. I deemed this to be a large enough sample pool as it is about double the lots sold in each of 2012 and 2011.  I looked up each lot’s sales price, waterfront footage, and overall acreage.  In the cases where the listing agent did not disclose the waterfront footage, I looked it up on the respective County Tax Assessors’ databases online. I disclose my sources not to claim that the measurements of waterfront footage will be perfect, but to let you know I think they will be close enough for this calculation.  Then I charted this information on scatter plots to see if I could find any clear associations.

Three Ways to Price Lake Martin Waterfront Lots

I’m breaking the findings of this study into three blog posts.  I want to walk you through all three methods in order to debunk the Price Per Waterfront Foot and Price Per Square Foot or Acre as useful on Lake Martin.  Understanding what doesn’t work can help us understand the market as a whole.  The first method we’re going to look at is the Price Per Waterfront Foot.

Price Per Waterfront Foot – Price Per Waterfront Foot is a statistic that is frequently thrown around as rule of thumb. When talking to people about lot valuations, quite often it is quoted as a lead in to another point, such as, “I know that lake lots sell for about $1,000 a waterfront foot, but…” What’s curious is that people almost always say $1,000 a foot. Sometimes you hear $2,000 a foot, but not often. It is also curious that this number hasn’t changed in about ten years. One would think that if it had any merit, the baseline would fluctuate with the different market phases that we have experienced since then.

A glance at this plot shows no clear association with any price per waterfront foot:

OK.  That was pretty easy.  Now I’m going to get more nerdy.

In addition to the eyeball test above, I also looked at the correlation coefficient. A correlation coefficient is “a statistical measure of the degree to which changes to the value of one variable predict change to the value of another.” In our case, it is a measure of the degree of how much a change in the amount of feet at the waterfront will affect the change in a lot’s sales price.  In other words, this will put a number on how reliable a predictor a lot’s waterfront footage is for its sales price.

 A perfect correlation coefficient in a direct relationship is +1. Conversely, a perfect correlation coefficient in an inverse relationship is -1. No relationship would result in zero.  Therefore, the closer the number is to zero, the more useless it will be to help us price lots, in this case.

Since we are measuring waterfront footage to sales price, we would expect a +1 since the hypothesis is that as a lot’s waterfront footage increases, so does its sales price. 

The result was as ambiguous as the scatter plot. The correlation coefficient of waterfront footage to sales price is 0.47 which is judged to be only a moderate correlation, not worthy of the first step in a valuation method.

I think it’s safe to say – based on the actual MLS sales numbers – that the Price Per Waterfront Footage method is not a reliable primary method for valuing a Lake Martin waterfront lot.  So what about Price Per Square Foot/Acre?  Could that method work reliably at the lake?  Stay tuned for Part 2 of this study and I’ll discuss just that.

And if you’re interested in seeing the actual MLS data – the appendices, if you will – for my study, contact me here or give me a call and I’ll send you a copy.  334  221 5862.

Links to More Lake Martin Market Reports:

Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Pricing: An In-Depth Study Part 2
Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Pricing: An In-Depth Study Part 3

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Keep It Simple: A Great Cabin Gets Better

When my clients, Kane and Emily, found this Lake Martin cabin last summer, they liked the whole package.  The home felt like a lake house, the lot was flat and wooded, there was plenty of shoreline.  It wasn’t too much house or too much lot.  It was just right.

And they knew that with a little tweaking, just a little renovation, it could be even better.  It could become “theirs.”

They’ve allowed me to share their before and after pictures of the remodel of their Lake Martin home. These photos show that simple changes like removing carpet can have a big impact.  New sod and covered entry can make a home look new.  Take a look and see how they made a difference by making smart changes during the renovation project.

Outside:

Lake Martin Cabin Redo

BEFORE – The street side entrance

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

AFTER – a covered entrance and new landscaping

The new porch on the street side of the home is not a huge addition, but adds a more welcoming (and sheltered) spot to enter the home.  The lake side of the home is similar – small additions were made, building on what was already good about the lot.  The docks and sea wall were already there, and so was the hammock between the trees.  But adding new landscaping, a sandy beach area and a fire pit, makes this yard even more liveable, and really personalized to their needs:

Home from the water before

BEFORE – A view of the home from the dock.

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

AFTER – New sod and landscaping, plus a sandy beach.

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

AFTER: Sandy beach where a boat ramp once was.

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

AFTER: The view from the screened porch.

Inside:  The Kitchen and Dining Area

Inside, the changes of the redo were simple, but with great effect as well.  The floor plan remains the same, the kitchen and baths have not been radically altered.  But small changes like removing carpet make a big difference:

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

BEFORE: The kitchen/eating area.

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

BEFORE: Another view of the kitchen area.

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

AFTER: No more blue carpet. New lighting.

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

AFTER: The floors lighten the room.

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

AFTER: The eating area gets new lighting.

The Living Room

Here’s the living room – it was already in good shape.  Let’s face it, in a second home like this on Lake Martin, you’re likely to spend a lot of your time hanging out. Kane and Emily realized this, and moved the TV over the fireplace and brought in their own the furniture:

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

BEFORE

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

BEFORE

Great Cabin Redo

AFTER

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

AFTER – The TV was moved over the fireplace.

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

AFTER

The Master Bedroom

And finally, they removed the carpet in the lakeside master suite and it makes a huge difference!  I really had to look twice at the pictures to make sure this was the same room:

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

BEFORE – Carpeted master suite.

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

BEFORE – Door and window looking to the water.

Great Lake Martin Cabin Redo

AFTER – Wood floors instead of carpet in the master bedroom.

Simple Cabin Renovation Lake Martin

AFTER – This looks like a new room.

Kane and Emily started out with a great cabin. As a matter of fact, I liked it so much, I showed it to my wife and my dad a couple of years before this. So from ground zero, they had a really nice Lake Martin home. But, by calling this a “simple” renovation, I run the risk of minimizing the amount of thought, effort and resources the new homeowners put into this transformation – perhaps I should say “smart” renovation instead.  Kane and Emily didn’t go overboard.  Instead they played up their cabin’s strengths.  This is what I mean by “smart” and I think they hit a home run!

If you’re looking for a cute cabin with good bones, but you just can’t see past the orange shag carpet and faux paneled walls, give me a call 334  221 5862 or email me here.  Let’s talk about your dream home, let’s discuss what is really essential in a good Lake Martin home  investment (the dirt, the view, the waterfront) and what things can be changed or overlooked for the time being (the choice of counter material, the screened porch that could be bigger).  I’d love to help and I’d love to be your Lake Martin real estate agent.

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Extreme Sea Wall Repair Part 3: Completion

It’s time for the final reveal.  Much like an Extreme Makeover Home episode, Henderson and Coker Contractors have resurrected a Lake Martin seawall that was a complete fail.  This was no minor seawall fail.  This was a seawall that had fallen over into the lake and taken a lot of earth with it – and dirt is dollars in waterfront real estate.  They allowed me to tag along and film the stages of construction, and now that the water is down for the winter months, I can show you the new seawall from the ground on up.

This time of year is great for inspecting and repairing Lake Martin sea walls.  As you can see from the video below, there’s a lot more to a seawall than the few feet that are exposed during the summer months.  This is a project for the pros.  The dirt beneath your lake home is the most valuable part of your lake investment, so make sure you protect it with a strong, well built sea wall.

Did you know that sea wall inspections are not typically part of the home buying inspection process?  Buyers should contact a sea wall professional and have a separate inspection completed if they are concerned about the condition of a lake home’s seawall.

I can’t inspect your seawall, but I can help you with Lake Martin real estate. If you’re thinking about buying or selling a Lake Martin home, give me a call and let’s talk about all the factors to consider when buying or selling.  I’d love to be your realtor. (334) 221-5862

For Parts 1 and 2 of this series, click on the links below:

Extreme Seawall Failure on Lake Martin: Part 1

Extreme Seawall Failure on Lake Martin Part 2: Rebuilding

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Awesome Home Pics By ReMax Around The Lake

We here at Lake Martin Voice Realty are professional real estate agents, and know good marketing when we see it. We try to be the best, but we don’t mind admitting when we see our fellow Lake Martin agents doing something awesome. Everyone should take a look at the incredible aerial photos posted on Facebook by Toni Adcock of ReMax Around the Lake. Really, this is groundbreaking. If you are reading this post from other spots around the nation, I ask you, are agents in your town going this far? Are they trying this hard? I am telling you, this is impressive:

 lake martin quadcopter shot

Toni’s husband Phil Adcock took these pictures using a GoPro Camera, mounted on a DJI Phantom quadcopter. Technical assistance and photography consulting was given by Matt Adcock of Del Sol Photography. Toni is the listing agent of 116 Hilyer Road. To contact Toni about this home, go to her website or call her at 256-234-1327.

aerial shot of lake martin by quadcopter

I am even more impressed by this because I also own a Phantom quadcopter and have been experimenting on flying it for real estate photography and videography. I need a lot more practice with mine before I am ready for the bigtime, as you can see by this wreck I had.

lake martin by air

I am convinced that using tools like the Phantom quadcopter will usher in a new level of marketing in real estate. I was inspired several months ago by seeing what some commercial agents are doing with it, and I thought it would be a natural fit for Lake Martin, thus my experimentation. Kudos to Toni and Phil for having the talent and the hard work to get it to a point that it is useful. That kind of dedication is rare in this industry and I think it is so cool to be in a place like Lake Martin where we have so many talented agents that are thinking of creative ways to help out their sellers.

Well done Toni, Phil, Matt, and ReMax Around The Lake!!!!

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What’s Cheaper Than A Foreclosure?

Lake Martin is like most real estate markets, I guess, in that every buyer loves foreclosures. I don’t blame them. The thought of a buying a waterfront home or lot that is a heck of a deal because it’s a foreclosure is enticing.

But is it always true? Are all good deals on Lake Martin necessarily foreclosures? And are all Lake Martin foreclosures good deals? No.

The other day I was on the phone with a buyer from Florida that signed up for my waterfront foreclosure list. He was interested in looking at just about anything in his price range: lots, condos, homes, whatever. One of the foreclosures he asked to see was a condo in the Crowne Pointe condo complex, which is located off of Highway 50, kind of by Chuck’s Marina, in the Blue Creek area of Lake Martin. When I saw the price they were asking for the foreclosed condo, I thought, whoa!

Here’s a Condo That’s Cheaper than a Foreclosure

This particular condo I found was a three bed, three bath unit in Crowne Pointe that is listed for $289,000. Disclosure: it is a foreclosure, and is not my listing.

However, I was quick to let him know that I have this condo listed in Crowne Pointe, also a three bed and three bath, for $265,000. If you are interested, please click here for more information. It’s an awesome condo with its own deeded boat slip, a gigantic view, and two owners’ pools for funzies.

Yes, you read that correctly. My (civilian owned, regular seller) condo is priced $24,000 less than the foreclosure. That’s almost a 10% price difference. Why on earth would the foreclosure be listed higher than a regular sale? Who knows. Every case is different. Often, the banks must try higher prices due to the foreclosure proceeding. Sometimes banks are too big to spend a lot of time studying the market. Anyway, how would you like to be the guy bragging that he got a good deal on a foreclosure in Crowne Pointe, only to realize you paid about $24,000 too much?

This leads me to a few rules of thumb to remember:

Lake Martin Foreclosure Rules Of Thumb

  1. Just because it’s a foreclosure doesn’t automatically mean it’s the lowest priced option. See above for a glaring example.
  2. Just because it’s a foreclosure, and even if you think it’s priced well, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s a good deal. You will still need to do your due diligence to see if it makes sense relative to the rest of the market on Lake Martin.
  3. Just because it’s a foreclosure, doesn’t mean its legal woes are over. Lake Martin is located in Alabama, and here we have rights of rescission and other issues that could affect your purchase decision, to say nothing of possible property condition concerns.

If you’re interested in a waterfront Foreclosure on Lake Martin, great. Click here for my list. But be warned – getting a great deal isn’t as easy as going down the list like you were at Home Depot. I can help you learn about the market and help you focus your search so that you know a good buy when you see it. Don’t worry, the seller pays the commission, so it doesn’t cost you a dime to let me help you.

And if the Crowne Pointe condo I mentioned is still around, I would love to sell it to you!

Just contact us on this page, or at info at lakemartinvoice dot come, or John Coley at 334 221 5862 or John Christenberry at 334 398 0762.

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