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Archive for the 'Real Estate Tips' Category

We Welcome Paige Patterson!

Paige Patterson

Paige Patterson, Agent at Lake Martin Voice Realty

Welcome Paige Patterson – our newest agent at Lake Martin Voice Realty!

Paige’s number is 205.616.8046 and email is Paige (at) PaigePatterson (dot) com.

Maybe you already know her from the Love Lake Martin online show or saw her recently on the “Good Morning Lake Martin” TV show or follow her on her Love Lake Martin Facebook page or her YouTube Channel …regardless, you will know she loves the Lake.

I think the best way to follow Paige is to get connected with her website Paige Patterson.com

Paige, her husband Brian, and their sons enjoy living at Lake Martin.  Paige has been enjoying the Lake Martin lake life for over 25 years and looks forward to helping you enjoy the Lake too.

I really am honored that Paige would join my brokerage, but I must confess – I am super late in posting this!! Paige has actually been with us since last summer!! I feel terrible that it has taken me this long to post something. But please do not let that diminish how excited John Christenberry and I are to have her as part of the team at Lake Martin Voice Realty. In her few short months here she has proven herself to be an experienced, energetic, and inspiring agent.  She’s been selling at Lake Martin for a few years now, having come from a successful stint as an agent in Birmingham. All told, she has had her license since 2004.

Paige is a fun, creative person and I look forward to continuing to work with her. In just these few months, I have been amazed at a few things about Paige. First of all, she got Christenberry and I in gear to have goal setting meetings. I realize that high-protein real estate agents are supposed to have rigorous goals, so please don’t judge when I say that I have never done that. Or, let me rephrase – in the past I had made goals for myself every year, but I did not go through the process very thoroughly. I had a general idea, but that was about it. Paige was instrumental in walking us through the steps to plan out our goals (professional, personal, spiritual, etc) for 2016. So thanks for that, Paige!

Also, I cannot for the life of me figure out how she gets people on camera so easily on her Love Lake Martin series of videos. How does she do it? Most every time I whip out my phone or Canon 60D, people duck for cover. Paige has a real talent for getting people to talk about Lake Martin – homeowners, business owners, neighbors and friends. That is a huge help to potential waterfront home buyers, because they can hear from “real” people having “real” experiences here. It’s one thing to hear us agents babble, but quite another to listen to testimonials from the Lake Martin community.

Well done, Paige! Again, as broker / owner of Lake Martin Voice Realty, I am super excited about the future of our company with Paige aboard.

Call Paige at 205-616-8046 and visit her website at www.paigepatterson.com.

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Lake Martin Septic Tank Construction

A very high percentage of waterfront homes on Lake Martin are on a septic system.

As a full time real estate agent at Lake Martin, I have learned that the septic system is one of the most important things to consider when buying a home here.

While I am not a professional in this field, I thought I would attempt to summarize the process of building and installing a new or repairing an old septic system, septic tank, or septic field line around Lake Martin.

  1. Get an engineer to design a system – The engineer must make sure you know where all of the lot lines are, and the proper setbacks from those lines. They also must perform a percolation test to understand your lot’s absorption rate. Once the system is designed I am pretty sure the County Health department must approve it on paper before you can proceed.
  2. Get a septic installer to quote the cost of the system – As with any construction project, if you are installing a septic system on Lake Martin it’s always a good idea to get an estimate from a few different reputable area contractors.
  3. Install the system – The good contractors are usually very busy, so it might take a month for you to get one out to your house.
  4. The County reinspects – After installation, the County Health Department comes out and reinspects the system to make sure you have built it according to design and code.

If you need references for Lake Martin area engineers, surveyors, and septic installers, I will be glad to provide them. Every case is different so please take my advice and be sure to get quotes specific to your home and lot. Don’t just rely on a quote your neighbor or cousin received three years ago. Get specific.

At this writing, new septic system and septic lines are being installed at one of my listings at 236 Delilah Lane. I took the chance to shoot the above video to illustrate the process.

The septic guys around Lake Martin tell me that about 90% of the systems installed are pumped systems. This means the waste will be pumped from the septic tank to the septic field lines, which are basically a system of PVC pipes that allow the water to filter down into the ground. You can’t have a lot of vegetation near the field lines, because you don’t want roots to clog up your system. You will see in the video how they are clearing out some of the trees near where the field lines will go.

To trace the system as a whole, the waste is sent from your house to the septic tank. If the tank is uphill from your house, it goes to a pump chamber, then to your main tank. From there, if the field lines are uphill also (and they probably will be), it hits another pump chamber and then it goes to the field lines where it settles out into the soil.

If you have a question about septic tanks, please do not call me!!! I am just a real estate agent. If you have an issues or questions, you should consult with an engineer who designs septic systems.

If you have any questions about waterfront real estate on Lake Martin, you can contact me by calling me at the number at the top of the page or feel free email me! 

For other important things to consider when buying or building a home, CLICK HERE.

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Tales of a Lake Martin FSBO

As the Lake Martin real estate market heats up, so do those that try and FSBO their waterfront home. I get it.

FSBO stands for “For Sale By Owner” – pronounced “FIZZ-bo” by the cognoscenti. Every market has their fair share and Lake Martin is no exception. As conditions shift into seller market status, it stands to reason that we will see more FSBOs. In fact, I usually counsel my more marketing savvy sellers to try selling it by themselves first. If you can call a few neighbors and friends and sell the home yourself, more power to you. Get a good idea of market value and a good real estate lawyer and you might pull it off.

The above note was sent to me by a buyer couple that I helped look around Lake Martin for a couple of summers. That’s pretty normal – most second home buyers take a while to look since it’s such a big decision.

Anyway, I showed this couple a variety of homes in different locations. I helped them get an idea of the market, and helped them sharpen their ideas about what they would need. They were pretty educated on Lake Martin real estate to begin with, since one of them is from here and they used to have a Russell cabin. So I wasn’t guiding newbies, more like assisting grad students.

Their story had a happy ending! They ended up buying a home directly from a seller, a FSBO. I was really happy for them. They ended up writing me a sweet note and were quite nice about the whole thing. They were actually worried I would be upset! Ha!! Far from it!!

I was just glad to know they ended up with their Lake Martin dream home. Once I saw the home they bought, I couldn’t blame them! It is perfect for them!

Since they wrote the note, my family and I have spent quite a few hours hanging out at their lake home, grilling out, wake surfing, and just relaxing. It has been great!

It’s folks like them that make my “job” a lot of fun, and I am truly happy for them.

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Are Lake Martin Real Estate Sales Seasonal?

lake martin alabama reflection leaf color

Are Lake Martin waterfront real estate sales seasonal? That’s a question I hear a lot this time of year.

It’s a pretty natural question, I think. If you own waterfront property on Lake Martin, you might be wondering whether or not to put it on the market now, or wait until the spring when the weather and the sales heat back up.

Or, if you are considering buying a home or a lot on Lake Martin, you could possibly be thinking that everything goes on sale after Labor Day.

To start with the buying side question, the answer is no. There is not huge price drop that happens after Labor Day. It just doesn’t happen. A studied the numbers on this a few years ago and found that the sale to list price ratio does not change when the temp goes down.  See this link. This myth persists, though. But it is bunk.

What about on the selling side? Are there so few sales on Lake Martin in the cold months that you’re better off to wait until the Spring?

I don’t think so.

Some sellers might worry that they will have a higher Days On Market statistic in the Spring if they don’t sell. I polled a few of my fellow agents and they agree with me:

It’s better to have it on the market and have a few higher days on market. Nobody pays much attention to that piece of data. In our market it doesn’t mean a seller is desperate, it usually means they are stubborn on price.

Think about it – if it’s not on the market, agents (like me) can’t advertise it. They can’t put it in the MLS. No one knows about it. It definitely won’t sell in that scenario.

Do you need help with Lake Martin real estate this fall? I would love to help out. I am a full time agent here at Lake Martin. Please call me at the number at the top of the screen or contact me here.

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July 2015 Market Report for Lake Martin

Lake Martin home sales have been great, but what is the magic statistic that lets us know if home prices are on the rise?

Is there a magic statistic that lets us know that Lake Martin waterfront home prices are on the rise? I decided to look at a months of inventory, which I think can give us a better inclination if prices will be rising. If you are not familiar with the term, months of inventory can be found by taking the number of homes for sale now and dividing it by current month home sales.

In the case of July 2015, we had 359* waterfront homes for sale at Lake Martin, and we sold 42 waterfront homes on the whole lake, that’s all agents, all brokerages. That gives a months of inventory statistic of about 8 1/2 months. This means that if we sold at that rate in 8 1/2 months, we would run out of homes to sell.

Lake Martin watefront home sales July 2015 market report

It’s hard to tell if that’s the magic number or not. I like to look at trends and see where that number is going. I don’t really peg my hopes on any one statistic. Looking over some of the past years, in 2014 there was 11.1 months of inventory with 376 waterfront homes for sale on Lake Martin. In a year, our ratio has gone down with less homes for sale and more sales, which is great for sellers. 

To get some perspective on this statistic, I wanted to look at the best and worst summer months the Lake Martin real estate market ever had. If you look at July 2007, one of our worst summer months, there were 475 homes for sale and a months of inventory number of 43.18.   Terrible. Our best summer month we have ever had, May 2005, there were 144 homes for sale which equated to a  4.11 months of inventory.

Looking at this year, we are doing a lot better than last year with a 23% decrease. I’m going to keep watching this statistic. Will prices go up as fast as they did in 2005? I don’t think so, because there is not as much pressure – a higher months of inventory. But, I do think home prices are going up here at Lake Martin in 2015. We just have tons of momentum.

If you have any questions, please contact John Coley with Lake Martin Voice Realty at 334 221 5862 or emailing directly at john (at) lakemartinvoice (dot) com.

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Copyright notice – the above, and every other post on this blog, is the property of John Coley, Broker, Lake Martin Voice Realty. Appraisers may use my information in their appraisals without charge or asking, but please give me credit by citing me, my company name and title, and website address of http://lakemartinvoice.com.  If anyone else would like to use this information, please contact me here and ask. I probably will let you do it, just please ask!

(*)Disclaimers: All of the above info was taken from the Lake Martin Area Association of RealtorsMultiple Listing Service. Accuracy is not guaranteed but deemed reliable. The above does not include sales by   FSBOs or developers that sell privately and not through the MLS. But, I do think that the above represents a very large majority of all waterfront sales on Lake Martin, Alabama.

 

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Home For Sale: Kowaliga Area of Lake Martin

126 O’Daniel Point is a classic Lake Martin waterfront home in every sense of the word. Nestled among soaring trees, this three bed, two bath home is on a flat lot with a beautiful view. So many Lake Martin homes offer a great views, but you have to negotiate stairs or a long walk. Not so at 126 O’Daniel Point. Stroll easily back and forth, the home is a few flat steps away.

Located on the popular Kowaliga Bay area, the home is mere minutes from Kowaliga, Russell Crossroads, and Willow Point. By water, it’s close to Chimney Rock, and so many other fun locations.

From the street entrance, you enter into the living room with vaulted ceilings and tons of room, and the kitchen nearby ensures everyone stays involved. The home is all on one story, so there’s no need to hike up and down steps. Every room is accessible – the guest bedrooms and bath, the master suite, and all living room areas, No stairs!

The kitchen was updated in 2009 and features granite counter tops, stainless appliances, a deep sink, an island, and a great view of the water. The master suite also overlooks the water. The vaulted ceilings give the room lots of space, and sitting by the built in shelving can be a spot to relax, work, or just read a good book.

Outside, a huge screened porch offers a large area for more living. It’s a great place for outside meals, games, or just observing the beauty of the lake. The porch overlooks the Tallassee Slough area of Kowaliga, just off the big water. It’s the best of both worlds – seeing big water but not having traffic speed by just yards from your dock. When it’s time to boat, your covered boat lift has it ready to go. This home has so much to offer – great view, Kowaliga location, a neat home on a flat, wooded lot. Schedule your showing today!

For more information, CLICK HERE for the listing page for this property.

Or, just call me, John Coley, directly at 334 221 5862 or contact me here. I would love to show you all this home has to offer!

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Lake Martin Real Estate Report For June 2015

June waterfront home sales on Lake Martin were up 44% from last year!

June 2015 homes MONTHLY with percent

Yes, you read that right. The Lake Martin real estate market is doing well this summer. June of 2015 beat last year in sales by 44%. That’s not the only good news! If you look at the year to date, we are selling well ahead of the prior year. 2015 is beating 2014 by 26%! That is impressive because 2014 was a record year of home sales on Lake Martin, even better than 2005.

June 2015 homes year to date with percent

ACRE pointed out on AL.com that supply is down 6.8% and we are still having rising demand and sales even with a lesser supply.  You can read more from this article on AL.com by clicking HERE.

Another factor that is incredible is that lot sales are pacing far ahead this year as well. We have sold 46 lots through the Lake Martin MLS. That’s all realtors and all brokerages in the Lake Martin area. Last year at this time we had sold 25 lots through the MLS, and last year was a great year for lot sales.

Just to recap, waterfront homes are pacing ahead by 46% and lot sales are pacing ahead by 84%. Overall, we are doing great in sales so far! Keep updated with Lake Martin market statistics HERE.

June 2015 Lot sales with percent.jpg

If you have any questions or need real estate help on Lake Martin, feel free to contact me, John Coley, with THIS FORM or at john (at) lakemartinvoice (dot) com or  334 221 5862.

Would you like to search the Lake Martin MLS from your smart phone? Then download the Lake Martin Voice free app!

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You Just Saved $10,000

Happy Friday and Congratulations!! You just saved $10,000 on Lot 61, Phase II of The Ridge!

We just dropped the price on Lot 61, Phase II of the Ridge. It’s an awesome waterfront lot on Lake Martin. Just think of it, you didn’t have to lift a finger and you saved $10,000. The price has been reduced to $229,000 from $239,000. CLICK HERE for more info on the lot.

Lot 61, Phase II is on Eagle Ridge in one of Lake Martin’s most prestigious neighborhoods: The Ridge!

Waterfront lot and home sales are beating last year by 26% on Lake Martin, and 2014 was a record year. Now is the time to take advantage of a great new price on this  wonderful lot!

Call John Coley at 334 221 5862 or john (at ) lakemartinvoice (dot) com.

More Info: The Ridge in Lake Martin

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Buying A Lake Martin Home With A Leased Lot

lake martin leased lot homes

Photo credit: gambassa.com

A Lake Martin Leased Lot waterfront home is becoming an increasingly rare bird in our real estate market.

If you’re new to searching the Lake Martin MLS, you might have noticed a field in the information sheet that looks like this: Deeded: Deeded or Deeded: Leased. This is shorthand. If we had more room, it would probably look like: Is This Lot Deeded or Leased? and then have the answer either Deeded or Leased.

What is a leased lot home on Lake Martin?

A fair question. It’s a home where the seller is owns and is selling the improvements only, but they don’t own the land underneath it. They lease the land, usually from Alabama Power. Historically leased lot homes are less than 10% of overall sales. For more information, see the Leased Lot category of my blog.

Why are leased lot homes becoming more rare on Lake Martin?

About two or three years ago, Alabama Power began selling some of the homeowners the lots which they lease. Mind you, this was not Alabama Power opening up new lots to lease or sell, this was them contacting homeowners on existing leased lots, and saying, in essence, “hey, do you want to buy this lot at $X?” Because of this (relatively) new phenomenon, we Lake Martin agents are seeing fewer waterfront leased lot homes for sale on the market. Those that are on the market usually have an option to buy the lot. Often, you’ll see this noted in the (super secret) Agent Notes section of the Lake Martin MLS.

Recently, I had a buyer ask me about how one goes about purchasing a leased lot home with an option to buy the lot.

His Q: Is being able to secure purchase of the lot a reasonable contingency on a contract for the house? Would both transactions be handled together at one closing and with one mortgage or would they have to be separate?

My Answer:

“Excellent questions, I have closed a couple this way:

1.) That’s an absolutely reasonable contingency. In fact, I as your agent would insist on such a contingency, broadly worded like “contingent upon buyer’s obtaining an acceptable contract with Alabama Property company to purchase Lot X for $yyy,yyy and acceptable review of all lease documents.” The idea here is that if you can’t buy it for what you want, you’re out of there.
2.) closing at one time is doable. I have had one where technically it was two closings but they happened at the same time, where you sat down at the table and signed a bunch of docs to buy the lot first and then a bunch of docs to buy them all together. But it felt like one closing. I can recommend lenders around Lake Martin that are used to this concept. I would not recommend getting lenders from out of town because they have a hard time wrapping their heads around the concept. No slight against them, it is admittedly a weird concept and if I hadn’t seen it at Lake Martin I would know nothing of it myself. In fact, growing up here I didn’t know anything about it, it wasn’t until I started selling real estate that I learned about it.

FYI here’s everything I have ever written about leased lots: Leased

It’s a little outdated because of the above but it hopefully gives you a decent background.

Do you have any questions about Lake Martin real estate?  If so, please email me with this form or : info (at) lakemartinvoice (dot) com!

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The Camera That Started It All

Lake Martin Real Estate Video Camera 0.1

My wife is in full spring cleaning mode. She has attacked the attic with a vengeance. Since I tend towards being nostalgic about my stuff, she knows she has to throw away some and then ask about others. She found this gem  – my old Sony Handycam.

It was the first camera I used to make Lake Martin real estate videos in 2008. It had these little tapes that I had to use to capture the footage. I remember thinking long and hard about whether to invest another twenty bucks in extra tapes. If I had known how the lord was going to bless my business, largely because of my videos about lake Martin real estate, I wouldn’t have been so cheap. Note how I had an after market wide angle lens. I bought that off of eBay and thought I was being pretty resourceful.

Sure, it is outdated now, but this little camera filmed many homes, neighborhoods, and places around Lake Martin.

May she rest in peace. 

Fast forward to now, three video cameras later, and I find myself in a quandary about by Canon 60d. It’s a nice one, but is its footage so nice that it beats an iphone six? The iPhone is so much easier to upload and transfer files. The other day I was in a pinch to record a Lake Martin Real Estate Market report, and I found that the quality on the 6 is so close to my DSLR, you can barely tell the difference. My guess is I will start to use the 60d less and less. In someone else’s more professional hands, the 60d is tons better I am sure.

It just reminds me that if you want to be proficient at anything, you have to keep sharp!

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