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Archive for the 'Seller Tips' Category

Lake Martin Foreclosure And Condo Sales In 2011

Here I continue my series of posts of the waterfront property sales results of 2011 on Lake Martin, Alabama. Earlier I have looked at residential sales in general, and yesterday I covered waterfront lot sales.

Today I would like to cover the effect of foreclosures and condominiums had on Lake Martin property sales in 2011.

Lake Martin Foreclosure Sales In 2011

The economists that advise shows like The View are a constant source to reassure us that the real estate market is terrible everywhere.  They would have us believe that everyone in the nation is either in foreclosure, about to be foreclosed, or at the very least in a short sale.   I find that hard to believe, though.  I am sure that Whoopi and the gang consult with experts before they make broad, potentially very misleading comments about the economy.

However, here at Lake Martin we are well past the bottom of our market. I have blogged about this in the past. We have not seen a heavy percentage of our sales being foreclosures as in other markets.  But I thought I would put a number to it, and see if my generalizations are correct.

Low Percentage: 7% Were Foreclosures

I combed through all of the residential waterfront sale for the last three years.  I had to look at the “Owner” field in our MLS and just sort of guess whether they were foreclosures or not.  This makes you inherently dependent on the listing agent to have entered correct info, but the same can be said for any aspect of the MLS.  I think it’s materially correct.

I found that, sure enough, the Lake Martin waterfront real estate market had a relatively low percentage of sales that were foreclosures, REOs, or bank owned, however you want to phrase it.  Fifteen were sold in 2011, equaling 7% of the market.  Fourteen, or once again 7%, sold in 2010. Another fourteen or 7% sold in 2009.  Comparatively, that is a very low percent of sales.

Just to put it into perspective, according to this article in the AJC on November 29, 2011,  about 30% of home sales in Atlanta are foreclosures.  That is more than four times the rate on Lake Martin.  Ouch.

Lake Martin Condo Sales In 2011

It’s pretty natural to talk about Lake Martin condo sales for 2011 after the foreclosure section. This is because most of the condo sales in the last three years on Lake Martin were sort of foreclosures.

By sort of foreclosures, I am referring to two condo complexes: Crowne Pointe and Stoneview Summit. Both of these developments were taken back by banks, and then finished out by the banks and then sold. So they were not foreclosures in the traditional sense, but neither were they straight up civilian seller situations.
total 2011: 37 – 2010: 33, 2009: 59

Stoneview Summit sold 17 condos in 2010 and 17 in 2011. This was good for 46% of all waterfront condo sales in 2011 and 52%.in 2010. Crowne Pointe sold 43 condos in 2009, which accounted for 73% of all sales.

This high percentage of sort of foreclosures produced the highest pricing pressure for any other market segment. I think that Lake Martin condo prices dropped lower than homes and lots.

Looking Ahead

I don’t think the condo market’s prices will get any better for 2012. At this writing, there are 79 waterfront condos for sale right now on Lake Martin, and 20 of them are in Stoneview Summit.

The good news is that there are no condo developments being built in the forseeable future, so perhaps that will give them a couple o more years to sell off current inventory.

What About Your Property?

I have been blabbing a lot about the market in general. Do you wonder how all this applies to your home or lot? Or maybe you are searching for your own spot on Lake Martin and would like me to tailor these market reports to help you.

If so, please email me with this contact form or at [email protected] or call me at 334 221 5862. I would be honored to try and help.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Lot Sales 2011
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2011 – Year In Review

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010 – Lot Sales
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2008 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2007 – Year In Review

All Lake Martin Market Reports

(*)Disclaimers: All of the above info was taken from the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors Multiple 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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Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Sales 2011

Waterfront lots sold well at Lake Martin in 2011.  We the members of the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors MLS* reported 39 waterfront lots were sold, which was 44% better than 2010 and more than double the total sold in 2008.

If you missed my Lake Martin Year End Review 2011 post where I covered the basics of homes and condos sold last year, please click here.  Back to lots …….

Last year when I covered Lake Martin’s waterfront lot sales for 2010 in this post, I called 2010 the comeback year for lot sales. Any time you have a 42% increase (19 to 27), that’s a comeback. 2011 posted another huge gain – 44% – over last year. I guess that is a Secretariat-eque, shut the competition down, stretch run.

Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Prices

The next thing I wondered about Lake Martin’s lot sales was the price distribution. What are lot prices like? The careful reader knows that I confess an almost prideful love of the lovely bell curve that the line chart of homes sales prices makes. Does the phenomenon repeat itself with lot sales?

Sadly, no. I tried for like 2 hours to make an informative yet pretty and easily readable chart to display Lake Martin lot sale price distribution. I could not make it work. My chart skills with Apple’s Numbers program are lacking and I just don’t think such a small sample works. I guess maybe I have to break the sales bands down to a very small increment, say $20,000. But that felt like I was imposing a result on the chart, instead of just following where the numbers led me, so in the end I decided to merely post the chart with the source data. It is pretty easy to read, anyway.

I also think that when you have a small sample pool as we do with waterfront lots, it makes better sense to drill down to examples rather than looking at macroeconomic trends.

Lake Martin Lot Sales Trends

When I look at the sales results since 2008, I think that I see the greatest change in the price range of $150k – $199k, and then also in the $350k – $449k range.  Those price bands jump out at me as the ones with the most relative increase in sales.

The $150k – $199k range didn’t really surprise me.  That is the meat of the market and one would expect good sales there in any good year. The spurt of 9 sales in the $350k – $449k range is interesting and worth a closer look.

It turns out, as I expected, that all nine of them are in deed restricted neighborhoods with covenants. That is not too surprising in that most people that buy a high end lot on Lake Martin would like the protection of neighborhood covenants.  True, there is a fair contingent of lot buyers who chafe at the yoke of Architectural Review Committees, but apparently at this price range most prefer it.

Also, of the nine waterfront lots sold in this range, seven were in neighborhoods developed by Russell Lands. Does this mean lot buyers seek out their lots? I can’t tell for sure, but I doubt it. I think it is simply a function of numbers.  Most Lake Martin lots above $200,000 are in Russell Lands neighborhoods, so odds are that they will show up in the sales results.  For this particular range of $350k – $449k, four were in The Ridge, two were in Willow Point, and one was in River Oaks to round out the seven.  The two that were not in Russell Lands developments consisted of one in Marina Marin and the other in a small neighborhood called The Overlook on Lake Martin.  It is off of Old Tree Road near Martin Dam.

Effect Of Neighborhoods On All Lot Sales

Next I began to wonder about all of the waterfront lot sales on Lake Martin.  How many of them are in deed restricted neighborhoods? How many lot sales were the quintessential quaint country lot, free of covenants, where every man is his own master?

The answer is –> not many.  Of the 39 waterfront lots sold on Lake Martin in 2011, only 9 of them appear to be free of covenants and are outside of neighborhoods.  Now, I must alert you to a huge warning – I am only guessing at their restrictions here.  Of those 9, maybe some do have restrictions and I just can’t tell from the MLS or from prior knowledge.  But of the 30 that I counted as having covenants, those I am positively sure that they are in neighborhoods.

Interestingly, the highest price lot sale that was outside of a neighborhood was $300,000.  There were two in the $150k – $200k range, but the rest were under $150k.

A last thought – being inside a neighborhood doesn’t guarantee a high sale price. The lowest priced lot sold in 2011 was in River Oaks, a Russell Lands development, and sold for $45,000.  Before you ask – yes, it was in the back of a slough and had minimal waterfront and minimal water depth.  I referenced it when a builder called me yesterday.  He wanted to spend $50,000 for a lot, but it had to have year round water, a good view, and over 100 feet of shoreline on a private lot.  Sorry, I said.  Not going to happen.

Effect of Foreclosures on Lake Martin Lot Sales

How many of the lots sold on Lake Martin in the last two years were bank owned, REO, or foreclosures? Was this responsible for the sales increases?

I think the answer is not so much.  Sixty six waterfront lots were sold from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2011.  I searched the owner name on all of these and eleven appeared to be foreclosures.  The reason I had to make guesses on owner names is that in our MLS, we didn’t have a field marked “Foreclosure” until 2011.  Going forward we will be able to search by that field. But since this included 2010, I had to guess at the owner name and trust that the listing agents had them right.

Eleven foreclosed lots out of 66 gives us about 17%.  While that is higher (I think) than the percentage of foreclosed waterfront homes that were sold, it’s not that much higher.  My gut tells me that only about 10% of homes sold in 2011 were foreclosures.  If we reduced the foreclosed lots down to 10%, it would only be a 5 lot reduction, moving the sales totals to 34 for 2011.  Still an excellent year.

Verdict: foreclosures affected lot sales only a little.  I was surprised on this, I thought it would be more.

Do You Have Any Questions?

As I continue to break the numbers down for waterfront real estate sales on Lake Martin, please feel free to email with this form or at [email protected] with questions. I get my best ideas from my readers and clients so please feel free.

I think next I will look at residential sales again, and study the effects of foreclosures and condo sales.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2011 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010 – Lot Sales
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2008 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2007 – Year In Review

All Lake Martin Market Reports

(*)Disclaimers: All of the above info was taken from the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors Multiple 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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Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2011 – Year In Review

Lake Martin waterfront home sales finished 2011 in style, selling 207 waterfront residences on the entire lake.

This total gives Lake Martin the highest home sales since 235 were sold in 2006.  That’s not bad once you think about it.  We posted the highest sales in five years.  The statistics I quote are taken from Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors’ MLS*, and represent all real estate agents, all brokerages, over the entire lake.

The significance of this strong year of home sales cannot be understated for Lake Martin. I have said it many times here on this blog, but it bears repeating: the Lake Martin waterfront real estate market is at least three and a half years past its bottom.  Since July of 2008, everything has been uphill with regards to numbers of homes sold.

Lake Martin Waterfront Home Sales By Month

If you would like the source data for the chart above, here below are all waterfront home, condo, and town home sales on Lake Martin, broken down by month:

Below please find a line chart showing the same data for Lake Martin homes sold, I just removed 2005 through 2007 since I was getting too many lines on my chart and it was becoming hard for me to read.  I feel that 2008 is an appropriate year with which to start this chart since it was the bottom.

I think it is also notable that 2011 is the year that the market once again broke the 200 homes sold barrier.  This is the first time we have broken 200 since 2006. Back then, Lake Martin was still firmly in the sales boom, although numbers of waterfront homes sold were dropping, prices were still rising.  We didn’t quite realize that it was turning down.  Those trying to sell their Lake Martin homes should have gotten out then if they wanted to perfectly time the market.

This year, I think that Lake Martin is in just as pivotal a year. Sales increased by about 6%, but I think that prices still have not risen at all.  I think that may change in 2012.

Lake Martin Waterfront Home Pricing Trends

I only look at prices of homes sold once a year on Lake Martin. This is because we have such a small number of homes sold, relative to large metro markets. It doesn’t make sense to look at it monthly because two or three abnormal homes can skew it too much. You sometimes see a 100% increase or decrease from month to month. Too volatile. Similarly, I do not track Lake Martin home prices by calendar quarter because we are a seasonal, second home or vacation home market. Check out the monthly sales chart above and you can see that the bulk of home sales happen in warm months.

I attempt to solve our small market problem by breaking the homes sold into categories, in increments of $100,000 to start with, and then observing what percentage of the total sales that each $100k band represents.

Without further ado:

I think the above chart shows very clearly, and confirms my gut’s suspicion, that waterfront home, town home, and condo prices did not decrease on Lake Martin in 2011. They held steady with 2010 and 2009. While some sellers may interpret this as bad news (no sales increase) I think they should count their blessings.

At least there was no dip or decrease in prices. I would be shocked if there were. After all, Lake Martin is in a rising sales environment and has been for years.

So What?

So what does this chart mean?  I think it means that once again, as in 2009 and 2010, the largest percentage of homes sold on Lake Martin were in the $200,000 – $299,999 range.  Right at 25% of the waterfront home sold in 2009, 2010, and 2011 sold in that range.

If we had seen the entire bell curve shift forward towards the blue line of 2008, we could say (in my opinion) that we have evidence of price increases. But it didn’t.

I am tempted to say a price increase shift is starting in the way the $300k – $399k and $400k and $499k bands are bulging out a bit, straining in the chute, if you will.  2011 had a lot more sales in the 400s than did 2010, but the prior year beat 2011 in the 300s. I will call it a draw.

Why do I think there is a chance that we might see price increases in 2012?  Because the home sales results keep chipping away at inventory. At the end of December, there were about 359 waterfront homes and condos for sale, after 207 sales in 12 months or a ratio of 1.73.  Sure, December is the lowest listing period. But in December 2010 that number was 394 / 195 = 2.02.

Sellers – please hear me out.  It is NOT time to raise prices like it was 2006.  I am just saying that I can see the easing of downward pressure if sales continue.

Please stay tuned, I plan to write a lot more about 2011 Waterfront real estate sales on Lake Martin.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010 – Lot Sales
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2008 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2007 – Year In Review

All Lake Martin Market Reports

(*)Disclaimers: All of the above info was taken from the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors Multiple 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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Go Mobile For A Lake Martin Home Search

I have made a change to Lake Martin Voice.com for mobile users that I think will make it easier to search for a waterfront home, lot, or condo.

lake martin alabama waterfront real estate searchMost users probably won’t notice or care, but I explain here because I want to draw attention to my new mobile search for Lake Martin real estate.  Previously, I had a WordPress Plugin that would kick in when you accessed my site from an iPhone, Droid, etc.  The result was that the mobile version of my site did not look like the regular.  It categorized and summarized the articles and made reading my posts much more easy from a smart phone.

However, I have changed my mind on that.  I think that many mobile users of my site are more likely to be searching the Lake Martin MLS.  I decided to optimize the mobile experience for the best search possible.

Enter FBS Data Systems’ new Mobile Search.

FBS sells a product called FlexMLS.  FlexMLS is the software that the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors uses for its MLS system.  I really love FlexMLS.  I have looked at a lot of other MLS software, and even dabble in another association’s, but I have yet to find a better overall MLS software system than FlexMLS.  They just seem to be out on the forefront of usable new features.  I like a company that rolls something out before I realize I need it.

FlexMLS has recently improved its mobile search for consumers (that’s you).  The search is really clean, simple, and effective.  I played around with the beta test and they have improved it since then. I love it.

Mobile users will still be able to read my blog posts, neighborhood pages, etc. But I make this change because it makes it easier to get to the search from a mobile browser.

I would like to make a few customizations for the Lake Martin market.  For instance, I would love to have the field “Waterfront” available on the default page, and defaulted to a “Yes.”  Overall, though, I am really happy with it.

Here are some more screen shots:

Once you search the Lake Martin MLS, through the mobile site or the regular version, if you see something you like, just click the smiley face next to it.  That will allow you to register for your own “portal” to login to the system.  Don’t worry, your info only comes to me.

If you have your own login, you can save your likes, dislikes, and “I’ll buy this one when I win the lottery” home.

Or, just contact me here or call me at 334 221 5862 or email me at [email protected] and let me search for you.

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Lake Martin Waterfront Home Sales Beat Prior Year

It’s official, Lake Martin waterfront home sales in 2011 will be better than 2010.

Through October 31, 2011, 195 waterfront homes were sold on Lake Martin. If you check the Lake Martin real estate market for the entire year of 2010, you see that it took the full 12 months to reach the 195 level, and 194 were sold in 2009.

Since unofficial November 2011 results show that at least a few waterfront homes sold, one can confidently say that we beat the prior year of 2010.

My conservative guess is that the Lake Martin real estate market will finish 2011 with about 205 waterfront home sales.  That equals an approximate 5% jump from 2010, and about 49% up from the post bubble low in 2008.

Lake Martin Waterfront Home Sales By Month

The below chart shows Lake Martin waterfront property home sales by month.  It is from January 1, 2008 to October 31, 2011.  You can see that 2011, at a monthly level, beat 2010 at almost every month.  Please keep in mind that these numbers come from the Lake Martin MLS*, and reflect only waterfront home, condo, and town home sales by all members of the Lake Martin MLS, all brokerages.

Cumulative Lake Martin Waterfront Home Sales

If you take the monthly sales numbers for the Lake Martin real estate market and add them together, you get the cumulative sales results.  To me it is a bit easier to judge at a glance on this chart to tell how the year in total is trending versus prior years.

Please see the below chart.  Here again I start at the post bubble low year of 2008 and bring it through October 31, 2011.

Lake Martin Home Sales Versus Same Month Prior Year

Of all the numbers I crunch, of all my nerdly charts, the below one is the one I watch the most. It tracks how each month fares versus the same month in the prior year.  For example, in October 2011, 15 waterfront homes were sold on Lake Martin.  October 2010 saw 13 sales, all agents, all brokerages.  That gives us a +2 rating for the current month.

Any positive number here is good.  If I see several months in a row of negative numbers, I know that Lake Martin is in danger of stalling again.  If we had been watching closely in 2006, we could have seen this coming.

The second home market here at Lake Martin has been on a win streak since since mid 2008.  Has 2011 kept it rolling?  The answer is yes.

Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Sales

Has the momentum in home sales been mirrored in Lake Martin lots?

The answer for 2011 has been yes.

While October 2011 itself racked zero waterfront lots sold, the year in total has been a runaway success.  Through October 31, thirty three lots have sold in 2011.  Compare that to 27 for all of 2010, and you see a hefty gain. Consider that 2010 was the lot comeback year, and you can appreciate the gravity of 2011’s success.

With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that 2008 and 2009 represented a two year divot for Lake Martin lot sales.

I like lot sales because they are a general barometer of construction potential.  Let’s hope that our construction industry feels the trickle soon.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2011 – Through May
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010 – Lot Sales
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2008 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2007 – Year In Review

All Lake Martin Market Reports

(*)Disclaimers: All of the above info was taken from the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors Multiple 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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Bluto – The Lake Martin Bear Market is Over!

"Zero point zero..."

Bluto Blutarsky might not want to admit it, but the bear market in Lake Martin waterfront real estate is over!  As I have said many times on my various posts about Lake Martin Market Reports, I think the tide turned in the middle of 2008.

People keep talking about it, though, and that is understandable. So I covered the topic in my latest article in Lake Magazine.  Here’s the link:

Nothing’s Over Until We Decide It Is

I am very grateful to publisher Kenneth Boone, aka Mr. Perfect, for allowing me to write these columns this year for his excellent Lake Martin Magazine.  I have really enjoyed the different medium of writing that his magazine offers, and also relished the crossover discussions I have had with those who read his magazine more than they read my blog.

So if you are a Lake Martin Voice blog reader who is unfamiliar with Lake Martin Magazine, please check it out online and in print. They have the best photography around, and (present company excluded) some of the the best writing as well.

Movie References

When I think of the phrase “it’s over” – I always think of Animal House.  However, as I was working on this article, I initially wanted to reference a different movie that also uses “it’s over” but in a much more dramatic way:

Rambo – First Blood.

It's over, Johnny.

There’s that scene where the hard core Green Beret Colonel Trautman comes to the hick town to reign in his master warrior John Rambo, played of course, by Sly.

It really is a much better scene to convey the shake-them-into-reality feel that I wanted.

He hollers at Rambo:

“It’s over Johnny!”

I even was going to let that be the headline. But I thought it might confuse the reader into thinking he was screaming at me. Plus, Vietnam is not really a good comparison to second home real estate on Lake Martin.  I didn’t want to stir up images of that.

Stallone fan or not, you have to admit that was a great movie, and an even better scene.

Even more, it launched an entire sub industry of survival knives.

I bought one at the Santuck Flea Market when I was 11 or 12.  I still have it.  I didn’t use it to fight any commies or even cauterize my own wounds but we do use it to dig up weeds in our yard.

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New Foreclosure Field In Lake Martin MLS

Those interested in waterfront foreclosure homes or lots for sale on Lake Martin, Alabama, should take note of an interesting development.

The Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors’ MLS has made a new rule that any waterfront foreclosure home, lot, or condo should be designated as a foreclosure by selecting “Yes” in a new field of input in the MLS called “Foreclosure.”

Click here –> to request the Lake Martin Foreclosure List

FAQ related to this new development in Lake Martin waterfront foreclosures:

Photo By: randrflyfishing.com

1. What is a “field” in the Lake Martin MLS? A field is just an area of input.  List price is a field.  Number of bedrooms is a field.  Number of baths is a field, etc.  Now, Foreclosure is its own field, with the only possible answers being Yes / No.

2. So what?  Why should I care that Foreclosure has its own field?  Anything that has its own field can be searched easily and accurately.  An easy search that yields good results is a good thing.  Just ask Google.  This will allow you, if you like, to view only waterfront foreclosures by searching in the MLS and looking for 3 criteria: 1. Status = Active, 2. Waterfront = Yes, 3. Foreclosure = Yes.  This is how I search now instead of combing through each new listing and looking at the seller’s name.

3. How does this affect Lake Martin Voice’s foreclosure list? I have switched the search results now to show any waterfront homes or lots for sale that have Yes in the Foreclosure field.  So – if you have requested my foreclosure list in the past – THERE IS NO NEED TO RE REQUEST IT.  Just go to that same web address I gave you before.  It will still work.

4. Are the same homes and lots that were on the old foreclosure list, now showing up on the new list?  Mostly.  There are a few lots on the old foreclosure list that the listing agents have not properly changed that field.  But it’s mostly accurate.  Obviously, any MLS is only as good as the agents that use it, so it is still possible for a listing agent to enter a new home for sale and accidentally click “No” in the Foreclosure field.  But it’s not very probable.

5. How often is your Lake Martin waterfront foreclosure list updated?  Whenever any realtor enters a new listing, or changes an old one, my new list is updated almost instantly.  That is the beauty of a field driven search list versus the old list where it depended on me going in there and designating each waterfront foreclosure by hand.  Again, if you have requested this list before, THERE IS NO NEED TO RE REQUEST IT.  Just go to that same web address I gave you before.  It will still work.

6. If it is so easy to search for waterfront foreclosures on Lake Martin now, why do I need you or your stinking list? Well, since you put it like that – you don’t.  You can search for yourself as described in #2 above.  Of course, I don’t need a trout fishing guide.  I know how to get to the river.  I know how to cast.  Sorry guides don’t help me at all.  But great guides – well, I hire them because they teach me.  They tell me which fly is working today, and the 90% of the water I can skip to get to the 10% that’s the best.  When it comes to my own deal, I haven’t set my business up to tell that tired old real estate tale that we agents guard this secret treasure of info.  That is so pre 2002.  Hogwash.  Information is out there and free. You don’t need me for mere raw data.  You can search here in the Lake Martin MLS and call me with your whittled down list and I can advise you then.  Or you can contact me through this form or call me at 334-221-5862 and I can save you the trouble.  Either way, I aim to more than earn my keep.

7. How can I request to see Lake Martin waterfront foreclosure list?

Fill out THIS FORECLOSURE REQUEST FORM.  Feel free to comment on this post, but please note that COMMENTING ON THIS POST DOESN’T GET YOU THE LIST.  You must fill out THIS FORM Thanks. Again, if you have requested this list before, THERE IS NO NEED TO RE REQUEST IT.  Just go to that same web address I gave you before.  It will still work.

8. Where is the entire list? I requested and received your list, but there are not many on there.  Joe Biden, Matt Lauer, AND Ryan Seacrest all told me that every home for sale in America is a foreclosure and costs 10 cents.  What gives?  Despite the collective economic wisdom of those guys, there are some areas that are NOT still being rocked by foreclosures.  Lake Martin is one of them.  We are averaging about 5% of waterfront homes for sale being foreclosures, not 30% like in other markets.

Please stay tuned to this blog for later posts where I will try to make some how to videos to help you search.  In the meantime, please call me at 334-221-5862 if I may help.


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A Secret Weapon for Lake Martin FSBOs

Screen shot 2011-05-19 at 9.06.34 AM

Are you selling your Lake Martin waterfront home “For Sale by Owner” (aka FSBO)?

Then let me tell you about a secret weapon.

Posterous.com is the best way right now to market your Lake Martin home, condo, or lot on the internet.  I agree with its legions of fans that use it because it is SO easy.  Once you set up your free account, it’s like having your own blog.   It’s simple to add new info and update pages about your property, and it’s also easy to get that valuable information in front of potential buyers.

I use Posterous myself as a way to distribute pictures and quick videos.  I’m such a big believer in Posterous, I’ve actually taught a couple of classes to Lake Martin area small business owners on how to use it to help their marketing.   Lake Martin FSBOs  can also use Posterous to help them sell their homes.

Surveys by Realtor.com prove what common sense tells us – internet marketing is a huge part of the real estate industry90% of home buyers use the web before they ever call a Realtor.  So if you choose to sell your lakeside home yourself – you need to tap into this marketing engine.

4 cool things about Posterous.com:

Screen shot 2011-05-19 at 9.18.54 AM1.  FREE – it’s free to get an account.  Once you have an account, it’s like having your own blog.
2. Easy to add info – if you can send an email, you can add web pages to your Posterous blog.  Take a few pictures of each room. Attach them to an email, let the subject be “kitchen” or “lake view” or whatever.  Type description in the body of the email.  Send the email to [email protected] Do this for every room or vista of your lakefront property.  Each email will create a new blog post, and thus go a long way to describing your property.
3.  It cuts down on a lot of curious types and can also serve to qualify your buyers. When those tire kickers, or even legitimate buyers, call you for a showing, refer them to your Posterous blog first, so they can check it out before they come physically.
4.  Email a video, too! Shoot a clip and email it to your Posterous blog.  Posterous will embed the video.  So easy.

Granted, a free blog like this will not gain the instant attention from the search engines and social media that an established site like Lake Martin Voice will.  Years of work and hundreds of posts have built up credibility for Lake Martin Voice.com and my related pages on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.  I don’t blog for vanity, I do it to sell homes, lots, and condos.

Obviously, I would love to help anyone on Lake Martin. But hey, if you choose to sell your Lake Martin home yourself, Posterous is a great tool.  So great, in fact, that I rank it as a secret weapon.

If you think you might need some help selling your Lake Martin property, we would love to hep.  Contact us here or call at 334 221 5862.

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Real Estate Tours: When Video is NOT a Video

I love to use full motion video tours to market Lake Martin homes.  I think it’s a cool use of today’s technology, but mostly I love video because buyers and sellers love it.

Screen shot 2011-05-17 at 4.04.13 PMI know buyers love it, because they constantly tell me.  I have been blessed with many people calling me and choosing me to help them find a home around the lake.

Sellers like it, too.  When I show them how much a full motion video tour helps spotlight selling points, give context (how do you get to the lake from the kitchen?), and keep buyers’ attention, it’s a no-brainer. They want a video.

When a video is not a video..

Again, I realize all of this is pretty obvious.  People want video of homes on Lake Martin or any other real estate market for that matter.  Realtors everywhere are interested in doing more video, hence the (very flattering) invitation that ReTechSouth gave me to teach this class on real estate video at their conference in Atlanta.

With so many agents now trying to provide video, sometimes you encounter a slide show that is put in the “Video Tours” link on the Lake Martin MLS.  These photo slide shows are also known as “Virtual Tours.”  Not the same thing.

Screen shot 2011-05-17 at 4.05.16 PMDon’t get me wrong, Virtual Tours aren’t bad per se.  They are better than nothing.  But most of the time when you click on it and watch, you are seeing a photo slide show of the pictures you just viewed, only set to Yanni /John Teshian muzak.

Why would you want to watch a slide show of pictures that you just saw on the MLS, only set to muzak?  I don’t know.  Like I said, it’s better than nothing and I certainly don’t fault other agents for using them.  Just don’t call it a video.

That’s why I take pains (often) to point out that I do FULL MOTION video tours. I shoot them, walking through and around the lake homes WITH A VIDEO CAMERA.

Can you tell the difference?

I have long desired take the same property and to put a full motion video against a cheesy virtual tour, just to show the difference.  But the problem is, I don’t do virtual tours.  I would have to use someone else’s Virtual Tour as a comparison to my video.  I’ve never done it because I don’t want to appear to be negative about another agent.  Nor would another agent allow me to post their virtual tour on my blog.  So I’ve never had a side-by-side comparison. Again, my goal here is not to criticize but to explain why I go to so much trouble to (attempt to) do a nice video.

Now we can.

Unit 202C in Harbor Pointe is one of my current listings.  Therefore I have a full motion tour of it.  Coincidentally, I had the same unit listed back in 2006.  So – for illustrative purposes only – I have gone back in time and grabbed my pics from the initial listing.  Nobody should get their feelings hurt – these are my old pics taken with my old point and shoot.  No wide angles, no nothing.

I have created a typical Virtual Tour, and will let you be the judge.

Which one do you like the best?  If you were a buyer, which gives you more information? Context? Makes you want to take the next step?

If you were a seller on Lake Martin, which would you want to be used for your home, lot or condo?

Here’s the typical slide show.  Now, PLEASE keep in mind – I DON’T DO THESE! It’s for illustrative purposes only!  You may want to turn your speakers down a bit – Yanni doesn’t allow any voice overs to mar his sultry Virtual Tours’ insomnia fighting tunes.

What did you think?

Next, here’s the full motion video tour that I did for this condo, and also one I did a few years ago about Harbor Pointe in general.  Turn your speakers back up –  you can hear a narration description.

How about it?  Can you please vote below?

You won’t have to give any personal info. It’s completely anonymous.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

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Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Sales: 2010 Year In Review

2010 proved to be a pivotal one for waterfront home sales on Lake Martin.  But what about waterfront lot sales? Would they follow the pattern set by homes? That is, would our real estate market see an increase in number of lots sold, then finally a halt to the drops in prices?

Well, first we have to see an increase in the number of waterfront lots sold on Lake Martin in a year.  Prior years have seen that number slide. So what happened in 2010?

lake martin waterfront lot sales

2010 was a great year on Lake Martin for waterfront lot sales. Lot sellers saw that the number of lots sold jumped from a bottom of 18 in 2008 and 19 in 2009 to a healthy 27 in 2010.

Lake Martin waterfront lot sales history

Market Shift in Waterfront Lots

I think that this increase signals a market shift for Lake Martin waterfront lots. Tracking the number of lots sold should tell us that changes in prices are not far behind. We have studied this theory, and now seen it in practice with waterfront homes on Lake Martin.

While waterfront home sales bounced back in 2009, it took until 2010 until prices quit falling, as we saw in this market report.

Similarly, I think that 2011 lot sales will display that same trend. I think that if – that’s if – we see continued strong lot sales, prices will stop declining in 2011. Therefore my best guess is that it will be 2012 before we have any real chance of seeing lot prices of up. Obviously, 2011 sales will dictate that.

At the end of December, 2010, the Lake Martin MLS showed that 162 waterfront lots had the status of “Active” – aka are for sale. That means that at the sales rate of 27 per year of 2010, it would take 6 years to sell all of the lots. That’s 72 months of inventory. Tons. That’s my one reservation for predicting too quick a stop of slide on prices. The “months of inventory” number needs to be drastically reduced before the market will exert any upward pressure, in my opinion.

Waterfront Lots Sold: Price Distribution

It’s always interesting to see how the prices of lots sold on Lake Martin look.

prices of waterfront lots sold on Lake Martin Alabama in 2010

A Word On Price Per Waterfront Foot

In my opinion, the single BIGGEST screw up that Lake Martin buyers, flippers, appraisers, real estate agents, and bankers made in the “boom times” was estimating a lot’s worth at price per waterfront foot. Maybe it didn’t hurt the average lot buyer too bad but I can think of 3 or 4 specific incidents where people bought, say, 1,000 feet of Lake Martin shoreline and applied some vague price per square foot to it, and assumed they made money when they bought it.


Many of those parcels of land are in foreclosure now, but they are in the form of failed subdivisions. This method IS WAY TOO INACCURATE to be used. To wit:

In 2010 the least expensive waterfront lot was sold for $30,000 – a 100 foot lot north of the 280 River Bridge. Yes, $300 / waterfront foot.

One of 2010’s most expensive lots sold was one in the Russell Lands development of Trillium. The Lake Martin MLS stated it had about 427 waterfront feet and sold at $900,000 – or about $2,100 per waterfront foot.

$300 to $2,100 – that’s a pretty wide spread. Don’t be tempted to dumb things down and use averages. Avoid that method all together and use the comparable sales method like we do for homes.

Do you own a waterfront lot on Lake Martin and are wondering how this news affects you? Or maybe you are looking for one.  We can help.  Please contact us here or at 334 221 5862.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Waterfront Lots
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2008 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2007 – Year In Review

All Lake Martin Market Reports

(*)Disclaimers: All of the above info was taken from the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors Multiple 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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