Yet Another Zillow Fail At Lake Martin

lake martin, zillow, alabama, fails

Zillow doesn’t work here at Lake Martin for selling waterfront real estate. It is terribly inaccurate.

I get reminded of this every now and then when I hold my nose and wade into their site. Today I was looking at a Zillow advertisement for a waterfront property on the Dadeville side of Lake Martin. The Zestimate was crazy wrong. But….. that goes without saying. Aren’t we all used to that by now?

What caught my eye is some of the wacky supplemental info that Zillow tried to give for the home.  Dadeville’s zip is 36853, and Zillow thinks that the nearby zip codes of 36023 (East Tallassee) and 36256 (Daviston) are comparable to this property. Huh? Seriously? Here’s the reality- homes that are a half mile away from this one, but also in Dadeville, are NOT comparable, either. That’s because an off water home in Dadeville is not comparable to one that is waterfront on Lake Martin. The lot drives the value on Lake Martin.

Common sense, right?  Well, it seems the computer nerds at Zillow haven’t figured out how to program for that.

Also- check out the “nearby” neighborhoods. Hello? Only one of the five of those has any waterfront on Lake Martin. I have never heard of the other four.

If you want the most accurate, up to date information on real estate here at Lake Martin, see the Lake Martin MLS. And, please contact me here and allow me to help you.

Lake Martin Zillow FAQ:

Why is Zillow so wrong here at Lake Martin? Many reasons. Among them is that the counties around Lake Martin do not report sales data to Zillow. Neither does our MLS. The result is that Zillow’s database is bloated with homes and lots, many of which are out of date, inaccurate, have sub-standard media, and are poorly described. This leads to buyer frustration (“What? This home’s listing was cancelled two years ago?”) and seller anger (“What? It says my house has 0 bathrooms!”).

Then why is Zillow so popular nationally? Zillow is not in the real estate business. They are in the “sell ads to real estate agents” business. To be frank, they are good at scaring the poop out of real estate agents like me when they cold call us. The pitch is, “we are so awesome! Don’t you want to be The Featured Agent in your area?”  I respond, “My area? You mean Sessions? Or Buttston? or Tohopeka? No thanks. I will keep my money and you keep that title.”  Agents that do give money to Zillow soon find out that Zillow takes their money and uses it to advertise to – you guessed it – other agents, pressuring them to outbid the original agent for the (occasionally) coveted Featured Agent for the area.

Will I ever advertise on Zillow? Who knows. I never say never. Maybe one day Zillow will get its act together for Lake Martin real estate. Maybe their SEO will start to beat mine. Maybe they will actually become a useful tool for home sellers and buyers here. When that happens, I will hop right on board. Occasionally  I hear of a FSBO that uses the site with some success. Sometimes I will even recommend that FSBOs try Zillow out if they are so inclined, but right now it just doesn’t make sense for me. I am a full time, professional real estate agent with other, much more powerful marketing tools with which to help buyers and sellers here at Lake Martin.

Tags: , , , , ,

My Record Setting Lake Home Buyers

When I helped Pat & Betsy buy their waterfront home on Lake Martin, I set a personal sales record of which I am very proud.

Before you groan and think I am just another real estate agent boasting about my earnings, this record is not about the money. It wasn’t a gajillion dollar sales price and commission (although it was very nice).

No, they set my record as my longest looking buyers. I’ve been working with them to find their perfect home on Lake Martin for a while. Take a second to watch the video and see how long it has been and what the first thing they planned to do after closing. It seems there was a slight disagreement.

The reason I mention this is I find that when helping some Lake Martin home buyers they feel they can’t start talking with me because they aren’t ready to buy tomorrow and don’t want to “waste my time.”

I always tell them 1.) there is no way you are going to set the record for my longest looker, and 2.) that it’s not a “waste of time” and we can look at their pace.

I am not a high pressure real estate sales guy. I understand that finding a lake house can sometimes take a while, especially here at Lake Martin. That being said, there are plenty of people that I help that find their dream home on the first day. But the majority of successful outings happen like – they contact me (through phone, web or the Lake Martin MLS) – we start talking, we prioritize for matches that come on the market in the future. We talk some more and they give me feedback, then come up to see some homes. That way, when we are looking, there’s a good chance we are looking at “maybes.” If they don’t find their one on that trip, we rinse and repeat.

Just so you know, Pat and Betsy weren’t Lake Martin newbies. In fact, they were two of the more experienced “lakey” buyers I’ve ever had the pleasure of helping. They knew exactly where they wanted to be on the lake, knew how they would use the home, and knew when it was right for them and their family to pull the trigger.
img_4766-1

It wasn’t a nine year frantic search, instead it was a slow and steadily monitoring, knowing what was right for them. 

 

 

 

 

Are you ready to break their record? I hope someone is! Contact me here or at the number at the top of the page and let’s get started.

2026 will be here before you know it!

Tags: , , , ,

Home For Sale Near Lakewinds Golf Course

Would you love to live on Lake Martin and near a golf course?

Check out the waterfront home I have for sale at 452 Locklear Drive – it is only a five minute drive (pun intended) from Lakewinds Golf Course.

This contemporary Lake Martin home is great for a large family or lots of friends – four bedrooms, three bathrooms, two living rooms, two fireplaces, a screened porch, year round water, gentle slope lot, boat lift, boat ramp, covered dock with a cool slide, covered gazebo – the list goes on and on.

Watch the video below for a quick tour of 452 Locklear Drive.

Are you familiar with Lakewinds Golf Course? Lakewinds is a public, old style golf course owned by Alexander City. It is located five miles east of downtown Alex City – click here for the google map link.

Watch the video below for a quick aerial tour of Lakewinds Golf Course.

Golfers are welcomed 7 days a week – call 256-825-9860 for a tee time.

For more info on 452 Locklear Drive, contact Listing Agent John Coley at the number at the top of the page or by clicking here or email me – john at lakemartinvoice dot com.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Local Customs Prevail

lake-sign-2

The State of Alabama requires a certain amount of education before one can sit for the real estate licensing test. One huge part of the licensing education is a discussion of professional liability. The training includes a seemingly constant refrain that the potential agent should always quote sources and encourage consumers to consult an attorney. When I took those courses, I often wondered; if we are steadily telling people to consult an attorney, why do they need an agent?

The answer is a wise one: Let lawyers practice law, and let agents stick to real estate.

As such, I would encourage the reader to consult an attorney on all of the matters below, as I am just a real estate agent. Not a lawyer.

With that disclosure out of the way, I would like to talk about subjects that sometimes cause confusion when buyers and sellers negotiate a real estate contract. In Alabama, the law says that everything is negotiable. There are no standard terms or standard rules.

I will say that, from market to market, we do find that local customs prevail. I find it interesting that even in the same state there are varying degrees of “normal.” Agents from other areas, such as Montgomery, Auburn, Birmingham or even the beach, show property here at Lake Martin, and sometimes, even present offers. When that happens, there is usually a frank discussion between agents to identify the parts of a contract that might be different in each region. Even when both agents are from the lake, a clear understanding of all the contract terms is paramount. I will attempt to touch on a few parts of the sale that might possibly be confusing.

One important part of a real estate transaction is figuring out when the buyer actually takes possession of the real estate purchased. In the case of a lot purchase, it is really no big deal. Usually, the seller has little or no property on site; therefore, there is nothing to move. But what about a home purchase?

In this situation, buyers and sellers can agree to just about anything. Two possibilities are: 1) buyer takes possession at closing, or 2) buyer takes possession, say, two days after closing. I have seen cases where the seller doesn’t move out, but instead rents back from the buyer for a month.

Admittedly, around Lake Martin, closings like that are pretty rare. That is understandable, as most buyers use the properties as vacation homes and are looking forward to vacating as soon as possible. In many a closing, the buyers drive up to the closing attorney’s office in a U-Haul, loaded to the gills and ready to move and hit the water for some fun.

Sometimes, sellers might want to wait and not give possession until after the actual closing. They might think, why should I move all of my stuff out before I am absolutely sure that I will get my money? I can see their logic, but the same could be said by the buyer. Why should I give them my money when they haven’t even started moving out yet?

The point is this: Be sure to read the contract and negotiate based on your preferences; however, I would guess that 95 % of the time, possession is given at closing here at Lake Martin. Maybe this gets back to the high second home rate in the area. Maybe it is because, many times, furniture is involved, and that cuts down the burden of moving.

Speaking of furniture, that’s another area of the contract that sometimes causes confusion. I get a lot of buyers that ask a common question when walking through homes, “Is the furniture included?”

Again, it pays to be really specific. As a buyer, if you can’t imagine finding a kitchen table more perfect for your family, go ahead and write it in the contract. If you are the seller, and you know that no matter what, there is no way you can part with your MeMaw’s antique rocker, it is wise to specify it as excluded in the contract.

Exclusions can work on the buyer side, too. I have had a few buyers say, “they better be sure to get that junk in the yard out of here,” and we have had to write it in as an exclusion.

One last word on furniture and any other personal property: Consult your lender on the wording here. Some underwriters have major objections to seeing anything, even refrigerators, included in the real estate contract. Other loan underwriters don’t mind, as long as you state that they are adding no value to the real estate purchase. Check before you write it up.

Surveys are another example of possible confusion. I have had agents tell me there is a law in the State of Alabama that says all sellers must provide a survey. That is incorrect. In fact, most brokers’ contracts are written in such a way that you have to check a blank to stipulate who will pay for a survey, buyer or seller. Again, consult an attorney to be sure you understand the contract.

Did you clean up after yourself?

If you are a seller in the home transaction, is there a clause in the contract that addresses the cleanliness of the home? If you are the buyer, is this a high priority? If so, make sure you have some language in the contract that covers it. Also, maybe you had better schedule a walk through before closing, so you can make sure the contract was followed. There are many definitions of “clean,” so in my opinion, it is difficult to address this in writing.

When I am advising sellers on this subject, I ask them to go overboard. I have never seen a buyer complain that a house is too clean. The main point here is that nothing is standard. Sellers are not required to dust the first bunny. Put it in writing.

Those are just a few areas of the real estate sale that might cause potential misunderstandings. To find out more, talk to your real estate agent, and yes, consult an attorney.

Note: I originally published this article in my monthly column in Lake Magazine.  I am proud to write about Lake Martin Real Estate for Lake Magazine.

Tags: , , ,

Fishing on the Tallapoosa River

Don’t tell anyone, but a few weeks ago I played hooky from work.

I fished with Drew Morgan of East Alabama Fly Fishing. We floated the Tallapoosa River, just above Lake Martin.We put in at Horseshoe Bend and floated down to the boat ramp at Jaybird Landing. He took me down on his boat, which is perfect for fly fishing like this.

img_2435

It was a beautiful day! The weather was clear and warm for October. The Lake Martin area is suffering a drought, so river levels were low. The flow was at about three feet when we started. Low, clear water makes fishing a little tougher, and we had to get out and drag the boat over a spot or two.  But other than that, it was picture perfect!

We caught a few spotted bass, a few redeye bass, and several bluegill. White poppers seemed to be the most popular fly of the day. I had to catch my breath when I saw a big (fifteen pounds or so) striped bass cruising the shallows by Jaybird. We were trolling a “Game changer” fly at the time, which I thought might incite a strike. No dice. In hindsight, I sort of wish I would have pulled in the line and cast in his general direction. At the time, however, the fly was trolling and tracking to go right by his line of travel, so I let it go. Seeing a big fish like that sometimes makes me freeze up!

img_2459

Very few people who visit Lake Martin realize what a beautiful treasure the Tallapoosa River is. The Tallapoosa is what is dammed to create Lake Martin, so if you follow the lake north, you’ll hit the River. I can’t really blame the lack of knowledge, because even though I grew up here, I didn’t realize how cool this area is until I was old (>30).
If you’d like to learn more about fly fishing, spin fishing, or drifting the Tallapoosa River, CLICK HERE to contact Drew.
If you like to fish from your own canoe, kayak, inner tube, or rubber ducky, SAVE THE DATE of May 13. Drew and I are teaming up for a river bass fishing tournament to benefit a local charity. More details later.
For now, enjoy these pictures that Drew took on Monday. That bass with the bulging belly – it was full of crawdads. Plural. It was so stuffed you could feel their hard exoskeletons through the fish’s skin. When we looked inside its mouth you could see crawdad antennae poking out of its gullet. It was freaky!
fish-collage

Tags: , , , ,

Signing A Real Estate Contract from the Alaskan Pipeline

How hard is it to sign a contract to buy waterfront real estate in Lake Martin?

The answer – I try to make it as easy as possible!

These days most Lake Martin buyers are 2 1/2 – 3 hours away. They come to the Lake to real estate shop and enjoy a little mini vacation. On their drive home they spend time talking, texting or calling about lake property.

When ready to make an offer and (hopefully) sign a contract they don’t have to leave the comfort of their home. It is not like the old days: come to the office, sign mimeograph copies of the contract, etc.

One of the ways this process has gotten easier is using DocuSign. DocuSign is electronic signature technology letting you electronically exchange contracts or other signed documents.

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-8-27-50-am

 

 

An awesome example of how well this works happened earlier this year.

 

 

 

 

 

While the husband was moose hunting on the Alaskan pipeline aka The Haul Road he received a call telling him,  “You got the house!” He had to hike a little ways to get a better signal to sign his sales contract but hey – he was able to get right back hunting!  Watch the video for the full story.

I can help you with your real estate needs in Lake Martin – no matter where you are. Give me a call or text me at 334-221-5862 or email me here [email protected].

Tags: , ,

Welcome to the Lake!

Welcome to Lake Martin, Bobby and Darla!

I was so honored that Bobby and Darla allowed me to help them find their dream home on Lake Martin. I would like to welcome them to the Lake!!!

They even sent me this picture they took on their first weekend at Lake Martin, and told me, “Having devotion and coffee. First morning. Couldn’t get much better than this. Thanks John!”

redmonds_fotor

Tags: , , ,

Lakewinds Golf Course, Lake Martin

Earlier this summer I took a little video footage of Lakewinds Golf Course at Lake Martin with my drone and thought it would be a great time to share the video with you.

With the weather being so mild it is a nice time of year to be on a golf course.  Lakewinds Golf Course is a public golf course owned by the City of Alexander City.

It has a nice layout around the Lake and is regulation length 18 holes.  Lakewinds is open 7 days a week from 7 A.M. until dark.

Lakewinds is located about five miles east of downtown Alex City and just south of Hwy. 280 – the address is 95 County Road 40, Jacksons Gap.

Lakewinds Golf Course Google Map

Make your tee time today by calling 256-825-9680.

If you would like the best app for Lake Martin, Alabama, complete with events, eats, home search, and landmarks, please see my Lake Martin Voice App. It’s free! Just search “Lake Martin Voice” in the app store.

Tags: , , ,

Remodel in Parker Creek – Part 2

Part two of my Lake Martin Remodel in Parker Creek covers its interior transformation.

In a previous blog post I showed you before and after pictures of the changes made to the exterior of the home, the boat house and dock for this property in the Parker Creek area. (For the earlier post CLICK HERE  for Lake Martin Remodel in Parker Creek).

Now look carefully at the before and after pictures of the interior – no more “wood” paneling, popcorn ceilings and wall to wall carpeting everywhere. I have wood paneling at my lake house and the best I could do was merely paint over it. I am not sure how the home owners did it, but they somehow floated some sheetrock mud over the grooves in the paneling, or something. Whatever they did, the results look incredible. I thought they had pulled out the paneling and installed sheetrock.

They also tackled the popcorn ceilings. Popcorn ceilings are not all that uncommon at Parker Creek because when that area of Lake Martin was developed over the 1960s, 70s and 80s, popcorn ceilings were popular. The problem is that they are messy to remove. These homeowners removed the popcorn, right down to slick sheetrock, then painted it. Look at the difference!

The interior makeover is awesome. It was made brighter with new lighting, fresh paint, and updated interior finishes. The kitchen and bathroom countertops were replaced and tile backsplashes were added. All of the interior doors were replaced including closet doors. But enough of my talking about it – see for yourself!

I am happy to help you look for your own fixer-upper or move-in ready home in Parker Creek or anywhere on Lake Martin. Give me a call at the number at the top of the page or contact me here.

needle-eye-living-room-ba

needle-eye-living-room-from-above-ba

needle-eye-stairs-ba

needle-eye-kitchen-from-above-ba

needle-eye-bedroom-1-ba

needle-eye-bedroom-2-ba

needle-eye-twin-beds-ba

needle-eye-bedroom-3-ba

needle-eye-basement-bunk-ba

Tags: , , , ,

Prime Hiking Time on Lake Martin

img_8872

Right now is prime hiking time around Lake Martin.

We’ve had a really hot and dry autumn, but the temperatures are finally getting right to hit the trails. The other day we Coleys headed to one of the CRATA trails.  It’s the Deadening Alpine Trail.

It sounds pretty severe but it’s actually a really nice hike. The trailhead and parking area is located just west of the entrance to The Harbor subdivision on Overlook Road. The trail transitions from a red clay and pine tree stand to a deciduous forest with mountain laurel and rhododendron that makes you realize you’re on the southern end of the Appalachian Mountain Range.

The trail takes you up and over a ridge that you have seen a million times by boat if you have visited Chimney and Acapulco Rocks. In fact, the coolest part of the hike is when you hit some big boulders that are pretty high up from the water that look straight across to Lake Martin’s most infamous landmark. You can hang out on the rocks and get some selfies, or try and squeeze through the Needle’s Eye!

We just fooled around on those rocks for a while and then hiked back in time to catch some football on TV. It was lots of fun.

If you’d like to learn more about Cherokee Alpine Ridge Trails, click here for their website. They are a great nonprofit that maintains many miles of trails around Lake Martin.

If I can help you look for waterfront real estate in The Harbor, or anywhere else, please call me at the number on the top of this screen or CONTACT ME HERE.

Tags: , , ,