Lake Martin Voice Realty
Great news! Prices have dropped on great waterfront lots in Lake Martin’s Shady Bay neighborhood!
Shady Bay is a great waterfront neighborhood on the northern end of Lake Martin. I have several waterfront lots for sale in Shady Bay. We started out with fourteen lots and have sold six, so we are down to eight. We recently dropped the prices on these lots, so if you are looking for a site to build your Lake Martin dream home, now may be an excellent time to take advantage of the new prices.
For more information on these lots, please see:
For more information on Shady Bay in general, please watch the above video or click on this: Shady Bay Neighborhood Page.
Which lot looks right for you? Please call at 334 221 5862 or contact us here if we may help!
Waterfront home for sale in Trillium at 550 Longpine!
I am so proud to offer 550 Longpine in Trillium for sale! This beautiful waterfront home is the kind of house I got into real estate to sell! Not just because it is (clearly) a luxury home, but because this home really embodies the best of the Lake Martin experience.
This is what struck me the first time I drove up to 550 Longpine: as a real estate agent, you never really know what to expect. Many homes in Trillium are very nice, but because they were built in a different era, let’s say, you see a lot of million plus dollar homes that need updating. This is not the case here. From the driveway, I could see the timber / wood / stone features that carry throughout the home. To me, this home is a perfect combination of nice finishes and accessibility. This home feels fun. It feels like family.
When I talked with the owner, this theme continued. He confirmed to me that the areas like the huge greatroom, spacious kitchen, and covered back deck “act as funnels” to draw your family together when they spend time at Lake Martin.
Inside, the heart pine floors contrast with the stone work in the greatroom and granite in the kitchen to give you elegance that doesn’t feel like a an untouchable museum. It also has three bedrooms upstairs to accommodate guests.
And the lot – awesome! It has a rare combination of being flat, yet has deep water at the dock. Most of the time on Lake Martin if you want year ’round water, you have to trade off by having a steep rappel to your dock. Not so at 550 Longpine. Here you have an easy stroll over flagstone sidewalks to a deep water dock complete with a boat lift and boat ramp!
What does it take to sell a waterfront Lake Martin home in ten days? That’s what happened with this Little Kowaliga property. Since this home was a Lake Martin Voice Realty listing, I wanted to share this success story with you. I also brought the buyers to the home, so I’m familiar with both parties. While it is certainly not the norm to have a contract within ten days on Lake Martin, it’s a worthy goal. So let’s unpack how this sale worked and see what lessons it offers.
1.) The sellers had their lake home in great selling condition.
It looked good. It was uncluttered, it was depersonalized, it was clean – all the tips you see on HGTV. This is huge, and it does not always happen. You’d be surprised. Let’s face it, people buy waterfront homes on Lake Martin to have fun – and a lot of times having fun gets in the way of keeping a tidy home.
2.) I had buyers who were ready to buy a Lake Martin home.
A large part of a realtor’s commission should be access to that agent’s “inventory” of current buyers who want to buy a Lake Martin home RIGHT NOW. Not maybe, not hypothetically, but right now. I had a buyer who was ready. This couple was familiar with Lake Martin already, and had been looking both online and in person. They were well researched on the Lake Martin market, and knew what they wanted.
Realistically, realtors do not always have that perfect buyer already queued in the wings, but another resource a realtor should bring to the table is his or her ability to go out and find other buyers. That takes a strong marketing presence. That’s why I blog about Lake Martin – ninety percent of buyers look on web, and for the vast majority that is the first move they make, so I think our internet presence should be a big priority.
A strong web presence (website, youtube channel, pictures) is an absolute must. But you can have the prettiest pictures in the world and it doesn’t mean squat if it doesn’t get found. Your agent MUST have a site that can stand out of the noise of the web and get found by Google. That’s why I blog about Lake Martin in general, and real estate specifically. The search engines recognize this site as a strong resource, and visitors to my site (thank you very much) are the proof in the pudding. We have been blessed with about a million hits from literally hundreds of thousands of unique visitors since I have been blogging (2007).
3.) Maybe most importantly, the sellers had an honest assessment of pricing.
What is a home worth? Really? In spite of all of the real estate info available to buyers and sellers online these days, buying or selling a home is still a pretty personal transaction. Objectivity can be difficult. The sellers of this Little Kowaliga home had tested the market for 252 days at a higher price with another listing company. They were willing to try again at a price more closely aligned with what our market was telling them. The result was a sale. In ten days.
4.) The media.
And specifically, a huge amount of pictures. Most buyers are coming from out of town and can’t swing by the home during lunch to check it out. For obvious reasons, I want Lake Martin to be known for its awesome real estate marketing. I want people to be blown away by the care we take to sell Lake Martin. I want the info on all of our MLS properties to be readily available, completely thorough, and of the highest quality. So we select the best forms of marketing and then get out of the way (No sassy glamor shots of me with my arms folded. No talk about my “team.” People want a lake home, not an agent). In this case, we chose seventy two quality pictures of the Little Kowaliga home and put them on the MLS. And on our website. And on Flickr.
I am still surprised, however, that in this age of no cost digital pics, I still see agents in the MLS that mail in their media efforts. I see homes with five pictures of a property, two of them are out of focus, and one contains their thumb. I don’t get it. Let me say a word to people who are thinking about selling their Lake Martin property – check out the past listings of the agents you are considering. First of all – can you even find their listings? If you can’t, how do you expect a buyer to find them? And if you do find them, do you see vague directions? Lackluster verbal descriptions? Poorly lit and out of focus pictures? And I will say it – A TOTAL LACK OF VIDEO?
Why do you think this agent will do anything different for your property?
It shouldn’t matter what kind of property you are selling, I believe it is up to us agents to put in 100% effort to sell your waterfront properties. I’ll never be confused with Ansel Adams or Steven Spielberg, but I can say that I will do my best to give not 5, but 45 clear pics of any property I have the honor of listing.
5.) Video video video.
We put out a great full motion video tour of the home. Not a slideshow of the same MLS pics set to muzak. We’re currently working on incorporating aerial shots of the properties into the video home tours, and that looks really cool. The video below is the one we made for the Little Kowaliga home; we try to squeeze every possible bit of info about the property into these videos in under 3 minutes. We want buyers to know exactly what the seller is offering, with no surprises once they arrive at the home in person.
We also did a quick aerial video of the outside of the Little Kowaliga home. It’s amazing how much additional info you can gain from this vantage:
10 days on the market was all it took in this case. Like I said, this is not the norm for Days On Market, but the transaction is more likely to move quickly if all of these factors are considered. And of all of these, an honest assessment of pricing is probably going to be the biggest factor. I love Blizzards from Dairy Queen a whole lot, but I will not buy one for $10, even if it is the best looking Blizzard I have ever seen, and it is 105 degrees outside. Its value has been set in the open market and I know I can get a comparable Blizzard for less on down the road.
So – Lake Martin homeowners, are you considering listing your home with a Lake Martin realtor? If you are, and you like what you’ve seen here, I’d love the opportunity to talk with you about your property. And if you are a buyer, I’d love to help you thoroughly scour the lake inventory and gather as much info as possible on homes that may meet your needs. If you’re interested in a listing that is not mine, and you feel like you need more info, I make private video tours of other agent’s listings and provide you with a private YouTube link. Call me. John Coley 334 221 5862 or john (at) lakemartinvoice (dot)com.
HGTV fans everywhere discovered Lake Martin last night!
House Hunters featured Lake Martin on it’s Memorial Day 2014 show. As a Lake Martin realtor, I’ve talked to people from all over the world about Lake Martin’s waterfront real estate – Africa, Turkey, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, and Red Hill, Alabama. Lake Martin truly has a global reach, and this House Hunters episode is proof of that.
I’m assuming that everyone with a TV knows the premise of House Hunters. I admit, I’ve had daydreams of bringing America to Lake Martin via this show. I’m all about real estate video – I currently have 356 videos about Lake Martin real estate on my LakeMartinVoice Realty YouTube Channel! But I was not the realtor on this House Hunters episode. Erin Johnson of RealtySouth’s Auburn / Lake Martin office really did a fantastic job representing our area, so congratulations, Erin! (The episode will air again on June 29 at 7:00pm eastern if you didn’t catch it last night.)
A quick synopsis:
A couple from Helena, Alabama, scour the lake for a low maintenance home for their family of five. Hubby Paul wants a “fish camp style” home, (which is what I call a cabin) with a big yard, and Neely wants a “cottage style” home with granite counter tops. Will they ever agree?
After the show’s introduction of characters, it gets interesting. Their price range is the ever popular $350-400k range, and as the couple makes their way through the three homes on their list, I think, “I have two homes for sale right now that are almost identical to two of the homes this family has selected!” Uncanny.
So for all of you who enjoyed last night’s show, and to all of you who are currently house hunting at Lake Martin, I’m going to do a quick Lake Martin Voice Realty version of House Hunters right here! To follow the sequence of the Lake Martin episode . . .
First – The cottage style house with all the upgrades.
Paul and Neely walked through a home in The Village. That home happens to be a door or two away from my listing, 52 Cottage Loop, the good news is it’s the lowest priced home in The Village right now, has a great view, and it’s a toothbrusher (no updates needed, just bring your toothbrush):
For all of the listing information on this home, please see its page on my blog: 52 Cottage Loop in The Village on Lake Martin.
Next up, the affordable, family friendly, low maintenance home with the big yard.
Paul and Neely saw (and bought) a home with the exact floor plan as a home I have listed, 108 Leisure Lane. It is virtually the same house on a different lot, and my listing has more shoreline (for a slightly higher price). For those of you who saw the show last night, the similarities are going to be almost eerie. Paul and Neely, don’t you agree?
And again, because it is a Lake Martin Voice Realty listing, it already has its own VIDEO TOUR! I even have my own in-house Suzanne Whang style host to narrate each tour. No need to wait for the next House Hunters episode:
For all the listing info on this home: 108 Leisure Lane on Lake Martin.
And Third: The architect-designed camp style lake home with amazing finishes and charming detail.
Similarly, for my Lake Martin Voice Realty house hunting tour, I chose an architect designed home that is not currently on the MLS. I have a private video tour of a Bill Ingram water access house in The Ridge. I don’t mean to exclude anyone, but I can’t post my video tour here because it’s not my listing. But yes, I do make videos of other agent’s homes for my clients and give them a private email link to view the home on YouTube. So I need to be your real estate agent to give that kind of access. It is exclusive.
I end this post with two calls to action today, instead of my usual one:
1) If you are interested in Lake Martin real estate, buying or selling, give me a call. I help buyers and sellers at Lake Martin, 100% of the time. It’s my area of expertise. Give me a call at 334 221 5862, or email me at john (at) lakemartinvoice (dot) com, or click here to contact me.
2) If you are from HGTV, here’s my shameless self promo: You’ve seen how picturesque and fun Lake Martin is, and hey – we’re only 2 hours from Atlanta. I know you have studios there! Knoxville is not far, either! I am not afraid to be on camera, and I will not charge extra for my slow southern drawl. And I have all kinds of interesting clients with great stories to tell. HGTV – you may also call please me at 334 221 5862, or email me at john (at) lakemartinvoice (dot) com, or click here to contact me. Let’s make this happen!
I took my first official working boat trip a few weeks ago, right in the middle of the “greening” phase of spring at Lake Martin. Everything is that vibrant, exciting green, and the sky is that clear bright blue – it’s beautiful.
From the boat, I took the pictures below of a great lot I have listed for sale in the Smith Mountain area, Lot 4 Phase 2 Smith Mountain Drive. I love this lot because of it’s unique location.
The future owners of this lot will have a true year-round Lake Martin home. In the summer, hop in the boat enjoy all the traditional fun and sun activities. In the fall, winter and spring, get outside on the Smith Mountain trails. This lot is within walking distance to some of the most awesome hiking trails in our area. Outdoor activity during all seasons, just outside of the doorstep. And the future owners can bring their own builder and design this doorstep, too!
For all of the listing info on this lot, click here. If you have any questions, or would like to know more about Lake Martin lots and real estate in general, give me a call at 334 221 5862, or email me at john at lakemartinvoice dot com.
Welcome to Lake Martin and welcome to LakeMartinVoice.com! If you’re researching a waterfront real estate purchase, I hope this website will become your favorite tool, and, let me be honest – I hope one day you’ll give me a call and hire me as your realtor. I realize that the last thing buyers and sellers want to do is call a cheesy realtor, so this website is my attempt to gain your trust by putting the best real estate info into your hands and letting you take the lead.
So what’s the deal with my company’s name, Lake Martin Voice Realty? Am I am radio station? No. Am I a boutique ( a trendy word for small) real estate company that deals exclusively with Lake Martin real estate? Yes!
LakeMartinVoice.com exists to put all of the most accurate and most current Lake Martin real estate information in one location.
At Lake Martin Voice, you can
1) Search the Lake Martin MLS – without a doubt, the most accurate and timely source of listing information. All realtors, all brokerages. Sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia are chronically inaccurate and out of date, so go straight to the local source, our MLS.
2) Read Market Reports – I break down the statistics – finally, my accounting degree put to good use. It’s hard to argue with the numbers.
3) Learn about Neighborhoods and geographic areas on the lake – Maps, video tours, histories each area, PLUS a live feed from the MLS with homes currently for sale in each neighborhood. A handy way to get super hyper local.
4) Connect to my YouTube Channel – Watch hundreds of videos including home tours, community event videos, and client testimonials.
6) Explore local news, events and issues – Read hundreds of current and past blog posts covering life at Lake Martin.
If you have more questions about Lake Martin real estate, and you can’t find the answers here, please let me know – I’d love to do the research and even post the answers right here. You can call me at 334 221 5862, email me at john (at) lakemartinvoice (dot) com, or click here to contact me.
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!
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:
2013 was a remarkable year for lot sales at Lake Martin.
I 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:
This time of year at Lake Martin creates a question for some sellers in the real estate market. That question centers around whether or not they should keep their waterfront home, condo, or lot on the market through the winter.
Lake Martin is a seasonal, second home market in a rural community. Most of our real estate sales happen between February and November. Currently, the lake level is drawn down ten feet in the winter. It gets chilly.
So is it worth it to keep your property on the market through the winter? Or should you, as a seller, take it off of the market and let it rest, only to be reborn in spring? The tradeoff seems to come down to Days On Market vs. Anonymity. That is, if you truly want to sell your Lake Martin home, what is worse, having a higher Days on Market in the spring, or not being on the market at all during the winter?
I think it’s better to be on the market. That way your waterfront property is in the Lake Martin MLS, all other agents know about it, and your listing agent can legally advertise it. Otherwise no one knows it’s for sale.
But on this issue, as with many others, I wanted to test to see if I was a lone dissenter. I recently wrote about the subject in my monthly column for Lake Magazine. In order to get some perspective, I interviewed fellow Lake Martin agents Becky Haynie of Lake Martin Realty, Carl Hopson of RealtySouth Lake Martin, and John Christenberry of Lake Martin Voice Realty.
They agreed with me, and gave some great examples. Here’s a link to the article on Lake Magazine’s website:
I guess I am biased since they agreed with me, but I think they are great points.
If you are considering selling your waterfront home, lot, condo, or acreage on Lake Martin, we would love to help you. Please hit the “Contact Us” button below or call at 334 221 5862.