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Lake Martin MLS Search Tips

Kenneth and Melinda are looking around for a waterfront home on Lake Martin, and I am honored that they selected me to help them. A couple of weeks ago they were at the lake and we were looking around when Kenneth went into an unsolicited testimonial about the my Lake Martin home search – aka MLS search.

I can’t take all of the credit, FBS Data Systems runs our system, called FlexMLS. In my opinion there is no finer software solution or way to search for homes and lots. FlexMLS is an outstanding product that is very responsive, customizable, and relevant to the way that consumers would like to search.

Please take a minute to watch this video, where Kenneth explains how he started his Lake Martin home search with a couple of hundred potentially confusing possibilities, then whittled it to a managable twelve, then zeroed in on the five or six he wanted to see.

He searched on his desktop mostly, but then was able to save and transfer his favorites to his smart phone.  We even zoom in and Kenneth shows you how to do it on his phone. The great thing is that my website, Lake Martin Voice, and Lake Martin’s FlexMLS system automatically recognizes if you’re using a mobile phone and tailors the experience for you. Kenneth was able to find two more homes that he wanted to see while we were at the lake.

Would you like to start your own search for a waterfront home or lot at Lake Martin? Click here or above on the Property Search button and get started. Once there, click on a smiley face and it will allow you to save your favorites.  Don’t worry, the registration only comes to me, no spam.

Thanks again and way to go, Flex!!!!

 

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Lake Martin Market Report: First Quarter 2012

Lake Martin, Alabama, waterfront home sales continue the hot streak of 2011 by posting 43 homes sold in the first quarter of 2012.

I studied the Lake Martin MLS* to see how the home sales have been in the first three months of the year. Personally, this is the best January, February, and March that I have ever had, praise the Lord. But I wondered if my experience was atypical. Generally, Lake Martin home sales are coolest in the cool months, so what was the rest of the market doing?

A quick look at the numbers in the Lake Martin MLS, which includes all agents, all Lake Martin real estate brokerages, shows that in January of 2012, 12 waterfront homes were sold, in February of 2012 it was 11, and 20 homes were sold in March of 2012 for a total of 43. This number was the best since 2007’s 43 and almost equaled 2006’s 46.

Lake Martin Real Estate Trends for 2012

What does this mean? Is this brisk pace a good omen for Lake Martin sales in 2012? It’s too early to tell, I think. If you look at 2007, which had an equally good start, the drought and the real estate bubble bursting combined to crash the market that year. However, in 2006, a great first quarter signaled a great, but declining, sales market. We just won’t know until we have more data.

But the good news is that one thing is sure – this strong quarter shows us that the sales momentum from 2011 has continued.

Lake Martin Waterfront Foreclosures Update For 2012

The other day Jessica from the Alex City Outlook called me to interview me about foreclosures in the Lake Martin area. She asked me if I felt that foreclosures were increasing, decreasing, or staying the same. My first instinct was to say that they have stayed steady, based on this post where I detailed foreclosure trends for the last three years.

However, I looked at the numbers just in case, and was surprised.

Of the 43 waterfront homes sold through the Lake Martin MLS in the first three months of this year, 13 were listed as foreclosures. That’s 30%! Way over the 7% in each of 2009, 2010, and 2011. What does this mean? Is this finally the “huge flood of foreclosures” that we have been hearing about?

I don’t think so. I think it is merely pent up supply and a coincidence that they all fell in the same quarter. I base that opinion on the fact that there are only 12 other waterfront homes listed as foreclosures that are for sale right now out of 379 total homes for sale. That’s only 3% of the supply.

Wait a minute, you might say. Maybe the foreclosures are selling at a higher proportionate rate. Maybe they are the better deals and will be sold first, thereby skewing the market down.

Perhaps, you might be right. But I think we still need more data to be sure. Remember, the first two months of the year historically are some of our lowest sales totals. It doesn’t pay to draw too many conclusions.

Let’s be happy for a strong three months of sales on Lake Martin, but let’s reserve prognostication until we have a few more months under our belts. And since we don’t wear belts much around here, I guess I should say the elastic band on our swim suits.

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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Should My Second Grader Bid For This Lake Martin Neighborhood?

Aliant Bank is auctioning the Water’s Edge neighborhood on Lake Martin.  It’s going off tomorrow at 1 PM at the end of Coosa 20.  PLEASE NOTE IT IS A NON-ABSOLUTE AUCTION.  This means they have a reserve price, if the winner is too low, THEY DON’T HAVE TO SELL.

Water’s Edge, formerly known as Eagle Point, was a proposed waterfront development on the Big Kowaliga section of Lake Martin.  It was (by my unscientific estimation) one of the largest, if not the largest, waterfront loan in Aliant’s history. It is located at the end of Coosa County Road 20, directly across the water from the old Veazey’s Marina near Willow Point.

Aliant loaned the money to real estate developers that tried to market it as Eagle Point on Lake Martin, but the bank ended up taking that land back, and now has hired auctioneer JP King Auction Company to auction off the whole shebang.

Should My Second Grader Bid On It?

My second grade son has a little savings account with Aliant Bank.  You know the type – you go in with them to open it up, it’s all cute, the ladies in the bank give him lollipops and what not.  When he gets $10 for his birthday, I have tried to encourage savings by telling him I will match whatever he deposits.  We call it my 401 “J.”

He’s not very old, so he hasn’t had many birthdays. No matter, because Aliant, or at least J.P. King, thinks he has enough bling to swing at the auction.  Yes, they sent an auction flyer directly to him in the mail.

What??

Yes, they are marketing to my second grader.  Do they really expect him to bid for lots that are worth, in total, at least a couple million dollars?

I am sure they don’t. Obviously, they sent it to all account holders if they are sending it to a minor with about $34 in his account.

But it does draw one into questioning the manner that Aliant thinks this property will sell, and the advertising used to get it done.

Will this auction be a success for Aliant?  Will they sell all of the lots and homes in a non absolute auction, without neighborhood covenants and restrictions (maybe they will be present at auction, I don’t know), with minimal advertising strategy, virtually zero web presence, and minimal effort to garner referrals from Lake Martin realtors?

I have no clue.  We will see, though.

JP King Auction Company Puts Broker Registered Buyers At A Disadvantage

Because I am a glutton for punishment, blissfully disregarding the “fool me twice shame on me” principle, I have been registering people for this auction.  Don’t contact me now, it’s too late.  JP King requires that broker registrations be turned in yesterday.  If you are just now reading this and want to bid, you’d best contact JP King Auction Company directly here.  Good luck.

So why do I think that JP King puts broker registered buyers at a disadvantage?  Because they pressure buyers to declare an opening bid when they fill out the registration form.

That’s right. Any real estate broker that helps a buyer register has to fill out a blank that says “Opening Bid.” I think this is antithetical to the whole auction concept.  The reason buyers like auctions is (they feel at least) they start low and go high.  JP King wasn’t forcing the buyers they register to make an opening bid.  So why require it of ones that us brokers register?  And what buyer in their right mind would toss out an opening bid, a week before the auction, without any neighborhood covenants, deeds, and restrictions?  And what real estate broker would encourage a high opening bid if they care one whit about their reputation or their buyer?

JP King’s answer to this was: this is how we calculate the Broker Referral Fee.  For this auction, they offered to pay the broker (e.g., me) 2% of the opening bid and 1% of any amount above it.  See —> trying to get brokers to pump up prices.  Again, I feel this is antithetical and just downright dumb.  My policy was to disclose all of this to the buyers.  It didn’t matter to the buyers because in this auction they are paying no buyer’s premium (aka commission) like they do in most every other auction, and I do applaud JP King and Aliant for that aspect. When I registered my buyers, we defeated this by entering a nominal amount like $50 in the opening bid amount.  I cleared this with JP King ahead of time, but when we turned the registrations in, I was told by a very nice JP King representative that “(the) VP (of JP King) just cannot go to the seller with such a low opening bid” even though they had already approved that.

I dug deeper into JP King’s registration packet and found a clause that said we could leave the Opening Bid amount blank.  When I pressed this point, the very nice rep said “yes, that’s OK.”  I countered with, “so you would rather us leave it blank, which is in effect an opening bid of zero, than to put in something like $10?” She: “yes.”  Therefore we left it blank.

My point at telling this story is to illustrate my opinion of the extreme pain in the neck it is as a real estate broker to register someone to bid on this auction at Lake Martin.  Maybe other JP King auctions are different.  Maybe in other markets and other locations, their Broker Registration process is smooth, easy, nice, and encouraging to brokers.  But I can say that in my experience with the auction by Aliant at Water’s Edge, it was a huge pain in the neck.  Information flowed like molasses. I started quizzing JP King for auction information the second they made this public, and I found that quite often I was getting info later than people that called them directly.  I also was discouraged by their flip flop on the Opening Bid concept. Principally, the fact that they make it so hard and pressure the broker to pressure the buyer for a high opening bid, I feel that, in this particular case and this particular auction, JP King Auction Company put broker registered buyers at a disadvantage.

Do you think they tell potential sellers this?  Do you think, when the VPs of JP King are on the phone or in a meeting and trying to close a potential seller on hiring them, that they tell sellers what a great relationship they have with the local real estate brokers?  And how everyone will flood in to register all their buyers?  Hogwash, I say, if my experience was typical.  Then again, maybe this was an anomaly.  Maybe all of their other auctions are daisies and tulips.

Sour Grapes?

“This is all just sour grapes, John, because you had two of these homes listed before. You’re just an auction hater because you are a greedy, slimy, real estate broker,” you might say.  Maybe you’re right on all cases of that statement.  I am human, and therefore by definition a flawed, fallen sinner.  When I think back a couple or three years ago and remember the dreams we all had to resurrect Eagle Point into Water’s Edge, and now to see it like it is, I can’t help but pine for how well it could have gone.  I don’t hate auctions.  I just don’t like any seller not getting the best service.  I think this auction has a lot of hurdles to hop (no one knows the covenants and restrictions ahead of time, will these apply to off water lots, when will roads be done, limited inspections, limited information, it might rain) but I wish them the best.

I am not a Democrat, I am not a Republican.  I am a capitalist in almost the purest sense of the word.  I am for freedom and the American way. If this works for Aliant, more power to them, I say.  The market has spoken.

More Information about Water’s Edge At Lake Martin

I have written extensively about Water’s Edge in the past and also taken tons of video. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND that these are old posts from when I had the homes listed, so the pricing etc. NO LONGER APPLIES:

Aliant Bank Auctioning Water’s Edge Development On Lake Martin

 Lot 2, Water’s Edge

Does Ceiling Color Keep Away Bugs?

Water’s Edge Featured In Lake Magazine

Lake Martin Seawall Construction

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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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Aliant Bank Auctioning Water’s Edge Development On Lake Martin

Aliant Bank is auctioning the Water’s Edge neighborhood.

Water’s Edge, formerly known as Eagle Point, was a proposed waterfront development on the Big Kowaliga section of Lake Martin. It was (by my unscientific estimation) one of the largest, if not the largest, waterfront loan in Aliant’s history. It is located at the end of Coosa County Road 20, directly across the water from the old Veazey’s Marina near Willow Point.

Aliant loaned the money to real estate developers that tried to market it as Eagle Point, but the bank ended up taking that land back, and now has hired auctioneer JP King to auction off the whole shebang.

I have read JP King’s promotional materials and also called and emailed them for more information. At the time of this writing, they did not have a location map, neighborhood covenants and restrictions, but did have about 15 photos. Here are the major points:

Date: Saturday, March 10, 2012
Time: 10:00 AM Central Time
Place: “On Site” – I don’t know which part of the property that means, but if you take Coosa County Road 20 all the way east, surely they will have signage up.

Disclosure Of My Extreme Bias

I have a lot of personal bias when it comes to both Aliant Bank and Water’s Edge, nee Eagle Point.

Firstly, growing up in Alex City, I either know or am related to just about everyone that works there. Fine folks and experts at Lake Martin lending. In fact, they are about the only source that I know of right now that will loan on Alabama Power leased lot homes.

Secondly, I have a lot of personal history with Water’s Edge / Eagle Point. I helped Aliant do much of the homework (market studies, comparable sales, realtor stuff, etc.) when they first foreclosed. I also listed two of the spec homes that they had for sale. I had those homes listed during the construction phase and for several months after they were completed.

However – and this is a big however – I never listed any of the lots nor the Island parcel. Not the lots close to the spec houses (which the auctioneer is calling “The Cottages at Eagle Point”), nor the “island” portion (which the auctioneer is calling “Narrows Point at Water’s Edge”).

The only time (to my knowledge) that Aliant has put any of these lots on the market was when they listed lots 3 and 4 with Rhonda Gaskins at RealtySouth, the brokerage that listed the homes on lot 1 and lot 2 after my listing period expired. As was apparent in our Lake Martin MLS, they listed the lots for $195k and dropped the price to $159k before that listing expired late this fall.

Why The Water’s Edge Auction Will Be Interesting

I think Aliant’s auction of the foreclosed Eagle Point / Water’s Edge waterfront development will be interesting for three major reasons:

1.) Waterfront auctions on Lake Martin homes, lots, and other property have not gone well in the past. Foreclosed or not, I can only think of one auction where a sale has been consummated in the last five or so years. I sell Lake Martin real estate for a living, and that’s the sole example of success, but I can also recall five or six aborted attempts. One in particular, the auctioneer allegedly marched off in a huff after no one submitted an opening bid.

2.) The auction is not absolute. This may change, but as of this writing, according to auctioneer JP King, none of the parcels is being sold absolute.  Selling absolute means, essentially, if you bid $1, and you’re the high bidder, you get to buy it at that, regardless. If it’s not absolute it means that the bank has a minimum price, and if the bids don’t meet their minimum, they are not compelled to sell to you. Granted, this may change. When I talked to the auction company, they admitted that their information was incomplete right now. (Sidebar – the auction is in about 10 weeks. When will it be complete? Who will bid without complete information?)

3.) Only two of the lots have ever been on the market. As mentioned above, they last asked $159k each for lots 3 and 4 on the “Cottages” parcel. They have never – repeat never – put the island portion on the market (that is the parcel they call The Narrows).

Would you like to bid on waterfront lots or homes at Water’s Edge? Please contact me using this form or call me at 334 221 5862.

More Information about Water’s Edge At Lake Martin

I have written extensively about Water’s Edge in the past and also taken tons of video. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND that these are old posts from when I had the homes listed, so the pricing etc. NO LONGER APPLIES:

 Lot 2, Water’s Edge

Does Ceiling Color Keep Away Bugs?

Water’s Edge Featured In Lake Magazine

Lake Martin Seawall Construction

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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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Lake Martin Best Buy Lists: Pick Your Price and Find Home Value

A lot of Lake Martin buyers request my waterfront Foreclosure List.  You may be one of them.  If you’ve seen it recently, you know that the Foreclosure list is steadily dwindling.  Does this mean that there are only a few good deals left on Lake Martin?  Not at all.

Don and Kristie are a great example of clients who originally called me about foreclosures, but quickly realized that there are plenty of good buys out there in the regular market.

It can be overwhelming to sort through the hundreds of waterfront properties in the Lake Martin MLS, but I’ve found that a lot of buyers want to do their own research before they call a Realtor.  My goal with this website is to give you the best tools for that research. 

Enter my Best Buy Lists.

Very few buyers come with a carte blanche checkbook, so I’ve created 2 3 lists based on price range.  (I’m working on just created a $600k to $1m list, so if that price range speaks to you, be on the lookout, or just go ahead and call me): 

1. Best Buys $350K and Under

2. Best Buys $351-599K

3. Best Buys $600k – $1 million.

Click here to request a Lake Martin Best Buy List

Each list is a compilation of waterfront properties that are worth considering based on a combination of price, features, and my professional opinion.   A lot of these homes are not our listings because I pull from the entire  Lake Martin Area MLS.  You’ll find the Best Buy Lists button at the top right corner of this page.

So this is real estate 2011.  Buyers used to have to call a Realtor before they could get the goods.  We can’t hoard information anymore – it’s  all over the Internet.  I’ve decided that if I organize it for you and make it available with no strings attached, you might appreciate it enough to contact me when you’re feeling serious.

Plus, the real value in a good Realtor is his/her ability to point out the best deals and crucial trends that will affect your purchase.  Would you go to a stockbroker merely because he knows what stocks are selling for?  No.  You want a stock broker that can advise you.  Same deal here.  The information age is over.  Information is free and ubiquitous.  You need advice and that’s what I like to provide.

In the meantime, please feel free to contact me if I can help you with Lake Martin real estate in any way.

 

 

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Attack Of The Accountants

In my opinion, real estate advice that is based on folksy anecdotes is for chumps.

lake martin accountants are buyingI mean to say – buying any sort of real estate, much less a waterfront home or lot on Lake Martin, is a big decision.  You shouldn’t rely on other people’s whimsical stories or vague opinions as evidence to buy or not.  In fact, this is one of the main reasons that I started this blog back in 2007 – to give hard facts…. verifiable evidence… the real story of what is going on with Lake Martin waterfront home, condo and lot sales.

That being said, please allow me to indulge in an anecdote once in four years.  Please don’t take it seriously:

Accountants are attacking Lake Martin!

A couple of weeks ago I had a stretch of seven days where I showed homes to five different accountants.  Two of them were actually  married to each other.  That’s right, a husband and wife CPA team.  One of them joked that the CPA stands for “Can’t Pass Again.”  Maybe, but in her case I doubt it.  I majored in Accounting in college and after I graduated I didn’t sit for the CPA exam. I took and passed the CMA – which for me stood for “Scared of the CPA Exam.”

Spending college and the first phase of my career in the accounting world taught me that the cliches are mostly true.  We accountants are a nerdy, math-brained, hyper analytical, careful with money bunch.

Here comes the anecdotal advice:

lake martin buy real estate waterfrontIf a bunch of unrelated CPAs think that Lake Martin is a good buy, isn’t that a good sign?

Sure, it’s folksy, I know.  But it’s a cute story.  Think about it – isn’t it a good testimonial for Lake Martin?  Like if your doctor actually exercised as much as she nags you to do?  Like if your insurance agent actually bought those awful whole life policies at full retail prices instead of trying to sell these “great investments” to you?  Like if the Turtle Man said, “Wow – there’s no way I’m swimming in that nasty pond,” would you swim in it?

Sit on the sidelines if you want, but, as your CPA will tell you, The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth.

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Rent Vs Buy – Lake Martin Math

One of most enjoyable parts about writing this blog about Lake Martin real estate are some of the questions and comments I get from readers.

A couple of weeks ago I guy emailed me to ask me what I thought about his plan of renting a home on Lake Martin next year from May to September for $3,750 per month.

I thought that it was an interesting concept.  I don’t know if he was planning to rent a Russell cabin or not.   Regardless, here is how I answered him:

“Thanks for your your email.  My guess is that you will probably have a tough time finding someone to rent to you May through September.    That is the peak season here on Lake Martin.  Most long term renters require 12 months.  This goes double for Russell cabins.  If you want to hear someone get tickled, call them and tell them you only want to rent during those months.

If you are really serious about renting a home, I would try lakemartin.com and go to the rentals section.  That is how most people rent their homes on Lake Martin, either long term or short (nightly or weekly) term.

However, one thing to think about – if you assume 5 months rent at $3,750 – at the end of which you would have nothing and it’s (probably) NOT tax deductible.  that’s 5 * $3,750 = $18,750 in total cash out for rent.

If you divide $18,750 by 12, it gives $1,562 you could pay per month on a bank loan.  Assuming 4.25% interest you could service the debt on a $320,000 loan.  At an 80% loan to value ratio, that assumes you can buy a $400,000 lake house.  You can buy a nice waterfront home on Lake Martin for $400,000 these days.

In other words, for the money you spent in rent for only 5 months, you could pay for a $400k waterfront home for a year.  At the end of the year, you are still the owner.  You can deduct your mortgage interest (probably, check with your CPA).  About $13,200 of that is mortgage interest payments, so if you assume a tax of 35% that’s a net effect of a $4,620 discount (35% * 13,200).  Again, check with your CPA to be sure.

All this assumes that Lake Martin home values don’t rise between now and December 2012 (which I think they are likely to do).  If / when they do, you gain on your home value as a direct result.  If you are renting, your landlord will just raise the rent.

With home prices this low, and rates this low, it really makes the case against renting.  Even for 5 months.  Much less 12 months.”

What about you?

Have you thought about renting a home on Lake Martin, and are wondering how it compares to buying one?  I would be glad to help you consider your options. Please use this contact form to email me or call me at 334 221 5862.

Maybe you weren’t thinking about 5 months at $3,750 per, but I am sure you still might like to entertain the notion of buying.

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Aquapalooza At Lake Martin 2011 – Setup Tips

Sea Ray and Russell Marine are once again bringing Aquapalooza to Lake Martin, Alabama, – on July 23, 2011.

Aquapalooza is a free, on the water concert that you can boat up, anchor, and go dance by the stage.  It is tons of fun, and, in my opinion, becoming the 4th big lake holiday behind Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day.

Lake Martin has experienced two really big Aquapaloozas – the nationally promoted signature event in 2009 featuring Alan Jackson, and this pretty doggone big event in 2010 with John Anderson.

In 2011, the headliner is Sawyer Brown.  Here’s the full lineup:

Lake Martin Aquapalooza 2011 Lineup

Sawyer Brown
Rhett Atkins
Chase Rice
Derek Welsh and the Cold Hard Truth

Lake Martin Aquapalooza 2011 Schedule

11 AM – 7 PM on July 23, 2011.

Memo to all you fast timers – we’re on Central Time.

Click here for the Official Aquapalooza Site

Lake Martin Aquapalooza 2011 Setup Tips

The prior years of fun have given us all some valuable experience. I shot a quick video below to go over some tips for Aquapalooza on Lake Martin.

Here are some more Lake Martin Aquapalooza 2011 tips:

  1. Have a sober driver and sober spotter – I say this in the video but it’s worth repeating. The driver will need someone at the front of the boat that is looking out for other boats, swimmers, kayakers, etc.
  2. Obey all Alabama laws – if you’re coming from out of state, study up.
  3. Idle speed only – west of Kowaliga Bridge is idle speed only until you get to Governor’s Island. The surest way to get pulled over by the AL Marine Police is to be above idle in this zone. Make even the smallest wake and they will hammer down on you.  Quite frankly, you deserve it.
  4. If you anchor up, use an anchor line – so many times I see folks throwing out their brand new mushroom anchor that is tied to ski rope.  Bad idea. It may be easy going down, but at the end of the day when you are hauling in 75 feet of it, and it’s slick, that thin ski rope will burn your hands.
  5. If you swim to the stage, use a PFD – it looks like a short swim, but trust me, you will get tired. Swim with a life vest on your person.
  6. Bring twice as many boat bumpers than you think you will need – even if you only use 2 to attach to your pier, you will need a bunch more when your friends (old and new) sidle up to you and anchor with you.
  7. Buy all your provisions locally – OK, so I’m a big believer in supporting the Lake Martin locals, yes.  But on the practical side, I can tell you that the local C Stores will have plenty of ice, snacks, and beverages.  It’s the same price as your hometown’s.  Unless you just like to load a cooler 2 days in advance, the smart move is to get it in theater.
  8. Take plenty of pics and video – you won’t believe how much fun it is to look at them later.  Local Lake Martin photographer Kenneth Boone usually has the best ones on his SmugMug account here.
  9. Tweet it out – if you’re on Lake Martin and hip to twitter, use hashtags of #lakemartin and #aquapalooza and @SeaRayBoat
  10. Check in on FourSquare – there’s a musical event set up on Foursquare – Aquapalooza on Lake Martin

Homes For Sale On Lake Martin Near Aquapalooza 2011

Do you have some time to kill, and maybe would like to cruise by some waterfront homes that are for sale near Lake Martin’s Aquapalooza site at Kowaliga Marina?

Click on the Request List link below:

CLICK HERE TO REQUEST HOMES FOR SALE

You will be asked for your name and email, and then you will be emailed two lists we have compiled of waterfront homes for sale on Lake Martin right now. One list is east of Kowaliga Bridge, the other is west of it. This list is from the Lake Martin Area Realtors’ MLS, so it’s any brokerage’s listings, not just mine.  Also, don’t worry, we DO NOT SELL, GIVEAWAY, or otherwise distribute your info.

Have a fun and save Aquapalooza 2011 on Lake Martin!

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