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Lake Martin Sales Slump In September

Lake Martin waterfront home sales stalled in September 2010. Only 14 homes were sold through the Lake Martin MLS*, as compared to 24 in 2009 and 20 in 2008.

If you add this month to the previous year to date total, what does that tell us about the Lake Martin real estate market as a whole? We see that number of homes sold so far through September 30, 2010, is 158. This puts 2010 slightly behind the Sept. 30, 2009, number of 162.

The good news is that it puts 2010 far ahead of the entire 12 months’ worth of sales in 2008 and 2007, thus ensuring us against the fabled, never-seen, yet dreaded, double dip.

Lake Martin Market Momentum

If we compare this month’s waterfront home sales to the same month last year, we see that 2010 has been on a losing streak. We have had 5 straight months of either losing to (4) or tying with (1) 2009.

Should we be worried? Is this a legitimate trend now? I mean, come on. I used this graphic to prove that the Lake Martin real estate market had bounced back in 2009. Shouldn’t it now show us that we are headed back downhill after 5 “lousy” months? Let’s be honest!!

I don’t think so.

The main reason is that I am writing this Market Report for September so late (November 2). I have the luxury of looking at waterfront property sales results for October 2010, which tells me that October is going to be a really big month. Probably the best October in 4 or so years. If preliminary indications hold, it will be so much better than October 2009 it will just about erase the last 5 months’ lukewarmness. In fact, it may put 2010 in position to beat 2009 when it’s all said and done on December 31.

I hate to call a downward trend when we are still beating prior year.

I guess many September scheduled closings have been pushed to October due to lending red tape and inspections. I know that personally I have been blessed to have signed more business (closings and listings) this fall than ever before.

Inventory of Lake Martin Homes for sale

The number of waterfront homes for sale in the Lake Martin MLS decreased again this month. No surprises here, it’s a seasonal thing. I am considering publishing this chart only once a quarter, or near peak or trough times.  I don’t think it’s necessary to mention each month.

Why Do You Report Sales So Late?

As I have said in countless disclaimers, I take all of my sales numbers from the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors’ MLS. Each sale must be recorded and reported by the listing agent. That means if you have a closing on September 30, the sale will show as a status of “Pending” until the agent goes into the MLS and changes it to “Closed.”

Many times it takes a couple of business days, if not weeks, to do this. That’s why I try to wait at least until the 15th of the next month before I do a Lake Martin Real Estate Market Report. Granted, for this month (September 2010) I waited a lot longer than that. Sorry.

Be on the lookout for the October 2010 report sometime the week of November 15 – 19, 2010.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales – June and July 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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Pictures Of A Pro Taking Pictures Of Homes

As a Lake Martin realtor, I get to take plenty of pictures. Most of them (obviously) are of waterfront homes.  Or people.


But, I have never taken pictures of people taking pictures of other people in front of a home.


Yesterday, Will Pollock came by the homes we have for sale at Water’s Edge.  Will is a freelance writer and photographer from Atlanta.  Will, whose work has been featured in Sea Ray Living (among other publications), was in town doing some work for a future article on Bryan Jones.  Bryan, of Jones Pierce Architects, is the architect for Water’s Edge.

They rode by a few of the Lake Martin homes that Bryan has designed over the years.  I was really pleased that they chose to include the homes for sale at Water’s Edge.

Will even was nice enough to give me a few pro pointers, like dealing with the glare off of the water, and trying to get the both the clouds outside and detail inside to look good on a shot in the kitchen.

But… I think he was done with it all by the time the below shot was taken. What do you think?

If you are interested in the beautiful homes we have at Water’s Edge, please see:

Lot 1 Water’s Edge
Lot 2 Water’s Edge

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Sneak Peek! Water’s Edge Lot 1 Home is almost ready!

I’ve been chomping at the bit to get you inside one of the two brand new Lake Martin waterfront homes at Water’s Edge!  Both should be completely ready in about 2 weeks, but I just couldn’t wait to let you inside.

A great architect and a dedicated builder make quite a statement with these homes;  these are not your run-of -the-mill spec homes.  Call me anytime for a tour!

Water’s Edge is located in the Alexander City city limits at the end of Coosa 20 near Willow Point and Parker Creek.  The big view you see is looking southeast over Big Kowaliga towards Sand Island.  The entry to Parker Creek is to the right,  and the old Veazey’s Marina is on the left.  Landscaping will be installed in a couple of weeks.  Check back for the official listing video of the finished project!

Related post:  Announcing Water’s Edge at Lake Martin

Related Video Tours:  Water’s Edge Architect’s Notes: Exterior Features

Water’s Edge Architect’s Notes: Interior Spaces

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How We Use Video to Market Your Lake Martin Home

At Lake Martin Voice Realty, we believe video is one of the crucial ways to market a home for saleThe days of slide show picture montages with Yanni playing in the background are over.  Pictures are better than nothing, but these days, with the money involved in waterfront homes on Lake Martin, sellers and buyers deserve better.

Research has proven that about 90% of buyers use the internet to look for property.  Buyers and sellers alike want a more authentic way to tour property online.  Especially in a second home market like Lake Martin, where most buyers live hours away.

Below are two great examples of what video marketing can do.  We can’t take all the credit – these homes at Water’s Edge are really cool, and we were able to meet with the architect on site and let him do the talking.  But the result is an architect-guided tour at every viewing.

You be the judge:   A John Tesh slide show or our version?

Realtors must do video, and they must do it well.  There is just no excuse anymore.

It’s so easy to do an “OK” home video tour that I can’t imagine why everyone isn’t doing it. But, I’ll admit it. It is pretty hard to do an effective one, and I still consider myself an amateur.

I’m not saying I am Francis Ford Coppola, or even Errol Morris, but if I were a seller, I would want an (albeit imperfect) agent that not only is trying  (cliche alert) “cutting edge” marketing techniques, but one that is pushing harder and harder to get better at it every day.

If you need more convincing, here are two of our latest property listing videos:

190 Pine Drive

14 Elysian Way

If you are a potential seller of waterfront property on Lake Martin, and you like what you see, give us a callWe can do the same for you. If you’re a buyer, use our website for research, and then let us guide you from research to relaxation!

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Creative Lake Martin Landscape: A Waterfall at 10 Boulware

Lake Martin Landscapers get creative with waterfront lots on the lake.  10 Boulware in the Real Island area is a great example.

This home is one of my listings and it’s a huge piece of property: 3.9 acres with +/- 440 feet of shoreline.  We’re calling it the “Mimosa Home” for its traditional Southern style, and for the large Mimosa tree boaters see from the water.

Using the natural terrain as a guide, the owners built a waterfall feature that runs from the top of the property to the waterfront.    The result: the sound of bubbling water greets you at every turn.  Listen for it in the video below and imagine enjoying that peaceful sound on a daily basis.

If you’re interested in this house, click here for pictures and complete listing information, or call me at (334) 221-5862.  A video tour of the entire property is embedded below.  I’d love to show you this property, or any property in the Lake Martin MLS.

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Winner Announced: Free Weekend At Water’s Edge on Lake Martin

I am pleased to announce the winner of a free weekend stay at a cabin at Water’s Edge on Lake Martin, please see this video:

Congratulations to Cecil G of Greenville, Alabama. He and his luckiest friends and family will be enjoying a free stay next weekend.

Thanks to everyone that entered.  We had a tremendous response. Some of you really made me laugh with your comments that you left in the form. Some of you left some things I can’t print (you know who you are :)) and others left some funny ones. To wit, a few examples:

We had the spam fearers:

“Please do not distribute or sell my number or email address.” and “Please do not give out my personal information!”

Don’t worry, your info is safe with me. I will put you on my once a month email list, and if that’s too much, by all means, unsubscribe.

Also we had some folks that have obviously dealt with some aggressive realtors before, here are a few:

“please use only for wining giveaway—no sales calls” and my personal favorite: “Please do not share my phone number or bombard me with calls. Thanks.”

We had some very complimentary words about the new homes for sale at Water’s Edge, and Lake Martin in general:

We actually drove by this development recently. It looks great, we’d love to spend an weekend there.” and “Can’t wait to see the finished homes.” and “one of my favorites home sites on the lake” and “Lake Martin is by far the best lake in Alabama. The water is so clear, the restaurants on the water are great and everyone is so friendly!”

There were a couple of good natured attempts to influence the results. All were unsuccessful, of course. This one took the cake: “I hope I win, then you can sell my old lake house for the new one!!” – Wow, talk about temptation!

If you are wondering how I made the draw, please let me explain. I took all entries and then dropped their info into a spreadsheet. Every entry had a row #. I then went to Random.org and used their random number generator to give a number, then I looked up the row, and saw who won. That’s how Cecil G. scored a free weekend at Lake Martin.

For More Information on the Waterfront Homes for sale at Water’s Edge, see:

Lot 1 Water’s Edge – $589,000

Lot 2 Water’s Edge – $569,000

They each have 3 beds and 3 baths, and are sitting literally on the water’s edge.  The view is stunning – jaw dropping even – you can see for miles, from its spot at the end of Coosa 20.  You can see much of Parker Creek, the old Veazey’s Marina, Willow Point, and all the way to Sand Island.

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Does Ceiling Color Keep Away Bugs?

I went by Water’s Edge the other day – and snapped these pics.  The painter was doing the outside deck, and they chose a light blue for the deck’s ceiling.  The architect and builder said this discourages bugs from making nests up there.

Has anyone else heard of this?

waters edge lake martin alabama waterfront

Does this only work on Lake Martin?

By the way, the view from these homes for sale at Water’s Edge is absolutely stunning. The homes look for five or so miles over the Big Kowaliga section of Lake Martin.

I like the colors the picked for the outside of lot 1:

waters edge lot 1 for sale lake martin real estate

and lot 2:

waters edge lot 2 lake martin real estate for sale

Stay tuned for a chance to win a free weekend lake house rental at Lake Martin, courtesy of Water’s Edge!

The homes are almost ready, so if you are looking for a new home with huge views let me know!

More info:

Lot 1, Water’s Edge

Lot 2, Water’s Edge

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Neighborhood Spotlight: The Landing at the Rock on Lake Martin

The Landing at the Rock is a waterfront development on Lake Martin.  It was formerly called Karis Park, and is across the water from another Lake Martin development: The Village at Lake Martin. Both of these neighborhoods have a central-eastern lake location.

I shot this video from The Village to give you an overall look at the neighborhood.  I’m not the listing agent for The Landing (Butch Billingsley is), but I can help you find a home in this neighborhood, or any property in the Lake Martin Area MLS. Just give me a call or contact me using the “Contact” tab at the top of this page.  I’d love to help.

Enjoy the tour!

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Lake Martin Lot Buyers – An Interesting Trend

I lake  martin lot salesam about to list a new waterfront lot for sale on Lake Martin.  In the course of researching for every new piece of real estate, I run the numbers on similar sold property to see if I can spot any trends.  I must admit I was surprised to realize that:

Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Buyers Are Sticking in the ‘Hoods

From January 1, 2009, to June 20, 2010, 23 waterfront lots have sold on Lake Martin. Of those, 14 are located inside the higher end neighborhoods, mostly those developed by Russell Lands.  Check it out:

6 – The Ridge 6/23 = 26% of total sold

4 – The Preserve at Stoney Ridge (not Russell Lands) 4/23 = 18% of total sold

2  Trillium 2/ 23 = 9% of total sold

2 – River Oaks – ditto

If you add those up, that’s about 61% of lots sold are in these formalized neighborhoods. Before you are tempted to think “big deal” – consider this: as of this writing, there are 179 waterfront lots for sale on Lake Martin through the Lake Martin MLS.  At our current sales rates, that is about 11 years’ worth of inventory.

The Ridge 31/179  = 17% of total for sale

The Preserve at Stoney Ridge (not Russell Lands) 11/179 = 6% of total for sale

Trillium 6/179 = 3% of total for sale

River Oaks 14/179 = 8% of total for sale

200438021-001Did you see that?

These Lake Martin developments are selling at at least double, sometimes triple of their expected rates from the sales pool. Hey, no one should be bragging at these slow sales numbers overall.  But let’s at least acknowledge who is getting it done.

If You Own a Waterfront Lot – 2 Things to Take Away From This Post:

1. 11 years’ worth of inventory is still an extreme buyer’s market – that means, at current sales rates, if nothing else came on the market, it would take 11 years to sell all that we have for sale on Lake Martin right now.

2. You must know your competition – if you are outside of a Russell Lands neighborhood – you must market to those who are more likely to buy your lot.  We have over 700 miles of real estate around Lake Martin and only a tiny fraction are inside The Ridge, Trillium, Willow Point, etc.  In other words, there are great lots inside their neighborhoods, but there are also tons of great lots outside them. You (or your agent) must be able to verbalize the selling points of your specific lot to find your perfect buyer.

If you need help, please contact us at this form or the email address at the top of the page. We would love to talk to you about your lot.

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Lake Martin Home Sales Still Strong In May

Waterfront home sales on Lake Martin, Alabama continue to look good.

Through the Lake Martin MLS,* 21 waterfront homes were sold in May 2010 compared to 22 in 2009, 14 in 2008, and 23 in 2007.

Here is an associated chart that shows monthly waterfront homes sales on Lake Martin since 2007:

lake martin home sales thru may 2010

If we take a look at the cumulative results, Lake Martin real estate fans will see that 2010 is still tracking way ahead of last year and 2008. I think 2008 was the bottom for the Lake Martin real estate market, so I certainly expect it to be beating 2008.

I am a firm believer that the leading trend statistic to watch in real estate, Lake Martin or otherwise, is comparing this month’s sales versus the same month of the prior year. Therefore it gives me a little pause when I see that May 2010 lost, albeit by one waterfront home sale. Even with sales in the twenties, though, I just don’t think that number is too statistically significant. In other words, one – schmone.  It was pretty much a tie.

Now, if we see that June ’10 loses to June ’09, we may have spotted a trend here. But from what I am seeing on the market now, and the level of sales activity that has spiked up, I don’t think that will be the case.

How Are Prices Trending?

I think that prices are still under a lot of pressure.  There is still a lot of waterfront homes for sale on Lake Martin, and, despite the sales momentum, prices are kept low.  This is evidenced by the silence at the same old overpriced homes, while the homes that come back on the market with reduced prices get the first attention of buyers.

Here is a graph of all of the waterfront homes for sale right now on Lake Martin:

Influence of the Oil Spill

Another question I get a lot is what, if any, influence is there of people fleeing to Lake Martin property as a reaction to the oil spill in the gulf?

I think the answer is – it’s still too early to quantify the impact on sales. True, I have had several new buyers to call me that were on the fence considering beach  vs. lake and they say this has swayed them, but they haven’t bought yet.

I have noticed a marked increase of people calling me about short term rentals on Lake Martin.  I guess they canceled their beach condo rental and are looking for a substitute.  I don’t handle rentals so I always refer them to others.  I must admit my random rental calls have doubled.  Will these people fall in love with Lake Martin, and then decide to buy?  Who knows.  I can’t imagine that it hurts the lake.

Let me say this, I know a lot of really good agents all up and down the Gulf Coast and I hope this doesn’t affect them too drastically.

Looking Forward

We are still relatively early in the sales season at Lake Martin.  The crucial months of June, July, and August will really tell us how serious 2010 waterfront sales are. It’s simply too early to guess.  Praise God, I have been twice as busy as I was this time last year with buyers and sellers.  I am sure other agents must be experiencing the same things, and this leads to more real estate sales on Lake Martin.

Related Posts:

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 sales on Lake Martin.

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