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Announcing Water’s Edge at Lake Martin

Lake Martin Voice Realty is proud to announce the opening of Lake Martin’s newest waterfront development – Water’s Edge.

Check out our press release video of Water’s Edge below.  Turn up your speakers a tad to hear the narration!

Located on the popular west side of Lake Martin, Water’s Edge is located at the end  of Coosa County Road 20 – just across the water from Veazey’s Marina. The homes are literally at the water’s edge, with unparalleled miles long views down Big Kowaliga, encompassing Willow Point, Parker Creek, Sand Island and all the way to Governor’s Island.

Currently Water’s Edge offers two homes for sale, priced modestly yet giving you all the modern conveniences.  So many new homes on Lake Martin are spec homes built on a design that could go anywhere.  Often, that results in a home that’s new and shiny, but doesn’t feel like a lake house.  Not true at Water’s Edge. The homes were custom designed for these exact lots by award winning architect Bryan Jones, of Jones Pierce Architects – Atlanta, Georgia.

Bryan “gets” Lake Martin – having designed many homes on the lake, as well as enjoying his own Lake Martin home in the Bay Pine area.

The site was especially challenging – given that the lots and roads were already laid out by a former developer that called it “Eagle Point.” Jones came in and started with a fresh set of ideas, namely:

* how do we design a home that takes advantage of the huge, “big water” view
* that is low maintenance
* doesn’t make you walk a million steps to get to the water
* that feels like a lake cabin, yet has modern features
* gives you privacy inside a development
* without a million dollar price tag

Just a few of the ways he found were:

* each home will have a deeded boat slip on a community dock
* creative use of space in between homes gives each home a “lakeside courtyard” for privacy
* create space inside the home with multiple uses to let a home live bigger than the square footage might suggest
* never forget that this is a lake house, with all of the form and function of the design that points to the lake

Currently Water’s Edge offers two waterfront homes for sale on Lake Martin:

* a 3 bedroom home that has approximately 3,200 +/-  square feet over 3 stories for $589,000
* a 3 bedroom bath home with approximately 2,500 +/- square feet over 3 stories for $569,000

Water’s Edge also offers eight other waterfront lots for sale, their prices to be announced at a later date.

If you are interested in getting more information about Water’s Edge, or any more details, please feel free to contact me, John Coley, at 334-221-5862 or email me at info at lakemartinvoice dot com.  I am honored to be the listing agent here, and would be more than happy to go on and on about the many cool details! So please call!

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Lake Martin Open House Video – Foxglove

More than likely, you are not at Lake Martin right now.  I am, and I love to tour open homes for sale.

This latest video is a waterfront home on Foxglove, inside the Lake Martin neighborhood of Columbine.  Columbine is a Russell Lands developed neighborhood on the north end of the lake, near highway 280.

I am not the listing agent, but, as a member of the Lake Martin MLS, I can help you if you’re interested in it (or any other property on Lake Martin, for that matter). This 4 bedroom, 3 bath home is listed for $560,000.

The listing agent is Judy Ward of ERA Lake Martin Realty. Her contact info is on the video.

By the way, if you are looking for a waterfront lot for sale in Columbine, or on that side of Lake Martin in general, please see my listing of Lot 15 at Columbine.  We recently have dropped the price to $99,900! Yes, it’s waterfront!

Please contact me if I may help.

Related Posts:

All Lake Martin Video Home Tours by John Coley – Lake Martin Voice Realty

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The Private Home Video Tour You’ll Never See

I just realized that in the last seven business days I have filmed four private home tours for Lake Martin buyers.

home tour you will never seeThey were all waterfront Lake Martin homes, but the subjects varied from a million plus dollar mansion with more than 4,000 square feet of space and several mini kitchens, to a tiny concrete block foreclosure with no A/C for less than $200k.

The potential buyers ranged from Lake Martin veterans to people I have never met, but will soon.

The common thread: I filmed private home tours, for their eyes only, and you will never see them.

Why not?

Because you never called.  Sure, you have been out on Lake Martin and driven by that home for sale and liked it, maybe even thought about calling a realtor (me, right?).

Or maybe you have been searching through the Lake Martin MLS, and seen a listing that catches your eye, and you want to see more, but don’t have time to take off work or burn a Saturday on a whim.

film setLet Me Be Your Film Crew

It’s pretty obvious – I am here at Lake Martin.  You are not.  The internet is between us.  It’s a new twist on the old concept of agents “previewing” a home, except I can send you so much more info than “it’s real nice, come on down.”

Here’s how to order your own private Lake Martin Video Home Tour:

1. You see  a Lake Martin home, lot, or condo for sale that you like – online or in person.

2. You call me at 334 . 221 . 5862 or contact me by email: john [at] coleyre [dot] com

3. I make sure that you are not a kook (sorry, I have to do it)

4. I go to the home and shoot a quick video tour and about 40 – 100 pictures

5. I post the video and pics to YouTube or Flickr or some such free site, but I restrict the viewing

6. I email you a link, accessible only by you, to the video tour and pictures

7. You watch at your leisure

8. You decide if you want to proceed any further, no hassle from me

Two of these videos resulted in offers (I will let you know if they work out).  The other two said, no thanks, let’s keep looking.

Any questions?

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Best Buy List: A New Lake Martin Voice Tool

lake martin voice toolOur Lake Martin waterfront foreclosure list continues to be hugely popular with home buyers or people just curious about Lake Martin real estate.

This spurred an idea for a new tool: Best Buy Lists.

Our Best Buy Lists will be like the foreclosure list in that it will be made up of properties that we think are worth attention.  Some might be our listings, but most will be other agents’ listings.

We think we have great waterfront homes and lots for sale, but hey, so do other agents.  This tool will hopefully help you cut through the noise and chatter and focus on the most promising deals.

Click here to fill out the Best Buy List – Under $350k request form.

Best Buy Lists FAQ:

lake martin best buy list iconWhy make me request the list? Why not just publish the homes and lots here?

Most will not be our listings, so we don’t have permission to advertise them on our site where consumers might be confused that they are ours. But we are members of the Lake Martin MLS, and therefore have authority to share in information that a person to person fashion.

Where do you get your info?

We are members of the Lake martin Area MLS and the Montgomery MLS.  They will likely all be from the Lake Martin MLS as the Montgomery has only a handful of homes that aren’t already in Lake Martin.

How are they organized?

By price.  Our first Best Buy List is for properties (waterfront lots, condos, and homes) that are under $350,000. Future Best Buy Lists will be at other price levels.

Any disclaimers?

Plenty.  Just because something’s on this list does not mean that we think it is tremendously under priced or structurally perfect. Do not take this list as any statement of value or statement of property or title condition.  Do your own due diligence.  However, we do think that these properties are worth checking out.

Can you help me with one I like?

Of course.  Please contact us if you see anything interesting on this list, or anywhere on Lake Martin for that matter.  We seek to be your guide in all things Lake Martin real estate.

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Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Further Study

I think that 2008 was “the bottom” of the Lake Martin real estate market.  I was convinced by studying these Market Reports waterfront sales in 2009.  This post will look deeper into 2009, attempting to find exactly what month it all turned around.

Hopefully this exercise will help us learn more about our current cycle, as well as more accurately predict future market swings.

Here is a chart of total waterfront homes sold in the Lake Martin real estate market, by year, since 2005:

I am convinced that to predict the direction of average home prices, one must look for clues in the number of homes sold this month to the same month last year. When any market sees a trend that shows the current month is beating the same month’s number of waterfront homes sold from last year, that signals a shift in the market.

If we go on the assumption that 2008 was the bottom of the buyer’s market, and that things are swinging back toward the seller’s favor, the natural question, when looking at the above graph, is:

What month did the Lake Martin market turn around?

The above chart shows the number of waterfront homes sold versus the same month of the prior year.  For example, in July of 2007 11 homes were sold, and 28 were sold in July of 2006.  11 minus 28 is negative 17, so that is why July 2007 dips to -17 on the chart.  In contrast, in June of 2009, 26 were sold, versus 7 in June 2008.  So we have a positive 19.

Based on these findings, I think the Lake Martin real estate market hit the bottom around July of 2008.

That was the last month (other than a hiccup in April 09) that consistently lost to the same month of the prior year.  Almost every month after that, we stayed above the zero line, meaning the entire Lake Martin real estate market was beating the prior year and heading in a positive sales direction.

The real question now is: since sales turned for the better in July of 2008, when will prices follow?

Looking Ahead:

Based on these trends, I think 2010 will be a year of stagnant pricing.  There is still too much inventory on the market to bid prices up.  But I do think that the number of homes sold will help stave off the two year trend of falling prices.

This is good news to sellers, who may count their blessings that prices didn’t drop yet again.  Buyers may need to go ahead and make their selections, because I see 2011 as a return to rising prices. Will we see the blistering 30% per year gains of 2000 – 2006? I doubt it.  But 12% per year gain on any investment is pretty darn skippy.

Calculating the Lag:

Another way to look at it is this: the number of homes sold peaked in 2005 and started dropping in 2006.  Yet it took until 2008 to catch up to prices – that was the first year that we had price drops.  There was about a 24 or 30 month lag.

Therefore, if home sales picked up in mid 2008, the same 24 or 30 month lag would have prices rising late 2010 or early 2011.

Please remember that these statistics I cover are taken from the entire Lake Martin MLS – all agents, all brokerages, on all reported sales. Also please remember that any forward looking statements of mine are purely a guess, market conditions may change at any time.  But people ask me all of the time what I think about prices and I try to give them an opinion backed up by statistics, instead of just sticking a wet finger in the air to judge wind direction.

Practical Application

Do you own Lake Martin waterfront home, lot, or condo, and you are wondering what it is worth?

Contact us today for a free, no hassle, no nag Comparable Market Analysis.  Let us tell you how your home fits into this critical shift in the market, and how we would propose to creatively and effectively market your property.

Buyers – why wait until next year when prices will be on the rise again? The market may still be in the tank in your hometown but Lake Martin has been on the mend since mid 2008.  Make your move now.  Let us help you sift through the overpriced and picked over and help you find your spot to relax.

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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What Does A Lake Martin Lot Cost Per Waterfront Foot?

lake martin lot price per waterfront footThe LakeMartin.com forum is a treasure trove of good discussion about Lake Martin real estate and lifestyle. The title question was posed by member Hero.

It is an excellent question, so I hopped online to try and help with an answer.

Here is his entire question:

“I have read and heard over the years that lake property value would average $1,000 per foot of shoreline. Now, I assume if it’s a really great lot (flat, point lot, nice area, etc) it could be more however if it’s not so great (steep, bad view, little water, etc.) it would be less
Example – if it’s a flat, large point lot with a really nice view, yard that included a nice seawall around the pennisula, a nice (but not great) house, boat house and pier in a nice (but not great) area would it be valued around the $1,000 per foot of shoreline? (more or less???)
I’m thinking about putting one the market but have no idea how it asses the value.
Any thoughts?”

Many forum members chimed in with answers (and I’m not just saying that because they recommended me:)). Read the entire post here.

My answer:

“a link below that may help. I wrote this post way back in February of 2007, during, granted, a different market, and geared to buyers. But the concepts are still the same and apply to sellers.

In fact, I would argue that the per square foot (for a home) or per waterfront foot (for a lot) approach is what doomed many flippers and builders on Lake Martin during the real estate bust. They sold a 2,000 square foot home on a 150 foot lot for $500,000 in 2007, so in 2008 they built a 4,000 foot home and tried to sell it for $1 million, and it didn’t sell. Hence the foreclosures.

Naturally, as a realtor and not an appraiser, I would disagree with the above and would advise talking to a realtor before an appraiser. It’s free, and no commitment is necessary.

However I agree that in many instances you get a bloated amount from the realtor. Whether you chalk this up to the agent trying to “buy” the listing with the intention of talking them down later, or attribute it to many sellers that say “I want your honest opinion” then get their feelings hurt when you give it – I don’t know what the answer is.

From years of experience and many, many, many Comparable Market Analyses done for people, I can tell you that when I don’t get the job, the far and away #1 reason I don’t get it is that my price was too low. I see it on the MLS for a price that I looked them in the eye and told them I thought was unattainable.

Let me tell you, it is a tough part of the job. Many times you are sitting knee to knee, eyeball to eyeball with a crying, grieving wife who just lost her husband, a couple counting on cashing in for their retirement, or someone who just lost a job. It weighs on my heart. But I figure it is more cruel to blow smoke up their skirt and string them along for two years and then say “see? we need to lower price.”

What’s even more remarkable to me is when the house has been for sale before, at a too high price, and they end up going with the original agent, at the same high price. I can never figure that one out.

Let me be the first to say, I am not perfect. I miss prices. But hopefully only by 5% or so, not by the 20% I think some things are still overpriced by. But I do back it up with numbers. Scads and scads of numbers and examples.

(you have mail)”

Thanks, Hero, for a good discussion question!

Now that I read it back, maybe I got a little dramatic on the tough part of the job. I am not saying I should be patted on the back for helping in the right way.  I am just saying it’s easier to tell them what they want to hear.


Just as important as price is the marketing plan.  Are you tired of the same old approach to sales? Do you want to hear a plan that works with today’s buyers?

Related Posts:

5 Mistakes Made When Buying Real Estate On Lake Martin (from Feb. 2007, I was but a baby blogger).

Proof of End of Seller’s Market On Lake Martin (July, 2007)

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Lake Martin Open House Video – Cheyenne Lane

I’ve started a new series of posts to focus on filming video of open house tours for waterfront homes for sale on Lake Martin.  The latest installment is on Cheyenne Lane – right next door to the Lake Martin landmark Chuck’s Marina.

I am not the listing agent, but, as a member of the Lake Martin MLS, I can help you if you’re interested in it (or any other property on Lake Martin, for that matter).  This 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home is listed for $425,000.

The listing agent is my friend Rhonda Jaye of ERA Lake Martin Realty.

The home is on the south side of Lake Martin, just east of Martin Dam.  You get to Cheyenne Lane by taking AL Highway 50 to Centerport Road, then taking a right into the Chuck’s Marina signs, then right on Cheyenne, the home is on the left.

Related Posts:

All Lake Martin Video Home Tours by John Coley – Lake Martin Voice Realty

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The Helipad At The Village Visited By Wild Turkeys

I have a cool Lake Martin home for sale at 40 Cottage Loop in The Village.  The Village is just east of Martin Dam, off of Overlook Road.  I was surprised to see a flock of wild turkeys feeding around the helipad.

The Village installed this helipad a couple of years ago as a public service, so that the area would have a spot for emergency airlifts.  It’s a nice bonus for owners in The Village to have that safety feature.

If you would like to see waterfront homes and lots for sale right now in The Village area, CLICK HERE to go to my Village Neighborhood page. I have a report that shows every waterfront home and lot for sale – by all agents, all brokerages, on Lake Martin. It pulls from the Lake Martin MLS so it will be current no matter when you visit the page.

turkeys at the village helipad

I was on the way to check up on the home I have for sale when I saw this flock of turkeys.  I hit my brakes, grabbed my long lens, and sneaked back through the woods to try to take some pictures.

hens on a hill

These hens have a sharp eye out. Many people don’t realize that turkeys don’t look in the direction that their beak is pointed, but perpendicularly. In this case, right at me.

gobbler going the other way

As always they were wary and elusive. After this pic they putted at me and headed off. They flock together like this during winter for protection.  In the spring the toms get territorial.

I tried to loop around one more time to get a nice clean picture of a gobbler:

almost a great pic

I call the above one “Almost.” This is what I feel like during hunting season. A quarter second after this pic, I leaned around the tree, and he was gone, dissolved into the understory of the forest.

If you would like to see a nice, new waterfront Lake Martin home that is a really good deal, read about 40 Cottage Loop, watch the video, and give me a call.

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Lake Martin Open House Video – Mariners Road

My listing videos of Lake Martin homes have proved so popular that this year I have decided to come up with a new series of videos and blog posts:

Lake Martin Open House Videos!

These will (mostly) not be my listings.  I thought it would be fun to tour through open houses at Lake Martin and video them for viewers and buyers.  Since we are in a rural area, and since most people work during the week, I figure that there are a lot of folks that would like to see inside some of these lovely homes. So stay tuned for more open house videos!

Also, please keep in mind that, as a member of the Lake Martin Area Assoc. of Realtors- I can help you if you are interested in this or any other home, even though I’m not the listing agent.

The listing agent on this home is my friend and office neighbor Becky Haynie with RealtySouth.  Their office is right next door to mine (Lake Martin Voice Realty) in the Nail’s commercial mecca, downtown Kowaliga.

This was a fun open house.  The weather was beautiful (if not a little windy) and clear.  I knew these particular sellers to be excellent cooks.  I was not disappointed! They had some tasty sausage balls and coffee to fight off the cold, plus some strawberry cupcakes and some sort of raspberry-esque fruit juice to cleanse the pallet.

Their home is on a point, almost an island, in the Real Island area of Little Kowaliga Creek on Lake Martin.  From the water, if you are riding west with Real Island Marina on your right, after you pass the marina, this home is on the next point on your right.  The lot and the home design make it very distinctive.

Also – it’s a leased lot.  If you are unfamiliar with how leasing waterfront lots from Alabama Power goes, please click here to read more about Lake Martin leased lot homes.

Stay tuned to Lake Martin Voice for more open house video tours!

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Lake Martin Real Estate Sales – 2009 Year In Review

Strong sales of waterfront homes on Lake Martin showed us that 2008 was the bottom of the market.  2009 was the best year since 2006 for numbers of homes sold, but prices continued to take a beating.*

2009 proves to be a very interesting time for Lake Martin home and lot sales.  Please note that everything below relates to waterfront home, condo, and lot sales only.  There is a treasure trove of information here, and I would like to present it all.  This first post will attempt to cover the two major themes:

1. 2008 Was “The Bottom” And The Market Has Bounced Back

2. Prices Decreased Again

the details:

1. 2008 Was “The Bottom” And The Market Has Bounced Back

Grade A readers of Lake Martin Voice know that I am a firm believer of fellow RE blogger Nicolai Kolding’s Phases of the Real Estate Market. Basically, he holds that the number of homes sold LEADS pricing. In other words, keep your eye on how well the number of homes sold this month compares to the same month last year, because that trend signals the direction of average price sold.

I think that 2009’s strong number of waterfront homes sold finally lets us know that we HAVE seen the bottom, and it was 2008. That assumes you define “bottom” the way that most pundits do, that is, from a seller’s perspective.  I think a buyer might call it a peak and would interpret this as bad news.  Rather than parley about definitions, I offer the facts:

As you can see from the above chart, at Lake Martin, at least, the bottom was in 2008.  In 2009, just about every single month beat its counterpart for sales in the previous year.  When you look at the cumulative sales totals for the entire year, 2009’s dominance is evident.

In 2009, on the entirety of Lake Martin, all agents, all brokerages, all (reported) sales, tallied 194 waterfront home sold.  Compare that to 137 in 2008 and 156 in 2007.  It still wasn’t as good as 2006, but hey, you’ve got to like the trend.

The Convincing Bullets:

  • The magnitude of the beating that 2009 put on 2008 convinced me.  194 sales vs. 137 means that we were 42% up from last year.
  • The beating was consistent across almost all months – no one fluke month
  • Was not caused by one big sell off – Crowne Pointe helped but did not make the year great
  • If you don’t agree, what will convince you? I’m not trying to be challenging, I’m curious. Please comment below and let me know if you have a different opinion and upon what numbers you base it.

2. Prices Decreased Again

It’s very hard to track average sold prices in a small real estate market like Lake Martin. Our small sample size makes that number swing wildly month to month, which is why I crunch this number (officially) only once a year.

In my Lake Martin Real Estate: 2008 Year In Review post I laid out a method to study average sold price trends at Lake Martin. I looked at each sale recorded in the MLS, removed those with an unreported sales price, and then categorized the others in several price strata – like $0 – $99,999; $100,000 – $199,999; and so on. This resulted in a nice little bell curve to visually represent the average sold price patterns.

When I did the same analysis this year I found plenty of evidence to lead me to believe that property prices dropped again in 2009. This marks the second year in a row of devaluation. See the below chart:

Focus on the gray line of 2009. See how it shifted backwards, and evened up with 2005? There you go.

Take a look at the peak in 2009. 52 of 194 homes – or 28% – sold in the range of $200,000 – $299,999

Note – I don’t think this simply means that more “cheap homes” were sold. Look at how much of the total area is under the price of $500,000. Find the peak of 2006 and 2007, then draw a mental line down to the X axis. Most of 2009’s sales are behind (to the left) of it.

Bullets to ponder:

  • Does this mean that home prices are back to 2005 levels?  In some cases, yes.
  • When will the drops stop?  I think 2010 will hold steady, because of point #1 above.
  • Is now a bad time to sell? If you have to sell it for what you paid in 2007, yes.  If you can be flexible, no. It might not be pretty but the rising sales numbers prove we can get it done.

Looking Forward

Basically, my outlook is positive for 2010. As long as we convincingly beat 2007 and 2008 in number of homes sold, I will feel good about calling the bottom. If we don’t, I still think we will need to analyze 2010 on its own merits and not as a hangover from the drought of 2007 or bank woes of 2008. In my opinion 2008 will still be a bottom in its own right.

1. I think home sales will equal 2009 (approximately)
2. I think average prices will finally quit dropping, and stay about the same as 2009.

I will give further numbers behind my theories in later posts, but I formed them on the timing of the home sale turnaround, and will try to quantify the lag between that and average sold price moves.

SELLERS – Yes, we can. Please contact us – we can tailor a pricing, staging, and marketing plan specific to your property. Praise God, last year was our brokerage’s best sales year ever. We have a method that combines industry leading marketing and old fashioned elbow grease.  It works.

BUYERS – The clock is ticking. Yes, there are still awesome deals out there, but it takes a lot of sifting to find them, and then it takes experience to be able to negotiate the best deal. Now is the time to end the “I should have bought years ago” blues.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Waterfront Lots
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Further Study (coming soon)
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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