Lake Martin Voice Realty
Bob and Susie Q. Buyer have found a way to buy a Lake Martin waterfront home that will pay for itself!
It’s easy money, they think.
They have done their due diligence (i.e. watch HGTV) and are ready to make their move. They have found the perfect little Lake Martin waterfront cabin. It’s on a beautiful lot with 500 feet of waterfront. When they noticed that house is crammed over to one side of the lot, it gave Bob and Susie Q. their idea. They buy the home, cut the lot in half, sell the lot, and pay for their entire purchase.
They can’t miss, right?
I can think of two reasons they will.
Firstly, they might need to consider that HGTV is carried on the cable networks of Charter, Com-Link Inc. and Dish here at little ‘ole Lake Martin. In other words, we know how to flip (and flop) here, too. If a deal is that much of a layup, it will likely be scooped up by Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand way before it comes on their radar up there in the big city.
Secondly, the biggest reason is that the lot is restricted. Well, I should say that there is a 98% chance it is restricted and therefore they cannot split the lot. The seller is selling the lot subject to the same deed restrictions which they bought, and at Lake Martin, that means you can’t split it, among other things.
Yes, there are some needles in the haystack here and there. But, the last time I looked for a buyer, I reviewed the 100 or so waterfront lots for sale on the lake and only found two or three that were truly unrestricted.
If you are unfamiliar with deed restrictions, think about the neighborhood where you live just outside of Gotham. Most neighborhoods have their own set of rules about what kind of home you can build. They might also have rules that state the minimum size a home can be, how close it can be placed to the lot lines, the materials used, or any number of things.
Still other neighborhoods have “Architectural Review Boards” which is a committee of residents tasked with making sure all new construction fits the Homeowner Association’s guidelines. These are all “deed restrictions” because they are part of the deed when you bought your house.
I hear from buyers all the time that let me know that they want a waterfront lot that is, in their words, “unrestricted.” When they mention that, I always ask them if they plan to split the lot or build two homes on a lot. Usually, they say no. Most of the time buyers think unrestricted refers to controls like architectural review committees.
They don’t want anyone telling them what color paint to use on their deck.
This also comes up when people want to be able to park their RV on the lot for a few years before they build their home. Or, they even might want to park the RV during the precious few months of home construction. Most formal neighborhoods and county road plats at Lake Martin have restrictions against this.
Other buyers might like to put a manufactured home on the lot, and keep it like that as long as possible. Again, it’s equally difficult to find a lot that would allow this.
Does that mean all restrictions are bad? If your neighbor split his lot into 30 parts and plans to sell them all to the highest bidders, would you be excited about it?
The point here is that each lot buyer must not go around making assumptions. Don’t assume that all restrictions are “bad,” or that any restrictions are “good.” One must behold any deed restrictions with one’s own eye and decide beauty.
How does one do that?
You verify before you buy.
After that, it’s too late. Therefore, a buyer with concerns about when can be done on the lot should include a contingency in the real estate contract to say something like “this offer is subject to buyer’s favorable review of all deed restrictions” or something like that. The buyer should consult an attorney to make absolutely sure.
I am not a lawyer, but experience here at Lake Martin has pretty much taught me to never assume. But, if I had to guess, I would say that Bob and Susie Q. Buyer won’t be able to split that lot.
I will take a 98% chance any day of the week!
The best place to watch fireworks at Lake Martin for Independence Day? Easy: The Amp – aka The Lake Martin Amphitheater! Lake Martin fans have been watching Fourth of July Fireworks in Kowaliga Bay for generations.
The Lake Martin Amphitheater is located on Highway 63, just south of Kowaliga Bridge. See this Google Map. Don’t be tempted to turn on Tecumseh Pt. and Russell Point Roads to get there. The official entrance to The Amp is a dirt road out on Highway 63, across from Prospect Cutoff Road, aka Elmore County Road 389.
Schedule for the Fourth of July Fireworks at the Lake Martin Amp:
5:00 – Gates open
6:30 – Opening is a favorite band of the locals The Bank Walkers. I have confirmed that guitar prodigy Brian Bice will be wielding his six string, so be sure not to show up late.
8:00 – The Sweet Tea Trio plays until the fireworks begin
9:00 – Fireworks Begin!
For tickets click here to order online – $15 (children 6 and under free).
Happy 4th y’all! I’d like to personally thank Russell Lands for all they do to put on this show every year. The company is the major backer behind the Amp, and coordinates all of the concerts there, as well as the fireworks. It’s a huge effort and the Lake Martin community wouldn’t be the same without it.
Please see this video for an aerial tour of The Amp. Also if you’re coming to The Amp, bring towels to sit on or low beach chairs. It’s also BYOB but please be sure to have a sober driver.
People always ask me if they should take their boat and watch the Fourth of July fireworks from Kowaliga Bay. It’s a beautiful way to watch the fireworks, arguably the most beautiful, but I discourage it. If you are new to Lake Martin, or new to boats, or new to boating on Lake Martin at night, forget about it. If you insist, please make sure to have a sober driver and at least one sober spotter/first mate. The sketchiest part of the whole affair is after the show is over. Everybody takes off at once and goes in different directions, and the waves can get problematic. Be advised.
For other events around Lake Martin for the 4th download my free app – http://lakemartinvoice.com/app.
Have you ever been to the Lake Martin Amphitheater? If not, check out the above video.
The Lake Martin Amphitheater – aka The Amp – is located just south of Kowaliga Bridge on Alabama Highway 63. The street address is 8878 Kowaliga Rd, Eclectic, AL 36024. You turn in on a dirt road entrance off of highway 63. They have parking in the field before you get there.
The Amp is the host of many concerts (not to mention the annual Fourth of July Fireworks) throughout the year at Lake Martin. The venue is incredible! It’s really cool to bring your towels and lawn chairs and sit on the grass to be entertained by some great music with Lake Martin in the background. If you would like a schedule of what’s going on at the Amp, please see their website here: The Amp. Ticket prices for events vary widely, so be sure to visit their site or call (256) 329-0835 for the latest info.
I am just a real estate agent! So please don’t call me and expect me to sell you tickets to a concert!
However, if you would like the best app for Lake Martin, Alabama, complete with events, eats, home search, and landmarks, please see my Lake Martin Voice App. It’s free! Just search “Lake Martin Voice” in the app store.
Would you like to fly fish around the Lake Martin area? This time of year (June) has hot weather that chases fish from shallow water. That’s why local anglers point their rods toward the Tallapoosa River-the headwaters of Lake Martin.
The Tallapoosa River, especially the portion from Horseshoe Bend down to Irwin Shoals, is excellent water for fly fishing for many kinds of bass and sunfish. The problem in the past has been finding someone with the gear and the know how to teach you or take you. Enter my new friend Drew Morgan. He has been killing it lately on the Tallapoosa. Check his IG for pics.
Stealth bomber, deceiver, game changer, popper, woolly bugger…what are these?
They are a few of the flies that Drew Morgan of East Alabama Fly Fishing recommends. Watch the video above and learn more about the gear he recommends for fly fishing on the Tallapoosa River. Drew covers it all- fly rod types, line types, flies themselves, etc.
Contact Drew and book your trip!
To directly contact Drew Morgan of East Alabama Fly Fishing, please go to his website here or his Facebook page!
Why choose Lake Martin?
George and Lea had been looking for years to find that perfect spot for a vacation home. Once they found their Lake they knew they could find their home. Watch the video above to see why George and Lea call Lake Martin a destination, a happening place with a resort feel.
They loved that Lake Martin was so big and beautiful with so many places to eat with access by water or land. For example, below is a video that I made a few years ago about How to Get to Catherine’s Market and Spring House Restaurant by boat.
If you want to keep up with new restaurants in the area, or just find a new place to grab a bite to eat, check out our “Eats” tab on the Lake Martin Voice Realty App. The App will also help you know about Events, Shopping, Marinas, Weather and Water Level and of course help you find your new home at Lake Martin!
Note from John Coley: “As most will know, I am very happy that Lake Martin was granted a new winter water level of 484’ MSL (483 MD). I have written extensively about my support for this. However, it is interesting to note that a few folks around the lake have a different perspective. One of those is my friend Scott Henderson of Henderson and Coker, Inc., a local construction company. Scott penned this essay below to offer another opinion on the subject. My blog and business might be called “Lake Martin Voice,” – but I don’t claim to be THE ONLY voice of Lake Martin, just A voice. Also, since we are in the middle of a (in my opinion) very nasty national campaign season, I thought this would be a good time to present another view in a calm and rational way. I thank Scott for his thought provoking, candid opinion below.”
Want to hear a different perspective on the new low pool level for Lake Martin?
As you know we install seawalls and sometimes build piers “in the dry”. This seawall season; I looked at replacing several wooden walls as I do every year. As of January 20th when the new licensing went into effect and the water began to rise to the new low level several changes within our operation changed with it. Our normal strategy in completing our work load of seawall is to begin constructing the shorter walls as the lake recedes. As the lake drops to its lowest level we construct the taller walls up to 10 feet tall in the past. Unfortunately for us and a few of our clients; we were unable to build the taller walls this season. The taller wooden walls that we intended to replace were never in the dry. In other words; we couldn’t remove the existing walls nor could we begin the work by digging a footing because those beaches were under water. No big deal, right? My company loses the potential revenue but in reality; that is of no concern other than for the principal owners of my company. The good thing for us is that seawalls are only 10% of our annual sales. There are other concerns, not only for us but for several property owners around the lake. The walls that we were to replace are in terrible shape. The wood has failed over time as any wood does when exposed to extreme temperature swings when out of the water. The lake water itself takes its toll on the wood over time which is apparent in noticing how many piers are replaced on Lake Martin year after year. Piers are not subjected to the hydro static pressure that a wall is subjected to. Rain water swells the soil which pushes against the wood wall weakening the structure. Gravel can be put behind the wall where allowed to reduce the pressure but walls are typically backfilled with material from the lake bed. It is of my opinion that the only materials that will hold up to the pressure is concrete and steel.
With that said; those walls that we were unable to get to will most likely end up in the lake floating aimlessly until coming to rest in some slough with other debris such as driftwood or garbage. Hopefully, the wood from the wall will not end up being a hazard for a boater or skier. There are a few other contractors that install walls and I would think that they have several jobs that they were unable to do.
So what happens with the land that was once protected by the wooden seawall? It is my understand that the lake will only be dropped 10 feet every five years. After the wall fails completely; the property behind the failed wall will continue to erode away and it too will end up in beautiful Lake Martin. Unfortunately for the property owner; I would think that the loss of property translates into the loss of value. One wall in particular that I looked at replacing actually had fissures behind it where the soil is giving way with the wall five feet or so behind it. That means that rather than the soil slowly eroding away; once the wall fails completely, that five feet of embankment will cave off entirely into the lake.
Is there a way to keep us from losing our valuable property? What about rip rap? Alas, a simple inexpensive way to protect our shoreline under most any circumstance! With the water up, it can be placed from above the embankment, right? It can, but not in some particular cases. What contractor will place machinery on an embankment that is about to fall? I know I would not attempt it with our equipment! What about placing the rip rap from a barge? It could be done. The problem with using a barge is that there is a limit to how much material can be transported on a barge. When placing rip rap by land, it is usually hauled in by large dump trucks and stockpiled on the property being worked or somewhere close to the job, scooped up with machinery, then placed on the embankment. We do not own a barge yet, but we have rented one from the dock companies and they are understandably expensive to rent. In doing the math, it is of my assessment that rip rapping by barge would be terribly expensive and a very slow process if achievable.
In some cases rip rap can be places from the top as long as the soil is stable enough to support the necessary machinery. When placed from the top, it takes room to work. Sometimes there are trees in the way so the trade off in placing from the top may be losing established trees.
From a contractor prospective; I am not thrilled about the new low pool. Since I am and have been a part time or full time resident of Lake Martin; I have somewhat mixed emotions about the change. I am truly for what ever is best for Lake Martin in the long run. I am just not sure that the rest of the residents are aware of the potential property loss that the new change could bring. Plus, with the limited access created by the new rule curve, I am not sure how many contractors will continue to stay equipped to build seawalls. I know that our plan is to continue installing walls and rip rapping where we can.
Stillwaters Homes & Lots For Sale
Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
Kevin Eason has been the General Manager of the StillWaters Residential Association for several years now. Kevin is extremely competent and helpful, and the neighborhood has benefited from his expertise. Recently I sent Kevin an email, asking him some general questions about StillWaters. In the course of selling waterfront real estate around Lake Martin, I get asked for information I don’t have, and it is really nice to have someone like Kevin to lean on for good answers. I am extremely grateful for his advice below! The best way to reach Kevin directly is to call him at his office at 256-825-2990 or see the equally informative StillWaters Residential Association website here: StillWaters RA.
If you would like more info on my site on StillWaters, see the page here. It includes a live, ever-updated list of every waterfront home for sale and every lot for sale inside StillWaters. There is also a video tour!
Q: How many total acres are inside StillWaters? How much of that is waterfront?
A: StillWaters is approximately 2,400 acres and we have 23 miles of private roads.
I do not know how much is waterfront but we have several miles of waterfront.
Q: How many homes are in StillWaters?
A: There are 1,815 property owners in StillWaters. 1,056 residential units, this includes single family homes, condos, and villas. There are 568 single family homes and 488 condos/villas. We also have 14 timeshare units that are not included in the total number of units. During the busy season we have 14 new guests, mostly families, check into the timeshares every Friday.
Q: How many unimproved lots?
A:There are currently 759 vacant lots; however, a few lots are very large and could be subdivided into several more building lots.
Q: What is the breakdown on waterfront lots vs. interior lots that are unimproved?
A: I do not have a breakdown of waterfront to interior lots. I can tell you there are only 14 vacant waterfront lots left, a few are listed for sale by their owners.
Q: What do the homeowner association dues cover?
A: The SWRA annual dues include the maintenance of the private roads, gates, pool, tennis courts, park, and other common areas.
Q: What percentage of your residents are permanent?
A: We think we have approximately 600 permanent residents. This is difficult to determine because a portion of our residents live in StillWaters six months out of the year and then somewhere else the rest of the year. There are 954 registered voters inside StillWaters.
Q: What frequent questions do you get from new or prospective owners?
A: The most frequently asked question by new interior owners concerns access to the water. The marina has plenty of boat slips for rent and you can pay an annual fee to use the boat ramp. We do not have a beach or other access for owners. The most frequently asked question overall is where can I rent more storage space.
Q: And lastly, how are the sales in StillWaters?
A: We had 157 properties sell in StillWaters in 2015, 136 sold in 2014, and 132 sold in 2013.
If you see anything you like in the list above, click on the picture, then click on the star beside it on the MLS list, register, and the MLS will automatically notify me. Or, you can contact me through this form, you can email me ([email protected]), or you can call me at (334) 221-5862.
The 2016 Alex City Jazz Fest is being held on June 10 and June 11 this year.
And it’s almost time again for a weekend of great live music! And it’s free! This music festival has earned a great reputation for top notch artists and this year is no exception. Lake Martin Voice Realty is proud to be a sponsor again this year.
Friday night the festival is held in downtown Alex City at Strand Park and it moves to Lake Martin Amphitheater on Saturday. Click here for the Alex City Jazz Fest website.
The line up this year:
Friday, June 10 – 6:00 Jonathan Bloom, 7:30 Roman Street, 9:00 Tab Benoit
Many of you know Jonathan Bloom – a resident of Alex City. He plays songs from bands like the Allman Brothers, Kings of Leon, Marvin Gaye and Tom Petty (and I went to high school with him). Roman Street, founded in 2006 in Daphne, Alabama by two brothers – Noah and Josh Thompson, has been called the “next generation of Jazz Fusion.” Now as a larger instrumental band you will enjoy their jazz, Latin and acoustic sound. And Tab Benoit? He hails from New Orleans and is a blues guitarist, musician and singer with primarily a Delta blues sound. You are in for a treat with this musician.
Saturday, June 11 – 6:30 Gravy, 8:00 Brass-A-Holics, 9:30 Wet Willie
Created in 2004 Gravy is a Funk & Soul band from New Orleans. Also from New Orleans is Brass-a-holics – a “brass funk band.” And of course lots of you will know Wet Willie, from the Daphne/Mobile area. Founded by brothers Jimmy and Jack Hall in the 70’s they “…have opened for everyone from A to Z: Allman Brothers to ZZ Top.” Their music like “Keep on Smilin’ ” (top 10 hit), “Weekend” and “Grits Ain’t Gravy” will have you out of your seat dancing and singing along in no time!
Keep up with all of the Events around Lake Martin! Download my free Lake Martin Voice app!
Is it hard to buy a Lake Martin home from far away?
Our waterfront real estate market here at Lake Martin is a second home market. In fact, Alabama Power estimates that about 80% of waterfront homes here are second homes. Since we are in a rural area here in central Alabama, we get a lot of buyers that are coming from greater than two hours away. Vacation home buyers are typically a more real estate savvy bunch – they have been around the block. They don’t have first time jitters, but there are still a lot of questions to be answered.
That’s one of the fun things about selling real estate here at Lake Martin. As an agent, I am getting people that are coming down to the lake to fulfill a dream or just have some fun. Nevertheless, buying any home can have its stressful moments. Add to that fact that most people are buying from a distance, and sometimes the questions can be overwhelming to say the least. You can’t just take off during your lunch hour to see a home or meet a home inspector.
Please take a second to watch George and Lea in the above video – they will explain their experience with long distance home buying.
I try to make the process as easy as possible by utilizing the latest tech. Click here to read my recent blog post on 3D Tours. Watching home tours on video, text messages, emails, phone calls, research, lots of negotiations, inspections, – buying a home can be a time consuming process. I am willing to do anything I can to help my clients feel great about their purchase. Sometimes I get my best ideas from them, so if you know any, give me a call at the number at the top of this page or contact me through this form. Thanks!
The Main Street Farmers Market in Alex City will have tomatoes and other locally grown produce and fruit on Saturdays from 7 – 11 AM starting June 11 until October 29. Located on Broad Street in downtown Alexander City, the Market will also have honey, baked goods, fresh eggs, goat cheese, jellies, herb plants, and much more.
Enjoy the best picks of the garden and real flavors! For better quality at a good price shop the Main Street Farmers Market.
Lewis Grizzard once said “It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” Let’s try it and see!
Interested in keeping up with other events around Lake Martin? Or are you interested in places to eat, homes and lots for sale, where to shop, marinas around the Lake, places to have fun and more? Check out the free Lake Martin Voice app!