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Lake Martin Waterfront Sales – April 2007 vs April 2008 – A Photo Finish

Lake Martin real estate waterfront sales showed some signs of improvement in April 2008 as compared to April 2007.

lake martin property sales waterfront

In April 2008, there were 18 waterfront homes and condos and 1 lot sold through the Lake Martin MLS.* Compare that to 2007 when 17 homes and condos were sold and 2 lots.  Combine them together, and you’re at a dead heat of 19 properties in each year.

Lake Martin MLS stats April 07 vs April 08

lake martin real estate blog

For those keeping a running tally, and don’t feel like clicking back to the post where covered Lake Martin sales for the first quarter of 2008, that makes a total of 35 residences sold through the MLS the first four months of 2008 and 50 residences sold in the first four months of 2007.

While it might not represent the explosion of waterfront property sales that sellers were hoping for, it does show a potential for Lake Martin sales to be better in 2008 than they were in 2007.

First of all, in March 07 there were 25 sales, and then in April 07 it dropped to 17.  In 2008, we had 11 in March and 18 in April.  In fact, sales through the Lake Martin MLS in April 08 matched the sales in the previous 3 months combined.  So at least we are on an upswing in 2008.

Interested in buying Lake Martin property? Email me or call me at the number at the top of this page.  I’ll help you sort through all of the choices and help you get the best deal for the home or lot of your dreams.  All realtor fluffery aside, this summer truly is a great time to buy.  Don’t wait until next year.

lake martin property waterfront

Related Articles:

Lake Martin Is High, But So Is Real Estate Inventory
Lake Martin MLS Sales – 2007 Year In Review

(*)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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Lunch At Willow Point – Lake Martin

A couple of Sundays ago found us at Willow Point eating lunch to celebrate my Moms birthday. We ate lunch in the Willow Point Clubhouse, which overlooks the golf course, and of course, Lake Martin. I had my camera with me, and it was such a beautiful day, I thought to take a few photos.

Why do most Lake Martin lovers wait until Memorial Day to come to the lake? Beats me. Springtime has great weather “ plenty of sun and temps in the low 70s. What a beautiful day. Enjoy:

Willow Points 18th green:

willow point lake martin

Willow Points Driving Range:

willow point golf course lake martin

The tee box on number 10, one of the holes that play along Lake Martin:

willow point waterfront property

Willow Point Villas (available for rent by members):

Willow Point homes for sale

The Pool & Cabana:

willow point property lots lake martin

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Tell Your Realtor To Shut Up And Listen To You

lake martin waterfront property for saleI grew up on Lake Martin, in the real estate business. I know what I like. I know which parts of Lake Martin I prefer. I have been all over this lake, and have friends in every corner. But guess what¦

No one cares about that.

Especially my clients¦ nor should they.

One of the first things my dad taught me about Lake Martin real estate was œdont show them what you like, show them what THEY like. Simple but true.

The key to helping people be happy with their waterfront property is to focus on what they think, not you.

A realtors local knowledge and experience does matter, but only to the extent that they use that to help their clients get what they want. There are all kinds of buyers out there.preserve at stoney ridge lake martin Some Lake Martin buyers prefer Kowaliga Creek to Blue Creek. Some prefer the Preserve at Stoney Ridge to the Ledges at The Ridge. It doesnt matter what I prefer.

On the selling end, in order to be the best listing agent, I must look at a sellers lake home with the eyes of an unbiased buyer, not filtered by my own preferences. I have to market each home based on its own unique properties. You dont market a condo in Stillwaters the same way that you do a cabin in Little Kowaliga.

So how do you find out what people want? You shut up. You ask a good question, then you shut up and listen to their answer.

Not that I am perfect at this. I constantly have to remind myself to be quiet and listen. I make it a habit to ask specific, dialog inducing questions – not did you like that waterfront lot? – rather œwhat about that lot did you like? The latter helps me understand their reasons instead of just logging a result.

The Ledges At The Ridge

The more I learn about the client, the better I can help, and the happier they will be.

I believe it was jazz great Dizzy Gillespie that said, œIts taken me much of my life to learn what notes not to play.

Amen, Dizzy.

 

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Lake Martin Is High, But So Is Real Estate Inventory

Lake Martin propertySpring rains have filled Lake Martin faster than almost anyone expected “ in the first 3 months of 2008 we went from bone dry to runnething over. Will the waterfront real estate market bounce back in three months, too?

Not likely. There is still a lot of inventory to sell which I think will continue to make 2008 a great time to be a buyer. To wit:

A comparison of the first quarter sales in 2008 shows that in the entire Lake Martin residential waterfront market on the MLS(*), there were fewer sales this year than in 2007.

If you look back to the post where I reviewed Lake Martin waterfront sales in 2007, you will remember that January “ March 2007 saw 43 waterfront properties sold:

lake martin mls sold waterfront 2007lake martin mls sold waterfront 2007

lake martin sales

The same statistics in the first three months of 2008 in the Lake Martin MLS shows sales of only 17:

Lake martin sales mls Review of 1q08

Is it time for sellers to to give up? Will 2008 see only 58 waterfront homes (17 * 4) sold? Of course not. History shows us that the four months February “ May of every year counts for almost 50% of residential waterfront sales on Lake Martin. We still have half of that critical period to go before we get a better prediction on 2008.

Also remember “ January and February 2008 sales were also affected by the drought. Just look at news reports from that period “ they were dire. Some people openly wondered if the lake would EVER come back. The water level really didnt start shooting up until the last week in February “ when it rose a whopping 4 feet in 7 days. Since then, spirits have been buoyed and more buyers are crawling the coves.

So can sellers relax? Will Lake Martins water level comeback springboard the real estate market back into the raging sellers market of 2005?

Not likely.

There is still a lot of inventory. There is a lot of competition for the buyers attention. It is still very possible to sell in this market (the fact that my lights are on testify to that fact). I am telling all of my sellers that we must continue with intense focus on the golden trinity of real estate: pricing, marketing, and staging. As a seller, you must do all 3 exceptionally well in order to sell on Lake Martin right now. The sellers who get overconfident now will be the last to sell this year, guaranteed.

Are you considering selling your waterfront property now that Lake Martins water is up? Or maybe you just wonder how the last 24 months have affected its possible value? Call or email John for a no guilt, no hassle, pain free Comparable Market Analysis. See the contact info at the top of this page. If you dont want to sell after we talk, no hard feelings “ I promise.

(*)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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Little Kowaliga’s Little Steel .. errr… Concrete Bridge?

little kowaliga creek bridgeIf you have a Lake Martin house in the Little Kowaliga area, you are well aware that Little Steel Bridge Road aka Elmore County Road 55 is closed.  If you are heading to the Real Island or Parker Creek areas of Lake Martin, and are coming from the south, be aware that you must detour.  Keep going north on highway 9, when you hit downtown Equality, take Coosa County Road 2 east.

I have a home for sale near Real Island, and was heading over there last Friday.  I took that chance to snap these pictures.  I came away with a few observations:

a.)  Little Steel Bridge is steel no longer.   Mostly concrete with some steel girders thrown in for good measure (read engineering).

b.)  It’s going to take a while to complete.  Get used to the detour.

c.) Will they change the name of the road?  Unlikely.

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Does Your Lake Martin Home Need Botox?

When it comes to architecture, I don’t know rococo from romanesque. The Lake Martin Voice welcomes guest writer Amy Stoyles to help us all learn about the finer points of home design.  Thanks Amy!!!

Does Your Lake Martin Home Need Botox?

Botox home

Okay, so since the holidays we’ve all been working on those New Year’s resolutions… and I’m not talking about losing those last five pounds.

Rather, it’s those things you want to change about your Lake Martin home – the kitchen that’s too small, the back porch you always wanted, the master bathroom suite with a super sized shower.

And, for the same reasons people hire personal trainers to finally get over that plateau, I have to break it to you – it’s time to hire an Architect.

I can hear the excuses already. While there can be some small truth to all of the following, running an idea by an Architect, even just through a quick phone call, can make a huge difference in your project’s success.

1.  Architects Are Too Expensive

Yes, Architects can be expensive. But you would be surprised how much they can save you. Architects can take into account new products and building methods that save you money. A good Architect will keep the massing, the overall shape of the structure or addition, simple. That means you save money on the basics and allows you to splurge on the noticeable details that make your home really special – trim work, cabinets and exposed rafter tails that make the house shine.  No one ever complimented anyone on the complexity of their roofline, but everyone notices if you have gorgeous custom cabinets. Those things are vitally important on a renovation or expansion job where new features need to match with the existing structure.

2.  My Lake Home Project Is Too Small For An Architect

As for the idea that a renovation job is too small for an Architect – well, there are timesSmall house when a job is so straightforward that a homeowner is best just getting a contractor to do it. But 9 times out of 10, even the simplest additions can involve complex problems, like:

• ensuring against water leaks when dealing with rooflines,
• recommending the best products for new windows, doors, and materials,
• stabilizing additions so they do not sink or settle at a different rate than the existing structure, and more.

3.  Staying in Budget

Rule No 1: When your budget is important to you, tell your Architect.

Use your Architect to help you stay in budget by creating a team between yourself, the Architect and a Contractor. Have the Contractor review drawings throughout their creation – this allows everyone to stay on the same page when it comes to dollar signs.

4.  Why not just use the Contractor?

As I said before, there are times when this is the best route. But what the heck, call an Architect and see what they say. If the project really is that easy, they will let you know. All you will have lost is the time of a quick phone call and most times an Architect can help recommend reliable contractors at the same time to help you get started down your new path.

Amy Stoyles is co-founder and partner of Archiscapes, LLC an architecture firm with offices in Alabama and Florida. www.archiscapes.com

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Lake Martin Real Estate MLS Statistics – 2007 In Review

The Lake Martin real estate market suffered a major slowdown in 2007 for a variety of reasons.  I dug through the sales results in the Lake Martin MLS to attempt to cut through the gossip and analyze the numbers.

In 2007, the number of Lake Martin waterfront homes sold was about 35% less than in 2006.  2006 was about 17% less than the peak of the sellers’ market in 2005:

MLS sales figure 04-07 cropped scrn print ifin

Witness the Transformation From Sellers’ to Buyers’ Market:

In 2006 and 2007, the number of Lake Martin waterfront homes that were added as new listings to the market out paced those that were actually sold every month.  Therefore sales inventories ballooned, and this 24 month period proved crucial:

MLS monthly stats 06 and 07 screen print 2

More Analysis Of Waterfront Homes Sold in 2007:

153 Lake Martin homes sold in 2007.  Of those, 114 were homes and 39 were condos.  Of the 153, 142 were deeded lot homes and 11 were leased lot homes.

Prices of Homes Sold in 2007:

Of the 153, 13 homes were listed as having sold at $0.  This happens sometimes.  Most of the time it is at the request of the seller.  A minority of people don’t want “their business” on the MLS.  Sometimes it is a builder that doesn’t want to publish how far he dropped the price.  So the below statistics will only deal with the 140 that sold and published prices:

2007 sales breakdown print screen irfan

The most expensive home sold was for $3.88 million in The Ridge.  The lowest was a manufactured home on a leased lot in Pleasure Point for $25,000.

LOTS:

Sales of waterfront lots on Lake Martin were also affected in 2007.  In total, 37 lots were sold in 2007, as compared to 55 in 2006.  The monthly sales numbers are:

Lake Martin waterfront lot sales 2007

As the numbers point, out, now is a great time to buy Lake Martin waterfront real estate.  Do you need help finding the best deal? Let me show you around..

Or do you own Lake Martin property, and are wondering how all of this news affects your particular situation?  Call me, I will be glad to give you an idea of how the changing real estate market will translate to your bottom line. No cost, no pressure, no kidding.

Still curious about Lake Martin real estate statistics?  Leave a reply below and suggest how you would like me to slice and dice the numbers.

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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Lake Martin Real Estate Spotlight: Trillium

lake martin real estate Trillium

Trillium, one of Russell Lands’ more mature Lake Martin developments, is located just west of Kowaliga Marina.  Along with Willow Point and The Ridge, Trillium has some of the more high end homes on Lake Martin.

If you would like to see waterfront homes and lots for sale right now in Trillium, CLICK HERE to go to my Trillium 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.

Trillium was one of Russell Lands’ first neighborhoods that were completed in different phases.  The first homes were built there around 1989.  One element that was new to Lake Martin at the time was Russell Lands’ use of causeway construction.

Years of erosion on Lake Martin had made islands out of former peninsula.  Russell Lands poured a lot of money in the construction of causeways to bring paved roads and utilities, thereby rescuing millions of dollars of real estate.  I can remember one such “island” on the first phase.  It was divided into four huge lots and priced at $250,000 each.  It was laughingly dubbed “million dollar island” by hordes of us skeptical locals.  We pondered “what fool would pay that much for one lot?” Eighteen years later, that amount will barely buy you any sort of waterfront lot, much less a showcase one like those on the points at Trillium.  Turns out that we were the fools for not realizing the demand that would spur a long bull run for Lake Martin property.  Lots like those would now cost you 10 times that amount if you could buy them at all.

By my unofficial count, there are 213 waterfront lots in all of Trillium.  As of this writing, there are 8 homes and 4 lots for sale in Trillium in the Lake Martin MLS If you would like any information on them, give me a call or email me.

trillium homes for sale

Amenities:

Trillium does not have a clubhouse.  It does have a guardhouse protecting the lone entry, but I have never seen a guard there.  I suppose they could put someone there in the future if they wanted.

Because Trillium doesn’t have a clubhouse, it does not have any related things like a pool or workout center or anything.  They do have some walking trails that are cut through the non-waterfront woods.

Lot types:

Waterfront lots in Trillium are flat.  Just as many of the lots in The Ridge (link) are sloped, Trillium’s overall topography almost guarantees that each one of its lots are flat.

Generally, the lots are also big (for Lake Martin) and deep, sitting far back from the roadways.  Trillium’s lots are also well covered with tall, mature pines.

There are no interior lots or homes.  All homes in Trillium are waterfront.  Who knows, maybe one day Russell Lands will sell off the interior land.  Right now, they have retained fairly large sections of woods in between the phases to give Trillium a beautiful, woodsy, private feel.

Factoids:

Back in the heyday of “Russell cabins” Mrs. Edith Russell used to have a couple of cabins at the end of Pine Point.  Apparently she was a fan of the trillium, a pretty, symbolic wildflower native to this part of Alabama.  Hence the name of the subdivision and its types the names of many of its streets: Wake Robin, Nodding, Grandiflorium, Underwood, Catesby, and Narrowleaf.

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Lake Martin’s Sand Island Repaired By Russell Lands

Lake Martin’s Sand Island has been battered by erosion and losing real estate for many years. Alabama’s 80 year record drought exposed a land bridge and afforded area developer Russell Lands an opportunity to drive to it and make repairs.

I rode out there on Friday, December 14, 2007.  It was pretty weird to be able to drive to an island that I have ridden past in a boat hundreds of times.  I shot some video to show the repairs that Russell Lands did to stave off erosion.  They created a sea wall made of rip rap similar to those found on many Lake Martin waterfront homes.  To make the video play below, click on it, then click on the Play arrow in the center.

 

Click here for the direct link to Youtube.

Sorry for those dark corners.  I used the wrong lens.  FYI, if you’re thinking about driving out there, don’t bother.  The road is blocked by a couple of sturdy, locked gates.  Plus, it’s deer hunting season, and the area is heavily hunted.

My sincere thanks and Kudos go out to Russell Lands for repairing this famous Lake Martin / Kowaliga area landmark.  They deserve a lot of credit for using this crazy drought as a chance to do some good.

Also many thanks to my friend and Salvaging Mentor Larry Bain of Lake Martin Dock Company for the ride out there.

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Lake Martin Marina Spotlight: Real Island Marina

lake martin Real Island real estate area

Real Island Marina – one of Lake Martin’s older full service marinas – is located in Elmore County on the southwest side of the lake. It’s close to Lake Martin landmarks such as Kowaliga Marina, Kowaliga Bridge, Willow Point, Parker Creek, and Sand Island. The Real Island / Little Kowaliga area is popular on Lake Martin. Since it is relatively close to Montgomery and Birmingham, homes for sale in the Real Island area are typically sought after by lake goers from these cities.

To contact Real Island Marina, call (334) 857-2741.

Real Island Marina sits on Little Kowaliga Bay, at the edge of the old Little Kowaliga Creek. It used to be an independent marina, but several years ago it was purchased by Lake Martin major landowner and real estate developer Russell Lands. It is now part of the group of 4 marinas that Russell Lands owns on Lake Martin.

One unique thing about Real Island Marina is the RV Rental area. That’s right – you can trailer your RV to Lake Martin and rent a spot from Russell Lands at Real Island. The views are great, looking over Little Kowaliga. The RV park probably sits on a couple million dollars worth of dirt. It stays booked up with long term leases, but if you want a spot, no harm in asking by calling the number below.

Real Island offers gas service, some boat parts, convenience store type food, and dry boat storage. Most of lake martin real island area homes for salethe time they have dry storage available, but with the recent drought, they might be booked up. If you need storage over the fall and winter, call now.

Right now, the water level on Lake Martin is 478.1 feet. There is a boat ramp at Real Island Marina, and you may or may not able to launch from there. You definitely should call and ask them before you make the trip.

To contact Real Island Marina:

2700 Real Island Road Equality, AL 36026

Phone: 334-857-2741

Homes and Lots For Sale In Real Island / Little Kowaliga

Are you interested in waterfront homes or lots for sale in the Lake Martin area of Real Island aka Little Kowaliga? Then CLICK HERE for the Little Kowaliga neighborhood page on my site. You will see a current, up to the minute list of waterfront homes and lots for sale, plus a general description of the Little Kowaliga area, and why some people call it Real Island.

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