Lake Martin Voice Realty
Is Lake Martin’s full pool 490 or 491? I get some of the best ideas for blog posts from my readers and buyers around Lake Martin. Recently someone emailed me with a question regarding the new rule curve for Lake Martin and I thought I’d answer it here.
Q: I recently read your article on the Lake Martin Voice site about the winter lake level going to 483 feet instead of 480 feet as in previous years. Lower down the page in your web site article, you have posted a link to the Alabama Power announcement made in April of 2015 for this new low lake level policy. In the Alabama Power news release article, it states the new low lake level is going to be 484 feet during the winter draw down time. It states also that the technical high lake level is 491 feet in that same Alabama Power April 2015 news release/announcement.
Please let me know what your final understanding is on the new low lake level height. You may want to clarify this subject on your site.
A: The one foot difference is the difference between the unit of measure you use. It’s a difference of “sea level” and “martin datum.” The new level in winter is going to be seven feet below full pool. That’s for sure. Whether you call full pool 490 or 491 will depend on whether you call winter pool 483 or 484. Either way it’s a seven foot drop. Most of the current technical Alabama Power papers refer to full pool as 491. However they also refer to full pool as 490 on their app – Alabama Power Shorelines. Full pool at 490 is what most everyone around here uses, so that’s the unit of measure I use when I talk about full pool. Both are correct. And both yield a seven foot drop in the future.
Interested in the current Lake Martin water level? Or Lake Martin area weather? Also want to keep up with events from around the lake, places to eat, homes and lots for sale, where to shop, marinas around the lake, places to have fun, and more? Check out the Lake Martin Voice app!
The Lake Martin Voice App is available at the Apple App store here: Apple Store Link
The Lake Martin Voice App is also available for Google / Android on the Google Play Store
As promised here is the next video from Drew Morgan of East Alabama Fly Fishing – an awesome fly fishing guide in the Lake Martin area.
In this video I shot last November, Drew talks about the different fishing seasons on the Tallapoosa River. If you are new to the area, the Tallapoosa River is dammed by Martin Dam, which creates Lake Martin. We locals refer to the area just upstream from Lake Martin as “the River,” but it is more accurately called the Tallapoosa River – from Irwin Shoals all the way up to the dam on Lake Wedowee.
The mid-spring season is soon to start. I am already receiving reliable reports that the striped bass are in the rivers and creeks now, so I am looking to target them with my fly rod. With higher water needed to fish from now until July we should be finding our “own kind of paradise” soon.
And don’t forget as Drew reminds us the mini season in the fall from mid October – mid November is still a great time to take your canoe, kayak, or his boat out.
While we all love to be out on the water catching fish, part of the lure (pun intended) of fly fishing is wading through in search of different species. When the water is lower on the river – July, August and September, the time is right for wading.
As you watch the video listen out for Drew’s version of the “Tallapoosa Slam”. His long list of the different species biting year round is sure to get you “Wishin’ I was knee deep in the water somewhere got the blue sky, breeze and it don’t seem fair the only worry in the world…” How soon can I get my gear together and call Drew?
If you would like to see what waterfront homes for sale on Lake Martin are closest to the Tallapoosa River area, see THIS PAGE that takes you to the River Oaks Neighborhood Page on my blog. If I can help you with any homes or lots there, please call me at the number at the top of the screen!
I am really honored to be a regular columnist for Lake Magazine. They asked me to write about the future of Lake Martin and the new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license. To read the article on their site Click Here, or feel free to read:
The wait is over. We knew it was coming. That was made clear back in April of 2015, but until we got the real copy of the FERC license in our (digital) hands, we did not dare strut too much. Now we know the reality – for the next 30 years, as long as the Lord God sends enough rain, Lake Martin will only drop 7 feet in the winter as opposed to 10. Plus, we will have a chance to keep the tub full until Oct. 15 instead of pulling the plug after Labor Day.
We at Lake Martin can now settle back and confidently plan how the next 30 years will be. 30 years! That’s practically a generation. I think the best way to consider this new license is to think about its long-term effects – effects that will come to bloom and blossom over a generation. As I have written previously, the new rule curve will only serve to improve Lake Martin and therefore our entire community and economy. This help, I think, seems pretty obvious to anyone that scans the new license. For an article from the Alabama Power Company Shorelines blog about the new license click here.
As I review the new FERC license, the first thing to grab my attention was a mention of those previous. The original one for Martin Dam started in 1923 and lasted 50 years. The next period was a 40-year license that started in 1973. So we are starting only our third license. Martin Dam 3.0. When you put it like that, it makes the lake seem pretty young, but in reality, radical change has come here since the start of our last license in 1973.
Looking at the big picture, I would say that the biggest change agent since 1973 was the development of private property. Prior to 1973, there weren’t many places on Lake Martin where you could own your own lot and home. Think about it – Russell Lands, the lake’s largest private landowner and developer, had only recently started Willow Point, its first venture. Alabama Power, the other big landowner, had sold very few, if any, lots. In the 1970s, if you had a cabin on Lake Martin, most likely it was the short-term rental of an Old Testament Russell Cabin or you owned your home but leased the lot from Alabama Power.
When you’re a renter, or at least a quasi-renter, there is little or no economic incentive to improve it.
As ownership spread in the 1980s and 1990s, so did the by products of ownership – stores, phone lines, garbage service and Internet. In the 2000s, it just kept going to include issues like environmental advocacy. Do you care as much about the water quality of a place that you rent casually? Or do you really start paying attention when you are an owner?
What new factor will play a big role in the next 30 years? It is hard for me to say. If I were forced to guess I would say it will be the rise of the Lake Martin investor. An investor can be someone that rents the property 100 percent of the time, or maybe a minority of the time. Yes, there are some owners that rent their properties out right now, but not that many when you compare us to the beach, etc. Why?
I think it is because of the relative novelty of the Lake Martin home ownership support industry. I don’t think this is an actual term, so I will try to define what I am saying.
As uptown as Lake Martin has become in the last 15 years, we are still in our infancy of companies that help one own a home, condo or lot here. Remember that about 80 percent of waterfront homeowners are not living here full time. In other second home markets, like the beach or the mountains, there are plenty of companies that will do more than just come by and cut your grass. There are entire businesses dedicated to concierge services, such as checking on your home’s condition every couple of weeks, or helping you light your hot water heater’s pilot light, or filling your kitchen full of groceries so you don’t have to shop before you come. Sure, these services might cost a bit, but for many people it will ease some of the worries of owning a second home that’s three hours from their primary residence.
When something is easier to own, it creates more demand. More demand helps prices. Higher purchase prices mean more people will also want to rent from you. It’s easier to rent your home when you have a concierge company that can help you winterize it when you need to, or change a bulb, or replace a sofa.
Will concierge companies totally change Lake Martin and usher in a significant number of Lake Martin investors? Who knows what will happen. But I do think that as Lake Martin becomes more popular in the next 30 years, we certainly will see more of them. And, I think that Lake Martin’s competitiveness versus other second home markets will be largely determined by support industries and the like. Just as the rise of the homeowner was a huge influence on the second license period, the rise of the investor could well be a big factor in the third.
And by the way, for those that might be worried about over development ruining Lake Martin, take heart. There are oodles of restrictions that the new license puts on Alabama Power. Even if the power company were not committed to responsible stewardship of Lake Martin (which it is), the new license is very specific about the use of about every inch of our waterfront.
Whether you are a renter, owner, investor, worker, boater or just a fan of Lake Martin, the next 30 years will be fun. Lord willing, I can’t wait to see how it will unfold!
The missing piece of what puzzle you may ask? The Coffee Corner located at 107 Main Street in historic downtown Alex City was the winner of the first ever MainStreet Alexander City Missing Piece Business Competition. The contest, sponsored by the downtown merchants organization was awarded to The Coffee Corner in summer 2015. To read more about this new restaurant and the Missing Piece competition check out these links.
I shot the video (above) in December, hence our reference to Christmas, but this is a good idea for a gift card any time of the year.
I like this spot and decided that the Cafe’ Au Lait is my favorite. They are fully open now and serving breakfast and lunch too. Please go by and enjoy coffee, a sandwich or salad.
Located at the corner of Main Street and Alabama Street in historic downtown Alex City – for a map click here.
To keep up with their latest events, daily brew or new additions to the menu (the Oreo Delight frappe’ looks soooo good) check out their Facebook page or call them at 256-392-4999.
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.
Happy Plug Day 2016 Lake Martin!
Plug Day on Lake Martin is when we celebrate the annual rising of the water towards full pool. In 2016, that day is March 1.
Question from John Q. Cynic: Is it a tad silly to celebrate when the water starts coming up? I mean, given all of the important issues in the world today, should we really take time out to cheer the annual, repetitive raising of one lake in central Alabama?
To the inquisitor, I respond, “Lighten up, Francis.”
Sure, the water comes up every year, and, with one extreme drought exception, stays up until well into the fall. And sure, we fans of Lake Martin have no real control over it. But it’s still fun to celebrate.
And to all the Eeyores out there that can’t have a little fun, that can’t be happy at witnessing one of the first signs of the spring, I say, I am sad for you on the inside. Have you tasted not the joy of warm water and warm weather? Is your heart so encrusted with malaise, your eyes so jaded that you see not the spark of renewal that is Spring?
For the vast majority rest of us who give three cheers on Plug Day, we say a collective “Yee-Haw!” We are happy that Lake Martin is on the way up to full pool.
Looking around nationally, some real estate blogs and the agents who who write them are so serious they sound like a Warren Buffet annual report. Other agents are so in-your-face aggressive that I’d be scared to ride in the same car with them. Still other realtors come across as so dippy, fluffy, and bland that I’d wonder if they have any thoughts beyond how awesome their latest glamor shot looks.
Since I sell real estate in a second home market here at Lake Martin, I try to be informative, but I also realize that Lake Martin is mostly about fun. Pretty much all about spending time with your family and friends. S’mores. Cannonballs. Preacher’s Seats. Escaping the occasional horse fly. Barbecuing ribs. The smearing of sunblock. Sunset selfies. Ribbon sandwiches. Falling asleep on the boat. Smacking each other with those foam noodles. Falling asleep in the hammock and burning the hamburgers.
My role as a real estate agent here is to help people find their happy place, or help people sell it when the time is (regretfully) right. That’s it. It’s that simple.
Happy Plug Day, Lake Martin!
Drew Morgan of East Alabama Fly Fishing is a fly fishing guide in the Lake Martin area and my new go-to authority when I want to fish around here with my fly rod.
I recently stumbled across Drew’s Instagram account and couldn’t believe my luck. For years I have been trying to improve my skill and effectiveness of fly fishing for the native species around the Lake Martin area. It just so happens that Drew does just that.
East Alabama Fly Fishing is mainly focused on guiding people along the many beautiful rivers and streams in the area. Drew frequents the Tallapooosa River, which flows into and creates Lake Martin. He also spends a lot of time in the Saugahatchee Creek watershed.
Ever since I read in Lake Magazine about the discovery of new species of red eye bass, I’ve been itching to get better at targeting them with my fly rod. Obviously, I still love to fish for trout in The Smokies, but being able to have more options locally is a great thing.
My problem is, even though I grew up here, and dabble a tad at fly fishing, I never really learned the ins and outs on how to do it on the Tallapoosa. Casting a Rapala from a bass boat in fifty feet of clear water is not the same as dead drifting a hellgrammite pattern while wading knee deep in the flow.
I was really excited when Drew made some time for me last November. The result of that trip is I got a ton of (hopefully) helpful video footage where Drew really lays out the details. I’ll be posting these over the next few weeks.
The day we went in November was not cooperative. After weeks of clear, warm weather, that day was soaking wet and the water was high and muddy. Not exactly the best for fly fishing or video.
Nevertheless, Drew delivered with great info and a wonderful guided float down the Tallapoosa.
Please enjoy his intro video above, and be sure to stay tuned for future installments. I have two more videos that will cover the fly fishing gear he uses on the Tallapoosa River, and how the seasons affect the fishing here.
The 7th Annual Russell Forest Run is Saturday, February 27th, 2016. Register Here
The Russell Forest Run is held in Russell Forest, and is a great event for local charities. Runners will be treated to beautiful scenery around Lake Martin as they jog (or walk) along dirt roads, through the forest around the Kowaliga area of Lake Martin. Catherine’s Market is right at the starting line in case you’d just like to watch the fun.
It is a really laid back event. The whole community comes out to watch the festivities. I am not sure if I will be able to run this year, I have some appointments that morning, but I am going to try, because it is such a cool event.
You could make a pretty strong argument that the post race meal is worth the price alone, and that everything else is free.
For those of you who are not familiar with the setup, here’s the description from the official website:
“The Run is an out and back race that carries runners on a certified course(USATF AL10003JD) over sand, clay, and gravel roads that were designed for runners, bicycles and electric cars. The scenic route starts at Russell Crossroads, takes runners near Kob’s Knob, up to Heaven, and back to the finish line at Russell Crossroads. The 10K will start promptly at 7:45 with a cannon shot from the Town Green at Russell Crossroads. The 5K route follows the first 2 miles and finish of the 10K route and is an out and back run. The 5K also starts with the cannon blast at 7:55.
Following the Russell Forest Run there will be a post-race party at The Stables complete with our Famous Grits Bar, ice cold beer, the awards ceremony, music, giveaways and more.
Event details and schedule
10K-Individual Age/Group open $40
5K – Individual Age/Group open $20
Online registration will continue until midnight February 25th. The Russell Forest Run 10K is an out and back “chip timed” run. There is plenty of parking on site and a shuttle is available for those who may need it. Please allow yourself plenty of time to get to the site. The 10K will begin PROMPTLY at 7:45 and the 5K approximately TEN minutes later!
Packet Pickup will be Friday February 26th from 4-6pm and Saturday from 6-7am at the Discovery Center at Russell Crossroads!
Click Here for more information and to register.”
Would you like to know the easiest way to keep up with events around Lake Martin? Download our free Lake Martin Voice App and stay current!
Alex City Jazz Fest– the Lake Martin area annual music festival that is free to the public – has been scheduled for Friday June 10th and Saturday June 11th, 2016. Mark your calendars and plan to be in the area, because, as always, some great bands will be on hand to entertain you.
And if you are feeling creative as you think about all that great music, enter the Jazz Fest Art Contest. See below for details on the contest and stay tuned for more info click here for their website or click here for their Facebook Page.
Lake Martin had its best year ever for waterfront real estate sales in 2015. Sales were better in 2015 than in the big real estate days of 2005. Please take a look at this market report for the Lake Martin waterfront real estate market. I shot this video in January with preliminary numbers, but they held true:
As you can see in the above chart waterfront home sales in the Lake Martin area were 24% ahead of the previous high in 2014 – with 360 sales in 2015.
And looking at the chart above waterfront lot sales were 15% ahead of 2014 – with 85 sales in 2015.
Keep in mind, these numbers are compiled from the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service*.
The bottom line for Lake Martin waterfront real estate sales in 2015:
The bottom line is that we had a fantastic year here at Lake Martin. If you have been reading this blog or my column on AL.com, you know that all of 2015 has been outstanding. It really was just a matter of how great it was going to be.
Any time that any real estate market beats the prior year in number of sold units, that’s a great year. We have been doing this in the waterfront segment of Lake Martin since 2008, with no signs of slowing down.
What, if any, were the disappointments in the Lake Martin real estate market in 2015?
I had hoped for the “Triple Crown” – that is, 1.) Top year number of waterfront homes sold, 2.) top year of number of waterfront lots sold, and 3.) increase in waterfront home prices. While we definitely had the top number of waterfront homes sold on Lake Martin, and also an increase in pricing, we did not have the top year in number of lot sales. It’ snot like we had a bad year in lot sales. 85 sales is nothing to sneeze at, but it did not best the previous record of in 2005.
What about the future? Won’t the election hurt sales at Lake Martin? Or China’s economic slowdown? Or [insert your favorite doom and gloom item here]?
I think the Lake Martin waterfront real estate market is set up for another wonderful year in 2016. I don’t pay attention to macro-economic trends and I darn sure don’t listen to the so-called NAR economists. I watch the local numbers. As long as we are beating the prior year, I am not calling an end to this bull market. Beating the same month from the prior year is per se an increasing market.
For example, as great as 2015 was here at Lake Martin, please note that 9 waterfront homes were sold in January of 2015. Compare that with 12 sold in January 2016. As a market, we have already sold as many waterfront homes in the first 17 days of February 2016 than we did in the entire month of February 2015.
In other words, 2015 was hot, but 2016 is starting hotter!!
When it slows down, trust me, I will be the first one to call it. I am not afraid to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But until then, don’t worry about the price of tea in China because it apparently is not affecting Lake Martin real estate.
If you have any questions, please contact John Coley with Lake Martin Voice Realty at 334 221 5862 or emailing directly at john (at) lakemartinvoice (dot) com.
Copyright notice – the above, and every other post on this blog, is the property of John Coley, Broker, Lake Martin Voice Realty. Appraisers may use my information in their appraisals without charge or asking, but please give me credit by citing me, my company name and title, and website address of http://lakemartinvoice.com. If anyone else would like to use this information, please contact me here and ask. I probably will let you do it, just please ask!
(*)Disclaimers: All of the above info was taken from the Lake Martin Area Association of RealtorsMultiple 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.
Welcome Paige Patterson – our newest agent at Lake Martin Voice Realty!
Paige’s number is 205.616.8046 and email is Paige (at) PaigePatterson (dot) com.
Maybe you already know her from the Love Lake Martin online show or saw her recently on the “Good Morning Lake Martin” TV show or follow her on her Love Lake Martin Facebook page or her YouTube Channel …regardless, you will know she loves the Lake.
I think the best way to follow Paige is to get connected with her website Paige Patterson.com
Paige, her husband Brian, and their sons enjoy living at Lake Martin. Paige has been enjoying the Lake Martin lake life for over 25 years and looks forward to helping you enjoy the Lake too.
I really am honored that Paige would join my brokerage, but I must confess – I am super late in posting this!! Paige has actually been with us since last summer!! I feel terrible that it has taken me this long to post something. But please do not let that diminish how excited John Christenberry and I are to have her as part of the team at Lake Martin Voice Realty. In her few short months here she has proven herself to be an experienced, energetic, and inspiring agent. She’s been selling at Lake Martin for a few years now, having come from a successful stint as an agent in Birmingham. All told, she has had her license since 2004.
Paige is a fun, creative person and I look forward to continuing to work with her. In just these few months, I have been amazed at a few things about Paige. First of all, she got Christenberry and I in gear to have goal setting meetings. I realize that high-protein real estate agents are supposed to have rigorous goals, so please don’t judge when I say that I have never done that. Or, let me rephrase – in the past I had made goals for myself every year, but I did not go through the process very thoroughly. I had a general idea, but that was about it. Paige was instrumental in walking us through the steps to plan out our goals (professional, personal, spiritual, etc) for 2016. So thanks for that, Paige!
Also, I cannot for the life of me figure out how she gets people on camera so easily on her Love Lake Martin series of videos. How does she do it? Most every time I whip out my phone or Canon 60D, people duck for cover. Paige has a real talent for getting people to talk about Lake Martin – homeowners, business owners, neighbors and friends. That is a huge help to potential waterfront home buyers, because they can hear from “real” people having “real” experiences here. It’s one thing to hear us agents babble, but quite another to listen to testimonials from the Lake Martin community.
Well done, Paige! Again, as broker / owner of Lake Martin Voice Realty, I am super excited about the future of our company with Paige aboard.
Call Paige at 205-616-8046 and visit her website at www.paigepatterson.com.