info@lakemartinvoice.com

The Next Big Thing In Real Estate Tech

The “Next Big Thing” in real estate technology is 3D Tours By Matterport. It is a new, breakthrough tool that I think will become indispensable in helping Lake Martin home buyers and sellers.

I know you might be thinking, “Big deal, John. Another cheesy, flashy item that will mesmerize realtors like a cat plays with a ball of yarn: vapidly and without understanding.”

I will let the pudding give the proof on this subject. Please click on the 3D tour above for my awesome home that went under contract recently at 236 Delilah Lane. Matterport has made a huge leap in presentation by marrying advances in the 3D camera with software that smooths it out. It looks wonderful and is the closest I have seen to actually walking through a home.

If you are reading this on a smart phone or tablet, so much the better. It looks even nicer on handhelds because you are able to touch the screen. Much more intuitive.

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

Today, successful technology in any field shares two traits: simplicity and helpfulness. In other words, pretty is as pretty does. The Matterport tours do this in spades. You don’t need a PhD to use it, and the tours look really nice and actually are helpful.

For Lake Martin home sellers, Matterport Tours give a marketing edge on par with full motion video tours. And like full motion tours, they represent a quantum leap into another level of presentation. What seller would not want this? Show me the Lake Martin homeowner that would tell an agent, “Nah, just go halfway on the marketing. Let’s mail this one in.”

For buyers looking for Lake Martin waterfront homes, the benefit is as obvious. Today’s real estate buyer wants more. More homes to view, and more details about the homes they like. I have not talked to a single buyer that has said, “no thanks, I don’t want to use that 3D tour.” They appreciate being able to walk through a home and really get a sense of the floor plan – and not get dizzy in the process by staring at some photo stitched, poor excuse for a “Virtual Tour.”

It Has Already Sold A Lake Martin Home.

I have been slowly rolling out these 3D tours on all of my listings. I wanted to take them one at a time to make sure I understand the process and how best to serve my clients and customers. Despite its infancy in my marketing quiver, I have already sold a home directly because of the 3D tour. I was on one side of Lake Martin showing a couple one home and they asked me if anything else was available. Because I had a 3D tour up and ready on one of my listings, they were able to view it quickly and confirm that they wanted to tour it physically. I wrote up an offer after their trip!

Lake Martin 3D Home Tours FAQ

How can I get a 3D Tour for my Lake Martin home? I can give you a free Comparable Market analysis for your lake home. Just contact me through this form or call me at the number at the top of the screen. I can come by your lake home and let you know what I think its likely sales point will be, and how I would use 3D tours to help sell it.

What do 3D tours cost? – Nothing. Right now, I am paying for the 3D tours’ filming and hosting for as long as you list your Lake Martin home with me. Who knows, maybe one day I will have to go with an a la carte situation, but right now your 3D Tour is part of the many other marketing efforts I perform on behalf of all of my Lake Martin waterfront homes.

Are you giving up on videos or photos? No. Photos will still be a big part of real estate marketing, mainly because MLSs are set up with them as a prime cog. And they do a great job in pointing out prime angles or features. Videos- they are here to stay as well.  I do think Matterport 3D tours are better at giving a person a walk through feel, but videos are better at hitting key features and mixing in things like location shots. Plus, until Matterport figures out how to put a 3D camera on a quadcopter, “aerial camera” shots will still be a huge part of my marketing here at Lake Martin Voice Realty. In other words, gone are the days of “either / or” marketing. Today’s seller deserves the very best of everything, and buyers want all the information we can throw at them.

Do I need special googles or glasses to view the tours? No. Just start clicking and turning. If you’re on a laptop or desktop, use your arrow buttons. If on a smart phone or pad, just touch the screen!

3d glassesWill 3D Tours replace Open Houses? I think the internet replaced open houses a decade ago. Bringing the listing to life with a 3D tour lets you tour from anywhere, anytime.  It is like attending an always open – open house (minus the crowd and cookies).

The difference between 3D tours and virtual tours? Virtual tours allow you to do a 360° pan from a single point in the room but 3D tours let you move around in the room and from room to room.

 

As a real estate agent I want to have the latest real estate marketing technology and Matterport is a company that offers this great new tool. Interested in seeing the floor plan? Matterport offers a complete layout of the house and offers homebuyers the ability to move thru the property and see it from every angle.

May I help you sell your Lake Martin waterfront property? Please call or text me at the number at the top of the page or contact me through this form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You Can’t See This Foreclosure at Lake Martin

lake martin foreclosure 2016There are not many waterfront foreclosures right now in the Lake Martin market. I haven’t run the numbers yet, but my feeling is that they peaked in 2009 or so. However, my Lake Martin Foreclosure list is still extremely popular with my readers and my real estate clients. I get a fair amount of folks who are only curious, but I also connect with people that end up buying later. Since I try and followup with everyone, I spend a decent amount of time explaining that buying a foreclosed home, on the water, at Lake Martin these days is a long shot. (Yes, there are plenty of good deals that are not foreclosures).

When I was setting up some waterfront homes to see tomorrow, I ran across a home on the MLS‘s Hot Sheet – I was initially interested because the house looked nice from the outside and it looked to be on a flat lot with a good view of Lake Martin. It was a foreclosure to boot- despite my generalities above.

I called the agent to show it, and he said, “you can’t show that one. I haven’t even been inside of it.”

Huh?

Apparently there are people still in it and they are objecting to the sale. Agents can’t show it. Buyers can’t walk through it. You can enter a bid online, cash only, please sir.

OK.

If this one sells it will be one for the record books, sportsfans.

 

 

Can I help you find your dream Lake Martin home or lot? Contact me here or call me at the number at the top of the page.

Please download by FREE LAKE MARTIN VOICE APP before you call, or I will be so sad….

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New and Improved Floating Dock at Lake Martin

The Alexander City Boat Ramp floating dock on Stowe Ferry Landing has undergone some updates – bumper and deck boards were replaced.  Great news huh?  The picture below from the Alexander City Public Works Facebook page shows the work being done.  Read more here.

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But that is not the only good news for the boat ramp – there will also be a sign welcoming visitors to Alexander City to the area.  Read this article from the Alex City Outlook to learn when the idea originated. Members of  Leadership Lake Martin have adopted the sign project and will also add an enclosed bulletin board with a map of Lake Martin.

Interested in knowing about other boat ramps around Lake Martin? 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!
Lake Martin VOICE app

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Waterfront Home for $375k – New to the Market

View from driveway

232 River Ridge Road, Alexander City

4 Bedroom, 4.5 Bath

$375,000

MLS 16-546

232 River Ridge Road is a big, beautiful two story home complete with stunning sunset views! Nestled in the trees, this home has sweeping views of the north lake area of Lake Martin. Its porches are larger than many homes!

With this house you have plenty of room for family and friends – 4,200 sq. ft. Per owner, “Downstairs sleeps 15 if they like each other, 12 if not!” It would be a great permanent residence or summer home with 4 bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths. The living room has a fireplace and mahogany built-ins with a soaring 40′ ceiling.

Outside this River Ridge area home features 207′ +/- waterfront, wooded lot, double covered boat slips and deep year round water.

For more info give John Coley, the listing agent, a call 334-221-5862 or drop him a line  john@lakemartinvoice.com or contact him here.

Take a 3D Tour Below:

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Why Retire at Lake Martin vs The Beach?

Lake Martin is a prime retirement destination.  Described as one of the most beautiful recreational lakes in the South by many publications (such as Southern Living and Where to Retire: America’s Best and Most Affordable Places) it is worth considering for your retirement!

The Lake has it all – golf, boating, waterskiing and fishing together with natural sand beaches, restaurants, popular islands and camping areas.

The low cost of living and casual lifestyle appeal to many – watch the following videos and see what one couple has to tell about retirement living at Lake Martin.

 

 

 

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133 Whisper Wind Home Tour

My friend Becky Haynie recently held an Open House at 133 Whisper Wind, Windermere West on Lake Martin in Alexander City.  Becky is the Listing Agent with Lake Martin Realty and can be reached at 334-312-0928 or emailed at becky@homeonlakemartin.com.  Watch the home tour video above which she graciously allowed me to record.

The home at 133 Whisper Wind is a 5/4 floor plan with a 3 car garage which sits on a great lot. Inside, you will find spacious family rooms on two levels – the main level and the terrace level.  Both family rooms have fireplaces, too.  Two of the five bedrooms are on the main level.  Enjoy beautiful open lake views from the home or from the pier, lakeside fire pit or outdoor swing.

Listing price for this home is $825,000.

Click here  for the Google map link.

More Information About Windermere

Windermere (click here for my neighborhood link to Windermere) is close to marinas and boat ramps, Russell Crossroads and Russell Forest trails.

Would you like to see a summarized list of every waterfront home and lot for sale in Windermere? Click here!

Watch the video below and enjoy the bike ride from Windermere to Russell Crossroads.


As Becky pointed out in the video, just like any waterfront home, lot, or condo on Lake Martin, I can help you with it. I would love to be your real estate agent! CLICK HERE to contact me, or you can email me (info@ lakemartinvoice.com), or you can call me at the number at the top of this page.

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Spring Cleaning Lake Martin On Throw Away Day

Throw Away Day 2016

Ready to do some Spring Cleaning in the Lake Martin area? Join area civic clubs, companies, youth groups and other residents on Saturday, April 23 for a county wide cleanup.  Read about the first ever county wide clean up from the Alex City Outlook.

Interested in a little competition?  Challenge other groups to pick a road or part of town. Call John Thompson (334) 399-3289 to sign up for a certain area or road.  Celebrate at The After Party at Strand Park from 12-3 – free for clean up participants. 

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Pick up bags, orange vests and trash pickers Saturday morning at Alexander City City Hall.

Help us make the Lake Martin area beautiful and clean this Spring!

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!

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Is Lake Martin’s Full Pool 490 or 491?

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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.

Great question!

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

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The Lake Martin Voice App is also available for Google / Android on the Google Play Store

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Android Store Link

 

 

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Best Times to Fly Fish the Tallapoosa River

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 are interested in fishing, directly contact Drew Morgan of East Alabama Fly Fishing, please go to his website here or his Facebook page!

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!

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Lake Martin 3.0

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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!

 

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