‘A place that will help bring all of us together’

Chris and Shannon McManus’ plan for buying a vacation home factored in activities such as soccer. They wanted a getaway close enough for them to leave after their boys’ Saturday morning soccer games for a weekend at the lake. The couple, who works for a global management consultant company in Atlanta, talked about their home on Lake Oconee.

Why Lake Oconee: The family enjoys going to the beach but knew it had the key disadvantage of being five or six hours away, and "We wanted something that was pretty close by and accessible," said Shannon, 38. "Then a friend referred us to Oconee."

Chris, 41, visited spots such as the Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Lake Oconee, for a golf trip and saw a movie theater and more restaurants open in the area.

How they found the home: Their search began in October, just before Shannon gave birth to their third son (Matt, born Nov. 25). The couple thought they would buy a lot and hold on to it.

“We also found out that with the current economic environment, for lots, the purchase had to be all cash. Most lenders out there really aren’t loaning for lots,” Shannon said. “That really made that option less attractive. You didn’t have any leverage.”

Right before Christmas, their agent, Kay Stevens with Re/Max Lake Oconee, called to say she found a home foreclosure she wanted them to see.

“We jumped in the car the Monday before Christmas,” Shannon said. They made an offer that week.

Their home: A four-bedroom, three-bath home built in 1989 on a half acre in Eatonton's Martin Oaks. The lot has a gentle slope to the lake.

“With the kids, we wanted something that had a good play area where we could see the water easily from the house,” Shannon said. “It didn’t have too far of a walk to be lugging stuff back and forth.”

Inside, the home had a rustic feel with an open layout. The home was in pretty good condition, the couple said, but because of its age, they took a preventative step and replaced the heating and air conditioning unit and the roof. The couple is working with Charleston, S.C.-based interior designer Hollis Erickson with Roberts-Erickson Design to help furnish and decorate the home, which has a cedar exterior and a back deck.

The negotiations: It took 11 days for them to hear from the bank, while they were expecting a 24- or 48-hour turnaround. They credit Stevens for being able to help them navigate the process.

How far from their home: 1 hour, 15 minutes from Ansley Park.

What they see it being for their family: A nature retreat for their boys, who also include Will, 6, and Hayes, 3.

“We saw it as a place that’s very wholesome, that will help bring all of us together when we’re out there, spending time on the water together, a place that’s good for building memories,” Shannon said.

Community Overview

Lake Oconee, a Georgia Power-owned lake in central Georgia, spans 18,971 acres and has 374 miles of shoreline.

Information

Georgia Power

georgiapower.com/lakes

Georgia’s Lake Country

oconee.org

Eatonton-Putman County Chamber of Commerce

www.eatonton.com

Re/Max Lake Oconee

wlakeoconeega.com

Getting there

Take I-20 east to Exit 114 toward Madison/Eatonton.

Turn right onto U.S. 441/U.S. 129/Ga. 24, and follow it

about 11 miles, then turn left onto Harmony Road. Turn left onto Greensboro Road/Lake Oconee Parkway/Ga. 44. Turn right onto Lakeview Drive. Turn right onto Lakeview Estates Drive. Turn right onto Lakeview Estates Lane. Lakeview Estates Lane becomes Martin Oaks Boulevard, which takes you into the neighborhood.

Recent sales

$409,500: 328 W. River Bend Drive, Eatonton 31024. A two-bedroom, two-bath lakefront home with a screened porch and dock with a boat lift and seawall.

$450,000: 154 Lake Forest

Drive, Eatonton 31024. Four-bedroom, three-bath lakefront home with a dock, two boat lifts and a ski lift.

For sale

$378,500: 293 Arrowhead Trail, Eatonton 31024. A three-bedroom, two-bath home with, new heating and cooling system, roof and water heater.

$475,000: 324 W. River Bend Drive, Eatonton 31024. A five-bedroom, three-bath lakefront home and guest house with a screened porch and dock .

Community information provided by Kay Stevens with Re/Max Lake Oconee.