Lake Away and Buyers' Agency at Smith Mountain Lake
The vacation rental portion of Buyers' Agency at Smtih Mountain Lake operates under the assumed name "Lake Away." Mr. Erler is a licensed Realtor who specializes in vacation rentals and manages the Lake Away portion of the business under Mr. Jim Singleton who is the managing broker and owner of Buyer's Agency at Smith Mountain Lake.
Buyers' Agency at Smith Mountain Lake
Jim Singleton, Broker
16575 Moneta Road, Suite 200
Moneta, VA 24121
About Lake Away Vacation RentalsConcierge Service, Worry Free Vacations
About Us at LakeAway Vacation Rentals on Smith Mountain Lake
The Story of LakeAway
Jim Erler, the manager of LakeAway, first discovered Smith Mountain Lake in 1987, a few years after he moved his family to Northern Virginia from San Diego. Craving the long open views they grew up with in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Jim and his wife, Catriona, knew they had found the ideal spot for their young family to build vacation memories.
The Erlers purchased a cabin in 1993 and began offering it as a vacation rental a few years later. As the rental business grew, they purchased three more properties and started Silver Bay View Cottages, LLC to manage them. A few years later Jim and Catriona built a home in the Mountain Preserve area of the lake and continued to build the rental business by updating their properties and improving customer service. By 2012 the four Silver Bay View Cottages were enjoying solid bookings in the peak summer months and strong rentals for the rest of the year. With each property occupied for 25 to 30 weeks per year, Jim decided to expand the business by offering rental management services to other property owners in the Mountain Preserve area of the lake. Thus, LakeAway was born in 2014.
LakeAway is built on the same principles that built Silver Bay View Cottages: Well equipped, comfortable waterfront properties and concierge level customer service. To maintain a high level of quality and service, LakeAway rental properties must first meet rigorous quality standards that include firm, comfortable beds, clean and well appointed furnishings, as well as fully equipped kitchens. In addition, only a limited number of properties within the Mountain Preserve area of the lake will be listed on LakeAway. By including only a few local properties we can better ensure that quality standards are maintained.
While building LakeAway, Mr. Erler will continue to manage Silver Bay View Cottages. The Silver Bay properties are presently included on this web site as examples of property listings.
While Jim manages the properties, he is assisted by Tina & Brian Vandergraft who own and operate Maid4You housekeeping services.
About the Jim Erler
Jim is an entrepreneur with a wide range of technical, artistic and business interests. When not managing LakeAway and Silver Bay View Cottages, he is a mentor for technologists at the University of Virginia and at the Darden School of Business who aspire to start their own companies. He also consults for growing technology companies. Having a technical background in physics, chemistry and engineering, and having founded a semiconductor company, Jim offers a unique combination of technical and business expertise.
Jim's artistic interests inspired him to design Loblolly House, a reproduction of a famous 1908 Arts & Crafts home in Pasadena, California. Loblolly generated the interest of architects and academics who encouraged Jim to offer design services to others, which he now does. Loblolly House was featured in the Smith Mountain Lake Home Tour in October of 2011. It has also been featured in local and national magazines. If available, Jim is happy to offer private tours of the house. Go to www.ErlerDesign.com to see a video and learn more about the house.
Mr. Erler is also committed to the health of the lake and the surrounding areas. He is presently on the board of the Smith Mountain Lake Association that monitors water quality in the lake and is an advocate for water safety and a host of other issues important to the continued enjoyment of Smith Mountain Lake. Jim is also the president of the Cedar Key Estates Homeowner Association where he recently led a successful effort to protect the Bourassa State Forest (located with the Mountain Preserve) from clear cutting.
Jim's wife, Catriona, is a garden author/photographer/speaker who has written 9 books and countless articles for national and international publications. Her books are available at Amazon.com, major booksellers and home improvement stores. You can also see her regular articles in the Smith Mountain Laker Magazine which is free at local businesses and placed in all LakeAway properties. Check out her web site, www.CatrionaTudorErler.com for more information
LakeAway Property ManagementBenefit From Our Experience
Listing Your Property at LakeAway Vacation Rentals on Smith Mountain Lake
• Up to 210 nights rented per year (30 weeks)*
• Gross income up to $68,000/year from a single property
• Select properties within the Mountain Preserve Communities
By applying professional business acumen to his four vacation rentals, LakeAway's founder Jim Erler has optimized the marketing and management tools to achieve high occupancy rates in all of his properties year after year. These capabilities are now available to our neighbors in the Mountain Preserve area whose properties are accessed by Trading Post Road or Cedar Key Lane (go to Map of Mountain Preserve).
The cornerstones of LakeAway's proven strategy includes full service property management for owners, and concierge vacation planning for rental guests. Customized office systems ensure smooth operations and open communications with owners, guests and housekeepers. Ongoing maintenance and repairs are managed by LakeAway. Only properties that meet LakeAway's rigorous quality standards are accepted.
To discuss your objectives, please contact Jim Erler at 434 953-6747 or Jim@LakeAway.com.
*Performance of Mr. Erler’s properties: 23 to 30 weeks rented per year; gross income of $33k to $68k/year; house sizes are 600 to 3,000 sf. Similar performance cannot be guaranteed.
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Smith Mountain Lake had its' beginnings in 1963 when the dam across the Roanoke River was completed. It took three years for the lake to fill, covering 20,000 acres and creating over 500 miles of shorline. The lake is operated by AEP to both generate and store electricity. Energy storage is achieved by pumping water up into Smith Mountain Lake from Leesville Lake that is immediately below the dam and visible in the photo above. The Smith Mountain Lake Dam Visitor Center includes excellent exhibits that explain how it all works. See the Activities page for directions and visiting hours.
The lake is about 200' deep near the dam, leaving forests, farms, roads and bridges hidden beneath the surface. The area was prepared by cutting down all the trees that would be near the surface, but leaving the trees that would be completely submerged, creating ideal habitats for fish. As the lake was being filled, early water skiers describe dodging trees as the flew across the water!
For decades the lake remained very rural with few amenities. However, in the mid-1960s, before the lake was full, retired Air Force Colonel Leo Bourassa recognized the beauty and economic potential of the lake. He chose land along Witcher Creek with the most beautiful lake and mountain views, and built all of the properties that are now Silver Bay View Cottages, and named the area "Cedar Key". Cabin 1 and 2 were built as part of a fishing resort, while the Cedar Cabin was built as Col. Bourassa's home. In the late 1970's he added the Main House to his compound on the point. Over the years the land was subdivided, and Col. Bourassa and his wife donated the forest at the entry to Cedar Key to the Virginia Department of Forestry as a wildlife preserve, which is what it remains to this day.
In the early 1990s, Hollywood discovered Smith Mountain Lake and the comedy "What About Bob?" was filmed here, although they said it was Lake Winnipesaukee in the film. In the years following the film, several stars from the film industry chose to vacation here. More recently, the Hallmark Movie Channel film "Lake Effects" was filmed here.
Smith Mountain Lake Today
As the lake became recognized as a vacation destination in the mid-Atlantic region, marinas, stores, supermarkets, restaurants and even two movie theaters appeared around the lake. Fortunately Silver Bay and the Cedar Key area remain largely untouched. The land across Witcher Creek, adjacent to Smith Mountain, is managed by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and will never be developed, preserving our beautifull views and pristine setting. The Cedar Key section of Witcher Creek is designated as a "no wake" area, which also preserves the quiet, natural feeling of the area.
In the early days, Col. Bourassa stocked Witcher Creek with striped bass, creating an intense spawning area each spring that remained well into the last decade. While Witcher Creek remains a prime fishing areas, DGIF rightly felt that it would be better for spawning to take place throughout the lake, so they now introduce fish in other locations as well.