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We are specialists in the purchase and sale of properties on the four Georgia Power lakes in Rabun County: Lake Burton, Lake Rabun, Seed Lake, and Lake Yonah. The purchase or sale of these properties can be very intricate and requires in-depth knowledge of the rules and regulations of the area. Our ardent intent is to help both buyers and sellers understand the complexities associated with both fee simple property and Georgia Power lease lots.  


We are the "real deal".  The web can make anyone appear to be an expert.  However, we really are.  Over the past 8 years we have been involved in over 70 lake homes sales with a total lake sales volume in excess of $100,000,000. We also maintain our own detailed proprietary data base of sales information spanning the past 15 years. We have used this data to identify trends to assist both buyers and sellers with pricing and offers.


Our approach is to listen intently to understand the goals of our clients.  Finding the right home for our buyers and the right buyer for our sellers gives us tremendous satisfaction.  Please take a look at the information on these pages and follow us on Facebook for the latest developments in the lake market of Rabun County. You may also request to be included in our month Lake Update.


With gratitude,


Michael McGaughey
Craig Kettles
Sarah Gillespie


The Lake Team

THE LAKE TEAM  is truly a team.  The three of us work together  with a common goal of delighting our clients.  We each have a varied skill set that offers far more than any single agent could.  By choosing to partner with The Lake Team, you will receive exceptional assistance in buying or selling your home from three diverse and highly capable individuals.



As the father of 6 sons, Michael knows how to solve problems!   Having been in sales since 1973, Michael loves the challenge of the selling  atmosphere. After moving from his roots in  Atlanta to Rabun County in 2001, Michael transitioned to the real estate world.  Over the last 12 years he has quickly risen to be one of the top specialists in the lake market with a sales volume in excess of $125 million. Coincidentally,   Michael’s grandfather was one of the original lake home owners on Lake Rabun in the early 1920‘s.  As such, Michael has always had a fondness for these lakes. Michael is extremely detail oriented and very committed to achieving  the highest client satisfaction.    Whether you need assistance selling your current home or finding the perfect lake home to create memories, Michael is prepared to make your next real estate transaction  the best.



After a successful career in Information Technology working for Delta, IBM and then heading his own consulting firm, Technovations, Craig moved to Rabun County full time in 2001 to shift gears.  Having renovated over 8 homes in in-town Atlanta, Craig became aware of his talent as a kitchen and bath designer.  Since moving to Rabun County, Craig has worked on countless design projects and his work has been featured in over 30 publications.  Working as a Realtor, Craig has been invaluable to many Lake Team clients by sharing his vision of a homes potential.  Craig also maintains our proprietary data base of lake sales and is able to analyze lake sales data in many different ways for both buyers and sellers.





Sarah is a 9th generation native of Rabun County with family roots spanning almost 200 years locally. Prior to joining The Lake Team, she had a successful career in Information Technology working with fortune 500 and 100 companies with namesakes like Chevron, Information Builders, JDA and the CDC. Sarah obtained her real estate license in 2005 and sold real estate in Atlanta's popular Intown neighborhoods. After moving home to Rabun County, she established a marketing and event planning company called Warwoman Ventures. Her attention to detail, area knowledge, marketing prowess and commitment to customer satisfaction help buyers and sellers rest assured that they are working with only the best.


Lake Comparison Summary

Lake Burton
Lake Rabun
Lake Seed
Lake Yonah
Fee Simple Lots328275440647
Leased Lots84421097821233
Total Lots1172485141821880
% Fee Simple28%57%31%0%34%
Shoreline Miles6225139
Acres of lake per home2.
Shoreline miles per home0.
Year Impounded1919191519261925
AmenitiesAnchorage Marina, LaPrade's Marina & Restaurants, Waterfall Club, Camp High HarbourLouie's Restaurant, Lake Rabun Hotel & Restaurant, Hall's Marina, Community Pavilion, Lakemont VillageConvenient to both Lake Rabun and Lake Burton amenitiesSerenity and convenience to Historic Clarkesville, quiet lake for any water sport.
Activities4th of July Fireworks, Fun Run, Two Annual Meetings, Tour of Homes, Bluegrass Party, Boating Safety Classes, Golf TournamentsBingo Nights, 4th of July BBQ, 4th of July Fireworks, Labor Day BBQ, Dance night, 5k/10k run, Wooden Boat Parade, Tour of Homes, Flea Market & Live Auction Cocktail Party, Golf Competitions, Boating Safety Classes4th of July Fireworks4th of July Fireworks, Annual Picnic at Association Meeting, Annual Lake Clean-up, Hydrofoiling group


Lake Burton is the first in a chain of six Georgia Power lakes with an elevation of 1866.5 feet. The Lake Burton dam was completed on December 22, 1919.  The reservoir covers approximately 2775 acres and hold almost 5 billion cubic feet of water.  There are 62 miles of shoreline and the distance from one end of the lake to the other measures 6.63 air miles and 9.41 river miles. There are roughly 1,200 private homes on Lake Burton’s shoreline.  Lake Burton is primarily a recreational lake used by the residents and visitors who enjoy the clear and clean lake water skiing, boating, and fishing.  The Lake Burton area is rich with wildlife and fish. The surrounding forests are part of the beautiful southern Appalachian Mountains. The flora and fauna of the area are a delight to enjoy and understand. The Lake Burton Civic Association sponsors numerous activities such as 4th of July fireworks, a fun run, a tour of homes and golf tournaments.  The surrounding area also offers amenities such as The Waterfall Club,  restaurants, Camp High Harbour, and the quaint shops of downtown Clayton.


Lake Rabun is the third lake out of six managed by the Georgia Power Company. Mathis Dam was completed in 1915, but  the lake was not actually impounded until almost ten years late . This delay was due to construction of a mile long tunnel dug between the lake and the power generator at Tallulah Falls. By  1925 the lake became a haven for many residents of Atlanta, who would make the day long trip by car to enjoy the area. Lake Rabun at an elevation of 1689 feet , with a surface area of 835 acres and 25 miles of , is the second largest lake in the six lake chain. While not as large as Lake Burton, Rabun offers water skiing, fishing, and wonderful afternoon cruises.  Nearby Glen Ella Springs Inn,  Louie’s On the Lake, and The Orchard Golf Club offer the lake community enjoyable amenities.  The surrounding Lake Rabun area supports white tail deer, red and grey fox, raccoon, bobcats , and a large population of black bear. Wild Turkey and ruffled  grouse are also seen in the area. Many hiking trails and local waterfalls are also visited frequently by the lake residents. The Lake Rabun Association is an active homeowners association for residents and merchants of the Lake Rabun area and sponsors many events throughout the year such as The Rabun Ramble 5k & 10k Run; 4th of July fireworks, barbecue and wood boat parade; and the tour of homes.


Seed Lake  is the narrow Tallulah River impoundment of 240 acres with a shoreline of approximately 13 miles. It was impounded in 1926 and  is the second in the chain of Georgia Power lakes and is downstream from the Burton Dam.  The name “Nacoochee” came from the Cherokee language and means “evening star”. It seems that Lake Seed is probably the most overlooked of this chain of lakes. Yet, Lake Seed is enjoyed by pleasure boaters,anglers, and residents of the shore line. Access to Lake Seed is limited to one boat ramp on the upper north side of the lake. Surrounded by national forest and Georgia Power property, Lake Seed can appear  to be a genuine “diamond in the rough”. The quiet peace and  serenity of Lake Seed define the underlying character of the lake.  Membership in the Seed Lake Association is available for all property owners.


Lake Yonah, near Toccoa, Ga., is the last in the series of Georgia Power lakes. It has more than nine miles of shoreline and is 744.2 feet above sea level and encompasses 325 acres. Lake Yonah offers such varied outdoor activities as boating, fishing, picnicking and camping. Tugalo Park, a primitive camping area, features camping along the lake, with a boat launch area for small to medium boats. Located at the upper end of Lake Yonah, Tugalo Park is just a short drive from Tallulah Falls. 

Which lake do I want to own property on?That is a personal preference because each of the lakes is different and has its own personality. Each offers various options for lake living depending on your tastes. Learn about and explore each one so you can make the correct decision for you and your family. You will have a good experience on any of the lakes. Please call us to discuss the nuances of each lake.
What is the difference between a fee simple lot and a Georgia Power lease lot?FEE SIMPLE: Fee simple ownership is probably the most familiar form of ownership to buyers of residential real estate. Depending on where you are from, you may not know of any other way to own real estate. Fee simple is sometimes called fee simple absolute because it is the most complete form of ownership. A fee simple buyer is given title (ownership) of the property, which includes the land and any improvements to the land in perpetuity. Aside from a few exceptions, no one can legally take that real estate from an owner with fee simple title. The fee simple owner has the right to possess, use the land and dispose of the land as he wishes--sell it, give it away, trade it for other things, lease it to others, or pass it to others upon death.

LEASE LOT: A Georgia Power lease lot is owned by Georgia Power and the lease holder has a 15 year lease (with a 15 year renewal) on the property. The property lease then renews every 15 years. The improvements (house, boathouse, etc.) are owned by the purchaser. There is a transfer fee with a new lease and yearly lease payments paid to Georgia Power. Lease lots tend to be larger in size than fee simple lots. A sample lease can be found at: SAMPLE LEASE. Please contact Georgia Power for further information. Also, Georgia Power has published a Shorelines Management Guide' that can be found at: Georgia Power Shoreline Management Guide. Georgia Power has recently launched a new website specifically targeted to the North Georgia lakes and can be accessed at: .
How much are the annual lease payments to Georgia Power?For a 15 year lease, you will pay $1050 a year for the first 5 years, $1100 a year for the next 5 years and $1200 for the final 5 years.
What are the lake levels?Lake levels are variations of depth that are controlled by Georgia Power. Lake levels have minimal fluctuation throughout the year. Georgia Power does draw down the lake levels during certain winter months for shoreline maintenance, boathouse construction and repair. For current lake levels, visit: LAKE LEVELS.
What are the prices for lake front property? Depending on which lake, lot prices start at about $300,000 and can go up to more than $10 million. Each lake is a bit different and offers different price points. The size, views, and amount of shoreline of lake front property are some contributing factors for price levels. There are many opportunities for lake front lots, but in the last few years, buyers are paying from $300,000 to over $2 million dollars for “tear-down” properties.
What is the best time to look for lake property?Generally speaking there is no “best time” to look for lake property. Properties come on and off the market throughout the year. The lakes are usually drawn down in the winter so that can make it more challenging in those times to view the property from the the water. However, when the lake is down and the trees are bare, you are sometimes able to get a better sense of the property.
As a Buyer, why should I choose The Lake Team to represent me?In the last three years, The Lake Team was one of the top sellers on all the lakes in Rabun County. The Harry Norman Realtor Luxury Lake and Mountain agency has consistently been the top agency for lake property sales. We feel that we achieved this status due to the professionalism of our agency and also our individual Lake Team approach Our focus is specifically on the lakes. Knowing that finding the right lake house is a lengthy process, we often work with a client for different lengths of time until the perfect home becomes available. We try to show properties by water and by land as the location and accessibility can differ greatly depending on the approach. Our use of our database allows us to research the history of a home and to assist in analyzing various options. The knowledge of homes that are not officially on the market, is also helpful. A steady, deliberate, and efficient approach to meeting your needs is the linchpin of our service to buyers.
What is the difference between a Client and a Customer? For a detailed explanation of the types of brokerage relationships, please read the ABC's of Agency, Understanding Real Estate Brokerage Relationships in Georgia.

"Michael and Craig came highly recommended by several people in Rabun county.  They took their time with us and really helped us find the perfect home for our family.  Their knowledge of the lake is unparalleled.  They helped us prioritize our needs and directed us to our dream home on Lake Rabun.  We couldn't be happier and are forever grateful!"

The Simmons - Ryan, Hailey, Connor, Ridley, and Rhett (purchasers of Lake Rabun Home) - June 2014


"When Lori and I decided to search for a home on Lake Rabun or Burton,  several friends highly recommended Michael and Craig as the “go to” realtors.   The recommendation was validated in every aspect of our buying experience.  On the first visit to tour homes,  Michael and Craig prepared a detailed package of the homes that we were about to preview along with comments on why those homes were worth considering.  During each showing they shared their knowledge of the real estate market and gave Lori and I great perspective on each property.

At the time of making offers they guided us through that process and were VERY responsive to our needs during the negotiations.  After going under contract,  the real adventure begins when buying a second home but Michael and Craig were supportive during the entire process.  They attended the inspection and assisted with all of the items that needed to be addressed as a result of the inspection including meeting some of the contractors at the home since we were 90 miles away in Atlanta.

Lori and I would recommend them highly."

-- J. Clayton and Lori Snellings (Purchasers of a Lake Rabun home) April, 2014


The Carroll Family

"Michael came highly recommended from a friend. From our first meeting to closing 12 months later, Michael was professional, unbiased, detail oriented and extremely responsive.  Michael provided critical quantitative sales data and his thoughts were invaluable in our choice.  We have remained friends after the sale and frequently consult Michael about the market on the lakes."

--  Jon and Claudia Carroll (purchasers of Lake Burton home) - June 2009



"We purchased a house at Lake Burton this year which was listed by Harry Norman Realtors luxury Lake and Mountain. Michael McGaughey was jointly listing the property, as well as representing us as a customer. The transaction went as smoothly as it possibly could have, with Michael and his team intimately involved from the beginning. Michael handled all of the arrangements for inspections, letters from appropriate authorities, utilities, etc., which was a huge help since we live in Atlanta and didn’t know who to call in Rabun County. He even recommended a contractor who has done a number of jobs for us since closing. We could not have been happier with the professionalism and market knowledge exhibited by Michael during the entire process. We will definitely recommend The Lake Team to anyone we know looking to purchase at Rabun, Burton or any of the other lakes in North Georgia."

-- Christopher Carlton, Carlton Realty Group (Purchaser of a Lake Burton Home) - July 2014

Michael and Craig (The Lake Team) worked with us for over a year to refine what we were looking for in a lake house, and then find it. They listened carefully, showed us various options, and helped us refine our criteria and goals. They allowed us to better understand the market, price points, advantages and disadvantages of numerous locations and alternatives, and walked us through several offers before finally finding the right home at a price that was within our budget. They were patient, informed, realistic, and professional guides as we navigated the lake environment with many more factors to evaluate than a more typical real estate purchase. We were grateful to have their hands on our backs in our successful purchase.

-- Jeff Pennel (Purchaser of Lake Rabun Home) - May 2014

"Michael and Craig were extremely helpful during our search and purchase of a home at Burton.  Being relatively new to Atlanta, we weren't familiar with the lake options in the area.  However, after a couple visits to Rabun County, we knew we had found our place.  The Lake Team patiently but efficiently helped us understand the real estate options and advised us through a smooth and professional transaction process.  Their knowledge and experience in the area was invaluable throughout our search and purchase.  We would recommend them without hesitation.” 

-- David and Sabrina Duncan (Purchaser of Lake Burton Home) - February 2014

“We can’t say enough about The Lake Team.  We looked at 15 homes, between Lake Rabun and Lake Burton.  Michael and Craig provided us plenty of information to avoid mistakes and make a confident purchase.  We made an offer on our Lake Burton home, and closed on it in less than 30 days.  We would recommend The Lake Team to anyone looking to purchase a lake lake home in Rabun County. "

--  Mark & Elsa Wade (Purchaser of Lake Burton Home) - December 2013

"Michael and Craig provided outstanding professional services both before and after the purchase. Their knowledge of the area, inventory of homes, and market conditions allowed us to search for a home efficiently and quickly. They went above and beyond the call of duty in showing us homes and providing detailed reports on potential sites.  Their professionalism was exceptional and experience was highly valued."

--  The Link Family (Purchaser of Lake Burton Home) - June 2013

"We were thinking of listing our property  and contacted Michael and Craig about the lake market. They were responsive and knowledgeable, and quickly worked with another Harry Norman Realtor agent to find us a potential Buyer. Throughout the transaction process, they represented us in a professional manner and I was very satisfied. I would recommend them to anyone selling or buying lake property in Rabun County."

-- Tom Bell (seller of Lake Rabun Home) - March 2013

“Michael made our purchase of a second home an absolutely seamless event.  Although he was the seller’s agent in the transaction, his handling of the negotiations were at all times extremely professional.  Once we agreed upon a purchase contract, he bent over backwards to assist us – with the home inspection, the well inspection, the survey and many other such necessities required when you purchase a home, all tasks that can be difficult when you live in Atlanta (or somewhere else).  As we approached closing, Michael – as a resident of the lake area himself – was a wealth of information as to sources for assistance, from everything ranging from boat slips to housekeeping services.  At every moment, he went the extra mile, and always provided  the professionalism and genuine concern he had shown from the outset of the transaction.  We cannot recommend Michael highly enough."

-- Richard and Claudia North (Purchasers of Seed Lake home) - March 2013

"Michael helped us buy and sell two different properties on Lake Burton. This was a very technical transaction and all items had to be handled correctly and were extremely time sensitive. He never missed a beat and made everything seem to be simple throughout the process. Without a doubt he is the MOST professional and knowledgeable  Realtor I have ever had the  pleasure of working with….. I would highly recommend using Michael and the Lake Team if you want a place on the Lakes of Rabun County!"

-- Archie Lowe (seller & buyer of Lake Burton home) - January 2011

"Michael and Craig were highly recommended to us for their knowledge of the Rabun County lakes (Rabun, Seed and Burton) and for their amazing follow through once a purchase/sale has been negotiated.  With such high recommendations, it would have been easy to disappoint, but much to the contrary Michael and Craig far exceeded our expectations.  In all respects, Michael and Craig were a complete pleasure to work with, they quickly understood our preferences, directed our search appropriately, and provided great insight and advice on location, resale potential, and the diligence process (which is more complicated with a lake house).  And beyond their talent and professionalism, we simply enjoyed getting to know them, and look forward to being their neighbors on Lake Rabun.  In sum, we would highly recommend any one considering purchasing a lake house in Rabun County to look to, and rely upon, Michael and Craig -- they are very aptly named  "The Lake Team"! 

-- Peter & Libby Fozzard (purchasers of a Lake Rabun home) - May 2012

"Thank you for all of your help, understanding and success!  I am so grateful that Arden hired you as our realtor; you did a great job!"

-- Ashley McKinney (seller of Lake Rabun home) - April, 2011

"Professional, reliable, knowledgeable, and personable.  Michael and Craig are a rare and wonderful blend of these qualities that made our Lake Burton house purchase smooth and straightforward.  We highly recommend them!"

-- Brian and Teresa Howard (purchasers of Lake Burton home) - January, 2011

“Michael very skillfully guided us through the process of selling our home. He anticipated potential problems and issues and gave us sound advice and alternatives to consider.  He handled it with total professionalism.”   

-- Tom & Spring Asher (sellers of Lake Rabun home) - October, 2009

"As our agent, Michael quickly understood our objectives and demonstrated a complete understanding of the lake market.  He gave us excellent guidance during our purchasing process.  Michael is very conscientious and has great follow through and attention to detail" 

-- Kay and Bob Tritt (purchasers of Lake Rabun home) - December, 2009

Rabun 1"I want to thank you for your dedication, pertinence, generosity, and always candid advice. With this transaction we have found a great place, but above all, we have found in you a new great friend." 

-- Federico Lander (purchaser of Lake Rabun home) - September, 2009