If you’re reading this, we made it. You made it. I made it. We’re the lucky ones. It’s freezing cold today at the lake, temperatures below zero today just like yesterday. Tomorrow, probably. The lake is icing up. The bays gave in first, Geneva Bay leading the surrender. Fontana or Williams Bay will tap out next. There’s ice off Black Point. Ice in the Narrows. It’s icing and it’s cold but we’re here and we made it. Welcome to 2018, just like 2017 but hopefully better. Or the same. Anything but worse would be absolutely fine with me.
Because what a year it was. My kids are healthy, my wife still tolerates me, I’m healthy and kicking. My business was a success, and that’s something that causes me pause. I’ve had eight straight years that now represent the best eight years that any agent has ever had in this market. No one has had a better eight years. $236,000,000 worth of sales over those eight years. I don’t quite know how to react to that. When I started this blog, I did so because I felt like my typical agent efforts weren’t working. An ad in the paper here. A cold call there. A stupid business card and a stupid shirt with a stupid tie. Those things were awful and kept me from explaining the market the way I knew I could explain it. How could I tell someone what house they should buy if they would’t call me? How could I tell them the market was hot or the market was terrible if they didn’t know who I was? So almost ten years ago this blog was born, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that it has changed my life. I write it out of duty, often, sometimes it’s glib and sometimes it’s dark. Sometimes I hope you can’t tell that I don’t really have much to say, but usually I know that you know. It’s okay that way.
For the year just ended, I finished with over $45,000,000 in closed volume. That number was, far and away, the highest individual agent sales total in Walworth County. I spent most of my adult (working) life behind this desk hating the agents who sold more than me. Wondering how they did it. Wishing for their success. I looked to them in the only way I knew to look at my competition; up. But now, on the heels of this run, I don’t really know what to say. The $45MM is added to the 2016 volume of $62MM- the volume that put me as the top agent in the whole state for 2016. That’s $107,000,000 worth of Lake Geneva sales in 24 months. I didn’t close those totals by changing my aim, either. I didn’t sign on to rep a commercial project in Kenosha. Or list restaurants or density-loving developments in Elkhorn. I did it by remaining true to the only market in this world that interests me, the Lake Geneva vacation home market. Since 2010, I’ve been the listing or selling agent (or both) in seven of the top nine sales this market has closed, including the three most expensive sales. Those sales are sales that I previously could have never imagined facilitating.
In a way, these sales totals scare me. They set a bar so high that I don’t hope to clear it, I just hope to sniff it. Maybe touch it, barely, like I did the rim during 9th grade gym class. I don’t know how to get back to those levels, nor do I know how to beat them. I know I’m replaceable. I know I’m disposable. I know you can find someone else to show you houses. You can find someone who’s better at answering the phone than I am. Now, you can’t find someone else to show you houses in the same way that I show you houses, and I know you can’t find someone to work with that’s as fun or effective as I am, but I still know I’m only here because of you. My success does not hinge on me, insofar as I cannot singularly declare success and then achieve it. My success depends on you, and on my ability to not fail you. I can’t promise that won’t ever happen, but I can promise I’ll be here, at this desk, in this place, serving this market, for as long as you’ll have me. I’m grateful that you’ve made my effort matter.
Here’s to you. To me. To Lake Geneva and to this new year. May we all keep our health and find our peace. See you at the lake.