I had never written a blog post from the day I was born in 1978 through March 28th, 2007. Then, on March 29th. I wrote one. It wasn’t really a post, it was more of an introduction. But every blog since the beginning of time has started with an introduction. And so that introduction and then some fits and starts and lack of commitment to the idea. Since then, 1531 blog posts have been published here, which is meaningful, I think. If you’re a Lake Geneva buyer and you’d like to know about a certain association at the lake, you could search that association on Google, or you could skip that step and just come to this Lake Geneva real estate blog and search the association. The blog has been somewhat important to my career.
There have been common themes written here. The first theme is that you’re wasting your life if you’re affluent enough to have a Lake Geneva vacation home and yet you don’t have one. That’s the first and most important theme. The next theme is that if you’re wealthy enough to have a vacation home and you don’t have one in Lake Geneva, then you’re just being ridiculous. The other themes are all sort of spun around those two most important themes. The third theme is that if you are indeed looking at Lake Geneva, then you should be working with me. That’s actually the most important theme, so the other themes are somewhat less important, assuming you care about my children and their future.
Another theme that I’ve often touched on is the desire of sellers to find buyers, and to find them in all the places that they live, the places that they work, the places that they think about Lake Geneva real estate. I’ve oft wished for a new medium, a new place where the buyers hang out, where I might enter and meet them all and them sell them all properties at the lake. But this secret location, this secret medium, it doesn’t exist. I’ve given sellers extreme exposure at times, and yet, when a buyer does materialize the buyer hails from places we already know. The buyer for a Lake Geneva property is usually already in Lake Geneva.
Not that he or she lives here, but that buyer is usually already somehow connected to the lake. Rarely, if ever, has a buyer found an ad in a magazine and decided, based on that introduction to this market, that indeed Lake Geneva sounds like a nice place to spend several million dollars. The buyer may be aware of the lake, aware of the market, aware of the need to transform his weekends, and that ad may push him over the top, but that ad was rarely, if ever, the initial catalyst for the purchase. I deal with this often.
And it got me thinking, where do these buyers come from? Who are these buyers? Where do they live? Why are they here? Thankfully, these are questions that I can answer. I wouldn’t have asked them if I couldn’t. In the past 36 months, there have been 60 (MLS) Geneva lakefront and lake access sales over $1MM. There have been another 12 lakefront and lake access lots (several in the South Shore Club) closed over $500k. That’s 72 sales in 36 months, and that’s a pretty large sample size. So where do these Lake Geneva buyers call home?
That’s kind of a tricky question, as I can only look at the address where the tax bills is mailed, which is, more times than not, the location of the new owners primary home. Sometimes the tax bill goes to an attorney or an accountant, but rarely. 11 of the 72 times the tax bill is being sent to the Lake Geneva address of the home they bought here, but does that mean 11 of the 72 buyers are primary owners? Of course not. Of those 11, I would estimate just three are actually calling their Lake Geneva address their primary. So what of the other 61?
Eight are in Chicago proper. Four in Barrington. Four in Hinsdale. Two in Wilmette, two in Winnetka. Three in Naperville, two in Lake Forest, two in River Forest. Three buyers call Texas home, four are from Florida, one from Hermosa Beach, California. Of the 61 properties that don’t list the property address on the tax bill, two are from other parts of Wisconsin, eight are from Florida, Texas, and California, and the remainder, the overwhelming majority, are from Illinois. None of this should be a surprise.
Then again, there is one tax bill sent to Marseilles. That’s by Ottawa. In Illinois.