Lake Geneva Holiday Sales

Lake Geneva Holiday Sales


In Holiday news, someone bought a house on some lake in East Troy this week for $1.25MM. If I can figure out why someone would do such a thing, I’ll be sure to let you know. In the mean time, other people bought some homes on and around Geneva Lake. Let’s talk about those.

In February of this year, a lakefront home in Geneva Manor came to market for $2.635MM (Overton Window). Then, after many months, the price was systematically reduced to $1.999MM, before selling this week for $1.875MM. The house was nice, I suppose, the frontage a deceivingly wide 106′, the location, meh. Geneva Manor is fine enough, but lakefront there is tight, cramped, and the lakefront lots lack any meaningful depth. So, you park your car, take three steps to the house, walk a few steps through the house, then take three more steps to the pier. It’s like that, sort of, even though I left out the part about crashing into shore path walkers as you take those final three steps to the pier. It’s busy there, as day trippers hit the shore path in that location with great fervor and consistency.

The taxes at this house were $40k, give or take, and the fair market value for taxation purposes was not significantly different than the final sale price, meaning there’s likely not a big future reduction in store for this property, which is sad, because $40k is a lot of taxes for a $1.875MM house. The sale was good for the market as it followed closely that $18k per front foot range, and as we traipse through the last few days of 2012 and into 2013 we must remember the mantra that matters this year and the one that mattered last year and certainly the one that will matter next year: Every sale is a good sale. Even if I don’t represent the buyer or the seller, it’s still, gulp, a fine sale.

On the opposite end of the vacation home spectrum, a small house on Featherstone in Country Club Estates sold this week for $156k, down a fair amount from the $175k list. This was a nice little house, clean and tidy and perfect for someone seeking a vacation home on a budget. I actually showed this home quite a few times over the past year or two, so I like the sale and I like what it means for the entry level vacation home segment. A market segment that shouldn’t be happy about this? All of the other Fontana homes that lack lakerights that seek vacation home buyers. It stands to reason that if I can buy a home with honest to goodness lake rights for $156k, there’s little other reason that I should consider a home without lake access in the same price range. Sorry all you homes back by the Fontana Elementary School- life isn’t fair.

An REO in Cedar Point Park sold for $302,500 this week, representing a large dollar amount over the ask of $272,250. This is a phenomenon that is all too common these days, as the buyer of the Maple Lane lakefront can attest to. REO properties are sold by REO brokers, that is, brokers that specialize in such bank owned sales. The negotiating process is very simple to understand. They will ask every buyer for an offer, and then they will go back and ask all of those buyers for their highest and best offer. They will not, generally, counter with specific price terms. By being ambiguous they end up driving the prices much higher than they might otherwise be driven. In other words, be careful with foreclosures as you might be negotiating against yourself. Check that, you almost certainly will be negotiating against yourself. More on that in January.

Last up this week, a condo at Abbey Springs sold for $255k. I like this price for this unit, though the listing description suggests that a buyer should imagine themselves sitting with a glass of wine on the deck. I propose a ban on such commands to imagine. The unit was listed for $349k back in 2011, so the final sale at $255k is a good number for a good condo in a good development.

Next week, we’ll review each vacation home segment in depth, and we’ll compare 2012 performances against 2011 and 2010s. It’ll be a good week, and an informative week, so I do hope you’ll be reading along.

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