614 Sauk Trail

Sometimes, things just don’t work out the way I’d prefer. Such is the case of 614 Sauk Trail in Fontana. I first listed this home in mid summer, and that initial listing was met with an incredible amount of activity. 17 showings over five days, I do believe. At the height of that activity, on a perfect late July weekend, an offer was written. It was a good offer, but the timing proved to be complicated and for many reasons the deal wasn’t accepted and the property was removed from the market. This was far from ideal, but things happen.

In September, the property came back to market, and that buyer who initially made the offer came back to grab the property. After some time under contract, that deal fell apart and the property returned to market yet again. Now the property is back on market and it remains the single best value on the lakefront priced anywhere near $2MM. Let me explain why.

To understand the way this home fits into the lakefront market, you must first understand the home and the amenities it possesses. The location, on the border of Indian Hills and Glenwood Springs, owning membership to both lakefront associations, is ideal. If there is such a thing as the heart of the action, this is where you’d draw the circle on your map. The views are westerly, but not so westerly that you can’t see to the east. This is ideal. Homes in this sort of location often suffer from Cram Syndrome, a common Fontana affliction that is just as it sounds. Yet this home somehow has privacy, and it has a two gar garage and it has ample parking. On the lakeside, there are patio spaces that rival, and indeed best, some of the finest lakefront homes on our lake.

Often times, Glenwood Springs lakefront homes will give you a pier. But not all piers are created equal, and in the case of Glenwood Springs, that’s a remarkable understatement. Many of these homes have piers that cannot host a shore station, so you can have a boat but you have the unfortunate singular option of tying your boat to the side of the pier like it’s 1982. Modern day buyers want shore stations, and often you won’t be able to find a pier that has a shore station in Glenwood Springs. At 614 Sauk, I not only have a very large pier, I have a 6000 pound shore station and a ramp and a boat house. Are you not entertained?

And about the house itself, that vintage structure that has rested above the south shore for a 100 years or more, how is that, exactly? Well, it’s large and it’s charming and there’s a cut granite fireplace that anchors the lakeside family room. There are also five bedrooms and three baths, and if that’s not enough, there’s two distinct living areas on two separate floors. In a market where this price generally buys you a singular entertaining space, this home doubles it. I’d be lying if I said this home couldn’t use a few more renovations, on top of the fundamental renovations that the current owners have already completed (new windows, furnaces, roof, bathroom, etc and etc). That’s why I see this home fitting the market so perfectly. A buyer could buy this home and move right in. Or a buyer could buy this home and tweak it, say with $100k, and enjoy their upgrades. Or a buyer could buy this home and do an entire, whole house, gut renovation on it for $400k and when the final fixture is hung the end result could be stunning. And let’s pretend that happens, and a buyer is between $2.3 and $2.4MM into a home that would, at that point, be gorgeous. Is there a comp for that? I’m so glad you asked, because my 2018 sale on Sylvan in Fontana’s Buena Vista is a perfect comp, though 614 Sauk would offer more privacy, more parking and a garage. The sale on Sylvan in 2018? $2,775,000.

If you’re stuck on only comping Glenwood Springs, then let’s compare a renovated 614 Sauk to a recently sold 412 Harvard Avenue. I sold 412 Harvard in 2011, so I know the home quite well. That home was charming and beautiful, but suffered from a lack of parking, no garage, and a very small pier with a small shore station. That home sold for $2,525,000 plus an allotment for furnishings. If you asked me what home I’d prefer, either 412 Harvard for $2,525,000 or 614 Sauk for an all in renovated number sub-$2,400,000, I’d choose Sauk so fast your head would spin.

The good news is Sauk is available. And if offers you, the buyer, a rare chance at value in a market where that characteristic is becoming increasingly hard to find. $1,999,000

About the Author

I'm David Curry. I write this blog to educate and entertain those who subscribe to the theory that Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is indeed the center of the real estate universe. When I started selling real estate 27 years ago I did so of a desire to one day dominate the activity in the Lake Geneva vacation home market. With over $700,000,000 in sales since January of 2010, that goal is within reach. If I can help you with your Lake Geneva real estate needs, please consider me at your service. Thanks for reading.

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