After I fawned all over buoys earlier this week, I figured I’d show some respect for the boat slip. I do, at times, spell boat slip as boatslip, and there seems to be no particular reason as to why I switch it up once in a while. Forgive me for my lack of consistency. For generations, boat slips on Geneva have been desired. Wars have been fought over them, and families torn apart. The boat slip is the holy grail for those vacationing water lovers who seek weekends graced with boat rides (also a word I sometimes spell as one), and as long as there have been boat slips on Geneva, there have been buyers willing to pay extra to own them. To say that you “own” one is probably not quite right, as the water in between the slip belongs to the state, so you really just have the rights to the slip.
The prized slip arrangement is what we call a fully transferable slip. By we, I mean me. This means that when you buy the property you have a slip, when you own the property you have a slip, and when you ultimately sell the property, your new buyer will have the slip. This is the best of all slip arrangements, outside of owning your own private lakefront house, where you’ll obviously have your own private pier with accompanying slip (or two). Another form of slip arrangement is the dreaded “one time transfer”. Associations like Glenwood Springs and Indian Hills can have this sort of situation, and it’s far from ideal. It works like this. When you buy the slip, you get the sellers slip. While you own the property, be it for 6 months, or 60 years, you get the slip. When you sell the house, the slip is no longer available for the next buyer. So when you’re buying a home that has a one time transfer available to you, you’re paying a premium for that boat slip, but when you sell the home you’re no longer to obtain that premium. One time transfers are fine for people who are buying with the intent of staying put for 15 or more years, but not so good for someone who might not be as secure in their future plans. One time transfers- not the best.
Boat slips on Geneva are also available through a waiting list. That works like this. You buy a home in an association that has a waiting list for a boat slip. You close on the house, and the same day you put your name on the boat slip waiting list. You live your life. Then you die. Then someone calls your kids some day to say that you finally got your boat slip. It’s like that Seinfeld where they’re at the Chinese restaurant waiting forever and as soon as they leave the maitre d’ calls out “Seinfeld, four!” It’s like that, without the MSG. To be fair, there are some associations where the boat slip list moves rapidly, but unfortunately, this isn’t usually the case. Most associations with waiting lists for slips shouldn’t be counted on to provide slips in anything that even remotely resembles a timely fashion.
As of today, there are roughly 26 homes for sale that transfer with boat slips. These are all association homes, not lakefront homes. The most economical property with a transferable slip is in Glenwood Springs, priced at $350k. It’s a very basic cottage, but for someone looking to hang out at the lake and spend most of their time lakeside on on a boat, it’s a great property. There are three other homes with slips priced under $600k, including my listing at the Harvard Club ($549k). The remaining homes are largely priced between $600k and $925k, with several more priced up to the mid $1.5MM’s. Don’t think the boat slip is just being thrown in as a gift with these homes, because no matter the property, you’re paying for it. Current price valuations of boat slips are subjective, but my best guess is that a slip will currently add anywhere from $100k to $150k to the value of any given lake access property here. That’s down from a figure that was closer to $200k several years ago, but it still reflects a premium that boat lovers will pay to have a permanent home for their floating fiberglass or wood joy provider.
Boat slips on Geneva also provide a huge advantage over the Michstaken real estate purchases on the other side of the syringe filled pond. In Michigan, slips are relegated to harbors and marinas. Buy a cottage there, and plan on driving to your ala carte boat slip in some oil soaked harbor. Buy a vacation cottage at Lake Geneva, and chances are you’ll be able to grab a towel, nudge on some flip flops, and saunter down the lawn to your boat slip. I might be just some kid from Lake Geneva, but I know which situation sounds like the better idea to me.