Josh Altman and Josh Flagg are morons. There, someone said it. They’re absolute morons. Flagg is rich because his grandmother left him a bunch of money (okay fine, also because he sells a lot of real estate), and Altman is rich because he’s great at his job. His job, by the way, is a Showman. Ryan Serhant is an unmitigated spaz. How insane can something be, if everything is insane? This is what I’ll ask Ryan if I run into him in Mykonos someday. I expect his answer to be incoherent. The television real estate people sell expensive real estate and make it a game about how rich they can become. The hustle, as they say, is how you get all of those fancy cars. Grind and Shine, I imagine Josh Altman says while he works out in his cut-off muscle shirt. I wash down my work outs with pizza, and i’m 99.95% sure I could beat him up. This is what the game of real estate is all about, competition. I grind therefore I am.
What I so dislike about this showbiz version of this often mundane job is that the game is all about the agent. The show is only loosely associated with the clients. That’s why they show those dollar signs on the TV screen when they strike a deal. That’s why Frederik is always dancing. If the National Association of Realtors was concerned about consumers thinking that Realtors are all in the business for the money, this show flaunts that concern. I wouldn’t mind having a show like that, where they follow me around and I dance and lift weights on camera. But my wife wouldn’t agree to be on the show and my clients wouldn’t either, so the show would be a one and done pilot, and when they filmed me sitting in this office for several hours at a time typing or talking the’d discover that this isn’t show business at all. It’s just a business.
Yesterday, I closed on a lakefront home in Cedar Point Park. I didn’t love the price my buyer had to pay to get the deal done, but for this particular buyer this isn’t a fluke purchase that came about because it was especially sunny one weekend in August. And if the purchase wasn’t made on a whim, does the exact price paid matter? That isn’t to say that the pricing doesn’t matter, because it does, but for some buyers the details of a lakefront purchase are different.
Like the real estate on cable TV, much of my business is assisting affluent buyers who are in search of another fluffy feather for their cap. Much in the way that affluent people in New York feel compelled to give the Hamptons a try, affluent Chicagoans would be foolish to not consider Lake Geneva as a spot to deploy a few of their hard earned dollars. There’s nothing wrong with this sort of buyer, and as a point of fact I take great joy in introducing lakefront buyers to this market. They tend to arrive here in search of a feather for that cap and end up finding something that they can’t live without. That’s fun, but what’s even more rewarding is helping a buyer who has pined for a lakefront home for so long that there were times when it felt unattainable.
I closed 234 Circle Parkway yesterday for $3.75M. The buyer had been a client of mine for a couple of years, which was just long enough to watch the lakefront market appreciate at a feverish pace. The market this buyer had been chasing was doing everything it could to get away from them, or so it must have felt. But finally, with one decisive move, this buyer made the leap, and ended up smack dab on the lakefront, with one of the finest views this lake can offer. I’m grateful to all of the buyers and sellers who allow me to guide their lakefront moves here, but some purchases just matter more. This is one such purchase, and I couldn’t be happier for the long time vacation home owner who finally captured a lifelong dream. Feathers in caps are great, but the accomplishment that represents a lifetime of hard work is, objectively, better.