When you’re an owner of a home and you sell it, the world responds with a typical refrain. Congratulations! This is what they say. This is also what people say when you score well on a test, or have a baby, or get married. Congratulations. But sometimes, I wonder if that’s the right thing to say to someone who just sold a home, especially when it’s a lake home. Sometimes, it feels more like a necessary step to get to the next one, and less like something to be uniquely happy about.
Ten years ago, a young family from the north suburbs was referred to me by an important client of mine. The family wanted a lake house, but they didn’t know exactly what sort. They looked here and they looked there. Even Michigan got the sort of glance it deserves, which is a fleeting one. After some significant time of searching they decided on a most unique home in Fontana. Clear Sky Lodge has three Zook designed homes, and the middle one was available. Fresh off of a sparkly new renovation by some great folks that would later become prized clients of mine, this home scratched a vast majority of their itches. It had a pool, tennis court, canopied slip, and loads of privacy. The deal was struck and the family that wanted a lake house bought one. The next ten years would pass quickly.
But not before there were makeshift tennis tournaments, birthday parties and prom parties and new year’s eve ping pong matches. There were problems, sure, updating aged AV systems and learning that logs require maintenance and troubleshooting this and that. Lake home ownership isn’t fun all of the time. It can be a chore. And a bear. It can be miserable, at times. But when you look back over a decade spent at a lake house I would bet that the vast majority of the memories are fond. Because of this, I can’t imagine selling a lakehouse is something that leaves someone desiring congratulations. I imagine it’s actually a somewhat sad time. A reflective time to be grateful for the moments captured in that home. On TV, they pop champaign and pass around the botox needle after closings. In real life, I don’t think this happens.
Today, I’m actually more excited for the new buyer of this lovely property than for the seller. The seller is moving on to another lake home in our market, and I’m sure the new move will prove to be wonderful in all of its own ways. But the buyer is the one who now gets to experience this enchanting property, and it’s the buyer who gets to have makeshift tennis tournaments and pool parties and late night chats around the fire pit. To the seller, I say thank you for allowing me to help with these real estate moves, but I’m not going to say congratulations as I reserve that sentiment for buyers.