One of the oldest individual mysteries in the real estate world is the answer to the question that asks why a buyer bought what he did. If 20 homes are for sale in a neighborhood, no, the very street itself, why did that buyer buy that house with those wretched green shutters? This is the question we ask, all of us. We do it at home and we do it on vacation, and we do it when some seemingly nice family moves into the home that we all know to smell eerily like a litter box. Can that family not smell? I mean, they seem normal, and presentable, and they seem like us, but did they not notice that God awful smell? They can’t be normal, can they?
Odds are, no. No they are not. But they bought that house for one reason or another, and the reason that they provide to you when you ask them will likely not be the real answer. They’ll tell you they bought it because of the big yard. The truth is that they bought it because on the day they first looked at it the seller had just sprayed three squirts of Febreze instead of four, and that noxious perfume mingled with the litter box just so that it smelled like a sprig of synthetic lavender soaked in cat urine, which, coincidentally enough, some people, no- these people, loved. People buy strange houses, for strange reasons, and there’s nothing that you and I can do about it.
After a slow September, the lakefront on Geneva is currently hot. A quick look around the MLS today shows a new lakefront vacant lot (asking $2.495MM under contract) and perhaps two other parcels further down North Lakeshore in Fontana also either under, or soon to be under contract. There remains the lakefront mini-estate pending sale on the south shore of Fontana, and another offer floating around on yet another large lakefront property. There are buyers, and they are active, and the lakefront is going to end 2011 with a burst of activity that will make the Wall Street protesters add yet another demand to their ridiculous list of demands: Everyone should have a lakefront vacation home on Geneva Lake. Also, Free Cobalts for Everyone! You get a Cobalt, and you get a Cobalt, and you, yes you, the guy with the sign that says the minimum wage should be $20 regardless of employment, you also get a Cobalt!
But if we did that, and gave those people Cobalts, there would be a rash of abandoned, nearly new Cobalts littering the shore of Geneva as they inevitably run out of gas and if I know Gordy’s, which I do, they’re going to refuse to pump gas for free. Anyway, the lakefront market is moving along nicely, with some homes receiving contracts and others receiving lustful looks. There are buyers out there right now, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say that the beautiful fall weather of October has had something to do with it.
In spite of this rash of activity, and ample available properties, I feel like the lakefront inventory is a bit sparse. If you’re looking for an entry level deal priced in the $1.25MM to $1.5MM range, that is available to you today. If you’re looking for a quality home in the low $2MMs, that too is available. But if you’re seeking an estate type setting, and you’re looking in the upper $2MMs to upper $3MMs, there seems to be a lackluster supply at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of inventory, it’s just that much of it is stale and picked over, and most of it bores me. There are exceptions, but these are rare as most are down right average and overpriced to such an extent that my bones ache at the mere sight of their list prices. Chief among the exceptions is an incredible new listing on Basswood Drive (not mine). It’s big and it’s bold and it’s beautiful and in the mid $3MMs for that setting, it’ll sell quickly.
While I will never understand why people buy what they buy, I can help guide you towards the right fit for you. The right fit for your lifestyle, obviously, but also the right fit when viewed through the prism of future value. If you’re in love with a house that the market hates, I’m fine with that. But unlike most agents, if the market hates a house, or if I hate a house, I’ll be sure to tell you so, and leave you with the power to make the purchase or pass decision based on as many facts, both well known and obscure, as possible. This should be expected, but in fact you’ll find that such vocalized knowledge is extraordinarily hard to come by.