Knollwood Sells

Generally speaking, if a home on the lake hits the open market, I email the listing to someone. Let’s say you’re looking for a lakefront for around $1.5MM. If one comes to market, I send it to you. This is because I sell real estate. In the same way, if I have a buyer looking for a home priced around $500k with a slip and such a property becomes available, I’ll email that information to that buyer. This is not rocket science. Because I have plenty of clients, and am always looking for more, I send information out when I have it, in the hopes that someone will buy whatever it is that I’m sending them.


This is the way every real estate agent operates. Most set up automated listing reports, so that when you contact them with a question, they add you to their automated list. I don’t do this, because I think it’s rather insulting to send someone properties that really don’t line up with the sort that they’re looking for. This is why when a large home in Knollwood came to market earlier this summer with an asking price of $2.2MM, I didn’t send it to anyone. I didn’t send it to anyone because it was a home off the lake, without frontage, without a slip, without privacy, without and without, for $2,200,000. Got a $20 bill in your pocket? Good. We’ll need to collect 110,000 of those in order to buy this off-water, no-slip-having, no-privacy-affording lake access house.

Earlier in the year, another home like this came for sale. This one was on Academy Lane, priced near $1.5MM. I didn’t send that one out to anyone, either. Because it was an off-water home without a view, but with a slip, but without any lake proximity of any notable, or acceptable, distance. I didn’t send that one out, and just like the one for $2.2MM that I didn’t send out, they both sold rather immediately. The reminder for you today is this: Location, location, location? That’s the old rule, and you’re being naive and old fashioned for even knowing what that means. Shiny, fancy, sparkly? That’s what really sells real estate.

The Knollwood sale is likely the first sale of its kind at Lake Geneva, ever. Never before has an off-water home that lacked a slip sold for this sort of money, with one possible exception being a Fontana home that sat high above the lake on the north shore. But even that home had a unique location, towering above the lake, hanging on the edge of the cliff that separates the lakefront from everyone else. This Knollwood home was just a lakeview cottage location, with a cottage lot, surrounded by cottages, but there it was, $2.2MM, and someone aggressively bit it off and closed on it this week for full price. That’s 110,000 twenties in case you forgot.

What does this new rash of shiny buyers mean for the market? It means very little, really. It means that if you’ve built some giant home as an ode to your importance, and that home isn’t in a location that supports such an endeavor, you still might be okay, as long as you’re okay with losing some money in the quest for liquidity. If you build it exceptionally fancy, they will come. It also means that I’d expect to see some more speculative activity in this market place from here on out. Builders will take notice of this. They’ll see that no longer are they bound by some unspoken vow to only build a home that makes sense in the market. There are, at this moment, two different lakefront spec homes being contemplated and planned for. Perhaps these builders should have just bought a little cottage in some unimportant location and built a home there. Throw in some marble showers and a Wolf range and you just might find a live one.

In other news, the auction house in Lake Geneva closed for $2.7MM Well done to the seller, for selling this shared pier property for that nice number.

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 $800,000,000 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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