I know that lakerights matter. You probably know it, too. We take this knowledge for granted, that it’s obvious to us in a lake-centric community that it is imperative that we have some sort of private access to that epicenter. But we’re no longer new to this game, and we can’t forget that some are. At this very moment, some family is just beginning to consider their vacation home options. They will shamefully consider Michigan, but that will only last a while. They’ll look at maps, and they’ll consider all sorts of ridiculous destinations before realizing that Lake Geneva is where they should be. They’ll consider these shores without understanding what makes certain homes more valuable than others, and then they’ll have to wrap their minds around lakerights.
To fully understand lakerights, we must understand what it is that makes a vacation home so much fun. It isn’t the maintenance of that home. It isn’t the annual tax bill. It isn’t the fact that the house needs painting every now and again, and it has nothing to do with the roof that should probably be replaced. All of these are necessary evils in this game, and they can contribute to the feeling that a second home is simply that- a second home to drain perfectly good money out of our increasingly shallow pockets. This is true, if the vacation home doesn’t offer anything besides shelter. If there wasn’t anything different about the setting of your second home, then there’s no point in owning it. If you live in a Chicago suburb with no lake nearby then why would you buy a vacation home in Wisconsin with no lake nearby?
A vacation home should provide shelter, and it should have a level of luxury commensurate with your budget, but it should above all provide the opportunity to live differently than you do while at your primary home. If you wake on a Saturday at your primary home and sit on a deck facing your neighbors fence, and then later you gather the motivation to head to town to run errands and shop a bit, then this shouldn’t be what your vacation home routine looks like. You should have a vacation home that allows for waking on a Saturday and walking to the lake, to sit on a pier and read the morning paper. You cannot do this in the suburbs, and if you tell me you can, then you don’t know what a lake is supposed to look like.
The vacation home should be different, not necessarily bigger and fancier, just different. It should let you live differently, to break your mundane Monday through Friday. This is why lakerights are so important, because they offer the ability to lay claim to some piece of lakefront, somewhere you can go where the rest of the world cannot. It matters because without lakerights your vacation home is just another home, and who needs two of those?
There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. Some of my clients find vacation homes in the country, with loads of acres where boats are replaced by ATV’s and afternoon swimming times are replaced by skeet shooting times. While I’m a lake guy first and foremost, I cannot tell you that a weekend retreat in the country is not a fabulous idea. But this is the country, this is acreage and this is space and this, too, allows the vacation homeowner to live in a way that is different from his primary existence. If you shoot clays in your Lincoln Park yard, I suggest you stop, immediately. You can walk to brunch in Lincoln Park, which is why I don’t heavily weight the ability to walk to brunch when shopping for a Lake Geneva vacation home. We’re trying to live differently, remember?
Lake Geneva is an incredibly varied market. We have everything available, all sorts of ownership at all sorts of price ranges. Whatever range fits your wallet and whatever property fits your eye, we are happy to have you. However, if you’re lost in this market and wondering what the best fit is, just remember the goal. We want to live Saturdays at the lake in a way that’s nothing like Saturdays at home. The easiest way to guarantee that happens? Buy on the lake or as close to it as possible.