I suppose you can’t blame them, those once Lake Geneva determined buyers who find themselves aimlessly wandering down the miserable little lanes that line the miserable other lakes. What other lakes? Those Other Lakes. The ones here and there, the ones north of here and east of here. Somewhere, someone, right at this very moment, they’re considering a lake to the south of here. What a terrible thing this is, during this beautiful month. Last year, June was terrible because the weather made it so. This year, the weather has been perfect but everything else is terrible. Why can’t we just have a nice month of perfect weather and unterrible things? Why must we choose?
And about that choice, the one that finds someone right now on some silly highway careening to some Other Lake where they’ll soon contemplate a horrible decision. It’s a choice, after all. Unlike the rest of our problems, this problem is particularly self inflicted. The highway noise hums and the kids squirm. Are we there yet? Everyone wonders. Where is there, after all? It’s not here, and I suppose that’s all that matters. The answer, from the front seat to the back, is that we’ll be there soon. No one knows if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, just that it’ll be a thing. There. Soon. The hours pass and the traffic worsens. Where are we going, anyway?
The buyers are leaving, and they’re going there. Lake Geneva isn’t benevolent this summer, because it’s too popular. There are too many people wanting to come here and not enough people wanting to leave. I know this is a good thing. You know it’s a good thing. But the buyers? They know there’s another lake an hour north, or it might be two hours north, they aren’t sure. But a friend from home said they used to have a place there and it’s amazing. The water is clear-ish, and there’s way more inventory. It’s not as busy as Lake Geneva. These are the data points that made that nice family load into the family truckster and head to that lake. They’ll arrive and if the water is wet everything will be fine.
It’s that time of year where the buyers of Lake Geneva burn themselves out on a lack of inventory. You could likely guess by now, but you should know without any doubt that this is a tremendous mistake. Buyers are making loads of them right now, some buying houses on Geneva that are really bad ideas. Others making worse mistakes and heading to the other lakes simply because of an immediate need. A scratch that must be itched. It cannot be ignored, and so after a few weeks or months of looking for something on Geneva they leave here in search of something else. As if the alternative is equal to this standard.
If you want to know why people look to other lakes when Geneva is light on inventory, it’s mostly due to impatience. If you want to eat a burger, the McDonald’s drive-thru never closes. But if you want to eat a fine meal that you’ll both look forward to and remember, then Alinea will require a reservation a month or two, or three in advance. How much more effort and care we allot to our unimportant dining decisions than we place in our real estate decisions. If you’re going to Maui you’re going to need to book your Mama’s Fish House reservation at least three or four months in advance. Want to buy a house in Lake Geneva? Drive up, look around, and two weeks later head to another lake. Does any of that make sense?
Of course it doesn’t, but it’s happening again. In this, there is nothing but an observation and a warning. Yes, Geneva can be difficult at times, but that’s because it’s popular. If I were a buyer of something and it was proving scarce, I wouldn’t avert my attention to something lesser than. I’d just narrow my focus and really pay attention. If I wanted something and it was always and constantly available, I’d wonder why. And if that something is cheaper than the better version of it, I’d understand why. It’s not as nice as the superior product. It’s not in demand. It’s lesser than. At Lake Geneva, we’re not only the most liquid upper bracket market in the entirely of the Midwest vacation market scene, we’re the only market worth waiting for. Buyers, hang in there, this thing we have at Lake Geneva is worth the wait, no matter how tempting the soupy muck and terrible little roads of the Other Lakes might be.