In the very small world of very small single lane lake associations surrounding Geneva, the Lake Geneva Club is surely my favorite. On a refreshingly hot Sunday during Memorial Day weekend, I went out with a couple who was in search of some lake style refreshment of their own. We started our journey contemplating some of the other area lakes in the area- lakes where $500k will buy you private frontage and your own private pier. These other lakes were fine and dandy, and wet, but they aren’t Geneva. After a couple hours scuffling around Kenosha county ponds, I mean lakes, we drove back north to the land that easily and abundantly flows with milk and honey and clear water.
I had called these buyers the day that the newest Lake Geneva Club listing hit the market. The property was in their price range, it was classically cottage, and there was a good shot that the property would end up having a transferable boat slip. Priced at $539k, it was priced correctly and in accordance with current market conditions for that club. How can one know the current market conditions at the club? Well, the easiest way to know is to ask me, but the way that I knew then and know now is because of a private sale that occurred directly next door to the new listing. That home sold for $517k, even though it had previously been on the market for a little over $800k a couple years ago. Prior to that $517k sale this winter, the most recent sale at the Lake Geneva Club was a property that I sold in 2006 for $790k. The market slipped quite a bit since then for this particular association, and the price of $517k set a newly established, and trusted, benchmark for the existing, smallish cottages in the club. The seller was smart to price his sale off of that one, ignoring the previous sale of $790k of the property that I sold in 2006- a cottage that had a superior location and a superior view.
The buyer looked at this home and a few others around Geneva, and immediately found the Lake Geneva Club the most appealing. We’d end up writing an offer on that property a couple days later, and within a week, the deal was done. The buyer paid $505k for this classic cottage, which in my opinion is a price that is well worth the admission. The buyer and his family will enjoy countless weekends at the lake, splashing their way through summer, and warming themselves by a crackling fire through winter. Late night walks to the pier to hear the summer sounds, and mid afternoon walks down the shore path will no longer be something they dream about, they’ll be something they do with regularity. Instead of waking up on Saturday mornings to a suburban existence, they’ll wake up on Saturday mornings to the sound of the waves and the quiet hum of Geneva as fishermen and waters skiers ply the waters before the sun gets too high. Then, when the sun is warm and the kids are tired from a morning spend swimming and boating, afternoon naps will come easy in bedrooms lined with old wooden windows only partially shrouded by swaying sheer curtains. It’ll be a different life for them from here on out, and I couldn’t be more excited for their new lifestyle.
This sale proves there is life in the middle of our lake access market, but the life is still largely capped at the mid $500k level. Association homes priced from $600k to $1MM remain stagnant, and only time will tell if that particular market finds favor in the same way that the entry level market finally has. To the buyer, I am tremendously grateful that you allowed me to help you with this most significant purchase. To the other broker, thanks for a job well done and for pricing this property where it needed to be priced. Four years, two total sales at the Lake Geneva Club- both sold by some kid with a computer and a self aggrandizing magazine.