Lake Geneva Fire Boat Update

The good news for whomever might be buying the lakefront house next to my parents’ house is that Christmas lingers there. Long after the presents have been opened and discarded, long after the wrapping paper has been burned in the fireplace, long after the last of the orange rolls have been left in the porch to freeze in their tupperware container, the Christmas lights remain. The soft Christmasy glow from the garage icicle lights endures. This is a benefit of living next to my parents, assuming you love all-year Christmas decor.

With that, it should be obvious that there is a contract on the modest lakefront that rests at the end of Upper Loch Vista Drive. Listed at $2.425MM just a few weeks ago, it was a nearby owner who decided to upgrade to private frontage, so the market will absorb a sale and sellers will point to what appears to be a very strong sales price for limited frontage. I’d argue that nearby owner upgrade sales shouldn’t really count the same as an outside buyer arriving at the scene and purchasing it, but what do I know? The house will be sold, the Christmas lights will dimly light their summer windows, and all will be well.

A lakefront on the south side of the lake closed this week. That lakefront was owned by the broker of a large local real estate company, and that brings up an interesting concept. Does it matter to you where the broker of your chosen brokerage lives? Does it matter where they vacation? Does it matter where they place their treasure? It should, because it’s difficult to serve two masters. That’s why it’s nice that my father lives on Geneva Lake, and that the owner of the other large real estate company here also lives on the lake. I wonder where the owners of a new brokerage spend their vacation time? Just kidding, I know. It’s Michigan. Michigan is not in Wisconsin.

Anyway, that property sold last week for $3.25MM. It was a very nice home, even if the exterior color scheme was subject to debate by anyone who had an opinion on house color, which is everyone I’ve ever met. The home was high end, and so the sale shouldn’t be a surprise. There was a shared pier here, which doesn’t matter to me in the same way that the shared pier of the Rainbow Point sale bothered me. That’s because this setting was designed to have a shared pier, so the current shared status was intended. It was not a piecemeal arrangement, it just was. The sale is nice for the market and proves that Fontana + Shiny = Sold.

There are 138 active lakefront and lake access homes on the market. No fewer than 10 of those are pending sale according to the MLS. There are pending properties galore priced under $310k, but nary a few scattered in the segments over that low price point. There are two homes in the seven hundreds pending, and one fanciful ranch on Academy Lane pending at an eye popping ask of nearly $1.5MM. My buyer is still awaiting close on the $1.55MM Shadow Lane lakefront, the one next to the Linn Township fire boat.

Of that fire boat. It’s disgusting, and it has no place in a residential neighborhood. Linn Township should be ashamed of itself for giving its residents such an insulting visual. I like the idea of a fireboat, because I was once a young boy who liked to play with firetrucks and remote control boats. I am not a grown man, sort of, so I understand that a fireboat with a giant water cannon is a good thing, in total theory. I also think that such a fireboat should be kept somewhere in an institutional setting, not in a residential neighborhood that has never before been forced to see such a grossly unnecessary municipal toy. If my lakefront house were burning and the comical metal fireboat showed up, I may wave it off, preferring instead to see a pleasant unmarred view while my house burns. Linn Township, put that boat by your boat launch, not at the end of Shadow Lane.

It would be nice if they listened, but likely they won’t. It’ll take some court action to decide that the pier was not permitted, that the riparian setbacks have not been met, should that be the case. Either way, get ready for a nice dose of tax payer funded blight on your next boat ride around the south shore. Thanks, Linn Township, for elevating my blood pressure.

The market looks fine to me right now. It might be a bit soft in segments, particularly in the $3MM+ range. There are buyers, but they seem to be content to wait, to while away their weekends in cities or suburbs, to grow old before they enjoy their weekends. This is their prerogative, and we cannot change that. As for me, if I were able, I’d trade one weekend living lakefront for a hundred in the suburbs. And yes, I know you have a trampoline and a fire pit and still I stand by my statement.

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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