I went to a sheriff’s sale earlier this week. For those of you who haven’t had the privilege of attending such a non-event, I assure you that you’re missing nothing. I attended the sale, with check in hand, prepared to out bid a bank for a property that I’ve been intensely eye balling for the past two years. The house is one that I would make my own home, and as I drove to the sale yesterday, I envisioned a warm summer day, with yours truly hanging off a ladder nailing cedar shingles to the exterior walls. I thought this, and for a moment in time it seemed like a pleasant idea. Then I thought about the ridiculousness of trading a water-based Lake Geneva summer for a ladder based one. All ridiculousness aside, I walked into the foyer where the sales are conducted, clutching my check, ready to raise my hand in the finest Barrett Jackson style.
The sale for the home I wanted to bid on was canceled. This came as no surprise, as I’ve become quite adept at writing “not used for intended purpose” on the back of my cashiers check and returning it to the bank. The property in question had its first lis pendens notice served almost five years ago, and several loans and various other judgments have been recorded since that date. The owner is obviously up against significant adverse factors, and yet, five years in, the deed still bears her name. The goings on affecting this particular property prove to me that banks are not swift dream killers, as the media might have you believe. Instead, they appear to be easy to string along, by letting them sip a few payments from you once in a while. Or perhaps they’re easily bullied by attorneys that litigate foreclosure stays and loan modifications. Whatever the case, the home that I wanted to buy isn’t mine. Yet.
The Lake Geneva foreclosure scene remains the same. Bleak, yes, but the clouds are high and thin, not low and ominous. I’m of the mindset that the foreclosure trouble as it is affecting our nation as a whole will continue to spin violently for at least the next two or three years. While the unemployment picture doesn’t really affect the Lake Geneva vacation home market, it has a massive impact on the foreclosure scene, both in Walworth County and nationwide. The foreclosure issue isn’t necessarily one that is caused by a borrowers inability to repay, rather it’s equally owed to the monster that is negative equity in a sideways market. Negative equity is the silent killer in this current incarnation of the foreclosure phenomenon, and it’s not going anywhere soon. It’s for this reason that a new elevated level of foreclosures will be the norm for the foreseeable future.
At Lake Geneva, foreclosure activity is almost non-existent, with almost being the operative word. There is a lakefront short sale available in Fontana in the entry level range, and it might be a screaming good deal for the right buyer. (email me for details) There is another lakefront being offered as a short sale that will ultimately end up at sheriff’s sale in March (probably), as the debt amount is too high to justify buying it either from the bank now, or at the sheriff’s sale. Best to wait until that one comes back to market as REO, and then pounce. That property will sell this year, as will the short sale in Fontana listed at $1.45MM, this much is a guarantee. There is also a bank owned lot available in the South Shore Club, and the ultimate sales price may be cause for much consternation among neighboring owners- and much delight for the new buyer.
The lake access market remains solid, even if there seems to be an omnipresent foreclosure either brewing or hitting the market in Country Club Estates. Cedar Point Park has had a few foreclosures recently, and will probably have a few more before the year is out. Remember, if you’re someone on the search for foreclosures, you’re probably going to be aiming for price first, and location second. That’s backwards in my book, but my book is just that, mine. The other important component of foreclosure shopping here is that you must contact me before hand if you want in on the pressing deals. The lakefront and lake access foreclosures tend to sell fairly quickly (if priced right), and if you’re late to the game, there’s a good chance you’ll be the one standing when the music stops. Email me today if you want to be kept abreast of these foreclosures and developing foreclosures, and we’ll stay in touch as they make it to market. If you’re waiting for some automated link generator to email you when a property hits the market you’ll more than likely be out of luck.
Expect foreclosures to remain a staple in every national market this year, and at least a nagging pest in the Lake Geneva real estate market. The possible lakefront foreclosures excite me, as they should you. Just don’t forget that every foreclosure isn’t a good value, and the marketing term “distressed sale” should always be viewed with a wary eye.