Every year, around January, I think it would be a good idea for my business to handle some rentals. January normally provides a Lake Geneva Realtor with plenty of time for introspection, and among the myriad ideas that pulse endlessly through my head, adding rental capacity to the firm usually seems like a good idea. I’ll make some noise about adding rentals in January, then I’ll even add a couple. Then I’ll place a few rentals, and then I’ll realize, typically sometime in March, that I don’t like rentals. I don’t like handling them. I don’t like talking about them. And I most certainly don’t like showing them. By April, I look at rentals with disdain, and by June, I generally don’t even remember what properties I’m supposed to be renting.
That last statement may have been hyperbole, but you get the point. As much as I loathe the vacation rental, I do handle some rentals for my very best clients. Normally these rentals don’t excite me much, given that they either lack uniqueness or simply lack the proper pricing required to entice vacation loving renters. Over the weekend, an old client of mine- not that she’s old- she’s young, but she’s been my client for quite some time, anyway, she approached me about handling the rental on her lakefront condo at Bay Shore in Williams Bay. Her price was attractive and with that, I added another rental to my still shrinking stable of rental inventory.
Normal vacation rentals in this market are occupied by weekly or even nightly tenants, and those sorts of rentals don’t interest me much. Lakefront rentals, of which I handle precisely one, are a bit different, as Walworth County enforces a minimum 30 day rental term on nearly all of the residential property here. Geneva National, Abbey Springs, and some other condominium developments are excluded, but the majority of the area falls under this 30 day minimum rental term. This restriction was put in place to keep Lake Geneva from turning into Door County, where not only does one have to do their best to avoid bike riding Brewers fans, but they also have to put up with the dizzying display of signage that informs one that basically every property in the county is for rent. Weekly or nightly!
This restriction really put a damper on the vacation rentals here, and for obvious reasons. A family might easily rent a lakefront home for a week during July and pay $4500 for that week, but the same family can’t really pay $18,000 for the month. There are lakefront rentals that still skirt these rules, but for the most part, the restrictions have been enforced sufficiently. As a side note, I do have a lakefront house for rent, and you should email me if you’re interested in living the lakefront life for a brief period this summer. The rental term is a minimum of 30 days ($4500 per week), but we can work out some details as to occupancy if you’re interested. Wink wink.
Back to Bay Shore. This one bedroom condo that I’m going to rent is right on top of the water. I mean, like, right on top of the water. This is the front unit in the building, with unbelievable views, and two patio doors opening onto a small lakeside patio. This is the very definition of lakefront living, and it’s available to you for the entire summer at a Tom Bodet pleasing rate of $100 per night. There is a 90 day minimum, which is my coy way of saying the rental is $9000 for the entire summer. I mean, the entire summer. Bay Shore has a beautiful lakeside swimming pool, and the unit is adjacent to Edgewater Park in the Bay. Just steps away you’ll find the Tickled Pink Coffee Shop, Harpoon Willies, Daddy Maxwell’s, and Cafe Calamari. The unit is just a one bedroom unit, so if you have 5 kids under the age of 10, this probably isn’t going to work. If you’re a single person or a couple looking to get away for the summer and live as if you’re a lakefront homeowner, then you should really think about emailing me. Post haste.
A side note on the rental situation as it affects Lake Geneva. As I wrote about yesterday, taxes are a concern for many seeking a lakefront vacation home here. Most lakefront homes will rent for anywhere from $13,000 to $20,000 per summer month. While I never advise a client to miss out on a month of a Lake Geneva summer, the temptation of renting your vacation home for 30 days in order to pay for 365 days of property taxes is indeed a curious temptation. If you’ve been putting a pencil to the concept of a Lake Geneva vacation home, I suggest you stop at your neighborhood Staples, buy a pencil sharpener, sharpen said pencil, and then put that freshly sharpened pencil to the idea of potentially renting out your desired summer home for a month in order to make the numbers more attractive.