Why do we even bother giving the days names? I read this in a tweet over the weekend and I thought it was funny. But then I also thought about how this is what my life feels like, when things are normal. A Sunday to a Realtor is the same as a Wednesday. Tuesdays? Those are just like Fridays. There is no distinction between the days. Between their individual nature. Welcome to my life. But alas, this isn’t a post about days or about Realtors, but now that I wrote that it’s obvious to me that that’s not true. It’s a post about both.
I have a feeling this morning. I have a feeling that things will be ok. I write this from a fortunate position, I’m well aware. If I were struggling week to week to put food on my table, I cannot imagine how stressful this time would be. I hate to even think of that situation, a situation that is a painful new reality for tens of millions of our neighbors. I hope the government pulls together to help these folks out, and this morning, during this bout of optimism, I feel certain that they will. In the end, civilization will endure.
And what about the lake? What about this market? After all, we sell homes that no one needs to sell to people who don’t really need another home. It’s a luxury market, and that’s true of a $120k condo in Geneva National being bought as a weekend home just as it’s true of a $10MM lakefront home being bought for the same use. This is all luxury, and luxury isn’t exactly in fashion this morning. Never mind that troves of my lakefront and lake-access clients are happy to have these luxuries during this time, as they flock to the lake on a random day in late March to ride out this tumultuous season. In spite of their practicalities during times of duress, these are still luxuries.
Now that we understand that, I think it’s good to also understand this: Our lives are finite. They are short. Painfully so. My life is evaporating right before my eyes, and if mine, then yours, too. Once this dust settles and we pull through the other side of this pandemic, I imagine a market that is not so injured by what it has endured. Instead, I envision the opposite. While the economy churns and chokes and struggles to restart over the summer, or over the fall, or whenever we are fortunate enough to have that happen, I know one thing for sure: The vacation home market at Lake Geneva is going to spring back to life with frightening vigor.
Everything we are seeing today might suggest the opposite of that. The stock market has been crushed, and it appears likely that it will continue its anemic ways. This is painful to everyone, but the lakefront and lake access market on Geneva is especially spooked by this malaise. Now imagine a day in the future, whenever that day is, that the markets return to some level of normalcy. A day when we add 5% to the index every other day instead of shedding it. A day when the news is positive, and the cases are plummeting. A day when the vaccine is approved or the treatments nearly 100% effective. Imagine that day. When that day comes, instead of being wounded by the experience I see the affluent market that fuels Geneva setting about to do something bold. They’re going to take control of their lives, and if they’ve wanted a lake house for some time whether it’s because they want another feather in their cap or just a place for their kids to grow up, then dammit, then they’re going to buy it. The wounds from illness and death and depleted savings and scarred equity accounts will be fresh and visible, but they’ll serve as motivation, not restriction. In spite of the ongoing crisis, I’m bullish on lifestyle.
That’s why I’m going to continue to work through this (the benefit of working alone), and if a seller wants to sell, then I’m going to list. If a buyer wants to buy, then I’m going to write. Over the weekend, there were showings. Distanced, sanitized, cautious, showings. No hands were shook, no light switches or door knobs touched, distance was maintained, but showings occurred nonetheless. This will slowly continue until things return to normal, and once they do, you can expect a weary group to head to the lake to make good on the promise that they’ve made themselves. It’s best to live while there’s still living to do.
Above, the private pool at 1100E South Lakeshore Drive. Perfect for social distancing or social connecting, whichever is in style at the moment. $2.69M