It’s well known that 2021 buyers hate the Lake Geneva market. They hate it if they’re looking for a $300k lake access cottage, and they hate it if they’re looking for a $3MM lakefront home. They hate it if they’re looking for a $800k cottage or an $8MM lakefront. They hate the piers and they hate our grass and they hate our silly stone path. If I gave this paragraph greater effort I could make it sound like a Dr. Seuss book, but everyone hates that now, too.
But it isn’t just buyers who hate this market. It’s sellers, too. Sell now and then what? Sell into this market heat and then do what, exactly? Move to Florida or Texas because the taxes are low? Don’t be absurd. Move to the mountains because your daughter is pretty good at skiing? Ridiculous. If you’re a potential seller, you can really only sell here if some rare bit of better inventory is available, or if you’re cashing in your chips and resigning yourself to a life of white shoes. That’s because everyone now knows if you sell there really isn’t anywhere else to go. Sell now and then anxiously wait for the market to hesitate or fall so that you can get back in? That is almost as absurd as moving across the country to save a few bucks on your taxes.
Of course throughout all of this market misery there’s a feeling that somehow the agents are enjoying all of this. I assure you this is not the case. I loved the difficult markets from 2010 through 2016. Those were markets for thinking men and women. Those were markets where my skills were quite valuable, as I worked to identify targets and then executed negotiations that were singularly engineered to win. Winning in real estate, in case everyone has forgotten, used to be about securing the right house at the right price. What romantic days those were. Now winning just means you get your name printed on the deed in exchange for a pile of money. Winning only belongs to the motivated now. If you’re pensive and contemplative, I would like to join you back in 2012 when this approach was worthwhile. I say most of this in relative jest, as there are still wins to be had and battles to be fought. There is still reason to jump at certain properties and avoid others. There is a premium this year, but how do we decide which properties are worthy of our attention?
I’ve played this game often, for decades, and the game today, while very different, still has some of the same rules. Find properties that make sense. Find properties that offer something unique or otherwise interesting. Find properties that are worth the ransom. I was pleased last week to represent the buyer of 569 North Lakeshore Drive in Fontana (last ask $5.95MM). I would have liked to see this home close at a lower price, but in the end the buyer paid the price necessary to allow his family to spend their summers and weekends in this incredibly desirable location. I do not take my position as the leader in this lakefront market lightly, as I take the charge of guiding my clients through this difficult market incredibly seriously. If you’re a buyer or seller and you’d like guidance through this unique market, I’m here to help.