I recognize that from time to time, or all the time, I sound like a broken record. I say the same things over and over again, disguised with different words and hidden inside different sentence structures, but mostly, the same. I do this because the writing that appears here three days a week is nothing more than the thoughts that are circling my own brain, and while I am many things I would argue that consistent is among the most noble of my adjectives. My real estate thoughts are based on very simple, very conservative ideas. Buy real estate because you love it, yes, but also buy it because it’s the right property at the right time. I admire those who go so deep into real estate that they guarantee their future monetary loss, but I don’t think that’s something we should all entertain. I also believe that location is more important than anything else, which is why I have long excelled at selling bad little cottages in terrific locations. Viking ranges can be added to good locations, but good locations cannot be added to badly located Viking ranges. This is how I think.
I also think seasonally, and when the seasons change, so does my thinking. To write in May is to write of so much hope for what is about to come. To write in July is to celebrate the present, to look forward to the continuation of the divine months of summer. To write in November, as I proved last week, can be to write about either a whimsical love of harvest time, or to worry about our impending wintery doom. Alas, if I were writing from Hayward this morning, I doubt I would have anything pleasant to say about this early November sky. Likewise, if I gave up on seasons and moved Florida full time, you wouldn’t find me writing much about the weather. Climate consistency doesn’t encourage much written romance, it only encourages sun burns. So today, on this November morning, where the sky is as gray as I think it should be, I’ll write yet again about market timing. I wouldn’t have to keep writing about it if everyone would just listen.
While our Lake Geneva real estate market is impressively active, and contracts are as abundant as the grain in our granaries, there is a very easy truth to understand about this time of year. For those under contract pending a sale, well done. Winter is a fabulous season to try your new Lake Geneva vacation home on for size, and it’s also a great time to set about doing the improvements and the adjustments necessary to make that new house a suitable home by the time summer arrives. For other buyers, those who have yet to identify something they love, or something that they feel is priced well enough to possibly earn their affection, this should be a time of active hunting. Not of passive hunting, the sort that waits for some fresh meat to be laid upon your doorstep, but of active, face-painted, rifle toting, traipsing through the marsh and the woods, hunting. This is the time to find the weak members of our inventory herd, and apply very little mercy.
This time has not come just yet, mind you, but it’s coming. The market will remain active all winter, barring any economic disasters that tend to spook our buyers, but there is still a small sweet spot for those looking to bag a trophy. And, like the seasonal considerations of weather that I love and weather that I don’t love, this is the same advice that I’ve been giving for ions: Late November and early to mid December is the time to pour over aged inventory, to scrutinize it, to reconsider it, and to make an attempt at stealing it. I realize I’m not mixing metaphors, between stealing and hunting, but if this isn’t your first time visiting this site you’ll know that mixing metaphors is my middle moniker.
There are benefits and detriments to late season trophy hunting, and those are somewhat obvious. The benefit is that you’ll possibly be securing tremendous value. The detriment is that you’ll have to consider properties that you’ve already dismissed. That’s because new inventory, whether it’s November inventory or December inventory, won’t be subject to the same sort of motivation that may exist in aged inventory. See that lakefront over there? The one that’s been for sale for a year? That’s the one that might sell cheap if you lob in a December 5th bid. The new listing that just hit last Tuesday, that one isn’t something you should take aim at, because new inventory won’t be served with a similar side of seller motivation. I know I’ve written about this often, but I’ve also written about how much I like white piers.