Shadow Lane is really just a lane. You take it to cut directly from South Lakeshore Drive to the lake. That’s pretty much the only reason you’d ever have to drive on Shadow Lane.Buy chance, if you’ve visited the South Shore Club over the last decade, you may have driven in and around the club and then exited stage West, which would take you to Shadow Lane. You’ve driven on this lane and you didn’t even realize it. The road is a mix of good and bad, of nice homes and basic homes. Of lakefront and everything else. There is a modern day archeological site towards the end of the road, where rubble lies strewn where a house once burned. This is what you will drive past if you’re trying to get to the lake, which is where a house has stood for a very long time.
I sold that house this week, to a lovely family from Chicago who first dipped their toes into this market and this lake a decade ago. The story is about the house, sure. It’s about the lane, obviously. It’s about a boat pier that houses a huge metal, entirely superfluous water-spraying fire boat. It’s also about negotiating strategy, and the realization that most strategies are thrown out the window when another bid comes in from left field. It’s about that rubble from that house that once stood proud. It’s about a seller and her family and their great lakefront run that spanned many decades. But it’s mostly just about this buyer, and about how buyers here have a tendency to sample the market before indulging their true aim: Lakefront.
This house came to market on a Friday, I believe. I had heard about it before then, which is why lakefront buyers should basically, effectively, obviously only work with me. My buyer had a tour on a Thursday, before the MLS knew of this property, and on that Thursday we caught both a glimpse of this old house and of the gross Linn Township metal posted pier that was being installed at that very moment. We toured the house, talked about the pier, and then we made an offer. The house went to the broad market the next day, and by Saturday there was another offer. Once that other bid came in and disrupted my well-designed negotiating strategy, we played defensively and secured the house. There’s a very easy test that any buyer in my buyer’s position should consider. If the negotiations go awry and another bidder ends up being the owner of the house that you’re hoping to own, will you be upset if you walk by that house every weekend for the rest of your days and see another owner grilling out on the deck and diving from the pier? If the answer is yes, you buy the house.
And so we did, which is why we closed on Monday for $1.4MM. The house is a fine house. It’s a good house. It’s an older house, sure, but it appears to be solid and well looked after. There are many bedrooms, some baths. There is an old basement that had some water in it this week. There is a garage, some level lakefront, and a beautiful pier. The last sentence makes the sentence before completely and utterly irrelevant. If you’re a lakefront buyer and you’ve identified where you wish to live on this great lake, and a home presents itself in that immediate, narrowly defined vicinity, a little water in the basement and some sagging trim on a garage window does not matter. Remember that, please.
But that’s the deal, and I’m proud to have represented this buyer in their quest. I’m happy that we were successful. I’m happy that, after a decade on these waters, they found the path to the lakefront. Some houses I sell and then I wonder. I wonder about the owner, if they’ll truly be happy there. I wonder if the new owner has what it takes to live lakeside, to fully enjoy what it is that they’ve captured. I wonder if the house will become part of their family for decades, or generations, or if they’ll just fall away like so many of our new toys. This owner leaves me no question. They’ll anchor this fifty feet of level south shore frontage for as long as I’ll be paying attention, and in that, the market can rejoice. There’s a great chance this home will become a generational retreat, and that brings me more pleasure than any quick spin ever could.
Because that’s the goal here, after all. It’s nice to churn through properties, to see buyers upgrade and downgrade, to see them create liquidity with their whims. I love helping owners sell and buy, buy and sell. It’s a strong data point to consider if you’re a nascent buyer. These owners buy and rarely leave. They may change addresses, they may move from an association to the lakefront, or from the lakefront back to an association, but they rarely leave. That’s because once you let the lake get its talons into you, shaking free is not easy to do without inflicting upon yourself an unnecessary level of pain. These new lakefront owners long ago acquired the taste for this lake, for spending their weekends this way, and now they get to live as everyone with any house near this lake wishes to: front and center, on the water. It’s another dream fulfilled.