Those Other Lakes

20101116-downtown lake geneva.jpg

I am a paid subscriber to many, many ideas. For instance, I believe that you never, ever tug on Superman’s cape. This belief isn’t based on the reasons that you think it might be based on. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape not because you don’t want to bother him, but because, in the event that you met Superman you’d want to sit down and talk with him, ask him about flying, lasers, etc, and you wouldn’t waste your time tugging on his cape. Who would do that? Not me. That’s why I follow that rule.

I also believe that lakes are not created equal. If they were, there would be no great lakes, no oceans, no ponds, no roadside ditches that fill with water. There would only be lakes. We would call Walden a lake and the Indian Sea a lake and the small pond outside of a condo in Geneva National that I have an inspection at this morning? Also a lake. So lakes, they are not equal, and I believe this. I also believe that Sasquatch, while unlikely, has to be based on something. What are these people seeing? And I don’t mean the people in general, I mean the credible people out there. What did that police chief see on that night, so late that he was a bit tired but not so late that he had trouble making out an 8′ tall hairy man leap across the road? What are these people seeing? I can’t say they are wrong, but until I see a Sasqatch bounding across my yard (horrifying), or one killed on the side of the road, I’ll just leave it alone.

I also believe that a buyer who might spend $1MM can spend $1.3MM. I believe this in the way that I believe a buyer who can spend $2MM can also spend $2.4MM. I also think a buyer who spends $3.4MM can spend $3.9MM. I believe these things because I know them to be true, and because I know interest rates to be low, and because I know that borrowed money is easy to pay back these days, and cash money is easy to spend. And it’s because of these things–the lakes, the money, the tugging on the cape, the Sasquatch– that I’m making a plea to vacation home buyers who are presently in the process of seeking a vacation home on another area lake.

These lakes are many: Buelah, Powers, Mary and Elizabeth, Delavan, Como, Lauderdale, and so on and so forth. Some of these names might be spelled wrong. All are capitalized, which is to suggest a proper noun in perhaps the wrong context. Should these lakes be treated the same as King Geneva? No, they shouldn’t be. Nevermind that Geneva is rife with enchanting history, and never mind that it is the epicenter of all things fun and cool, let’s put those attributes aside and judge these lakes purely for what they are. Geneva is large, wonderful, and a vacationing individual can find plenty of things to do at any given time. There is activity, yes, but there are quiet moments of generous peace as well, and for this, Geneva is the reigning king of balance. Other lakes? Not really so much.

The other lakes are cheaper, and this is their primary calling card. If you don’t want to spend $1.3MM to buy a basic home on Geneva, you can indeed spend $700k on another lake to buy a similar home. This is important, and this is where these other lakes will be necessary additions to the Wisconsin real estate market. If you must find lakefront of the private variety, and you simply cannot spend more than $700k on that lakefront home, then these other lakes will do just fine. They will provide water to boat on and swim (yuck) in, and if the discernment of the buyer finds these two qualifiers as the only of importance, then the goal has been met. But what about the buyers that can spend more, and just don’t feel like it. Is $800k on Lake Mary as good of an idea as $1.3MM on Geneva? The question mark is rhetorical.

If a vacation home buyer wants nothing more than to sit on their dock and watch the smallish water around them, this is fine. But tranquility mixed with more tranquility overtime grows annoying. That’s why every movie that features a man moving to some remote tranquil environment ends up turning into a horror film. All that peace is boring. If I want to sit in my shaded front lawn at Geneva Lake, or sit on my pier and soak in heavenly sun, then I can do this for as long as I wish. But then, if all that relaxing has me bored, I can jump in my boat and cruise to the Riviera where I can tie up and walk into town for a coffee or an ice cream, or I can walk to Estreet and buy some jeans with holes in them to replace the jeans with holes in them that I’m wearing. I can do this, and intermix with people and things and then I can return to my pier and my lawn and rest. Similarly, I can leave my restful hammock and sit on my pier to watch a scow regatta, or I can sit and watch fireworks, if the weekend has cause for celebration, or I can jump back on my boat and motor to Pier 290, to Gordy’s, to Chuck’s to Cafe Calamari, or to the Abbey Springs Yacht Club and I can tie up and then sit down and have dinner.

While I’m doing that, the other guy in that quiet cottage on that quiet secondary lake is likely at home, bored, thinking about sharpening his ax. This weekend, this glorious, holiday weekend, it’s time to get up to explore the area. Drive to Geneva, drive around it and rent a boat to drive over it and put on your swimsuit and dive into it (water temp 65 degrees), and live the lake. Then, drive to another lake and do the same thing. When you get bored, come on back to Geneva.

About the Author

I'm David Curry. I write this blog to educate and entertain those who subscribe to the theory that Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is indeed the center of the real estate universe. When I started selling real estate 25 years ago I did so of a desire to some day dominate the activity in the Lake Geneva vacation home market. With over $650,000,000 in sales since January of 2010, that goal is within reach. If I can help you with your Lake Geneva real estate needs, please consider me at your service. Thanks for reading.

Leave a Comment