I suppose it's time I accepted each Lake Geneva area sale and moved on. There's no point arguing about it. If a buyer wants to buy something that I don't like, who am I to complain about what they do with their money? I am, after all, a conservative. I don't like some people telling other people what they can and cannot do. I don't like those same people telling some people to render more of their money, hard earned or otherwise. No matter how much I may or may not ever earn, I don't care so much that some person with a D behind their name doesn't think I should get to keep too much of it. Anyway, this isn't about money, although it sort of is. This is about real estate, and the pursuit of it- the good, the bad, and the good that I still think might be a touch bad. This is going to be complicated.
I should say first that I didn't have the listing on this recent sale, nor did I provide the buyer. This troubles me, and I hope you'll tell your friends to call me so I can help them buy lots of properties. That way, you can sit on their white pier and they can pay the tax bill. It's perfect. Congratulations are due to the agent who did handle this sale. Now that we're through with the formalities there is something that I must say. I've said it often, but not in so many words. There are areas on the lake that I like, even though I deeply love every drop of water in that big meandering bowl. Other areas I love. Other areas yet that I tolerate. And then there are areas, scattered around the 21 miles of golden shoreline, that I honestly don't like. I don't know why
this is. I owe some of it to childhood familiarity, and some more of it to a disdain for some scenery. Other aspects of this geographic intolerance are just there because they are.
I used to say something about some real estate around the lake. If, when giving directions, you have to tell your friends to turn left at Skinny's, that's probably not the most romantic foreshadowing of your Lake Geneva vacation home. This is what I'd say. And then, I'd say it about other things too. If an access to a home from whatever main artery of a road any given buyer is traveling from features some sort of aesthetic blight- a boat with a tarp over it- a pole barn with a missing door- anything at all that looks less than perfect, I object to it. There's no reason I should behave like this, and judge like that, but I do.
And so the listing that just sold, on Oakland Lane on the South Shore, it was a fine listing. There were 97 feet of frontage, and a very respectable home. The views were delightful, the scenery splashed with watery blues, and the setting generally likable. With nearly 2 acres of included land, the price will make those who calculate value based on lot square footage and per front foot valuations lose many nights of sleep. Yet I didn't necessarily like this home. I suppose it all
comes down to the competition. While the competition for this home isn't true competition in terms of frontage and acreage, there are homes that will sell in this price range or less that will better be able to support higher valuations. And that's the rub. I'm concerned not just about the now, but I'm concerned about some day a long ways from now.
This is the nuanced nature of lakefront real estate on Geneva. Some locations better harbor value than others. Not every 50' lot is created equal, just as every 100' lot isn't either. To fully blow your mind, even 200' lots are not created equal. There are estates that render others unimportant, even though they might be estates in their own right. In this same way, a 100' lot on Oakland might not hold as much future potential as an 80' lot in Cedar Point. And an 80' lot in Cedar Point cannot compete on even par with an 80' lot on Fontana's South Lakeshore Drive. It doesn't matter if you don't understand why this is, it just matters that you work with someone who can attempt to articulate the impact of location on far away value.
This highly unique market requires a very precisely tuned value meter. If value exists, which it does, it does not exist everywhere. There are bad purchases on this lake. They happen all the time. The Oakland sale at $1.5MM was not a bad sale, and it was obviously a nice piece of property for entry level money, and this can be celebrated. Me? I'd rather be elsewhere, but I wasn't the buyer, so my opinion of preference matters very little. It's the opinion of value that matters a whole bunch, and those are the opinions I'm not afraid to deliver.