If we're buyers today, the best thing we can hope for is seller competition. If one seller wants $200k and another wants $200k, does this mean the market is $200k? If the ask of each is the same, does it matter entirely what the bid is? After all, the market has been set through the agreement of two different sellers that this is the market: $200k. HGTV Realtors can think this way. But in Lake Geneva, this guy looks at those two prices and two situations and two different but very similar properties and thinks that someone is going to cave to the pressure of a low bid and it's my job to identify which one wants to play ball.
And as long as we're playing ball, we're hitting homeruns and singles and at times we're striking out. Last Friday at the Eastbank Condominiums on the south side of downtown Lake Geneva, a client whom I represented hit a very solid triple when he closed on a unit there for $750k. It would have been a solid homerun if not for the other unit still out there- the other unit that through its presence allowed us to negotiate a $750k price on an $895k listing. In real estate, competition isn't just good, it's practically necessary.
There is another unit in Eastbank on the market, a rare occurrence where more than one single unit is left hanging on the MLS. The other unit is the same, with perhaps slightly better finishes but a slightly worse view. There are differences between the two, some will like one better than some will like the other, but they are basically the same. Had there only been one unit fresh to the market and my buyer and I attempted to negotiate that sale it is likely that our efforts would have been met with greater resistance. But in a low volume market where the first sale in any complex might be the last sale for a while, prudent sellers do what they can to cook that one bird resting softly in there hand, while other sellers still prefer to cling to the hope of those two wily birds fluttering around in that great bid thorny bush.
Eastbank is not your typical lakefront condominium. The units are large- maybe 3000 total square feet. And they have attached two car garages and canopied boatslips and a nice metal gate. There are large lakeside decks and soaring living room ceilings, and in the layout there is value, just as there is in the lakefront style amenities and setting. This is a wonderful lakefront condominium. It is in the city of Lake Geneva, so the taxes are not particularly light, but the dues are reasonable and when combined together the carry totals roughly the carry of a far inferior lakefront unit at Vista Del Lago.
The buyer of this unit downsized from a larger, more expensive, more intensive lakefront property on Geneva, and in doing so substantiated yet again the cycle of life at Lake Geneva. We need new buyers to keep this market moving, obviously. But we also need move up and move down buyers, Lake Geneva stalwarts who buy and sell and move again and again, much to the chagrin of their wives or children or friends. This movement creates liquidity, and when an owner is once a Lake Geneva owner it might be said that she is forever a Lake Geneva owner. Clear water and blue skies tend to get stuck in your head, and once they do the thought of a summer spent without either isn't a thought that many will entertain for long.
The lakefront condo remains far from healed, but little sales like this one help propel a market forward. We'll now watch to see if the other unit at Eastbank ($899k) adjusts to face the realities of this fresh sale. We'll also watch to see if this sale gives a boost to some of the other large condominiums available on Geneva, like the one at Somerset ($1.295MM) and mine at Fontana Shores ($995k). For now, I'm grateful to the buyer who let me assist in this sale. It's a fun thing to bring families back to the lake, and it's even more fun when they seize value in the process.