I don't know about you, but I'm thoroughly and completely exhausted. I feel better today than I did yesterday, and I felt better yesterday than I did on Saturday, and on Saturday I felt something, anything, for the first time in a week or more. I didn't enjoy last week. It was miserable. Remember all that moving and bundling and scraping and painting and caulking? That stuff is bad news on any day of the week, but when those work days push thermometers to 104, well, then, those days are pure misery. So today I'm back, back to my office early to write a little and email a little more, and hopefully, if it all goes well I'll find myself clutching the skinny aluminum tiller of a Laser sailboat tonight at around 6.
I showed some homes yesterday, as I did the day before and the thousands before that, and I thought about a few things while I showed those homes. If we were in Door County, we'd still be choking on the bones from our whitefish boil, but besides the choking and the hacking, we'd be looking for real estate that was sort of close to the lake, or the town, and we wouldn't concern ourselves with much else. Maybe we'd want to be out in the woods, and if that was our woodsy target, we'd shoot true and straight and we'd find it. We're good like that. But if we're looking for another sort of vacation home, the sort that falls close to the lake but not on it, we'd look for attributes that begin and end with proximity. If we could find a view, we'd feel good about that too, but not so good, because of the choking.
This is how it might be in Door County. Here, in Lake Geneva, we neither choke on the bones of bland boiled fish nor do we find ourselves wandering in our housing aim. We know what we want here. We want to be close to the lake, yes, and we want to see it if we can, and if we can be close to it and see it then we'd also like to know where we might put our boat. And we don't have those ridiculous Door County boats- the aft cabin this and cruiser that, we want somewhere where we can let our large polished Cobalts rest. This is just the way it is. But one thing, the most important thing, that we want is actual private, deeded access to the lake. We don't merely want to be close to it or to be within eye shot of it, we want to know that we can walk down to the water and stake our claim to our own little piece of association property. We want lake rights. And we deserve lake rights.
So it is that when a buyer here seeks proximity to the lake, they must not lose sight of the greater market goal. That goal? It's what I said above. It's lake rights. It's private access, it's exclusivity. That's what drives the market here, and that's why people come here and vacation here. They don't want to sit on the public beach, instead they want to cling to the side of a white painted old pier, where the only other people that can swim from it are their immediate neighbors and some of their friends. This is what drives the market, and that matters because if the Lake Geneva vacation house of your dreams doesn't have such an amenity, then your vacation home of your dreams is rarely going to be the vacation home of someone else's dreams. This creates a value problem down the road, which is why we must avoid it now.
This is how it was yesterday, out with a buyer who wanted proximity to the water but didn't so much need private lake access to God's beautiful blue pool. To search for real estate here that doesn't have some lake access accompanying it is to search for a mistake. Back in the early and mid 2000s, a buyer could be excused for buying a vacation home without lake rights. The premium for lake rights at the time was significant, and in the village of Williams Bay a home with lake rights in Cedar Point Park would have been valued at perhaps double that of a similar home without lake rights in the same village. Today, with lake access properties available in the $170k-$250k range, there is no reason to ever consider a Lake Geneva vacation home that doesn't possess these magical accoutrements.
So, as a basic primer, remember this today. If you're fortunate enough to find yourself on the hunt for a modest Lake Geneva vacation home, and proximity to the lake is what you crave, do not be distracted by that pretty-ish home that looks sort of close to the lake on an aerial map. Instead, look away, and email me for some details on true vacation homes, those little gems with private, unavoidable lake access.