The key to most good, hard work is to keep your head down while doing it. If we're mowing lawns, we're keeping our head down. Distractions will only serve to lengthen our days and lose a few inches off of our straight line. This thin strip of missed grass will only be visible once we complete the job and stand back to look at how poorly we have done. Had we kept our heads down, this wouldn't have happened. So in work, we must focus on the singular goal of completing whatever our assigned task is. Our heads must be down. When we look up, we had better be finished or we'll likely end up having missed a few blades of longish grass.
This is how it usually is, the keeping of the head down while working. In real estate, keeping your head down is a cardinal sin. In this sin, you are not the victim but the offender, and the offendee is your prized client. See, in the game of real estate it would be easy to keep your head down, focused on singular tasks as they wait impatiently in a very long line. But to do so would be to miss the nuances in the market, the fits and the starts and the stalls and the highs. To focus on a task is to miss the trend. To watch just one tree, even if it's a great big fancy green tree, is to miss the rest of the forest. It is a wonderful forest, but it's always changing. If you're only watching that one precious tree, you're not changing with the market you're simply hanging on to your own tall tree.
The exercise of writing this silly blog is one that forces me to take my head and lift it, to look around and see what's happening in each of our many segments of the broader Lake Geneva vacation home market. This practice is a benefit to me, and more importantly it is a benefit to you, as my presumed some-day client. You'd think this swivel-head is normal in a real estate business. You'd think everyone would have to be paying attention at all times to see what is happening in the markets and what isn't happening, as both are just as important. This isn't the case, and it's because of that darned habit of keeping ones head down.
If I were in the head down position, I would think that the lakefront condo market has heated up. I've been noticing showings on some of my lakefront condo listings, and I've been doing some showing of my own. If I weren't entirely and thoroughly paying attention, it would look to me today as though the lakefront condo market on Geneva was a market on the mend. This is why I must look around to see if this feeling is correct. Crap. It isn't.
Currently the lakefront condo market has offerings in Bay Shore, Bay Colony, Fontana Shores, Somerset, Vista Del Lago, Stone Manor and Eastbank. These are fine complexes, each of them for different reasons, but all individually fine. There are warts in each place, but unlike us these condominiums are not easily able to have these frozen and lanced, so they must instead attempt to cake on as much makeup as possible to draw your eye away from the unsightliness of their exposed lump. These lumps are rarely aesthetic, instead they are trouble spots due to high association dues, abnormally high taxes, difficult slip structures, or general exterior frumpiness.
It might be helpful now to run through a quick synopsis of the available inventory. Bay Shore- my listing at $409k needs to sell. There's a slip, a beautiful pool, and great proximity to the lake. The last sale here was an REO that I closed on in May for $330k, but there was a structured aspect to that deal that made the effective sales price more like $375k. It's complicated. Bay Colony has a few units for sale, some priced sort of high and some priced really high. My unit #202 is the best deal in the joint, priced at $529k it's the cheapest unit in the building, and it also has an incredible view of the lake and a fully transferable slip along with an indoor pool.
Fontana Shores has a few units available, though I must admit to having muddied up the MLS by listing my luxurious four bedroom unit as three different MLS offerings. We're listed at $995k for the entire unit, but also separate listings reflect the original state of that unit. There's a three bedroom for sale in the $500ks, and a two bedroom for sale in the $400ks. If a buyer wants just one of the original units that were joined to make this lakefront pad, the owner will go about the simple construction alterations required to make those individual units ready for sale. There is a two bedroom unit available for just $399k in the building and another three bedroom unit available for $510k. It's not the worlds most attractive building from the outside, but the views and location on the Fontana lakefront are very hard to beat (impossible).
There is nothing for sale currently in the Fontana Club, though a unit is sometimes available there and I'd likely be able to conjure up some inventory in that building if a buyer asked me to. Somerset in Lake Geneva has an available unit for $1.295MM. It's a big unit, but not as big as Eastbank, and the Eastbank unit is now available for $850k. Where does that leave the Somerset unit? You're right. Not wonderful. But the Eastbank unit is now down to $850k, and with the last sale in Eastbank being the one that I closed last month for $750k, it isn't difficult to imagine the final trade price of that huge unit- complete with two car attached garage and a beautiful canopied boatslip. If you're a buyer seeking a lakefront solution in this price range, you should be contacting me to look at Eastbank. Or East Bank, either one.
Vista Del Lago has some inventory, as it almost always has. There are units here that reflect 2006 pricing, and units that have adjusted to the difficult times of 2012. Those units that have adjusted are worth a look, and one unit is priced so cheap in here it's practically reflective of 2003 valuations. You know, the valuations that the broader lakefront market is already trading at.
Stone Manor. Ahhhh, the super liquid, easily sold, gigantic units in Stone Manor. There are two double units currently available in the Stone Manor. Both are priced in the $3MMs, both have tax bills that exceed $50k, and both have monthly dues in the $3k range. These are not units for the broader market. These are units for specific buyers who are seeking out specific properties. So do they fit into the market? Can I say yes? Of course I can. While 100 out of 100 buyers would not be interested in these units, perhaps 1 buyer out of 1000000000 might be, and that's all it takes.
So there. We have our heads up now. And we're surveying a market that might have had a bit more showing activity of late, but also a market that doesn't have anything pending (per MLS), and that hasn't had a sale since I closed on the Bay Shore and Eastbank units over a month ago. This looking around is good for us. Let's do it some more, like maybe tomorrow.