Lake Geneva Water Safety Patrol: Keeping our kids safe


Thank you Lake Geneva Water Safety Patrol!

One of the many benefits of living on Lake Geneva that distinguishes our waterfront to many other lakes is the dedication of our lakefront residents to the awareness and safety measures provided by the Water Safety Patrol.  On the evening of Friday, August 7th you will see many boats heading toward the Ferro Pavillion, Cobalts, Streblows, Chris Crafts with boat names that are staples to this lake parked on the pier and owners celebrating under the stars.   There is a great amount of effort, tradition, money and honor in supporting an organization that protects and supports our residents and weekend warriors. It’s always wonderful catching up with friends and other couples around the lake that support the Lake Geneva Water Safety Patrol.

Lake Geneva Water Safety PatrolFrom jumping off the piers and swimming to boating around the lake, water safety is paramount.  Even with cautious practices accidents happen.  People get carried away or they try to help someone else in need and end up in trouble themselves.  It’s in that moment that the Lake Geneva Water Safety Patrol is there.  They dedicate countless hours to training for emergency situations.

Not only do the members of the Lake Geneva Water Safety Patrol perform rescues, are first responders on the scene of an accident and handle emergencies, they also teach people of all ages water safety tips.

The Lake Geneva Water Safety Patrol offers swimming lessons around the lake Monday – Friday at 7 different spots;  Lake Geneva Beach, Fontana Beach, Williams Bay Beach, Linn Pier, Knollwood, Lake Geneva Beach Association and Buena Vista!  They have trained water safety instructors and make sure that people understand everything they need to know while enjoying summer on the water.

The organization now has 6 boats, provides lifeguard services at 12 different locations around the lake, offers swimming lessons, boat safety classes, lifeguard training, and employs a staff of over 80 on a boat

How can we support the Lake Geneva Water Safety Patrol?

Because the Water Safety Patrol is so vital to Lake Geneva, they rely on the donations and support of the surrounding communities.  They are a private, non-profit organization.  If you visit their website you’ll be able to make a donation to support the organization.  Also in August, Lake Geneva Water Safety Patrol has an annual fundraiser.  This years “Nautical Night” is a dinner, dance and auction.  It will be hosted on Friday August 5th at the Ferro Pavillion at George Williams College (the same location for the Music By the Lake concerts.)  As part of the theme of water safety, there will be a water taxi that will transport you from your pier to the event and return you home safe and sound. Reservations are required and tickets are on sale now.  To reserve your seat at this grand event contact Ted, Brigid or Carol at 262-245-6577 or e-mail for more information.

While you are out enjoying the beautiful lake this summer, please remember to tip your sunglasses to the Lake Geneva Water Safety Patrol!  They are a vital part of our precious lake!

Keefe Real Estate Top Producing Lakefront Realtor 2013-2014

Lake Geneva LakefrontsKeep up with us, Friend me on Facebook or follow me on my Facebook Business Page, Pinterest, Instagram, TwitterHouzz, LinkedIn or text me (262-745-3738) for an immediate response.

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Your Direct Connection to Lowering Your Lake Geneva Lakefront Tax Bill

investingOwning a lakefront property on Lake Geneva is an investment of time, money and most of all family.  We all dream of lakefront ownership and the logistics of the monthly overhead is a reality.  The important aspect of this to realize is that time and money are valued, safeguarded and wisely invested when you have trusted resources available to you.  The silver lining in the Lake Geneva Lakefront Real estate market trend is based off of sales since 2008.  If you are currently a lakefront owner, pay attention to your tax bill. Below is the schedule of dates pertaining to each municipality.  If you are interested in speaking with an expert on this subject click this link and work directly with the person that can help you save time and money.

The profile buyer acquiring Lake Geneva Lakefront Property is calculated, conservative, goal oriented, driven and always accessing their resources to fine tune their portfolio.   It’s time to spend your summer stress free.  If you are organized, informed and implement this service, your investment will be that much sweeter.   There are also owners on Lake Geneva that have found themselves in the position of inheriting their parents home.  According to Forbes, “Boomers stand to inherit upwards of $27 trillion over the next four decades, according to The Center of Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College, and a portion of that includes the house their parents lived in.”  The multigenerational ownership lake homes are at the top of the list to check up on their property taxes, values and really check in to create a realistic baseline on understanding the current market.Lake Geneva Lakefront

We are still discussing property taxes with clients on a regular basis. Many times homeowners don’t realize just how over assessed their Lake Geneva property values are. If you have acclimated yourself to the lake and have the time to call or text from the pier we are happy to email your the latest tax bill for reference.

Being entrenched in the Lake Geneva Lakefront Real Estate market allows my team to have a pulse on property values around the lake. This is our job but also my pleasure. Just because we have money doesn’t mean we spend it. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” We are happy to help you.

For more information about getting your Lake Geneva Lakefront Property taxes reviewed please click here. Be sure to include the property address and best method to contact you.


(All communication concerning your Lake Geneva Lakefront property are strictly confidential. Please don’t hesitate to contact Michalene at 262-745-3738 (text is best),, )

You’ve Got Mail…Lake Geneva Mailboat Tour

Lake Geneva Mailboat

Lake Geneva’s ode to “You’ve Got Mail“… On June 15th, 2015 the mailboat will celebrate its 99th year of operations. I will tell you, there is nothing more exciting than waiting for the mailboat to reach your pier and get your summer mail.  It’s one thing that never gets old.  There are several options for you to take in the beautiful sights of Lake Geneva. You can choose one of the beautiful boats and get to know the Ladies of our Lake; Belle, Walworth, Lorilei, Geneva and the infamous “Lady of the Lake” these boat tours on Lake Geneva are fun, fast and informative. The most popular boat tour offered by Lake Geneva Cruise Line’s is the mailboat tour. Who wouldn’t want to watch a mail giver jump on and off each pier with the boat never stopping.  Great fun, minimal face planting but it does happen once in a while.The mailboat tour is that the tour is narrated. You will  not only see the Lake Geneva Lakefront Estates, but you’ll also hear some of the history behind those estates. From Stone Manor, Black Point, Driehaus Estate to the South Shore Club, you’ll hear how they came to be and some fascinating stories of the early beginnings of families living on Lake Geneva.


Lake Geneva Shore Path by foot is also an awesome way to explore.   There is a beautiful 21 mile lake path that encircles Geneva Lake and leads you right past all the beautiful lakefront homes. Many of the  lakefront homes landscape the Lake Geneva lake path as a special feature of their frontage. You’ll see beautiful gardens and gorgeous outdoor gathering areas, all the while breathing in the fresh air. The entry points suggested to start your adventure are : Big Foot Beach Park, Lake Geneva Library Park, Williams Bay and Fontana Beaches, Chapin Road between Conference Point and the Narrows on the North Shore, Linn Pier Road on the South Shore. If you intend to walk around the entire lake you need to schedule an 8 hour timeframe.  It goes by quickly.

Lake Geneva Shorepath

Whatever your mode of transportation, take some time this summer to really enjoy the beautiful environment we call home. The incredible Lake Geneva Lakefront Properties are just one of the many highlights when you are looking for things to do on Lake Geneva.

Lake Geneva LakefrontsMichalene Melges specializes in selling luxury lakefront homes on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Whether you are looking to buy a vacation home on Lake Geneva, or you’re interested in selling your lake home, Michalene will discuss your situation in confidence and see to it that all details through out the sales process are handled for you. If you need an honest, open discussion about what your options are, contact the Michalene at (262) 745-3738.

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Custom Built Home In Country Club Estates

Luxurious, custom built home in Country Club Estates.


Enjoy seasonal views of the West End of Lake Geneva from nearly every room.

A11 A7

The ideal location to enjoy the lake with friends and entertain in this spacious thoughtfully designed home. Hardwood floors, large group kitchen, screen porch, sun drenched master suite with a wall of windows to maximize your views of the lake.

[Read more…]

Enhance the Visual Appeal of Your Lake Geneva Home

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Your Lake Geneva Home is One of the Greatest Investments You’ll Make

It’s important to remember that your home is not just where you live, but it’s also an investment – an important investment – and it’s probably one of the biggest investments that you’ll make in your lifetime.

You’ve most likely lived in your home for a while and you like it, just the way it is.

Maybe you think that you don’t need to change anything in order to sell it – even if you’ve been told in the past that making those changes might help you sell your home.

Think like a CEO When Selling Your Home

It’s important to remember that if you keep a “business mindset”, you’ll most likely sell your Lake Geneva home faster. watch time schedule resize

When selling your home – as emotionally disconcerting as it might be – you need to look at it as a business investment, not just as an emotional one.

But even if you agree and understand that your home is an investment, a busy schedule can keep you from making important improvements and aesthetic changes needed to better position your home.

Rest assured, because there are many inexpensive and smaller projects that you can do in just a weekend that can add perceived value to your home.

Curb Appeal and Your Front Door

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If you can – even temporarily – surrender some familiarities.

Install a few bright fixtures and schedule a little time for some handyman work.

This small investment of time and money can pay-off, bringing rewards, ten-fold.

There are many things that you can do to increase the perceived value of your home.

And about your front door . . .

Though often overlooked, the appearance of your front door is essential.

It’s literally the point of entry to your home.

The appearance of your front door leaves a lasting impression on all of your visitors, influencing how potential buyers view your home and what they’re about to see.

Front Doors, Mailboxes and Door Knockers

test nockerConsider adding a curbside mailbox, a door knocker and a new doorknob, and giving the front door a fresh coat of paint.

You’ll see that suddenly, the front of your home has a fresh and welcomed feel that beautifully represents the rest of your home.

Your home will instantly be viewed as more inviting and welcoming to visitors and potential buyers.

There are several finishes to choose from, from brass, to polished brass, to pewter, copper, and iron, so have fun and let your creative juices flow.

Just remember to keep the rule – all hardware needs to compliment and match one another.

Also be sure that your choices compliment your door color and the exterior color of your home.

Multiply with Mirrors

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HGTV; Inspiring Small Spaces

Buyers are attracted to homes with large rooms.

So if your hallway, dining area, or another room is smaller than average, consider adding a mirror or two.

They not only reflect images, but they also reflect light and color, too.

A home can never be bright or light enough than when it’s on the market, ready to be sold.

If you’re feeling a bit daring, you can even use mirror tiles to mirror an entire wall.

Your room will appear to double in size.

A few large wall mirrors – strategically placed – can make any home appear larger and more inviting.

Remove Big TVs from Smaller Rooms

Most American have a big screen TV and their owners never want to part with them.

I agree – they’re great entertainment – and when displayed in balanced in proportion to the room, they’re a great example of home entertainment luxury.

But when visually they don’t, they just don’t work.

tv room resize; Crestwood Construction, General Contractors

If your big screen is too large for the room you have it in, the room will appear smaller than it is, and that’s not a good thing when you’re trying to sell your home.

Buyers prefer bigger rooms, so if you’re selling your home and your big screen is too large, consider replacing it with a television that’s more appropriate to your room size.

You can always bring your awesome Big Screen back when you move into your new home.

Attract More Lake Geneva Home Buyers

Even on a budget, there are simple and minor improvements that you can implement to visually enhance the look and feel of your home.

last picture; Andrew J. Coleman Lighting

When you do, you’ll peak more interest from potential buyers in the Lake Geneva real estate market.

Helping You Sell Your Lake Geneva Home

As your real estate agent, it’s my job to help you recognize important opportunities as they arise; ones that can benefit you when selling your Lake Geneva home.

If you’re looking for more tips and creative ideas for selling your Lake Geneva home, give me a call.testimonial for Michalene Melges

I love Lake Geneva, have a true passion for helping people, and I strive to exceed my clients’ expectations.

From returning phone calls and e-mails, to negotiating on your behalf, I am committed to helping you successfully sell your Lake Geneva home. –  Michalene

Lake Geneva Real Estate Resurgence and the Special Function Room

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It’s a little like fashion and men’s ties; the same really wide or narrow ones that you’re laughing at today, you can count on will be back in style tomorrow. Changes happen – all of the time – and believe it or not, an analogy can be made between men’s ties and the Lake Geneva real estate market.

The Lake Geneva Real Estate Market and the Special Function Room

Talk about changes. After the financial crisis of 2007, the size of the average home in American began to shrink. A major casualty was the specialty room, or what could be considered ‘special function rooms’.

What is a Special Function Room?

Wormy Maple Mud Room by at

Wormy Maple Mud Room by at

A special function room is a room that is used for non-traditional purposes. In Lake Geneva real estate listings, you see them listed as gyms, saunas, home offices, laundry rooms, home theaters, au-pair suites, ‘man-caves’, and outdoor living rooms, to name a few.

They’re considered ‘extra’ rooms; desirable – but not necessary – rooms.

Special Function Rooms and a Healthy Real Estate Market

Once we began seeing a reduction in square footage, we started to notice that buyers were willing to do without the additional living space that these rooms can bring.

But today – as the real estate market begins to recover and purse strings begin to loosen – home size once again is on the rise.

New home builders report seeing an increase in the demand for more square footage – year-over-year – from 10 to 13 percent, and listings are also indicating an increase in a demand for specialty rooms.

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John Kraemer and Sons for

Mud Rooms are Making a Comeback

The most recent American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends survey indicates that mud rooms and outdoor living areas are making a comeback, too, with 45 percent of all residential architects surveyed noting an increased interest in homes with a traditional mud room (and  only 1 percent noting a decline in interest).

More Au Pair and In-Law Suites

Another interesting trend we’re seeing in Lake Geneva listings is homes that have au-pair rooms and/or in-law suites. This increase is most-likely due to the fact that many aging relatives are now living with family members, and many dual-income families often want live-in child care or elder care services.

A Decline in Home Offices

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Darryl Carter, Decorator;

Years prior, the AIA (American Institute of Architects) rated the home office as the number one, most requested special function room. However recently, home offices have become less desirable, ranking third in priority and taking a backseat to other special function rooms.

According to this survey, today we are seeing a small 22 percent of all home buyers interested in having a specialty room as a dedicated home office.

Whether this change is reflected in Lake Geneva listings or not remains to be seen, but if this is the case, I suspect that the trend is due to improved technology and the portability of laptops and tablets that simply no longer require a dedicated room to carry on business within a home.

A Higher Demand for Special Function Rooms in Lake Geneva

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Luxury Home Gyms by Crown Pavilions

With the economy showing strength and house prices expected to rise again this year, we’re probably just beginning to see a resurgence of listings in Lake Geneva that feature additional specialty rooms.

Whether modern or traditional, specialty rooms can provide today’s Lake Geneva homeowner with the convenience and functionality they need to make living lakeside just a little more luxurious and productive, too. – Michalene

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The Lake Geneva Luxury Home Market Sees Values Heating Up

If you own a luxury home in Lake Geneva, this will be important to you.

According to researchers at DataQuick – a top source for real estate and property value information – within just the first half of 2014, the number of homes selling for more than $1 million has risen by 37%.

And last month, the Wall St. Journal began its ‘Mansion’ section with the words, “We are seeing a recovery in the high-end real estate market”.

Today, the Bloomberg News reports that in the four largest cities nationwide – where luxury home prices previously fell by nearly 46% during the downturn – we are seeing a big gain, one that in the past year alone has more than doubled.

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Now we’re beginning to see a renewed interest in Lake Geneva homes from luxury home buyers, and for some Lake Geneva home owners, it’s just what they’ve been waiting for.

Of course, marketing a luxury home in our area requires a deft hand, just as selling any product to the luxury market requires familiar skills, since price tags are top-tier and buyers require service and goods that match.

The luxury home buyer is a successful person; someone whose time is important, who has most likely been well-schooled and has a discerning sense of quality, and who won’t hesitate to make an important decision.

To appeal to these discriminating prospects, you’ll need a Realtor with first class marketing skills and assistance at their disposal. Here are a few of the technical points that you’ll want to keep in mind when listing your Lake Geneva luxury home:

1. Luxury Publications and Elite Promotions: We will be targeting a narrow segment of the population, and our advertisements will be on websites and in luxury publications where that kind of buyer will often frequent. It’s important to recognize that placement in elite publications will help to enhance your property value through association.

2. Luxury Communities Produce Luxury Homes: When people purchase a luxury home, they aren’t just buying a home; they are reinforcing a preferred lifestyle. That means the community will also become a prime selling point. You will have insider knowledge into the workings of your community; knowledge that I – as your agent – will use when marketing your home. When potential buyers have a sense of being ‘in the know’, it gives them a more confident picture of their future community, and future within the community.

JAL pier

3. Luxury Homes Stand Above the Crowd: Successful people usually regard themselves as standouts because they usually stand out, ahead of the crowd. And just as they like to stand out, ahead of the crowd, the same can be said for their taste in homes. It’s difficult to find a luxury home buyer who wouldn’t choose a distinctive property over one that, even though luxurious, isn’t special in one way or another. This is why we will carefully identify the points that make your Lake Geneva home unique, and then showcase the story.

If you are preparing to sell your Lake Front luxury property, it’s important to team with a Realtor®  who has the contacts and networks keyed to a preferred segment of the population that you wish to market to.

For a confidential property evaluation, please feel free to contact me today in order to learn the value your Lake Geneva luxury home, and the return it can bring in today’s rising market climate!

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The Do-it-Yourself Project that Lake Geneva Home Sellers Can’t Ignore

Pay Attention to the Details when Selling Your Lake Geneva Home

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Photo credit to Heather Garrett Design for

If you’re getting ready to list your home in Lake Geneva or Fontana, pay close attention to the smaller details that can easily be overlooked. They can determine – and even damper – a prospective buyer’s enthusiasm (and the size of an offer, too).

If Needed, Replace Worn Kitchen and Bathroom Grout

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Photo credit of Fiorella Design at

One of the simplest – and most noticeable – details that many sellers overlook when preparing their home for showing is their kitchen and bathroom grout. Bathroom and kitchen grout should always be clean and flawless. When it’s not, it will detract from even the cleanest kitchens and bathrooms.

DYI Experts Take You Step-by-Step

Do-it-yourself fixes like re-grouting are relatively easy to master. Here are some tips from the DIY experts to help you solve this problem before the first prospective buyer arrives at your door.

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Selling Your Lake Geneva Home – Replacing Old Grout

1. First, chip away any questionable grout with a chisel and hammer. Be sure to aim the chisel directly into the grout to avoid damaging any surrounding tiles. And take your time; working too quickly can lead to chipping tiles, and the next thing you know, you’ll be replacing them, too.

2. Keep a vacuum handy. Once the grout has been removed, thoroughly vacuum away any leftover debris. You’ll want to make sure that the area you’re about to re-grout is clean before you begin.

3. Always wear gloves when re-grouting.

4. Use a grouting float – available at most hardware stores in the Lake Geneva area – as you work, making sure to spread the grout evenly between every tile.

5. As you move the grout along the tiles, cover any gaps in-between, pressing it firmly into corners with your fingers.

6. Finish the job with grouting sealant, making sure to leave enough time for the grout to dry evenly before using the area or getting the surface wet.

A Little Grout Can Go a Long Way

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Dan Waibel Designer/Builder at

Re-grouting your kitchen and bathroom counters, bathtubs, and showers isn’t an expensive project, but you will find that the time you’ve invested – plus any momentary investment that you’ve made – will more than pay for itself when it comes time to show and later sell your home.

Increasing the Perceived Value of Your Home will Increase the Value of Your Home

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Architect Dillon Kyle; Hope’s Windows; Skelton – St. John; Lucas Eilers Design Associates, LLP; Fairway Development Corp.; McDuglad-Steele Landscape and Architects. Photo credit at

As The Wall Street Journal points out, real estate deals can fall through at the last minute for a number of reasons.

While crumbling grout is unlikely to cause a deal to fall apart, paying close attention smaller details – like making sure that you have sparkling, well-cared for tile and grout in your bathrooms, kitchen, and other areas that appy – will increase your home’s value, and increase your chances for getting the price you want for your home, too.

If You’re Ready to Sell Your Lake Geneva Home, Give me a Call.

If you live in Lake Geneva or Fontana and you’re ready to sell your home, the time to get ready is NOW.

Give me a call; it’s SPRINGTIME, and that’s always one of the best times to sell your home!

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What to Do After Listing Your Lake Geneva Home

We’ve listed your Lake Geneva home on the MLS. What’s next?

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Knowing what to expect next can make the process of selling your home seem more manageable. Here are some steps you’ll want to follow:


Installing a Lock Box

As your agent, I’ll make every effort to be present for every showing, however, on the occasion that I’m unable to attend a showing, I will work with any qualified agent who shows your home. Installing a lock box in a safe location means that a qualified agent can access the keys to your home and show it to potential buyers.


Pack Up Your Personal Items

This is a great time to remove extra pictures, figurines, cooking materials, etc., from all of your counters and table tops. De-cluttering will always be one of the most important keys to selling a home, and there is no better time to begin than the present.


Scheduling Showings

You will receive a call from the Keefe office, asking if they can schedule a time to show your home. When a time to show your home has been scheduled, please leave (at least a minimum of) 20 minutes prior to the time that’s been set for the showing.  When you leave, remember to leave all of the lights turned on in the house. The brighter it is, the more welcoming your home will be.  Also, please leave the listing binder that I will make for you somewhere that’s visible.

I realize that showing your home can be inconvenient, however, please remember; it’s all part of the selling process and it will be well-worth it once your home has sold.


Shovel, Sweep, and Clear your Driveway, Sidewalks, and Patios

stearns patioRemember to clear all of your walkways, pathways, and patios of snow, leaves, and other debris that can block traffic and make things look unkempt.

Also, leave instructions for everyone to remove their shoes upon entering your home. This should help to keep your carpets, floors, and other well-traveled areas clean.


Returning Home after a Showing

After a showing, I’ll text or call you.  A survey will be sent immediately to the showing agent. Please try to be patient while waiting to hear back from us, as every agent does their best to share feedback as soon as they’ve received it from potential buyers.

When no immediate feedback has been received, that is typically an indication that the property wasn’t ‘the right fit’ for the buyer. Don’t worry though, because the right buyer will come along.


Pier Configuration, Summer Photos, Property Surveys, and House Plans

michalene_melges_lake_geneva_mls_listing_pierIn Lake Geneva, having a pier will always be a plus when selling a home, so be sure to add any photos of your pier to the listing binder.

Photos of the pier in the summertime will be an important visual for potential buyers, and for agents, too. Include any surveys and house plans, as well.



Monthly Property Costs

Often, buyers will ask for monthly utility numbers and maintenance costs.  When selling a Lake Geneva home, or any lake home for that matter, the assumed maintenance can sometimes overwhelm potential buyers, but that is usually only because they were previously uninformed. Please provide any monthly property costs that you can so I can include it in the listing binder, as well.


Holy Cow, We’ve Received an Offer!

We have spent a lot of time positioning your home, staging it, photographing it, AGGRESSIVELY marketing it, and preparing it for a home inspection.  It’s now the complete package. Now you’ve got an offer!


Lake Geneva Sunset

When we receive an offer from a buyer, I’ll get in touch with you immediately. Remember, an offer to purchase is not LUCK. There are always buyers looking for property on Lake Geneva.  They understand value and will react.

Never take an offer lightly. The buyer and the agent presenting the offer have most likely worked together for some time to get to this point. When your home is positioned correctly, it will be your reward.

Next, we will get to a place of acceptance, and then CLOSE THE DEAL.


If You Don’t Receive an Offer

What happens if your house has been on the market for 30 days or more and there have been no showings and no offers have been made?


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If your home is ‘quiet’, there will only be one reason – because of where it is positioned on the market. When a house is placed on the market, the market reacts immediately. If it reacts in silence, then we’ll have to discuss our Plan B, and proceed accordingly with caution.

When property continues to be positioned over market value, it stays listed and ultimately becomes a tool for the competition. Just picture someone saying,

Look, Agent X.  I could buy this home or THAT home; one that clearly has more value.”


Your Overall Mindset

You are my priority, and I look forward to working with you – from escrow to closing.  We are marketing your property for sale, and your house is now THE MOST VALUABLE and competitive product available.  It has a spotlight on it, and it should be the prettiest and most inviting product ‘on the shelf’, so to speak.


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Your home needs to be something that cannot be ignored, missed, trumped, or lived without. You need to visualize the family who you want purchasing your home and ask yourself, what would THEY want to see?

To be successful at selling your home, you need to always be looking ahead to the next step in the process.

Think of your home as a product you are preparing that your buyers will be stepping into. Follow the processes I’ve outlined above, and it’s likely that you’ll be selling your Lake Geneva home very soon.

I want to sincerely thank you for allowing me to be a part of the process in selling your home. Please feel free to reach out to me at 262-745-3738.

With warm regards,

Michalene with The Megles Team; Your Lake Geneva Experts



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How to Stage Your Lake Geneva Home

There are many things that you can do to sell your Lake Geneva home, and one of the most important is staging. Staging is all about the way your home looks and feels to potential buyers.

Sheer Window Treatments by Living Design Photos at

It’s not a complicated process, and it’s easily achieved when you follow these suggestions.

First, ask yourself . . .

  • Does your home feel dark when you come inside? It’s important that your home feels light and airy – every room – so do what you need to so you can lighten it up.
  • Are there things on the floor/hallway that make it difficult or crowded to pass through? Remove extra things that clutter and really don’t belong.
  • Do you have papers, books, and other things that should be put up or even thrown away? Yes? Then do it. Chances are they’re things that don’t need to be out and you might not want to take with you anyway.

Clean and De-Clutter

One of the biggest keys to effective staging is to clean and de-clutter. If there is something you wouldn’t normally see in a store on display, then it shouldn’t be on display when staging your home.


Remember, less is more. Your home is a product that you are selling, and you must attach yourself to that mindset before you successfully stage your home. Let’s break it down, room by room:


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Floors are Important

  • Are your floors clean?
  • Have all the floors in the house been swept, mopped, and polished (as applies) and have the carpets been vacuumed and shampooed?
  • Are there area rugs on the floors?

Put away any area rugs that you might have on the floor; your rooms will appear much larger without them.

Seasons Change/Seasons Count

In wintertime, have an area where guests can remove their shoes and set them down. You can even hang a little sign nearby, asking them to do so.  Doing this shows character and respect for your home, and respect and character in a home can give a buyer confidence in a home they’re thinking of buying, and in the people who they’re thinking of buying it from.

Clear all walkways, pathways, and patios of snow, leaves, and other debris that can block traffic and make things look unkempt.


  • Do they sparkle and shine?
  • Are the towels hanging on towel racks, clean and new, and do they match?

Buy new towels for all of your bathrooms. Pick up two sets of white towels for each bathroom, including a bath sheet, a hand towel, and a wash cloth.  Fold them into thirds, and hang one set on each rack in every bathroom.

As with every other room in your home, remember that cleanliness – especially in a bathroom – will always be next to godliness, regardless of your price point.

  • Have nothing – I mean ZERO – sitting or stored on top of bathroom counter tops.
  • Bathtubs and showers need to glisten.
  • Remove all bathroom, bathtub, and shower mats.

Italian Hotel Satin Stitch Shower Curtain by Restoration Hardware















And as for your shower curtain, what kind of shape is it in? If it’s not new, or you don’t have one, GET A NEW ONE. Make sure it is in a neutral tone.  The staple, classic theme has always been a tweed or sea grass look . . . not palm trees or seasonal designs. If you’re going to use a theme for your curtain, be sure it matches the geographical location that you’re in; i.e., there are no palm trees in the Midwest, so there shouldn’t be palm trees in a staged Midwest bathroom.

The Great Room, Living Room, and Family Room

  • Add throw pillows to your couches – two per couch, at the most – and be sure they match, are clean, and compliment and accent your furniture.
  • Remove any blankets from the room, and resist the urge to fan magazines on the coffee table.
  • Be sure to eliminate artificial flowers of any kind, and remove any candles, too.

Take all away. At first, the rooms might feel bare, but if the few minimal items you leave out are not personal, potential buyers will be able to look past them.

Photos and Artwork

Carefully choose the artwork you hang and the photos you have out on display.  A family tree wall or personal family photos aren’t something you want on display when selling your home.

If you’re in a town that is easily marketable, there are photos you can display that could generate good memories because of your location. Here in Lake Geneva, that could be photos of our beautiful sunsets or landmarks, like The Riv, for example. sailing small w frame two

And if you are in a big city, like Chicago, photos of a the Chicago skyline, parades, and landmarks would be perfect, because these types of photos can evoke emotion from a buyer and help them remember WHY they’re buying in your location.


Having books on display is always a good strategy, as they can visually enhance and lend ambiance, while creating a sophisticated space. Try to keep them neutral in content and appearance. Books about art, history, and current events are always a good choice.

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  • Be sure all floor mats are up off of the floor and put away.
  • All counter tops need to be shiny clean.

Use bleach counter top spray to give them the once over, and make sure all dishes, pots, and pans are washed and put away.


Plan in advance for a place where your pets can stay when showing your home. Make sure to put away any toys, crates, beds, water, food dishes, and other belongings of theirs, too. Remember that for a potential buyer, images can invoke thoughts and feelings, and pets can often represent wear and tear to a house and floors. Potential buyers might think about your pets being up on your bed, bringing along allergies, etc.

Do you see where I am going with this?  You love your pet, of course you do, but your buyer may not be an animal lover and could possibly be grossed out by little Rosco. :-)


  • Make sure all bedding is clean.
  • All beds need to be well-made.
  • The layers on each bed need to match or be coordinated.

Kids’ Rooms

When it comes to kids rooms, there is never an excuse for having a holy mess of a room, regardless of their ages. For you, this is a great opportunity to begin de-cluttering some of the toys, clothes, and other things they’ve probably outgrown. Again, the more cluttered the room, the smaller that it will look and feel.

Window Treatments


Image Courtesy of Divine Designs Furniture and Decorating

If a window treatment is too heavy, it will visually appear to drag the ceiling down. So keep things light and bright when it comes to window treatments, especially in a bedroom.

While white sheers are neutral, clean, and they will let the light in . . .

Valances will typically be overwhelming and date a room (and your property!) so remove them before showing you home.

Lower-Level Basement, Crawl Spaces, and Utility Areas

Make sure all light switches are in working order, and replace bulbs, if needed.
Have the mechanical room easily accessible, and be sure it’s clean and dry.
The same goes for your crawl space, if you have one.

As with all the other rooms in your home, lower-level basement and utility areas need a light/bright feel. This helps them to appear larger, too. Again, make sure all lighting is in working order, and have all blinds, drapes, and shades open and in working order, too.

Fresh and Neutral Textiles and Accent Pieces

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The Pottery Barn; Antique Silver Serve Bowl

REMEMBER, the goal in staging your Lake Geneva home is to create a clean, neutral look for all of your prospective buyers. They need to envision THEIR belongings in your home, and feel as if THEY are at home in your home.

Adding clean, fresh, and neutral textiles and accents to every room is going to help, too, and some of the best places to pick up these essentials – regardless of price point – can be:

  • Walmart – It’s a great place to find reasonably priced white towels, white sheers, curtain rods, and matching/solid kitchen towels.
  • TJ Maxx – When it comes to throw pillows, they typically have a great selection that’s again, reasonably priced. You can usually find throw pillows for your beds and couches, and a good centerpiece – like a silver bowl or similar – to place atop a kitchen island or dining room table.

And When it Comes to Re-Painting . . .

It’s always wise when staging your home to avoid painting your walls dark and heavy colors – no reds, burnt umbers, chocolates, or brilliant blues – you get my drift.

Instead, stick with something beautiful, but neutral. Shaker Beige is my favorite neutral for every room; it’s a beautiful, warm, and neutral tone that stays fresh, room to room.

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Theme Rooms

Try to avoid declaring too much of a theme when staging your home. While it might attract some lookers, it may not be neutral enough for most, and there is a chance that it can be a turnoff to a potential buyer in the process.

My Final Word on Staging

When selling a home in Lake Geneva, if you clean, de-clutter, and neutralize throughout, you’ll be giving your potential buyer permission to say yes – they’ll see your home as their own, and can easily see themselves living there.

These suggestions can give you ideas for sprucing up your home and effectively showcase its assets.

When selling your home, staging is very important, and it will always be something that you can control – the look and feel of your home.