HOT Real Estate Market in the Desert, in Spite of High Temps and the Pandemic Scare!

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A view looking down the famed shopping boulevard El Paseo, in Palm Desert, where most shops and restaurants are open again, though often with restrictions!

Contrary to what many feared would be a cooling down in the real estate market here in the desert, and also elsewhere, the real estate market is bustling with activity! As a Realtor®, part of my daily routine is to look at the MLS every morning to see the New Listings, Under Contract Listings, Pending Listings and Closed Listings. And every morning I am amazed to see that it is a robust market in spite of the coronavirus lockdowns which have caused many people financial hardship!

In general, things usually slow down as the outdoor temperatures soar up into the triple digits, but even that has not affected the real estate sales activity! During the height of the market, generally there are about 30 plus listings in each category (New Listings, Closed Listings, etc). But now, in the heat of the summer and still under a certain level of restrictions due to the coronavirus, it’s alway at least about 40 plus listings in each category on the MLS! And it’s not surprising to see as many as 100 plus or close to it, in each category! This confirms that it is a RED HOT real estate market right here, right now in the desert!

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Beautiful sunset as seen in Palm Desert!

However, properties still need to be priced right for the market in order to sell quickly. Properties priced under $400,000 and with similar comps are the ones selling the fastest. In fact, certain neighborhoods such as the La Quinta Cove, Palm Desert Country Club and many in Cathedral City are getting multiple offers and sometimes over the list price!

I currently have a listing that is frequently being shown and an offer may soon be forthcoming any day now, from what one of the agents has told me. The property I have listed on the MLS is located at 43768 Via Magellan Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92211, and is located behind the gates to the resort community of Desert Breezes, which offers an enviable lifestyle with community pools and spas, tennis courts, a clubhouse, a fitness center, and all this with mountain views and plenty of shopping nearby! The list price is $329,000 for this adorable 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1839 square foot home with a spacious side yard with mature trees including a citrus tree, an attached 2 car garage, indoor laundry room, cathedral ceilings, ceiling fans, granite counters in the kitchen, walk-in closet in the master bedroom with en suite bathroom, and more. Amazing value!

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43768 Via Magellan Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92211

You will be hard-pressed to find a better value in Palm Desert which is centrally located within the Coachella Valley! It’s also close to the famous Indian Wells Tennis Gardens which hosts one of the biggest world-class tennis tournaments in the world! That’s the BNP Paribas Open, where you can watch the tennis greats such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal battle it out on the tennis courts and then later enjoy delicious food and beverages at the restaurants within the complex with gorgeous mountain views.

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One of the entrances to the famed Indian Wells Tennis Garden, home to the BNP Paribas Open

It seems as if we have the worst of the shutdowns due to the coronavirus scare behind us, however as I write this, no restaurants can serve food or drinks inside, and no beauty services such as hair and nail salons can operate inside either. Thankfully, many of the stores are open such as Macy’s, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Anthropologie, for a few examples are open for shoppers to shop inside the stores. So it still is certainly a challenging time for restauranteurs and bars and their patrons! Up in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s worse because they don’t even allow outdoor dining at all, from what I understand. Things change every day in these days of the pandemic, so I’m hoping that this too shall pass! And soon!!!

Getting back to my report on the current state of real estate, apparently we are experiencing such a strong market due to several factors:

  • Historic low interest rates…under 3%!!! Like 2.5% on a 30 year fixed-rate loan compared to 4% this time last year!
  • With the pandemic forcing many workers to work from home for the foreseeable future, they are buying homes here in the desert where it’s less congested than metropolitan areas as far as housing and traffic goes
  • Prices here in the desert are much more affordable than metropolitan areas and along the coast here in California
  • The sunny, balmy weather for 8 months of the year is considered by many to be perfectly ideal, whereas the hot summers can be escaped with day trips and weekends to the coast, and fortunately we do have AC!!!

Living in the desert, you are just a little over two hours away (depending on traffic and what part of the desert you live in) from the world renowned beaches of southern California, in places like La Jolla, Encinitas, Del Mar, San Clemente, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Huntington Beach, Santa Monica and Malibu.

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Surfers of all ages head in to catch waves before the sun sets in Encinitas

On the other hand, if you are in the mood for an alpine setting, you can head up the hills a mile in the sky to the alpine village of Idyllwild, for hiking, browsing through boutiques and galleries and enjoying the dining options there. Or you can hike around or just picnic at Lake Hemet which is an even shorter drive from the desert floor.

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Lake Hemet, off Hwy. 74 offers a tranquil, cooler setting for hiking and picnicking in the summer.

Other ideas for escaping the heat are to go to the coast for boating, kayaking, visiting zoos (aquariums, unfortunately are still closed), shopping and dining.

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Visit with the sea lions and seabirds while kayaking in the La Jolla Cove!

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It’s a treat to be able to be so close to sea lions and seabirds in La Jolla, whether walking along the bluffs or kayaking!

Meanwhile, my listing in the resort community of Desert Breezes offers many fun amenities that can be enjoyed year round! In the summer, you just need to avoid being out in the blazing sun during mid-day hours.

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One of the many community pools inside the Desert Breezes community

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Enjoy tennis if you like, behind the Desert Breezes clubhouse!

Inside my listing at 43768 Via Magellan Drive, you’ll find beautiful granite counters in the kitchen:

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The kitchen features granite counters and new cabinets and a view to the side yard.

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With many windows, a solar tube and cathedral ceilings, it’s bright and light inside!

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The master bedroom has an en suite bathroom with a large walk-in closet

If you would like a private tour of this delightful property, at 43768 Via Magellan Drive, Palm Desert please call me to discuss the details on making that happen! Or look at the 3D tour here. Please note: The Price is now reduced to $329,000.

In the meantime, you can take a more detailed look on-line at my website and also begin viewing other properties on-line as well by clicking here: WendysDesertRealEstate.com

Seize the moment and contact me now if you are interested in buying a home or selling one here in our beautiful and exciting desert cities, which include Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, Indio and Indian Wells, as well as other nearby cities and towns. If you like, I can set you up on an auto-prospecting search for your dream home. Call me on my cell at 760-587-6009 and let’s talk!

In the meantime, here are some stats about our real estate market here in the desert:

Current Median Prices in Coachella Valley Cities as of June 2020 for Single-Family Residential (SFR) Homes and Attached Homes (Condos):

Palm Springs: SFR $706,0000; Condos $248,000

Cathedral City: SFR $378,750; Condos $176,250

Rancho Mirage: SFR $620,000; Condos $289,000

Palm Desert: SFR $470,000; Condos $305,000

La Quinta: SFR $603,000; Condos $327,625

Indian Wells: SFR $942,000; Condos $399,000

Indio: SFR $335,000; Condos $197,000

Prices have come up in all cities except for Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells compared to June 2019. Prices came up the most in Palm Desert, where the June 2019 median home price was $314,500 and is now $470,000! Now you can see why there is no doubt that my listing at 43768 Via Magellan Drive, Palm Desert is really priced to sell now that it is priced at $329,000 (Initially it was listed for $349,000)! The price for condos has dropped across all the desert cities, perhaps because of the lack of tourism in the recent months, where as normally was the time that a few tourists would buy a second home as in a condo in the desert.

As usual, many of our buyers come from more densely populated areas such as LA, Orange County, San Diego and even the San Francisco Bay Area. Again, it’s great prices, relaxing, less traffic, less densely populated, and wonderful weather that are among the big draws to living here. You can also consider the lively social calendar we have during season, such as Fashion Week, galleries, polo matches and much more, as well as the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, the PGA WEST golfing events and other related golf events, the music festivals such as Coachella and StageCoach, as well as activities such as biking, hiking, golf, swimming, tennis and more that add to the great mix of fun things to participate in here in our sunny desert!

Hopefully, we will be back to normal again soon! Regardless, the desert is truly a wonderful place to call home.

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A partial view of the back and side yard of my listing at 43768 Via Magellan Drive, Palm Desert

 

 

 

Loving Being Back in the Desert!

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A sculpture of a heart in the median of El Paseo aptly expresses how I feel about the desert

I’ve been settling back into my desert lifestyle and as a full-time Realtor® now since I returned back to the desert from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, just before Christmas 2019, where I also worked as a Realtor®. Since I’ve been back, I found out that three other Realtor® friends who left the desert around the same time I did for other parts of the world to live, have now returned about the same time I did! One tried living in Maui, Hawaii, another in Nova Scotia, Canada, and another in Aiken, South Carolina. There’s something about the desert that just pulls at your heartstrings and draws you back! In spite of the sizzling hot summers, it still offers an incredible lifestyle that is just so upbeat and fun!

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Gorgeous homes in south Palm Desert available for purchase. Prices typically range from $500,000s and up to over a million dollars.

The real estate market here is hot, hot, hot, with lots of sales activity happening! In fact, it’s probably more of a seller’s market since there are many buyers looking for properties, in all the price ranges, even in the luxury estate market, and any single family residence under $300,000 just gets scooped up right away! For instance, a very cute home around 1400 sq ft on a very large lot in Palm Desert just a couple of blocks north of Hwy 111 off Portola, was priced at $300,000, had 75 people show up for the first open house on Saturday, and by Sunday, it was bought for $335,000 in a multiple offer situation!

While I am now prospecting for my own listings, I am holding open houses for my colleague, in Palm Springs in the Sunrise Park neighborhood, at two homes that were bought and remodeled by investors. I always have about 25 to 30 people who show up, and one of the properties went into escrow, but just fell out, so if you are reading this, you just might want to check it out and make an offer!

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Pictures just do NOT do this gorgeous property justice!

The address is 460 N Orchid Tree Lane, Palm Springs, so you can easily look up the details. It has a sleek interior with an open floor concept, mostly white with gray accents, and appeals to those looking for a mid-century home that is already done, so you can just move in and enjoy the views and the carefree Palm Springs lifestyle! It’s bike ride from downtown Palm Springs!

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The front of 460 N Orchid Tree Lane, Palm Springs, beckons you in!

The price has been reduced to $825,000, so the sellers are motivated!

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The open floor concept is embraced here, with floor to ceiling windows to take in the mountain views! Bright and white with touches of gray, this home has lots of appeal!

There is another one just down the street at 365 N Orchid Tree, Palm Springs, and the price has been reduced to $775,000. It’s got a great separation of bedrooms in this floorpan, with a huge master suite on one side and the other three bedrooms on the other side of the house, with a big bonus room as well, for what ever you desire… a game room, an office, a cabana, a den, a room for the pets… you decide! Its pool and spa are south-facing and offer a lot of privacy! The finishes are reminiscent of a Tuscan contemporary design, with tumbled travertine floors, and earth-toned wood and granite.

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The entryway to 365 N Orchid Tree Lane, Palm Springs

The mountain views are lovely from the pool area, and the yard is low maintenance.

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The pool area is south-facing for lots of sunshine!

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The gourmet kitchen is part of the open floor concept which includes the living room and dining area, great for entertaining!

When I’m not busy with real estate activities (which is rare!), one thing I enjoy a lot is visiting the art galleries, meeting the gallery owners and the artists themselves and learning about them and their art.

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Posing in front of a vibrant painting in a gallery on El Paseo

I also enjoy hiking in the many trails in the Coachella Valley and up Hwy 74, where the landscape changes dramatically. The alpine town of Idyllwild is just about an hour drive from Palm Desert and is literally about a mile in the sky! It’s a totally different environment than the desert, and the drive up offers very dramatic and ever-changing vistas.

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The dogs enjoy hiking, too! Pictured here on a hiking trail in Pinyon, above the Coachella Valley.

Window shopping along El Paseo is one of my favorite past-times, and sometimes I even indulge in buying some clothes, like I did the other day at a relatively new addition to El Paseo, Tina Stephens, which offers chic, easy to wear clothes that are perfect for traveling, one of my passions.

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The Louis Vuitton windows on El Paseo are always works of Art!

And now that I am a CTA (Certified Tourism Ambassador) of Greater Palm Springs, I attend many fun events to learn even more about the great venues and businesses that are available for both tourists and residents alike to enjoy. You can check out the lineup of events and attractions here in the Coachella Valley at www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com, or just ask me! I am more than happy to help!

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I was happy to be an attendee of a catered event at a fabulous luxury estate in Palm Springs that is available for special events. As a CTA, I can help point you in the right direction!

There is just so much to do here during our high season in particular (November to April), that is basically impossible to be bored! There is always something fun going on. On Friday nights during high season, it’s fun to go to El Paseo to see all kinds of exotic and antique cars cruise down the boulevard, and then afterwards go to dinner at one of the many fine eating establishments to choose from.

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You’ll see classic beach wagons, “Woodies”, Rolls Royces, brand new Lamborghinis, muscle cars, low-riders, VW busses, Ford Model Ts, and much more on Cruise Night on El Paseo!

Fashion Week is coming up soon, and all the events that pop up around it. Then there’s the Food & Wine Festival. You get the idea! Never a dull moment during season! The polo matches are held very weekend at the El Dorado Polo Club and the Empire Polo Club from January to the end of March. In April there are the famous music festivals Coachella Music and Arts Festival simply known as “Coachella” and then Stagecoach, although these have been postponed til October this year amidst the coronavirus scares.

There are over 120 golf courses here in the desert, many of them open to the public. There are public and private tennis courts as well throughout the desert. Of course, the BNP Paribas Tennis Tournament happens here every March and draws people from around the world to see the top stars of tennis battle it out on the courts, amicably of course! Golf tournaments are also a draw here, and PGA WEST is located in La Quinta, offering several golf courses and a wide variety of homes to buy, ranging from condos and townhouses to multi-million dollars estates.

Some people can take the heat of summer here! Are you one of them? If not, there are many places just an hour or two or three away, to escape it. Right in Palm Springs, there is the Aerial Tramway, which offers hiking in an alpine atmosphere overlooking the hot desert below.

The indoor/outdoor living here draws “snowbirds” and people from all over the world to bask in the sunshine. Some people choose to make it their home as well, whether it’s their primary home or a secondary home. Are you thinking about buying a home here? I can help! Just a phone call away at 1-760-587-6009 or e-mail me at wendysdesert@gmail.com for more information or to answer any question you may have.

PS Here is a link to a recent article about fun things to do in Greater Palm Springs from Forbes Magazine!

 

 

Furniture: LEAVE IT or NOT TO LEAVE IT? That is The Question!

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In the desert, a popular resort area, many homes are secondary homes, and so sellers often do not need the furniture for their primary home or another secondary home.  That is why many sellers opt to include their furniture with the sale of their house. The furniture is worth more WITH the house, rather than if sold separately from the house.  It also helps to sell the house for best value and more quickly.

Many buyers of secondary homes will be more attracted to a home if it is tastefully furnished with lightly used furniture, and, better yet, if it is offered turn key furnished with all the kitchen utensils, etc. In other words, the motto “Just bring your toothbrush!” is very appealing idea to a buyer of a second home or even primary home. This will often give your property an advantage to sell more quickly.  So you might as well take advantage of it if this is an option for you!

If you try to sell your furniture in a yard sale, or using an on-line service like craigslist or OfferUp, even if it is very high end furniture or rare antiques, you will get likely get pennies on the dollar and it will be time-consuming as well.

If you sell your furniture using a consignment store, they will only select some items that they are interested in selling in their store, and they will take a consignment fee of at least 38% of whatever they sell it for. This can be a good option if you have a lot of high-end furniture in good condition. They can come and pick it up if there are enough items.

Items that you can’t sell easily or quickly or are of insignificant value, you can always donate to a local thrift store like the Angel View Thrift Stores for charity throughout the valley, who can pick up your items and give you a form to complete which you can use as a tax deduction.

Items that you want to keep, you obviously have the option to arrange that a reputable moving company pick them up and move them to wherever you want.

Some people think that a realtor just wants to make more commission by including the furniture with the sale of the home, however, considering the furniture is generally worth $5000 to $20,000, that is very negligible, and not the goal of the realtor. The goal of a realtor is not just to list your home, but to get it SOLD at the best price the market will bear in a timely manner.

Sometimes buyers don’t want any items or they want just a few items, and in that case it actually is an inconvenience for many sellers to arrange to remove the items.

Bottom line is, the goal is to sell the property at the best price that the market will bear and in a timely manner. If a buyer makes a good offer on the home and wants the furniture to be included with the sale of the home, then it is advisable to agree to that. If they are using a lending institution, then it will be stated on a separate Addendum that the furniture is sold at zero value with the sale of the home, because lenders do not lend on furniture.

Every situation is different however the above is a guideline for standard practice here in the desert. Unless you have a special attachment to your furniture and can use it elsewhere, it generally has more value if sold with the house. If you have any questions about this, please let me know! I can be reached at 1-760-587-6009 or you may e-mail me at wendysdesert@gmail.com.

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