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!

 

 

From California to South Carolina and Back to California! For good! Yay!!!

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A gorgeous sunset on Mitchelville Beach on the north end of Hilton Head Island

LOOKING FOR ADVENTURE

Sometimes one feels the need for a new adventure! So last year in Feb. 2019, I drove cross country with my two cats and dog to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, to buy a cute little condo not far from the beach! I figured, hey, check it out! The prices for real estate and gas are much less than here in California, and I thought that I’d love to live near the beach for a change. Yes, I had heard of the hurricanes and alligators there, but…well, I decided I’d check it out, just the same.

I had also planned on getting my real estate license there, as well as keep the one I have in California, and so I accomplished that goal with not a lot of hassle.

Boy, oh boy, what a culture shock I felt after immersing myself in life in Hilton Head Island!

I had thought I might possibly stay in South Carolina for maybe even the rest of my life, but as the months went by, I sorely missed home sweet home: California!! In spite of all its problems, like some of the high living expenses such as housing and gas, the wacky politics, the homelessness problems, the sanctuary cities, frequent devastating fires and occasional earthquakes!

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It’s definitely a “Buyer Beware” kind of state in South Carolina when it comes to buying real estate! Buyers in California are much more protected!

REAL ESTATE PRACTICES IN SOUTH CAROLINA VS. IN CALIFORNIA REALLY DIFFER

First of all, the way they do real estate there is completely different than the way we do it here in California!

It’s very much a “Buyer Beware” kind of a state, where once an Offer is accepted, basically, you bought it! No easy way to back out, like here in California, where the contingency period is 17 days, and you don’t even have to give a reason for backing out, and you don’t lose any money whatsoever if you do.

Over in South Carolina, there are only a few pages of real estate documents you need to close a deal, whereas here in California, the stack often reaches 2 inches high or more! In South Carolina, buyers sometimes do not receive any disclosures other than one Seller Disclosure, IF they are lucky! Many times sellers do not bother to provide one, and a deal cannot be voided if none is provided. In California, buyers receive a Seller Property Questionnaire, a Real Estate Transfer Disclosure (with even more details and disclosures from the seller), and the Natural Hazards Disclosure. In South Carolina, home owners association documents are not current and you may not receive full documents until AFTER you close escrow. In California, HOA-related documents are provided usually within 10 days of acceptance of the offer.

While there are many more documents that California realtors must process in order to complete a real estate transaction, I think it’s worth it, because it truly protects the buyer, which is only right, since the buyer is often making the biggest financial decision of his/her life! In the end, I think it benefits everyone. It makes for fewer surprises, and let’s face it, when it comes to buying a home, no one wants surprises! Here in California, it’s best for sellers to “disclose, disclose, disclose” to avoid problems down the road.

In California, we use escrow companies that are very customer service oriented to handle the closing of the real estate transaction. The escrow company can be selected by the buyer or the seller, but both must agree on using the same one. Usually the seller is the one who selects the escrow company, however, occasionally it is the buyer who does. On the other hand, in South Carolina, they use attorneys. I found that to be very inefficient because it added an extra layer to the process. Having just one escrow company to deal with is far more efficient and saves time. The lawyers I encounter did not seem at all customer service oriented, and were often unaccessible. Generally, there is no need for a lawyer when it comes to closing a deal in California, and all the various disclosures that are mandatory help keep everything above board and on track.

As for real estate documents, in California, they are all standardized CAR (California Association of Realtors) forms. On the other hand, in South Carolina, they have a variety of options and ways to write up their contracts, which makes the process more confusing. They don’t typically include expiration dates which makes things seem so open-ended. In California, the documents are much more concise and detailed in the language. Again, I believe this takes out the guesswork and, even if there are more pages to a document, such as an offer to purchase, I believe it’s actually a much more efficient and clear, transparent way to practice real estate, that benefits all involved, especially the buyer.

I could continue on with this topic, but I think you get the idea! They really do things differently in South Carolina than in California with regards to real estate, and I am much more comfortable with the California way!

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Unfortunately due to the sediment from surrounding rivers, lagoons, and marshland, the water is so murky you can’t see your feet! Scary when there are stinging jellyfish, stingrays and sharks lurking in the water!

DISAPPOINTMENT WITH THE CLARITY OF THE OCEAN WATER DETRACTED FROM THE ENJOYMENT OF THE BEACHES FOR ME

While I love the long, sandy beaches of Hilton Head Island, I was very surprised that the water is very murky due to the sediment of nearby rivers and marshes. You can’t see your feet even in a few inches of water! This is particularly troublesome if you, like me, are afraid of being stung, either by stinging jellyfish or stingrays, or bitten by sharks! I found that very disappointing because one of my favorite things to do is to snorkel and look at fish underwater, which is not possible there. Oops! I guess I should’ve researched that! Also, during the summer months in particular, there are a lot of biting bugs, such as “no see ums” (gnats so little that you can’t see them). So you had better have your bug spray handy at all times!

On the bright side, sometimes I almost felt like I was in St. Bart’s on the beach, because of the airplanes flying low over the beach on Mitchelville Beach, an incredibly beautiful and natural beach. I spent many an idyllic afternoon reading and studying on that beach, with Cupcake in tow. Dogs area allowed to roam freely on the beaches except during peak hours during the summer. I never tired of the gorgeous sunsets from the beaches and restaurants such as my favorites Skull Creek Boathouse, on the north end of the island, and The Ocean Club, at Sea Pines at the south end of the island, and Poseidon, in the middle of them.

CUSTOMER SERVICE IS LACKING IN MANY PLACES IN SOUTH CAROLINA

I love to shop at Ralph’s Grocery Store in the desert, for example, but its counterpart Kroger’s is another story altogether! While the great selection and competitive prices are there, the customer service was completely lacking! The cashiers and “baggers” would rather chat and ignore you than bag your groceries. Many of them were very unfriendly and they definitely were not trained to provide good customer service and a pleasant customer service experience! So I am so happy to be back where excellent customer service is commonplace everywhere! California seems to be a happier place in general than South Carolina to me. Maybe it’s just me!

By the way, apparently South Carolina is a so-called “Right To Work” state, where there is no mandatory minimum wage, and so many people get much less wages than people in California for the same kind of job. I heard many of the restaurant food-servers only make $2.50/hr and must rely almost completely on tips to make any money! Due to this fact, the service when tips were involved was almost always great. However, in general, workers did not seem to provide very good customer service resulting in a bad customer experience. This even included real estate attorneys, in addition to cashiers and baggers at grocery stores and moving company employees! The concepts of customer service and customer satisfaction seem to be lost on many, although there were definitely notable exceptions.

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Beachfront properties on Hilton Head Island do cost over a million dollars, however, beachfront properties like these will likely cost five times or more along the California coast!

 

HOME PRICES AND GAS PRICES ARE UNSURPRISINGLY LOW IN SOUTH CAROLINA

I do miss only paying about $2.24 a gallon at the gas pumps, that’s for sure! And home prices are much less in South Carolina (and most places!) than in California. I hope that somehow we Californians can find a way to pressure our politicians to not tax the gas so much. It seems like the gas prices are unnecessarily exorbitant! There’s not pollution in many states I drove through, in spite of their low gas prices!

Home values are great in South Carolina, and it is a fast-growing state. Towns like Bluffton, for instance, are rapidly expanding in population and amenities!

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This was one heck of an alligator, looking almost like a statue. But it wasn’t.

WHERE EVER THERE IS WATER, THERE ARE ALLIGATORS IN HILTON HEAD ISLAND!

I knew that there were alligators in Hilton Head Island, but I didn’t know they are everywhere there is water! And there is a lot of water in Hilton Head Island: a zillion lagoons, creeks, rivers, marshes… occasionally alligators can even be found in the surf at the beach! I almost ran over a 9-footer about to cross the street at night! Apparently alligators are mostly nocturnal and like to jump from lagoon to lagoon and socialize during the mating season! About 6 months before I moved there, a lady named Cassandra Klein was attacked while walking her dog near one of the ubiquitous lagoons, and sadly, she did not survive, while her dog, whom she valiantly tried to protect from the gator, did survive unharmed. While I was there, a woman was walking her dog at night and tripped on an alligator in her side yard, and was attacked by the creature on her wrist and calf, but she survived, fortunately!

I am so glad that me and my little doggie Cupcake (and my cats!) survived South Carolina’s alligators (and hurricanes) for sure!

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Me and my furry family were holed up in a Comfort Suites hotel room in Columbia, glued to the TV watching the news about  Hurricane Dorian, praying it would pass by Hilton Head Island leaving it unscathed. The lump to the left is my cat Mr. T hiding under the covers.

HURRICANES ARE PSYCHOLOGICAL TERRORS

Everyone was forced to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Dorian. It was terrifying to have to constantly watch the news and see the way the hurricane devastated the Bahamas! Hoping it wouldn’t do the same to Hilton Head Island!

So I packed up the furry family and we spent the night at a Comfort Inn and Suites Hotel in the state capital Columbia, which was full of evacuees. It really wasn’t fun because I was too worried about what might happen. It was exhausting!

Fortunately, word came early the next day that Hilton Head Island was spared, and a neighbor told me by phone there wasn’t any damage. So we rolled home and were relieved to see just a lot of branches and pinecones littering the ground. Whew! That was a close one!

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A winsome statue is one of many along El Paseo, “the Rodeo Drive of the desert!”

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME! CALIFORNIA IS TRULY MY HOME!

It’s a well known fact, that sometimes you just don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone. And, as the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. This was certainly the case with me, and fortunately California is still here, and I am so glad to be back here, for sure!

I will cherish the great times and beautiful vistas that I witnessed in and around low-key Hilton Head Island, glamorously charming Charleston and entirely enchanting Savannah, and learning about the rich history.

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One of the magnificent historic homes along the Battery in Charleston, this is the Roper House!

I love the historical buildings and architecture, especially the Greek Revival, surrounded by majestic live oak trees festooned with hanging Spanish Moss.

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The historic district in Savannah has around 24 park squares and surrounded by gorgeous historic homes, including this one, which is now The Old Pink House Restaurant, a very popular place, and deservedly so!

I truly enjoyed Southern Cuisine, such as Shrimp and Grits, She Crab Soup, local fish cooked in a variety of ways, the myriad varieties of oysters, fried green tomatoes, and the libations were great too, such as the many local beers and the Dark And Stormy cocktail, so popular with sailors, made of Gosling Dark Rum and Gosling Ginger Beer.

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I truly enjoyed this masterpiece at The Old Pink House Restaurant! Soft-shelled crab and rice deluxe! The service and ambiance was fantastic here!

Of course, the local wines there don’t compare to California wines!

BOTTOM LINE IS…

I’m so grateful I had the very interesting experience of living in the Deep South, which has always fascinated me, and yet, to be able to come back to my beloved California! I rolled back into the desert on December, 22, 2019, just in time for Christmas and ready to begin a brand new year.

It’s so great to be back, reunited with friends and my favorite places here. And to see the mountains again! They don’t call South Carolina the Low Country for nothing!

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Hiking with the dogs up at Idyllwild!

I’m happy to be back at my favorite restaurants and discovering the new ones that opened while I was away, hiking the mountains, strolling the world-famous El Paseo of Palm Desert, and all the fun events we have here during our high season!

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Enjoyed a spectacular property in Palm Springs while sampling appetizers and wine at a chamber of commerce mixer.

This truly is a great country, so full of beauty, variety and great people. Here’s hoping 2020 will be one of the best years ever for us all!

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A beautiful view of Mount Jacinto from Rancho Mirage, CA

Written Feb. 4, 2020 by Wendy Campbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Condos at Desert Falls Country Club Offer The Desert Lifestyle

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Condos in the Desert Falls Country Club in Palm Desert offer the best of “the desert lifestyle”, including a carefree life-style since the HOA takes care of everything including all landscaping, 24 hour guarded gate, exterior maintenance, cable TV, 25 community pools and spas, 9 tennis courts (lit up at night), and a 3 floor state-of-the-art fitness center. The prices for these condos are very reasonable, too, starting in the low $200,000s. No wonder this is one of the most popular country clubs in the desert!  For golf enthusiasts, membership is available at the 18-hole championship Ronald Fream-designed Scottish course within the gates of Desert Falls Country Club,  listed as one of the top 10 courses by the SCPGA, and has earned a four-star rating from the “Golf Digest” list of “Best Places to Play”. There are often special golf membership deals available so check in with Golf Membership Director Dan McMahan at 760-423-1283 for the latest details!

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I am proud to present my new listing for a beautifully remodeled, ground-level two bedroom, two full bathroom condo overlooking the 6th tee and with fabulous views of the golf course and mountains.  This 1360 square foot condo offers a nice patio with overhang on the north side where you can enjoy the panoramic views.

 

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Here is a view of the condo and its patio, which is the lower left unit in this photo. There are four units per building.

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From the front, in this following photo, you can see its two car garage which has a newer garage door. The front door is behind the stairs which go up to the unit above.

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The address is 673 Vista Lago Circle N and it’s located on a quiet cul-de-sac, and surrounded by towering palm trees and colorful flowers and shrubbery.

The living room is bright and airy and has a dining area which is separated from the kitchen by an all granite counter area. There are plantation shutters throughout for a nice tropical ambiance. The 50 inch, wall-mounted, flat screen TV is to be included with the sale of this delightful condo.

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All furniture and appliances are to be included in the sale of the condo. The kitchen has all granite counter-tops, newer cabinetry, newer and all-matching GE appliances including the washer and dryer in its own room.

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Besides the dining area in the living room, there is a breakfast nook surrounded by windows in the kitchen.

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Here is a better view of the dining area in the living room.

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There are two bedrooms, and the master bedroom has its own bathroom en suite and plenty of closet space.

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The other bedroom has sliding mirror closet doors, and the bathroom is in the hallway.

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As previously mentioned, the GE washer and dryer are included in its own room.

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While there is newer wall-to-wall carpet in the bedrooms, the rest of the floors are clad in 20 inch travertine-like ceramic tiles and set diagonally in the kitchen which opens up the space.

Be sure to talk to the Clubhouse for a tour and to learn about special membership deals (760-340-5646 ext. 225).

This highly desirable condo is offered for sale at $259,000 (reduced from $270,000), which is a great value for all the above-mentioned features.

Nearby are many shopping centers, restaurants, the McCallum Theatre for world-class cultural events and the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens for world-class tennis tournaments, and sometimes other events such as jazz concerts. This condo makes the perfect desert getaway as a second home or even as a year-round residence, which is becoming more and more common due to this area’s growing appeal and amenities. It also makes sense as an investment property since it is very easy to rent during our season which runs from October to the end of May and even into June.

Please stop by at an Open House or call agent Wendy Campbell to arrange a private showing (760-587-6009).

SOLD in Palm Desert: A cute condo in Shadow Mountain Resort

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Here's a toast to getting another listing SOLD!

The real estate market is actually quite strong here in the Coachella Valley, because buyers realize that now is most definitely the time to buy with prices down 35% to 55% of their peak prices in “the day” of the heights of the real estate bubble , which was around 2005 to 2007, and even 2008, before “the crash”.  We have many “snowbirds” from colder climates who have been coming to our beautiful desert resort area during our season for years, and they know a good deal when they see one.  Rather then continuing to rent, they see the value in buying condos and houses here to not only live in but to rent out if they wish to.

Case in point, this is a very cute studio condo which my client bought for $180,000 in 2008.  She used it mostly as a rental because there is an on-side rental agency at Shadow Mountain resort, and it was frequently rented (which hampered getting it sold quicker than it did!). She wanted to sell it since she is down-sizing her real estate portfolio and lives in Northern California.

We received an all cash offer for $110,000 from a Canadian “snowbird” and decided to accept it.

In appreciation for my diligence in getting it sold, my client, who is a fine jewelry designer sent me a note and a gorgeous necklace and matching earrings (you can them in the above photo!).  The note read: “Dear Wendy, As a sign of my appreciation find the necklace and earrings I made for you. I hope you like both. Thank you for your help in selling my little place. I wish you all the best, Carmen”.

It is so nice to be appreciated! And, wow, to receive this beautiful jewelry custom-made for me, is truly a treat and heartfelt.

As with all my listings, I try to go beyond my clients’ expectations and go the extra distance to service the listing, be it to check on the property frequently and sweep and dust as necessary, follow up with all the agents and prospective buyers, hold as many open houses as possible and desired, advertise as necessary, network with other agents, and so on.  I can also organize the painting or fixing whatever, when clients are far-off.

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Whether you are buying or selling in the Coachella Valley, which is getting more popular by the moment, please contact me to help you accomplish your real estate goals.  As a full-time resident and realtor here in our beautiful desert, I am dedicated to helping you achieve your real estate goals in the best possible way.

Whether you are interested in real estate in Palm Desert, La Quinta, Indio, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City or Palm Springs, I can professionally and expertly guide you to a successful transaction as I have many times before.

Even the summer is a good time to visit the desert. Warm summer nights are fantastic for star-gazing while you float in a warm pool!

Trifecta Perfecta! The Desert, The City & The Beach

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Desert Living, fantastic in the winter months!

Southern California offers such a rich diversity of wonderful places to live! If you have the means, you can choose to also have a second or even third home! Why not?

A home in the desert, whether it’s your primary, secondary or tertiary, is very desirable for so many reasons, as people who have been here know.

During the winter and spring months, it’s simply divine weather here, for the most part.  Surrounded by mountains, groves of palm trees, blossoming trees and colorful flowers in great abundance, what is not to like? Rain is unusual, and so hiking, biking, golfing, tennis, swimming and horseback riding are the order of the day. Or watching polo games, shopping along El Paseo, dining at our many restaurants may be. It’s all up to you! At night, there are the casinos, or concerts and top entertainers at the McCallum Theatre, or take in a newly released hot movie. So much to do, so little time!

The fabulous modern contemporary home pictured above is in Palm Springs, however each desert city offers its own charms and attractions. Palm Springs has the world class cachet and world recognition, but some of the best luxury real estate in the desert can also be found in Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells and La Quinta.

During the year, you might get the itch for some Big City excitement. What better place to go than the new L.A.Live area, the new Times Square West area, around the Staples Center of downtown LA?

Fabulous new condos in downtown LA!

I explored some of the new condos in downtown LA, and I was impressed! I took the photo above from the pool area of the EVO condos, a 24 story, eco-friendly constructed complex.  The two sister condo buildings at the left of the photo, the Elleven and the Luma condos sold out immediately when they were completed during the hey-day of real estate buying, just before the 2008 crash.  There are some resales in there now, some short sales and some foreclosures, for the bargain-hunting buyers.  However, at EVO, which is brand new construction, there are now only 30 units left to buy.  The great downtown location with all its entertainment venues, along with many amenities that come with the condos, and most importantly, the spectacular views afforded by the walls of glass, combined, make these condos quite attractive indeed! Prices at EVO start at around the low $500,000s.

I understand that it’s mostly owner-occupied in these condos, which attract mostly professionals who work in downtown LA, but also many empty nesters.

To step it up quite a few notches, there are the fabulous new condos at the Ritz-Carlton Residences.  This building can be seen to the far right of the photo above, and is a spectacular, blue-hued tower that sparkles at night.  I learned that they just closed escrow on their first condo residence just recently! About one third of the condos are still available, and most are still waiting to be completed.  These condos with spectacular floor to ceiling views have attracted top entertainment figures in music and sports, as well as those who can afford this level of luxury and want to be in the midst of all the excitement that L.A. Live has to offer.  Don’t forget the Walt Disney Hall is close by as well as too many interesting markets, venues, restaurants and attractions to list here!  Prices start at around $800,000 and the amenities are top-notch, as you can imagine!

Finally, on a hot day, where else would you want to be but at the beach?  And perhaps the most amazing stretch of beachfront properties to be found in the world are in Malibu!

To have a house on the beach in Malibu would be like a dream come true in many people’s minds, and there is quite the variety of homes to choose from along this rarified 27 mile stretch of shoreline.

Spectacular views from this newly built Malibu beach house!

Last time I looked, they were asking $14 million for this newly constructed home with this to-die-for view of the Pacific Ocean.  I have a feeling that if it is still available, it is listed for considerably less.  However it does have a great location on Malibu Road, very near Malibu Colony, which is gated and perhaps the priciest real estate in Malibu.

If you watch the Bravo show “Million Dollar Listing” like I do, you can see that there are spectacular houses on the beach in Malibu listed for in the $5 million range now. Amazing but true!

Now that our MLS encompasses real estate from the desert to the sea, I can help you make your dreams come true, from a fabulous desert getaway, to a condo in the midst of  the excitement of downtown LA, to the best beachfront property perhaps in the world!

Fashion Show at El Paseo Village Hosted by Tim Gunn

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The fashion show at the tent behind the newly opened El Paseo Village was packed with extremely enthusiastic fashionistas. Tim Gunn, the co-host of the hit reality show “Project Runway” and Chief Creative Officer of Liz Claiborne, was the master of ceremonies and was warmly received. He is the epitome of class, style and gentility, and so nice on top of everything. The crowd also showed their ardent support for Palm Springs designer Michael Costello, featured on “Project Runway”,who also appeared on stage for a while.

The beautiful models showcased the fashions of the newly opened stores in El Paseo Village, including Juicy Couture, Bebe, Kate Spade and Lucky Brand Jeans.

I couldn’t really detect any real NEW fashion news, but it was all pretty good.  I can’t say I’m a big fan of “hot pants” which seem to be “in” these days, nor wide horizontal stripes.  But some of the perennial favorites of mine that were showcased included a lacy dress from Lucky Brand Jeans, which Tim Gunn said was “diaphanous” ( I had to look up that spelling!), form-fitting satin dresses, a silver short cocktail dress from Kate Spade that would be PERFECT for a New Year’s Eve party, and some fun jewelry.

Tim Gunn, co-host of "Project Runway"