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  • Cathi & Ben Walter
  • Sales & Marketing Specialist, Realtor
  • 44530 San Pablo, Suite 101
  • Palm Desert, CA 92260
  • P: (760) 218 – 5752
  • F:
  • E: Cathi@DesertAreaHomeFinder.com
  • DRE# 01346930
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A Message From Cathi & Ben...

We hear similar stories repeated in different ways from our clients; At first, they look forward to stolen weekend's to golf & relax in the desert - they gradually discover they're crafting ways to spend more time here until it becomes clear, life just doesn't get any better than this."

Once that realization hit's, the process of change begins... We know what an extraordinary commodity your home is - buying or selling a home can be one of the most important decisions you will make and having the right team on your side will make the difference.

We specialize in homes throughout the Palm Springs Valley including Palm Desert Real Estate & Homes, Indian Wells Real Estate & Homes, La Quinta Real Estate & Homes, Rancho Mirage Real Estate & Homes, Palm Springs Real Estate & Homes& Indio Hills Real Estate & Homes. Whether you want to buy or sell an estate, lock & leave property with income potential, a resort property, land to build your dream home, or a property located in a country club or golf community we know the desert and are here to help. Our motto, If its important to you, it's important to us, guides us as we help our clients buy or sell a home in the desert.

Thank you for visiting DesertAreaHomeFinder.com, we hope you find our site helpful and we look forward to speaking with you it's easy, just click on the picture of a cell phone in the upper right corner of this web site and it will ring our cell phone directly.

Personal Messages

Top 6 Summer Staging Tips

Welcome

SUMMER STAGING TIPS
Did you know that more than 50% of the desert home sales happen during the summer  months?  The desert summer real estate market is as hot as it is outside; knowing how to present your home for sale will be an important factor for you to ask and receive top dollar.

 

Top 6 Summer Staging Tips

Keep it cool as a cucumber. no one wants to walk into a hot house.  All of a sudden, they’re thinking how do I get out of here instead of looking at your home.  Now is not the time to skimp on energy bills.

Show that the grass is greener. High water costs and water conservation are hard on our summer desert landscape.  However, keeping at least the front landscape looking fresh and lush will make your home stand out as the gem. The curb appeal will lure them in.

Set the Mood. set up a refreshing beverage station for your hot and tired home buyer’s and their agents. Place a vase with fresh flowers. Have a pitcher of Ice Tea or Lemonade with lots of ice and pretty glasses set out just before your showing.

Visual Power. Use fresh flowers in as many places througout your house as you can.  Make sure your home looks fresh, cheery and refreshing as possible.

Making Scents. Aromatherapy can help make your home more alluring. Scents like Citrus,  Eucalyptus or Rosemary say summer. They add a clean refreshing scent to your home.

In the Swing. There is an intimate relationship between music and marketing.  Music can evoke an emotional response.  The awkward sound of heels on a hard floor is hardly inspiring.  Heighten the senses of your buyer with background music, it changes the ambiance and heightens the senses and mood of buyers touring a home. Music has a persuasive impact and can create an illusion of life inside your home for buyers increasing their emotional attachment. The music you play is important, pair the music style to the style of your home and the buyer’s you’re targeting.

 

Summer Desert Market Report

Desert Summer Market Report

Summer Desert Market Report  – Mediam home prices rose for the 8th straight month. Up 9.6% from last year. The hottest cities for sales by volume were Palm Desert (233), Palm Springs (213), La Quinta (156), Indio (131), Rancho Mirage (97). Each city and each community has its own story some communities have seen huge growth, while others are relatively flat. The cities that had the largest price increases, have seen the number of sales flatten, which tells us that prices were getting ahead of the market.

Inventories are down again putting upward pressure on pricing. Overall the desert has seen a decline in the time it’s taking to sell, nicely presented homes in a good location and priced well are selling quickly. Currently there is a 3 month supply of homes for sale in the desert, which puts us in a “Sellers Market” as we head into season.

The Fed has indicated there will likely be two more interest rate increases before the end of the year, which could start to weigh on the market and slow sales until the shock is absorbed.

Southern California and specifically, the Coachella Valley continues to be a sought after destination for a second home get a way.

As we head into our “Season”, we expect to see continued strong home sales and price appreciation valley-wide.

How’s your neighborhood doing?  Send me an email, I’ve got the details!

1031 Exchange for Real Estate Investors

What is a 1031 Exchange and can it work for you?
Thanks to IRC Section 1031, a properly structured 1031 exchange allows an investor to sell a property, to reinvest the proceeds in a new property, and to defer capital gain taxes.

1031 EXCHANGE FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTORS – THE BENEFITS  
Whether an investor’s property is owned free and clear or encumbered, the benefits of a tax deferred exchange can be significant. The tax dollars saved by doing an exchange can be used to buy additional investment property.

An investor who exchanges is able to defer the capital gain tax and buy a replacement property worth more than the investor who simply sells and reinvests with after tax dollars.

1031 Exchange for real estate investors provides one of the best tax strategies for preserving the value of an investment portfolio.  By using an exchange, the investor is able to defer the recognition of capital gain taxes that would otherwise be due with the sale of an investment property.  To qualify as an exchange the relinquished and replacement properties must be qualified “like-kind” properties and the transaction must be structured as an exchange. 

1031 EXCHANGE FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTORS – NON TAX BENEFITS  
In addition to deferring the capital gain tax, tax deferred exchanges provide the investor with a wide range of non-tax opportunities that may suit an investor’s portfolio

  • Reposition assets
  • Change property types
  • Increase leverage
  • Increase depreciation deduction
  • Reduce management obligations
  • Provide for estate and retirement planning
  • Allow for relocation
  • Improve cash flow
  • Achieve property consolidation or diversification
  • Eliminate or create joint ownership

THE EXCHANGE PROCESS
Most exchanges, involve three parties: the investor, (exchanger), who is doing the exchange, the buyer who is buying the exchanger’s old (relinquished) property, and the seller who is selling the exchanger a new (replacement) property.  To create the exchange of assets and to obtain the benefit of the “Safe Harbor” protections of the tax code, it is wise to employ an Exchange Accomodator, or Exchange Facilitator.  This qualified intermediary becomes a fourth party principal in both simultaneous and delayed exchanges.

1031 Exchange for Real Estate Investors

1031 Exchange for Real Estate Investors

The steps for completing an exchange are relatively simple with qualified intermediary:

  • The exchanger signs a contract to sell a relinquished property to the buyer.
  • Exchanger enters into an exchange agreement with a Qualified Intermediary and assigns rights in the sale contract to the intermediary, including the right to receive the exchange funds.
  • At the closing of the relinquished property, the exchange funds are wired to the intermediary and the intermediary instructs the settlement officer to transfer the deed directly from the exchanger to the buyer.
  • The exchanger has a maximum of 180 days in the exchange period to acquire all replacement property.
  • Unless the exchanger can acquire all replacement property within the first 45 days from the close of the relinquished property, the exchanger must identify possible replacement properties in writing to the intermediary within the 45 day identification period.
  • The exchanger signs a contract to buy the replacement property with the seller and the exchanger assigns the exchanger’s rights in the purchase contract to the intermediary.
  • At the closing of the replacement property, the intermediary wires the exchange funds to complete the exchange and the intermediary instructs the settlement officer to transfer the deed directly from the seller to the exchanger.

EXCHANGE REQUIREMENTS
As a general rule of thumb, to avoid paying capital gain taxes in an exchange, the investor should always attempt to:

  1. Buy a property of equal or greater value, (net sales price).
  2. Reinvest all of the net equity in replacement property
  3. Obtain equal or greater debt on replacement property.
    *Exceptions: A reduction in debt can be offset with additional cash from exchanger, but increasing debt cannot offset a reduction in exchange equity.

Do you own an investment property and thinking about selling it to buy another that might have more cash flow or less management headaches?  We can help.  Give me a call or send me an email, let’s talk about what’s possible for your situation.
Cathi and Ben Walter
Cathi@DesertAreaHomeFinder.com
(760) 218 – 5752

 

How much income you need to buy the average home in each state

Ever wonder how much income you need to buy an average home in other areas of the country?

@HowMuch.net just published a map showing How much income you need to buy the average home in each state in the U.S.

They collected average home prices for every state from Zillow and then plugged that information into a mortgage calculator to figure out monthly payments. The interest rates used varied from 4 to 5% depending on the market, a 10% down payment, and total cost of housing not exceeding more than 30% of gross income. Using this rule as the benchmark, they calculated the minimum salary required to afford the average home in each state.

The Top Three Places Where You Need the Highest Salaries to Afford the Average Home 1. Hawaii: $153,520 for a house worth $610,000 2. Washington, DC: $138,440 for a house worth $549,000 3. California: $120,120 for a house worth $499,900 Here’s a quick snapshot of housing affordability across the United States.

Home much income do you need to buy the average home in each state; Check it out!Home much income do you need to buy the average home in each state

Add a Hammock! 42 Home Staging Tips to Get Your Home Sold

Add a Hammock!
42 Home Staging Tips to Get Your Home Sold

When it comes to staging your home to sell, there are many subtle ways you can tell your potential home buyer,  “This is the right home for you!”, and they don’t necessarily have to be expensive.

 

 

Easy Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell

  • Swap dim lights for high wattage light bulbs.
  • Keep closets, drawers and cabinets as empty as possible to maximize the appearance of space.
  • Have a dark corner or hallway?  Brighten it with a decorative mirror.
  • Make sure every switch plate and outlet cover matches and looks brand new.
  • Create a luxury spa look in the Bathrooms with elegant soap dispensers, fluffy white towels, decorative baskets, candles, plants, a white shower curtain an new bath mat.
  • Let buyers entertain the idea of….. entertaining, use chic place settings around the table, and a few wine glasses and decanter on the buffet.  Strike a balance between overly formal and too casual with an attractive runner and a few fun, decorative elements — think small floral vases or short candle holders.
  • Go gender neutral in the Master Bedroom, ditch the dainty floral pillow shams or Sports Memorabilia. The Master Bedroom should appeal to both sexes, create a sense of calm and relaxation.
  • When placing anything from accent pillows and table lamps, go for symmetry, which is pleasing to the eye.
  • Whatever amount of furniture you have in your living room, remove a few pieces to make the room feel more spacious.
  • Help buyers imagine their life in your home.  Add a hammock to the backyard to show how fun the lifestyle is in this house. Add a bunch of pink flamingos floats in the pool with beach towels and a lemonade station on the patio table near by.
  • Let a slideshow of beautiful images play on your television like a screensaver.
  • Arrange furniture in conversational groups to imply this is a space for people to come together.

Want more great tips on the best way to stage your home to sell for top dollar?  Get our free guide with all 42 tips to staging your home to sell, send me an email and I’ll send it right over!

Home Design Trends for 2018

Home Design Trends for 2018 – Each year Fixr conducts a national survey of home industry influencers in the US; those who are building, designing, manufacturing and publishing content relevant to the field, revealing single family home design and construction trends.

Gen X’ers are the most likely group to buy a single family home with Millennials representing the second largest group in the 2018 Fixr Survey. There are many reports that show Millennials are driving the current market.

Single Story Homes are Trending for 2018

 

In 2018 more home buyers are looking for single story homes with more than 2,000 sq ft with an open floor plan and they want to live in urban areas.

 

Smart home features and automation are gaining traction at an incredible rate and is the number one choice for popular home design trends going forward.

Smart HomesGreen and Energy Efficient Design is important to both Gen X and Millennials, but more so for the Millennials with Smart Thermostats, Home Automation Security, Lighting Control Systems, Smart Appliances.

Artificial intelligence and voice control systems will start showing up in homes in 2018.

 

Open Floor Plan

 

The open floor plan has been the most popular layout since 2013 and will continue to grow going forward.

 

 

 

For current homeowners, when it comes to affordable upgrades, energy efficient upgrades and style enhancements were popular.

Dimmable Lighting Sets the MoodDimmable lighting allows the homeowner to influence the mood of a room at all times of the day and night. Wireless hubs and concealed components are considered to be integral in nearly every home. 

Adding energy efficient windows were another popular trend for homeowners.

Outdoor Living

 

Adding outdoor living spaces will be a popular addition in 2018 with more Millennials looking for indoor / outdoor living.

 

 

 

 

Home Buyers are beginning to expect both function and aesthetics, while function is the primary goal, aesthetics go a long way toward providing comfort and personal expression.

There is a delicate balancing act for home builders between homes that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye vs energy efficient homes that may feel cold or impersonal.

Most designers agree that form should always follow function and the most successful home design blends the two attributes creating a cohesive design, enhancing the homeowners experience in the space.

Get more information about what today’s home buyers are looking for before you put your home on the market.  Give me a ring, I’m happy to share my knowledge and experience to help elevate your home above the competition (760) 218 – 5752.

 

Home Staging Trends for 2018

Home Staging Trends for 2018

Staging can run from full to partial

Staged Home 2018

Home staging trends for 2018 have gone mainstream and is now widely used to make a home more attractive to potential buyers.

Most real estate professionals agree; staging can increase the sale price of a home.  But even it doesn’t increase the price, it reduces the amount of time the home sits on the market which is music to any home sellers ears.

Staging can range from Full to Partial
Small efforts like de-cluttering and partial staging can go a long way for homeowners who are still living in their homes while on the market. The challenge is to incorporate the homeowners existing furniture, blending with a few new pieces and keep with the current style and trend for the area.

A  Personal Touch
In the past, keeping things neutral was the way stagers appealed to the widest range of home buyers, now the trend is to incorporate more design style and color in the home to add a wow factor. Today’s buyer wants to see personality and what their lifestyle would look and feel like if they lived there. Personal details create an aspirational image and can help reach buyers on an emotional level.

Color
After a few years of all things gray, people are embracing beige and creamy white again with pops of color or an upscale design element to appeal to the design savvy home buyer.  Two color trends showing up in 2018 design is dark Teal and Millenial Pink.  If you’re in a first time home buyer market, these are two colors that will appeal to this demographic.

Adding pops of color using large colorful artwork and accessories is a good way to create a wow factor.

Flooring
Hard surface flooring continues to be the trend.  Stone, wood, bamboo, and wood look tile are popular trends that will continue.

Counter-tops
Quartz is the current trend for high-end and even not so high-end homes for 2018.  Granite has become the minimum standard for home buyers in all price categories.

Bling
Yes, gold tones are back. Now you’re seeing a lot more shiny metallic’s to add bling to an otherwise neutral palette.

Not all homes  need a dramatic make-over, but most will benefit from at least a thorough cleaning, de-cluttering and culling.

For more information about staging your home to sell, we have an easy guide to help. Email Cathi today for your free copy of  “It’s Showtime!”

 

 

What the Dodd- Frank Rollback Means for Real Estate

What the Dodd-Frank Rollback Means for Real Estate

Rollback On May 22nd, Congress passed reforms to the Dodd-Frank Act, the massive financial reform bill enacted in July  of 2010 in the wake of the 2008 US financial crisis.

The current bill could have a big impact on the real estate and mortgage lending. Economists believe the rollback of the Dodd-Frank regulations could lend a hand toward partially solving the industry’s inventory crisis.

“This is a win for the financial industry,” said  Chief Economist Nela Richardson, who worked on the bill as an economist for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. “These are community banks, credit unions, a lot of them are in rural areas. They do a lot of mortgage lending. This will help consumers in that the banks will be able to free up some credit.”

National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun echoed Richardson, adding that a loosening of Dodd-Frank rules may lead to a rise in regional construction.

“The regulations placed on small-size community banks were terrible because it hindered small-sized homebuilders from obtaining construction loans,” he said. “As the homebuilding industry has become more dominated by large corporations, now we have this relief, which means that, small-time homebuilders will have better access to capital to build homes.”

Economists seem to agree, that the economy is not on track to repeat the financial crisis of 2008, since big banks were at the center of the collapse a decade ago. Richardson explained that the only way to eliminate all risk is to make everything as onerous as possible.

The legislation will also require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to consider the use of alternative credit scoring models, which could help borrowers with thin credit files receive a mortgage. But Gardner said he’s concerned, ultimately, we need to remain aware of looser credit restrictions so the country does not repeat the acts of the last financial crisis, where homeowners were given loans they could not pay back.

 

Staging Your Home to Sell

It seems everyone is talking about staging, and everyone has an idea what it means.  Everyone also agrees staging, behind pricing, is the single most important thing you can do to get your home sold.

Even after all the talk about how important it is; as a working agent showing property to buyer’s just about everyday, I still walk into homes that show poorly with clutter, not super clean, undefined spaces, furniture impeding pathways, dark rooms and my all time favorite, toilet seats up!

We even see online marketing photos this way, which is a real disservice to the property.

Staging isn’t difficult and your home doesn’t have to be a million dollar estate to outshine the competition.

Here are Few Simple Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell

 

Today’s home buyer’s are looking for Comfortable and New.  If your home is older or looking tired, enhance it with modern furniture, art and accessories.

 

Details matter, small things like decorative objects can pull a room together like an area rug, deco pillows, throws, coffee table books, a silk tree can bring it to a new level.

 

Make ordinary, extraordinary.
Any space can be transformed into an amazing space with proper furnishings, art and accessories.

 

 

Edit, Edit, Edit. When it comes to furniture, less can be more.

 

 

Bright always rules, the easiest and most cost effective way to make a space look new is to throw on a fresh coat of paint.  Stick to white or neutral colors and the same goes for lighting – bright and white toned lighting always works best.

Define spaces.  Sometimes the hardest room for a Buyer to get their head around is a Great Room with large open spaces.  Create transition spaces such as a conversation / sitting area with a couple of comfortable chairs and a table with lighting.

Rather than leaving a spare room empty, add a bed and night stands with lamps to help define the room.

Declutter. the eyes always go to the clutter first and it creates a sense of uneasiness.   This is the simplest and least expensive way to make your home feel comfortable to a buyer. Start packing now. Sell, Donate, Store off-site anything that you don’t use regularly. Clear out and organize a cluttered garage, cabinets or closets, clear counter tops.
Buyers can’t help but think there isn’t enough space for their stuff


Hotel Ready is what today’s home buyer is looking for. Super clean, well maintained and move in ready. 

 

 

If you’re thinking about selling your Desert home and not sure where to start, give us a call.  We’re happy to help Cathi and Ben Walter (760) 218 – 5752

Staging Your Home in 2018

Staged Living RoomStaging your home to sell in 2018  – Home Staging has become the industry standard.  Today, Home Buyers are looking for “Hotel Ready”.  We have ample evidence proving that staged homes are on the market less time and will sell at a higher price than a home that has not been staged. A properly staged home also helps your potential buyer visualize the home as their own.

Here are 5 Simple Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell

1.) Stellar photography is essential. However, even amazing photography can only go so far without excellent staging.

2.) Light it Up – Lighting is everything and a great low-cost solution that will reap rewards for you. Now is not the time for energy efficient light bulbs, put high wattage bulbs in your lamps and overhead lights and turn them on for showings.

3.) Float your furniture – by pulling your furniture away from the wall, and floating it in the room you actually make the room look larger and help the buyer navigate the space. Use the homes traffic pattern to help guide you. Furniture should never be a distraction but enhance the flow of the room and the house.

4.) Fresh Flowers are a Universal Crowd Pleaser – They add vibrancy, beauty, and aroma to any room.  Bouquets can be used as centerpieces in the kitchen or dining table, and smaller arrangements can be placed on side tables. Even a few small stems in a mason jar can offer a welcoming touch.

5.) Sell the lifestyle – You aren’t selling a home, you are selling the lifestyle. It’s all about the feeling a potential buyer gets when they walk through the door.  You want them to feel at home by showing them what the life in the home looks like.

That means creating moments they can connect to — without it feeling contrived. A cozy reading nook in a living room or a collection of glass jars on a tray in the master bath creates a sense of both luxury and comfort.

5.) Use elegant white linens – Create a spa-like atmosphere in the Master with White Bed Linens. A clean, white, lofty cotton duvet cover and white pillows add a pleasant hotel look. In the bathroom, thick white towels and shower curtains can transform a frumpy bathroom to a luxury spa look.

Staging is about creating an online photo presentation that brings buyers offline and through the front door. Today, the “drive-by” is first done online and the way your home is presented online is a key element in the marketing of your home.

Yes, it does take more than 5 quick tips to create the perfect staged home, but it’s a great start to help you reach your goals.

If you would like more information about how professional marketing and staging will get your home sold faster for more, give us a call, we’re here to help.
(760) 218 – 5752

Cathi and Ben Walter

Get In Touch

  • Cathi & Ben Walter
  • REALTOR ®
  • 44530 San Pablo, Suite 101
  • Palm Desert, CA 92260
  • P: (760) 218 – 5752
  • E: Cathi@DesertAreaHomeFinder.com
  • CalBRE# 01346930

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