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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

2019 Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival

Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival

2019 Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival celebrates the date, the hallmark of the farming culture in Coachella Valley. Akin to what mid-century architecture means to the Greater Palm Springs Area’s real estate realm, the date is synonymous with the Coachella Valley. These delicious fruits are a product of the date palm, which comprises a big portion of the Southern California desert’s agricultural industry. Get a taste of the delectable date, and the Coachella Valley’s rich culture, at the 2019 Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival, taking place February 15-24 at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio. This event offers fun for the whole family, including nightly entertainment from renowned music artists.

What’s special about this Date Festival event isn’t just the fact that it also is the Riverside County Fair, but the entertainment includes blessing of the dates, and award-winning Arabian Nights Musical Pageant. An entertaining show that mingles contemporary humor with classic folklore, magic and mystery are at the heart of “Aladdin and the Heart of Agrabah”. And the queen of the fair– she is Queen Sheherazade and she comes with a Court.

Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival

The Nightly Musical Pageant is set to return to the 72nd Annual Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, right after the Salute to America at 6:00 p.m. The vocal talents, costumes and stage effects will amaze fair goers with this year’s spin of the 1,001 Arabian Nights extraordinary tale, Prince Khudadad in the Shadow of Destiny. The audience will be engaged the entire show as the cast takes fair goers back in time to the Far East.

You’ll want to come early to the pageant stage to be a part of the moving and inspirational Salute to America which will honor our country’s armed services immediately after the welcome message by the Fair Board at 6:00 p.m. nightly. Incorporating service men and women, as well as local school color guards, this musical tribute will leave you swelling with pride and thanks.

The Coachella Valley destination of Southern California known for dates, enjoys a huge attendance at the fair event. Beach and mountain dwellers grow weary of the the cold, and head for the desert to get a taste of sunshine and warm shirt sleeve weather during the finest month ever–February. Indio has over 100 days per year of 100+ degrees Fahrenheit temperatures but in February the average temperature is around 75 degrees.

Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival is held at Riverside County Fairgrounds, 82-503 Hwy 111, Indio, CA 92201

February 15-24, 2019 | President’s Day Parade February 18, 2019, 9 a.m.

Desert Real Estate Market Report

DESERT REAL ESTATE MARKET REPORT
2018 Year in Review

As we start 2019, it’s time to take look back at how the Desert Real Estate Market performed last year and look for developing trends.

Home Prices are Up

In 2018, there were 5,836 single family home sales throughout the Coachella Valley. Those homes sold at an average of $610,300 and an average of $260. / Sq Ft.  Homes that were priced correctly for the market, sold on average in 89 days.  The highest sale price in 2018 was $12,000,000 for a home located in The Madison in La Quinta.

With those statistics, we compared 2018 sales to the previous year and found that while the number of sales were down slightly overall, (2%), Selling Prices were up 10% and the price / sq ft was up 8%. The time it took to sell was down 10% from the year prior.  The highest priced home sale in 2017 was $8,700,000. for a home located in The Vintage Country Club in Indian Wells.

When we look at the performance of each individual city; prices are up across the valley with two stand-outs – Palm Desert had a 20% price increase and La Quinta had a 15% price increase.

While prices are up, inventories remain low as compared to this time of season in years past.  Historically when the  inventory of homes for sale is low, prices tend to rise due to the pressures of supply and demand.

Interest rates also play an important role in how markets perform; rates are still low despite the fact that the Fed gave us 4 rate increases in 2018.  As rates increase, buyers can afford less house for the same mortgage payment, which ultimately puts downward pressure on home prices.

But good news, rates pulled back a bit this week. Conforming loans, (up to $484,350) for a 30 year fixed rate is still just 4.47%.

The Coachella Valley has long been viewed as a destination for the soon to retire and already retired home buyers looking for an active lifestyle, but with the increase in mobile commuting, people can work from anywhere.  We’re also seeing more young home buyers who are looking for a quality lifestyle, moving to the Desert full time.  Easy Freeway and International Airport access makes that possible.

Combine the Lifestyle that only the Coachella Valley offers along with affordable home prices – the Valley is and will continue to be a destination for both full time residents, second home buyers and

We have a strong and steady real estate market here in the Coachella Valley.

If you would like more detailed information about your neighborhood specifically, drop me a line – we just finished our  2018 “Year in Review” Market Report, I’m happy to send you a copy.

Cathi Walter
Broker Associate with Bennion Deville Homes
(760) 218-5752
Cathi@DesertAreaHomeFinder.com

 

The Real Estate Corner Desert Market Update

The Real Estate Corner Desert Market Update

NUMBER OF SALES
September_2018_Home_Sales_by_City

Home sales are up Valley-wide.  The total three-month sales are up 2.9%.  On a city by city basis, six cities show higher sales, with three; Palm Desert, Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs showing the largest increase in sales.

The three cities with the largest sales declines are Indio, Indian Wells and Cathedral City.

INVENTORY OF HOMES FOR SALE

September_Inventory

While home sales are up, inventories are down.  Typically our inventories dip to to their lowest point every year toward the end of September, but this year inventories are even lower.

Low inventory acts as both a positive and negative; it’s positive for sellers and future home sellers as it tends to move home prices higher.  But, it’s also a negative in that low inventory puts the brakes on the number of sales. If interest rates continue to increase, that can put a damper on sales as the cost of borrowing money for a mortgage becomes more expensive.

MONTHS SUPPLY OF HOMES FOR SALE BY CITY

Months_of_Supply

The month’s of supply ratio is down valley-wide compared to one year ago in every city.  Most have less than 4 month supply except two; La Quinta which currently has a 4.5 month supply and Indian Wells with a 6 month supply of homes to sell.

MONTHS SUPPLY OF HOMES FOR SALE BY PRICE BRACKETS
When we look at the supply of homes by price category, we see the supply is lower across all price brackets compared to one year ago.  The biggest change is homes priced above $800,000.  Last year the higher price points were taking 7.5 months – 1 year to sell.  Now, it’s taking on average 5.3 – 8 months

Months_Supply_by_Price_Range

The tipping point when using this metric is 6 month’s.  6 months is considered a “Balanced Market”, not particularly favoring either Home Buyers or Home Sellers.  Less than 6 months, the market is tipped in the Sellers favor, otherwise known as a “Sellers Market”.  More than 6 month supply is viewed as a “Buyers Market”.

As home prices or the cost of buying a home, (rising interest rates), increase – sales will start to slow putting downward pressure on pricing.  Markets are always in a state of flux, moving from one market to another and rarely stopping at “balanced” for long.

While there is typically a lag period between market shifts, the lag time is shorter as the number of sales are increasing.  Home sellers quickly see an improving market and strive to maximize the price they can ask.  When prices increase too fast or too far ahead of sales, potential home buyer’s become reluctant to make offers, fearing they could be buying at the peak.

DISCOUNT FROM ASKING PRICE

Sale_price_discount_from_asking_price

In 2018, when negotiating a sale price with buyers; home sellers are discounting their listed price an average of 2%.  One year ago, sellers needed to discount an average 2.4% off their asking price to close a sale.

For example, this ratio means if a home is listed at $400,000 it’s selling at an average of 98% of their asking price, or $392,000. a discount of $8,000. This metric also shows a strong and improving real estate market here in the Desert.

When we look at the story each of these metrics are showing for the Desert Real Estate Market, we can see an improving but pretty balanced market.  In addition, we can see that the market has had and continues to show sustained growth. Making now the right time to be a participant in the market.

The Desert Lifestyle is unlike any other, as we head into our season now is a great time see what the Desert has to offer.  Check out these FAB Desert Homes!

 

Summer Desert Market Report

Desert Summer Market Report

Summer Desert Market Report  – Median 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

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.

 

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.

 

Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival 2018

February 16 – 25, 2018 The 72nd annual Riverside County and National Date Festival 2018 opens for 10 amazing days of fun for all at the Riverside County Fair Grounds in Indio.

Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival 2018

The 72nd annual Fair and Date Festival is about to light up the Desert and packed with fun for everyone including Camel and Ostrich Races, Carnival Rides, Arabian Nights Music Festival, Parade, Pageant and live concerts with star-studded headliners

WAR

Friday, February 16th at 7:30 p.m.

Chase Rice

Saturday, February 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Los Rieleros del Norte

Sunday, February 18th at 7:30 p.m.

Lou Gramm, founding member of Foreigner, with Foghat

Saturday, February 24th at 7:00 p.m.

Super Fiesta Sunday featuring

Los Tequileros de Ramon Jimenez, Banda Pachuco, and Carmen Jara

Sunday, February 25th at 3:00 p.m.

After the Fair, stop by to see these exceptional homes

ParadisoParadiso – a sought after gated community with low HOA’s and lots of open space with wandering pathways. $330,000
Take a Tour!

 

 

EstacioEstacio   The Luxury Lifestyle you’ve been looking for with Guest House and easy to heat “Spool $440,000
Take a Tour Now!

 

 

 

Indian Palms Fairway HomeIndian Palms – This exceptional Fairway Home has Panoramic Mountain and Fairway Views. Furnished and MOVE IN READY  $350,000
Take the Tour Here! 

 

 

Want more information about one of these exceptional homes?
Give us a ring, (760) 218 – 5752

Out with the old and in with the new

2018 Home Design Trends –
What to Ditch and What to Look for

OUT – Chevron Patterns and Gray
Out of style Chevron Pattern
Time to ditch the Chevron pattern that we’ve seen everywhere from wallpaper to lampshades. Muted gray and white is on the way out, making way for color.

 

IN – Color 
2018 Color trend yellowWarm rich color is making its way onto walls, moldings, and furniture in a big way.  Peacock Blues and Greens, Burnt Orange, and even pops of “Gen Z Yellow”

2018 Color Trend

OUT – White Kitchens and Large Range Hoods 
Oversized Range Hood

All white Kitchens are still popular, however, black, two tone cabinets, and wood tone cabinets are the trend for 2018 with Quartz counters.

 

 

IN – Warm Woods and Integrated Range Hoods
2018 Integrated Range Hood

 

 

 

 

 

OUT – White on White Everything
White on White
Monochromatic white on white interiors are giving way to more realistic lifestyles that include kids and dogs.  Look for rich warm colors to show up in 2018.


IN – Warm Color

2018 Dining Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

OUT – Farmhouse Style
Outdated Farm house look

 

The Farmhouse look has been in style for about 4 years.  2018 Style trends are moving toward minimal design.

 

 


IN – Warm and Minimal

2018 Interior Design Trend

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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