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  • Cathi & Ben Walter
  • Sales & Marketing Specialist, Realtor
  • 44530 San Pablo, Suite 101
  • Palm Desert, CA 92260
  • P: (760) 218 – 5752
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  • 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

Buying or Selling a Home with Solar Panels

Buying or Selling a Home with Solar Panels

Buying or Selling a Home with SolarMore than a 12 million homeowners across the U.S. added solar systems to their homes in 2018.  As solar systems have become more efficient and less expensive, they’ve become more popular with homeowners.

 

 

If you’re Buying or Selling a Home with Solar Panels, there are unique benefits and challenges you will want to know about

If you’re Buying or Selling a Home with Solar Panels how do you determine what value the solar system adds to the sale price?  In a recent study from Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, a research lab affiliated with the DOE, they found homes with solar sell for 4.1% more than homes without solar systems. The study found that home buyers are willing to pay a premium for systems that are owned.

The same is not true for leased solar systems. The home value premium only applies to homes with “host-owned” PV,(aka photo voltaic systems).  In other words, if you own your solar system vs leasing the panels from a solar company.

The study also found, just because you spend more on a larger PV system, the premium on the resale value may not scale to match the investment. Smaller systems for more modest homes return a higher margin on the investment when the home hits the real estate market.

When weighing the cost vs the benefit – the determining factor will be the ROI, how long it takes to recoup the hefty up-front investment. Through energy savings, tax credits, and the potential increase in your home’s value at time of sale.

There are many factors that influence a solar system’s true value, including the age, size, and power output of the system. No two solar systems are alike, which is why appraisers need to value each system independently.

One of the biggest gotchas of buying or selling a home with a rooftop solar system has to do with who owns the system and that depends how the system was purchased.

There are for ways to purchase solar panels:
Cash Purchase, Loan, Lease or Power Purchase Agreement. 

Buying or Selling a Home with SolarCash Purchase
Homeowners who purchase a solar system outright with cash own the system. That’s the simplest scenario in a real estate transaction. A solar system purchased outright is considered “real property,” in real estate parlance, or a fixture of the home, and can therefore be appraised as part of the home’s value.

 

Buying or Selling a Home with SolarLoan
The same applies to a system that was purchased with a loan that has since been paid in full. That system belongs to the homeowner. If, however, the homeowner is still making payments toward a loan, ownership will depend on the contract the homeowner signed with the lender. Most lenders allow the homeowner to claim ownership while they make payments. These systems can be appraised as part of the home’s value.

Other lenders may place either a lien or UCC-1 Filing (part of a legal set of rules that allow creditors to secure assets as collateral in the event of default by claiming third-party ownership) on the system. UCC-1 filings are technically not liens, but are often treated by title companies as a lien. If the system is secured with a lien or UCC-1, the lender may claim ownership of the system, which may therefore impact whether or not the system can be included in the appraised value of the home. Appraisal practices and underwriting guidelines continue to evolve as rooftop solar becomes more common, so be sure to work with your lender and title company to understand the specific guidelines in your area.

It’s also worth mentioning that sellers are on the hook to pay off any loan tied to a property prior to a sell. Solar is no different. Sellers are ultimately responsible for paying off their loan obligation as part of the sale or through other means if the buyer is not willing to take over the loan, and may want to adjust their asking price accordingly.

Buyers who are willing to take over the loan on the solar energy system will need to qualify concurrently for both a mortgage and a loan for the system, which may affect their debt-to-income ratio.

Buying or Selling a Home with SolarPower Purchase Agreement, (PPA) or Lease
Under a Power Purchase Agreement or Lease, the homeowner pays for the right to use the system for a specified period of time, but does not actually own the system. The system is owned by the solar provider, who typically places a UCC-1 Filing against the system as described above. Systems financed in this way are owned by a third party (not the homeowner) and cannot contribute to the appraised value of the property.

Sellers with a solar system obtained through a Power Purchase Agreement or lease must either transfer their systems to their new residence or “buyout” their contract. The specifics vary by solar provider, so be sure to read your contract.

Buyers looking to purchase a property with either of these types of agreements should obtain a copy of the solar contract tied to the property and decide if they are willing to take the contract. This process may add to the timeline, but may be worth the effort. Power Purchase Agreements and solar leases are a way to take advantage of the benefits of solar with little or no up-front costs. The rates are typically lower and fixed for a specified term.

BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER

Buying or Selling a Home with Solar

Buying or Selling a Home with Solar Panels – Tips for Buyers

  • If buying a home with a solar system is high on your wish list, make sure your agent knows that.
  • Work with agents, lenders, and title companies trained or at least familiar with rooftop solar whenever possible.
  • Ask your agent or title company to check if a UCC-1 Filing (a lien) has been placed on the system. If there is, you will need to work with your agent, title company, solar provider, and the property owner to determine how you will negotiate the UCC-1 Filing as part of the deal.
  • If the system is tied to a Power Purchase Agreement or a lease, make certain you understand the risks and obligations of the contract before taking it over. You can also request the system be removed by the seller as part of the deal, assuming the seller is in a position to do so.
  • If the seller is still making payments on the loan for the solar energy system, work with your agent to decide if you will take over the loan or ask the seller to pay off the loan as part of the deal. Remember, if you intend to take over the loan, you must qualify for both the solar loan and your mortgage.
  • Ensure the appraiser accurately accounts for the value of the system. The appraisal validates the system’s value should you need to sell the property in the near future.
  • Allow extra time in your purchase contract for the closing date.  There can be a lot of moving parts when trying to completely understand the details, negotiate who will pay, etc

If you have solar installed on your Desert home and unsure how the solar impacts the value of your home for the current real estate market, give us a ring – we’re happy to help.

Buying and Selling a HomeBuying or Selling a Home with Solar Panels – Tips for Sellers

  • Work with agents, lenders, and title companies trained or at least familiar with rooftop solar whenever possible.
  • Get a jump start on the process, collect all of your system’s documentation together, along with 4 – 6 months of your most recent electric bills, and share those with your agent.
  • If you acquired your solar system through a Power Purchase Agreement, a Lease, or through a Loan; check to see if there is a UCC-1 Filing placed on the system. If there is, work with your agent,  title company, solar provider, and the buyer to determine the best way to negotiate the UCC-1 Filing as part of the deal.  Rarely, but possibly, the solar provider or finance company may be willing to provide a “subordination agreement”.  Taking 2nd position behind a 1st mortgage, if the buyer is willing to take over the contract.  This would be an exception not the rule.
  • If you’re still under contract with a Power Purchase Agreement, or Lease, or if you are still making loan payments be prepared to buy out your contract if the buyer is not willing to take ownership of the contract.  If the market is strong, you may be able to adjust your asking price to account for the added expense or search for a buyer willing to take the contract.
  • Ensure the appraiser accurately accounts for the value of the system. Remember, $0 valuations must be supported with sufficient evidence.
  • Chances are, potential buyers aren’t looking at your house just because of the solar panels and people unfamiliar with solar panels won’t know about the added value, so it’s important for you and your agent to explain this value. The appraisal can help with that, but a knowledgeable real estate agent will be an important part of this.  Be prepared to share past electric bills to demonstrate the savings you enjoy as a result of your solar energy system.

If you have solar installed on your Desert home and unsure how the solar impacts the value of your home for the current real estate market, give us a ring – we’re happy to help.

Final Thoughts
Buying a home with Solar, or installing solar on your home is generally a sound investment; If you live in your home for the duration of the warranty, you can expect a grid tie system to pay for itself 2-3 times over. With tax breaks and energy savings.

Even if you decide to move before the warranty is up, you still come out ahead. The value of the system can translate into a higher sale price when your home hits the market. That premium is typically enough to cover the cost of the hardware; which is a break even on the solar investment.

If you’re looking at purchasing a home with solar, and not sure what the price premium actually is, give us a ring we’re happy to help.

Special Function Room Trends

Special Function Room Trends
Every year, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) conducts a series of surveys of more than 500 leading Architectural firms to uncover trends in new home design. Here are some of their conclusions from the home features study on Special Function Room Trends.

 

Special Function Room Trends Outdoor Living SpaceOutdoor Living Space
According to the AIA recent Home Trends Survey, the most popular special room isn’t a room inside the house, but rather outside.  Outdoor Living Space is the most requested Special Function Room Trends. Since the average lot size is much bigger than the home’s footprint, the Outdoor Space can offer a great opportunity for Outdoor Living. In the past three years of the survey, the respondents said Outdoor Living Space was gaining popularity faster than any other feature.

Mud RoomSpecial Function Room Trends Mud Room
With the rise in popularity of Outdoor Living Spaces, it seems natural a Mudroom would be the next feature increasing in popularity. When spending all this time outside;  a room in where you can remove dirty clothes and shoes becomes a valuable space. The Mudroom serves as more than a place to remove muddy shoes, it also serves as a place to store the kids backpacks, hang coats, dog leashes, or store gardening tools. A Mudroom is a great way to help keep the house clean and free from clutter. Fortunately, Mudrooms don’t have to take up a lot of space, they can combine with other spaces like the Laundry Room.

Special Function Room Trends Home Office

Home Office
The third most common Special Function Space is the Home Office. While the Home Office has been a popular request for decades, more and more people are working from home and the demands to be constantly connected creates the necessity for a dedicated space.  The Home Office is a must have for many home buyers.

 

 

 

Pet RoomsSpecial Function Room Trends Pet Room
A new and emerging Special Function Room Trend is a  Pet Room.  More clients are asking to include Pet Rooms or Interior Kennels. Pooch-friendly technology including music, a flat-screen TV mounted on the wall, Bed, Web Cam with Audio, Pet Door with Access to outdoors, built in storage for toys, and area for food and water bowls.

 

 

 

 

In-Law SuiteSpecial Function Room Trends In law suite
An In-Law Suite also grew in number of requests. A separate Bedroom with Sitting Area, en-suite Bath and Coffee Bar / Kitchenette have grown in popularity.

 

 

 

 

Main Floor Master BedroomSpecial Function Room Trends Main floor Master
More people are choosing to age in place and having a Main floor Master Bedroom is essential to being able to stay in your home. The main floor Master has become one of the top requested Special Features home buyers are ask for.

 

 

 

Special Function Room Trends Man Cave She ShedShe Shed / Man Cave
A dedicated space to escape and enjoy a special hobby is a fun addition and can add a Wow Factor for home buyers. Something as simple as converting a spare bedroom can work.  

 

 

If you’re thinking about remodeling your home, and want to make sure you’re adding value that matters most to home buyers, think about incorporating some of the top requested Special Function Rooms into your remodel plan.

 

 

 

Barker Dam Trail: Joshua Tree National Park

Barker Dam Trail

Barker Dam, is a water-storage facility located in Joshua Tree National Park in California. The dam was constructed by early cattlemen, including CO Barker, in 1900. It was raised in 1949 by rancher William F. Keys. It is situated between Queen Valley and the Wonderland of Rocks near the Wall Street Mill. It is a gathering place for desert wildlife, including many species of birds and Desert Bighorn Sheep.

 

Barker Dam TrailVisitors can reach the Barker Dam via a short trail from a nearby parking lot and can see Native American petroglyphs a short distance to the west. There is also good bouldering on side trails near the dam. The park offers a Barker Dam Nature Hike led by a ranger.

The lowest 9 feet (2.7 m) of the dam, the original portion, was constructed of concrete surfaced with stone on the downstream side. The height of the dam was raised an additional six feet with concrete in 1949–1950. The dam has several indentations. An inscription at top reads: Big Horn Dam Built by Willis Keys, W.F. Keyes, Phyllis M. Keys, 1949–1950.

Barker Dam Trail

The start of the trail is well marked, and if you are driving in your car, there are signs around the park that will direct you to the area where the trailhead starts. There is also a large parking lot by the trailhead and this area is busier if you come on a weekend, as it is one of the most well known and family-friendly hikes in the park.

The trail itself is less than a mile and half round trip, and it is a loop so that you never see the same thing twice. As soon as you get out of your car and start the trail, you immediately enter into an area with large rocks surrounding you on both sides.

Barker Dam Trail

The trail winds around for a little bit before dropping you out in a wide open area that makes up Barker Dam. The Barker Dam itself was really cool, primarily because it was so old and was still in working condition. I also enjoyed seeing the sign right at the top of the dam that was carved in the concrete from the brothers that helped build it.

DIRECTIONS: Turn east off Park Boulevard on Barker Dam Road towards Hidden Valley Campground. The turnoff is located 9 miles south of the west entrance station and 1.6 miles north of the intersection with Keys View Road. Continue on the paved road for 2.8 miles to a large parking area.

For current park conditions
visit JTNP Website or Call 760 367-5522

Staging Your Home to Sell – Top Trends in Home Styling

Home Staging or Home Styling is about telling the story of your home.  By adding dramatic punches of color or texture, using furniture or accent pieces in unexpected ways you can bring out the personality of your home.  You can, without words, tell your potential home buyer just how fabulous it is to live here!

Here are a few design trends that can be an easy way to start your story.

Get your Juju – Hand Crafted Hats by Tribes in Cameroon.

Juju Hats Add Color and TextureJuju hats, were worn by royal dancers during Bamileke tribal ceremonies. They symbolized prosperity and were created from natural or dyed chicken and wild bird feathers.

The Juju hat creates an interesting design element and can tie a room together with a wide variety of rich colors. A Great way to add texture and pops of color to any room.

Side Table Crazy – Curate a Modern Aesthetic.End Tables Make a Great Coffee Table

 

The standard wood or glass coffee tables are making way for a new innovative approach using a variety of side tables with the same or contrasting finishes at various heights and grouped together to create a cool modern look.

 

 

 

Light or Art? – Statement Lamps Make a Big Splash in Home Design and Staging.

Lamps that make a StatementSculptural lamps add a sense of drama and sophistication. Home Buyers will be wowed when they see dramatic floor and wall lamps that blur the lines between form and function.

 


Reflections –  Make a Drama Statement with a Shimmering Pool of Color

High Gloss Paint

 

Finding exactly the right color for a room is a defining moment in the design process. Once you’ve got the color perfect, it’s time to talk about the finish. Make a Statement by Adding Drama to the room with Super High Gloss Paint that shows like a shimmering pool of color. Paint an accent wall, the ceiling, or add a high gloss accent piece to the room to make an eye catching statement.

 

 

Weaving the story about your home is the art of marketing and presentation.  The way your home is presented, both online with photos and in person is what differentiates your home from the competition.  As that online buyer makes their way to your front door to look at your home in person, they want to be wowed.

In the Desert Real Estate Market, home buyer’s are more sophisticated than ever, they’re looking for a lifestyle. In other words they’re looking for the whole package – stylish, clean, well put together, well kept and easy to maintain, they want …..
“Hotel Ready”. 

See the Before and After on a Great Lock and Leave Golf Villa in Palm Desert

If you’re thinking about selling your Desert Home, give us a call today for a consultation. Let’s talk about how Home Styling can improve what you can ask and receive for your home.

Not quite ready to talk about selling your home yet?  That’s OK, you can still Find Out What Your Home Could Sell For now at My HomeValue365.com 

Desert Real Estate Market Update

The Coachella Valley Real Estate Market is Strong. 

When we look at prices now compared to one year ago, we see that detached home prices are up 4.6% and attached home prices are up 7.3% from last year.  Eight of Nine Valley cities saw a price increase.

Detached and Attach Home Prices by City

The total number of sales have slowed a bit from last year, down about 5.3%. Detached homes were down about 4% while Attached homes, which saw a bigger price increase, has had a bigger dip in the number of sales, down about 7.6%.

Number of Home Sales for Detached and Attached

When we look at the number of sales by Price Range, we see that the majority of the sales are between $200,000 – $500,000.  The largest dip in number of sales is in the $800,000 – $1m price range, then picking up again over $1m.  However, when we compare the number of sales year over year by price bracket, we see that the largest dip in the number of sales in 2019 was below $400,000. From $500,000 and up the number of sales were at about par over last year.

Number of Sales by Price Range

Currently there are about 3,600 homes listed for sale in the Valley, about the same as this time last year. This is a seasonal market; you can see the pattern on the chart below.  We reach our lowest inventory levels in September every year and gradually increase to an annual peak in February and March.

Housing Inventory

Breaking down the inventory levels; it’s no surprise that the lowest inventory levels are in the $200,000 – $400,000 price range.  The month’s supply starts climbing over $500,000. Based on the current number of homes listed for sale divided by the number of sales each month, if no new inventory entered the market, we see there is a 6 month supply in the $500,000 – $600,000 range.  About a 7 month supply for homes priced between $700,000 – $900,000 and a 13 month supply for homes priced over $1m.

Months Supply by price range

Based on price trends, the number of sales, inventory levels and low interest rates, we can say the Coachella Valley Real Estate Market is Strong.  The trends we see suggest that we will continue to see a strong real estate market throughout 2019 and into 2020.

If you would like more detailed market information about your city, your community, or your home specifically, give us a ring – we’re on standby to help.   (760) 218 – 5752

Positioning Your Home for HENRYs

HENRYMeet HENRY — “high earners not rich yet” — the term was first coined by Fortune Magazine and describes a niche subset of the population that represents the next generation of wealth. the most important demographic consumer segment that you’ve probably never heard of.

Today, HENRYs are largely millennial’s (and some younger members of Gen X) who earn an annual household income of more than $100,000. These top earners are well on their way to becoming tomorrow’s affluent consumer.  HENRYs are the heavy lifters in the consumer economy. If 70 percent of the U.S. GDP is consumer spending, then the HENRYs are the key driver in that figure.  They make up only about 18 percent of the total U.S. households, but account for roughly 40 percent of total spending.

Millennials life paths differ from previous generations when it comes to deciding when to get married and start a family.  Travel and Experiences are more important to them and they place a premium on both. It should come as no surprise, then, that the way in which millennial HENRYs make their buying decisions, and specifically when it comes to buying a home, also differs from generations past.

Inside the mind of the HENRYs

It’s worth noting that the American dream of home-ownership is still very much alive and well for millennial HENRYs. According our recent study, 97 percent of millennial HENRYs either own a home or plan to buy a home, while nearly three-quarters either already own or plan to own a second home.

However, HENRYs are changing the traditional definitions and attributes associated with luxury, and specifically as it relates to what a luxury home means to them. When asked what makes a brand luxury, 80 percent said superior quality.

Luxury Doesnt Necessarily Mean Expensive
Only 47 percent said a premium price.

The top indicator of a luxury home as identified by 68 percent millennial HENRY’s is finishes.  Location and amenities were ranked as the second and third most important factors in determining what makes for a luxury property, by millennial HENRYs.

Luxury Garage Luxury Home Finishes

Millennial HENRYs are willing to pay for what they want and value in a home, i.e. finishes, neighborhood, amenities, etc., but that luxury isn’t determined by price tag alone. Rather, for this demographic, luxury means a home that suits their unique preferences and needs, and beyond that, the lifestyle they want to achieve.

Whether that means living in a chalet at the base of a mountain year-round in Aspen, or a beach side bungalow on Hilton Head Island, HENRYs are precisely curating their lifestyles to reflect their unique preferences.

Luxury is more than just a property — it’s the enjoyment of life according to their unique and personal definition of luxury.

For more information about targeting the HENRYs when selling your home, give me a ring (760) 218 – 5752 or drop me a line, Cathi@DesertAreaHomeFinder.com  Our strategic marketing positions your home for this niche demographic.
Cathi Walter - DesertAreaHomeFinder.com

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

 

Staging Tips – Paint Colors That Sell

Paint Colors that Sell. 

Did you know that using certain paint colors in specific rooms of your home can statistically increase the value by as much as $10,000?  Sounds incredible, but it’s been proven true. According to an exhaustive study done by Zillow, they looked at more than 32,000 photos from sold homes around the country. They compared how certain paint colors impacted the sale price on average, when compared to homes with white walls.

Homes with Blue Bathrooms sell for $5,400 more than expected. Listings with cool, neutral colors sell for more money and homes with white, yellow or red wall colors can sell for less than expected.

Paint Colors that Sell: Blue Bathrooms, found in hues of powder blue or light periwinkle, sold for the highest sales premium of all colors analyzed.  Walls painted in other cool, natural tones like pale gray or oatmeal were also among the top performing listings.

Blue Bathroom

They found that some colors may actually deter buyers; the darker more style specific wall colors such as terracotta Dining Room walls sold for $2,000 less than expected.

However, a lack of color may have the biggest negative impact.  Homes with white bathrooms sold for an average of $4,000 less than similar homes.

Paint Colors that Sell: Oatmeal, pale taupe or light beige did better in the Living Room, selling for about $1,900 more than expected.

Greige Living Room Walls

Paint Colors that Sell: The exterior color that garnered the best price premium was
“Greige”, a combination of gray and beige with the front door painted in a contrast color such as dark Gray, Navy Blue or Black.

As a Home Stylist, we are here to help with the latest information on trends that we see in the real estate market.  We’ve got our eye on the market so we can help elevate your home above the competition.  For more information about how our “Home Styling” will get your home sold for top dollar, give me a ring.

Cathi Walter
Broker Associate / Home Stylist

 

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!

 

10 Staging Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs!

10 Staging Tips to Avoid at All Costs!
Stuffed Living Room

Home Staging Design can make or break a potential sale.  Whether you’re using what you have or starting from scratch, there are some common design mistakes you’ll want to avoid.  Here are a few tips to help you make your home look great for the marketing photos and make your potential buyers say WOW!

  • Wall Hugger – It may seem like the logical and maybe even the only way to arrange furniture in the room, (especially if you’re working in a small room), but the opposite is actually true, you can harness the flow of a room by centering your pieces, pull them closer to each other instead of crowding your furniture against a wall. You will be amazed how the room takes on a different feel.
  • Collection Spread – we’ve heard it before – when selling your home, declutter, and yes that is true. BUT, the truth is we all collect; whether it’s frogs, figurines or forks from the 4th Century AD, and you likely want to have them on display. There is a right way and wrong way to display your collections.  First, if you have a lot of items in your collection, trim it down to just a few of your favorites and pack the rest, (you are moving right?).  Next, instead of spreading the pieces throughout the room or worse the house, bring them together – the key is small groupings.  Arrangements look deliberate and let your pieces speak for themselves.  Well laid out arrangements can enhance the staging of your home if you do it right, and let you enjoy your favorite collections while avoiding that cluttered look.
  • The Fickle Eye – you’ve lived in your home for years, over those years you’ve probably bought or inherited furniture and incorporated it into your home. Maybe it doesn’t quite match or it’s a little too big for the room or worse, you didn’t have room but still used it since it only partially blocks the walkway.  Now, years later you don’t notice it any more, you walk around it every day without a thought.  Our eyes can be fickle, they have a way of tricking us.  Now that you’re selling your home, it’s time to put on your “Buyer Eyes” and take a good hard look around your house. Are there extra or oversized pieces of furniture that force someone to alter the natural path as they walk through the house?   The old saying, “less is more” is absolutely true when staging your home to sell.  Don’t set up an obstacle course path with furniture and don’t cram the room full of small décor objects. Make the decisions now whether to store, sell, donate or pitch.
  • Dark in Small – Yes dark furniture can make a room feel warm, but they also make a small room feel smaller. If you have a small living room, opt for a lighter color palette.
  • Rug Rules – Area rugs are the best way to anchor a room or a setting and they can tie a room together. But used incorrectly, it can also leave your space looking disjointed and cluttered.  This is especially true in the living room, your rug should ground all of the seating elements around it.  Make sure when looking for the perfect rug, you buy one that is big enough to achieve this affect.  If possible, have all legs on the rug with a little rug showing behind the pieces of furniture, creating a frame around the setting.   If your living room furniture setting is 6’ x 8’ you should be looking at an 8’ x 10’ rug.  Plopping a 5 x 7 in the middle will make the room feel disconnected.  Not sure? Get my Rules of the Rug ebook to help bring your rooms together with area rugs.
  • Scale – Even designers can get it wrong sometimes; scale is one of the most important, (and sometimes the most difficult) elements of a well put together room. If you have a massive 10’ sectional in the room and put a small 5’ x 7’ area rug in the center or use a small coffee table, it just feels wrong.  Maybe you have a large Dining Room space and put a small table in the room, or vice versa you’ve got a small breakfast nook and put a large heavy wood table in the space.  Scale is important, think about it when you’re placing furniture or accessorizing a room.
  • Balance – Without balance in a room, it can make you feel uncomfortable and even anxious. Balance is as much about emotion as it is about good design and balance gives us a feeling of stability and wellness.  Creating a harmonious space depends on a few things; the furniture and the décor placement. Color and texture and the scale of the furnishings and décor.  Think about a seesaw, if one side of the room is heavy and weighed down, the room will feel off balance.  Example, if one wall has a tall wall unit and wall décor, make sure you balance that wall with something bold on the opposite side of the room.  If you have a heavy sofa on one side, balance it with a pair of chairs opposite the sofa or other foundational piece of furniture.
  • Matchy – A sure sign of an amateur decorator is where everything including the art matches perfectly.  It’s not about perfection, it’s about ambiance.  Example, balance a bold color with a large pattern that blends but doesn’t match exactly.  Or balance a bright warm color with a textured cool color.  Or choose colors that are the same hue but varies in intensity.  Homes look professional and well put together when new elements are mixed with old; smooth is contrasted with rough, polished is contrasted with nubby.
  • Boring – If you have a boring “beige” room, pick a great color and think about threading a needle, you’ll want to run that thread throughout the room and the house in a variety of different ways with pieces that pick up on that color or color palette.
  • Level – Rooms with furniture all the same height are boring. Create interest with changes in elevations through the room.  Put tall pieces next to short pieces.  If you have a low back sofa, add something like a tall armoire or bookshelf. The reverse is also true with small décor, use the 3:1 ratio.  Example, if you have 3 vases of varying heights grouped together, balance them with a single larger décor object on the opposite side of the shelf or mantel. It will make an eye-catching design statement.

These are called common mistakes for a reason and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  You may not know where to start or the most important detail to focus on. If you would like more information about staging your desert home to sell, give us a call, we’re here to help.

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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