Welcome to the Palm Springs Valley, where Snowbird’s from across the world come to enjoy our Casual Resort Lifestyle and of course our Great Weather.
Here’s what a few of our Desert Lovers are saying about life in the desert:
We specialize in Lifestyle Properties for the International Buyer and have a few tips to help make your home buying experience go smoothly.
- Great Reasons to Buy
- Before you buy
- Buying, the Initial Steps
- The Buyer Process and Closing
- International Currency Exchange Rate Calculator
SOME GREAT REASONS TO BUY
Snowbirds Love the Desert!
This is the buying opportunity of a lifetime for Snowbirds that want to leave the cold winter’s back home and soak up the sunshine here in the Desert.
Why the Palm Springs Desert?
With an average of 350 days of Sunshine per year, over 120 Golf Courses, Championship Tennis, Art and Music Festivals, Dining, Live Entertainment, Galleries & Shopping. Hiking, Biking, Foot Golf, Wave Park, Star Gazing, Tram Rides to Mountain Hiking, Professional Hockey…….you name it! There’s something for everyone in all age groups. Our Easy Desert Resort Lifestyle attracts home buyers from around the world.
What’s Your Perfect Lifestyle Property Look Like? Tell us your story, we’re here to Match you with your Perfect Desert Lifestyle Home.
Why Cathi and Ben?
As one of their most recent International Clients put it ….An outstanding Real Estate experience begins with an outstanding Agent!”
- Trust – With over 17 years of experience working with home buyers and sellers in the Desert, you can trust Cathi and Ben, they have the local market knowledge and experience it takes to make your home purchase or sale successful.
- Specialists – Cathi and Ben specialize in working with International buyers and sellers – they have the support team, processes & systems in place to make the home buying and selling process simple, pleasant and successful.
- Experience, Knowledge & Information –That’s what Cathi and Ben bring to their clients. Their extensive knowledge about the greater Palm Springs market area and seasoned real estate experience are just some of the reasons why their clients depend on Cathi & Ben as their Trusted Advisor.
- “If It’s Important to You, It’s Important to Us” Cathi and Ben work to uncover what your unique needs and concerns are and work to ensure all issues are addressed thoroughly and in a timely fashion.
- Start-To-Finish Involvement – Cathi and Ben, will not hand off a client to a less skilled team member once their client is under contract. They stay connected with their clients personally and guide the process, assuring a smooth and successful closing. By anticipating their clients needs every step of the way, they can resolve potential issues before they become a problem. This is especially beneficial to their out of area Home Buyers and Sellers, they can feel confident and trust in the skill and experience Cathi and Ben bring.
- Expert Property Search – Cathi and Ben are experts at connecting with you and your home wish list. They specialize in Lifestyle Properties, and work hard to find your Perfect Lifestyle Home in the Desert.
- Many Satisfied Clients – Cathi and Ben’s professional skill set, coupled with their friendly, no pressure, down-to-earth nature, has earned them a long list of happy clients who are confident enough to refer their friends and family.
Useful Tips Before you Buy – Due Diligence
We’re here to answer any questions you may have about buying a home in the Desert, below is a brief overview of a few things you’ll want to consider.
* If you live outside of the United States and are buying or selling a home in the Desert, we recommend conferring with your Attorney or Tax Advisor prior to buying or selling real estate in the U.S.
If you’re a Canadian Buyer, a good reading resource “The Canadian Snowbird in America” addresses practical issues and details for Canadians who want to buy real estate in the U.S.
If you’re financing, it will be important that you get “pre-qualified” or “pre-approved” and have a “pre-approval” letter from your bank prior to looking for a property. This will help you understand the lender requirements and acquire an estimate of your payments to help determine what you can afford or wish to spend.
If you’re paying cash, you will need to obtain a “verification of funds” from your banking institution verifying funds in U.S. dollars for the amount needed to purchase the property. This should be included with any offer you make.
Mortgage financing in the U.S. for Foreign Nationals can be limited. Availability and rates change frequently, Cathi & Ben can recommend a few U.S. brokers who may provide financing for International buyers.
California property taxes are based on the purchase price of the property and are paid annually in two installments. Rates will depend upon where the property is located; a Mello Roos area may have a slightly higher rate knowing where those areas are is part of the local knowledge they share with their clients.
Home Owner Associations – Lock & Leave
As an Absentee Owner, you may find there are benefit’s to owning in a Home Owner’s Association, (HOA). Cathi & Ben will give you an overview and help answer any questions you may have.
Home Owner’s Association, HOA fees (known as Strata Fees in Canada) will vary by property and community. Fees, in general, will correlate with the amenities offered and can range from less than $200 to over $1,000.per month. Services provided by the HOA will typically include common landscape, community pools & spas, common area maintenance such as tennis courts or clubhouses, and gate maintenance.
Property Rental Management & Special Services
Cathi & Ben can help if you decide you want to rent your home for potential income. There are many ways to approach this concept – we have a strong seasonal rental potential here in the desert, or you may want to rent your home long term. Whichever way you decide to go, Cathi & Ben have extensive knowledge on the market and can advise you.
Buying – The Initial Steps
Step # 1 – How Much To Spend?
Before you begin your home search with Cathi & Ben, you need to decide how much you want to spend. If you’re planning an “all cash” purchase, it will be a relatively simple decision.
If you’re going to finance the property, you’ll need to talk to your lender or ask Cathi & Ben for a referral. Your lender will help you determine the price point and provide a “pre-approval” letter so you can go house shopping with confidence.
Step #2 – Property Search
When you talk to Cathi & Ben, they’ll ask several key questions about your needs & wants, your lifestyle and of course budget. From that conversation, they will do a preliminary search for properties that meet your buying criteria.
At this point, you will be able to narrow the focus of your search, so you can preview homes which closely meet your preferences.
If you are not yet in the desert, Cathi & Ben will e-mail selected property listings to you in advance. When you arrive, they’ll put together a Tour of Homes, with your top choices, discuss market conditions & values to help you determine how much your offer should be.
Step #3 – Your Offer
Making The Offer
The seller may respond with a counter offer. If so, Cathi & Ben will review the seller’s response with you and help negotiate the best price. As skilled negotiator’s they know it’s not just about price, there are many elements that come into play for mutual agreement, they walk you through your options to negotiate your best deal.
Included with your offer, is a good faith deposit. The local industry standard is 3% of the offered price. Upon acceptance of your offer, you will need to wire transfer the deposit monies to the chosen escrow company. Funds will need to be in U.S. dollars.
Step #4 – Offer Acceptance & Opening Escrow
With the purchase agreement now signed and terms accepted by both the buyer and seller, escrow is opened and the time-clock starts on the terms of the agreement.
Escrow serves as a neutral third party to the transaction and coordinates the working parts of the sale. As quickly as possible, tell escrow how you will hold “title” on the property. You should consult with your attorney or tax advisor regarding your situation and the best way to hold title on U.S. property.
Cathi & Ben work closely with you, the Seller, the Sellers Agent, The Lender, Escrow, Inspectors and Title to name a few to keep your home purchase running smoothly to a successful close.
The Buying Process & Closing
Disclosures & Documents
During the buying process, there will be many disclosures, inspection reports and documents for you to review. Cathi & Ben walk you through the process and time-lines, they are a valuable resource during this process.
A few of the reports they will be reviewing with you is the home inspection report, disclosure documents from the seller, Home Owner’s Association package, and preliminary title report to name a few.
The California real estate purchase agreement incorporates “Seller Disclosures”, these disclosures are simple & straight-forward from the seller to the buyer and detail known facts about the property you’re considering.
One of the first steps is a home inspection done by a professional home inspector. You can use one that you know, or Cathi & Ben will provide a list of inspectors to choose from. The purpose is to find out all you can about the condition of the property. The Inspection Report will list items you may want to have repaired.
If you are buying a property in a planned unit development or common interest subdivision, you will receive a copy of the Home Owner’s Association (HOA) documents. This package will typically include the Home Owner Association Rules & Regulations, Codes Covenants and Restrictions (CC&R’s), minutes from board meetings, current or pending assessments & the financial statement.
Home Owner’s Insurance
Before close of escrow, you’ll want to have Home Owner’s Insurance in place for your new property. Cathi & Ben can assist you with referrals for Home Owners Insurance.
Once inspections are complete, you’ve reviewed the reports & disclosures and they meet your approval – it’s time to remove contingencies. The contingency, (discovery), period is generally 17 calendar days from acceptance of the offer. Once contingencies are removed escrow will proceed to close. Cathi & Ben will be working closely with you & escrow on the time-lines for discovery & contingency removal in the agreement.
Set Up Utilities
Cathi & Ben will provide a complete list of local utility service providers so you can set up the transfer into your name. You will want to have the utilities transfer on the date you’re scheduled to close. Note: the local water company, CVWD may require a copy of the Grant Deed to set up new service.
Transfer Closing Funds
Two to Three Days Prior Closing, wire Closing Funds to Escrow In U.S. Dollars. Your escrow officer will provide secure wiring instructions and help coordinate the transfer of funds.
Your escrow & title officer will finish the process by recording the deed with the County of Riverside Recorder’s office. The entire purchase process from offer acceptance to closing can go very quickly if paying cash. if the property is being financed, it will typically take 30 – 45 days. You do not have to be present at the time escrow closes.
Time to Celebrate!
Once we have confirmation of recording, the transaction is complete and it’s time to celebrate the purchase of your new home. You will receive closing docs from escrow and Cathi & Ben will hand you the keys to your new home along with a list of service providers for your home and referrals for local business’s to help get you started.
Cathi and Ben are here to help make your home buying experience as smooth & easy as possible. If you have questions or concerns, just ask.
Their motto, “If it’s important to you, it’s important to us!”