Info For Buyers
Todd Hewlin and Lo-Ping Yeh, new owners and members at The Reserve Club in Indian Wells look perfectly at ease seated on their broad patio as the breeze ripples the water in the infinity pool situated between the house and the 12th hole, framed by the dramatic Santa Rosa Mountains. The couple, who moved here from the Bay Area and run a tech consulting firm, reflects a growing demographic of desert residents that are more youthful and working from wherever they want.
Before the pandemic, country clubs were trying to appeal to younger buyers by renovating clubhouses, retooling tennis courts for pickleball, and introducing an extensive variety of programming to keep members engaged on and off the golf course. Now, it appears those investments are paying off.
Although Hewlin and Yeh first experienced the desert in earnest during the winter rainstorms of 2019, a return visit a year later gave them a different impression. “We found it incredible,” Yeh says. “So, we went back to Los Gatos and signed a contract to put our house on the market a week later. Then, the pandemic hit.”
When the Bay Area shelter-in-place order lifted in the summer, she and Hewlin hunted for their ideal concept in indoor-outdoor living. Another visit led them to a spec home still in construction.
Lo-Ping Yeh and Todd Hewlin
“When we saw the view, it was, ‘Oh my God,’” says Yeh, who was also thinking about how the residence might accommodate their home office. “A lot of people are feeling this way now — that they can live in a place like this and still work in an effective and efficient manner.”
As they moved into The Reserve in fall 2020, their new neighbors changed the couple’s idea of who exactly lives in the desert. “When we first came here, to be honest, Todd said he thought the area might be too old for us,” she says, smiling toward her husband. (Hewlin and Yeh are 55 and 57, respectively, and active in couples golf.)
The Vintage Club in Indian Wells
“I was completely wrong,” Hewlin replies. “Maybe I had that perception from movies or how the area has been written about by people who don’t live here. But after getting to know people at The Reserve, I started feeling like this is the valley of Benjamin Button: People get all that Vitamin D, are active, physically fit, they eat better. People come here and get younger.”
THE PANDEMIC HAS seen golf’s natural social distancing turn days of lemon into lemonade. As city dwellers look for elbow room in the Coachella Valley, the spike in the number of golf rounds being played reflects the surge in new club memberships. Americans played approximately 60 million more rounds in 2020 than they did in 2019, a 14 percent increase, according to the National Golf Foundation and Golf Datatech. Meanwhile, the nation’s private clubs reported a 19.9 percent rise in play compared to 2019.
Andalusia Country Club in La Quinta
Desert residents only need to swivel their collared shirts to see new golf members flocking largely from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, and the Pacific Northwest.
As Palm Springs Life reported last fall, the first seven months of the pandemic saw single-family home sales in the Coachella Valley rise 56 percent over the same period a year earlier. Subsequently, end-of-year statistics from the California Desert Association of Realtors showed all of the valley’s nine cities with year-over-year increases in home sales.
“The Coachella Valley has become a haven to those who want to escape the cities and have a place where they can enjoy an outdoor lifestyle,” says Julie Bloom, senior vice president of operations for the Sunrise Company, which operates Toscana and Andalusia country clubs. “In addition, since travel is not as easy, people want to have a place to go that feels like a resort and where they can gather their families together.” With the spike in sales and memberships comes a rush of new residents and golfers. A Palm Springs Life survey of 13 luxury country clubs conducted early this year revealed uniform growth when comparing March 2019–January 2020 with the period a year later.
Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert
In La Quinta, the 36 holes at The Hideaway Golf Club experienced a 103 percent rise in new members, with a spike from June to December 2020, fueling a record-breaking year in terms of home and membership sales. At the Tradition Golf Club, a 150 percent rise in club tours resulted in a record number of new members, and golf membership sales doubled. “Approximately 80 percent of our new member spouses are beginner golfers,” says Tesha Vann, membership director at Tradition. “Our short course is getting more use than ever, as it’s the perfect venue to learn the game.”
At nearby Rancho La Quinta, the two-course spread saw a 30 percent increase in golf memberships, with home sales jumping 60 percent, and Andalusia Country Club had an 87 percent increase in golf memberships with a jaw-dropping 300 percent increase in home sales.
In Indian Wells, The Vintage Club experienced a 145 percent increase in home sales and a 100 percent gain in new golf memberships. Toscana Country Club gained 34 percent in home sales and its 36 holes drew a 77 percent rise in golf memberships. At The Reserve, Todd Hewlin and Lo-Ping Yeh were among 24 new golf members representing a 120 percent increase in home sales.
Mike Kirby and Sandi Marino
“The trend is more couples,” says Denise Adams, membership director at The Reserve Club. “Both the member and spouse, or significant other, play golf, as do their high school- and college-age children.”
Likewise, at Bighorn Golf Club, “We’re seeing quite a few of our current golf members’ spouses taking up the game through lessons, afternoon play as a couple, and our 9-holer group,” says Kirstin Fossey of Bighorn Properties.
In Palm Desert, the two-course Bighorn Golf Club had a 44 percent increase in new golf memberships and a 28 percent increase in home sales, while Stone Eagle Golf Club reported a 62 percent increase in memberships.
Tradition Golf Club in La Quinta
In Rancho Mirage, the three-course spread of Mission Hills Country Club has seen an 8 percent uptick in new golf memberships and a 60 percent increase in home sales. And at Tamarisk Country Club, a 9 percent boost in golf members has contributed to a 12 percent rise in overall memberships.
“In many ways, our club has become more important in our members’ lives,” Brett Draper says of Thunderbird Country Club, where he’s general manager. During the pandemic, “activity around the club, namely golf, is up to levels we have not seen in the past 15 years.”
FOR MIKE KIRBY, the desert has always been a home away from home. Long familiar with the valley’s east end by virtue of visiting his parents at La Quinta Country Club and his siblings now in the area, Kirby always figured that, someday, he too would have a desert home.
Someday came a bit sooner than Kirby and his fiancé Sandi Marino expected.
“In the last three or four years, we’ve been thinking we should land someplace out here,” he says. “Now, working from home during COVID [has] been a catalyst for us to make the move.”
Last September, the prime-of-life couple purchased a spec house at Tradition Golf Club, the longtime West Coast base for Arnold Palmer. Kirby is an avid player, and Marino is a beginner who’s refining her game on the club’s nine-hole short course. Their home overlooks the top-handicapped hole 3 on the Palmer-designed course, carved in the bosom of the Santa Rosas. The view also includes the scene-setting stone wall and iron gate, Tradition’s original entrance, marking the end of what is now Washington Street.
Splitting time between La Quinta and Newport Beach, Kirby seamlessly runs his real estate research and analysis firm. “I can work just as well here as I can from Newport,” Kirby says. “I’m not so sure we would’ve pulled the trigger on the purchase this early, but once we had this epiphany that I could still be very effective in my job in the home office I have in our new home, we went for it.”
Marino, who mixes charity and interior design work, believes the club’s on-site marketplace for groceries and take-out and home delivery services offer comfort during the pandemic. “Tradition is low-key and genuine,” she says. “And the amenities are amazing; the club makes it easy to stay.”
Therein lies the prevailing appeal of the Coachella Valley. The weather and lifestyle sell the location, and the ability to work from anywhere seals the deal.
PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHS BY TRACY NGUYEN
Bitcoin Basics for Real Estate Agents in 2021 ( + Expert Predictions)
At Sheri Dettman & Associates, we have always prided ourselves on being ahead of the curve. Bitcoin, and blockchain, although they have been around for a few years, are still something that is not yet widely understood in the Real Estate world. This article makes it easy to understand! We look forward to using blockchain tech and being your go-to agents with, as always, the latest, and best technology along with the best personal service.
February 4, 2021/Courtesy of Emile L'Eplattenier
One of the most common questions we get from real estate agents these days is when, or even if, bitcoin will finally make its way into real estate transactions.
Of course, if agents are asking us that, it means their buyers and sellers are probably asking them. So it’s only a matter of time before understanding how this technology works will be necessary for any agent who doesn’t want to get left in the dust of yet another disruptive technology for real estate.
The only problem is that bitcoin is—and there’s no other way to say it—confusing. Don’t worry, though. Even people who are so-called experts in the field can have a hard time explaining it.
That’s why we put together this quick explainer on bitcoin for real estate agents and also talked to a few agents and brokers who have already taken the leap to get their take on how they think bitcoin will transform the real estate industry in 2021 and beyond.
Can My Buyers Purchase a Home With Bitcoin Yet?
Kind of. However, almost all real estate transactions using bitcoin have used a service called BitPay to convert bitcoin to U.S. dollars (USD) to transfer funds to the seller.
As far as “bitcoin-to-bitcoin” transactions go, where title changes hands and the bitcoin is never converted into USD—they still remain very rare. The sticking point is generally title companies and lawyers, both of whom are still somewhat reluctant to use the digital currency.
Douglas Elliman’s Stephan Burke and Carol Cassis sold the first property using bitcoin wallets in 2017, as well as a $6 million transaction after that, the largest fully bitcoin translation to date. Since then, they have closed more than $34 million in volume using cryptocurrency converted to cash.
However, while it has been slow going here, where bitcoin and blockchain show the most promise is for overseas transactions.
Over at the always-excellent Mansion Global, EminGun Sirer, associate professor of computer science and co-director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts at Cornell University, weighed in on why cryptocurrencies are ideal for foreign buyers:
“Cryptocurrencies enable the quick, frictionless transfer of value across the globe. This enables someone in Russia to be able to easily send bitcoins to purchase land in Belize.”
Should I Advise My Sellers to Accept Bitcoin?
In today’s market, bitcoin may not be ready for prime time, but there is one thing that is undeniable. Offering your listing for sale in bitcoin will get you instant free press. Remember the first listings that had drone videos? Imagine that times 10. Here’s Seattle Realtor, Sam Debord:
“I’ll sell my house for bitcoin” is the latest marketing tactic, and it’s working … at least for publicity.”
In order to accept bitcoin, you can either have the seller transfer into USD, work with a title company that will accept bitcoin, or have a lawyer write up a contract that covers all risks from bitcoin. At this point, most people will avoid actually paying in bitcoin, but the free press might be a good trade-off.
Can My Buyers Get a Loan With Bitcoin?
Yes. Startups like Unchained Capital allow people who hold bitcoin to borrow up to $1 million with no credit check and interest rates between 10% and 14%. However, these are not long-term loans; Unchained offers loan lengths ranging from three months to three years.
While not for everyone, hardcore bitcoin owners use services like this to get quick liquidity without cashing in their bitcoin portfolios. Think down payments, or maybe even bridge loans.
There Must Be a Catch … Is There Capital Gains Tax for Transferring Bitcoin to USD?
Yes. As of January 1, 2018, the federal government considers cryptocurrency as property and anyone selling (or trading bitcoin for U.S. dollars) will be hit with capital gains tax on the amount their bitcoins appreciated since they purchased or mined them.
Are Bitcoin & Blockchain the Same Thing?
No. While bitcoin is a digital currency that you can exchange for goods and services, blockchain is the underlying technology that stores bitcoin or other cryptocurrency transactions in a digital ledger.
Okay, Then What Is Bitcoin Exactly?
Bitcoin is a fully digital currency created in 2009 by an anonymous person who goes by the name Satoshi Nakamoto online.
Like any other currency, bitcoin can be used to pay for goods and services, transfer funds, or as an investment. Currently, over 15,000 vendors accept bitcoin, from Microsoft to small businesses.
The main difference between bitcoin and say, an ACH transfer through a traditional bank is that there is no middleman in the transaction. The entire transaction from buyer to seller takes place on the Bitcoin network. Since a bitcoin transaction bypasses the different bank policies, or different regional banking laws that are part of any other transaction, transfers are much faster.
Since there is no bank or government to get in the way, bitcoin can be a great way to transfer money or make purchases overseas. Foreign buyers may find bitcoin’s speed and simplicity ideal for buying property in the United States.
Bitcoin is an example of a fiat currency; its value is not backed up by gold or other tangible assets. Instead, bitcoin relies on something called blockchain to verify transactions.
Got It. So What’s Blockchain?
Although blockchain is very complex, the best way to describe it to your clients is to compare it to ACH, the technology that lets you “wire” money from one bank to another. The main difference is that blockchain does not rely on banks to verify transactions have been completed. Instead, once a transaction is completed, it is stored in an encrypted digital ledger that is distributed among everyone on the blockchain.
This means that instead of relying on trusted institutions like banks to verify transactions, the verification is done very quickly by algorithms that check the stored transaction data on the millions of users on the blockchain.
What makes blockchain so powerful is that the ledger is stored on every single computer (node) in the system. This makes faking a transaction virtually impossible. Since the blockchain is extremely secure, it has many applications beyond verifying and storing bitcoin transactions. Everything from contracts to voting records can theoretically be stored on blockchain.
Which Technology Will Have a Bigger Impact in the Real Estate Market, Bitcoin or Blockchain?
According to most experts, blockchain will have a bigger impact on real estate than bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Here’s why: Transaction speed is not a very pressing problem for real estate transactions, but record-keeping and middlemen are. Here’s Jason Shepherd, co-founder of Atlas Real Estate Group, on why he thinks blockchain technology, particularly smart contracts and other applications built on Ethereum, an alternative to bitcoin, will change the real estate market:
“It is important to separate the cryptocurrency from the underlying blockchain technology when discussing real estate disruption. The disruption in real estate will come from the blockchain technology (distributed ledger) and smart contracts like those found on the Ethereum platform.”
So What Are Smart Contracts?
Smart contracts are contracts between two parties that are verified and stored on the blockchain. Today, most smart contracts are built with the blockchain protocol behind Ethereum, another cryptocurrency.
The main benefit behind smart contracts is that there is no need for a middleman in the transaction. Everything is verified and stored on the blockchain.
In the future, blockchain can be used to store records of a transaction all the way from a blockchain-enabled MLS, to escrow, inspections, title, and sales contracts. Leases and other commercial real estate contracts could also be on the blockchain.
To learn more about smart contracts, check out this excellent guide over on Block Geeks.
What Is This ‘Mining’ for Bitcoins I Keep Hearing About?
OK, from here on in, the process gets a bit more technical, and therefore much harder to explain. While it’s unlikely your buyers or sellers will grill you about this, having a basic understanding can help.
Remember how we talked about how transactions on the blockchain are verified by other users? Well, bitcoin mining is the process that verifies transactions and adds them to the public ledger.
Bitcoin “miners” are rewarded with bitcoin for using their computer’s processing power to verify transactions. Before you get too excited and start mining bitcoin out of your broker’s office, understand that in most places, the payment for mining bitcoin will probably be less than the electricity costs to run computers long enough to verify transactions.
What Advantages Do Other Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Litecoin & Ripple Have Over Bitcoin?
OK, now we’re getting a little too far into the weeds. Worse, the crypto industry changes so fast that by the time you read this, something will have inevitably changed. If you’re feeling brave, check out this cool infographic from Visual Capitalist:
How 10 Real Estate Experts Think Bitcoin Will Disrupt the Industry
So now that you have a basic understanding of bitcoin, here’s how 10 real estate industry experts see bitcoin transforming the real estate market in the coming years.
“A brief way that I explain bitcoin is, it’s as if technology and finance had a baby. Humans survived for hundreds of thousands of years (if not longer) without money. Money is a relatively new concept to humans, and to think that the current financial system is the peak evolution of money and the storage of value is nothing short of naive. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies represent that next step in the evolution of storing and exchanging value.”
2. Jim Merrion, Coldwell Banker Realty, Colorado
“The real estate industry’s appetite for using bitcoin to purchase real estate seems to be coming back in a big way in 2021! Being a Realtor who has helped a buyer purchase developable land using bitcoin converted to cash and marketed several listings willing to accept bitcoin as payment, bitcoin investors are finding me online and reaching out with plans to purchase property using these funds in 2021.
“Currently, I have one bitcoin investor looking to buy a 35+ acre ranch property and have spoken to several others over the past few months about how the process could successfully work for them.
“And Smart Contracts are starting to be seriously considered by at least one title company in Colorado now. With their inherent security and ability to prevent wire fraud, there is a lot of motivation by the transaction processing entities to find new technology solutions that reduce their risk and enhance the efficiency of the closing process.”
3. Tristan Ahumada, Realtor, Speaker & Co-founder of LabCoatAgents
“So far, most of the bitcoin transactions in the real estate world have had only one party dealing in cryptocurrency and the other one doing it the traditional way. The deal can still take place, but the cryptocurrency has to be turned into cash. I do envision cryptocurrency catching on more, but our society has to start using the bitcoin/blockchain technology more. I do see it becoming normalized—it’s just a matter of people getting used to it. It is just as easy as people using credit cards and Apple pay.
“For now, there are companies like BitPay and some other international banks that allow people to convert their bitcoin into cash.”
4. Jason Shepherd, Co-founder of Atlas Real Estate Group
“The disruption in real estate will come from the blockchain technology (distributed ledger) and smart contracts like those found on the Ethereum platform. The escrow process will be replaced by a smart contract, using code as the intermediary to distribute earnest money. Imagine a real estate transaction where all of our inspection and due diligence information can be found in one public ledger on the blockchain—ownership, encumbrances, repair receipts, improvements, liens—all viewable and indisputable on the distributed ledger.
“This transparency reduces the need for title insurance and truncates the purchase timeline for a home from 30 days to a few days. Title and escrow will be the first layer of disruption, but increasing transparency will allow the public to access more information and be less reliant on real estate brokers. This won’t replace brokers, but it will warrant a repricing for what brokers can charge their clients.”
5. John Gilbert, Co-founder/Director Prime-EX
“The acceptance of cryptocurrencies into mainstream investment portfolios equals more buyers this year for major ticket items, such as houses. Many purchases are coming from people who have never purchased real estate before. This equals more sales for real estate agents who are willing to learn about cryptocurrencies, more sales for real estate agents who are willing to market to people who are invested in cryptocurrencies, and more sales for real estate agents who are willing to specialize in educating their home sellers on how to accept cryptocurrencies as payment in kind for their real estate.
“The cryptocurrency genie will not be put back into the bottle.”
6. Avani Desai, CEO & Co-founder of MyCryptoAlert
“Crypto will allow a homebuyer to gather funds quickly, sometimes in less than 60 seconds, and into the hands of the seller, instantaneously. All of this is done on the blockchain, so the transaction is recorded in an open distributed ledger using encryption techniques that ensure that a transaction was complete and accurate and can never be retroactively changed. I believe what brokers and agents are going to see aside from transactions being done with crypto are technology platforms that are built on the blockchain. Therefore, understanding the two most known and built on blockchains that are out there—the bitcoin blockchain and the Ethereum blockchain—is crucial. Agents will see everything from smart contracts executed, to title storage, to international money exchanges.”
7. Alan Lewis, Chief Investment Officer at DiversyFund
“We are already seeing real estate sellers finding creative ways to accept crypto from a buyer in order to expand the pool of potential purchasers. As a real estate investment platform, our online customers have prompted us to look into accepting crypto and also launch an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) that is backed by real estate assets, which creates a perfect marriage of old and new asset classes.”
8. Sheryl Lowe, Broker Associate, Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty
“In all of my 33 years of closing transactions, I honestly couldn’t have expected something so unique to go so smoothly. In a matter of 10 minutes, the bitcoin was changed to U.S. dollars and the deal was done!
“Of course, it helped to have the right team behind this—Laura Pagnozzi of Independence Title was a key player in keeping everything together.”
9. Hyun Lee, Communications & Marketing Director, Mothership Foundation
“With Ethereum, there are companies that wish to build smart contracts around existing services, including real estate. This allows for a fully digital real estate transaction. In fact, the first real estate transaction using only the Ethereum blockchain already happened. Michael Arrington, co-founder of TechCrunch, recently purchased a Kiev studio apartment for $60,000 via smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain.
“In this case, the smart contract allowed the sale of the property. If this template was to be copied and applied to all future sales, I would imagine real estate agents would need to pick up on using smart contracts.”
10. Dr. Lucas Lu, Founder/CEO, 5miles
“Fractional ownership. The high cost of home ownership in more and more markets has priced out many potential homebuyers, leaving them on the sidelines.
“Just as USD can be bought and sold in fractions, in a similar way the number of whole bitcoins (BTCs), for example, has a limit and can be used fractionally. This means that cryptocurrency holders can see the value of their currency rise, but also can pool their crypto resources with owners to purchase properties collectively, as investments.”
No matter how much you fight it, bitcoin and the blockchain technology it runs on will revolutionize the real estate industry. Since your buyers and sellers will be curious about the potential of bitcoin for their transactions, agents need to have a basic understanding of how this technology works. This will not only allow them to represent their clients better, but also help attract and retain tech-savvy buyers and sellers, and create a buzz with marketing.
As the western gateway of the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs draws visitors from all over the world with its beautiful landscape, rich culture, fine restaurants and spectacular resorts. Real estate for sale in Palm Springs includes a mix of what's old and new.
Your new golf home in Palm Springs is waiting for you. Find the perfect Palm Springs homes for sale today with Sheri Dettman & Associates as your guide.
Escena, Palm Springs (Public Golf)
Escena, Palm Springs The Escena gated community in Palm Springs is the centerpieces of the 450-acre master-planned community that includes the Escena Golf Club and the Escena Lounge & Grill, which are both open to Escena homeowners and the public. New homes construction at Escena started in ’05 and continue today. Escena home designs combine style with functionality and embrace sweeping views of the surrounding landscape and the towering San Jacinto Mountains above Palm Springs. Escena community amenities also include a dog park. Homes range in size from 1,926 to over 3,800 square feet in size. Recent Escena Home Values: $500's to $1 million. Recent HOA’s: $157 to $175 Monthly.
Canyon Estates, Palm Springs (Public Golf)
Canyon Estates, Palm Springs Canyon Estates is located in the Indian Canyons area of South Palm Springs opened in 1970. Canyon Estates consists of 68 homes on leased land with access to community pools and spas and an executive golf course. 150 condos including duplexes are located in the center of the Canyon Estates community on fee land (not leased). Recent Canyons Estates Home Values: $600’s to $700’s. Recent HOA: $615 Monthly. Recent Condo Values: $300’s to $400’s. Recent Condo HOA: $599 Monthly.
Indian Canyons, Palm Springs (Public Golf)
Indian Canyons, Palm Springs Originally built in the 60s, most Indian Canyons’ homes have been remodeled or rebuilt to reflect Indian Canyon’s modernistic roots. Originally called Canyon Country Club, the communities name was changed in ’09 to Indian Canyon’s to reflect new ownership of the Indian Canyons North 18-hole championship golf course, which surrounds the neighborhood. A second golf course, Indian Canyons South is located just across Murray Canyon Road. Both golf courses are open to the public. On most days you’ll find dog walkers, joggers and bicyclists enjoying the Indian Canyons community. Recent Indian Canyons Home Values: $500’s to $2 million. Leased land with annual lease payments. No HOA’s.
Seven Lakes Country Club, Palm Springs (Private Club)
Seven Lakes Country Club, Palm Springs Seven Lakes Country Club in Palm Springs is a private gated condo community featuring an 18-hole executive golf course. At Seven Lakes, you’ll discover 277 duplexes and 64 condos. Most homes have a golf course or green belt view. The Seven Lakes community features 15 community pools/spas, each with grills, and 11 offering entertainment kitchens, tennis courts and more included in the monthly HOA dues. The majority of homes at Seven Lakes are located on Fee Simple Land (not leased land). Recent Seven Lakes Home Values: $300’s to $600’s. Recent HOA: $1,089 Monthly.
Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort Homes (Public Golf)
Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort Homes The Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort is a public golf course located minutes from downtown Palm Springs. At Tahquitz Creek, golfers can test two challenging championship golf courses. Homes at Tahquitz Creek are located both on and off the golf course on fee simple land (you own it–not leased land). Most homes were built in the ‘60’s with many featuring midcentury modern designs. Recent Home Values: $400’s to $500’s. There are no HOA’s in this non-gated Palm Springs community located just minutes from Palm Springs Airport.
Play Video: Canadian Buyer Info
The real estate purchase process for Canadian buyers in the U.S. and here in the Palm Springs area is fairly straightforward. Sheri Dettman & Associates are real estate agents that have helped hundreds of Canadians buy and sell homes and condos here in the Palm Springs area from affordable to luxury.
An Easy & Straightforward Purchase Process For Canadians
Investing in a second home here in the Palm Springs area is fairly simple for a Canadian citizen. Sheri Dettman’s goal is to make the process simple and straightforward as possible. From discovering your property to negotiating the best price and terms possible, you’ll soon discover why a growing number of Canadians have come to trust working with Sheri Dettman & Associates.
Canadian homebuyers usually don’t need a U.S. Social Security number, just a valid passport. There are a few forms that Sheri and her team will help you complete, but the process overall is fairly simple. An attorney is usually not needed in California since our Palm Springs area escrow, and title teams are trained and they have extensive experience in serving Canadian clients.
Historically Low Palm Springs Area Real Estate Prices
Play Video: Palm Springs Area Info
Properties in the Palm Springs area continue to offer great values compared to just a few years ago. And compared to most metro areas many Canadian buyers are pleasantly surprised by the values that available here in the desert.
Reasonable Palm Springs Area Property Taxes
Annual property taxes in the Palm Springs area (part of Riverside County, California) are 1.25% of the appraised value of the purchased property. The new appraised value of your property will be set at the new purchase price, even if the previous value of the property had been higher.
Annual property tax payments here are split into two equal payments and paid semi-annually. If you are purchasing your property with a loan, you can request that your lender add the property taxes to your loan payment each month (called impounding), thereby making the tax payments for you.
No Taxes On Real Estate Transactions
A few developments in the Palm Springs area may also add a supplemental tax called Mello-Roos, which funds new infrastructure for those communities. Your Realtor can tell you if the property you are considering is located within a Mello-Roos area.
A Variety Of Ways For Canadians To Structure Ownership
Canadian buyers have a choice of how they choose to title ownership to their Palm Springs area property. Cross-border trusts have become popular to help minimize taxes, especially for higher net worth buyers. Some buyers put their title in their personal names while others prefer to use existing corporations or LLP’s. If you’d like further assistance, Sheri is also happy to recommend local specialists that work with Canadian buyers on a regular basis.
No Realtor Fees For Canadian Buyers
In the vast majority of Palm Springs area sales transactions, the home seller pays our Realtor service fee for resale or new construction homes, condos and land such as golf course lots.
Mortgages For Canadian Buyers In Palm Springs
Mortgages are readily available here in the desert for Canadian homebuyers. When financing, a Canadian buyer will just usually need to establish a U.S. bank account before submitting an application.
The financed property must also be a second home or an investment property – not a primary residence. Sheri Dettman & Associates have several mortgage company referrals for Canadian buyer loan programs.
Additional Information For Canadian Buyers
- Choosing A Buyer's Agent To Help You: One of the smartest things Canadian buyers can do before beginning to look at Palm Springs area homes or luxury condos is to choose a local top-rated real estate agent to represent your best interests.
- Ready To Buy Your Palm Springs Area Home?: The California buying process for Canadians starts by your Realtor submitting an offer on a property. Submitting an offer and buying a home are really two separate things in California. Don’t worry, our team of specialists will explain it here and everything will be tickety boo!
- Comparing The Palm Springs and Phoenix Lifestyles: Many Canadians will likely compare the Palm Springs Real Estate Market with Phoenix, Arizona. In a nut shell would you prefer a metro area with four million people or a smaller desert area with about 90% less people? You can discover additonal comparisons here.
- Home Owners Associations, Stratas and Condos: Canadian Strata Association can be similar to HOA's or Home Owners Associations here in Palm Springs.
- How Long Can Canadians Stay In Palm Springs (or the U.S.)?: The short answer is Canadians can stay 182 days, or about six months when visiting the U.S. More information can be viewed online at CBC News.
by Sheri Dettman, Resort Lifestyle Realtor
People from outside the area often share with me their quandary regarding purchasing a home in the Palm Springs Real Estate area or in the Phoenix market. At one time I had similar considerations as well. I’ll share with you what swayed my husband Bill and I towards the Palm Spring area.
Palm Trees & Golf Courses Abound
Both areas have abundant palm trees, golf courses, mild winters, beautiful desert mountains and many great communities to choose from. Phoenix has things Palm Springs doesn’t have and, of course, Palm Springs has amenities and activities which Phoenix does not offer. Before we invested in property here we did what most people do, we vacationed both here and in Phoenix.
If you are new to either area you’ll want to get out of the resort or rental home that you are enjoying and take a drive around. You’ll want to explore each area’s attractions, shopping, amenities, and, of course, you’ll want to consider traffic congestion and air quality, as well.
4 Million People or 360,000?
Hitting the Phoenix freewayThe Phoenix area has always felt larger and more congested to us, which it should.
- Phoenix is the 14th largest metropolitan area in the country.
- The population of the Phoenix area increased 45.3% from ’90 to 2000, and, in April 2010, totaled over four million people.
- Eight cities in the Phoenix metro area have populations of over 100,000 residents each.
In contrast, the Coachella Valley (which is often referred to as simply ‘Palm Springs’ although it includes the cities of Palm Desert, La Quinta, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and several other cities) had:
- An estimated population of 365,000 people last census.
- The Palm Springs area has less than 10% of the population of the Phoenix metro area.
Small Town Feel or Metropolitan?
After numerous trips to both the Phoenix and Palm Springs, we both agreed that the Palm Springs area seemed more relaxed. Most people find the atmosphere of the Coachella Valley more ‘small town-like’ than Phoenix. Also, a multitude of cultural experiences outside of the Coachella Valley can be found within a relatively short drive in the Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, and even Phoenix greater metropolitan areas.
If you love the ocean, you’ll want to note that Palm Springs is only a couple of hours away from numerous glistening beaches, which are a good seven hour drive from Phoenix. For us, our experience in Phoenix and Palm Springs was similar to many of our vacations in Hawaii. We’d start on crowded Oahu and then gravitate to Maui, which then also became crowded, so we wound up enjoying the less crowded Big Island of Hawaii or Kawai.
Consider Air Quality In Both Areas
An even bigger issue for us, however, was smog. The Phoenix area was ranked in 2010 as having the most polluted air year-round in the United States.
“Today, the American Lung Association released its annual report card “State of The Air.” The news for the 4,281,899 residents of the Valley of the Sun (the Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area) is not so good. We are now the city with the most polluted air in the United States. The study measures the average fine particle concentration in the air of each city, a key factor in asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory and heart ailments.” Phoenix Sun® April 10, 2010 – VALLEY OF THE SUN SMOG!
To be fair, the Palm Springs area gets the occasional dust storm which can impair air quality, but usually nothing close to the massive dust storms that the Phoenix area experiences each year.
Flights and Transportation
Both areas offer direct flights from many cities in Canada. Although Phoenix does have more flights in and out of Canada since it is much larger, disadvantages include having to deal with more expensive airport parking, longer security lines, less friendly service, and missing out on relaxing post-security in one of the most beautiful outdoor manicured airport grounds in the United States, Palm Springs International Airport (PSP). Driving in the Coachella Valley is a breeze compared to most areas in the Phoenix metro area; Phoenix has major traffic congestion, particularly during rush hour.
Property taxes in the Palm Springs area are generally valued at 1.25% of the current property value. The exception is small pockets of developments subject to a special Mello-Roos tax. Recent Phoenix property tax rates ranged from .80% to 1.50% of property value. Here, the tax value is based on your purchased price and can be adjusted annually if the value increases or decreases.
So, Phoenix Versus Palm Springs?
After comparing both areas, it really comes down to personal preference. Small town resort feel or the hustle and bustle of a larger metro area? Skyscrapers or Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountain views from the Palm Springs area and beaches two hours away? As you likely figured out by now, my husband Bill and I chose the Palm Springs area..
If you are still interested in a home or luxury condo in the Phoenix area, please contact me. I do know a several great Phoenix area Realtors that I’m happy to refer you to.
If you’re considering renting out your Palm Springs area home or condo either short or long-term, there are some important issues you should be aware of and plan for ahead of time.
Palm Springs Area HOA Rental Rules
Some HOA’s may have restrictions on rentals. While most HOA’s allow rentals, a few do restrict rentals to periods of one month or greater. Other HOA’s allow daily, weekly and monthly rentals. Your HOA rules and regulations should cover these rental policies. If you live in a community without an HOA, you might consider checking with the city about possible restrictions, if any.
Short Term Rental Insurance – Are You Covered?
Many home and condo owners choose to rent their properties to short-term renters (less than six consecutive months). While this can be a great income opportunity, you'll want to check your specific homeowner policy and speak with your agent about coverage. If your policy won't cover your home for short-term rental usage, you'll need to switch to a policy that does.
Most insurers can now cover most rental homes and condos for short-term rentals at a very reasonable cost. This Comprehensive Property and Liability Insurance Program was created especially for homes and condos that are being used as short-term vacation rentals.
This program can be used by those who book their homes year-round or by those who only book their properties a few days, weeks or months per year. Owners can now have peace of mind knowing that they are properly covered at a reasonable cost. So, even if you think you are properly covered, you'll want to review your policy with your agent. Most vacation homeowners are simply not covered for the risk of short-term rentals.
Professional Rental Management And Booking
A professional rental management company can help you as a homeowner maximize the value of your property and shield you from the daily (and sometimes nightly) concerns associated with ownership of vacation rental property.
Licensed professional service companies can promote, advertise, book and manage your short-term vacation rental property while you enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your home is in professional hands.
Full service property management can include routine property inspections; maintenance; housekeeping; automated accounting functions; and, even concierge services for your renters and guests.
Most licensed rental companies will hold renters advance payments in an escrow account until the rental period commences, then they'll disburse funds to the homeowner. This protects both renters and homeowners.
Please Email Sheri for a referral to a licensed Rental Company that fits your specific needs.
by Sheri Dettman, Resort Lifestyle Realtor
Having your agent submit a purchase offer for a Palm Springs area property is only the first step in buying a home. Submitting an offer and buying a home are really two separate things in California where the purchase offer is not the final negotiation due to possible contingencies in the real estate contracts.
The Usual Steps In Purchasing A Palm Springs Area Home
- Buyer’s Agent Submits Your Offer
- Escrow Account Opened
- Contingency Period Begins
- Contingencies Removed or Purchase Canceled
- Monies are Collected
- Transaction is Completed
- About Earnest Money Deposits
1. Your Agent Submits Your Offer
When your agent submits an offer for you she/he will generally give the seller a set period of time in which to respond, which is normally between one and three days. After your agent submits an offer one of three things usually occurs: your offer is accepted as is, the seller will counter your offer with a different price or terms or the seller ignores your offer.
2. An Escrow Account Is Opened
Once an offer is accepted, an escrow account is opened. In escrow, all documents and monies are held by a neutral third party for use at a later date to fulfill obligations as called for in the purchase contract. As an explanation for Canadian clients, escrow handles most of the duties that a Canadian real estate lawyer handles.
3. During Your Contingency Period
Your purchase contract will generally have a contingency period during which time you can change your mind and cancel a contract without penalty. Your agent will work with you to specify how long your contingency period is and what is covered in the contingencies before your offer is submitted. Exceptions to this include bank-owned properties or short sales in which the bank spells out the time frame for removing any possible contingencies.
Most buyer’s agents will include a contingency period when submitting an offer. A contingency period is a time frame which enables you to perform due diligence and basically cancel the contract without penalty and receive your earnest money (1) deposit back. At the same time your agent will communicate the length of escrow you request. For example, if you choose a 30-day escrow, there are 30 calendar days from the date your offer is accepted until the home is yours.
During your contingency period, buyers typically complete the following with the assistance of their agent:
- Appraisal: Buyers who obtain a mortgage will be required to have an appraisal conducted, which your lender will order. The appraisal needs to value the home equal to your purchase price or higher. If the appraisal comes in low, additional down payment monies would typically be required if the seller decides to move forward.
- Loan Contingency: When buyers finance, their agent will stipulate in the purchase contract that loan approval is a contingency. A buyer who is denied a loan at the specified terms can be released from the purchase contract.
4. Professional Home Inspection
Your buyer’s agent will always suggest that you invest in a professional home inspection. For a few hundred dollars a professional home inspector will provide you with a complete report and photos documenting the home’s condition. If the inspection uncovers needed repairs, your agent can submit a request for repairs which can either be agreed to by the seller, negotiated, or denied. In any case, the buyer is aware of the condition of the home from a professional standpoint and can then negotiate how the recommendations will be covered financially or cancel the sale during the contingency period.
- Termite Inspection: Even though the Palm Springs area is a dry climate, a termite inspection is suggested and may even be required when obtaining a mortgage.
- HOA Documents: Buyers are entitled to receive a copy of the community CC&R’s (codes, covenants, and regulations) as well as recent HOA financials and the latest meeting minutes.
- Seller Statutory Documents: In California, sellers are required to disclose in writing all known material facts to the buyer. Material facts commonly refer to anything which would affect the buyer’s decision to purchase the home due to condition, price and/or terms the buyer has offered. Simply put, if the seller has knowledge that there is a defect, it should be disclosed to the buyer. Also in California, sellers are required to notify buyers if a death has occurred on the property within the last three years.
The California Association of Realtors publishes a number of disclosure forms that your buyer’s agent will go over with you. Your agent’s job is to make the disclosure and contingency period straightforward and easy to understand. During the contingency period you are entitled to cancel the purchase contract for any reason listed above, or if you’ve simply changed your mind.
5. Contingencies Removed or Purchase Canceled
Once all contingencies have been removed and you as the buyer agree to move forward with your purchase, you will sign off. From this point on escrow and the buyer’s agent will work together to ensure that all documents and disclosures have been completed. At this time the cash buyer or the designated lender will fund the transaction usually by wire through escrow. Escrow funds will be disbursed to pay either the owner or their bank (if they had a mortgage), the new title will be recorded with the county and the property is now yours!
6. About Earnest Money Deposits
In California and here in Palm Springs, earnest money is a good faith deposit. It is not a down payment towards a purchase. When your buyer’s agent fills out the contract they will specify how much money the buyer is initially putting up to secure the contract and show good faith. Earnest money deposits are typically 3% of the purchase price in California. During the contingency period a buyer may cancel a contract for any reason and be refunded their earnest money deposit. Once the contingencies have been removed and the time period for them has expired, the earnest money deposit becomes non-refundable and is credited towards the final purchase price.
Earnest money deposits are made either by check or bank wire payable to a neutral third (escrow). The earnest money deposit which is held by the escrow company is either refunded (if the sale is canceled during the contingent period) or applied towards the purchase price of the property if the purchase is completed.
Disclaimer: The above information is an overview and it is not intended to be legal advice or a legal interpretation of California Buyer Broker Agreements. If you desire legal advice please consult a real estate lawyer.
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