If you’re thinking of buying a home in the Palm Springs area, you need to be aware of these three nuances:
Nuance #1: Location, location, location
Palm Springs is divided into three main areas: the north end, the central section, and the south end.
The north end includes any neighborhood north of Vista Chino. This area features many beautiful mid-century homes and several gated communities, and it’s closely located to the city’s windmills, which means it tends to get more wind.
The central section is bordered by Vista Chino and Ramon Road. This part of town is very popular due to its proximity to downtown. Not only is it both walkable and bikeable to downtown, but it’s also close to the airport. This section also encompasses some of the most beautiful and expensive neighborhoods in the city, such as Old Las Palmas, Vista Las Palmas, and The Movie Colony.
The south end includes any neighborhood south of Ramon Road. This area also has a beautiful collection of neighborhoods and several gated communities, and it also features one of the Valley’s first golf courses: Indian Canyons. This part of town is a particularly popular hiking destination.
Out of these three areas, you tend to get more bang for your buck in the north end because of the wind. As I already stated, the biggest advantage of buying in the central portion of town is its proximity to downtown. The south end gets the least amount of wind, but no area is immune from this once it picks up as spring turns into summer.
Nuance #2: We have lease land
In other words, this is land you don’t own. It’s not very prevalent throughout the U.S., but we have it here in the Southern California region. In our case, we have two kinds of lease land: contractor’s lease land and land that’s owned by the Agua Caliente tribe.
In the latter case, when the railroad was built in the Palm Springs area in the late 19th century, the government offered the local Agua Caliente tribe 10 miles’ worth of land on both sides of the railroad. Much of this land is still owned by the Agua Caliente tribe, so if you buy a house on that land, you also have to make a lease payment. Typically, a lease-land property can be bought for 20% to 30% less than a comparable home on fee land. However, the lease payment you have to make is not tax deductible, and you’re still responsible for your own property taxes.
Nuance #3: How you’re going to use the property
More specifically, do you plan on purchasing a home you want to rent out when you’re not using it? I get a lot of calls from out-of-towners who want to purchase a home and retire here, but they’re not quite ready to start living here permanently yet. They instead opt to buy a home they can rent out that offsets some of the costs until they are ready to move here.
Our vacation rental industry is doing very well; however, there are some pretty strong city ordinances regarding rental properties that you need to familiarize yourself with. The other thing you need to consider is that most houses that are located within an HOA neighborhood or a gated community have guidelines determining how long you can rent out your house. In an HOA neighborhood, the minimum rental period is usually 30 days. This means if you plan on turning your home into a weekend vacation rental, you should look outside of HOA neighborhoods. The same 30-day rule generally applies to condos as well, but in both cases, there are some exceptions.
If you’d like to talk more about the nuances of buying a home in Palm Springs, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to guide you through the whole process.
As always, if you have any other real estate questions, feel free to reach out to us as well. We’d be happy to help.