Factors to consider when buying a home in the Coachella Valley.

When I first start working with clients interested in buying a home in the Coachella Valley (The “California Desert”), we initially discuss their requirements. During this consultation, we also focus on important considerations when buying a home here, as the Coachella Valley is a large valley with many different types of communities and activities. The perfect spot is out there for everyone looking, but we have to first define “perfect”! Having helped many clients find the home that fits their needs, I feel that the following items are essential elements to consider:

  • Lifestyle.  What activities are you interested in?
  • Location.
  • Price range.
  • Type of security in the community: Gated, Guard-gated or non-gated?
  • Golf course vs. non-golf course and why?  Do you play golf or would you just like the views?
  • What is the ideal size and where would you like that space utilized?  (Do you need a formal dining room, or would you like additional space in a great-room setup?)  Do you like large bedrooms and do you need an office?
  • Seasonal or full time home?
3rd Hole at the Citrus, La Quinta.
3rd Hole at the Citrus, La Quinta.

When discussing these 7 factors, quite a few of them run together. For example, the location that you choose will depend on the price you want to spend. If you have your heart set on being directly on a golf course, there is a price premium that comes along with that.  (Which also differs depending on your location within the golf course.)

In most cases, our clients are looking for a community that matches their lifestyle needs, which often means a home on a golf course.  A golf-course home will most likely be in a gated community (there are a very small number of exceptions) and the monthly home owners dues (HOA dues) will be an expense that should be considered. HOA dues vary drastically between each community.  In some cases, such as in PGA West, the more you pay, the more features are covered, like landscaping maintenance, exterior paint, and some insurances.  However, this is not the case for every community.  Some communities add a mandatory “social” membership to the monthly costs (Mountain View and Rancho La Quinta are examples of this). That may bring additional value to you depending on your lifestyle needs. In addition, more often than not, the HOA dues in the western half of the valley, in cities such as Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, and Indian Wells, are higher than the dues in the newer, eastern part of the valley, like La Quinta.

There is also a wide price range in the different golf course communities within each city.  Some golf communities have many homes under $1,000,000, while others have only homes that start above $1,000,000.  When deciding on the city and community that you wish to settle in, the price is always a huge factor – and how your price point compares to the median sale price of that community. The age of the home in some of the cities can play a large role on price too. So, if you find a home with a price that seems unbelievable, it could be that the home needs a great deal of updating and improvements.

When discussing location in the Coachella Valley, most buyers will want to know which way the outside living area faces, i.e. north, south, east, or west.  The orientation of your outdoor living space affects the amount of sun you will receive as well as your views and this, too, has a huge impact on the price of the home. Each buyer has his/her own needs regarding the amount of sun they want, and these needs should be discussed in detail with your Realtor so that they can locate proper homes for you.

For more information on any of these considerations, please contact me. I would love to discuss them in much more detail with you.

In the meantime, To help you with more information regarding golf course communities, I’ve included a link to our Golf Resource Guide below which outlines the many golf courses and the price range of homes within each community, as well as the price of that community’s golf membership deposit and dues.  (It has some bonus information  like restaurant  information and nearby attractions too!)  Please let us know what you think of it!

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October, 2013 Sales Analysis

Here are the latest sales numbers for all homes sold within the City of La Quinta as well as all Golf Course homes in La Quinta from January, 2008 through October, 2013.

The current inventory of “Active Listings” remains tight. The Coachella Valley is currently transitioning from a buyers market to a sellers market. Some segments of the market have already moved to the sellers favor. The point at which the market changes from buyer to seller is determined by the months supply of homes for sale.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) the market is defined by the number of months supply of homes currently for sale. The dividing line between a Buyers / Sellers market is 6 months supply. Months Supply is determined by dividing the total number of sales in the last 6 month period by 6 to get the average number of sales per month and dividing that number into the current number of active listings.

For example: If the total homes sold in the past 6 months = 18 then 18/6 = 3 sales in the average month. If the current active “for sale” inventory was 21 then 21/3(Avg Mo Sales) = 7 Months Supply which would qualify as a weak buyers market. 6 months supply is considered a “Normal” market and anything less than 6 months supply is defined as a sellers market.

Here is a breakdown of current months supply in the City of La Quinta:












Another measure of inventory is the number of active listings as a percent of total number of homes in a gated community. According to the NAR, a gated community normally has 10% of the homes available for resale. Here are the stats for 3 La Quinta communities:

Mountain View CC: 426 homes, 22 for resale – 5%
Rancho La Quinta CC: 960 homes, 31 for resale – 3%
Citrus Club: 576 homes, 10 for resale – 1.7%

Here are some historical charts showing the present market and how it compares over the last five years and beyond.





The pink line represents a 4.5% rate of appreciation, which is the historical rate of appreciation (going back to 1968) according to the National Association of Realtors.
Here are some yearly sales figures (units) for the City of La Quinta from 2002:



LQ Golf Course


































2013 YTD



* Remember that the sales numbers represent “Closed” escrows. Since the average escrow is between 45 and 60 days, the decision to purchase the homes that closed in June was probably made in March to early April.

Source: DesertAreaMLS

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