Our family has some exciting news to share…
We bought a house! In Palm Springs! A three bedroom, two bathroom, 1950s home filled with great bones and a boatload of exciting potential!!! That’s the short of it, but keep reading if you want the long version!
We were looking in Los Angeles…
As many of you know, we’ve been house hunting here in Los Angeles for almost two years now. First, more casually, then more seriously, then more “well the market is insane, is this ever really going to happen?”
Well, I’ve simultaneously been looking at real estate in Palm Springs for years. It’s always been a dream of ours, but we figured we would first find a place in LA we saw ourselves staying in for longer and then set our sights on saving for a second home.
Then one day in July, a home was listed as “coming soon” and it caught my eye. You see, most (not all) real estate in Palm Springs falls into two categories from my experience: Mid-century Modern homes or new 90s/00s builder-grade homes.
Until Something Else Popped Up…
Neither appeal to me, frankly. And the beautiful 1920s Palm Springs homes are all major $$ of course and rarely for sale even still. Unlike most people home shopping in Palm Springs, I firmly did NOT want a mid-century home. They are beautiful to look at, but not my style, and since I’m very much team “save old houses” I would never want to purchase one and take away from its authenticity.
In years of looking, I had never once seen a house in a reasonable (a term used loosely here in California) price range) that I would even consider. Until this one. There was one picture, of the front of the house, along with a description of it stating it was a “1950s hacienda style home with a courtyard, huge backyard and beamed ceilings.” It was also in a great location, unlike most of the others we could afford.
So, I began stalking it. Daily checking in to see if they added more photos. But like, not seriously because we were house hunting in Los Angeles right? Three weeks later, it finally switched from “Coming Soon” to “For Sale” but still.. NO pictures!
Love At First Sight
About two weeks after that, I just couldn’t get it out of my mind. So I emailed our agent (my sister-in-law, Eileen!) here in LA like… “Can you see any pictures I can’t? Because I just need to see them.”
This was a Wednesday. She connected with the seller’s agent and they said they’d have them the next day, and sent along a few in the meantime. We were even more intrigued.
Thursday, no photos. Friday, no photos. Finally when I woke up on Saturday morning, the photos had posted and I said to Jeff, “I think we need to go see this house.” And on Saturday evening we booked a hotel and drove out to Palm Springs to see it Sunday morning.
Just like with our house we bought in LA, the owner happened to be home when we toured it. We got to meet him, hear about why he loved the home, and chat about why we loved how different and eclectic the home was from the other inventory on the market. We left with a really good feeling.
And bright and early that Monday morning, we called our mortgage agent to get an approval letter and throw our hat in the ring. The house was above our budget at the end of the day, but because it was so unique, because we promised we would keep its character alive, and because you needed to have vision for what that could look like, we felt we had a chance. Thankfully after a few negotiations, the seller accepted our offer…
And two months later… we officially closed this week on our perfect(ly in need of a LOT of work) oasis in our favorite place in the planet!! I’ll save the work we plan to do for another day…
For now, I’ll just say that we’ve learned twice over now that house shopping never goes according to plan. Our house in LA was in a completely different neighborhood than we had planned, but it caught my eye and it just felt right. And this house was in a completely different city than we planned, but it caught our eye and just felt right.
Apparently, my excessive real estate perusing habits paired with Jeff’s spontaneity do pay off sometimes! 😉
We are SO excited to make this house our own over the years and have a spot to escape to. Now, for some questions I feel like you may have!
Are you moving to Palm Springs?
We are not! This is intended to be a vacation home for us, our family and friends, and… for you! LA will still be our main place of residence.
Will you rent it out/Airbnb it?
I’ve been wanting to renovate and decorate a vacation rental project for years now and we are so excited to make that dream a reality!! And I’m so excited for some of you to get to stay in the home if you ever make a Palm Springs trip!! We do not have a timeline as it needs a lot of work before we get to that point.
Are you staying in your home in Los Angeles or still looking to move?
This is the question of the year and the answer is… we don’t know. Our home here in LA ended up being a really good investment for us, nearly doubling in value in this market in just 4 years so we do have some options if we wanted to make a lateral move to a similar sized house with a layout that works better for our family.
We feel so conflicted because we LOVE our neighborhood and our neighbors so much. The three of us have friends on the street, and right nearby, and it’s just so nice to have that since moving here after feeling like that would never happen in LA frankly.
I’ve tried every way to think of how to improve the layout but we’d have to gut the house, which I wouldn’t do because it would lose its character.
So we are still keeping our eyes open in case something pops up that would meet our layout needs and allow us to stay in/close to our current neighborhood. Our parameters, though they’ve changed, are still quite particular so the chances of that happening are slim.
In the meantime, we’re content where we are for the most part thanks to the community we have around us!
How did you afford a second home?
We are in a very unique position on this one and I think transparency is important, so here’s how we decided we could make this work:
- We were used to paying rent on a studio/office space and we no longer have that. So a second mortgage did not feel as scary to us.
- Because of our jobs, we knew we’d be able to work with some incredible companies to help us bring our vision to life along the way.
- Palm Springs has a very strong rental market, and many of you have asked if we’d do an Palm Springs Airbnb, so because we were able to get a price we were comfortable with on the house, we felt confident we’d be able to cover the mortgage with rental income from the property.
- Though we had originally been hoping to use the sale of our house for a down payment if we bought a house in LA, that is hard to do in a competitive market, so we had been saving additionally (thanks to both our incomes and money gifted over the years from family) for a down payment already. We instead applied it here.
- We knew at the end of the day, if renting it didn’t work out or the mortgage felt too overwhelming, that pending no major market crashes, we’d be able to sell it at a profit with our renovations/improvements alone.
Honestly, I still need to wrap my head around this. I know I want bold colors (duh!), a BUNK ROOM (!!!!!!!!!!!), and that we gotta get some arches going in here. And I want to do absolutely nothing to those incredible wooden doors and those ceilings. That’s what sold us!
I’ll of course share the ENTIRE renovating and decorating process here with you all as it unfolds… we’ve already met with a few contractors and I’m starting to buckle down and figure out a more detailed vision for what we want this to be… and perhaps a name!?
Please share your name suggestions below if you have any! And stay tuned for more “before” photos, plans and ALL OF THE THINGS!!