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The Palm Springs Allure: Why a Second Home in the Desert is Worth the Heat


Second Homes in Palm Springs

Paul Kaplan

I've made it a professional goal to be known as a leader in the Real Estate industry in the Palm Springs market for the past 20+ years...

I've made it a professional goal to be known as a leader in the Real Estate industry in the Palm Springs market for the past 20+ years...

Jul 7 8 minutes read

About 25 years ago, Palm Springs experienced a mass exodus of Angelenos seeking a desert escape. Suddenly, everyone I knew was buying a second home in this sun-drenched oasis. Having frequented Palm Springs since my childhood in the 60s, through wild spring breaks in the 80s, and later as a weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of LA, the desert's allure was undeniable.

There's something truly magical about the desert's calming effect. The drive down Highway 111, with those iconic windmills set against the backdrop of majestic mountains, always washes away my stress. It's a feeling of instant relaxation, like slipping into a warm bath after a long day.

Sold on the serenity, I took the plunge and bought my first condo for a mere $72,000! It wasn't a palace, just a cozy 600-square-foot one-bedroom in a gated community, blocks from the vibrant Palm Canyon Drive. Despite not being wealthy, the low payments made it feasible. Its central location was perfect, allowing me to stroll home after a night out. The community pools were fantastic, reminiscent of a resort, and the neighbors were incredibly friendly and welcoming.

Soon, I found myself driving out almost every weekend, escaping the city's chaos for the tranquility of my desert retreat. The ability to leave my worries behind in LA made owning a second home invaluable. Since then, my life has taken a different path: I moved to Palm Springs full-time, started my business, and the rest, as they say, is history.

"Home prices in the Palm Springs area start around $200,000."

But the point is, for a relatively small investment, I gained a second home that undoubtedly reduced my stress and improved my mental well-being. Home prices in the Palm Springs area start around $200,000.  Some may argue, "Why not just stay in a hotel?" While that's certainly an option, there's something uniquely comforting about having your own space.

I love being surrounded by my own belongings, tinkering around the house to personalize it to my taste, and, perhaps due to a touch of OCD, I simply detest sleeping in beds where strangers have slumbered. Having a second home also allowed me to host guests, even if they had to crash on the couch (lest they get too comfortable and never leave!).

For me, the benefits of a second home far outweighed the costs. Over time, my mother and several friends even moved into the same community, further enhancing the appeal.

So, why should you consider buying a second home?

  • Stress Reduction and Mental Well-being: Escaping to your own private retreat can work wonders for your mental health.
  • Customization and Personalization: You have the freedom to decorate and remodel your space to your heart's content.  And if you're into mid-century, we have great local shops in Palm Springs to help you furnish your new home in the Palm Springs style too!
  • Privacy and Comfort: Avoid the impersonal nature of hotels and enjoy the familiarity of your own belongings.
  • Hosting Guests: Entertain friends and family in your own space.
  • Potential Investment: Real estate can appreciate over time, providing a potential return on your investment.
  • Community and Belonging: Building relationships with neighbors in your second home community can create a sense of belonging.
  • Diversify your investments:  Adding a 2nd home to your investment portfolio may be a great decision- talk to your financial advisor!
  • Spend more time in a favorite vacation spot: why not own a home where you love to spend time?
  • Potential to move there full time: Many people buy a 2nd home now, with the intention of living there when they retire; either living in the 2nd home or selling it, cashing in any equity and buying something more suited for full time living. 
  • Rent to others short-term (if allowed) while also allowing you to visit frequently:  Although many condo communities and cities have restrictions on vacation rentals, if permitted, they can be a great opportunity to earn some income when you're not using the home, by renting it out.  We recommend you consult with the local jurisdiction, the HOA as well as Vacation Management Companies to verify if 1. you're allowed to rent the home out short term, and or long term, and 2.  will this property be a desirable rental?  

Of course, there are factors to consider:

  • Understand Your Goals:

    • Consider why you want a second property. Will it be a vacation home for your family? An investment property? Knowing your purpose will impact loan options and requirements.
    • Assess whether the home will require significant repairs or renovations.
    • Can you comfortably afford the mortgage, taxes, and maintenance costs?
  • Credit Score and Financing:

    • You’ll likely need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for a second home mortgage. If your score is lower, work on improving it.  Your Paul Kaplan Group agent can refer you to a lender. 
    • Be prepared for tougher underwriting requirements and a larger down payment compared to your primary residence.
  • Location and Market Trends:

    • Visit the area where you plan to buy. Consider its long-term value and nearby amenities.
    • Connect with local real estate agents at The Paul Kaplan Group to understand the housing market.
    • Choose a location that suits your lifestyle and interests.
  • Tax Implications:

    • Tax breaks and credits for your primary residence may not apply to a second home.  (We recommend you consult with your tax and financial advisors prior to making a decision to purchase). 
    • If you rent out the second home for more than 14 days a year, the IRS may view it as a rental property and tax rental payments as income.  Ask your accountant.

When I eventually made the move to Palm Springs full-time, I continued living in that condo for over five years. While I yearned for a larger space, the location was unbeatable. To this day, I still own that condo, and its value has quadrupled. Thanks to its prime location, I never have trouble finding renters, and I plan to keep it as a source of supplemental income for my eventual retirement.

Ultimately, the decision to buy a second home is a personal one. But if you're seeking a place to escape the daily grind, recharge your batteries, and create lasting memories, a Palm Springs oasis might be just the ticket.  And you can still find a condo starting around $200,000 believe it or not!  Of course, if you're fortunate and can afford more, there are plenty of wonderful pool-homes out there to choose from!  And summer is a great time to buy; way less competition and sellers are motivated.  

For more info helping you decide if a second home, contact us.  You may also read the following:

Does It Make Sense to Buy a Second Home? ( 

5 Things To Know About Buying A Second Home – Forbes Advisor 

Palm Springs Escape: Ditch the McMansion for a Mini Oasis ( 

Below are links for some of my favorite condo communities to be considered for 2nd home ownership:

Casa Verde - Central Palm Springs location

Mesquite Country Club - May allow shorter term rentals than 30 days.

Plaza Villas- In the heart of downtown Palm Springs, allows 7 day minimum rentals

Greenhouse - Central Palm Springs location with one of the best community pools in town!  Each home features a large private patio.

Ocotillo Lodge - Located in South Palm Springs, mid-century modern design.  Utilities are included in the HOA fees.

Palm Springs Villas - One of the lowest priced communities in Palm Springs, with lots of amenities for resort style living.

Ready to explore your options? Contact the Paul Kaplan Group today and let our experienced agents guide you through the exciting world of Palm Springs real estate.

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