About Indian Lease Land

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Home buyers on lease land are attracted to lower selling prices, where many properties sport larger lots and fantastic views. Understanding a bit more about land leases can be helpful when home shopping.

 A Little History:  In the 1860s, the Federal Government granted the Southern Pacific railroad a large swath of land on each side of the railroad right-of-way, but with only the odd-numbered sections being granted.

By executive order in 1876, President U.S. Grant created the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation with the remaining, even-numbered sections allotted to the Tribe and its members The result was a checkerboard of private fee land interlaced with Tribal land.

In the 1950s, the Agua Caliente began leasing land typically for 65 years, although some leases were executed for up to 99 years, the longest term permissible.

Today, there are nearly 8,000 residential leases, with the bulk of them being in Palm Springs where roughly one half the homes are built on lease land.  To put this into perspective, Agua Caliente members lease more residential land than any other tribe in the nation.

A vast number of 65-year residential leases were executed in the 1980s with expiry coming due in 2045, more or less.  Although mid-century seems like a long time from now, there is a very important, long-term instrument that runs headlong into lease expiration dates:  the Home Mortgage.

Mortgage lenders require any manner of land lease to run at least five years longer than the term of the mortgage.  So, to get a 30-year loan in 2020, there must be no fewer than 35 years remaining on the lease — in this case, the year 2055!  Homeowners and home buyers today should be keen on being able to sell their home sometime in the future taking comfort that the purchaser can obtain a full-term home loan.

There’s a rush to extending, replacing or eliminating existing leases.   In home communities, many leases were executed by the developer, who then provided sub-leases to the homeowners.  The development company negotiates an extension to its master lease with the landowner, which may contemplate an increase to the annual rent and/or a one-time fee for extending.  Often there is a grace period for the sub-lessee to sign onto the extension, but steep increases are typically incurred if delayed too long.

Some communities have negotiated out of their leases entirely by successfully purchasing the land from the owner.  An example of this is Greenhouse East condo homeowners purchased their land from the Agua Caliente landowners in 2008.

Sometimes, a lease extension is not possible: the master lease holder and owner may be unable or unwilling to negotiate an extension.  Rather than extending the existing lease, a new successor lease may be executed thanks to a recent change in Federal law allowing the new lease to be drawn up many years in advance.

With its current lease expiring midnight December 22, 2047, Parc Andreas, a community in South Palm Springs, found itself in this very predicament.  So, the Parc Andreas HOA elected to negotiate directly with the landowner with both parties reaching agreement on a new lease succeeding the original, commencing at 12am on December 23, 2047.  This is the first lease of its kind in the nation, and many communities have been closely watching its development and deployment.

For Parc Andreas, it’s a true win-win-win result: The landowner has a far better lease for itself and its heirs.  The HOA owns the successor master lease on behalf of the homeowners and for that there will no longer be a “middleman” to take a cut of the rent.  And with the new, extendable expiry date of 2081, there’s no impediment to mortgage loans.

New Palm Springs Village Starts to Blossom


After years of wrangling, hand wringing, scope changing, Measure “J” and even some scandal, the Palm Springs downtown is realizing a much timely renewal.

The Kimpton Rowan Hotel, Starbucks Reserve, Blaze Pizza, West Elm, H&M, Kiehl’s, MAC Cosmetics and the new public parking garage are now open for business. Coming real soon now are Tommy Bahama, Free People, Francesca’s, and Il Corso.

Although Virgin Hotel construction has not yet begun, it promises to be another unique hotel. Virgin Hotels CEO, Raul Leal said, “Opening a property in California has been on our wish-list since day one, and Palm Springs has grown beyond its reputation of a retreat for Californians, we knew it was the ShowImage (1)perfect location for a Virgin Hotel.”

The new DOWNTOWN PARK will be situated across the street from the Palm Springs Art Museum. It will be placed where the original Desert Inn was located. Nellie Coffman, the Desert Inn’s founder embraced the “space, stillness, solitude and simplicity” of Palm Springs, and the park is steeped in her spirit. The Downtown Park will serve as a refuge to complement the hotels, shops and restaurants with open space, special events and public art.

Introducing Starbucks Reserve™ Bar

Vancouver_Reserve_BarFIRST CAME Starbucks Reserve™ Roasteries: “immense theatrical shrines to coffee passion…”, and if you’re in Seattle or Shanghai (Milan opening soon), you can enjoy “an experience found nowhere else in the world.” Starbucks Reserve Bars, on the other hand, offer a more intimate small-lot coffee experience. Presently, there are only seven Reserve Bars in California, with one located at the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon in Palm Springs.

Starbucks has been bucking competition from “Third Wave” coffee brands where the priority is to produce high-quality coffee, and to consider coffee as an artisanal foodstuff, like wine, rather than a commodity. Among other attributes, this involves stronger relationships between coffee growers, traders and roasters, as well as higher quality and fresh roasting, sometimes called “microroasting”.

The Starbucks Reserve bars are turning the ritual of snatching a cuppa coffee into more of an experience. Baristas receive a significant amount of training at Reserve locations. They learn to use the more uncommon brewing equipment, like siphon brewing. They also sell coffee flights and cold-brew floats.

Reserve Bars are spacious and inviting, where customers can gather around long communal tables or settle in at a low, wood-clad bar to watch the baristas as they work.

Polo: The Sport of Kings

image002WHEN ANNE and her husband lived in England, they were only a 20 minute drive to Cowdray Park, the home of British polo.  Prince Philip began playing and competing there in the early 1950s, as did The Prince of Wales later on. These days, polo has moved on from being a sport principally played by wealthy  gentlemen into one where most teams hired talented overseas professional players. Interestingly, Polo is an inexpensive and fun spectator sport – and you can enjoy it during the cooler months right here in the Valley! We have two polo clubs in Indio: the Empire Polo Club and the Eldorado Polo Club. The season lasts for about three months—January thru March. Polo is a dynamic equestrian sport which has been played for centuries throughout Asia and the Middle East. The West was introduced to the sport when the British colonized India. A game with talented players can be an impressive sight. Although the horses used in the sport are called polo ponies, they are really full-sized horses, where thoroughbreds are the traditional mounts, although other breeds may be used as well. In all cases, horses are selected for speed, agility, and obedience. Put together a picnic, and rendezvous with friends for Sunday tailgating.  You are parked just at the edge of the pitch, and the play goes on right before you.  Bring your own chairs, sun umbrellas and picnic fare.  Dogs are welcome on a leash.  Admission is free, although there is a small charge for parking. If tailgating isn’t your thing, consider reserving a VIP seat or table for the day. Champagne and cucumber sandwiches, anyone?

The Mesa: Celebrity Enclave

image006WITHOUT A DOUBT, The Mesa is one of the most beautiful, eclectic and historic neighborhoods in Palm Springs.  Located on South Palm Canyon, this community is close to nature, while at the same time is close to town.  The community is located at the base of San Jacinto which offers protection from the desert winds and incredible views.  Its scenic streets and paths are ideal for dog walking, cycling and hiking. The Mesa is an ungated neighborhood of about 180 homes.  A mixture of several different architectural styles, such as Old Spanish Pueblo, Mid-Century Modern, Ranch style, Mediterranean from small to mansion, as well as ultra-modern contemporary. Overall, it’s a delightful mix of small homes all the way to large, walled estates. Mesa property prices range from about $600,000 to $12-million. Many of its earliest homes were built in the 1930s and 1940s.  Over the years many homes were built by notables such as King Gillette (shaving razors), George Jessel, George Montgomery and Jolie Gabor (mother to Zsa Zsa, Eva and Magda).  Modern day residents have included Sonny and Mary Bono, Barry Manilow, Joseph Cotton, Robert Wagner and Herman Wouk. Neighbors fairly well sum it all up when they tell you, “For all its history and celebrity, The Mesa’s best feature is its sense of community.”

Meet Betty McNees

mcnees-1-2-aspectBetty is a 30-year real estate veteran who has served the greater Palm Springs region for nearly 24 years.  Anne and Betty have teamed up to combine their unique skills to take the stress out of buying or selling your home. Throughout her career, Betty has strived for excellence, and it shows:  she is an award winning real estate agent with an exceptionally loyal clientele, where referrals and repeat business have formed the foundation of her professional works. Betty says, “Real Estate for me is about creating relationships.  I have become friends with many of my clients over the years and have earned wholeheartedly their trust in me.  They refer their kids, friends, family and colleagues time and time again.” Betty’s real estate success is a good match to Anne’s business acumen.   Anne cofounded ASNA (Amalgamated Software of North America) in 1982 and served as its president and CEO until the company was sold to an Israeli investment group in 2008.  With offices in the USA and Europe, Anne directed the company’s product development and sales growth into all of the world’s continents, save for Antarctica. In addition to having been selected as a Soroptomist Business Woman of the Year, Anne is a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors, member of the Council of Residential Specialists, member of the Bentley Driver’s Club.  Anne has also built and remodeled several homes over the years.

Desert Winds Freedom Band

Desert Winds Freedom Band Shows a Lot of Class

dwfb-logo A couple of months ago we had the pleasure of attending a wonderfully uplifting presentation by members of the Desert Winds Freedom Band.  Our ears were witness to an oleo of concert band and jazz band music by familiar and notable composers including Leonard Bernstein, Dmitri Shostakovich, Stan Kenton and Rimsky-Korsakov. Founded in 2001, it is comprised of dedicated musicians whose goal is to make great music together and serves the greater Palm Springs and Coachella Valley areas.  Some are retired music professionals and others haven’t played since they graduated from high school or college.  In all, DWFB is a diverse group open to all gay and gay-friendly musicians who like to play concert band music. Besides the large concert band, DWFB has created numerous smaller ensembles to add to their community involvement, and to increase the playing opportunities for its members. The largest is the DWFB Jazz Band which is comprised of 21 musicians. Other ensembles include a Jazz Sextet, Saxophone Quartet and Brass Quintet that play numerous gigs around the area. Depending on scheduling, any of these groups are available to perform at your next function. DWFB also hosts a variety of guest artists, both local and national.  Performing at the event we attended was composer and guest composer, Rossano Galante, who conducted his composition, “San Andreas Landscapes”. The band is also a member of the Lesbian and Gay Bands Association (LGBA), which has member bands throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. The Desert Winds Freedom Band is proud to announce that they have been chosen to host the LGBA Annual Conference in Palm Springs on Pride Weekend (November 2-6) in 2016.  The theme will be California Gold—Palm Springs Style.  The weekend’s pinnacle event is the Saturday evening concert comprised of two 150—person concert bands.  And to wrap up the weekend, a 300-member marching band and color guard will be featured in the 2016 Greater Palm Springs Pride Parade on Sunday. For information about being a sponsor, and for tickets to upcoming performances, go to www.desertwindsfb.org.

Real Estate in the Digital Age

greg-bayles-civilization-in-the-digital-age-1-1038x576 The Internet, and the services that employ it, has added value to what persists as the traditional process of buying or selling of one’s home. In 1964, 40% of home buyers read newspaper ads to find a home and 7% drove around looking for an open house.  Today, only 1% depend upon  newspaper ads, and 44% used open houses as a valued information source in their home search.  The world we live in today is a digital one and searching for a home is no different. Buyers now have apps that let them search by location and neighborhoods. Online listings have virtual tours so viewers can look at a bunch of potential homes while narrowing down their search to a select few in the effort to save time. Online searching maximizes the ability to compare and contrast homes on the market by selected features. Most of this is done before a potential home buyer connects with a real estate agent. Also in 1964, 61% of home buyers contacted agents they knew.  In 2014, buyers worked with an agent 87% of the time to find their home.  Today, the initial process starts online, where home buyers are entering the process more educated about the market before they work with an agent.   In a complimentary process, REALTORS® are also utilizing software technology in their everyday business practices.  Multiple Listing Services have provided a myriad of search, and reporting tools, and is a major resource.  Additional and significant software products provide Comparative Market Analysis, Electronic Contracts and Forms, E-Signature, Document Preparation and Contact Management (CRM). Considering that 94% of people begin their home search online, Social Media is becoming increasingly relevant, particularly with younger buyers.  Stay tuned.