Advice for 29 palms, CA area

17 Replies

Hi Everyone, 

I'm a real estate newbie about to make my first purchase in 29 palms.  Any member have experience with the 29 palms area as a short-term rental? 

My husband and I plan on using it as a short-term rental and vacation home. We are leaning towards the 29 palms purchase because of the size of the property and proximity to the National Park entrance. 

However, I've heard some conflicting sentiments about the area.   Either people love it or hate it (drugs, petty theft). 

@Jenine Civil

As an active duty Marine, 29 Palms has a special and interesting place in my heart.  Buying a property there to use as a short term rental is something I have never considered but I would caution you.. While it is close to Joshua Tree and not too far from Palm Springs, I have never thought of 29 Palms as a viable vacation destination.. I recommend researching if there are any other STRs there and see if you can find out how many nights out of the year they are booked.  If your heart is set on 29 Palms, I recommend looking into buying a long-term rental and finding a good military tenant to pay your mortgage for you.  Best of luck!

I'll second @Sean M. 's assessment. If you are wanting to do STR I would look more at Joshua Tree itself or maybe Yucca Valley. 29 Palms is heavily associated with the base. But you never know...

The location in that area is key. You have the military out there bringing most of the business there but that is pretty much all and some vacationers for Joshua tree. Not heavily populated so when the next recession sets in the values can spiral real fast. With that being said location , amenities and price should keep you okay.

Thank you @Sean M. and @Edward B. for the advice! Unfortunately, YV/JT has limited inventory. 

There is some Airbnb action in the area. Both the Twenty Nine Palms Inn and Roughley Manor have great reviews. I'll take a look at the occupancy rates. 

Do the military families ever live off base? It definitely has long-term potential.  What would be the best way to market to military families? 

@Jenine Civil ,

You don't really have to do anything special to market to military families, we all know how to find rentals and use the same methods as everyone else. That being said there are sites like that cater to military. You can sometimes get listed with base housing as an off base rental too.

Thank you @Jo-Ann Lapin .  I am also concerned about the resale value. The asking price is a bit high for my liking, looking at the comps. The only advantage that it has is the lot size. 

My husband thinks eventually interest will push east due to the high demand in YV/JT.  It would be nice to see the community develop.  

Hi @Jenine Civil

@Sean M. 29 Palms is evolving, in the past few years they have geared their marketing efforts to support tourists. The Oasis Visitor Center is the second most popular visitor next to the main JT entrance and saw over 576,000 visitors in 2016. 29 Palms has a downtown revitalization plan, as part of that plan Project Phoenix is the first step which appears to be taking fruition soon. In a matter of fact, I was surprised in 2013 when I saw one of the top bnb's in the nation on the Airbnb website was from... you guessed it... 29 Palms called the Tile House! 

With the few tourists I've spoken to who have stayed in 29 Palms, they actually said they liked 29 Palms BETTER than JT because it's more walkable and has more to do. 

Jenine, you're absolutely right with the Roughly Manor (now the Campbell House). Have you been there? It's so cute and unexpected! The 29 Palms Inn recently bought it and the Inn itself is also doing very well ($300 a night for their rooms).

There's definitely value in 29 Palms. How will it be hit during the next recession? I couldn't say. I think the tourism will help to maintain the values better than the past years, but as people have already mentioned long-term rental is another good option. 

A note for 29 Palms STR's: Check out the city's requirements -2 night minimum
-Permit requirement
-24 hour emergency contact requirement
-And some other requirements

29 Palms is the only city in the basin that requires a 2 night minimum stay, but other than that each city has similar requirements.

If you're planning on purchasing a STR in the Morongo Basin, look for EACH city's requirements. JT, Landers, and Morongo Valley are all unincorporated so look at San Bernardino County.

Here are some other links to help you out:

Project Phoenix

Downtown Revitalization Plan

29 Palms Marketing Plan

29 Palms is a city to keep your eye on, good luck!

I purchased and rehabbed a home there last year. I live in the SFV too. I'm not an AirBNB expert but I feel like I'd highly consider renting to a longer term military tenant if I had decided to keep that property as a rental. 

Thank you so much @Krystle Padilla This will definitely help with my decision making process.  I've received more information here than from my realtor. 

Hi Jenine! I live in LA and own a small house right off Adobe Rd. in 29 Palms. I initially planned to do a vacation rental, but decided to opt for a month to month lease with a tenant. He's been a great tenant and it keeps me from having to drive out there all the time, or hire someone to consistently keep up the AiBnB. Regarding AirBnB, 29 Palms has city ordinances that restrict the vacation rental market much more than Joshua Tree, which is an unincorporated part of the county. 

In short: If you want to buy a great, cashflowing property for long term rental, 29 Palms is great. Otherwise, you might run into some issues, but probably still doable. 

Hi @Krystle Padilla , thanks for the awesome info! When you say "permit requirements" for 29 Palms, what in particular?

Hey @Jenine Civil I agree with everyone here pushing you towards a buy/hold property vs. STR in 29 Palms. We currently have a four unit there which cashflows nicely. Haven't looked at comps recently, but I'm guessing we've gained some appreciation already in the year that we've had it.

In our experience, military tenants have been great to work with - guaranteed income and typically very responsible with the units. 

Good luck - any questions please feel free to ask. 

How difficult would you say it is to find renters? A quick search shows 68 rentals available on Trulia but is that a lot for the area? Is competition for military renters intense?


Military demand fluctuates.  Right now demand is very high in 29 Palms, I just rented two units in a few days, and had dozens of applicants.  But in 6 months, that may change.  Other considerations with military tenants are that they may have to leave at any time, and I have heard that some guys like to rent a little place and squeeze in several people, just to have a place off base where they can party.  But I have had great experiences with my Marines.  They take all the screening and paperwork in stride, and are usually great at move out.  It's a big base, and a lot of the people working there are civilians who also need housing.

I've been keeping an eye on 29 Palms. I bought 10 residential lots there and am waiting to see how the area develops before making any moves.

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