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New Era of Real Estate: GHA Communities' Mario Gonzales Redefines How He Does Business, Teams with Doug Balog

By keeping foreclosed upon developments from languishing, Gonzales is able to provide affordable housing and create jobs in the Coachella Valley.

Palm Desert, CA, August 05, 2011 --( The real estate market is on the verge of an upswing in the Coachella Valley, and the new home market is a vital part of that uptick. According to The Desert Sun, during the first several months of 2011, roughly 4560 homes sold in the Coachella Valley, but only 160 were in new home developments. Mario Gonzales, President of the award-winning GHA Communities, Inc. has set his sights on drastically changing those figures by grabbing a larger percentage of the sales market by building homes that he thinks buyers will find irresistible. Combine favorable pricing with luxury amenities, older homes on the market will have some tough competition when faced with GHA’s offering.

GHA, winner of the prestigious Gold Nugget Award is going to test his theory starting with The Grove at The Citrus in La Quinta along with other new home developments on the horizon. GHA Communities is instrumental in completing several new home projects on behalf of developers and investors such as Espana in North Indio which recently celebrated its grand opening. Both developments represent Gonzales’ vision for the Coachella Valley: to create viable communities with affordable housing while offering superb quality in craftsmanship and design and exceptional amenities.

The Grove at Citrus, a gated enclave of just eighteen Spanish, Mediterranean, and Venetian-styled homes within the confines of the posh Citrus Club was created by a partnership of Gonzales, Blaine Larsen of BLF Farms, developer Hartley Brooks and by Doug Balog with KW Luxury Homes by Keller Williams marketing and sales. Gonzales is able to offer a golf club lifestyle with luxury amenities at pricing that is far below that of similar neighborhoods. Custom appointments include solid alder doors and mouldings, walk-in closets, three bay garages, full landscaping, and generously-sized casitas.

New homeowners Josh and Laura Veentjer recently completed the purchase of a Mandarin One model, a 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath home with a standard courtyard swimming pool/spa and unique sky deck veranda with fireplace and wet bar that affords views of the Citrus Club’s 9th fairway and clubhouse.

“We were looking for an ideal place to raise our daughter, one that is safe and has a nicely-sized yard, and at The Grove, we’ve found everything that we were looking for,” Josh Veentjer, a commercial real estate broker from Portland Oregon, emphasized, adding, “We can’t wait to make The Grove our full-time residence, which we expect to do within the next few months. And Mario was there the first time we visited the home and he made us feel right at home. He cares about customer satisfaction and sees to it that his high standards for quality in construction are met.”

Compared to just a few years ago, pricing in the Coachella Valley has become much more favorable. Similar homes were selling for nearly double just a few years ago, “We feel like we stole the home, we got such a great deal,” Josh says with a gleeful smile. The next phase of construction is set to begin August 1st with move-in dates as early as November 1st.

The Grove at The Citrus isn’t the only joint project Gonzales has in the works. After the bottom fell out of the market, Gonzales reassessed and reinvented his business strategy by partnering and retooling partially-developed communities that have fallen into foreclosure. One such community is Espana, near the Shadow Hills area of North Indio. Gonzales, along with investor Joseph Rivani and Doug Balog of KW Luxury Homes formed a team whose goal it is to turn languishing developments into profitable, affordable and desirable communities that will help stimulate the local economy—a plus that benefits everyone in the long run.

When investor Joseph Rivani purchased the Espana, property, only 11 homes were occupied, and another 28 were in various stages of production. Gonzales stepped in to finish and will complete the next phase of build-outs as homes are sold.

Gonzales waxes philosophical, “One of the keys to being successful in business (and as a person) is being able to accept that things will change, and in this economy, it’s important to be creative, and re-evaluate the way we do things. We’ve retooled several developments to suit the changing needs of our customers. Now, what we’re doing is building for niche markets that fit the landscape of local economies instead of mass producing homes. One advantage to doing this is that it’s easier to customize each home to what the buyer wants.”

The plan? It seems to be working. During the first week of sales, five homes at Espana have already sold.

Doug Balog is Broker Associate with KW Luxury Homes by Keller Williams located on El Paseo in Palm Desert, California.

Mario Gonzales is President and CEO of GHA Communities which is located in Cathedral City, CA.

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Doug Balog KW Luxury Homes
Julia Countryman

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