Founded by real estate industry maven and Broker Associate Diane (Williams) Baxter, DW & Associates (formerly known as Diane Williams & Associates) is a powerhouse real estate team known throughout the Coachella Valley. With a forward-thinking approach to business and a relentless commitment to delivering an elite brand of client service and outstanding results, DW & Associates continues to define the model for a successful real estate team. The team works out of the onsite sales office at Indian Ridge Country Club as well as the Bennion Deville Homes office in Indian Wells, serving clients throughout the Coachella Valley, including the cities of Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, and La Quinta.
To date, DW & Associates counts 9 established professionals among its members, most of whom have been with the team for over 5 years. Team members include: Diane (Williams) Baxter, Founding Partner; Allison Renz, Partner; Heather Goldstein-Wong, Partner; Kristeen Kidd, Contracts Manager; Frank Montiforte, Agent; Laura Flannery, Marketing Manager; Terrie Peña, Agent; Barry Goldstein, Agent; and Katie Pipitone, Agent.
Diane (Williams) Baxter started her desert real estate career in early 2003 and made an immediate impact on the local industry. In her first 6 months in the business she sold $2.5 million in real estate and was recognized as a top producer by The Desert Sun. She joined Bennion Deville Homes in late 2003 where she has been affiliated since. This partnership produced immediate results as her sales volume exceeded $35 million in 2004, solidifying her place as one of the top producing real estate professionals in the desert, a status she has earned every year of her real estate career. “I have always been driven to do better, so my goal every year is to exceed my results from the previous year,” Diane states.
The groundwork for what would become Diane Williams & Associates, now DW & Associates, was established in Diane’s first few years in the industry. She grew her business from a one-person operation to the 9-member team it is today based on a unique vision and forging a different path. “Having built this business first by myself and then with one assistant, I learned what was needed to be successful in the industry and how a team should function to be efficient and effective,” says Diane. “I strongly believe teams are the future because of the 24/7 nature of the real estate industry and the level of care and attention clients deserve. We have an office onsite at Indian Ridge Country Club that is open and staffed 7 days a week. Everyone on the team is an accomplished professional, so there is an agent available to meet with or speak to clients whenever they need us. Having team members who can handle any type of transaction, instead of specializing in one area, allows us the flexibility to accommodate anyone at any time.”
Building a consistently productive team is a long process with constant evolution, both in composition and approach. After joining Diane’s team in 2015, Allison Renz and Heather Goldstein-Wong earned Diane’s trust and a strong bond formed among the trio. In 2019, Allison and Heather officially became partners with Diane in the business and the next generation of DW & Associates leadership was born. The blend of Allison’s strong industry background and high-energy personality with Heather’s business savvy and ability to organize and create efficiencies gives DW & Associates the perfect leadership to guide the team into the future. “The biggest challenge to building a team is ego. It’s hard to find good agents, and agents who are willing to trust in the team environment. Humble team members create a strong unit, which in turn provides balance. I have hand-picked every person who is on our team because this is so important. Allison and Heather became fast friends and they want to share in the success and set up of the team. I am so proud of what they have accomplished together, and I am excited for what the future holds for all of us,” Diane adds.
The key ingredient to this team’s successful formula is a familial connection among its members. “People instantly recognize how tight we are as a team,” Allison says. “We genuinely enjoy seeing each other and have a sense of family, which has established a cohesive core to DW & Associates. The longevity of our team is huge. That continuity creates strong team chemistry that helps us work well together, and in turn allows us to serve our clients at a high level. We are all happy to do what we do in a place we love while helping people accomplish their real estate goals and the benefits that come with home ownership.”
On top of a tight bond, growing a successful real estate practice also requires a guiding set of principles and a core philosophy built on service. The team at DW & Associates understands how to create lasting, meaningful client relationships founded on trust. “Clients acknowledge our professionalism and knowledge within the industry,” Allison continues. “They trust us to get the job done and know that we have their best interests at heart. We are hard-working, sincere, committed, and above all, professional. All of this is a winning combination for our clients and they notice.”
Communication is also fundamental to creating a positive and enjoyable client experience. In this area, the team is especially effective. “We are not done with the day until all clients have been answered,” Heather adds. “Whether that’s at 5pm, 6pm, or sometimes 9:30 – 10 at night, we don’t stop until everyone has been addressed. We want to ensure that our clients feel our commitment to them and that, even if we are juggling multiple transactions at once, they are our primary focus and have a significant level of attention and care to their needs.”
In addition to the team’s expert knowledge and open style of communication, all members are masters at controlling and managing what can be an incredibly emotional process for all involved, most especially clients. “Managing a team requires an ability to recognize each individual’s emotional reaction. You must be able to communicate to get over that hurdle and address the issue objectively to bring that sense of calm to your clients. We have established 2 rules for our team: The first is no drama, just finish the job. The second is a 24-hour rule to pause and think about what needs to be done before addressing a potentially volatile situation. This second rule allows us to be relaxed and settled when we communicate with our clients, and in turn it puts them at ease because we are collected and composed,” Diane adds.
The benefit of having a team of the size, scope, and seasoning like DW & Associates is an ability to adapt to shifting market dynamics and factors. Last year was a monumental test for the real estate industry and its professionals, and the team delivered one of their best years ever with over $106 million in sales, far surpassing the $65 million in volume of a typical year. These results occurred because of a willingness to take bold, calculated risks. “Staying innovative is a huge component of our success, and the months of shutdown gave us time to evaluate and think about our approach and how we can reach more buyers and sellers without personal interaction. We started sending daily eBlasts to our sphere to generate interest in properties and keep everyone engaged and informed around the market. We also dropped off puzzles to clients, among other fun things, to help with the tedium of being isolated at home and to offer a welcomed distraction,” Heather states. She has also pioneered incredibly popular client appreciation events over the years, including a pizza and wine night, Thanksgiving pie giveaways, and events that bring past, current, and future clients to the office. “We want to remind people that we are here for them, so these appreciation events are a key opportunity to create that bond and stay engaged. Those are harder to do right now in the interest of everyone’s health and safety, but we look forward to when we can see everyone in person again.”
Although the team works out of the Indian Ridge Country Club onsite sales office, they serve clients throughout the Greater Palm Springs Area and have an expertise in the desert’s country club lifestyle. Diane is an avid golfer, so her passion for the sport coupled with real estate makes her and the team an excellent source for lifestyle information. “About 60% of our business comes from within Indian Ridge, with the rest from outside the gates. Our knowledge of Coachella Valley golf course communities allows us to be efficient with our clients’ time as we can quickly determine the best fit for their needs and wishes in terms of lifestyle amenities and location,” Diane continues. “We never lose sight of the full market because when you are representing your clients, regardless of where they live or are interested in living, you need to be aware of what’s happening throughout the area since those trends affect each country club, community, and neighborhood.” To keep clients apprised of the latest market developments, Diane has published a quarterly market report since 2004. “The report reminds us there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ market, it just is. We know the many market cycles of this industry, giving us the ability to represent our clients in any changing market.”
The team’s compassion toward others and willingness to make life in the desert better goes beyond the boundaries of its professional duties. DW & Associates is a huge partner in the community and is generous with time and resources for local causes, especially those centered around education and children. “Education and exposure are important in our children’s development. We donate to the Variety Club due to their program recognizing students who set a wonderful example to their peers. We also donate to the Indian Ridge Scholarship Fund, providing scholarships to the children of Indian Ridge employees. Many of our team members are also active in various causes throughout the valley,” says Diane. Adds Heather, “Compassion goes a long way, and many of us have been on the other side and know what it’s like to struggle. We want to make sure that we do our part to give back so other people who need the help have those resources, too. We genuinely enjoy helping people.”
As to what the future holds for the local real estate industry and country clubs, Diane is bullish on the Coachella Valley. “The high demand for homes, limited inventory, and low interest rates are great for sellers and buyers here in the valley. The golf industry is in an excellent position to grow and expand as people move to the valley in search of a better quality of life. Indian Ridge is very close to a full membership, which is uncommon for the area. The challenge to all of the clubs now is how they keep their clubhouse running. This creates an opportunity now and in the future,” Diane concludes.
With a positive outlook on the market and the right team in place, DW & Associates is set to continue its long-standing record as one of the top real estate teams in the Coachella Valley. Their model for success, close-knit culture, strong brand of client service, and ability to get results for clients demonstrate what a well-managed, organized team can accomplish. As Diane puts it best, “Empowering other people helps them grow. It’s incredible what happens when you give people the trust to excel.” This trust, and willingness to take risks, is exactly why DW & Associates is where it is today, and why it will be a shining example for the future of the industry for years to come.
About Bennion Deville Homes
Founded in 2001 by real estate industry icons Bob Bennion and Bob Deville, Bennion Deville Homes serves home buyers and sellers throughout Southern California in the primary markets of the Greater Palm Springs Area (Coachella Valley) and Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Coachella Valley offices include locations in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, and La Quinta. Bennion Deville Homes also has offices in Garner Valley in Riverside County and Redlands in San Bernardino County.
The Bennion Deville Homes LUXE Collection is an exclusive luxury home marketing program created to position premium properties in front of luxury homebuyers from around the world. The LUXE Collection and its esteemed group of LUXE Directors represent the finest luxury homes in Southern California, thanks in part to exclusive partnerships with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and Luxury Portfolio®. These key affiliations create a strong presence in print and online platforms to help high-end properties gain key exposure to an affluent international client base.
Visit our website, BDHomes.com, for the location of the Bennion Deville Homes office nearest you. Follow us on major social media platforms @BDHSoCal for the latest local and national real estate and lifestyle news. We look forward to unlocking possibilities for you.