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Mary Pope-Handy
Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
License# 01153805


Selling homes in
Silicon Valley
:
San Jose, Los Gatos,
Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park and
Santa Clara County

Real Estate Search

When will Silicon Valley housing inventory begin to rise again?

September 2nd, 2014

The inventory of available homes to buy is painfully low throughout San Jose, Santa Clara County, and Silicon Valley. Here’s a view of San Jose’s real estate listings inventory over the last few years: it gives a good idea of how far out of balance the supply and demand formula is.    The amount of inventory normally is lowest in December and January, and it usually begins to rise by the middle of February.  In the chart below, you can see a marked point downward at around the 1st of each year.  In recent years, though, that’s not the only time when it dips to the low side.  Also it should be noted that we have seen lower inventory in the last few years – just not during this season.

If we step back and consider all of Santa Clara County instead, the pattern looks much the same. Read the rest of this entry »

Home buying tip: how much to share with family & friends

August 29th, 2014

Sharing home buying infoPerhaps you’ve decided to buy your first Silicon Valley home before the end of the year, or that you want to make it a New Year’s Resolution for this upcoming winter.  It’s a really exciting, but also somewhat scary, thought.  It’s harder if you are going it completely alone…and also harder if you have 10 or 20 people giving you advice the whole way through.

How much sharing is helpful, and at what point will it bog you down or make things worse?

It’s not only helpful, but imperative to get solid advice from a very experienced, local real estate professional, ideally a Realtor. Real estate is local, so if your advice is from a friend or relative in another state, it simply may not apply here. (For example, in many parts of the U.S., it is normal to involve an attorney or to get a survey, but not here.  And in those areas it may not be common to worry about earthquake fault areas or drainage to protect your home from expansive clay soils.  The final signing of paperwork is different, as are the contracts, as are the ways school district boundaries are drawn, as are the disclosure requirements!)   You can check to see how long your real estate licensee or broker has been licensed.  That is not going to tell you everything, but it’s a good starting point.

It is critically important that anyone financially involved see all the homes you see.  Whether it’s parents helping with the down payment or a busy spouse who doesn’t want to spend time for most of the house hunt, my experience is that the odds of success are lowered significantly if these financially involved people do not go through the process of seeing what you see.  Read the rest of this entry »

Why listing agents don’t like to issue counter offers in today’s hot market

August 28th, 2014

Gotta get that callIt’s a little funny that when Silicon Valley home sellers and their listing agents get contracts or offers, many do not want to deal with issuing or negotiating counter offers.  In many cases, it can go like this fictional bidding scenario:

Offer due date set, and let’s say there are 5 offers.  Of the five, perhaps one is all cash, one is half cash, and the rest are 20-25% down.  Most offers will be in a tight cluster of pricing (this is probably “true market value”).  One may be far higher than the rest. Or perhaps two a little higher than the others.

  • The seller wants all cash and the highest price.  And if anyone has few or no contingencies, the seller wants that too.
  • If the all cash offer is non-contingent (no contingencies for inspection, loan or appraisal) and is the highest price, there will be a straight acceptance.  No counters.
  • If the best combination of cash and contingencies and pricing is the half-cash offer, most likely the listing agent will phone that buyers’ agent and ask if those buyers would match the highest price.  If those buyers say yes, one counter offer will be issued and it will have a short deadline for response.
  • If the “best combination” buyers say no, the listing agent and sellers will move to the next best offer, however they decide “best” looks, and phone them, giving them the opportunity to come up.
  • In these scenarios, meanwhile, the rest of the buyers and their agents wait – and hear nothing in the meantime.

Once in awhile, there are a few good offers that are all neck-and-neck, and perhaps there’s one flaky looking offer at a higher price.  If that happens, the listing agent and sellers may issue a multiple counter offer to most or all bidders.  That used to be really common, but today, I’m finding the most typical scenario is the “one phone call” approach instead.  Read the rest of this entry »

Rio Rinconada, Saratoga Highlands & La Rinconada Park neighborhood in west Los Gatos

August 27th, 2014

Saratoga HighlandsRio Rinconada in west Los GatosThere’s a lovely neighborhood in west Los Gatos which is set between the La Rinconada Golf Course and the Rinconada Hills gated community (near the corner of Pollard and Quito Roads). There are 3 distinct subdivisons: Rio Rinconada (where all the roads are named “Calle” something), Saratoga Highlands (More Avenue, Roxbury Ln, Prince St., Mattson Ave., and part of Wedgewood Av), and a third area which seems to have no specific name but which is said to have been built by Thrust 4 and includes bigger, younger, more expensive homes on larger lots – many with 3 car garages and views.

The La Rinconada Park is one of the major draws to the neighborhood.  Another is the very close proximity of a shopping center which includes a good sized Safeway, and an elementary and middle school close by too.

This week I wrote about these west Los Gatos subdivisions and the neighborhood generally on my Live in Los Gatos blog, and I also included a video “drive through” for those who’d like a really good feel for the area.   Want more info?  Please continue reading here:

http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/saratoga-highlands-rio-rinconada-and-granada-way-la-rinconada-park-neighborhood/

Fairview Plaza Historic District in Los Gatos

August 23rd, 2014

Fairview Plaza Historic District neighborhood in Los GatosThe Fairview Plaza Historic District is close to downtown Los Gatos but tucked away on a small knoll with only one access road plus one easy-to-miss pedestrian pathway.  For newcomers, it’s a bit of a surprise to discover this little enclave.

What do you find at Fairview Plaza?   Begun in the 1880s, the little neighborhood is set around a tiny park surrounded by a small ring road full of charming Victorian homes (though not all properties are houses and not all houses date from the 1800s).  The most famous house, though, is unseen from the street, was completed in 1919 and designed by the very famous architect Julia Morgan.

Recently I did a video “drive through” of Fairview Avenue and Fairview Plaza, and posted that together with a bit more information on my Live in Los Gatos blog.  Want to get more information on this lovely area?  Please read more and check out the video at the link below.  And if you want more videos of Los Gatos neighborhoods, I’m building a library of them, slowly but surely – and you can find those at YouTube.com/popehandy.

 

http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/fairview-plaza-historic-neighborhood/

 

Fairview Plaza Los Gatos home and park strip

 

Campbell Real Estate Market

August 19th, 2014

How is the Campbell real estate market?How is the Campbell real estate market? The numbers are up  from  last year and also from month -which is different than most of the rest of the area. Days on market are rising a little, pointing to the softening market being experienced across Silicon Valley.

Further down in this article, we’ll utilize the graphs from Altos Research, which uses list prices, and check out the trends in pricing by quartile in this zip code (meaning 4 groups based on the pricing tier from least to most expensive).  Campbell condominiums and townhomes will be considered as well. And finally, a list of homes for sale in Campbell will be found at the bottom of the post.

First, here are some quick stats, care of my RE Report for Campbell:

TRENDS AT A GLANCE JUL 2014 PREVIOUS MONTH YEAR-OVER YEAR
Median Home Price +15.3% $980,213 $850,000 +16.0% $844,938
Average Sales Price +18.3% $979,908 $828,520 +22.8% $797,988
No. of Homes Sold +12.0% 28 25 -33.3% 42
Pending Properties -27.8% 13 18 -53.6% 28
Foreclosures Sold N/A 0 0 N/A 0
Short Sales Sold N/A 0 0 -100.0% 2
Active Listings -4.2% 23 24 -52.1% 48
Active Foreclosures N/A 0 0 N/A 0
Active Short Sales N/A 0 0 -100.0% 3
Sales Price vs. List Price 0.0% 108.0% 107.9% +1.0% 106.9%
Average Days on Market +39.5% 17 12 +24.7% 14

In a nutshell, it’s still a seller’s market for houses and duet homes in Campbell!

The Campbell Condo market…

What about the Campbell CA condo market?   Read the rest of this entry »

Visiting an open house? What to say, and what not to say, to the listing agent if you really want the property.

August 18th, 2014

Open House Behavior TipsSilicon Valley real estate professionals will usually do open houses while marketing their listings, and at these events, they have the opportunity to meet new people who may be interested in the property.  The potential home buyers who truly want the condo, townhouse or house would do well to know that in a hot seller’s market, their behavior at the open house could influence the ultimate outcome as to whether or not they will be the successful bidders when it comes time to present the contracts.

Here, then, are a few tips for aspiring home owners – a few thoughts, Dos and Don’ts  on how to help move the odds into your favor when meeting the listing agent or a colleague of the listing agent’s when visiting the home. Read the rest of this entry »