Mary Pope-Handy

Silicon Valley Realtor, selling homes in Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Jose, and nearby since 1993. Prolific blogger with a network of site.

First Alert carbon monoxide detectorFor several years now in California, having a carbon monoxide detector has been required in virtually all homes in The Golden State. This is not a point of sale requirement. It is a requirement for all residential dwellings which burn gas in any capacity (stove, furnace, etc.), or have a fireplace, or an attached garage as a matter of public safety.  They are exempt in all electric homes that do not have an attached garage or fireplace.

Where are the carbon monoxide detectors to be placed? The carbon monoxide detectors should be on every level of the home, including the basement.  If you live in a multi story home with the garage at the bottom, you do need one at that level also (just inside the door, once you are in the habitable area) as well as on the main floor, bedroom floor, and any other level you may have. In a single story home, just one carbon monoxide detector is sufficient.

Additionally, carbon monoxide detectors need to be in the bedroom area of the home. If a bedroom has a gas fireplace or wood burning stove (or any other fossel fuel source of heat), there must be a CO detector in the room. Otherwise, in the hall is fine. If bedrooms are not all in one part of the home, there needs to be a detector near each bedroom.

The cost of the device ranges considerably – from less than $10 each to more than $200 each. Some are plug in, some battery only, some feature LCD displays. Some are combination smoke detector & carbon monoxide detectors. Nest makes a CO alert, too.  We put a First Alert detector in our house, and the cost was around $20 – $30, but there are many brands from which to choose. (You can also buy portable CO detectors.)

Once installed, it should be checked periodically (along with your smoke detectors) to make sure that it is functioning properly.

Remodeling your home? When you apply for permits, be aware that the city or county inspector who visits your property will be looking for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you don’t have them where needed, your remodel will not pass inspection. Your inspector will need to return, and normally that results in an extra cost to you.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be very dangerous, to the point of death. If you don’t have a detector, go get one immediately.

Read more:

From the CalFire site (pdf):
http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/strucfireengineer/pdf/bml/frequently%20asked%20questions%20on%20carbon%20monoxide.pdf

From the City of San Jose: http://www.sanjoseca.gov/index.aspx?NID=5344

Is there a radon risk in Silicon Valley homes?

 

Cameo Park West - Leep Homes in Campbell with LG mailing addressThe Cameo Park West neighborhood is located close to where Los Gatos, Campbell, and Saratoga meet. It’s actually in the city of Campbell but has a Los Gatos mailing address. This is a tidy community bordered by Pollard Road, San Tomas Aquino Creek, the Highway 85 freeway, and Rolling Hills Middle School.

The 122 or so homes here were built in 1966 and 1967 by one of the better tract builders in the area, Leep Homes. Houses range from 1380 square feet to 2620 SF, and lot sizes run between 6000 SF and about 12,600 SF. A typical home might have around 1800 SF and be situated on an 8000 SF lot. The houses have thoughtful floor plans and the bedrooms and living areas are usually a good size.

Leep homes tend to have a fairly consistent layout – here are the 1 story home traits

  • most are single story homes
  • front porch with two bedrooms facing the front (sometimes one goes further into the front yard than the other)
  • formal entryway, often with double doors
  • step down living room straight ahead from the foyer (the rest of the house is all the same level)
  • fireplace located on side of living room closest to kitchen – it’s often a two way fireplace
  • kitchen (and sometimes also a family room) just behind the garage
  • laundry in the attached 2 car  garage but close to the kitchen, usually immediately next to the door from the garage to the kitchen
  • bedrooms are all down a hall in the opposite direction from the kitchen.  Just before the master bedroom suite there will be the hall bath (then inside the master suite, the owner’s bathroom and then bedroom)
  • the master bedroom faces the back yard, often leading to a patio shared between the kitchen (family room) and living room
  • central, forced air heat
  • hardwood floors
  • copper plumbing
  • no formal dining room (but plenty of space in the kitchen for eating)
  • sliding glass doors from the master bedroom, the living room and kitchen / family room

Below is a pan of one of the streets in Cameo Park West, taken in 2011.

Cameo Park West street in Campbell

 

Strengths and weaknesses of the Cameo Park West neighborhood

It’s very easy to list the strengths of this neighborhood: it’s very clean, well kept, had a good builder, convenient location (close to two schools and only a block or two or three to Safeway and nearby shops). Major shopping is within easy reach at Westgate, El Paseo and nearby (appx 7 minute drive). For those wishing to take Lawrence Expressway, it’s a breeze – just hop onto Quito and it becomes Lawrence, making a lot of commutes simpler, easier and faster. For Los Gatos, this location is closer to places like Apple, Google, and other high tech centers (as compared to downtown Los Gatos or east LG).

The elementary school is Marshall Lane, the middle is Rolling Hills and the high is Westmont. Both the elementary and middle enjoy API scores of over 900 and Westmont has a very respectable score that’s more than 800.

The negatives do not impact everyone, but that said, they do exist. At one end of the neighborhood, there’s super close proximity to highway 85, to the train tracks and to the high voltage power lines and towers. Those are never a plus.

Many homes along Elwood back up to Rolling Hills Middle School. Is that a negative or a positive? That really depends on your point of view, and some would prefer to back to a school yard than to another house. But most buyers would prefer another home.

What do homes cost in the Cameo Park West area?

Like most of the 95032 zip code, it’s unlikely to find a house for  under $1.5 million there today (if you do, it is likely in “fixer” condition). To be able to purchase one of these homes, be prepared to pay between $1.7 million and $1.8 million in most cases. Of course, it could always be less or more depending on exact location, size and condition of home, plus the marketing situation (is it easy to see, is it clean and without bad odors, has it been fairly updated etc.).

  1. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,944 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,398 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,373 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,185 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,110 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,242 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,016 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,500 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,322 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,041 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,110 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,863 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,138 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,189 sqft
  8. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,700 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,167 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,461 sq ft
    Lot size: 14,549 sqft
  10. 5 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,980 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,377 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Campbell.
(all data current as of 9/23/2018)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

House for saleIn a raging hot seller’s market such as we are experiencing today in Silicon Valley, home owners may be subject to some very costly temptations.

Home seller temptation # 1: overconfidence on the market

Because folks read about the dozens of offers on some homes, by extension, it’s easy to believe that every home sells, for top dollar, with no effort or planning on the part of the seller. This is a huge mistake. Perhaps we should even call it a myth since it may be commonly believed.

In today’s wildly hot market, there are still some homes that DO NOT SELL. 

What are the odds that your home won’t sell?

I just pulled some numbers from the MLS today, July 23, 2018. You may find them surprising!

  • In Santa Clara County, there are currently 1274 single family homes on the market
    • 490 of them have been on the market at least 30 days – 38% are not moving quickly & likely need a price reduction, if it hasn’t already been done
    • 211 of the 1274 have been for sale for at least 60 days – 17% have had 2 months worth of open houses, keeping the home spotless, etc.
    • 107 of the 1274 have a “days on market” of 90 days or more – 8% have serious market rejection
  • These are not all luxury homes!
    • 9 are listed at under $1 million
    •  13 are offered between $1 million and $1,499,999 (“normal” houses in our area)
    •  9 are on the market between $1.5 mil and $1,999,999
    • 14 are listed at $2 million to $2,499,999 (these are still not luxury homes in most cases)
    • 11 are priced between $2.5 mil and $2,999,999
    • That’s 56 homes of 107 that are under $3 million. The balance are “high end homes”, which usually are more challenging to sell

The best homes, those which are well priced, well marketed, and are easily shown, sell within 2-3 weeks. After that, home buyers view them as stale listings and assume something terrible is wrong with them. After three weeks, unless the home gets a deep price reduction, it’s unlikely to get multiple offers.

This first temptation is the greatest one, and it often leads to mistakes in areas #2 and #3, listed below. Continue reading

GGF_2015_Flameup_3Greet the morning with the sweet smell of fresh Garlic in the air – the Gilroy Garlic Festival is back!

If you’ve ever caught the vivid aroma of the stinking rose early in the day it’s likely a breeze coming over the southern Santa Clara County city of Gilroy, the Garlic capital of the world. Whether you love or hate the pungent allium, this herb is a favorite for many foodies in Silicon Valley and around the world.

Gilroy celebrates their favorite bulb one weekend of the year during the Gilroy Garlic Festival, the last weekend in July. This year it’s back for the 38th annual event held on July 29, 30, and 31, 2016. So what to should you expect from “summer’s ultimate food fair?” Food, food, food, fun, shopping, music, and more!

Gourmet Alley is “all about the food” – classics like garlic bread, garlic fries, calamari, scampi, and sausage are available at the booths, and at the end aisle, watch the Pyro-Chefs stoke up five foot tall blazes from their frying pans. Weird food lovers will enjoy a plenitude of flavors from other booths around the festival, including free samples of garlic ice-cream, alligator and buffalo meat, or ice cream in a half cantaloupe. There’s also the range of standard festival food stalls, beer, wine, coolers, and non-alcoholic chilled drinks.

Continue reading

 1190 Crestline Dr Cupertino CA 95014

MLS # ML81714661

1190 Crestline Dr Cupertino is tastefully expanded, remodeled, and sunny home with award winning Cupertino schools!

Spectacular open living concept kitchen and family room

Quick facts 1190 Crestline Dr Cupertino:

  • 3 bedrooms + office and bonus room / alcove
  • 2 newly remodeled baths in 2018
  • 1715 SF (per county)
  • Lot size 6007 SF (per county)
  • Built in 1963, expanded in 2011
  • No carpeting – mostly hardwood floors, some laminate, some Italian porcelain tile
  • Flexible layout—sewer plumbed to possibly add 3rd bathroom and one bedroom in original kitchen area

Welcome to this bright and sunny home, impeccably updated throughout! You will love the gorgeous hardwood floors, the abundant natural light, and the remodeling that has been done in every corner of this house!

Rooms include a spacious living room with wood burning fireplace and recessed lights, dining room with recessed lights, an alcove or study (original kitchen location), an open family room – kitchen, an office, 3 bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms.

Island Kitchen & Family Room:

  • The open kitchen & family room is the center of the home and a true showpiece. They enjoy Brazilian teak hardwood flooring, a tall vaulted ceiling with 2 Velux skylights and retractable shades, recessed lighting, Casablanca fan, 8’ Anderson French door to the yard, and large Milgard windows to bring in the light. Spray foam insulation between the ceiling and the roof helps to keep the room comfortable year-round.
  • Slab granite counters, tumbled marble tile back splash, maple cabinets with pantry, pullouts, lazy Susan and under the cabinet lighting.
  • Stainless steel appliances include a French door refrigerator with ice maker (2017), GE Profile double oven, Bosch induction cooktop, Broan vent, Kitchenaid dishwasher, and microwave oven. (Fridge and microwave both stay.)
  • Large, open Franke stainless steel sink with Grohe faucet.
  • Good sized island with breakfast bar plus extra storage.
  • This area, plus the office, was added in 2011 with permits and finals, and represents 600 SF of the total square footage of the home.

 

Bathrooms – remodeled in 2018 with permits & finals:

  • Hall bath offers a shower over the tub, Italian porcelain tile, vanity with deep drawers, and a sun tunnel
  • Master bathroom features a stall shower, Italian porcelain tile, and a vanity with deep drawers.

More features:

  • Dual zoned heat and air conditioning (2 AC units)
  • Dual pane windows
  • New front door & interior doors
  • Copper water supply lines in the home
  • Fresh interior paint
  • Original hardwood floors just refinished (June 2018)
  • New baseboards in living room, dining room, hallway, bedrooms
  • Hot water heater replaced in 2016
  • New outdoor wall lights
  • New motion detector light on front of garage
  • Attached 2 car garage with new Liftmaster garage door opener

 

1190 Crestline Drive Public Schools:
Regnart Elementary, Kennedy Middle & Monta Vista High

Ideally located near schools, Three Oaks Park and Jollyman Park. Close to Apple campus and many high-tech companies. Easy access to 85, 280 Freeways and Lawrence Expressway for convenient commute!

 

OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE for 1190 Crestline Drive:

Thurs., 7-19-2018 9:30am to 12:30pm (broker tour AND public open house)
Sat., 7-21-2018  2pm to 4pm
Sun., 7-22-2018 2pm to 4pm

 

1190 Crestline Drive  – DISCLOSURES & OFFERS

Disclosures will be available on or by Friday July 20th. The link will be in the private agent MLS comments for the buyers’ agents.

Offers will be due sometime after the open house weekend. Please check with Mary Pope-Handy for the due date. No pre-emptive offers, please

Learn more about Cupertino here: http://popehandy.com/cupertino/

Buy a home - school desk photo as there's much to learn!The idea of buying a home, especially a first one, is both exhilarating and overwhelming. Where do you begin if you want to buy a home in 2018?  If you want to purchase real estate in Silicon Valley before the year is over, you’ll need to get a number of things in order, including hiring professionals to help you.

Purchasing now, in this multiple offer market requires strong credit, a healthy down payment with set aside for reserves and improvements after closing, time and energy,  and no small amount of courage. Looking halfheartedly means you will see properties, but not buy.  After the down payment, probably the most important element you’ll need to have is commitment, and further, you’ll need a strong team of professionals to assist you. Let’s talk about a solid home buying strategy. Continue reading

Almaden Music in the Park sponsors Mary Pope-Handy and other Sereno agentsMark your calendars!  Please join us for the Almaden Music in the Park series every Thursday in July! The evening hours are 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at Graystone Park.

Here’s the 2018 lineup:

7/5- Rock the Heat
7/12- The Houserockers
7/19- Old Scholl Rock n Roll 
7/26 Long Train Runnin’
Many people bring picnic suppers to enjoy. Layered clothing is often a good idea as sometimes our summer evenings can become breezy or cool.

A few other Realtors at Sereno Group and I are sponsoring the month long event. At our table, under the green awning, we give away water bottles and red vines. Please stop by and say hello! (And if you are one of my blog readers, I really would love to meet you, too!)

Almaden Music in the Park crowd July 7 2016

Almaden Music in the Park crowd July 7 2016

These musical evenings are open to everyone, without cost to the general public.  In the few years in which I’ve been a co-sponsor, I’ve noticed that the first week is nicely attended, but the audience grows each time and by the last night, it’s a large crowd with loads of dancing.  So don’t wait – go to the first Almaden Music in the Park concert and make as many of them as you can!

Graystone Park address: Camden Ave & Mt Carmel Dr, San Jose, CA 95120. Street parking.

The real estate market in the San Jose area is softening just slightly. Today we’ll consider townhomes in one particular zip code, in west San Jose 95117, to see how this shakes out.

Because real estate market dynamics are largely about supply and demand, a good place to begin is by seeing the supply. Here, in the image below, see the inventory of available townhouses or townhomes for sale in 95117. Some statisticians including sale pending status, but I don’t think that is wise since nearly all of the pending  sales do go to closing. Here, I’ve only included properties for sale without any kind of agreed upon contract between buyer and seller.

As of earlier today, there were exactly 3 properties identified as townhouses listed as available in the MLS.   What makes this a little tricky is that “townhouse” is an architectural style, and “condominium” is a type of ownership. That could be the topic of a lengthy article all by itself, but some townhomes are held in condo ownership and some are not. Hence, some will be classified by the listing agents as condos and some not.  (And, to murk things up even more, there are attached and detached single families homes that are also held in condo ownership – making them both houses or attached houses and condos!)

Be that as it may, as of this morning, there were three townhouses for sale in San Jose 95117. The average of the first 6 months of the year is 2.17, so yes, it’s a bit more, but nothing that I’d lose sleep over. Have a look:

San Jose 95117 inventory of townhomes for sale

 

Naturally, we need to see a few real estate market indicators to have a sense of what’s going on. Another good measuring stick is the average days on market, or days to sell. Here, it may be a bit more clear that the market has softened just a bit for townhomes in 95117, as the days to sell has moved to 12 from 8, which is a 50% increase. It’s also clear when viewing the same month, June, in recent years, that this is a tad higher. Alarming? Not at all. Getting a home sold in under 2 weeks would be break-neck speed anywhere else in the country. But – it could be the beginning of a trend. We’ll have to watch it to know for sure.

 

Average Days on Market 95117 TH

 

And, finally, the sale price to list price ratio. Here, again, it’s very plain to see that the sale price to list price ratio is lower than earlier in 2018. And at the same time, we need to appreciate that at 117.9%, it’s significantly higher than any other June since 2012 (and likely a lot longer back). Now, take a look at the other “Junes” and the months before it in various years. Most of the time, that number is lower. This suggests a seasonal trend.

 

Sale price to list price ratio 95117

With the inventory and days to sell or days on market, I don’t think it’s as clear that there is a pattern which we might attribute as seasonal. With this last one, though, it seems pretty consistent, suggesting that we should almost expect it to happen. Of course, I only went back to 2012 here, but I would say that in my experience, a little pullback from buyers at about this time of year is pretty normal – at least most years.

 

Related Reading:

San Jose is the hottest real estate market in 2018

Happy Valley neighborhood, Country Lane neighborhood – west San Jose

The Cambrian Park Real Estate Market Update

California Ridge townhouses in Almaden

When it’s a hot seller’s market, like it is right now in Silicon Valley, it is challenging to be a home buyer.  That means it’s also hard to be a buyer’s agent, since it may require writing many, many offers (and a lot of time and energy) before the clients get into contract.  Since Realtors are usually only paid when a property closes, that means it’s not too hard to go broke if a real estate professional focuses a lot of time with buyers.   In other words, in a market like this, most agents would prefer to work with sellers rather than buyers, because it’s more likely that they’ll make a living.

Home buyers Realtors look for these traitsWhat can you do to increase the odds of finding a great Realtor who will take you seriously, work with you and for you, and give it a good effort even if it’s an uphill battle?  First, let’s understand what a real estate licensee is looking for a client – at least in most cases.  Usually, the savvy agent doesn’t want to waste time with people who are not serious, not ready, or who will not be loyal.  The smart Realtor knows that without these three things, it’s unlikely that they will be able to sell that person a home, or at least not in a reasonable period of time.

Serious home buyers:

Only about half of all home buyers will likely buy in the year they think they might, so it’s important for real estate professionals to try to make sure that they don’t spend months on someone only to have him or her remain permanent renters.  The agent must qualify the client to make sure it’s worth the risk of spending time with him or her.

Clues that the buyer isn’t serious include these:

(1) Comments like “I may have to look at homes for a year or two” or “I may need to write a hundred offers to get the right deal” or “I’m in no rush” indicate that this isn’t a big priority for the buyer (so maybe it shouldn’t be for the agent, either). This buyer is able, ready and probably also loyal – but not serious.  Some, though, will clarify with a time frame and this is a game changer. “My lease is up in July, so ideally, I’d like to get into contract in March, close in April and move in May.  But if I find the right house sooner, I’ll buy sooner.”  That works!

(2) If there are two decision makers, having only one do most of the house hunting and the other showing up at distant intervals often indicates that it’s a priority for one but not both.  Sometimes that’s not the case, but it is a red flag.  Both need to be serious. Continue reading

Last Father’s Day, mid June 2017, we trekked to South County to do some fruit picking and fruit tasting at Andy’s Orchard in Morgan Hill. I highly recommend it, though the website for Andy’s Orchard says that their cherry harvest has been smaller than usual this year. They are again offering this event on Father’s Day 2018, but do check their website (see link below) to make sure that the tour you want is not sold out.

We walked through the orchard during the earliest available time slot since it was a heat wave weekend. The orchard had all kinds of varieties of cherries (I remember one with a funny name, the Black Republicans), but also pluats, nectarines, and a wide number of stone fruits, too. We were encouraged to taste as we went, and had no trouble complying. Many of us had buckets that we filled (and paid for the fruit later). It was so interesting to try one type of cherry after the next and to learn about how the trees are cared for.

Next was the open air tasting station, where we were able to enjoy and compare a huge number of apricots, peaches, nectarines, pluats, apriums, cherries, etc.  Had we known when we walk the orchard how much more food would be there for us, we might all have had a little more restraint. By the time we got to the tasting stations, I was already pretty full and well past the amount of fruit I should have had for that period of time.

Take a look at some of the photos to give you a sense of the vast offerings! What it does not well convey is how delicious the fruit was!

You can learn more about Andy’s Orchard and check out their event schedule at their website: https://andysorchard.com/

Andy's Orchard in Morgan Hill signAndys-Orchard-Morgan-Hill-old-style-fruit-bannerPicked fruitCherries on the tree - an orchard full of many varietiesinfo on Ranier cherriesPicking fruit at Andy's Orchard on Father's Day 2018fruit tasting stations with cherries apricots plums and moreCherry sizerBlack Tartarian cherriesSaylor cherryFlavorosa PluatCotton Candy ApriumJim Handy Father's Day 2017 at Andy's Orchard in Morgan Hill - Father's DayBeauty PlumPegasus NectarineKitren White Apricotgold dust peaches to tasteFruit tasting signcherries on the tree at Andy's orchard (Fruit to ship
Translation

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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:
Santa Clara County,
San Mateo County, and
Santa Cruz County.
:
Special focus on:
San Jose, Los Gatos,
Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
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Top 25 real estate blogs of 2018 by RentPrep2018 RentPrep.com's list of top 25 real estate blogs to follow


Top 25 real estate blogs 2016
2016: Personal Income's list of top 25 real estate blogs.


Best Realtor blog award
2016: Coastal Group OC's list of best Realtor blogs


The 2009 Sellsius list of top 12 women real estate bloggers
2009: Sellsius list of top
12 women real estate bloggers


Mary Pope-Handy's Live in Los Gatos blog won the 2007 Project Blogger contest, sponsored by Inman News and Active Rain

2007: Mary Pope-Handy and Frances Flynn Thorsen win the Project Blogger Contest for Mary's Live in Los Gatos blog. The contest was sponsored by
Active Rain and Inman News.


Non blog award


Best real estate agent in Silicon Valley from the San Jose Mercury News poll of readers in 2011
"Best real estate agent
in Silicon Valley"

2011 readers' poll,
San Jose Mercury News

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