Do you want or need to sell your Silicon Valley home this year? If so, you ought to take the staging of your home very seriously. Often homeowners hire a Realtor (or other real estate licensee), ask for their advice on preparing the house and yard for sale, and then proceed to disregard all or most of the guidance given.
Why do would sellers hire an agent and then not take the professional advice offered? Especially in THIS market? The result is frustrating for both the homeowner (who will not realize the best possible price) and for the agent (who cannot control the condition, but who is hampered in selling the home because of it).
To be candid, the odds are that you will not be able to sell your home in San Jose, Los Gatos, or Saratoga this year. Countywide, most homes are NOT selling. Actually, let’s look at the numbers for just a moment – you will see that it’s fairly sobering.
In the Cambrian Park area of San Jose (zip codes 95124, 95118 and a little of 95008), there are 241 single family homes and condos or townhomes for sale (the “active listings”). In that same district, just 109 are pending sales. This refects about a 45% chance of selling.
In Almaden Valley, an upscale collection of neighborhoods comprising the 95120 zip code area of San Jose, it’s much worse. There are 121 houses and townhouses or condominiums for sale, and a mere 34 which are under contract to sell. The odds here are 28% that you’ll sell.
For Los Gatos (95032 and 95030), it’s 203 available vs 50 pending. Down to 24% opportunity to sell.
Saratoga (95070) has 152 active listings and just 33 pendings, or a 21.7% sales success.
“How long will it take to sell my home?” This is a perenial question among home sellers in Silicon Valley. Real estate professionals can look at the statistics and, when experienced and active in your local market, tell you what they believe will happen based on the absorption rate and days on market numbers.
We know that the national average is that for approximately every ten showings, a home should get an offer. It may or may not be an offer that results in a sale. Today’s market in the San Jose area is more sluggish than usual, but homes are still selling in many areas within a month if all is right when it’s offered for sale. One thing is for certain, though, and that’s that sellers have to see offers to be able to sell a home, and there are no offers if there’s no qualified traffic.
What kind of traffic is good enough? Three showings a week is decent after the initial flurry of a new listing. There will be more visitors to your property in the first week or two, both in regular showings and in open house visitors who are serious about buying. If you are not getting three showings a week (and it’s not a major holiday, a heat wave, or something along those lines), you have a problem. There are three most likely culprits to the problem: price, conditon, and marketing.
The feedback from showings and open house visitors is of key importance and will help you and your agent to understand the public’s reaction to your price and condition. Agents can ask (without being pushy) questions about how the buyers think or feel about the home. Or ask their agents. (I use a system called HomeFeedback.com that requests feedback by email with a very short 5 question survey. Normally I get about a 65% response rate from agents.) When most of the consumers or agents tell us “the home is dated” or “it needs too much work”, we know it’s an issue. Or perhaps the home is turnkey, but is priced 10% too high. Sometimes the condition issue is fixable but sometimes the only way to address it is in lower, more attractive pricing (when huge renovations appear to be necessary or there’s a time or money issue for the seller).
But rats in the roof, attic, crawl space, walls and landscaping are not so adorable. They wreck havoc and can cause damage to home and health. Wild rats gnaw on wood and wires, and they carry fleas that can spread disease. Bubonic plague is not an issue in Santa Clara County now, but it is in Tahoe and other areas, so it’s a risk to take seriously.
What kind of rats exist here, in The Valley of Hearts Delight?
In Silicon Valley, the predominent type of wild rat is the Roof Rat (also known as the Black Rat or Tree Rat). The Roof Rat’s eat ivy, fruit, pet food, nuts and other goodies found in neighborhoods. They are identifiable because their tail is longer than the head and body together.
A lesser seen rat in the San Jose area is the Norway Rat (also called the Wharf Rat, the Sewer Rat, or the Brown Rat). This rat has a shorter tail and is usually seen in less developed areas, creekbeds, and farm areas, which are rapidly disappearing here in the South Bay.
Recently a neighbor of ours found a dead rat in his yard, and he called The Santa Clara County Vector Control District office to come out and help him identify if there was a problem with rats getting into his home or not, and to shed light on the issue of why this critter recently appeared in his home. The officer came out and performed this service for free, enlightening my neighbor as to access points and providing a helpful brochure about rats and what attracts them.
I’d heard that Italian Cypress trees, juniper and ivy were all bad – that is, that they attracted rats. What I did not realize is how many other things do too.
But there are many healthy markets and pricepoints where there’s simply a soft spot in the zone where you want to buy. In recent days I’ve looked at the condo and townhouse market in several upscale parts of the valley such as Los Gatos, Saratoga, and Almaden Valley. For some reason, townhomes and condominiums in these lovely areas are taking a bit of a beating right now compared to the single family home market. This appears to be a nice buying opportunity. Real estate in these west valley neighborhoods is usually beyond reach for many people. Right now, though, you may be able to get your foot in the door.
Additionally, there are some markets in which single family homes are selling very well (especially in Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View). For Silicon Valley seniors who’d like to downsize, this may be an ideal market. Sell the home in a strong market, buy the retirement condo in a buyer’s market. What more could you want?
San Jose’s upscale suburb, Almaden Valley, features gorgeous hillside views, great schools, low crime, and consistently nice neighborhoods. Home prices range from a little higher than average to very expensive. How is the real estate market faring in posh Almaden Valley?
Here’s a snapshot view of list prices over the last year in Almaden of both single family houses and condos or town
It is curious to note that condo prices seemed to have an uptick while single family homes had a downtick around March first of this year. Condo and townhouse prices in Almaden appear to be slipping overall since then, while home prices have risen generally, though slipped again a little since July 1st.
Next let’s have a look at asking prices for single family homes, or houses (as opposed to condominiums or townhomes). Below, find the data broken down by quartiles.
Saratoga, California, is a delightful part of Silicon Valley that boasts low crime, high scores in schools, and strong property values. Today we’ll have a look at the list prices of homes to see what’s happening with the various real estate markets there. How are things faring amid the mortgage meltdown which is impacting most of Silicon Valley?
Here’s a graph of the combined single family home and condominum/townhouse pricing for Saratoga CA real estate – it will give you an overview of the many price points and types of homes combined.
At first glance, it looks like condos and townhomes in Saratoga are falling in value while single family homes are rising in value. Is that the case?
Of course, “the market” in Saratoga or anywhere else in Silicon Valley is dependent upon many things, such as exact location, views, school districts, price point – to name a few. It may or may not be as simple as this graph implies. So let’s take a closer look.
The following image shows pricing of active listings in Saratoga real estate among single family homes, broken down by quartiles. As you will note, the highest priced homes have shown the most volatility in this market. March and April seem to have been a low point for pricing.
Do you like to keep a pulse on the Silicon Valley real estate market? If the west valley communities interest you especially, please sign up to automatically receive (at no cost) a report by zip code for the communities of Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Campbell, and parts of San Jose close to them: Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park, and Willow Glen.
Simply sign up and the reports will be on their way automatically. You can opt out at any time, of course.
Signup via my Live in Los Gatos blog. The input fields are in the right sidebar.
Whether you are looking to buy a condo, townhome, patio home, or single family home in Silicon Valley, it’s imperative that you revisit the neighborhood multiple times before deciding to buy (or to complete the purchase). This is an important part of your “due diligance” as a home buyer.
Why revisit so many times? Because certain key things may differ from hour to hour or workday to weekend day:
- – noise levels
- – the number of parked cars on the street (few is good, many suggests overcrowding)
- – neighborhood activity (good or bad: people strolling, walking dogs is a good sign – too many yard sales or other activity may not be a plus)
If you visit on a weekday morning or afternoon, the street could be relatively free of cars and other vehicles, but it might be entirely different on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon.
Conversely, if the neighborhood appears consistently appealing, quiet, well kept, and not overcrowded or loud, that’s something to appreciate as you factor in which home to buy. You can usually remodel your own home, but it’s very difficult to do a makeover on the street where you live – so investigate throroughly before you buy, whether it’s in San Jose, Campbell, Saratoga, or Los Gatos. You will be more sure of your decision and happier with the results if you do your neighborhood homework upfront.
Obituary: San Jose attorney John N Pope, Jr (2-27-1930 to 6-29-2008)
He had a private practice in San Jose, doing family law, wills, trusts, estates, and employment law. His law practice included “pro bono” work and he served as a “Judge Pro Tem” as well.
1101 S. Winchester Blvd.,Suite J-220 San Jose, CA 95128 Phone: 408-236-6657 firstname.lastname@example.org. He had been very involved with this alcohol recovery home, at one time serving on its board, and would love to have its good work furthered on his behalf.
The Los Gatos real estate market seems to be improving as more homes are selling now than in recent months. The “absorption rate” has been declining and is now well under the 6 months that differentiates a buyers vs a sellers market. Many are thinking that the worst is behind us.
And if that is the case, now really is the “best time to buy” in Los Gatos, San Jose, Saratoga, or anywhere in Silicon Valley.
Recently I listed a great, sunny home and it will be held open this weekend (Sat 2-4, Aug 9). If you are looking to buy a house in Los Gatos, with the schools and close to shops, stores, banks and restaurants, you will want to know about this home and see it ASAP!
120 Magneson Terrace (off Magneson Loop and Los Gatos Blvd), Los Gatos, CA 95032
Offered at $1,250,000 – New Roof as of late June!!
- 3 Bedrooms
- 2.5 Bathrooms
- Living Room, Dining Room, Study (or Music Room or Library)
- Lovely Hardwood Floors Throughout (all but bathrooms)
- Appx 1800 SF
- Lot Size appx 8700 SF
- Los Gatos Schools very close by
- Home situated on a quiet cul-de-sac
- Air Conditioning & Extra Insulation
- Laundry Room
- Attached 2 Car Garage
- So close to the schools and shops that it’s “walk to”, “bike to”, “scooter to” and for driving, “less than 2 minutes to” – no matter how you get around, this home is close to schools and shops!