Which part of the Santa Clara Valley
is seeing all of this foreclosure and pre-foreclosure activity?
Depending on where you live in Santa Clara County, you may be seeing a whole lot of distressed properties on the market – or you may be seeing none at all. This is part of our current “bifurcated market” situation.
Generally, the more expensive areas of Silicon Valley (Palo Alto, Cupertino, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, Almaden Valley and Silver Creek) are not suffering from a huge number of listings in which the sellers are in financial straits. There are some, though.
It is the less wealthy areas in San Jose (including parts of downtown, the east side, south San Jose, Santa Teresa, Blossom Valley) and the south county cities of Morgan Hill and Gilroy) where there is an inundation with short sales – in the lower price ranges especially.
Generally speaking, most short sales, preforeclosures and bank owned homes are priced below $600,000.
How can you tell if a home is in pre-foreclosure?
Homes listed for sale in your neighborhood of San Jose, Saratoga or Los Gatos that are in pre-foreclosure may look like any others available. They may have granite in the kitchen, beautiful baseboard and crown molding, new dual pane windows, and on and on. The sellers may have borrowed and borrowed to improve the property, be unable to make the payments due to job loss, divorce, or other problems, and now be in default on a loan, heading toward foreclosure.
This status usually doesn’t “show” unless you have access to the county records or have a subscription to a service that lets you know the status (and those services are no where near 100% reliable, by the way). Your real estate agent, who should have a subscription to the MLS with full information, can see a report at no cost that shows the foreclosure history. (Not all pre-foreclosures are short sales.)
What’s a short sale? Being in “pre-foreclosure” means that the seller has missed payments on a loan in which the real estate owned is used as collateral, or security. Let’s say a home is worth $1 million, but the amount in default is a small loan, perhaps of $25,000. If the home is sold, it can pay off the debt in full.
Sometimes, though, a distressed seller bought higher than the home is now worth. When prices fall (and if the owner bought the home with a low down payment especially), selling the home will not be enough to pay off the loan. So again let’s imagine that a house is worth $1 million, but the owners owe $1.1 million on it (and to sell they have to worry about closing costs to boot). By selling the home, foreclosure can be averted – but to do so, the bank will have to agree to not being repaid 100%. This is a “short sale”. (Not all short sales are in preforeclosure, though, as not all home owners of these properties have missed payments on their mortgage.)
We’re seeing a lot of short sales in the entry level markets. In these cases, current owners bought their properties a year or two ago – for 10% or 20% more than those houses are now worth.
In the higher-priced regions of Silicon Valley, it’s less common to see a short sale than it is a straight pre-foreclosure because someone just can’t make the loan payment (due to some new problem like divorce or job loss, or because the adjustable loan went up and the payments are now untenable).
Recently I viewed a piece on Forbes.com that said that San Jose was on it’s “top 10” list of good places to be a landlord. Investors, take note!
Recently I had a listing in Sunnyvale where an enormous tree graced not only the front yard of my clients’ house, but stretched over a next door neighbor’s yard and even over the neighbor’s roof. We got the home I’d listed sold quickly, but prior to closing, the neighbor complained about the limbs.
The sellers, wanting to close escrow on time, agreed to trim the large bough that threatened her roof. They only wish that she had mentioned it sooner so that it could have been a “non issue” during the time of the sale. Ideal would have been a request in spring, which is the better, healthier time for trimming a tree.
And more recently, something similar happened in Los Gatos (with a home not for sale). A property manager of a tenant-occupied house showed up on the doorstep of a tree owner whose large tree arches over the fence. The property manager demanded that the tree be trimmed and that the tree owners pay for it. “It is your responsibility,” she asserted. (Interestingly, she showed up with a gardener – not a tree professional – and had no business card so that she could later be contacted about this issue. So it wasn’t the most amicable approach.)
My understanding of laws around trees and property lines was simple: the neighbors can cut the tree if they want to back to the property line, but the tree owners don’t have to pay to cut it unless it is truly damaging or about to damage the others’ property. If the neighbors harm the tree while pruning it, they can be liable for damages.
But just to be sure, I phoned the California Association of Realtors’ Legal Hotline and spoke with an attorney about it. My understanding was correct: the lawyer cited case law and verified that the tree owners can’t prevent the neighbors from trimming the tree if they want and that the neighbors cannot force the tree owners to trim it unless it is truly causing (or immediately threatening to cause) damage.
The property manager was mistaken and out of line.
A friendly phone call and inquiry about tree maintenance goes a long way toward neighborliness. Most tree owners will take good care of their trees and do pruning in spring, and will discuss the timing with their neighbors so that it is convenient for the arborist to also clean up any dropped branches in adjacent yards. Open communication is always helpful for neighbor relations. It helps when requests come in a pleasant way without rushing or pressuring. But that would be true about any issue, whether it’s trees, fences, noice, odors, junky cars or anything else.
(This topic was also addressed on my Live in Los Gatos blog, if you would care to read more about it.)
I’m going to be blunt here: it is really hard to help when we, as agents, don’t know what is truly going on. It’s not a whole lot different than keeping important things from your doctor or lawyer. If you want help, it is imperative that you tell your hired professionals what is going on.
For that matter, if you are interviewing agents to list your home or to help you to buy your next home, expect those agents to ask you about your needs and motivation. Hiring an agent (and the agent agreeing to take you on as a client) is a two way relationship. Both sides need to be clear and honest with each other.
Let me give you an example. Years ago, I had some prospects (not yet clients) in Monte Sereno who inquired off and on for years about selling their home. At one point, it became a “hurry up” situation. Luckily, they told me the truth: one of them had been diagnosed as terminally ill. The sick one did not want to saddle the survivor with selling the home after the death.
Almaden Valley, a district of San Jose with the zip code 95120, is noted for good schools, low crime, and beautiful vistas. It enjoys an historic old downtown & museum where the mercury mining took place, a fabulous golf course and abundant open space with room for hiking, horses and more.
The commute is not bad to downtown San Jose and has gotten better since highway 87 was built (in addition to Almaden Expressway). Like the Rose Garden, Naglee Park, and Silver Creek, Almaden is one of the more expensive spots on the San Jose real estate landscape.
Home types vary from modest condominiums to fabulous estate homes. A luxury property in this part of Silicon Valley is often newer and may include more land than similarly priced houses or estates in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno or Saratoga. Home buyers looking in the west valley often want to see high end real estate in Almaden Valley as well as other upscale communities nearby.
Browse Luxury Homes for Sale in San Jose’s Almaden Valley Neighborhood
Below please view Almaden Valley real estate listings of houses, duet homes and other residential property for sale over $2 million dollars as found on our local MLS.
20750 Lost Ranch RD, SAN JOSE
5 beds, 7 baths
20200 Via Santa Teresa, SAN JOSE
5 beds, 4 baths
19460 Graystone LN, SAN JOSE
5 beds, 4 baths
20550 Buena Monte DR, SAN JOSE
6 beds, 3 baths
18905 Graystone LN, SAN JOSE
4 beds, 3 baths
See all Real estate in the 95120 zip code.
(all data current as of
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
(all data current as of 9/24/2018)
Thank you for reading this Silicon Valley real estate blog. Please remember that information found on the web is not the same thing as knowledge. For guidance with buying or selling homes in Silicon Valley, San Jose, Los Gatos and nearby areas, please contact an experienced, ethical, full time Realtor. If you are searching for a good Silicon Valley Realtor to assist you, please contact me. I’m happy to chat with you by phone or in person for a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation.
Saratoga, CA, has a beautiful assortment of custom esates, many with views. Some are horse property, others include vineyards – or both! Ranging from sprawling, comfortable ranch to Mediterranean, contemporary, and ecclectic (there is even one castle in Saratoga), there’s no shortage of choice in the Saratoga luxury market.
Below, please find a link to a list of currently available homes for sale in Saratoga, CA, listed over $2,000,000. This link will take you to a site hosted by me for searching available listings, so feel free to browse other areas while there. Enjoy!
Luxury Homes and Estates in the Town of Los Gatos, CA
Los Gatos offers a wide variety of home styles and size, acreage and useage. From small, modest cottages to large estates, there’s something for everyone in Los Gatos. Immediately below, please find the links to available and listed Los Gatos homes for sale offered at two million dollars or more. These will take you to my other website, PopeHandy.com, and open in a new window.
Browse listed homes in Los Gatos over $2 million
Or, if you prefer, browse all price points within this luxury range in Los Gatos here!
$3,488,000 : 17418 Paseo Carmelo, LOS GATOS5 beds, 7 baths
$2,099,000 : 15784 Linda AVE, LOS GATOS4 beds, 3 baths
$2,298,000 : 16226 Harwood RD, LOS GATOS5 beds, 4 baths
$3,289,000 : 104 Heintz CT, LOS GATOS4 beds, 4 baths
$3,388,000 : 15940 Escobar AVE, LOS GATOS5 beds, 5 baths
See all Real estate in the city of Los Gatos.
(all data current as of 9/24/2018)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
A real estate agent is someone who’s taken a course (or more) and passed a state exam and is licensed by the state to sell real estate.
A Realtor (pronounced REEL-TOR, not real-a-tor) is an agent who’s ALSO a member of the National Association of Realtors, which is a voluntary trade group. Realtors promise to abide by and take very seriously their Code of Ethics. Ever wonder what is in it? It’s not short and is quite comprehensive. Take a look:
Please understand that not everything that is legal is also ethical – Realtors have a higher standard of practice. Often non-Realtors (at least in Siliocon Valley) are not full-time agents but dabble in real estate. Realtors are usually full-time and work as professionals.
Finally, if you have a problem with an agent who’s not a Realtor, you have to complain to the state. With a member of NAR, who is almost always also a member of the state association (CAR – the California Association of Realtors) and local (either SILVAR – the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors or SCCAOR – the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors), you can take action locally for most any issue and do not need to go all the way to the state level. Agents work hard to remain in good standing with the local, state, and national boards.
In the San Jose area, most of the large realty firms are “all Realtor” offices. Usually becoming a member of NAR, CAR and either SILVAR or SCCAOR is a requirement for joining the company. In other areas and in other states, in can be different. So it’s mostly the independents where you’ll find a real estate licensee who’s not also a Realtor. But ask!
When you interview an agent, then, the first question to ask is this: are you a Realtor?
August was a little slow, but along the west valley the expectation was that September would be robust. Normally we see a little rally after Labor Day that lasts until about Halloween. That’s our usual real estate market trend in Santa Clara County (San Jose area).
What has happened, though, is a significant slowdown. Few homes seem to be selling since the middle of September.
At this point, we are waiting for the September statistics to roll in. What I’m seeing, though, is that a lot of homes are just plain “sitting” at this time.