Hiring a Realtor? Silicon Valley home sellers are very savvy and go at their real estate transactions carefully. However, some may be tempted to try to line all the criteria up in side by side charts and attempt to make a hiring decion that way. Please beware the temptation of focusing on what is “easily measurable” as most important. Sometimes the most easily measurable factors may not be that important at all. Much of what is truly valuable in a Realtor’s suite of services and skills cannot be easily measured in a side-by-side comparison chart.
I am a full-time, second generation, award-winning & enthusiastic Los Gatos real estate agent, serving this town and the county too – a Silicon Valley Realtor. Real estate was my second career after I’d worked happily in the area of religious education (in Catholic high schools) & ministry for several years. Economics necessitated an employment change, and real estate was a natural fit as it really is a “helping profession” and I’d grown up with it. I like to joke that my first words were “raised foundation”.
An area native, I was raised in Santa Clara and Saratoga, graduating from Saratoga High in 1977. As an adult I lived in several parts of the valley, including 10 years in Cambrian Park, and since 1999, in Los Gatos. Over the years I’ve also spent extensive time in Campbell, Almaden, and many parts of the West Valley.
I hold a Bachelor of Arts from Gonzaga University in Spokane (a Catholic university run by Jesuits – in Religious Studies, 1981) and thanks to my parents’ generosity, was able to enjoy a fabulous Junior year abroad at Gonzaga-in-Florence, Italy (1979-1980), which cemented my love of travel and all things Italian. (With some refreshing, I can still manage a simple conversation in Italian – which is fun!) After some teaching, I earned a Master of Arts (in Systematic Theology, 1986) from The Graduate Theological Union/Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.
Afterwards I returned to teaching religion in Catholic high schools, a very rewarding career, for a few years, until our children came onto the scene. I did a lot of related volunteer work too, with my favorite being as a volunteer chaplain at Good Samaritan Hospital in the early 90’s. Additionally, I worked in the Rainbows Program at our parish, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Los Gatos. Rainbows is a peer-to-peer ministry/support group for kids suffering from any major loss, such as the death of a parent or divorce.
Sereno Group, Los Gatos
Serving Santa Clara County: Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Campbell, and San Jose (Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park, Willow Glen) and nearby
California Department of Real Estate license # 01153805
Hobbies include enjoying walks in the neighborhood, Belgatos Park, and throughout the San Francisco Bay area – usually with camera in hand and blogging ideas being created! I love to write, hence the huge number of blogs, and wonder if someday I might write a novel. Photography, live music, and travel are all top hobbies too. I often enjoy the Almaden Music in the Park or any of the Los Gatos musical events. In 2016, I was over the moon to hear Andrea Bocelli perform at the SAP center in San Jose.
Every once in awhile, someone will object to content that I’ve chosen to include in this website, mostly something I’ve spent time researching that involves an unpleasant angle of living here in Silicon Valley. Luckily complaints are exceedingly rare! But the question may arise of “why is she writing about THAT?” The answer is simple: it’s what I’m encountering in my real estate practice, it’s something I’ve been spending time on with my buyers or sellers.
High voltage electrical power lines and towers
Recently I wrote about high voltage power lines that run through Los Gatos, Cambrian, and Almaden and their relationship to public schools. Why there? Why that topic? Because that’s where many of my home buyer clients are buying, as these are all wonderful areas, and this is a topic that has been raised repeatedly by them.
- one client wanted to be “at least four houses away” from any high voltage lines
- another wasn’t sure how far to be, but said 1/10 of a mile was too close
- another eliminated all public schools with high voltage power lines adjacent or within a block away (and chose to live in Willow Glen instead)
- and another wanted to live at least a full mile from the lines
When something comes up again and again, I think it’s fair to raise it in this blog, because it is relevant to consumers, even though I know it will step on some toes. I don’t have an answer as to whether you should or shouldn’t buy a home within any particular distance of the towers or lines (or a mine, flood plain or anything else). Every house has pros and cons. I would say that if you get the EMFs tested, you might be surprised that the emissions are higher in front of your microwave than they are near the lines, so I do encourage home buyers and home sellers near the wires to get the facts and to see the numbers from a reputable source. If you’re buying with FHA backed financing, of course you will need to be aware of the high voltage electrical tower fall zone – if for some reason the tower fell in an earquake, the FHA folks want to make sure your new home won’t be in its path.
Not every home buyer cares at all about the lines, the towers, or even a substation. For home sellers near any of them, it’s important to understand that it is a potential home buyer concern, and that could translate to a lower sale price (depending on the market). For home buyers, even if there’s no real concern for health and safety, it is important to appreciate that if you are super close, it could be a resale issue in the future. All of these make it a topic worth discussing, not to be alarmist, but to be discussing what concerns real estate consumers today.
Natural hazards: mercury, asbestos, earthquake faults, liquifecation zones, unstable soils, flood plains and other scary things
Another topic that I covered recently, which also may have bothered some readers of this blog, is mercury mines in the west valley areas. In the past I’ve written about other natural hazard zones too. Continue reading
Thanks for taking the time to read, and sometimes comment on, my blog. It’s been fun to get the feedback on a lot of topics covered. Even better, some of you have reached out to me this last year and beforehand and we’ve ended up working together.
Wishing you all a very, very happy, safe, healthy new year ahead.
The San Jose Mercury News is again polling readers for its annual “Best of Silicon Valley” edition., which includes a couple of real estate categories. Would you mind taking a few minutes and casting a ballot for me and also for Sereno Group? (I was named best real estate agent in 2011 and would love to have a repeat of that!)
Here’s how to vote:
- Visit http://bestinsv.com/voting/
- Click on the “Home” category
- Fill out the top part of the form with your contact info
- The first question is for best real estate agent, the second one is for the best realty company.
I would be most grateful for your support!
Voting closes on April 21st and the results will be published later this spring.
Wishing you all the best.
PS Sometime soon, probably next week, KLIV (AM 1590) will be airing a 5 part interview with me for their “How’s Business” segment. I hope you’ll listen. It was a fun chat with John Kelly about my business and the real estate market generally.
$1,290,000 : 7540 Waterville PL, GILROY3 beds, 3 baths
$1,798,888 : 145 Brian LN, SANTA CLARA4 beds, 2 baths
$1,899,888 : 1516 Homestead RD, SANTA CLARA3 beds, 2 baths
$799,000 : 10052 Endfield WAY, SAN JOSE3 beds, 2 baths
$1,295,000 : 958 Cadet PL, SAN JOSE4 beds, 3 baths
$949,999 : 314 Oakland AVE, SAN JOSE0 beds, 0 bath
$1,188,000 : 109 Park Hill DR, MILPITAS4 beds, 2 baths
$998,000 : 503 Oroville RD, MILPITAS3 beds, 3 baths
$950,000 : 1471 Peregrine DR, GILROY5 beds, 3 baths
$3,450,000 : 14128 Dorene CT, SARATOGA5 beds, 3 baths
See all Real estate matching your search.
(all data current as of 5/26/2018)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
Each year, Inman News sponsors a “people’s choice” voting for the most influential person in real estate. Inman nominates 100 strong candidates but voters may also write in someone not listed. This week, I was very deeply honored to have been included on such a prestigious list of real estate leaders nationwide, and I’d be thrilled if you would consider voting for me.
Where to vote: follow this link and the fields for entering your desired winner’s name and info will be about 20% of the way down (midway through the article and just after a large ad) – deadline is Dec 1, 2011:
Today’s San Jose Mercury News has a pull out section, styled like a magazine, with its annual “best of” list – the “Best of Silicon Valley in 2011“. I was deeply honored to find myself identified as the “Best real estate agent in Silicon Valley“.
Who voted on the best real estate agent in Silicon Valley?
The results of the list come from voting by consumers, the readers of the San Jose Mercury News and the Bay Area News Group. I believe that my clients are the best on the planet and their endorsement is usually apparent with their repeat business and referrals, but this is a wonderful acknowledgment that I deeply appreciate.
For those finding this who do not know me but who are searching for a good, knowledgeable, communicative and ethical Silicon Valley Realtor, I invite you to read about my background and see some comments by clients on my websites. There are a number of nice reviews on Zillow and Yelp.
Why consumers named Mary Pope-Handy the best real estate agent in Silicon Valley
Home buyers and sellers want a knowledgeable, responsive, hard working Realtor to advise and guide them. They don’t want a “sales job”. They want to be educated so that they can make an informed decision – without pressure from their real estate agent.
Clients who work with me do so because they know that I will always put their best interests first, which is as it should be. I will share with them what they need to know. Part of my job as a fiduciary is to help home sellers and buyers avoid problems not just today, but down the road. I’ve sold enough homes to be able to spot red flags that they should know about.
I don’t take short cuts with my time or explanations. My buyer clients find my responses to questions to be thorough and detailed. When sellers complete their disclosures, I review them either in person, as the client completes them, or afterward. Both my seller clients and I want the paperwork to be complete and thorough – it prevents many problems down the road. This is extremely important so that sellers keep the money they make when the home closes escrow.
2015 review from a happy Los Gatos home buyer:
Mary helped us buy our home in Los Gatos and was incredibly helpful and resourceful each and every step of the way. Having moved from Canada earlier this year, we were completely new to the buying process in CA. We certainly could not have found the right home so quickly without her guidance. She is highly knowledgeable about the local real estate market and guided us through the entire process.
Mary is an amazing agent who provided us all the support we needed and more! She is extremely knowledgeable, responsive, patient, a great negotiator and very well respected in the community. She made the buying process much simpler and helped meet all of our requirements (school, commute, budget, community).
In addition to being a highly experienced agent she is also an amazing person to work with – always friendly, extremely honest and open, informative and very quick to respond. I don’t have enough words to describe just happy we have been with Mary as our agent, she is simply incredible. I would highly recommend Mary to any buyer or seller!
Bought a home in 2015 in Vasona Junction, Los Gatos, CA 95032.
10/19/2015, 5/5 star review on Zillow
Clients like these not only become repeat clients, but friends with whom I stay in touch long after the close. They will tell their friends to hire Mary Pope-Handy, and give an enthusiastic referral for those who want to buy or sell a house, townhouse or condo anywhere in Santa Clara County .
Info on Mary Pope-Handy on the Valley of Hearts Delight site (pull down menu for various aspects)
Many thanks to all who voted for me!
The “Top Places to Work in the Bay Area 2010” has named Sereno Group as #1 for companies of its size (they ranked companies by small, medium and large sizes – 60 firms are named in all) . With about 130 people on staff and working as real estate agents, Sereno Group is considered a small size company. We are very proud to be listed as top in our group! We are also proud to be the only residential real estate brokerage on any of the three lists. Congratulations to all the winners!
The “Top Places to Work” list comes as a result of an annual survey done by the Bay Area News Group (community papers).
If you live in Silicon Valley, you probably know a lot of real estate agents (most of whom are Realtors). Some of them may have left the industry in the last few years since it’s gotten a lot harder to earn a living in this business.
For those like me who are still successful and committed to selling Silicon Valley homes, work weeks tend to be long (usually at least 6 days), busy and hard. The general public sometimes thinks that real estate agents just hold open homes on the weekend and do nothing more. That’s not the case, at least not for successful agents! Today I wanted to share with my readers how my time is typically spent. Each day, week and month is unique, but this will give you the general idea of how my work usually breaks down by time committment per month (the numbers reflect estimated hours per month).
By far the biggest identifiable part of my time is emailing with my current clients: answering emails, researching or answering their questions, looking homes up on the MLS for them, providing insights on pricing or comps, commenting on inspections, etc. Most days it’s much more than 2 hours if a buyer or seller is about to write or receive an offer. By the end of an escrow, it’s not uncommon for me to have several hundred emails going back and forth in the file.
Thinking of selling your home in Silicon Valley? No matter what kind of residential real estate you may own, this book offers guidance that will be a huge help in maximizing your profits from the sale of your home and doing it with the least amount of “hassle” possible!
Written with the consumers’ biggest questions in mind, “Get The Best Deal When Selling Your Home in Silicon Valley” aims to help property owners tackle the enormous task of selling their homes from start to finish. We, the authors, (Ken Deshaies and I, Mary Pope-Handy), address the gamut of topics in this comprehensive book, from how to chose an agent (or whether to “go it alone”), the role of the internet in marketing and selling your home, presenting your silicon valley home in its best light (staging tips, showing tips), selling your property in any kind of market (buyers market or sellers market), how to screen potential buyers and what to expect in the escrow process. The second part of the book discusses buying the next home, avoiding mortgage headaches, provides a moving list and a real estate glossary.
How can you get this book?
The book is available throughout the greater San Jose and Silicon Valley areas in Border’s and Barnes & Noble bookstores. If they run out, it can be ordered for you. Or order it online at Amazon and have it delivered to you at your home.
It is also available directly from me and is a tool I provide to prospective seller and buyer clients. (Although the book is largely about homeselling, the second part of the book is also about home buying.) Call or email me today for your free 30-60 minute consultation and receive this book at our meeting.