Businesses in Silicon Valley

What does a title company do? People helping buyers, sellers, real estate professionals with title and escrow work.What is the function of a title company or title insurance company in real estate purchases or refinances? In Silicon Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area and northern California generally, title companies perform two specific services:

  • provide title insurance for real estate being bought or borrowed against
  • provide escrow services, acting as the neutral third party which takes in the deposit money and holds it during the escrow period, disbursing all funds when escrow closes and having someone go to the county recorder’s office to record the deeds to complete the sale

Title insurance companies research the title history, find out what recorded easements may exist,reveal any encumbrances (leins, clouds on title, etc.). An escrow officer from the title company is usually the professional with a notary’s license who will sign off home buyers and sellers on the final documents, too.

There are many other services that title companies provide. Many people wonder how to hold title, and while neither your Realtor nor your escrow officer can advise you on how to do so, the title companies all have a little 1 page handout explaining the major concepts for each option on how to hold title.

If you need to sign off on the final documents out of town or even out of the country, the escrow officer and her or his support staff will work with you to coordinate it. (It can be a little tricky if overseas and outside of the U.S.).

If you are selling your house or condo and discover that an old loan that you paid off is still showing up in the preliminary title report, the escrow officer at the title insurance company will work to get it resolved and removed.

The customer service department at title companies can research the chain of title, too. Sometimes it’s quite interesting as the chain brings you back to the time of patents and land grants, with hand written deeds in a style of cursive which is somewhat foreign to us today.

There are many other things that title companies do – big and small – and most of them are “behind the scenes” that few of us ever witness directly, but without which no one would be able to close out sales with the safety net of title insurance which we value so much.

Title insurance can be a confusing concept, but I wrote about it elsewhere on this site.

What Is Title Insurance and Who Pays For It?
What is a preliminary title report? Why does it matter?

Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill - wine barrel signSouth County is rich with wineries! Recently my husband and I visited one of them, Guglielmo, when we were in Morgan Hill for some friends’ pool party. Jim hadn’t been to Guglielmo Winery in decades, and somehow I’d never been there before at all.

Set in a beautiful campus, the Guglielmo Winery is venerable as one of the older wineries around and begun in 1925. The Guglielmo website states that “Guglielmo Winery is the oldest, continuously operating, family owned winery in Santa Clara Valley.”

It has a nice mix of the “hark to yesteryear” items, both outside and in, with more contemporary decor and landscaping. It’s a very nice blend of old and new.

Inside, there’s a rustic, rambling set of rooms that serve as both 2 wine tasting stations and a really fun store full of kitschy, funny, and useful things.  Close to the cash register was the area for white wines, and in the back was another for reds.  We were at the former.  The wine we tried was delicious and we came away with two bottles of the Tre and one of a sparkling wine.

In summer, the winery provides free music at its Vine and Vibes series on Wednesdays.  There are other events too – check out the schedule at their site:
http://www.guglielmowinery.com/events/

The winery is located at 1480 East Main Avenue, Morgan Hill, CA. There’s a small tasting fee of $5 per person as of this writing (July 2016), and the fee is refunded if you purchase $25 worth of wine or more. http://www.guglielmowinery.com/

Here are some images of the winery when we visited on July 2nd. Enjoy!

  • Guglielmo Winery grape vines with eastern foothills in the distance
    Guglielmo Winery grape vines

Saratoga Foothill Club - designed by Julia MorganThe Saratoga Foothill Club, designed by Julia Morgan, is a Silicon Valley architectural landmark. It is located in a residential neighborhood near the Big Basin Rd and Sunnyvale-Saratoga Rd intersection, a block away from the downtown area. If you’ve never been, it’s worth a trip!  Go for a couple of hours and enjoy lunch in downtown Saratoga Village, too.

Basic Info

Saratoga Foothill Club
20399 Park Place
Saratoga CA 95070
info@foothillclub.org    (408)867-3428

Availability:   Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 AM – 10:00 PM (per this writing)

http://www.foothillclub.org/    (disclaimer: events listed on this page are from 2014 and earlier)
http://www.saratogafoothillclub.com/
National Register of Historic Places – Registration Form

History of the Club

I’ll post a very detailed history below.  Generally, though, this club was part of a trend of women getting involved in their communities to both improve the places where they lived but also to improve their influence.  This took place before women were permitted to vote and can be seen as part of the broader, growing civic influence of women.

The Building and Grounds

The architect: Julia Morgan

Today what may be more compelling than the movement behind the building is perhaps the building itself. Fittingly, it was designed by the most prominent female architect in California, Julia Morgan, an graduate of the University of California (Berkeley – it was the only UC at the time) and the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Art in Paris.  She was a sorority sister with Grace Fisher Richards, one of the founding members and the then-current president of the Club.  She was also the first licensed female architect in the state. (She is best known for her gorgeous work at Hearst Castle.)  This certainly was not lost on the women who hired her!  Nor on many other clients – “Of the 480 Morgan projects listed in Boutelle’s Julia Morgaa Architect, 1995, from 1896 to 1946, more than one third were for women clients or for women’s organizations…. Even more impressive is the fact that Morgan also hired-women professionals. By 1927, six of her fourteen employees were women, a remarkable number for an established business.” (Per the register)***

The Saratoga Foothill Club was built out of redwood (outside and in, though the floors are hardwood) with a wood shake roof in the Craftsman or Arts and Crafts style in 1915.  As with many of her designs, it is simple, understated, and made ample use of natural materials.  Julia Morgan was inspired by the local Bay Area School of design.  The bungalow feel fits in nicely with the neighborhood.

The structure itself is a one story building that’s 74′ wide across the front and 60′ deep, plus some pop-out areas around the sides. Inside there’s redwood paneling (redwood is a soft wood), hardwood floors in most of the area (carpeting in the entry).  The kitchen has sheet vinyl and paster walls – more practical. In addition to the kitchen there’s a main room measuring 33’9” x 40’3 and a dining room with an open fireplace – the last two are joined by two sets of accordian doors. There’s a storage room and also a projection room. And of course there are restrooms.  The building is set on a 7409 SF lot, nearly level, with a beautiful courtyard and pergola.  (More info below slideshow.)

Saratoga Foothill Club Julia Morgan designed Saratoga Foothill Club Julia Morgan architect Saratoga Foothill Club side view Saratoga Foothill Club door Saratoga Foothill Club facade Saratoga Foothill Club plaque Saratoga Foothill Club pan

 

Continue reading

La Petit Bistro Crepe DessertDelicious French food and great service are the order of the day at Le Petit Bistro in Mountain View.  Recently, my extended family and I celebrated a milestone birthday there for one of the relatives.  Apparently this is not uncommon, as we heard two other tables sing Happy Birthday to You during our time there, also.

The restaurant is comfortable,  on the small side and the service is personal.  We found that our needs were promptly addressed for water, more bread, ordering, or anything else that we might need, but it was done in a very friendly and unhurried manner.

A good sized selection of foods and preparation styles were offered: fish, pork, beef, lamb and vegetarian entrees were available. There was something for everyone.  Between us, we enjoyed soups, salads and mussels for the first course.  The main courses that we ordered included beautifully presented lamb chops, pepper steak, and pork medallions.  At our table, we savored a variety of desserts, too: a fruit crepe (inside had fresh fruit and whipped cream), chocoloate mousse, and apple pie.  All of it was absolutely delicious.

By all means, I would go back, and not just to celebrate a birthday.  For that reason, I’m happy to write about it here – go give it a try, if you haven’t been already!  You will not be disappointed.

Le Petite Bistro
1405 W El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA 94040
(650) 964-3321
http://www.lepetitbistro.biz/

(As always, there is no compensation for my endorsement of this or any other business which I might write about from time to time.  The folks at this eatery don’t even know that this article is being written, and of course it was my idea to write it, not theirs.)

  1. 0 beds, 0 baths
    Home size: 15,326 sq ft
    Lot size: 24,045 sqft
  2. 0 beds, 0 baths
    Home size: 7,291 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,242 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 917 sq ft
    Lot size: 914 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,128 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,001 sqft
  5. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 998 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,395 sqft
  6. 5 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,897 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,446 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,482 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,350 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,375 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,657 sqft
  9. 0 beds, 0 baths
    Home size: 4,449 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,098 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,178 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,001 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Mountain View.
(all data current as of 5/29/2017)

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

Silicon Valley housing is among the most expensive not just in the U.S., but in the world.  Areas with better schools are more costly still.  So what happens when we see a big increase in a highly paid industry concentrate its efforts in a small corridor?

What is happening with hospitals along the Los Gatos border?

First, let’s have a look at what we see taking place with hospitals and related facilities along the northern end of Los Gatos and into San Jose and Campbell.

Good Samaritan Hospital (in San Jose 95124 along the Los Gatos border) and El Camino Hospital of Los Gatos (“Los Gatos Community Hospital” before 2008) are just about one and a half miles apart as the bird flies, and there’s been a tremendous influx of new medical facilities between them – especially near Good Sam.  Perhaps the most notable is the Stanford Hospital Cancer Center, which can be seen from Highway 85.  A drive through Cambrian, Campbell, or Los Gatos in this west valley area and you’ll also find signs of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Kaiser Hospital medical offices and other more remote entities with a local presence.  This is smart business on their part and can eliminate fighting commute traffic for patients.

But what is it doing, and more to the point, what will it do to our already sky-high housing prices?

This morning I mapped out the local hospitals and a few of the medical centers and offices (link goes to maps on google for this search).  Here’s roughly what the simplified concentration looks like today:

Los Gatos, Campbell, and Cambrian border medical concentrations

These are just my casual observations and of course there are many other medical office areas not shown – but they are the areas which appear to me to be the most densely populated with cancer treatment centers, physical theraphy sites, surgical centers, rehab facilities, doctors’ practices, etc.

Because many of the adjoining areas are zoned as residential, it’s unlikely that neighborhoods full of homes would suddenly become a doctor’s office, pharmacy, or medical supply stores. Continue reading

Awhile back, I visited the Graebel Moving Van Line’s warehouse in San Jose.  Charles Canfield, my sales representative there, had invited me to come by and have a look.  My direct experience with moving companies hadn’t included a behind-the-scenes visit to to their work and storage site, so I took him up on the kind offer and got a tour of a different sort.  During my visit, Charles showed me how they get items labeled, organized and stored so that things are both secure and find-able when it’s time to take them out of storage and off to a new residence.  What follows below are some photos of the visit, which I hope you find interesting.

When first approaching the warehouse, it’s no surprise to see some trucks in their bays to load or offload goods.

Graebel trucks

 

After seeing the lobby and conference room, Charles took me to the warehouse, which is (not surprisingly) climate controlled to protect the items being stored.  There I saw as yet unmade boxes, paper for wrapping fragile items, sheets of what look like clear plastic wrap for bundling things together.  I was amazed at the immensity of the whole thing – the room, the materials, the containers. It all struck me as vast.

 

Graebel wrapping materials

 

Continue reading

Had to share this “Today” segment – San Jose is said to be the smartest city in the U.S., with over 50% of the population holding college degrees, among other notable things. Have a look!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

  1. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,160 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,662 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 1,870 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,764 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 945 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.13 ac
  4. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,450 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,240 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,570 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,448 sqft
  6. 0 beds, 0 baths
    Home size: 4,372 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,448 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,580 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,011 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,586 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,011 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,587 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,111 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,572 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,628 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Menlo Park.
(all data current as of 5/29/2017)

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

J Lohr Wine Tasting Room in San Jose (about 2 miles from downtown SJ)Awhile back, a Realtor friend, Colleen Kulikowski, was visiting from the Buffalo & Niagara Falls area of New York. Together we attended the California Association of Realtors conference in San Jose, CAR EXPO, where we enjoyed some great sessions and at which I was a panelist one day on social media and real estate blogging.   I very much wanted her to see more than just the inside of a conference center, though, so in the evenings and days before and after we saw some sights along the coast and went wine tasting in Los Gatos, Willow Glen, Monterey and central San Jose at the fabulously convenient J Lohr Tasting Room.

At J Lohr Wine Tasting Rooms, you can choose from available wines which ones you'd like to tryAs we  walked up to the door, I volunteered to pay for our tasting – just before noticing that it’s at no charge!  This is pretty rare today in Santa Clara County, Monterey County or Santa Cruz County wineries.  (When a tasting is free I always buy a bottle anyway if I enjoy the wine, and normally I do.)

Our hostess was very nice and gave us a printout of what could be tried that day and explained that we could select 6 and then she would “put them in order”.  Colleen and I prefer different types of wines so had little overlap in our selections – it was great to have so much variety.We both liked a number of wines and both made purchases (so they did ok on the free tasting by us). Continue reading

There’s a lot to love about central San Jose, especially near Santa Clara University (that’s my bias: I grew up near there) There are lovely neighborhoods with classic architecture such as The Rose Garden and Shasta-Hanchett. There’s a lot of good eating and entertainment in that part of the valley so close to downtown San Jose too, including Greenlee’s amazing cinnamon bread (you must try their highly prized cinnamon bread), fun & upscale Santana Row.

It might be too easy to miss a local, but low key landmark  where you can find hand made chocolates: Schurra’s in San Jose – right on the Alameda, perhaps 2 miles from SCU and one or two from downtown San Jose proper.  Schurra’s has been a part of central San Jose for  100 years – it was founded in 1912 and managed to survive the Great Depression and now appears to be thriving through our Great Recession.

Step into Schurra’s and breathe deeply.  The smell of the rich chocolates is almost intoxicating!  There’s a huge variety so there should be no trouble finding something for everyone in your party!  There are chews, truffles, creams and nuts. Dark chocolate and milk chocolate.  Dried fruits. Gift boxes galore.  Holiday specials.  You name it, they seem to have it.

There’s even a little cooler full of ice cream, too.

So hop on your bike, walk or drive your car and visit this very cool old icon of San Jose.  It’s goodness that harkens to a bygone era when this valley was known for it’s produce and not its high tech, when it was called The Valley of Heart’s Delight.  Take a nibble…or two….  Enjoy a taste of living history! (While you’re in the neighborhood you ought to go to Greenlee’s too and get some of that cinnamon bread for later! It’s practically across the street and is another historic business in Santa Clara County.)

Schurra’s     840 The Alameda    San Jose, CA 95126     (408) 289-1562

Related:
Out near Los Gatos, another great shop to visit is Chocolate Dream Box.  I wrote about it on my Live in Los Gatos blog. Check it out!  Or in Santa Cruz, swing by Mackenzie’s.

  1. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,629 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,662 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 1,580 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,096 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 3,370 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,488 sqft
  4. 6 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 4,139 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,274 sqft
  5. 1 bed, 1 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 824 sq ft
    Lot size: 609 sqft
  6. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,195 sq ft
    Lot size: 914 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,084 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,089 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,696 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,306 sqft
  9. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,275 sq ft
    Lot size: 479 sqft
  10. 2 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,010 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,482 sqft

See all Real estate in the 95126 zip code.
(all data current as of 5/29/2017)

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

Wayne Schaich of Almaden Clocks in San Jose, CAWayne Schaich of Almaden Clocks has been in the business of repairing, refurbishing, and selling clocks of all kinds for decades; his business card shares that it’s “clock repair for three generations“.  As we have an old grandfather clock which has been in my husband’s family a long time, we have had several occasions to patronize this long time Silicon Valley business.

Grandfather clocks at Almaden Clocks in San JoseNow located in the Cambrian area of San Jose, Almaden Clocks is one of a small handful of clock repair shops in Silicon Valley (I think that there are only 2!).   This store has an incredible array of clocks of every size (and Wayne’s business card boasts “Northern California’s Largest Selection of Grandfather Clocks”). There are some ships’ clocks, too, which can manage to keep the time despite the rolling waves of the sea.

If you have never been into a full service clock shop, I suggest you make this outing and head to Almaden Shops for a peek at an amazing array of time pieces big and small. In some ways, it’s a step back in time (couldn’t resist).

Wayne Schaich of Almaden Clocks in San JoseWayne is friendly, skilled and knowledgeable, so it’s easy to chat with him about all things related to clocks and time pieces of all kinds.

 

Almaden Clocks
5371 Camden Avenue
San Jose CA 95124
408 265-2133
Wayne Schaich

 

  1. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,200 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,187 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,438 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,660 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,066 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,448 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,480 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,015 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,159 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,833 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 1,108 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,236 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,396 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,187 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,970 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,005 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,928 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,316 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 2,452 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,236 sqft

See all Real estate in the 95124 zip code.
(all data current as of 5/29/2017)

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

Translation

by Transposh - translation plugin for wordpress
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


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