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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
:
San Jose, Los Gatos,
Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park and
Santa Clara County

Archive for the ‘Almaden Valley (SJ)’ Category

Almaden Valley Real Estate Market Conditions

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

The Almaden Valley real estate market had softened a bit but did a resurgence in October – I’ll leave the prior month up below as a comparison.

Please find the current statistics for single family homes (houses & duet homes) from my Almaden Valley real estate report (click on link for more info):

And for comparison, the month before for San Jose CA 95120
We often have a little boomlet in September and October before it calms Nov – January.  That said, buyers are scrambling to find homes in this inventory deprived community so we may not see a winter doldrum this year at all. 

Altos Research charts for houses in Almaden (San Jose 95120)

Please note that Altos Research uses list prices, not sold prices.

An overview:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

(more…)

Why are the hardwood floors cupping?

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Cupped Hardwood FloorsIn Almaden, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga and anywhere near hills in Silicon Valley, there are homes with cupped hardwood floors.  Cupping is when the sides of the plants curl upward a little.  If you view cupped floors in lighting at an angle, the “lines” between the pieces of wood are more prominent, as shown in the photo to the right. Should you walk across them barefoot, you will feel the elevated sides.  When it is severe, there are very distinct ridges.

What causes cupping?  It can be caused by installing hardwood that hasn’t cured or sat in the home for a few days first.  But often that’s not the issue.  Most of the time, it seems to result from water in the crawl space below.  As the moisture evaporates, it moves up through the home and through the hardwood flooring.

This doesn’t happen everywhere, but is most common in hillside locations, places that are flat but have hills nearby (as water can travel underground and then pop up, potentially under your house), locations with high water tables (such as Willow Glen, many areas of Almaden such as Almaden Springs, or Los Gatos), or properties where the grading is wrong and water gets pulled toward the home instead of away from it. Although in many parts of the U.S. the soil is sandy and the water drains through, in most of Santa Clara County, we have expansive clay soils.  With clay it’s harder for the water to soak through, but also when the soil gets wet it, it expands and pushes on the foundation and anything else in its way.

Are your floors beginning to cup?  If so, it’s a red flag to pay attention and find the cause of the cupping before the damage is permanent, or much harder to fix.  Check your crawl space for dampness and efflorescence (this requires going all the way into the crawl space).  If you aren’t able or don’t want to go into the crawl, make sure to hire someone competant to evaluate the situation.  Having a damp crawl space is not good (and if you find it in summer after a 3 year drought you do have an issue!).  I would suggest getting an ASHI or CREIA certified home inspector to check it out and advise you on the cause of the cupping and what to do to remediate it.  It may be that a hardwood flooring professional would also address this very well – I cannot speak to that but it may also be worth considering.

Appreciation in several west valley zip codes: median sale price year over year

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Appreciation by west valley zip code for July median sale priceHome values in Silicon Valley have been rising over the last few years, and in some segments the appreciation has been incredibly steep.  This happens when a big influx of home buyers want to purchase but the supply of real estate inventory is too limited for the demand.  This is happening in the most popular areas especially: those with either short commutes, great schools, a vibrant downtown, or some combination of these three.

Today I wanted to look at the median sale price of houses which closed escrow in July 2014 and the preceding few years for the same month only in a handful of zip codes in San Jose and Los Gatos along the west valley areas.  Considered for this study are 95070 – Saratoga, 95030 7 95032 – Los Gatos & Monte Sereno, 95008 – Campbell, 95124 – Cambrian area of San Jose, and 95120 – Almaden Valley area of San Jose.  The only month plotted is July for each year.

When charted, it appears that most of these west valley areas are appreciating somewhat steadily, though 95032 came down in the month of July 2014 as opposed to 2013 (one month does not make a trend, and please remember that ONLY July for each year was considered here).  At the other end of the spectrum is Campbell, 95008, which has been immensely popular in recent years.

Next let’s take a look at the numbers themselves for July in the years 2010 – 2014.

Median sale price for west valley zip codes

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Selling a home in one of San Jose’s Almaden Valley neighborhoods? Understand home buyer concerns in 95120

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Selling a home in San Jose's Almaden ValleyDo you want to sell your Almaden Valley home? This lovely corner of San Jose has become increasingly popular in recent years.

To maximize the marketing and sale of your property, it is very helpful to understand the motivation of people who are house-hunting in San Jose, 95120, and also to understand their concerns.

The positive aspects of living in Almaden are abundant. Many Silicon Valley home buyers to find the right balance of good schools, scenic neighborhoods, well kept homes, real estate pricing, and open space & trails in this southwestern part of San Jose.  Browse listings of San Jose 95120 homes for sale here (link to a page on this blog).

The concerns vary from one buyer to the next, but may include the following (many related to schools):

  • commute distance (especially in the southern part of the valley)
  • mercury in the soil from the Almaden and Guadalupe quicksilver mines
  • proximity of high voltage power lines in the more northern part of the area
  • the lower scores at Castillero Middle School (as compared to the elmentary schools which are feeders to it) or Pioneer High School
  • school boundaries between the Pioneer and Leland area – will they move as more development takes place in southern Almaden Valley?
  • For the part of Almaden with Los Gatos schools, will the drive be too far, and will there be enough kids in the neighborhood in those same schools?
  • For the neighborhoods in the Campbell Union High School District, will Leigh High remain an option into the future or will Branham become mandatory at some point?
  • Most of Almaden is in the San Jose Unified School District , which had mandatory busing in the past, and not so long ago – will it happen in the future?
  • for some, that there could be too much pressure at the highest scoring Almaden public schools
  • fire danger near the hills
  • wildlife near creeks it may attract (and in other cases, fears around mercury coming to their property in the stream or with the rains)
  • near creeks: wildlife attracted by the water as well as mercury coming down from the hills (one buyer worried about eating vegetables or fruits grown on land near creeks)

And we haven’t yet broached the issues around purchasing older homes, which is what most of the listing inventory is! (more…)

Guadalupe Landfill in San Jose’s Almaden Valley – Gas Recovery Facility Relocation Project

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Got Gas?A meeting will take place  on Saturday, May 10th, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Almaden Community Library ( 6445 Camden Ave, San Jose) to discuss the Guadalupe Landfilll’s “Gas Recovery Facility Relocation Project”.  Currently there is in place such a system to recover the gas which is naturally emitted as the items in the landfill decompose.  (Long timers in the area may recall problems at Shoreline in Mountain View when there were surprise combustion fires from the same sort of activity when the gas wasn’t being handled well.)  This gas must be captured and dealt with one way or the other.  But for various reasons, the powers that be at the landfill would like to shut down the current one and put a new one up in a different location, still at the landfill of course.  Some locals are concerned about a variety of problems that may arise with this change.     This landfill or dump is also known as the Guadalupe Recycling and Disposal Facility

For more info, please see the city’s website:  http://www.sanjoseca.gov/index.aspx?NID=2434

What are the average Days on Market for real estate listings in San Jose?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

First: Days on Market vs Days to Sell:    We should start by clarifying that the average “days on market” includes the properties which do go pending and sell (many of them quickly) as well as those which linger on the market a long time and eventually become cancelled, expired or withdrawn listings.  The average days on market is usually significantly shorter than the average days to sell for that reason.

What are the average Days on Market for listed homes in San Jose?  First, let’s consider all of San Jose, both single family homes and condos/townhouses for Days on Market, all price points combined, of listed properties. (Graph from Altos Research, to which I have a subscription. This is “live” and will automatically update weekly.)  A year or so ago, condos were selling slightly faster than houses, but that changed in July 2013 and houses have been moving much faster ever since.

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

The quick, oversimplified answer is here: houses are on the market about 60 days and condos about 75 days.  (This is for listed homes, not the ones which are sold, and this statistic is a little different than “days to sell”, though they are of course related).  However, the nuance is hugely important!  The luxury market will be very different from the entry level market.  And homes in Silver Creek and Evergreen are going to be selling differently than those in the Rose Garden, Shasta Hanchett and other parts of Central San Jose.   Plus there’s the issue of the best homes selling for the most money quickly, as opposed to other properties which don’t exactly hit the ground running and have to re-stage, re-do photos, get a price reduction (or a new listing agent) etc.

Most properties are  single family homes (houses plus a few duet properties), so for the rest of this article, we will focus in on them.  Next, let’s see how houses in San Jose are faring if we consider the price quartiles (25% segments of the market by list price). Do they stay on the market as long? (more…)

How do prices compare between Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Palo Alto?

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

What does it cost to buy a home with really good schools in Silicon Valley? Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Palo Alto are all areas with highly regarding public schools.  These aren’t the only areas with good schools but they are popular “west valley” areas that people may consider if working for Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook or any number of high tech employers.

Los Gatos and Saratoga both have multiple school districts, running from good to very good or excellent.  The cost of housing tends to follow the popularity of the district, so for those areas I’m showing the breakdown not just for the whole town of Los Gatos but also by the high school district (Los Gatos-Saratoga or Campbell Union High School District).  Same with Saratoga.  (The Monte Sereno real estate market is very similar to Los Gatos, but slightly more expensive. Most of Monte Sereno has Los Gatos schools, but a small number of homes are in the Campbell area.)

Here are the average numbers for single family homes sold in the last 60 days ranging from 1500 – 2500 square feet, on a lot between 5000 and 10,000 SF, with 3-5 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms to give a sense of what it would cost to purchase a typical house in these areas.  Please note that right now it’s a strong seller’s market, so many (if not most or all) homes are selling for more than the list price.  DOM stands for days on the market.

Market info April 19 2014

If you are new to Santa Clara County, you may be wondering if this is correct.  The cost to buy a home in these areas is what?

  • Los Gatos: approximately $1,200,000 to $1,675,000 depending on the school district
  • Saratoga: approximately$1,500,000 to about $2,000,000 depending on the schools
  • Cupertino: approx $1,700,000 (some high schools will bring in higher prices and others lower)
  • Palo Alto: approx $2,700,000

Remember, these prices do not mean that the houses being sold are perfect.  Because it is a strong seller’s market, many properties are being sold which need new roofing, extensive pest work, remodeling, perhaps updating of electrical or plumbing systems or more.  Many home buyers will need to spend 1-2% on things like termite fumigation, dry rot or roof repairs, carpets, paint, windows and more, and usually this will be done before they move in.  So whatever the budget is, buffer it a little bit for both money and time to make it turnkey.

For people relocating to Silicon Valley from out of the San Jose or Peninsula area, this real estate market can be daunting.   There are other areas with good schools which are a bit further from most employment areas which can be an alternative, too.  They include the Cambrian 95124 and Almaden 95120 (especially the southern area with Bret Harte Middle School and Leland High School) areas within San Jose.

Finally, in some cases, it may be more affordable to make use of private schools, which are plentiful in the San Francisco Bay area.  In some situations it can be financially more affordable to buy outside of the highly competitive areas with the best schools and utilize the private school system.  Some of the private schools are religious, some secular, and some with a language focus (bilingual in French, German, Chinese, etc.).

Interested in purchasing a home in one of these fantastic communities?  Please call or email me!  408 204-7673  or mary (at) popehandy.com