Almaden Valley (SJ)

Almaden Valley San Jose

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.

  1. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,398 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,001 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,740 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,112 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,206 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,499 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,033 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,237 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,780 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,840 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,791 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,999 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,040 sq ft
    Lot size: 32,800 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,202 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,006 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 3,424 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,874 sqft
  10. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,124 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,278 sqft

See all Real estate in the Almaden Valley community.
(all data current as of 8/21/2017)

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

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

Continue reading

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! Continue reading

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

  1. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,431 sq ft
  2. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,254 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,385 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,423 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,949 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,280 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,301 sqft
  5. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 894 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,051 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,663 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,501 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,944 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,798 sqft
  8. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,080 sq ft
    Lot size: 871 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,216 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,998 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,863 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,484 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Mountain View.
(all data current as of 8/21/2017)

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

Yesterday on my way home from a final walk through on a property in Blossom Valley, I stopped by some open houses – following signs, just like a lot of consumers do.  At one of the homes I spoke with a Realtor who’s starting to see a slowing in the real estate market.  That hasn’t been my own experience, so I asked him about his take on things and he mentioned the rising inventory in areas where he’s active in Silicon Valley.

There are many ways to get a pulse on the market, but perhaps one of the easiest ways to check it is to see the sale price to list price ratio and the days on market.  MLSListings, my local multiple listing service (of which I am a member), does some wonderful things with interactive graphs and charts, so I made use of that tool to see how San Jose is faring as a whole and also in some of the zip codes where I sometimes sell homes.  The charts below are for single family homes (not condos, townhomes, duplexes, etc.) and are by zip code for all price ranges.  Remember, stats are easily skewed one way or the other, and we might have seen different results if we teased it out by home size, lot size, school district, price point, presence of an in-ground pool, or any other factors.  This is the “big picture”.  First, then, San Jose as a whole.

San Jose AV DOM and SP to LP ratio all prices

What we see here is that homes are selling faster (shorter and shorter DOM or Days on Market) and a rising sales price to list price ratio.  Both of these indicate a strong seller’s market for the city of San Jose as a whole. Next, we’ll list a sampling of zip codes in San Jose, primarily along the west side (where I tend to be more active in my sales) but not exclusively so.  I’m putting these in numerical order.

Real estate market trends in San Jose 95112 - Downtown San Jose

In San Jose’s 95112 zip code, which is Downtown San Jose, it’s a mixed bag.  The sale price to list price ratio is rising (seller’s market) but the days on market are also rising (softening market).  This area would require more information – it could be that a few homes have been on the market for a very long time and skewing the stats, or homes in certain price points are just not selling.  From this vantage, though, it looks like 95112 is mixed.

Next: 95117, 95118, 95120, 95123, 95125, 95126, 15129, 95136, 95148

Continue reading

Yesterday I was showing homes in Almaden (San Jose 95120) to one of my buyers for that area. A house in the Shadowbrook neighborhood had a really spectacular view of the hills from the upstairs bedrooms – could not resist snapping the picture to share.

Almaden Valley view of the hills from Shadowbrook area

If you are not familiar with this part of Silicon Valley, that’s Mt. Umunhum with the squarish building on top.

A few months back, I took an image of these same hills from the campus of Valley Christian High School. You can see it in this post on this same blogsite:
View from Valley Christian High School: Santa Teresa Foothills & Coastal Range On that one you can spot Mt. Umunhum as the area with the flat top along the crest of the hills.

Want to learn more about this upscale, scenic part of San Jose (in Santa Clara County)? Read an intro post: What Are the Advantages of Buying a Home in Almaden Valley?

More posts on Almaden Valley, the Almaden real estate market etc. here.

  1. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,398 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,001 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,740 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,112 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,206 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,499 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,033 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,237 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,780 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,840 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,791 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,999 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,040 sq ft
    Lot size: 32,800 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,202 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,006 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 3,424 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,874 sqft
  10. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,124 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,278 sqft

See all Real estate in the Almaden Valley community.
(all data current as of 8/21/2017)

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

Beckwith Building in downtown Los Gatos, California

The beautiful Beckwith Building in downtown Los Gatos, California

I have been fortunate to have made 5 trips to Europe, one of them lasting 9 months, and will be returning again before the end of 2013 (this time to Belgium).  It is so diverse, beautiful and compelling! Having experienced a little culture shock myself (when living in Florence, Italy, for one year of university), I’m very sympathetic about how hard an international move can be, and I understand that for Europeans moving to Silicon Valley, there can be an acute culture shock, particularly for those coming from more rural areas.

The bulk of Silicon Valley is located in Santa Clara County, which is at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay.  In this county, there are approximately 1.8 million people, almost a million of them in the city of San Jose.  Some areas, or districts, of San Jose have a distinctive character and are almost like towns or small cities themselves.  So in this article I’ll mention both cities and towns, but also areas or districts of San Jose, which might appeal to our European transplants.   Most of my comments will reference Santa Clara County or “south bay” locations, but I will also mention others on the San Francisco Peninsula and SF Bay Area too.

Architecture, Urban Centers and Charm

It is an unfortunate negative in Silicon Valley that much of our housing consists of ranch style tract homes, and truthfully, they are not exactly a work of art.  New or newer homes tend to be on very tiny parcels of land (or “lots”) and for many people may simply feel too congested or crowded. But there are beautiful residential neighborhoods – you just need to know where to look!  In many ways, the areas with higher charm can make our global home buyers feel more comfortable than if they were faced with only track, ranch neighborhoods.

Do you value unique, older architecture with Victorian, Craftsman, Tudor or other home styles? Then check out these areas:

  • Within San Jose: the Japantown, Vendome, and Naglee Park areas of downtown San Jose. Also in central San Jose are the Rosegarden, Shasta Hanchett and Burbank neighborhoods which all boast some lovely older homes.  Or, if you love classic Spanish Revival style homes with views, consider the old Alum Rock area of San Jose near the country club (golf course).  The Willow Glen area of SJ (zip code 95120) is full of lovely old established neighborhoods with historic homes and tree lined streets.  If your job takes you to downtown San Jose, all of these areas will be fairly close.

Please read the rest of this article on the Move2SiliconValley.com website:

http://www.move2siliconvalley.com/which-silicon-valley-areas-are-the-most-european-feeling/

  1. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 667 sq ft
    Lot size: 749 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 768 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,346 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,288 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,524 sqft
  4. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 667 sq ft
    Lot size: 749 sqft
  5. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 894 sq ft
    Lot size: 727 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,348 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,346 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,150 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,271 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,041 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,211 sqft
  9. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,488 sq ft
    Lot size: 744 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 924 sq ft

See all Real estate in the 95112 zip code.
(all data current as of 8/21/2017)

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

Below please find a “market mapper” app that will let you click on the various nearby areas (Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Almaden, Cambrian, Campbell) to see how that real estate market area is doing right now, in real time (updated weekly).  Hope you find it a quick and fun way to get a pulse on this part of the Silicon Valley real estate market!


  1. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,840 sq ft
    Lot size: 18,800 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,735 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,361 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,862 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,218 sqft
  4. 5 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 5,100 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.00 ac
  5. 6 beds, 0 baths
    Home size: 7,953 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.78 ac
  6. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 4,363 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.38 ac

See all Real estate in the city of Monte Sereno.
(all data current as of 8/21/2017)

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

Scenic Silicon ValleyIf you arrived into Silicon Valley via Highway 101, driving south from San Francisco, you might believe that the Santa Clara Valley, the San Jose area and Silicon Valley as a whole has got to seem to be the ugliest place on earth. Although heavily traveled, that is not the “scenic route”.

So, too, if you are looking for a place to live and are groping to find a place that is reasonably priced, fairly safe and not a terrible commute distance. You might not even have “is nice looking” on your wish list. You might not think it’s possible if all you ever see are the ugly concrete tilt-up buildings in north San Jose, Santa Clara, Alviso, or anywhere along the 237 corridor.  That area is an architectural wasteland.

Let me assure you: there are a lot of beautiful places in Silicon Valley where you can rent or buy a home. But how do you find them? It helps a lot to have a local give you a few pointers.  I’ll give you some tips today on finding a scenic place to live.

Hills – An easy way to find a scenic location to make your home is to settle near the hills, especially those in the west valley (the Santa Cruz Mountains or the Coastal Range) as they are green year-round. Communities at the base of the west valley foothills include, in Santa Clara County, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, and the Almaden Valley area of San Jose. All of these areas are adjacent to the hills or mountains and offer far better than average schools (many of them qualify as great – compare costs between these areas). Continue reading

Days on market for several "west valley" communities within Silicon ValleyFor people relocating to Silicon Valley, often there’s not just one city, town or area which seems like a good fit.  Sometimes it may come down to what your money can buy or how difficult it is to purchase in one area versus another.   This is frequently the case with the “West Valley” areas where schools are good and the neighborhoods are tidy.

There are two statistics which are especially helpful in understanding the Santa Clara County real estate market.  One is the “days on market” or DOM.  The shorter this is, the hotter the market – and the harder it is to purchase.   The second is the sale price to list price ratio, which hints at the existence of multiple offers, overbids, and buyers giving away all of their rights.

Today, then, we’ll have a look at these, starting with Almaden, the southernmost area, and working our way north along the coastal range.  The charts below are all for single family homes (houses and duet homes, not condos or townhomes).

Almaden Valley is a district within the city of San Jose.  Its boundaries roughly follow the 95120 zip code, though there are some parts of nearby zip codes which somewhat overlap into Almaden too. How’s the Almaden market?  Red hot!  Days on market is crazy low – a mere 16! And the average sale price is almost 104% of list price…and rising!

Almaden Valley days on market and sale price to list price ratio

Almaden Valley, San Jose, 95120 days on market and sale price to list price ratio

Los Gatos is a bit north of Almaden and has many micro-markets within it based on proximity to downtown Los Gatos, the school districts, view of the hills or valley and many other factors. (This is “in town”, zip codes 95030 and 95032, not the Los Gatos Mountains 95033.)  The market is also red hot in Los Gatos! The days on market are significantly longer (36 as opposed to Almaden’s 16), but the sale price to list price ratio is a tad higher here. Continue reading
Translation

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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
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San Mateo County, and
Santa Cruz County.
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Special focus on:
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Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
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2007: Mary Pope-Handy and Frances Flynn Thorsen win the Project Blogger Contest for Mary's Live in Los Gatos blog. The contest was sponsored by
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