Relocation

Relocation To or From Silicon Valley

Cambrian Park Plaza signCambrian Park, or more broadly, Cambrian, is a west San Jose neighborhood or district and is one of the more affordable, high-value areas in Silicon Valley. The schools are good, the crime is low, and the commute is not too bad. For people relocating to Santa Clara County, this is a place to know about since quality education and affordability are often high priorities! Most Silicon Valley home buyers would say that Cambrian Park real estate offers a very good value.

What’s the compromise for the more reasonable prices of homes for sale? Well, Cambrian doesn’t have an interesting, upscale downtown area like Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga, or Willow Glen.

But it does have tons of shopping & restaurants and even a Farmer’s Market. It also enjoys a top notch hospital (Good Samaritan) and plenty of parks as well as a fantastic rec center with a large park adjacent to it, the Camden Community Center, which has tons of programs (including an after school program for youth), classes, and a fabulous pool.  (My family and I lived in Cambrian in the “Cambrian Gardens” neighborhood for 10 years and loved it – our kids made great use of the community center too.)

Altogether, there are about 75,000 to 80,000 residents in Cambrian, spread throughout the three zip codes of 95124, 95118 and a little tiny bit of 95008.

If there is a “central Cambrian Park”, it would have to be near the original Cambrian Park Shopping Center, which was the first actual mall in San Jose! That area is sometimes known as Cambrian Village.  People sometimes use the three names interchangeably: Cambrian, Cambrian Park, Cambrian Village.:

Where is Cambrian Park? Map of approximate Cambrian Boundaries:


View Cambrian Area of San Jose in a larger map

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How do you choose where you’d like to live in Silicon Valley?  Especially if you’re relocating here from out of the area, this can be a huge question (for more relocation-specific posts, check out my blog Move2SiliconValley.com).  Most Santa Clara County home buyers have strong preferences for low crime, good schools, and pleasant looking, quiet neighborhoods.

My clients often ask me to compare for them areas which are somewhat similar, such as Los Gatos & Los Altos. Off the top of my head, I can give general answers, such as this: Compared to Los Gatos, Los Altos is a  more expensive (perhaps 20 or 25% more?), has a very slightly smaller population, is a little more spread out,  has slightly milder weather and is overall “quieter” in terms of the downtown night life.  Los Altos is more convenient if you want to go to Palo Alto or San Francisco.  Los Gatos is more convenient if you like to visit Santa Cruz, Monterey and the coast.  Los Gatos is more mixed in terms of housing types (it still has many beautiful historic districts with nicely renovated Victorian homes, but also newer construction). Both are “nice looking” but Los Gatos has more varied terrain as it is nestled into the Santa Cruz Mountains. Both enjoy pleasant neighborhoods, good schools, lower than normal crime and community involvement.

That’s the kind of “ballpark” info I can tell people about various areas of the Santa Clara Valley, whether it’s comparing one part of San Jose to another (Cambrian Park vs Almaden Valley vs Willow Glen) or one city to another (Cupertino vs Saratoga).  I can give general info on schools.

What I can’t do (and most agents can’t) is recite from memory school API scores, median household income, housing density, crime statistics, etc.  For that we have the web!  Here are some very helpful links which can assist you in your search to find the part of Santa Clara County that’s the best fit for you, your wants, needs, and budget:

Want to compare areas in and near San Jose?  A great tool for some basic and broad information by zip code is Zip Lookup.  Input a zip code and get an easy to read map of population information like density, age, and income. For more official documentation, census data is easily searchable online through Fact Finder – just search by county, city, town, or zipcode. A good overall source for research is Melissa Data.
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Today consumers have a lot of choices as to where to search for properties for sale in Silicon Valley (the South Bay area, Santa Clara County, San Jose, Los Gatos, Almaden etc.).  But not all “find a home” sites are equally accurate.  Some websites display listings that are sale pending, sold & closed or even withdrawn.

The very best, most accurate and most often updated site is the public branch of our agent-supported Multiple Listing Service or MLS, which is MLSListings.com.  You can find it at www.MLSListings.com. (If sending your own agent info a house, it is helpful if you provide both the street address and the MLS #.  By the way, the first few digits of the number imply the year that the listing was put into the system.  811 = 2011.  810 = 2010.)

Why is MLSListings.com the best source for finding Silicon Valley homes for sale?

It is updated constantly.  Within a few minutes of whenever a real estate agent or broker changes the listing status, comments, photos, showing instructions, open house information,etc., the new information is displayed on MLSListings.  While it’s not instantaneous, most changes appear within 5-10 minutes (photos being the slowest to load).

MLSListings is syndicated out to some other sites, but some don’t update often (or at all).  Other sites rely upon the listing agent to go to that one site and update the status.  Realtors and other licensees get busy and this task may slip through the cracks, making you believe that a home is available when it’s not. MLSListings.com is the source.

You don’t have to register. Some of the portals that you might consider visiting to view the MLS info may not include the virtual tour or all pics – or might show them to you only if you register.  You do not need to register to view houses, condos, townhouses, multi units etc. on MLSListings.com. Continue reading

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

  1. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,645 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,663 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,040 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,998 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,727 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,487 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,432 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,998 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,684 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,263 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,683 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,000 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,891 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,160 sqft
  8. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 871 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,197 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,629 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,838 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,530 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,139 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Cupertino.
(all data current as of 7/27/2017)

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

State of American Well Being - San Jose - Sunnyvale - Santa Clara ranks 5th in U.S.MSN real estate tends to feature real estate news in bite-sized slide shares with images (and links for home buyers to search properties listed for sale on Realtor.com). A new study, more complicated and comprehensive than would normally be published for consumers to digest,was summarized there from Gallup and Healthways Well-Being Index, known as The American State of Well Being study, a poll of 178,000 people in 2013 across the country.  The distilled info is broken down by state, metro area or city and also by congressional district.  San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara (the metro area in Santa Clara County, what we would call Silicon Valley) came in quite strong!   MSN picked it up, condensed the info and provided a list displaying a sample of homes for sale in the  10 happiest cities in the U.S., which you can read online here.

Not surprisingly for residents of The Golden State, California landed three of the ten spots.  Cites or areas named as where people are the happiest ones in the United States are:

  1. Provo, Utah
  2. Boulder, Colorado
  3. Fort Collins, Colorado
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii
  5. San Jose, California
  6. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  7. Naples, Florida
  8. San Luis Obispo, California
  9. San Francisco, California
  10. Lincoln, Nebraska

Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County and the San Jose area still are “The Valley of Heart’s Delight“, at least that’s how it seems when the locals are polled!

Because the San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara area is a “metro” area, it would seem to include these nearby towns and cities:  Los Altos, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Cupertino, Mountain View, Campbell, Los Altos Hills and other parts of Santa Clara County.  Congrats to the whole South Bay region!

To learn more about this study and its results, please click on the Gallup-Healthways link above.

  1. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,663 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,128 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,466 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,128 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,328 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,201 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,148 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,098 sqft
  5. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 2,778 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,074 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,184 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,198 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,027 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,000 sqft
  8. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,157 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,699 sqft
  9. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,254 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,513 sqft
  10. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 930 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,389 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Sunnyvale.
(all data current as of 7/27/2017)

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

In some parts of Silicon Valley, by crossing a particular road or driving a few feet, the whole look, feel and pricing of an area can change.

Bel Estos Drive near Rosswood Drive in San Jose

This is true for Rosswood Drive at Union Avenue in Cambrian Park.  On both sides of the intersection, there are many homes of 1200 to 1400 square feet (some larger too) all built around the same time.  Both are San Jose 95124 addresses.  Both are good areas – but the 2000 and 2100 blocks are  nicer than the 1800 & 1900 blocks of Rosswood and those homes sell for more. Why? What makes one area sell for more than another?

In the case of Rosswood Drive, part of it has to do with the beautiful canopy of trees that line the two thousand block of Rosswood and the adjoining streets (Bel Escou, Bel Canto, Bel Estos, Esther, etc.). Part of it is just that the homes are a little better maintained.  Historically, Union used to divide the schools too, and that used to be part of the higher prices – but that’s not really the case now.  (A similar jump happens along Los Gatos-Almaden Road by Harwood too – same builder, Leep, but prices nudge up just a little for homes closer to Blossom Hill Road.)

How can you tell, from looking at a neighborhood, how it compares with nearby streets in the same part of town generally?  Sometimes you cannot know from looking alone (for example a flood plain, earthquake fault or school boundary won’t show), but I’ll give you some cues as to what makes areas more or less desireabile visually.

These are some things I teach my San Jose area buyers to watch out for (lower values) in terms of appearance and sounds:
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A newer “mixed use” neighborhood in San Jose, Santana Row is popular with people of all ages and interests. It is not just a “shopping center”, but is really a community, one which offers a wide variety of dining, shopping and entertainment, suitable for all kinds of budgets too. Best of all, it’s right in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Dining at Santana Row varies from very formal and expensive to casual and snack-like, and the type of food available ranges widely too. A fairly new addition is Pinkberry, which seems to be growing quickly in popularity. There are about thirty cafes, bistros and restaurants and to date I’ve probably visited about one-third of them – all experiences positive.

Entertainment at SR goes beyond window shopping and includes live music and, of course, films at the movie theater. Many chose to simply peoplewatch, take in a good book or catch a game of chess with a friend while enjoying a beverage. A Farmer’s Market features produce, flowers and other goods each week (and there’s a Safeway just a block or two away also) and is a good excuse to browse the offerings. Or maybe splurge a little and enjoy some pampering at a spa or salon: Santana Row’s got that, too.

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San Jose’s Cambrian Park neighborhood offers a variety of home types, sizes, and price ranges, from small condos to large houses on big lots.  Below, please find virtually all MLS listed properties currently for sale in the Cambrian Park Area with zip codes of 95124 and 95118. The info is updated automatically, so please check back often! (You can narrow your search by selecting only certain home types, sizes, etc.  Below are four groupings, by zip codes and home types, to cover all residential real estate available right now in 95124 & 95118.

95124 Single Family Homes:

  1. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,159 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,374 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,196 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,967 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,210 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,098 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,306 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,998 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,280 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,499 sqft

See all Real estate in the 95124 zip code.
(all data current as of 7/27/2017)

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

95118 Single Family Homes:

click on link below to see these and more…

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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. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,100 sq ft
  2. 5 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,966 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,550 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,588 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,749 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,328 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,899 sqft
  5. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 840 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,486 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,527 sq ft
  7. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,339 sq ft
  8. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 2,420 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,346 sqft
  9. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 2,126 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,749 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,450 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,623 sqft

See all Real estate in the 95112 zip code.
(all data current as of 7/27/2017)

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

Finding Affordable HousingMoving across the state, country, or globe always presents opportunities – but also challenges.  What are the biggest hurdles for people moving to Silicon Valley?

The cost of housing is the # 1 challenge for newcomers to Silicon Valley

For most people, the hardest issue is the cost of housing in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Whether buying or renting, it’s extremely costly here.  Depending on where you’re coming from, it could be man, many times more expensive. Finding affordable housing is the # 1 challenge for people relocating to Silicon Valley.

How does it compare to other places?  It is close to on par with New York  City, about 50% more expensive than Austin, TX, and about 1/3 more than Chicago, IL.  Check Sperling’s Cost of Living comparison to get a good sense of how it relates to your current home town.

Continue reading on Move2SiliconValley.com – The biggest challenges in moving to Silicon Valley

  1. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,241 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,361 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,044 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,998 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,100 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,148 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,440 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,740 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,808 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,679 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,214 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,564 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,350 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,000 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,391 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,398 sqft
  9. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 1,944 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,797 sqft
  10. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 969 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,649 sqft

See all Real estate in the Alum Rock community.
(all data current as of 7/27/2017)

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


Selling homes in
Silicon Valley:
Santa Clara County,
San Mateo County, and
Santa Cruz County.
:
Special focus on:
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Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
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2016: Personal Income's list of top 25 real estate blogs.


Best Realtor blog award
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The 2009 Sellsius list of top 12 women real estate bloggers
2009: Sellsius list of top
12 women real estate bloggers


Mary Pope-Handy's Live in Los Gatos blog won the 2007 Project Blogger contest, sponsored by Inman News and Active Rain

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
Active Rain and Inman News.


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Best real estate agent in Silicon Valley from the San Jose Mercury News poll of readers in 2011
"Best real estate agent
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2011 readers' poll,
San Jose Mercury News

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