photos

Heritage Grove in east Los Gatos blends historic and contemporary architecture and landscape together nicely

An old apricot orchard used to line Blossom Hill Road between Union and Leigh Avenues until the 1990s. The former owners, Ralph and Sophie Heintz, lived there in their farmhouse until their deaths, at which time the property was willed to the University of California at Berkeley for eye research.

Sophie and Ralph were interesting people. He ran a small train on their property and was an inventor. She was a ham radio operator.

In 1998, the Heintz land (and house etc.) was sold to Summerhill Homes and a portion developed as housing. That Los Gatos neighborhood is now called Heritage Grove A strip of trees was planted along Blossom Hill Road, reminiscent of the history of the area.  A large section of land was made a permanent open space, now known as the Heintz Open Space Preserve.  This open space connects directly with Belgatos Park, which also connects with the Santa Rosa Open Space Preserve. So the network of trails is quite extensive. (Link to Town of Los Gatos page with pdf files of these three trail maps. Link to Google Maps map of Blossom Hill Trails, drawn by Jim Handy.)

The Heintz’s big, old farmhouse has been renovated and is being lived in.  Ralph Heintz’s old workshop, the Ramohs Laboratory, is preserved with signs explaining the history of the place nearby. Continue reading

Here’s a Campbell house which is always in the spirit of Halloween. If it has a name, as homes in Carmel always do, it should be called the  “skull and crossbones house“.

What do you think?  Is this good decor for a home year round?  (And it’s not even Halloween and this isn’t even my haunted real estate blog  since we’re talking decor, not spooks.)

  1. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,289 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,757 sqft
  2. 5 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,327 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,496 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,130 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,539 sqft
  4. 5 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,546 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,666 sqft
  5. 2 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,665 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,497 sqft
  6. 5 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,436 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,356 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,252 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,753 sqft
  8. 5 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,195 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,011 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,715 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,147 sqft
  10. 5 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,346 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,670 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Campbell.
(all data current as of 5/27/2017)

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

Photograph things which stay with the home

Photograph things which stay with the home

Silicon Valley home buyers shop for their new house online first, and the most important element in their shopping (once price, size and location are considered) is the property condition.  That translates to this: photographs are extremely important!  After price, I would say that photos are the most important element of marketing a home for sale today.

In the past, I have ranted a little about agents who take or use poor quality photos, ones which are dark, blurry, involve clutter (such as cars in the driveway) etc.  Some listing agents are very sloppy, and their clients do not seem to notice, incredibly.  Even if the condominium is “distressed”, that doesn’t mean that the photos need to be!

Even when the images are clear and well illuminated, though, there’s a tendency of agents or home owners (who sometimes provide the photography) to include scenes which are pretty, but not relevant.

I’m talking about your piano, your bed against the wall, or that inviting leather chair and ottoman with a reading lamp in the corner.  None of these appealing pieces of furniture will stay with the house, and home buyers know it.  A wall is a wall…. And that means it’s not a helpful shot in terms of marketing your home.

Home buyers want to see the kitchen, the bathrooms, windows and doors. Closeups of tile work, leaded glass windows or an amazing front door work well, because these items all stay. They would like to get a sense of every major room and area in the house – but not your decor!  If the focus of the photo is on your sleigh bed or giant hutch against a long wall in the dining room, the mark is missed.

Most professional photographers will show how a room is used, so a dining room shot will include the furniture.  But the image will usually show more than furniture and walls – it will normally also display the light fixture, the flooring, doors or windows – all of which stay.

  1. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,235 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,481 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,520 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,363 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 1 full bath
    Home size: 897 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,924 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,861 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,829 sqft
  5. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,046 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,791 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,195 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,052 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,815 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,011 sqft
  8. 0 beds, 0 baths
    Home size: 5,916 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,018 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,068 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,619 sqft
  10. 0 beds, 0 baths
    Home size: 5,916 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,018 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Santa Clara.
(all data current as of 5/27/2017)

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

Pool removal collageIf you are thinking of removing a pool, you may be wondering about the cost and process of doing it.  There are a few approaches to this task, but most people in Silicon Valley decide to have the edges removed, break up the gunnite or concrete bottom (for drainage) and then add compacted soil before re-landscaping.  A more expensive method is to remove all the pieces of rebar and concrete.  The least expensive is to simply leave all of the pool in place, just add soil and landscape.  With that last approach, anyone can view the backyard and see exactly where the pool once was (when seen in homes for sale, it lends itself to snickering – so not advised).

The typical method, partial removal, seems to cost between $10,000 and $20,000 in the San Jose area now, depending largely upon what type of new landscaping goes in.  The removal only takes about 1-2 weeks, some of that related to weather conditions and how busy the contractors are at the time.

Next, please enjoy 12 photos of the pool removal process, care of my clients and friends, whose home is in Willow Glen.

Pool full of water

Pool full of water

Continue reading

Saratoga Retirement Community - Odd Fellow's 1912 Manor HouseWhen I was 13 years old, my parents moved from Santa Clara to Saratoga, where our newly built George Day home had been constructed against a pastoral backdrop of orchards plus one small horse ranch directly behind us.  In winter, when many trees lost their leaves, we could see past Fruitvale Avenue and glimpse the towers of the old Odd Fellows Home.  I always wondered what that was about and who those odd fellows were who seemed to retire there, in that stately old building away from the main drag.  It was a mystery to me.

Today that same campus is home to the Saratoga Retirement Community, a continuing care facility. The International Order of Odd Fellows still owns this senior living site, but it’s managed by Pacific Retirement Services.  Best of all, it is open to everyone, and you don’t need to be a member of the IOOF to live there.  And, in fact, in the early 2000s my grandfather rented an apartment in the Assisted Living area for a few years – and loved it.  That was before the Manor House was totally rehabbed and again the pinnacle of the community. Continue reading

Sell your home the first timeYou keep reading that it’s a “seller’s market” in Silicon Valley real estate.  You hear about multiple offers and home prices getting pushed up.  Interest rates should be inching up in the new year – so competition remains strong.

Should you jump in as a San Jose area seller now?

Maybe, but if you do it, do it right!  The dirty little secret that no one talks about is that many Santa Clara County homes for sale are not selling.  They sit on the market, popping up on MLS searches for month after month.

There are quite a few common myths that home owners believe about selling their property. Believe these, and act accordingly, and your chances of selling are dramatically damaged:

  • my price is high, but buyers can always “make an offer”
  • it’s a seller’s market, my home does not have to be perfect
  • if I fix up the home to sell, the buyer may not like the changes (this one is especially common)
  • it was like this when I bought it, so I don’t have to improve it now
  • I have lived with (fill in the blank) forever, there’s nothing wrong with it

Getting the staging and pricing right matter tremendously.  Today let’s just focus on staging.
Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

A sign from Saratoga: “Education is a journey, not a destination” – well said!

Education is a journey

 

Where will you see this?  It’s on the reverse of the one below.

West Valley College sign

  1. 5 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 3,250 sq ft
    Lot size: 37,505 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,195 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,219 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,618 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.77 ac
  4. 5 beds, 5 full, 2 half baths
    Home size: 5,569 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.75 ac
  5. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,759 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,492 sqft
  6. 5 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 3,283 sq ft
    Lot size: 43,560 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 3,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.13 ac
  8. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,400 sq ft
    Lot size: 42,775 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,686 sq ft
    Lot size: 14,549 sqft
  10. 6 beds, 5 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 5,161 sq ft
    Lot size: 29,403 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 5/27/2017)

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

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. 5 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,624 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,490 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,124 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,265 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,054 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,015 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,716 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,011 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 2,354 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,015 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,125 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,141 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,626 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,670 sqft
  8. 2 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,124 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,265 sqft
  9. 5 beds, 4 full baths
    Home size: 3,753 sq ft
    Lot size: 29,228 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 3 full baths
    Home size: 2,601 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,327 sqft

See all Real estate in the Almaden Valley community.
(all data current as of 5/27/2017)

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

Awhile back I found this fabulous 18 minute video online, Valley of Heart’s Delight, complete with an embed code so that it can be shared. I hope you enjoy it! Apprently it’s a 1948 remake of a 1925 look into Santa Clara County’s agricultural industry of days gone by. Interesting images of the orchards, blossoms, San Jose neighborhoods, Moffett Field, Santa Clara University & Mission, San Jose State, Stanford University, and business of yesteryear. It is much like a promotional video, showing current day Silicon Valley in its most flattering light.

Images and audio include:

Orchards
hillside views
downtown San Jose
Alum Rock Park (with a pool!)
Mt Madonna
The Rosegarden
Mission Santa Clara
Santa Clara University
San Jose State University
Stanford University
Santa Cruz Beach

Sorry, but we couldn't find any results in the MLS that match the specified search criteria.

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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:
Santa Clara County,
San Mateo County, and
Santa Cruz County.
:
Special focus on:
San Jose, Los Gatos,
Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
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Valley Of Hearts Delight
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
with an interest in history

Move2SiliconValley.com
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Silicon Valley real estate,
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Top 25 real estate blogs 2016
2016: Personal Income's list of top 25 real estate blogs.


Best Realtor blog award
2016: Coastal Group OC's list of best Realtor blogs


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.


Non blog award


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

2011 readers' poll,
San Jose Mercury News

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