Senior Living

Senior Living in Silicon Valley

One of the hardest things that adult children must sometimes do is to assist their parents in downsizing.  Most of the time, this means also getting the parent(s) to agree to sell the home, perhaps also to move into a seniors facility (independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care) or perhaps to move in with one of the adult kids. Very often, leaving the house also means leaving a good deal of memories and perhaps independence.  It can be terribly difficult for everyone involved.

Sometimes our older family members can live at their own home until they die, which is what they want and what makes everyone happy.  It may also be the most economical thing to do.   As they age, there are services which can come to them (gardening, cleaning, meals being prepared or dropped off, errands being run, driving services provided when reflexes slow or eyes fail). One company has invented a medicine dispenser which is timed and will alert family members if the meds aren’t taken!   It may be good to utilize some sort of safety device in case there’s a fall.  If you can get all the bases covered, it can be close to worry free for everyone.  In those cases, perhaps worrying about real estate can wait.

For others, though, either medical needs or social needs drive the change to a place with many other seniors. For some, this infusion of new friends can be an emotional lifeline that greatly improves the quality of life.  Particularly for those who lose the ability to drive and move about independently, a transition to a seniors facility can mean a reconnecting with others which was lost due to lack of independence.  I have seen that with some of my own relatives.   Or when a beloved spouse dies, sometimes the loneliness is compounded by remaining in the same home and being mostly alone.  A move can be a big help, and the companionship of others is no small part of it. 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

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

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

Now that many home owners in Silicon Valley have equity again, the possibility of selling and moving has opened up once more.  Seniors have special needs and in many cases could use a little extra help.  Here are a few resources:

AARP.com – this is the # 1 advocacy group for seniors and this website has a tremendous wealth of information.

AgeInPlace.com – find info on creating a safe environment that’s easier to live in, plus monitoring services.

MoveSeniors.com – a resource for downsizing, moving and remodeling plus other helpful avenues.

RetirementHomes.com – a senior living directory for North America (from independent living to assisted to memory care and nursing).

SilverPlanet.com – help with “aging in place” options and more.

TheSeniorList.com – ratings and review site for a wide range of sernior services and living arrangements.

As a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, I enjoy working with and assisting seniors.  Please call me for help with seniors selling (or buying) homes anywhere in Silicon Valley!

  1. 1 bed, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,420 sq ft
    Lot size: 988 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,152 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,384 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,218 sq ft
    Lot size: 727 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,620 sq ft
  5. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 672 sq ft
  6. 3 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,292 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,899 sqft
  7. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,542 sq ft
    Lot size: 840 sqft
  8. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,152 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,375 sqft
  9. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 742 sq ft
    Lot size: 744 sqft
  10. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 1,740 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,163 sqft

See all Real estate in the 95112 zip code.
(all data current as of 6/22/2017)

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

At some point, the family home may become too much work, expense, and worry for seniors and the decision may be looming about when and how to downsize.   There are many decisions to be made, including:

  • What to keep, what to give to relatives and friends, sell, donate or throw out?
  • How big of a space should the next home be?
  • What type of housing should be targeted – a condo, townhouse, apartment, senior living community, duplex, smaller house or cottage, duet or something else?
  • Is a home with stairs an option?
  • Is outside space a requirement?
  • Will the next home be purchased or rented?
  • Is outside care needed?

Particularly for those accustomed to a large house and garden or yard, going to a living arrangement with shared walls and no yard may not be appealing.   An option for those wishing to buy(and are still very independent) that is sometimes missed is a type of housing which is sort of a gray area, and those are houses held in condominium ownership (such as the Villas of Almaden), as well as patio homes (as we see in some of the Almaden Winery neighborhood).  In both cases, as well as in some planned unit developments, there’s a home owner’s association which will usually do all of the front yard landscaping.  If the back yard is small, it’s possible to have it planted in a low-maintenance manner to maximize your enjoyment while minimizing the yard work.

As part of your recon efforts, be sure to sit down and discuss your thoughts, hopes, wants and needs with a good Realtor familiar with the area where you want to live.  He or she can point out potential alternatives or options that you may not even know exist.

Patio Homes or Zero Lot Line Houses in Silicon Valley

What Is the Difference Between CID Ownership in a Condo, Townhouse or PUD?

When A Parent Has To Sell The House

  1. 1 bed, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,420 sq ft
    Lot size: 988 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,398 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,001 sqft
  3. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,954 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,271 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,710 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,319 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 1,697 sq ft
    Lot size: 435 sqft
  6. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,371 sq ft
    Lot size: 435 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,157 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,359 sqft
  8. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,467 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,197 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,556 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,711 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,640 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,698 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of San Jose.
(all data current as of 6/22/2017)

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

Pull out wine rack for under staircase

Seen on Realtors board tour: Pull out wine rack for under the staircase

Many of our houses in Santa Clara County are ranch style, tract homes which were built from the 1950s to the 1970s (or ’80s). Often they include one coat closet, normally near the entry area of the home, and one linen closet, usually found close to the hall bathroom.  To the surprise of folks relocating to Silicon Valley from colder climates, we don’t have basements in the majority of houses here.

Where does all of our “stuff” go? That’s what these home buyers are wondering. It is really a critical question in smaller homes with fewer, and tinier, closets.

It is not uncommon to see garages in the San Jose area acting as a catch-all for seasonal decorations, old financial documents that can’t yet be shredded, business files, boxes from the last move which haven’t been opened yet, keepsakes and things that the residents haven’t had time to handle yet…for years at a time.  Guilty here also!  We will not be featured on an episode of “Hoarders”, but our garage also needs thinning out.  In this case, I have real estate files going back until 1993.  Rather, I did.  I have been scanning them, saving to both an external hard drive and to CDs, and shredding them.  So far about 10 boxes are gone.  Only a few more to go (I wish!).

Clutter increases stress for most of us.  Home buyers love built ins and see a future with less clutter when viewing cabinetry in home offices, family rooms, hallways, etc.  It’s a great surprise that assures them of better organization and less clutter in that home.

Most houses, townhouses and condos have places where a little more storage can be squeaked out, or even where wasted space was planned in!  This is especially true for structures with attics (sorry, Eichler and mid-century modern home owners). Here are some possibilities to consider in your own home:

  • A furnace in a closet inside the home may be able to be relocated to the attic, providing another inside closet
  • Water heaters hogging interior closet space could be moved to the garage or a different type of water heater could be installed in the attic. Continue reading

Almaden Senior Home SellerFor retirees or senior home owners in Almaden who’ve been in their houses a very long time, the prospect of selling that beloved San Jose home can be quite daunting.  The longer you’ve been there, the more memories you’ve created and most of the time the harder it is to decide to sell and then do all the work needed to maximize that decision.

In today’s post we’ll go over the decision to sell the home (or not), the timing elements for selling and getting help in doing so.

Deciding it’s time to sell your Almaden Valley home

Perhaps the biggest hurdle is not the physical work involved with preparing a home for the real estate market or moving, but instead is the difficult decision of whether or not to move (and if so, when to do it).

As people age, there are a lot of losses.  There may be retirement that wasn’t chosen, but forced.  Loved ones pass away.  Vision diminishes.  It may become necessary to limit driving, or worse, give it up altogether. It is not hard for those over 65, 70  or 80 years of age to feel like it’s one unhappy challenge after the next. There’s a lot of change but it’s not all positive.

The prospect of also changing one’s residence can seem like one of the biggest, toughest and most unwelcome of all.     Continue reading

Recently I read an article on Realty Times about the tax credit for non-first time homebuyers. Did you know that it may be used for “move down” buyers as well as “move up” buyers?

There are some caveats – the home cannot cost more than $800,000 and a couple cannot earn more than $255,000 per year.  Owners must have been in the home for five consecutive years of the last eight.  This may be the ideal help for Silicon Valley seniors wanting to downsize.

To read the article on Realty Times, click here.

Yesterday some clients of mine asked me about seniors selling their home and purchasing another residence while keeping the older, lower property tax rate. I did a little digging and thought I’d share what I found.

There are actually two propositions involved.  Prop 60 applies to moves within Santa Clara County, and Prop 90 relates to moves between counties which are participating in this benefit to seniors (only these few, as of the date of this posting: Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Ventura).

Some of the basics:

  • Homeowners 55 and older at the time of sale of the original property.
  • Homeowner must be on record both for the home that’s sold and the replacement property.
  • The replacement residence must be equal to or lesser in value than the original residence.
  • There are special rules for multi-family (duplex, triplex, fourplex) properties and for mobile homes.

In the most typical scenario, a senior homeowner would sell a house (or townhome or condo) and “downsize” to another, less expensive, smaller house or condo.  If the homeowner had been in the first property for a very long time, then the low tax rate would be hard to give up, but Props 60 and 90 enable that homeowner to go to another, less expensive home and carry the old tax rate along – one time, and either in the home county or in one of the participating counties. 

I have known seniors to sell a house in Los Gatos, Saratoga or San Jose and move to The Villages or to gated senior communities out of the area but closer to their grown kids and make use of these two propositions.

For more information and to get all the details, please click on the links above.

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


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