When you’re in and out of people’s homes, sometimes you experience things that you don’t expect and don’t want to see. Some homes should come with a warning: shield your eyes! And have a sense of humor, if at all possible!
The other day, I met with a Silicon Valley appraiser at a home that I have under contract in the Santa Teresa area of San Jose. She informed me that sometimes people don’t pick up at all for her visit, which is pretty surprising given that she’s armed with a camera and is required to use it. Sometimes beds are unmade, curtains drawn, and the home a mess. That’s not great. But what she found intolerable was seeing the resident’s underwear on the floor. The appraiser stated that for refinances, she makes sure that the bra or undies make it into the photo and onto the appraisal report. Passive aggressive, no? But I understood her point. Why did they want her to deal with that?
Usually when residential real estate is for sale, the owners do an exceptionally good job at tidying up. Some will joke that their house looks so good now that they don’t want to sell. Unfortunately, homes are not always in “show ready” condition. And at times, what the Realtor and home buyers see is downright embarrassing. When consumers come through a condo or house and find unmentionables lying about – especially if they appear on the floor rather than folded laundry meant for a drawer – they get grossed out. Embarrassed buyers don’t buy. They leave. They do it quickly. And they don’t come back.
Some things I’ve experienced or had happen that made me want to say “beware, time to shield your eyes!”: Continue reading
The site was first used to mine from the hills all the way back in 1856 when it was used to quarry lime for the gold and silver mining industry.
The history of Saratoga Quarry Park
Saratoga Quarry Park was purchased in 1921 by Santa Clara County to extract rock and gravel for the county roads. In 1967 the county stopped using this site as a quarry. Still county property, public workers began to use the location as a recreational facility, with volunteers building picnic grounds and barbeques, landscaping and hardscaping. County employees held parties and even weddings on the site until the late 1990s.
The City of Saratoga purchased the property in 2011 with the intent to develop a park. The park opened with 0.8 miles of trails and picnic grounds on October 31, 2015. Someday, the city hopes to add trails which would connect the Quarry Park to Hakone Gardens and another to the Skyline to the Sea Trail through the Santa Cruz Mountains.
While quarry ridges have been softened and landscapes to return the mountainside to a more natural habitat and prevent erosion, many remnants from the quarry days remain and are even celebrated. Two marked tunnels, though blocked off for entry, have pathways built for visitors to peek inside and learn about the work that was done there. Some old, large gears are now used as decoration, such as axles from mine carts being used as benches. The largest structure is the Old Loading Structure, the concrete remains of the building still standing by the parking lot entrance. Once used to deposit freight into train cars and then into semis, the building now holds large black and white photographs from when the quarry was active.
Many of the special features, such as native gardens, boardwalks, and viewing platforms were Eagle Scout Projects from troop 566, added in 2015.
Silicon Valley home buyers are sometimes confused about the difference between a home inspection and a home appraisal. Are they one and the same? Not even close!
A property or home inspection is done to determine if the major components of a house, townhouse, condo, etc. are all working and in satisfactory condition, and to point out defects and problems so that they may be addressed by the current or future owner. The property inspector will make a visual inspection of things like the foundation (is it cracked, is it bolted?), are there any issues in the crawlspace (moisture, ponding water, cellulose debris), the attic (is there evidence of vermin? are electrical junctions all in boxes? is there enough insulation?) as well as the furnace, water heater, etc. The inspector may check to see if the water flow is good in the home and at the water main. These are all things that the appraiser does not do. (There are other possible inspections, too, besides just the home inspection, such as chimney, roof, HVAC, pool, foundation, etc.)
An appraisal is a formal statement of value by a licensed appraiser. The appraiser measures the size of the home to establish the square footage. The appraiser does not check to see if the furnace works! However, if the roof is very old, if the home needs substantial remodeling, that will impact the assigned value. The appraisal is used by the lender to determine how much the bank should be lending on. Often, that’s the same amount as the purchase price. But sometimes not!
What happens if the appraisal is lower than the purchase price of a home?
A buyer with 20% down payment is in contract to purchase a Cambrian house for $1,400,000. The expectation is that the bank will fund a loan for 80% of purchase price, or $1,120,000. If the appraiser finds the value to be only $1,350,000, the loan will be 80% of that number – not the purchase price. In that case, the mortgage would be at $1,080,000. Note: most people think that the buyer will be “making up” the full $50,000 shortfall, but that’s not the case. The amount to make up is $40,000, not $50,000 because it’s the percentage of the gap, not the whole thing.
If you happen to be buying residential real estate “all cash”, you will not be required to have or pay for an appraisal. You are also never required to have inspections, but unless a seller is providing excellent pre-sale inspections, it would be a huge and possibly costly mistake to skip having them.
Each year, Sereno Group hosts a children’s pumpkin decorating contest. Kids who want to participate may get a free pumpkin (while supplies last) at any of our offices. Every person who enters is given a little gift, and there will be three prize winners from the three age groups (up to late elementary aged students). Office locations are Aptos / Santa Cruz, Los Gatos, Willow Glen, Saratoga, Los Altos and Palo Alto. This year the deadline is October 24th. For more details, please read the article on the Live in Los Gatos blog.
$1,500,000 : 4187 Smith Grade, SANTA CRUZ3 beds, 2 baths
$439,000 : 453 2nd ST, WATSONVILLE2 beds, 1 bath
$455,500 : 483 Echo LN, BOULDER CREEK2 beds, 2 baths
$649,000 : 128 Buena Vista DR, FREEDOM3 beds, 2 baths
$749,000 : 14405 W Park AVE, BOULDER CREEK5 beds, 3 baths
$1,499,000 : 437 Los Altos DR, APTOS3 beds, 3 baths
$675,000 : 270 Storey RD, WATSONVILLE3 beds, 1 bath
$846,000 : 412 Caledonia ST, SANTA CRUZ2 beds, 1 bath
$1,199,000 : 145 Old Adobe RD, WATSONVILLE4 beds, 3 baths
$1,085,000 : 520 Walnut AVE, SANTA CRUZ2 beds, 3 baths
See all Real estate matching your search.
(all data current as of 11/18/2017)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
Campbell CA home for sale with mother-in-law suite can be a bit of a challenge to find as these houses are rare anywhere in Silicon Valley or the San Jose area. With Santa Clara County’s home prices climbing ever higher, many local governments are encouraging the building of granny units or guest quarters which can be rented out or used by family / friends. It’s a huge plus to have a multi-generational housing arrangement or guest cottage, and even better when it’s both attached and features its own private entrance. The house at 920 Hazelwood Avenue, Campbell, CA 95008 is such a gem!
Campbell CA home for sale with mother-in-law suite
920 Hazelwood Ave is a Campbell CA home for sale with mother-in-law suite. It enjoys a private entrance as well as a direct connection to the main part of the house at the family room. Features include these:
- Private entrance via gate on right side of the house
- Direct access to the house via the family – dining room
- Slider to beautiful, big back yard
- Very spacious living area with oversized wet bar that includes a small fridge and sink
- Windows on 3 sides of the living area
- Separate bedroom with walk in closet and full bath (shower over tub)
- Dual heating zones so house and mother-in-law unit can each regulate heat separately
In recent years, my clients have furnished and rented out this part of the house, which is 539 square feet, for $2000 per month on Air B & B.
Stunning Campbell CA home and yard
The main part of the house is gorgeous, too! The living areas include hardwood floors in all but the bathrooms – a spacious & sunny living room, a remodeled kitchen which is open to the living and dining areas (and with a view to the back yard), an office and a full bath just off the family room. In the bedroom wing you’ll find 3 sunny bedrooms and an exquisitely remodeled bathroom. One of the bedrooms could be expanded to create a master bedroom with en suite bath – have a look at the video below and you’ll get the idea, or visit me at an open house and I’ll walk you through the possibilities.
The kitchen: heart of the home
The exquisite kitchen provides an ideal layout, open to the family – dining room and with a view to the spacious backyard beyond it. Impeccable maple cabinets, slab granite counters, tile back splash with glass tile accents, stainless steel appliances, pullouts, a lazy Susan, recessed lights and under the cabinet lights, a breakfast bar, and a wonderful skylight to boot. This kitchen – family – dining area is the heart of the home. It is a joy to spend time here, with beauty both inside and out.
More features, and a stunning back yard
Similarly, the bathroom in the bedroom wing of the house was exquisitely remodeled with slate flooring, tile walls, and stall shower. The room was thoughtfully designed with room for a hamper. The other two baths have both been updated, too.
Many Silicon Valley home buyers want a large backyard, ideal for entertaining. Here you have it, and more! The back yard provides a gorgeous dining & lounging area with pavers, and the walkway along both sides of the home are also done with pavers. A large lawn area is graced by mature landscaping, including a pluot tree and an avocado tree. A wooden play structure completes the garden in one corner.
This lovely house features dual pane windows throughout.
Room to grow: if someone wants a little more home, it’s possible to add on and still leave an enormous amount of yard. One of the bedrooms could be expanded to create another master bedroom with private bath. Stop by the open house and I’ll show you where that can be done.
Great, quiet location close to downtown Campbell
In so much of Silicon Valley, it can be hard to get away from freeway and road noise. The house at 920 Hazelwood Avenue enjoys the enviable bonus of being close to major commute routes (San Tomas Expressway, Highway 17 /880, Highway 85) but being far enough away that the backyard truly is a quiet oasis. You cannot read about this – must experience in person!
The location is also close enough to downtown Campbell to make it a quick jaunt or bike ride for the farmers market, dining or shopping.
Lest we forget the schools:
Public schools are Capri Elementary, Rolling Hills Middle, Westmont High. Canyon Heights (a private, Catholic school) is just steps away.
Inspections (home, pest, roof, chimney) are completed and the house is ready to be sold today! Please call or email to learn more – or stop by our open house this weekend, August 13-14, 2016 between 1 and 4 both days.
Please view the virtual tour with interactive FLOOR PLAN!
Video walk through of this lovely Campbell CA home for sale with mother-in-law suite
by Mary Pope-Handy (listing agent, Sereno Group, Los Gatos)
More details on this lovely Campbell CA home for sale with mother-in-law! MLS information below, please check it out!
We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 81594323 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.
If you enjoy art, wine tasting, festivals, or leisurely time outdoors with food and entertainment, then the Saratoga Rotary Art Show should be on your list of must-do things this weekend. The 59th annual event takes place on the campus of West Valley College from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, April 30th and Sunday, May 1st. It is hosted by the Saratoga Rotary and is sponsored by a number of local businesses. To get all of the details, please go to this link on the Saratoga Rotary’s website:
$8,600,000 : 19400 SARATOGA LOS GATOS RD, SARATOGA7 beds, 7 baths
$3,195,000 : 15200 Oriole WAY, SARATOGA4 beds, 3 baths
$2,888,000 : 18596 Paseo Lado, SARATOGA5 beds, 4 baths
$3,200,000 : 22217 Mount Eden RD, SARATOGA4 beds, 5 baths
$2,399,000 : 12759 Plymouth DR, SARATOGA4 beds, 3 baths
$1,395,000 : 18283 Baylor AVE, SARATOGA3 beds, 2 baths
$6,488,000 : 22461 MOUNT EDEN RD, SARATOGA6 beds, 10 baths
$1,675,000 : 14672 Fieldstone DR, SARATOGA3 beds, 3 baths
$1,998,000 : 18859 Casa Blanca LN, SARATOGA4 beds, 3 baths
$2,888,000 : 12549 Sumner DR, SARATOGA4 beds, 3 baths
See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 11/18/2017)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
How did 2015 end as compared to 2014 for the Silicon Valley real estate market? It was perhaps not as much appreciation as some may have perceived – and I may be alone, but I think that’s a good thing as realty trends and statistics go. I’ll explain below.
The Annual Silicon Valley RE Report is in for Santa Clara County (links at the bottom for San Mateo County and Santa Cruz County). Here you can view the year over year statistics and market trends for the San Jose area.
Santa Clara County home sales and prices –
As you can see, home sales (solid area) remain fairly low. There’s plenty of demand, just not much inventory for it, hence the pretty much steady rise in pricing overall in Santa Clara County. This is one of the stronger areas in the nation. (When prices are up, consuemers tend to think that Realtors are always making tons of money. But notice the number of sales! Many agents are writing offers and not getting them accepted – so are having a tough time just as their buyers are having a tough time with multiple bids.)
Santa Clara County – prices up over 2014 by 6-8% appx
- Median home prices increased by 7.9% year-over-year to $917,000 from $849,975.
- The average home sales price rose by 6.4% year-over-year to $1,157,360 from $1,088,090.
- Personal note: appreciation in this range is fairly sustainable, as compared to the appreciation in 2014, which was closer to 20%. Double digit appreciation is usually a little worrisome since it often is not sustainable. My sense is that this is healthier, and probably less susceptible to a “correction” than when prices rise more than 10% per year. Hence, I think it’s GOOD NEWS that the average appreciation is in single digits.
Santa Clara County by city within the county
Looking for a beautifully remodeled, young-feeling home with fantastic curb appeal, an open floorplan, a stunning kitchen, and a gorgeous back yard? How about one that features a guest cottage, pool and spa and has energy efficient elements throughout? Would you love to have a neighborhood park on a quiet street just steps from your front door? It’s available now and you can view it this weekend! 13841 Ravenwood Drive in Saratoga will be open tomorrow, Saturday Jan 23, 2016, from 1:30 to 4pm and Sunday, Jan 24, 2016, also from 1:30 to 4pm. Please stop by!
This lovely property has been meticulously expanded, remodeled, and improved down to the smallest details. The stucco on the exterior of the house was redone in 2011 to match the addition, which has permits and finals. The beautiful pool is a salt water pool with solar heating. The house enjoys solar electricity and an endless hot water tank, newer insulation, and water efficient toilets. The interior features hardwood floors, coffered ceilings, recessed lights, and crown moulding and baseboard throughout. Both full baths were remodeled and include floor to ceiling tile.
The front door was custom made and the remarkable entry enjoys a limestone tile floor, tall ceilings with a barrell vault, and at the entry to the living areas you’ll see the open living spaces: living, dining, family rooms and the kitchen’s breakfast bar.
- Total living space appx 2349 (per plans), including cottage
- Lot size appx 10,259 (per appraisal)
- Built in 1955. Permitted & finalled expansion of kitchen and entry, addition of new bedroom, upgrades to both full baths completed in 2011
Welcome home! Your first view into this gracious home is of the striking front door, composed of wood, translucent glass and wrought iron. Step inside to the formal entry with its barrel-vaulted ceiling and classic limestone flooring, which is echoed in the laundry and bathrooms, as well. Walk through the foyer to the living areas, with a vista the pool and back yard beyond.
Fantastic KITCHEN expansion includes:
- Slab granite countertops
- Marble tile backsplash
- Custom cabinetry
- Stainless steel appliances, including
- Five Star professional grade gas cooktop and Cavaliere range hood
- KitchenAid fridge with water and ice dispenser
- KitchenAid dishwasher
- Kraus stainless steel farmhouse sink
- Hardwood floors
- Large skylight and two windows
- Recessed lighting and high, coffered ceiling
- Breakfast bar
- Hot water filter
The adjoining LIVING and DINING areas feature coffered ceilings with recessed lighting and hardwood floors. The living room has a skylight, custom display shelves and cabinets, and a large sliding glass door which leads to the stunning back yard. The dining room features a custom made, stained glass window by noted local artist Thomas Kincade. Continue reading
Home seller temptation # 1: overconfidence on the market
Because folks read about the dozens of offers on some homes, by extension, it’s easy to believe that every home sells, for top dollar, with no effort or planning on the part of the seller. This is a huge mistake. Perhaps we should even call it a myth since it may be commonly believed.
What, in today’s market, not every home is selling?
That’s right. In the last 30 days, there have been 40 house listings on our MLS in Santa Clara County that expired (that is, the listing contract period ended with the house not selling). Granted, about half of them (21 to be exact) were short sales. Additionally, though, there were other listings which were cancelled and more still which were withdrawn from the market. These were all over San Jose and nearby cities and towns, including Los Gatos.
But wait, there’s more! As of this moment – I’m logged onto MLSListings as I write this – there are 764 single family homes for sale which are not sale pending or under contract (again in SCC). The best homes, those which are well priced and marketed, I’m sure you know, sell within 2-3 weeks. Of the 764 houses and duet homes, 698 are “regular sales”. Of these non-distressed properties, how many do you think have been on the market for over 30 days? Incredibly, 252 of them were listed on or before January 23, a month ago today. That’s 36% of available inventory which has been on the market for a month or more, a huge percentage given the real estate market conditions we’re seeing today. Again, these are all over the county and in all price ranges.
This first temptation is the greatest one, and it often leads to mistakes in areas #2 and #3, listed below. Continue reading
Looking for a great Silicon Valley home to purchase? Yesterday I put a great house on the MLS and it has what everyone wants: a nicely updated and remodeled home in a good area with strong public schools. Not only that, it’s offered at $950,000, making it a great opportunity all around. It’s not easy to find an turnkey home for sale in San Jose with good public schools for under a million dollars – the average sale price in Santa Clara County is sitting at about $1.25 million right now.
Please check out 4431 Esther Drive, San Jose. It is located in the pretty, one story Villa Cambrian subdivison in the Parker area, close to Union and Highway 85. Shopping is close (large Safeway on Union at Los Gatos-Almaden and large Lucky’s at Union and Camden), as are restaurants, coffee shops, and loads of other businesses. The 12.5 acre Houge Park is a couple of blocks away. Freeway access is close, but not so close as to be deafening! And the schools are top rated: Carlton Elementary, Union Middle, and Leigh High.
Below please find the MLS info – or check out the virtual tour here: http://www.tourfactory.com/1453188
We’ll be open tomorrow, Wed Nov 11th, from 9:30am to 12:30pm, and also Saturday / Sunday Nov 14 & 15, 2015, from 1-4pm. Please stop by!
We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 81521971 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.