club-almaden-sign
What makes Almaden so highly desireable a place in which to live? Real estate prices are among the highest in San Jose (and Silicon Valley). For much of Santa Clara County, its a little remote; the commute might be a little too far for some, or so its thought. But that may be a misconception.

Where is Almaden Valley?

Almaden sits nestled between the Santa Teresa foothills and the Santa Cruz Mountains in a southwest corner of Santa Clara County. It touches the Los Gatos and Cambrian Park borders on one side, Blossom Valley on another and stretches toward Morgan Hill at the base of the valley. The major roads winding through Almaden are Camden Avenue, Almaden Expressway, and Coleman Avenue. The local landmark, viewable from much of Almaden Valley, is the famous Mount Umunhum, perched at a high point of the coastal foothills and recently opened to the public as park land.

Why Choose Almaden Valley?

Great living: Almaden boasts low crime, great schools, and strong community involvement. With nice public facilities such as a rec center and library, and some neighborhood communities with cabanas and busy swim teams, its family oriented and kid friendly.

almaden-golf-course-view-smallerScenic open spaces: Almaden has lots of open spaces with golf courses, parks, and trails. The southernmost part of Almaden and some of the hilly areas are still beautiful horse country too.

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How does an afternoon of fine wines, springtime sunshine, and a stroll through a charming old downtown sound? Good? Well then, you might be interested in visiting Downtown Willow Glen during this year’s Spring Wine Walk!

Willow Glen invites you to “Sip and Stroll the Avenue” on Saturday, April 12th from 2pm to 5pm. Attendees will receive a wristband, wine glass, and a map to guide you around the day’s tasting locations.

Tickets are currently available online through Eventbrite for $30 per person and, if available, tickets will be sold on the day of for a bit more ($45/ person). Grab your friends and go for the group price ($30 in advance per person for a group of 10+).

Spring Willow Glen Wine Walk - Willow Glen Wine Walk

Be sure to read through the links below for check-in information, parking instructions, and more.

Information and Ticket Purchasing: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/willow-glen-2018-spring-wine-walk-tickets-41436677217

Downtown Willow Glen event page: http://www.willowglen.org/Wine-Walks

Home values in Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, have been going through the roof ever since Google announced that it was going to expand into downtown San Jose. Communities like Cambrian, Willow Glen, Blossom Valley, and Santa Teresa were seeing values rise at a good clip prior to the announcement. But since Google essentially put the golden shovel into the ground – in theory – the prices turned straight up, like a geyser. Santa Clara County appreciation has perhaps never been stronger than it is right now.

Realtor Property Network, or RPR, is a tool available to those of us who are dues paying members of the National Association of Realtors. Tonight I was looking at the data for a few communities within Santa Clara County, and was amazed at the appreciation over just the last month in some of them. Here’s what I found:

 

Santa Clara County Appreciation

The more expensive areas, such as Los Gatos, are appreciating nicely – but not at the same rate as the more affordable areas like Blossom Valley and Santa Teresa (both districts within the sprawling city of San Jose).Santa Clara County Appreciation as whole has risen 21.77% since a year ago.

What does that mean?

In terms of dollars and sense, it can mean seeing your whole down payment disappear. Those who have cautiously waited on the sidelines have seen the value of their buying power shrink while they studied the market and looked for a good deal.

In Santa Teresa, the median home price this last month was $965,000 and the average home price was $981,000 (per my Silicon Valley Real Estate Report). Six month ago, those numbers were $875,000 and $896,000. Home prices have gone up about $14,000 – $15,000 per month (based on the median and average sale prices).

While I was mid way through my research, the RPR site went off for scheduled maintenance. I was going to check Saratoga and Cupertino next to see if my theory holds true that this rising tide (i.e., Google) is mostly floating the boats in the most affordable areas. That will have to be continued.

At my office meeting yesterday, I heard many real estate agents tell tales of woe for their buyers, who were going up against 20 to 30 or 40 other competing offers – or more!

It is, indeed, a challenging time for home buyers. For home sellers, it’s a dream – as long as they don’t also have to buy here in Santa Clara County or anywhere else in Silicon Valley.

Interested in buying or selling in Santa Clara County, or nearby? Please give me a call and we can schedule a time for a confidential consultation.

Cambrian Park Plaza SignThe months of inventory for any part of the real estate market can vary, depending on many factors, including age of home, house size, lot size, and school district, whether or not there’s a pool, and many other things. It can be very useful to understand this metric when selling a Silicon Valley home. I’ve done market numbers crunching tied to the specific characteristics of a property (say, small yard with pool or big yard with no pool) to find the impact of those characteristics on the probability that a home will sell – or how fast.

The Cambrian area of San Jose is a very “hot market” overall, but it can be confusing to know how hot it really is, just like the rest of Santa Clara County, because there are multiple school districts – and schools are probably the number one driver of home values in this highly educated valley.

An explanation of “months of inventory”

What does “months of inventory” mean? This figure references how long it would take to sell a property if homes continued to sell and close at the current pace with no new inventory coming on the market. A good analogy is to consider a bathtub which drains. If you add no new water to the tub, how long will it take to empty out?

The months of inventory is sometimes called the absorption rate. The question is simple: how long will it take for the current inventory of homes for sale to get absorbed by the home buyers purchasing them? It doesn’t have to be calculated by months. It could be in days, weeks, or years. But months is probably most common.

The Cambrian area of San Jose’s months of inventory as a whole, and in one price point

Cambrian was once an enormous zone of the Santa Clara Valley. Today we mostly think of it as within San Jose in the 95124 and 95118 zip codes. Some of it it adjacent to Campbell – a very tiny sliver is IN Campbell (we’re only dealing with the San Jose portion in our charts), and a tinier still area is in San Jose and is under the Campbell School Union District. Most of this area is in one of three elementary school districts: Cambrian, Union, or San Jose Unified.

Here’s the breakdown – first, for ALL of Cambrian (MLS area 14 for my Realtor readers) that’s within the City of San Jose and second, by elementary school district. The area for Campbell Elementary is so small that the numbers are usually not of use (no offense to the Campbell school residents). It can just jump around too much to be helpful and often gives us no usable data. Please have a look:

1A - Cambrian months of inventory

I highlighted the San Jose Unified Elementary School District in both charts as the current lowest MOI. You’ll see that past charts show that the fastest market shifts around. Aside from Campbell, which has numbers too small to register a MOI, these are the hottest tickets in the district.

Below are some past charts for comparison. This one is recent, from early January 2018.

1b - Cambrian months of inventory

In this chart, it’s the Union Elementary School District in both charts with the lowest MOI.

Here are the numbers from September 2017 for comparison:

2 - Cambrian months of inventory

The message I’d like to convey is this: you can read about information for your part of Silicon Valley, or your city or zip code, but it’s not until you drill things down to an area that closely matches your own home will you have a better sense of your own home’s “real estate marker.” It’s never “how is the market?” so much as “how’s the market for YOUR home – or the one you want to buy?”

If you were only tracking the whole of Cambrian, you might see .643 months of inventory. That’s a lightning fast seller’s market. But it’s not quite so fast if you’re selling a Cambrian home in the Union Elementary Schools area of the entry-level market. There, you’re seeing 3 whole months of inventory for homes around $1 million, while the same price point with San Jose Union Schools is almost one tenth of that, a low 0.375.

Years ago, I had a Willow Glen listing where the whole back yard was the pool. I did a study on the months of inventory and learned that pools in properties with that lot size took substantially more time to be absorbed. Likewise, I had a Los Gatos estate property on an acre of land, and the reverse was also true: the months of inventory showed that large lots on $2 million and up homes for sale did not sell nearly as well without a pool.

The math is simple: using the same criteria, divide the number of active listings by those of homes sold in the last 30 days. The criteria can be anything you like – a property’s size, location, number of bathrooms, price, age, etc. Often I include approximately the same home and lot size together with the school district. That usually provides much more accurate info on “how’s the market” as compared to just getting it by zip code alone.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Cambrian, or anywhere in San Jose or Santa Clara County, this kind of information is really important. It is not hard to do, but very few real estate agents will provide this information before you list or before you make the final determination on the list price of your home.

Looking for a good Silicon Valley Realtor who will get you that extra data? Please call or email me. I would love to chat to see about possibly working together.

 Lazy Dog Restaurant in Cupertino CAValentine’s Day, a day to celebrate the love you share in your life. Why not share it with the ones who frequently lavish us with unconditional love – our dogs!

Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar is a  chain with locations in a few western states, though primarily in California. I recently visited the Cupertino branch and was surprised to see how dog friendly the place was. The patio welcomed canine guests and even offered a small menu of dog meals. No stealing from my plate, Spot, you’ve got your own!

Menu items include classy and exotic renditions of comforting favorites, such as Sweet Potato Tater Tots, Bison Burgers, Teriyaki rice bowls, and a family size take on s’mores. With a vast range of options, there’s something for everyone (even your furry friend). And did I mention there’s a full bar? Open daily, Lazy Dog Cupertino also offers a weekend brunch menu, happy hour services, and a number of take-out options which you can even order online.

So store your chocolate somewhere safe and spend some quality time with your furry friend (or your human friends) this week. They deserve some Valentines love, too.

Please keep in mind that while your pooch and you are welcome together, all health regulations apply and must be followed strictly for the health and happiness of everyone. Don’t worry, the rules are simple and Lazy Dog has a cute infographic to make it easy to remember!

Lazy Dog Patio Rules

 

For more, please visit the Lazy Dog website: https://www.lazydogrestaurants.com/

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar
19359 Stevens Creek Blvd
Cupertino, CA 95014

https://www.lazydogrestaurants.com/location/Cupertino

The Santa Clara County real estate statistics for Single Family Homes

 Read the full report for houses and duet homes in Santa Clara County here (You can also access the stats for San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties from here!)

Prices are up year-over-year due to a prolonged, unrelenting sellers market. Available inventory is less than half of what it was a year ago, while sales remain consistent. This is bad news for buyers – the market conditions can’t balance out without inventory to meet the demand!

Trends At a Glance Jan 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,163,000 (-10.1%) $1,293,690 $929,000 (+25.2%)
Average Price $1,439,310 (-7.5%) $1,556,330 $1,259,470 (+14.3%)
No. of Sales 450 (-36.1%) 704 488 (-7.8%)
Pending 581 (+12.8%) 515 533 (+9.0%)
Active 376 (+38.7%) 271 762 (-50.7%)
Sale vs. List Price 108.9% (-0.4%) 109.3% 101.2% (+7.6%)
Days on Market 21 (+2.0%) 21 37 (-43.0%)
Days of Inventory 25 (+117.1%) 12 47 (-46.5%)

And the numbers from last month for comparison:

Trends At a Glance Dec 2017 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,293,690 (+0.4%) $1,288,500 $960,000 (+34.8%)
Average Price $1,556,330 (-3.9%) $1,619,100 $1,186,120 (+31.2%)
No. of Sales 704 (-11.1%) 792 746 (-5.6%)
Pending 515 (-32.1%) 758 544 (-5.3%)
Active 271 (-41.2%) 461 694 (-61.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 109.3% (+0.8%) 108.5% 101.2% (+8.0%)
Days on Market 21 (-3.5%) 22 34 (-39.3%)
Days of Inventory 12 (-31.6%) 17 28 (-58.6%)

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Mark your calendars, it’s time to clear out your E-Waste! From 9AM to 1PM on February 10th in Saratoga and Campbell, and on February 17th in Los Gatos you can drop off those old and broken electronics, courtesy of West Valley Collection & Recycling. Drop off is free and easy, but come prepared. Restrictions apply to what you can deposit (check the list below), and be ready with your ID to leave your name, address, and phone number, which will be kept confidential but is required by the State of California for E-Waste disposal.

ewaste 300x280 - Free E-Waste Drop Off this FebruaryWhat to Bring:

  • TVs
  • Monitors
  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • External hard drives
  • Keyboards and Computer Mouses
  • Printers
  • CD, DVD, & Blu-Ray Players
  • VCRs
  • CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray Discs and VHS tapes
  • Scanners
  • Electronic Games
  • Radios and Stereos
  • Etc.

No Appliances, Batteries or Light Bulbs!

Please call (408)283-9250 for questions regarding other drop off items

Where to be?

Here are the drop-off locations as provided by WVC&R.

Drop Off for February 10, 2018 (Saturday) 9am – 1pm

Saratoga Prospect Center
19848 Prospect Rd, Saratoga 95070
Located between Miller Road and Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road

Orchard Community Church
157 E. Rincon Ave, Campbell 95008

Drop Off for February 17, 2018 (Saturday) 9am – 1pm

Calvary Church of Los Gatos
16330 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos 95032

 

See the event flier herehttp://westvalleyrecycles.com/serviceareas/pdf/E-Waste-Feb2018.pdf

Or visit the WVC&R page on E-Waste here: http://westvalleyrecycles.com/serviceareas/singlefamily-universalwaste.html

 

 

Buy a home - school desk photo as there's much to learn!The idea of buying a home, especially a first one, is both exhilarating and overwhelming. Where do you begin if you want to buy a home in 2018?  If you want to purchase real estate in Silicon Valley in 2018, you’ll need to get a number of things in order, including hiring professionals to help you.

Purchasing Silicon Valley real estate in this multiple offer market requires strong credit, a healthy down payment, time and energy,  and no small amount of courage. Looking halfheartedly means you will see properties, but not buy.  After the down payment, probably the most important element you’ll need to have is commitment, and further, you’ll need a strong team of professionals to assist you. Let’s talk about a solid home buying strategy. Continue reading

Is your showing prep sending out hidden messages?Home buyers and their Realtors don’t have many properties to view in Silicon Valley due to the critically low inventory. So it may be easy to get showings if you are selling a home. But are there any hidden messages once they get there? The best real estate agents are looking for the “red flags” and will be sure to alert their clients to potential issues.

Hidden messages about home odors

Perhaps the most common property issue that some home owners want to mask is a bad odor of some kind. Frequently it’s pet odor, but it could be cooking smells, mildew, cigarette or other smoke, incense, or any number of things that may not appeal to home buyers.

To try to freshen up the place, windows and even doors may be left open – even while the heat is running full blast. This may be a signal of an odor challenge. Sometimes scented candles may be lit, or air fresheners utilized. One old piece of advice had been to bake cookies or bread, which is supposed to give the buyers a homey feel – and may send them running for a snack instead.

Of course, the opposite could be true, too, if there are fumes coming from  outside (mushroom farms, sewage processing plant, farms, some food processing plants) and the house or condo is totally closed up on a beautiful, mild day.

While these  actions may mean nothing at all, they could be a red flag for odors.

My suggestion is to try to remove or neutralize the odors, and to disclose the past presence of them, rather than to try to mask them.  Neutralizing bad smells can be a bit of work, especially if you’ve had a smoker in the house. In some cases, it may not be possible to eliminate the unpleasantness, and the next buyer may have to do extensive renovations, such as removing sheetrock.  Simply disclose it. There are buyers looking to renovate.

If the buyers find out about a problem after the close of escrow, there will be a much bigger problem on your hands. It’s never worth it to skirt or minimize disclosures. They are “disclosure obligations”.

Hidden messages about noise

In urban and suburban Silicon Valley alike, it is difficult (if not impossible) to get completely away from vehicular noise. In some communities, it’s freeway or road sounds, worsened by heavy buses or trucks – where allowed. In others it could be a train. And others still may be in the flight path to San Jose’s international airport. Or multiple problems.

To mitigate  unpleasant sounds, some home owners or their listing agents will play music or perhaps add a fountain or other water feature. These may create a better ambiance, but it’s best to be upfront about every potential issue so that buyers are not fooled – and angry later. Buyers’ agents may perceive white noise added to the mix as a red flag.

Things don’t stay hidden when you move out

Whatever was hidden will eventually be noticed – the big stain in the hardwood floor that was concealed by a large area rug won’t be a secret when the place is empty. Nor will the plate sized hole in the sheetrock which was unseen due to the careful placement of a tall trash can remain a secret. So, too, with smells and sounds. Once the buyers move in, whatever a seller might be tempted to hide will no longer be hidden.

At the end of a sale, the sellers have the money and the buyers have the house – and any issues. If the new owners buy knowing all the problems upfront, they will be far more likely to be happy than if they have a bad surprise later.

In other words, the best “hidden messages” you and your home can give is this: we’re giving full disclosure, we’re transparent. What you see (and smell) is what you get.

 

More reading:

Shield your eyes!

 

If you enjoy touring open houses, historic properties, and taking in attractive decor, you don’t want to miss the annual spring home tours in the San Jose area!  Take a look at the opportunities listed below:

Note: Certain tours have not yet been updated for 2018, so the 2017 information will remain available until new details can be added.

Spring home tours in the San Jose area

Spring home tours in the San Jose area include historic properties

AIA Santa Clara Valley: 3rd Annual Silicon Valley Home Tours, A Tour by Architects – May 5, 2018

10AM-4PM. Last year prices, no 2018 update: Early Bird: General Admission $75, AIA Members $59, After 5/21/17 and Day of $75

http://aiasiliconvalley.org/page/2018HomeTour

35th Annual Willow Glen Home Tour – May 5-6, 2018

10AM-4PM, Early Bird $40, At the Door for $50

http://willowglenhometour.com/

No updates for 2018 to date. 22nd Los Gatos Historic Home Tour – Last Held on April 22 & 23, 2017

10AM-4PM, General Admission $50, VIP $75

http://www.numulosgatos.org/events/2017/4/22/22nd-los-gatos-historic-home-tour

No updates for 2018 to date. Fremont Older House & Garden Tours – Last Held on April 23, 2017

9AM-4PM, tours are full, but you can join the wait-list (mark in on your calendar for next year’s spring home tours early on!).

http://www.openspace.org/activities/district-events/fremont-older-house-garden-tours-0

 

No updates for 2018 to date. Eischler Home Tours San Mateo Highlands – Last Held on May 6 & 7, 2017

10AM-3PM, Single Day $60, Two Days $100, Optional: Box Lunch $14, Poster $30, and VIP Happy Hour (May 6, 7PM-10PM) $50

http://eichlerhometour.org/

Gilroy Assistance League: 13th Annual Impressions Home and Garden Tour – Last Held on May 12 & 13, 2017

$30

http://gilroyassistanceleague.org/-impressions-home-garden-tour/

 

No updates for 2018 to date. Wolfe & Higgins – Citywide Architectural Home Tour, Master Architects of the Spanish Revival – Last Held on August 26, 2017

Early Bird: General $35, Preservation Action Council Members $30, Day of: $40

http://www.wolfeandhigginstour.com/

 

Garden Tours

GNGT: Going Native Garden Tour 2018 – April 7 & 8, 2018

10AM-4PM, Free with RSVP

http://gngt.org/GNGT/HomeRO.php

Gamble Garden Tour – April 27 & 28, 2018

Updated information for 2018 will be available in January. Here’s the information from 2017: 10AM-4PM, Members $30, General $35, Volunteer $25, Lunch Tickets $15

https://www.gamblegarden.org/support-us/spring-tour/

No updates for 2018 to date. The Aromas Country Garden Tour – Last Held on May 13, 2017

10AM-4PM, tickets not available online

http://www.aromashillsartisans.org/ahas-events.html

 

 

If you miss out on these events, there are a number of historic estates and gardens in the area with regular open hours.

The Ainsley house in downtown Campbell is open Thurs-Sun, March-December, 12PM-4PM (final tour at 3:15PM) with regular tours. Admission is $8 adult, $6 senior, $4 youth (7-17), and free for under 7.

http://www.ci.campbell.ca.us/332/Historical-Museum-Ainsley-House

The Winchester Mystery house may have some unusual sides to it, but in essence it’s a stunning mansion surrounded by a pristine garden. Prices vary by tour.

http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com

History San Jose has also provided virtual tours of both the Luis Maria Peralta Adobe, 1797, and the Carmel and Thomas Fallon House, 1850s. Find links to the tours on the page linked below.

http://historysanjose.org/wp/plan-your-visit/peralta-fallon-historic-site/

 

 

Have we missed a tour of houses or homes that should be included? Please jot me a note or give me a call and we’ll get this page updated (and promote your event at no cost, of course).  Be sure to include the dates,  name of the tour, and a URL where people can get more information, please.

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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.

Let’s Connect

Find Mary on FacebookFollow Mary on Twitter
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Please see more icons
at the bottom of the page.

The real estate search

Use the widget below to browse properties which are for sale, under contract (pending) or sold. Want to view only homes which are available now? Use the "find a home" link on the menu above (next to the "home" button).

Mary’s other sites & blogs

Valley Of Hearts Delight
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
with an interest in history

Move2SiliconValley.com
Silicon Valley relocation info

popehandy.com
Silicon Valley real estate,
focus on home selling

Silicon Valley Real Estate Report
Silicon Valley real estate
market trends & statistics

Mary’s Blog Awards

Top 25 real estate blogs of 2018 by RentPrep2018 RentPrep.com's list of top 25 real estate blogs to follow


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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