condo

How’s the Saratoga California real estate market?

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

This is a fairly comprehensive article on the Saratoga real estate market that will include the live statistics from Altos Research for listed properties (not closed) in Saratoga CA 95070, the closed sale data from the RE Report for last month in Saratoga 95070, and the numbers I crunched for Saratoga – overall and by price point and high school district, since Saratoga has 3 different high school districts, each with an impact on home values.

First, let’s consider the months of inventory by price point and high school district that I crunched using MLSListings.com, our local multiple listing service provider.

The months of inventory is a reference to how fast homes would be absorbed into the market if sales continued at the same pace and no new inventory came onto the market. It’s often referred to as “the absorption rate” – and that can be months of inventory, weeks of inventory, or days of inventory. A “balanced” market is somewhere around 4-5 months for us, though the National Association of Realtors says that 6 months is balanced nationwide. Anything under 3 is a good seller’s market, and under 1 is like saying that homes are “flying off the market.”

(For comparison, please also see a similar article on the Live in Los Gatos blog for the town of Los Gatos – real estate market by price point and high school district.)

Here’s the chart for Saratoga – all price points, all school districts.

And for comparison, here’s the chart from last month:

This month shows steady, low inventory with increasing sales, creating a higher MOI. Despite winter cooling, the market just won’t let up, and an overall 2.455 MOI is still a sellers market. By comparing across school districts you can see how different each area’s individual market can be. The overall MOI for different schools this month ranges from 1.2 to 3.6! But minuscule inventory makes big data swings like this commonplace, and not as accurate.

 

Continue reading

How’s the Mountain View real estate market? This is one of the very hottest areas within Silicon Valley and is home to a myriad of high tech companies and in a stone’s throw of others. With a charming and walkable downtown, easy access to CalTrain and a vibrant atmosphere conducive to both work and play, it is no wonder that people relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area or Silicon Valley place Mountain View squarely in their target.

All that popularity comes at a cost, though. Prices have been sky high here for years, both for rentals and for home purchasing. The good news, though, for those with property or those who take the plunge and buy: it doesn’t look like Mountain View is going to lose its appeal anytime soon.

In this article, which is updated periodically, we will include live Altos Charts which automatically update weekly (so bookmark this page!) as well as monthly insights from the Real Estate Report for Mountain View. And time to time it will be enhanced with “in the trenches” commentary, too.

Overview of the city of Mountain View’s residential real estate market for houses:

Here are the statistics for sales in the last few months. You can see that the average days on market have dropped to 25 days and inventory has dropped slightly. Prices are down slightly year-over-year and month-over-month, though homes on average are selling close to list price at 102.2% last month. Overall, there’s been a minute cooling of the Mountain View housing market, but this is still a steady seller’s market. See the whole Mountain View Real Estate Report online here.

Mountain View Stats At A Glance:

Year-Over-Year

  • Median home prices fell by 1.9% year-over-year to $1,585,000 from $1,615,000.
  • The average home sales price dropped by 6.4% year-over-year to $1,655,620 from $1,768,090.
  • Home sales fell by 50% year-over-year to 8 from 16.
  • Active listings rose 31.6% year-over-year to 25 from 19.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio fell by 4.7% year-over-year to 102.2% from 107.3%.
  • The average days on market rose by 54.3% year-over-year to 25 from 16.

Compared To Last Month

  • Median home prices slipped by 12.9% to $1,585,000 from $1,820,000.
  • The average home sales price fell by 7.5% to $1,655,620 from $1,789,000.
  • Home sales down by 50% to 8 from 16.
  • Active listings increased 47.1% to 25 from 17.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio increased by 2.6% to 102.2% from 99.6%.
  • The average days on market dropped by 31.8% to 25 from 37.

Mountain View real estate market trends and data by neighborhood

My Real Estate Report drills down the data by neighborhood in Mountain View (and also Palo Alto and San Jose – the latter being very understandable as it’s almost 1 million people, rather than Mountain View’s 75,000 people). Want to check out these areas? Then visit popehandy.rereport.com, select Santa Clara County, then under city choose Mountain View, and under ZIPS select the area you want. Here are your options there:

Please continue reading to see the data for condominiums and townhouses, plus also the live Altos Research charts for both single family homes and also condos and townhomes.

Continue reading

Willow Glen in San JoseWillow Glen is perhaps the most charming residential area of the city of San Jose with its old style architecture, tree lined streets and quaint downtown area on Lincoln Avenue and nearby. For folks working in downtown San Jose, the Willow Glen area (roughly the same as 95125 zip code, though a bit of 95124 is included also) is extremely convenient. Inventory hasn’t improved since last year, and homes continually sell close to list price quickly, in just over a month. Willow Glen remains in a sellers market.

Click for the complete Willow Glen real estate report with all of the numbers, stats and trends from the closed sales of houses for last month. Further down in this article you’ll find the Altos Research charts as well.

Willow Glen Stats At A Glance

Year-Over-Year

  • Median home prices increased by 5.6% year-over-year to $1,177,250 from $1,115,000.
  • The average home sales price rose by 16.0% year-over-year to $1,276,250 from $1,100,630.
  • Home sales rose by 16.7% year-over-year to 28 from 24.
  • Active listings rose 16.9% year-over-year to 69 from 59.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio fell by 3.3% year-over-year to 100.0% from 103.4%.
  • The average days on market rose by 49.2% year-over-year to 38 from 25.

Compared To Last Month

  • Median home prices slipped by 2.1% to $1,177,250 from $1,203,000.
  • The average home sales price rose by 2.9% to $1,276,250 from $1,240,750.
  • Home sales down by 41.7% to 28 from 48.
  • Active listings increased 16.9% to 69 from 59.
  • Sales price vs. list price ratio increased by 0.7% to 100.0% from 99.2%.
  • The average days on market increased by 12.9% to 38 from 34.

A little cooling won’t take us out of a deep sellers market, but it should ease conditions slightly for long-term buyers.

And next, of Willow Glen condos:

Continue reading

VizcayaOne of the prettiest townhome communities in Santa Clara County is Vizcaya, which features a Mediterranean style of architecture in a community that is extremely tidy and well maintained. Driving in, it feels like you’ve just arrived at a resort.

Where is Vizcaya?

The Vizacaya neighborhood is in San Jose just off S Bascom and Curtner Avenues, but is close to the Campbell border and confusingly, has a Campbell mailing address. The community’s streets are Vizcaya Circle, Vizcays Way, and Pescara Court. The location is very convenient, with easy access to shopping, bus lines, and major traffic routes.

What are the homes like at Vizcaya?

Built between 1990 and 1996, these 92 townhomes are younger feeling and tend to have fairly open floor plans and plenty of large windows. The home sizes range between 2396 SF and 2656 SF, but many are so nicely designed that they tend to feel like single family homes.  Lot sizes average around 4,100 SF (pretty big for a townhouse). The parcels range in size from  2480 SF to over 10,000 SF but most are 3000 – 5000 SF.

The homes in the Vizcaya community are condominiums with a townhouse architectural style. (Some townhouses are held in PUD ownership. In some locations, such as Almaden and Los Gatos, there are houses which are condos – or held in condo ownership.) There’s a small pool and spa at the center of the complex for residents to enjoy. The day I took the photos shown in the slideshow, below, painting was ongoing next to the pool, so it isn’t shown.

  • Vizcaya in Campbell

What does it cost to buy a townhome in Vizcaya?

These upscale properties don’t come on the market too often, but if you are lucky enough to find one available to buy, chances are that it will cost a million dollars or a more (as of this writing in October 2016).

Saratoga and Los Gatos are neighbors, but their real estate markets are not the same! Today we’ll consider the condo and townhouse market in these two upscale Silicon Valley areas and view some elements “side by side”. See what you think!

First, let’s have a peek at how fast things are selling. Saratoga & Los Gatos both are at under 3 week for the “days to sell over time”.  Saratoga tends to sell a little better than Los Gatos for condominiums and townhomes, and that’s the case now as well – at least months months, and recently. (Reasons, not sure – perhaps because the location is a little closer to Cupertino and Sunnyvale and the many high tech jobs there.  Or it could be related to the school scores or any number of factors.)

Saratoga days to sell over time 2014 - condos

Saratoga days to sell over time 2014 – condos

Los Gatos days to sell over time 2014 - condos

Los Gatos days to sell over time 2014 – condos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s check some other criteria and see how they stack up there. Let’s look at the new listings as opposed to the solds.  How far apart are they? (The closer they are, the “hotter” the market. If the solds are going faster than the new listings are coming on, it’s a red hot seller’s market.)   For most of the last year, Saratoga condominiums have been selling and closing faster than new ones have entered the market, or have tied it, except for March and April.  In Los Gatos, same pattern recently of new listings outpacing sales, and in January the closed sales outpaced new inventory.  But overall, it’s close to a tie or there’s a slight leaning toward new listings rather than sales unless you look back to last fall.  So a little bit cooler of a market in Los Gatos by this standard.

Continue reading

When a parent, spouse or loved one dies and he or she owned a home, there’s a lot for the survivors to do in addition to the very real and painful process of mourning.  I have been through this with my own parents (and their house in Saratoga), a great aunt in Willow Glen and many clients in San Jose, Los Gatos and elsewhere in Silicon Valley.

Where to begin?  in terms of settling the estate, it is wise to first speak with an attorney and tax professional about the property (will, trust etc. if applicable) and what they advise and require to help in doing what is required and adviseable. (I have some wonderful people I can suggest if you would like a referral.)  They will try to help you to legally minimize capital gains and estate taxes and can advise you on topics such as when might be the best time to sell vis a vis the tax liability.  This is extremely important and it can be very expensive to not take into account their guidance on this point, so I strongly recommend that you or other beneficiaries discuss everything with the attorney or accountant prior to electing whether the home will be sold, rented etc. in the short term.

How can a real estate professional help?

Most often, something you’ll need for the lawyer and CPA or other tax professional is a valuation of the home as of the date of death (whether or not there is a surviving spouse or co-owner).  You can obtain this by hiring a licensed residential real estate appraiser who will do an appraisal for you.  Alternatively, you may be able to engage a real estate licensee (salesperson) to do a competitive market analysis or comparative market analysis (CMA), which would provide the probable buyer’s value for the property.      Continue reading

What should you expect when you go to visit homes for sale in Silicon Valley? Here are a few quick tips.

  1. Many home sellers in the San Jose area will ask that you remove your shoes. So wearing slip ons of some kind will be a lot easier than footwear with laces, buckles, zippers etc.
  2. Most of the time, sellers will not be home.  They wisely will clear out, when possible, to give you the space to look without feeling like you’re imposing on them.  Sometimes, though, for any number of reasons, this may not happen.
  3. If sellers are home, they will usually answer the door or, worst case, respond when the agent and buyers enter and announce themselves.  Once in awhile, though, there’s a surprise seller somewhere in the house.  (Maybe one time in a hundred?  I have run into people who were in bed, in a shower, on a couch and simply not responding.)  So be alert when viewing homes, be cautious, or it could be like that scene in “E.T.” where ET and the little girl see each other and scream their lungs out.
  4. Pets are usually not present and loose, but again, sometimes there’s a misfire, so be on guard for dogs and cats (more likely the latter).  If dogs are present and loose I usually will not show the home. I love dogs and own one, but they’re not all equally friendly.
  5. Personalization:  usually sellers will have decluttered and depersonalized their homes so that you and other home buyers can “see themselves” in that space.  For some sellers, particularly seniors, it can be very difficult to remove those items until the moving van is in the driveway.  So be prepared to see at least some homes with an inordinate amount of stuff, whether it’s family photos, collections, religious imagery or worship space, rooms not being used for their intended purpose, and so on.  In these places, you’ll need to be able to see past what’s currently there as the personal items can be confusing.  For instance, I have seen family rooms used as dining rooms, dining rooms used as hobby rooms, bedrooms used as prayer or exercise rooms, garages divided into several smaller rooms (with easily removable walls), etc.
  6. Normally, homes are clean and pleasant to see.  Sometimes with distressed properties, tenant occupied (unmotivated residents), homes with invalid residents, or other physical or emotional situations the home may be a wreck.  Know that you will probably see a wide spectrum of care for the house and yard.

What about your behavior in the home?  Most home buyers are very considerate but here are a couple of things to think about.

In addition to removing your shoes if requested to do so, you should plan on making sure any little members of the family stay with you and are “gentle” on the home and belongings.  Children can move fast and not all homes are child-proofed.  (I have seen kids go in the opposite direction as their parents and then jump on the home seller’s furniture, open drawers of furniture, etc. – not good.)  I worry the most when the sellers have a cat and the buyers have a toddler – often not a perfect combination.  In fact, sellers and agents usually want your group to stay together and not go in opposite directions no matter what the ages are.

Home sellers usually understand that someone may need to use the bathroom while there, but in general, of course, they’d rather that this not happen.  If you or your kids need to use the restroom, please check afterward to make sure that everything’s clean.  The other day I visited my listing and when I went into the master bathroom there were big splotches of urine on the toilet seat. Not cool! (And if the seller is home, of course you should ask permission first.)

If the sellers are home, it’s good to keep any feedback to yourself until you have left the property (or to share it quietly so as not to be overheard).

These are the basics. Happy house hunting!

  1. 4 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,849 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,278 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,679 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,488 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 1,710 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,873 sqft
  4. 1 bed, 1 full bath
    Home size: 743 sq ft
    Lot size: 435 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,272 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,490 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,127 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,850 sqft
  7. 5 beds, 4 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,156 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,681 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 3 full, 1 half baths
    Home size: 3,553 sq ft
    Lot size: 38,419 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 2 full baths
    Home size: 1,632 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,011 sqft
  10. 0 beds, 0 baths
    Home size: 2,520 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,452 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Cupertino.
(all data current as of 2/24/2017)

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

First time home buyingHow long in advance should you be preparing to buy your first home?  There are a few common obstacles to purchasing property:

  1. Accumulating the down payment 
  2. Cleaning up or creating a good credit history
  3. Deciding your priorities
  4. Budgeting so that you can live within your means while saving and after buying your home

(1) For most people, accumulating the down payment means saving money.  This is very challenging, especially when people are accustomed to living on 100 – 105% of their income!  This is an extremely common phenomena.  It is always tempting to want to “reward” yourself with expensive dinners, lavish travel, luxury cars and other perks that make you feel like you have arrived. It is harder, but smarter, to see the reward as the fruit of discipline and to chart a goal and work toward it steadily.

How much do you need to save?  There are a lot of variables here.  Getting 20% down means saving a lot on the financing costs down the road.  But if you can purchase with a small down payment (really hard to do with multiple offer situations), you can get there faster and perhaps will pay less than if you wait until you have a bigger down.  A few years ago I met someone who saved diligently for more than 20 years to buy a home.  Think about what has happened to the cost of housing in that time!  Prices have about doubled since then.  So don’t spend too long saving, lest inflation eat away at any benefits you get from the larger down payment.

It should be noted that if you are able to buy with FHA backed financing, your down payment can also be gifted from family and friends.  That can speed up the time frame.  (My 20-something kids will find this of particular interest, I am sure!) Continue reading

Have your own agentSome Silicon Valley home buyers do not want to have their own buyers agent, but instead expect that they can find properties in the San Jose area that they want to see and request that the listing agent show it to them in a private appointment.  These same potential buyers may be surprised that the listing agent may refuse to show them the listing outside of a regularly scheduled open house – that is, if the seller is permitting open houses.

What’s going on?

In earlier articles we’ve discussed the need for a buyer broker agreement (verbal at the least, but possibly in writing) and why you, as a buyer, ought to have your own representation at the negotiation table.  (If you missed these, see the links under “related reading” below.)   Today I want to dispel the myth that the listing agent is required to open up and show condos or houses for sale to anyone who calls and requests seeing them and explain why that’s the case.

Showings of homes for sale are determined by the listing agreement or contract between the home seller, the listing agent or Realtor and the broker

The most important thing for buyers to understand is that the accessibility of the home for viewings depends upon the agreement, verbally or in writing, between the owner of the property and the agent/brokerage hired to market, negotiate, and sell the real estate.   It’s not an “on demand” situation where an interested buyer can insist on seeing the property as desired. Here are some of the expected scenarios and reasons why showings are somewhat restricted most of the time: Continue reading

Thou Shalt Not ParkIf you’re selling a home in Silicon Valley, it’s likely that you’ll have an open house or two.  How should you prepare for it for it?  Today we’ll go over some tips.

First, plan to be gone during any open house events! (This goes double for pets, with the exception of fish!)  One of the biggest mistakes I see is home owners hosting their own open houses. Bay area home buyers don’t want you there – they feel inhibited and worried that they will say something offensive, so they say nothing and hurry out. Serious home buyers will want to linger and will want to imagine where their furniture will fit. They may be mentally remodeling your home too. But if you’re there, they will be very uncomfortable. Hire a good agent who will handle this task for you (or have someone from that brokerage do it).

Second, make your townhouse, condo or house as close to perfect as possible for the open house. Your property needs to be squeaky clean, safe and inviting. I’m presuming that you’ve already done all the fixes and staging needed generally for selling your home. Here’s a list of a few last minute to-do’s:

  1. Keep your driveway clear of cars so visitors can park there.
  2. Make all walkways free of tripping hazards (garden hoses, toys etc.) – you do not want your buyers to be “on edge”. Don’t water the garden just prior to the open house or guests might slip (or track in more than you want).
  3. Your front door should be impeccably clean!
  4. Color near the front door (front walkway or front porch) is a good “bang for the buck”, so if you have room, provide flowers there. Continue reading
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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.
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Special focus on:
San Jose, Los Gatos,
Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
Cambrian Park.
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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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