mary pope-handy

Please join us for the Almaden Music in the Park series every Thursday in July! The evening hours are 6:30pm to 8pm. Next week will be the first one, and like those in recent years, will be loads of fun! A few other Realtors at Sereno Group and I are sponsoring the month long event. At our table, under the green awning, we give away water bottles and red vines. Please stop by and say hello! (And if you are one of my blog readers, I really would love to meet you, too!)

Almaden Music in the Park crowd July 7 2016

Almaden Music in the Park crowd July 7 2016

These musical evenings are open to everyone, without cost to the general public.  In the few years in which I’ve been a co-sponsor, I’ve noticed that the first week is nicely attended, but the audience grows each time and by the last night, it’s a large crowd with loads of dancing.  So don’t wait – go to the first Almaden Music in the Park concert and make as many of them as you can!

Almaden Music in the Park 2017 San Jose, CA

If you’ve been trying to sell your home in Los Gatos, Saratoga, Almaden Valley, Cambrian, or anywhere in the greater San Jose area but haven’t received an offer yet, don’t despair!  With our mild winters, you really can sell real estate any time of year.  And inventory is extremely tight right now, increasing your odds of success.

In late November and December a lot of folks DO pull their property off the market, and the result is a, even further tightening of inventory across Silicon Valley from the months immediately prior. The ratio between listed and sale pending homes improves dramatically. (The “absorption rate” tends to get better with fewer houses, condos and townhouses listed on the MLS.)

But you’re thinking: it’s a hassle. It’s the holidays. Is this any time to sell Silicon Valley real estate?

And you’re right about that. So do it differently.
Continue reading

I am a full-time, second generation, award-winning & enthusiastic Los Gatos real estate agent, serving this town and the county too – a Silicon Valley Realtor. Real estate was my second career after I’d worked happily in the area of religious education (in Catholic high schools) & ministry for several years. Economics necessitated an employment change, and real estate was a natural fit as it really is a “helping profession” and I’d grown up with it. I like to joke that my first words were “raised foundation”.

An area native, I was raised in Santa Clara and Saratoga, graduating from Saratoga High in 1977. As an adult I lived in several parts of the valley, including 10 years in Cambrian Park, and since 1999, in Los Gatos. Over the years I’ve also spent extensive time in Campbell, Almaden, and many parts of the West Valley.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts from Gonzaga University in Spokane (a Catholic university run by Jesuits – in Religious Studies, 1981) and thanks to my parents’ generosity, was able to enjoy a fabulous Junior year abroad at Gonzaga-in-Florence, Italy (1979-1980), which cemented my love of travel and all things Italian. (With some refreshing, I can still manage a simple conversation in Italian – which is fun!) After some teaching, I earned a Master of Arts (in Systematic Theology, 1986) from The Graduate Theological Union/Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

Afterwards I returned to teaching religion in Catholic high schools, a very rewarding career, for a few years, until our children came onto the scene. I did a lot of related volunteer work too, with my favorite being as a volunteer chaplain at Good Samaritan Hospital in the early 90’s. Additionally, I worked in the Rainbows Program at our parish, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Los Gatos. Rainbows is a peer-to-peer ministry/support group for kids suffering from any major loss, such as the death of a parent or divorce.

My husband, Jim Handy, analyzes the semiconductor market. He grew up in many places due to his father’s line of work and speaks French and he too loves to travel; eons ago we honeymooned in Tahiti on Bora Bora where he got to practice his language skills (between their Polynesian French and his Belgian-Swiss-American accent it got interesting at times). We have been very happily married since 1985. Jim was a Parks Commission volunteer in the Town of Los Gatos for years, and even now, long after he’s left, he has his ear to the ground on that topic – I get a lot of interesting information about the town’s doings from him!

 

Our two children, Brian & Clair, are now twentysomethings. Real estate is inescapable for them, as it had been for me, and when Clair was in second grade she said, “uh oh Mommy, we have termites!” and had correctly spotted the telltale drywood termite pellets on our hardwood floor; I suspect she was the only second grader with the ability to correctly identify termite activity. So, real estate is a little contagious!

 

Like their parents, they love to travel and together we’ve been in much of the US, plus parts of Mexico, England, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Japan. Brian is now a grad student at USC in Los Angeles, having graduated from four happy years Loyola Marymount University in LA and prior to that, at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose. Clair is currently assisting me in real estate, also graduated from LMU in LA and enjoyed four happy years at Notre Dame High School in downtown San Jose.

 

I hail from a large and loving extended family and it’s a very tight-knit group. In my free time, I enjoy keeping in touch with them and with many old friends (who feel like family) – and actually many friends and relatives become my clients, just as my clients often become my friends. In recent years, that’s meant a lot of time with older family members- something possible with a real estate career.

 

I try to put a priority on family visits and reunions. (And I have spent a lot of time at relatives’ retirement homes so earned my designation as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist). My siblings & many other relatives come here to visit often and I’m happy that usually they stay at my house. As one cousin said, “sometimes it’s as if you have a revolving door at the front of your house: just the way you like it!”
Mary Pope-Handy
408 204-7673
mary (at) popehandy.com
Realtor, ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group, Los Gatos
Serving Santa Clara County: Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Campbell, and San Jose (Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park, Willow Glen) and nearby
California Department of Real Estate license # 01153805

 

Hobbies

Hobbies include enjoying walks in the neighborhood, Belgatos Park, and throughout the San Francisco Bay area – usually with camera in hand and blogging ideas being created! I love to write, hence the huge number of blogs, and wonder if someday I might write a novel. Photography, live music, and travel are all top hobbies too. I often enjoy the Almaden Music in the Park or any of the Los Gatos musical events. In 2016, I was over the moon to hear Andrea Bocelli perform at the SAP center in San Jose.

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.

http://rereport.com/scc/print/Mary.PopeHandySCC.pdf

Santa Clara County home sales and prices –

Santa Clara County real estate market - sales, average price, median price of homes sold in 2015

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

Continue reading

Remodeled, expanded Saratoga home with guest cottageLooking 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.

QUICK FACTS

  • 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
14381 Ravenwood Drive, Saratoga CA 95070 MLS #ML81547144 13841 Ravenwood Dr., Saratoga CA front view - note the lovely pavers Paver walkway, bistro patio and driveway (not shown) Custom front door at 13841 Ravenwood Dr., Saratoga CA 95070 Foyer with limestone tile flooring, custom door, and barrell vaulted ceiling at 13841 Ravenwood Dr., Saratoga CA Open floor plan at 13841 Ravenwood Dr., Saratoga CA Living room at 13841 Ravenwood Dr., Saratoga CA with a view to the salt water pool and spa 13841 Ravenwood Dr., Saratoga CA - entry, living, kitchen and dining rooms 13841 Ravenwood Dr., Saratoga CA kitchen and breakfast bar Stunning kitchen expansion & remodel from 2011 - 13841 Ravenwood Dr., Saratoga CA 13841 Ravenwood Dr., Saratoga CA - Dining room 13841 Ravenwood Dr., Saratoga CA - Family Room Master Suite Master bath at 13841 Ravenwood Dr. , Saratoga Lovely front bedroom with windows on two sides Bedroom overlooking the yard and pool Bedroom with Murphy Bed Beautifully remodeled hall bath with shower over tub Saratoga CA home with guest cottage The inviting guest cottage offers a high ceiling and flat screen TV Bathroom in the guest house Fabulous laundry room with gas dryer, loads of storage and more! Great for rainy days and hot ones both, the expansive covered patio is very useful! The salt water pool and spa at 13841 Ravenwood Dr., Saratoga Spa and Pattio at 13841 Ravenwood Drive 13841 Ravenwood's Salt Water Pool, 13841 Ravenwood Drive - Outdoor Shower & Sandbox Ravenwood Park, Saratoga, CA 95070 Ravenwood Park in Saratoga CA Ravenwood Park's play area Ravenwood Park's play area 13841 Ravenwood Drive, Saratoga - front view View from the corner with Raven Court - 13841 Ravenwood Dr. Saratoga CA 95070

INTERIOR AREAS

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

Just starting to think about buying a home? If you’re like most people, you’ll be looking at online listings of homes for sale here in Silicon Valley to see what they cost and how they look. Viewing homes for sale and the list prices is a good thing to incorporate in your first steps to assess the cost of home buying, but there are more data points to be used to create a sense of what it will cost to get the kind of home you want (and where you want it), or, coming from the financial side, how much home your money can actually buy.  Misreading the market, or not understanding the odds of success, can lead to frustration and a slower “learning curve”, and that can be expensive in an appreciating market!   Today I spent a few minutes explaining how to get a better handle on home prices in the video below.  I hope it will be helpful to folks in the San Jose – Los Gatos – Saratoga area who are just getting into the market now.

 

If you are interested in home buying and looking for a seasoned Realtor to assist you, please reach out to me with an email or a phone call.

  1. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 798 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,825 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,442 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,204 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,679 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,134 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 946 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,494 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 4,170 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.10 ac
  6. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,217 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,171 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,704 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,301 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,032 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,878 sqft
  9. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 880 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,384 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,471 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,768 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of San Jose.
(all data current as of 10/23/2017)

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

Home buying in Silicon ValleySilicon Valley is mired in an extraordinarily deep seller’s market, and has been for a couple of years now. Want to buy a home?  No one who understands the market at all will tell you that it’s going to be easy.   If you are serious about becoming a home owner rather than a shopper, it’s time to get serious about what it will take for that to happen.

In a deep seller’s market, it’s very helpful to have a game plan or strategy for purchasing a home.  The best place to begin is with an understanding of your competition and the inherent risks of buying in this climate.

  • Approximately 30% of all sales in this area are “all cash”.  Not all cash buyers are savvy and may make mistakes (such as vastly overestimating the value of a cash offer – sometimes the lowest price comes from a buyer without financing).  All cash buyers need to be educated, too.
  • When homes sell in under 2 weeks and with multiple offers, there’s a very good chance that the winning bid came in with no contingencies for inspection, loan, or appraisal.  Sometimes it’s all cash and non-contingent on the normal items.
  • Most home buyers will have done a lot of research on how to compete in multiple offer situations.  A few years ago I wrote a series of tips and they are still good today.  Major hint: it’s not always only about price or even primarily about price.  The terms matter, and so do a few things which are harder to measure (and can include all sorts of things – even whom you hire to work with you on the purchase).  http://sanjoserealestatelosgatoshomes.com/summary-of-tips-for-multiple-offer-situations-silicon-valley-real-estate-contracts/
  • If you dawdle, you risk being priced out of the market.  Sometimes when beginning to shop, home buyers who are new to the game feel that they have power and can “wait until the market improves”.  The problem is when there is deep scarcity of inventory and a ton of amply able buyers, the prices are going to go up steeply.  If you take a year to buy, most of the time – unless you are extraordinarily lucky – it will cost you dearly.  I have seen buyers wait so long that they basically used up their entire down payment.  Since 2 years ago, prices are up about 25% to 30% in most of Santa Clara County and the San Jose area.  If you have been looking for 2 years, your down payment has been spent.  This is a real case of time versus money.
  • The greatest fear that buyers have when purchasing in a raging seller’s market is that there will be a correction or crash, and they’ll be left with an over-investment   in real estate.  Put another way, they don’t want to overpay and they really do not want to be upside down in their home.  No one wants to overpay.  But right now, many homes that sell will not appraise (many do, but quite a few don’t).

So that’s the starting point – steep competition, a lot of “all cash” and a lot of “no contingencies” – when it comes to homes newly listed and gleaning multiple offers right away. Continue reading

Vista del Monte MapAre you interested in Los Gatos real estate and Los Gatos neighboorhoods? Over on my Live in Los Gatos blog, I’ve been reworking articles about the various residential areas of town, digging into the county records for subdivision info, shooting video as I’m driven through various neighorooods and adding MLS information. Today I completed a whole new article with video on the Vista del Monte neighborhood in east Los Gatos.

Please have a look!

http://liveinlosgatosblog.com/the-vista-del-monte-neighborhood-in-los-gatos/

Or if you’d just like to see the video, here it is (bigger version on Live in Los Gatos):

As a Los Gatos Realtor and resident, I  hope to showcase more & more areas within the town, as well as in San Jose and the greater Silicon Valley area.  If you are interested in buying or selling a home here, please call or email me today!

  1. 4 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 4,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 37,339 sqft
  2. 5 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 7,313 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.00 ac
  3. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,366 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,774 sqft
  4. 6 beds, 9 baths
    Home size: 7,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 43,560 sqft
  5. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,059 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,838 sqft
  6. 5 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 5,342 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.14 ac
  7. 5 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 5,070 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.01 ac
  8. 5 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 4,379 sq ft
    Lot size: 20,063 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,249 sq ft
    Lot size: 42,937 sqft
  10. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,988 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,251 sqft

See all Real estate in the 95030 zip code.
(all data current as of 10/23/2017)

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

Often the extensive Silicon Valley disclosure paperwork answers most questions that a home buyer has, but sometimes not 100%. Here are a couple of thoughts for getting a little more information regarding disclosures on the property and area.

  1. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,217 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,171 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,032 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,878 sqft
  3. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,026 sq ft
    Lot size: 38,768 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,960 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,093 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,713 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,069 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,035 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,067 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,532 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,009 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,651 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,487 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,816 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.60 ac
  10. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,294 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,477 sqft

See all Real estate in the Almaden Valley community.
(all data current as of 10/23/2017)

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

Inventory shortageThe low amount of housing inventory for sale amidst economic recovery spells trouble for buyers, first because there’s little to choose from, and second, because the best homes go awfully fast, with multiple offers, at over list price and often – in Silicon Valley, at least – with no contingencies for inspection or property condition, loan or appraisal.

Why is inventory so low?  When will it get better?

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I was at a real estate seminar at the San Jose Convention Center presented by Brian Buffini of Buffini and Company (out of the San Diego area).   Joe Niego, one of the presenters, shared five reasons why real estate inventory is tight:

  1. Boomerang buyers (home buyers coming back into the market after foreclosure or short sales – they don’t remain renters)
  2. Echo boomers entering the market (age 18-31; the average age for a first time home buyer is 30)
  3. Slowdown of new construction starts (we are about 5 years behind as construction slowed significantly during the downturn)
  4. Longevity (people are living longer and staying in their homes longer)
  5. Immigration and population growth (we are seeing that in spades in the San Jose area!)

All of the five factors above are true nationally.  It’s worse in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties! Further, foreclosures are falling and nearly gone in many parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Add to that the major tech boom we are seeing, with huge numbers of new hires from companies like Facebook, Google, Apple…. you can see the problem compounded.   But wait, there’s more!  Also we must factor in to that the fact that many home owners are afraid to sell because they fear not being able to buy another home if they do sell.  Finally, in some areas, people still cannot afford to sell because they bought at the height of the market.  They really need to be about 10% over where they bought to be able to sell and not lose money when you factor in the very significant transactional costs.   We have what feels like an “inventory gridlock”.

When will it get better?

A few things will need to happen for the inventory to loosen up. Continue reading

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


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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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 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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