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!

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, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,733 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,874 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,800 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,151 sqft
  3. 6 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 5,010 sq ft
    Lot size: 41,556 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,975 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,599 sqft
  5. 6 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,534 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,416 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,719 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,163 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,154 sq ft
    Lot size: 16,143 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,888 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.06 ac
  9. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,696 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,785 sqft
  10. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,314 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,499 sqft

See all Real estate in the 95030 zip code.
(all data current as of 7/21/2018)

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

Review the MLSFrequently the multiple listing service has typos and errors regarding homes for sale (and poor or missing photos too).  I have to wonder if sellers even look at the comments, description or photographs online at all – because I am sure that if they did, most of the mistakes would be caught and the marketing would improve significantly.

Just now, I saw in one description that a house features “walking closets”.  Let’s hope not – that’s the stuff of nightmares.  It also claimed that the kitchen is “specious” (which means misleadingly attractive) rather than spacious.  The same real estate agent also misspelled the name of the Silicon Valley subdivision.

When I put a listing on the MLS for my seller clients, I always ask them to check for errors (or misspellings etc.) since they know their home better than I do.  I do not want to represent that fireplaces are served by gas jets if they aren’t, or omit them if they are, as just one example.  Even our most diligent notes can sometimes miss a detail.  Accuracy is important both so that buyers and their agents understand the property well but also so that the home’s features aren’t accidentally left out.   So home sellers: always ask to see the MLS printout on your property.  Do not ask only for the standard consumer version, but request the “agent full” version so that you can also check the private comments aimed at Realtors and other salespeople.

  1. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,365 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,173 sqft
  2. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,803 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,567 sqft
  3. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 816 sq ft
    Lot size: 814 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,824 sq ft
    Lot size: 21,056 sqft
  5. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,170 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,321 sqft
  6. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 1,753 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,181 sqft
  7. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,032 sq ft
    Lot size: 988 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,733 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,874 sqft
  9. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,564 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,825 sqft
  10. 6 beds, 7 baths
    Home size: 6,479 sq ft
    Lot size: 40,044 sqft

See all Real estate in the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno community.
(all data current as of 7/21/2018)

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

San Jose’s Cambrian Park neighborhood offers a variety of home types, sizes, and price ranges, from small condos to large houses on big lots.  Below, please find virtually all MLS listed properties currently for sale in the Cambrian Park Area with zip codes of 95124 and 95118. The info is updated automatically, so please check back often! (You can narrow your search by selecting only certain home types, sizes, etc.  Below are four groupings, by zip codes and home types, to cover all residential real estate available right now in 95124 & 95118.

95124 Single Family Homes:

  1. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,240 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,202 sqft
  2. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,916 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,403 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,569 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,067 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,670 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,468 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,258 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,601 sqft

See all Real estate in the 95124 zip code.
(all data current as of 7/21/2018)

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

95118 Single Family Homes:

click on link below to see these and more…

Continue reading

Real estate contracts welcomeIt has become the norm for Silicon Valley residential real estate contracts to be emailed from the buyer’s agent to the listing agent.  In years gone by, that wasn’t the case – “live presentations” were the norm instead.  The buyer’s agent would ask the listing agent to set up an appointment and the two of them plus the seller(s) would meet, usually at the listing agent’s office but sometimes at the seller’s home, for this offer presentation. There are many advantages of presenting and receiving offers in person, despite its current lack of popularity.

The shift came with the prevalence of email and the privacy presumed to accompany it.  For awhile before email took off, some real estate professionals were faxing offers.  That saved time but seemed risky on a couple of levels.  It never seemed very secure until efax came along (taking faxes directly to one’s email). Most faxes in the early days of using that machine belonged to the office. Anyone hovering by the fax machine could see very well the paperwork coming through.   Just as seriously, though, it took away the ability to read the situation in person, to answer questions or to make a positive impression that would help the buyer’s odds of success. It was cold and impersonal.

Today, most Realtors presume that offers should arrive by email.  The better ones will ask: “How would you like to receive my offer?”  The openness to dropping off a sealed offer, present to the agent, present to the agent and seller, email, fax, or have delivered by courier pigeon – ok, kidding on the last one – indicates a willingness to go the extra mile and to get it done. Continue reading

I work with buyers and sellers not rentersSeveral times a year, people want to find rental housing phone me (or sometimes email me), asking for help with rentals of various sorts.  When I explain that most Santa Clara County real estate agents do not work with rentals, myself included, only buyers or sellers, the reaction runs from surprise or even disbelief to anger.   In many areas of the U.S., real estate agents routinely handle leases or month to month rentals.  Why not here?

In the Silicon Valley or San Jose area, most leases or rentals are offered “by owner”.  The owners choose not to hire realty professionals to represent them, and they elect not to want to pay commissions.  So while in many areas of the country, landlords employ real estate licensees to help them to rent properties, here that is seldom the case – at least in terms of offerings made available to the public.  (Owners may hire agents to manage properties, but don’t want to pay commissions to the Realtors or sales people working with people trying to locate rental housing.)

Most homes for rent can be found on Craigslist, but there are a very, very few offered on our local MLS (  How few is few?  Just now I ran ALL of the rentals available in all of Santa Clara County – apartments, condos, townhouses, attached homes, detached houses.  In a population of 1.8 million people, can you guess how many rental homes are on the MLS this moment? It’s 64. Just houses = 46.

Why this problem?  With our inventory shortage, most landlords feel that they don’t have to pay $500 or whatever the fee would be to locate a tenant.  Not only that, but many full time agents wouldn’t be too excited about spending weeks with a rental client only to get $500 and then split that with their company!  It’s just not worthwhile.

So when you call your local real estate licensee asking about rentals available, please understand that this isn’t part of what is usually done in the Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga or nearby areas in general.  Yes, there are some exceptions.  But for the most part, the owners of those properties don’t want us involved.

For related reading:

Finding Rental Housing in San Jose, Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley

More affordable homes to buy or rent in Silicon Valley with better schools

What do Silicon Valley Real Estate Agents Do?  (how their time is spent)

  1. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,137 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,476 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 913 sq ft
    Lot size: 627 sqft
  3. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,256 sq ft
    Lot size: 831 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,300 sq ft
    Lot size: 679 sqft
  5. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 656 sq ft
    Lot size: 945 sqft
  6. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 950 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,733 sqft
  7. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 645 sq ft
    Lot size: 779 sqft
  8. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 984 sq ft
    Lot size: 988 sqft
  9. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,113 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,578 sqft
  10. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,125 sq ft
    Lot size: 574 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Santa Clara.
(all data current as of 7/21/2018)

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

glassesYou’re browsing through the online list of Silicon Valley homes for sale and only want a turnkey home. How can you tell, from the description, what the home’s true condition is? (Photos are often the biggest help, but some agents don’t post enough of them, or the quality is poor.)

Often it’s not what the Silicon Valley real estate agent says, it’s what he or she doesn’t say.

For example, when a home’s been remodeled, normally the agent will try very hard to convey this in the allowed words in the public remarks section. If anything has been replaced or updated, it will be in the remarks unless the agent is really not good at marketing the home. The comments should say “remodeled kitchen and baths” if that’s the case. If the kitchen and baths aren’t mentioned at all, normally that means that either they are original or are otherwise in need of remodeling now.
Continue reading

A common buyer question right now is whether or not the real estate market in Silicon Valley is overheated, if we are experiencing “another bubble”.  If you visit open houses in places like Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and in many parts of the Peninsula, you may see droves of buyers and be convinced that the market is, in fact, overheated.

Silicon Valley encompasses a large area, primarily Santa Clara County and some of San Mateo County, but a few sections of neighboring counties as well. Generalizing about huge regions is tricky.  Overall, though, it is a deep seller’s market throughout Silicon Valley.  But there is a great deal of variation from one city or town to the next, as well as between ages of homes, quality of schools and neighborhoods, and price point.   Today we will focus primarily on a couple of statistics: the ratio of sales price to list price for houses in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, and ratio of new listings to sold and closed ones of houses in these counties.

First, though, a look at the two counties combined to show the broadest common real estate trends for Silicon Valley in relation to the sales price to list price ratio and “days to sell”.

Santa Clara County and San Mateo County sale price to list price ratio and average days to sell

Santa Clara County and San Mateo County sale price to list price ratio and average days to sell

The chart above gives a snapshot of the Silicon Valley market, which appears to have had a peak in about October – November 2012. likely reflecting sales 45-60 days earlier, when the days to sell hit a yearlong low.  Since that time, though, things appear to have calmed down.

New listings of houses for sale versus sold homes in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties

A few days ago, before getting the stats for closed sales in January 2013, I wrote about the trends for new listings of houses in relation to the closed sales in Santa Clara County in late fall 2012.  What we were seeing was that homes in escrow were closing or finalizing the sales faster than new inventory was coming on the market.  The closings in January, though,reflecting sales which began in December, a trend reversal, back to a more normal ratio, in both Santa Clara County and San Mateo County.  December is often the softest month of the year, with few listings relative to the rest of the year and sales at lower price points.  Looks like this December followed that pattern to a point.  Have a look at the charts for both counties and notice the trend reversal, below.

New Listings vs Sold SCC Feb 2013 (Small)

Santa Clara County New Listings vs Sold Houses last 12 months

Continue reading

Value of NetworkingAre there a lot of off-MLS, secret sales in Silicon Valley?  In my experience, there are some, but not very many.  For real estate agents with buyers seeking a hard-to-find house, networking can be one method of locating the off MLS property – and probably the most important one.

Why do some sellers chose to sell their homes off the multiple listing service, out of public view?  And why do some agents want them to do it?

Many home owners are afraid that if they put their house on the market at their desired price, it won’t sell AND, worse yet, will become a “stale listings” with long “days on the market”.  By offering it privately, by word of mouth only, if the house doesn’t sell, there’s not so much harm done.  There’s no public DOM.  They can always go on the market publicly later, they reason.

What these sellers don’t know, though, is what they may be losing if they do take an offer that comes to them privately.  They won’t have seen what the maximum exposure might do for them.

Some Silicon Valley Realtors push their sellers to first offer the home privately (perhaps with their agent holding it open, even), then if it doesn’t sell that way, go onto the MLS and make it public.

Should it sell privately, especially through an open house, there’s a very good chance that the listing agent will also represent the seller (or “double end the deal”).  Who is benefiting the most here?

Conversely, those real estate licensees who sell a significant percentage of their listings ‘off market’ also tell potential buyers that they have a secret inventory – that’s their special sauce, their point of distinction. There’s drama and intrigue there, but at the end of the day, the big question is this: did their sellers net the most possible, or did they have a less risky sale that most likely netted them less – but increased their Realtor’s paycheck?

Networking can also be a huge help when there are problems to be solved.  There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel!  Whether new or highly seasoned, no licensee or broker knows it all and most can benefit significantly by discussing problematic real estate situations with others who may have been down that path before.  When that happens, you, the client, benefit not just from what your own agent knows, but what she or he can tap into as well.

Smart, experienced Realtors don’t have to work in a vacuum, but they can learn about hidden inventory and potential problem solvers by staying in touch with the agents and offices which are most active in the desired markets. That’s networking.  It can help buyers and sellers both if their Realtor reaches out to others in the local real estate community to find out who knows what, who’s selling what or who needs to buy what.   When you interview your potential Realtors, be sure to ask them about the role networking plays in their day to day work.

  1. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,938 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,647 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,507 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.07 ac
  3. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 3,453 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,672 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,379 sq ft
  5. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,282 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,893 sqft
  6. 1 bed, 1 bath
    Home size: 633 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,766 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,100 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,097 sqft
  8. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,690 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,179 sqft
  9. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,026 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,093 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,067 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,311 sqft
  11. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,794 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,327 sqft
  12. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,772 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,098 sqft
  13. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,622 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,278 sqft
  14. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,308 sq ft
    Lot size: 4,922 sqft
  15. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,440 sq ft
  16. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,409 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,972 sqft
  17. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,683 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,307 sqft
  18. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,519 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,455 sqft
  19. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,726 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,029 sqft
  20. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,250 sq ft
    Lot size: 500 sqft

See all Real estate matching your search.
(all data current as of 7/21/2018)

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

No photo availableAlthough most real estate professionals in Silicon Valley really understand not only the importance of good photography for their listings, and the fact that listings should never go live on the MLS without a full assortment of photos, not everyone is as sharp.  Some agents will add a new listing to the multiple listing and later (days, weeks?) add some pics, others never include photos at all.

The vast majority of buyers will immediately pass on a property if there are no photos.  What isn’t seen is deemed to be terrible!

The seller’s loss, though, is a buyer’s gain.  The badly marketed house can be an opportunity for home buyers who are having trouble getting their offer accepted.

So, discouraged buyers – make a point of seeking out properties with no photos.  You’ll have far less competition and better odds of success with your bid to buy a home!

  1. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,703 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,385 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 931 sq ft
    Lot size: 919 sqft
  3. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,002 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,720 sqft
  4. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,498 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,265 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,037 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,655 sqft
  6. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,140 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,456 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,789 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,609 sqft
  8. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,800 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,825 sqft
  9. 6 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,510 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,822 sqft
  10. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,082 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,049 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Campbell.
(all data current as of 7/21/2018)

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

Seller contingenciesA real estate contingency is a provision that something must be overcome or approved to consummate a transaction.  In other words, it’s a condition, such as “I will buy this house IF (fill in the blank)”.

Silicon Valley real estate consumers are well aware that home buyers normally have a few contingencies during escrow.  The major ones are for property condition or inspection and loan or finance (to include appraisal).  But there are others too, such as approving the preliminary title report, obtaining and accepting disclosures etc. (On rare occasions, such as some tenant occupied properties, the buyer may have to make an offer first and then, after it’s accepted, view the home or apartment building. In that case it’s “write offer subject to inspection” – a contingency that you’ll accept it after you get into escrow! This is how apartment buildings and some multi-family dwellings are sold.)

What about seller contingencies?

Sellers, too, may be able to back out of the contract if certain conditions are not met.  The two we see most common are these:

  1. In the case of a short sale, the sellers have a contingency for bank approval and for their acceptance of the bank’s terms.  If the bank doesn’t approve the short payoff, the seller does not have to sell the house to the buyer.
  2. Sometimes sellers only want to sell their home if they can find another one which they wish to purchase.  This can be a contingency also: “sale subject to sellers’ finding a replacement property within X number of days“.

Some homes are part of a co-op (cooperative) and in a few areas around the country, I think mainly in New York City, a board must approve whomever wants to purchase the home or unit.  In those cases, there would be a seller contingency for board approval.  I have never run into it in the San Jose, Los Gatos, or Saratoga area but it is possible that you could see it somewhere in California.

How does a seller’s contingency impact value and desirability?

Seller contingencies usually make it difficult to attract buyers since there is a giant unknown in terms of the ability to close escrow and it’s not in the buyer’s control to fix it.  With short sales, that contingency must be in place for the seller, but not so for the “replacement property” clause.  When sellers invoke that contingency (which must be listed in the MLS), it will usually cut down on showings, offers, and ultimately the probable buyer’s value for the home – so normally this is not advisable.


Mary Pope-Handy
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at)
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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Valley Of Hearts Delight
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
with an interest in history
Silicon Valley relocation info
Silicon Valley real estate,
focus on home selling

Silicon Valley Real Estate Report
Silicon Valley real estate
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Mary’s Blog Awards
Top 25 real estate blogs of 2018 by RentPrep2018'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