Saratoga

When it’s a hot seller’s market, like it is right now in Silicon Valley, it is challenging to be a home buyer.  That means it’s also hard to be a buyer’s agent, since it may require writing many, many offers (and a lot of time and energy) before the clients get into contract.  Since Realtors are usually only paid when a property closes, that means it’s not too hard to go broke if a real estate professional focuses a lot of time with buyers.   In other words, in a market like this, most agents would prefer to work with sellers rather than buyers, because it’s more likely that they’ll make a living.

Home buyers Realtors look for these traitsWhat can you do to increase the odds of finding a great Realtor who will take you seriously, work with you and for you, and give it a good effort even if it’s an uphill battle?  First, let’s understand what a real estate licensee is looking for a client – at least in most cases.  Usually, the savvy agent doesn’t want to waste time with people who are not serious, not ready, or who will not be loyal.  The smart Realtor knows that without these three things, it’s unlikely that they will be able to sell that person a home, or at least not in a reasonable period of time.

Serious home buyers:

Only about half of all home buyers will likely buy in the year they think they might, so it’s important for real estate professionals to try to make sure that they don’t spend months on someone only to have him or her remain permanent renters.  The agent must qualify the client to make sure it’s worth the risk of spending time with him or her.

Clues that the buyer isn’t serious include these:

(1) Comments like “I may have to look at homes for a year or two” or “I may need to write a hundred offers to get the right deal” or “I’m in no rush” indicate that this isn’t a big priority for the buyer (so maybe it shouldn’t be for the agent, either). This buyer is able, ready and probably also loyal – but not serious.  Some, though, will clarify with a time frame and this is a game changer. “My lease is up in July, so ideally, I’d like to get into contract in March, close in April and move in May.  But if I find the right house sooner, I’ll buy sooner.”  That works!

(2) If there are two decision makers, having only one do most of the house hunting and the other showing up at distant intervals often indicates that it’s a priority for one but not both.  Sometimes that’s not the case, but it is a red flag.  Both need to be serious. Continue reading

multipleoffers3 300x170 - Why do you keep losing out on multiple offers?

Multiple Offers

You may have heard that the Silicon Valley real estate market is slightly softer now than it was a a few months ago.  That’s true – at least for most of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties and nearby. In many cases there are now half as many offers as there were in February, March, or April. But it’s still a hot seller’s market, and that means that often there are multiple offers, overbids, and sales with no contingencies.

For my last few listings – which have been in San Jose, Saratoga, Los Gatos, the Cambrian area of San Jose and the Campbell area of San Jose – there’s been a consistent “spread” of offers.   If there were 6 offers, it might look like this:

  1. Best offer frequently the highest price and best terms. It is 10-20% over list price, 25-30% down at least, and has no contingencies for inspection, loan, and most of all, appraisal (the percentage over has to do with whether the home was priced spot on the value or strategically under).  These offers come with all disclosures signed, and the buyer’s agent has even done her or his Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure.  They include the proof of funds and usually also write a nice letter to the sellers about why they want to purchase that home.
  2. The best offer is also someone who’s been SURE that he or she or they wanted the home from the very beginning and looks ROCK SOLID. NO WAVERING, not a “last minute” offer. Any hesitation on your side will cause the seller to not feel good about your odds of closing the sale. Be consistently interested if you want the sale. A shaky looking buyer may not include their proof of funds.  Perhaps they would not sign the disclosures yet or otherwise submit an incomplete package.  They don’t come across as certain about buying this property and need a few days to see the property again, or show it to their parents, or otherwise confirm the decision to buy. Their agent is not so thorough. If the TDS is not fully signed off, is the buyers’ agent trying to sneak a 3 day right of cancellation into the contract? The best buyer’s offer doesn’t look shaky – it looks dead set on buying the home and has done everything possible to convince the seller of their conviction.
  3. The second best or next runner up is usually strong on terms (at least 25% down, few or no contingencies) but perhaps made an offer price a little under the top value.  Sometimes the next runner up has a good price and mostly good terms, but something is not quite as solid.  If the offers are tied but one buyer has no contingencies and the other has any, that will be the tie-breaker.
  4. Middle of the pack is usually a combination of a price where the home should appraise, a solid down payment, and few or no contingencies. It may be a price that seems “reasonable”. Buyers may feel that it is “a fair offer” or a win-win. Often the fair offers aren’t good enough to take the prize in multiple offers. If you can project what most buyers think a home will be worth, maybe you might want to consider getting ahead of that pack and seeing where the pricing trajectory will take you.
  5. Bottom offers are under, at, or barely over list price, and include an appraisal contingency as well as others (one for loan or one for property condition). If there’s a rent back, they want their PITI covered.

If you’ve been writing offers and not succeeding, try to see your own pattern in this spread.  Is there one thing, or perhaps are there two or more things, you’re just not ready to do?

Why it is so hard

Continue reading

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.

2a - Saratoga, CA, Real Estate Market Update

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

2A - Saratoga, CA, Real Estate Market Update

This month the data is back to what’s been the norm as of late – a strong seller’s market with fairly low inventory. Just under 2 MOI is a hot market, but if you look at where the listings are and compare it to the sales you are able to see there is at least one big exception. We can tell that the highest price point, $5+ million, is a much slower buyer’s market, which is common, and the other price points are frequently even lower than the average. Because the inventory is so small, the data can be easily distorted, so it is helpful to look a little farther back for general trends and pricing. As always, each property is unique, so this chart is just a guide and finding the right price to list or offer requires closer inspection and is best done with the help of a qualified agent.

By comparing across school districts you can also see how different each area’s individual market can be. The overall MOI for different school districts this month ranges from 2.375 to 0.75. Small levels of inventory can create big data swings and make for less accurate charts, nevertheless, we can still spot trends if we know where to look.

 

Continue reading

How's The Luxury Home Market?Luxury home sales are going like crazy in the west valley areas of Santa Clara County. Right now in Almaden Valley, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga, there are 115 houses for sale listed at or more than two million dollars (just checked MLSListings.com), and in the last 30 days 52 have sold and closed escrow in those same areas and price ranges. For the Almaden – Saratoga region generally, then, there are 2.212 months of inventory in the over two million dollar price range (115/52). That makes it a strong seller’s market. Things have certainly stayed lively since last year. (In the same region, there are 39 pending sales.)

Next we’ll look at these four Silicon Valley communities separately to see how the luxury market in each one is faring overall.

Almaden Valley (San Jose, 95120)

Currently in Almaden there are 12 houses for sale which are listed at or over $2,000,000.  In the last 30 days, 3 sold in that price range (with 2 sales pending). That makes for 4 “months of inventory,” which can be considered a balanced market in many areas though is leaning towards being a seller’s market. That would mean this luxury market has good turnover but is not as strong a market as elsewhere. It’s a close to balanced market in Almaden Valley among the most expensive real estate offerings for sale. Five to six months is balanced and over six is a buyer’s market. Continue reading

Free E Waste event April 21 2018 in Los Gatos and other Sereno Group office locations

Please stop by a Sereno Group office listed below to take part in a FREE e-waste, e-recycling
collection event on   Sunday April 21, 2018    9:00AM- 1:00- PM.

A FREE e-waste collection event is being held in 3 area Sereno Group offices on Sunday, April 21, 2013 from 9:30am to 1:30pm:

Where to go to drop off the approved items?

 

PALO ALTO
Corner of Emerson and Lytton Avenue

LOS ALTOS  * SHREDDING AVAILABLE AT THIS LOCATION *
369 S. San Antonio Road (Sereno Office Parking Lot)

LOS GATOS * SHREDDING AVAILABLE AT THIS LOCATION *
214 Los Gatos – Saratoga Road (Sereno Office Parking Lot)

WILLOW GLEN
1425 Lincoln Avenue (WG Elem. School Parking Lot)

SANTA CRUZ
2407 Porter Street (Sereno Office Parking Lot)

What to Bring, what’s accepted:

  • Computers / Laptops / Servers
  • Televisions / Monitors
  • DVD / CD Players
  • Fax Machines / Printers
  • Copy Machines
  • Toner Cartridges
  • Speakers / Stereo Equipment
  • Rechargeable Batteries
  • Telecome Equipment / Telephones / Cell Phones
  • Wire / Cabling / Printed Circuit Boards
  • Aluminum / Scrap Metal
  • Microwave Ovens

Items NOT Accepted:

  • Alkaline Batteries
  • All Lightbulbs
  • DLP TV’s

GreenMouse Recycling shreds and Grey Bears reconfigures all hard drives so no one can access your personal information!

 

Additional details: https://www.serenogroup.com/Earth-Day-E-Waste-Event

 

Blossom Festival - celebrating Saratoga's orchard historyThis March, travel back in time to the early- to mid-20th century and celebrate Santa Clara Valley’s heritage with the Saratoga Historical Foundation and the City of Saratoga’s Blossom Festival.

When the hills of Los Gatos, Saratoga, and the surrounding regions were covered with fruit blossoms every year, a Blossom Festival was held with parades, food, games, and theatrical performances. These massive celebrations saw visitors come from miles around to enjoy the beauty of the valley and the festivities.

On March 24th from 10am-4pm, the Saratoga Heritage Orchard and Civic Center area will be host to a new Blossom Festival. The event is free and family friendly. Children may enjoy kids craft and activity tables and a petting zoo. History buffs can rub elbows with costumed characters from Saratoga’s by-gone-days, see vintage vehicles, motors, and tractors, and swing to a live band playing tunes from the 1930s-40s. Foodies might enjoy gourmet food trucks, prune and apricot tasting (the prize crops of the Valley of Heart’s Delight), and docent-led orchard tours. There will also be artists, craftspeople, entertainment, and more!

Join us in the orchard under a snowfall of pink and white flower petals and celebrate the beauty of the changing season at the Saratoga Blossom Festival!

 

Saratoga Heritage Orchard and Civic Center area

13777 Fruitvale Avenue in Saratoga, CA

March 24th from 10am-4pm, free to all!

http://www.saratogahistory.com/blossomfestival/

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%)

Continue reading

cornucopia_photoThanksgiving is just a few weeks away, and there are interfaith services going on and welcome all.

Only a few have announced dates yet, so this post may be updated when I am alerted to more.

On Thursday, November 23, after starting the turkey and before the guests arrive, head over to the Saratoga Federated Church at 20390 Park Pl for the 52nd Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service from 10am-noon. This celebration is hosted by a different religious community each year in the Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno area and is the perfect chance to share community time and spread thanksgiving with your neighbors. Congregation Beth David is the only website with information on this event at the present (please use the link to learn more).

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! Hope to see you at one of these events!

 

  1. 5 beds, 7 baths
    Home size: 7,000 sq ft
    Lot size: 36,869 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,507 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.07 ac
  3. 5 beds, 7 baths
    Home size: 7,018 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.54 ac
  4. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,139 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,113 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,460 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,734 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Saratoga.
(all data current as of 7/23/2018)

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

el-sombroso-and-blossom-hill-from-vasona-parkWhat makes an expensive house in the San Jose area more than just a pricey bit of real estate, but instead a Silicon Valley luxury home? How is high end real estate different from the rest of the market? When is a property not just a home with land, but an estate?

In other parts of the U.S., spending $1,200,000 may fetch a 4000 square foot home, new construction, in an upscale gated community with country club amenities such as a golf course, tennis courts, and more. Here, that same $1,200,000 will procure an entry to mid-level single family home in many parts of Santa Clara County. It won’t necessarily be a Silicon Valley luxury home.

Luxury connotes a combination of qualities, features, and amenities. And it includes pricing (relative to the nearby market), condition, land, design.

Pricing Luxury Homes in Silicon Valley: What Do They Cost?

Expensive Silicon Valley homes are not necessarily luxury homes. Depending on the city or town, the price tag could be higher or lower. For instance, a fabulous house on a large lot in Gilroy’s Eagle Ridge might sell for 1/3 as much as the identical type of home, land and neighborhood found in Saratoga, Monte Sereno, or Los Gatos, or Los Altos, if a similar home happened to be available. Generally, though, luxury homes could cost as little as $1,000,000 or so in some parts of Silicon Valley or in neighboring counties, but in most parts of Silicon Valley, a true estate type property will be valued at $2,000,000 or $3,000,000 or more.  In some areas, such as Palo Alto, that $2 million doesn’t go too far and the home you can purchase at that price tag may need major updating – or it could be “land value”.  For our purposes today, we’ll use $2 million as the bottom number for estate properties, but it may or may not be the case in some areas.

Continue reading

What does it cost to buy a home with really good schools in Silicon Valley? Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Palo Alto are all areas with highly regarding public schools. These aren’t the only areas with good schools but they are popular “west valley” areas that people may consider if working for Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook or any number of high tech employers.

Los Gatos and Saratoga both have multiple school districts, running from good to very good or excellent. The cost of housing tends to follow the popularity of the district, so for those areas I’m showing the breakdown not just for the whole town of Los Gatos but also by the high school district (Los Gatos-Saratoga or Campbell Union High School District). Same with Saratoga. (The Monte Sereno real estate market is very similar to Los Gatos, but slightly more expensive. Most of Monte Sereno has Los Gatos schools, but a small number of homes are in the Campbell area.)

Here are the average numbers for single family homes sold in the last 60 days ranging from 1500 – 2500 square feet, on a lot between 5000 and 10,000 SF, with 3-5 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms to give a sense of what it would cost to purchase a typical house in these areas. Please note that right now it’s a strong seller’s market, so many (if not most or all) homes are selling for more than the list price.  DOM stands for days on the market.

b 1 800x265 - How do prices compare between Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Palo Alto?

If you are new to Santa Clara County, you may be wondering if this is correct. The cost to buy a home in these areas is what?

  • Los Gatos: approximately $1,500,000 to $2,150,000 depending on the school district
  • Saratoga: approximately $1,700,000 to about $2,500,000 depending on the schools
  • Cupertino: approx $2,000,000 (some high schools will bring in higher prices and others lower)
  • Palo Alto: approx $2,700,000 – $3,000,000

Remember, these prices do not mean that the houses being sold are perfect. Because it is a strong seller’s market, many properties are being sold which need new roofing, extensive pest work, remodeling, perhaps updating of electrical or plumbing systems or more. Many home buyers will need to spend 1-2% on things like termite fumigation, dry rot or roof repairs, carpets, paint, windows and more, and usually this will be done before they move in. So whatever the budget is, buffer it a little bit for both money and time to make it turnkey.

To compare, here’s the same chart, following the same criteria, taken in April 2014. See what’s changed:

Market info April 19 2014

 

For people relocating to Silicon Valley from out of the San Jose or Peninsula area, this real estate market can be daunting. There are other areas with good schools which are a bit further from most employment areas which can be an alternative, too. They include the Cambrian 95124 and Almaden 95120 (especially the southern area with Bret Harte Middle School and Leland High School) areas within San Jose.

Finally, in some cases, it may be more affordable to make use of private schools, which are plentiful in the San Francisco Bay area. In some situations it can be financially more affordable to buy outside of the highly competitive areas with the best schools and utilize the private school system. Some of the private schools are religious, some secular, and some with a language focus (bilingual in French, German, Chinese, etc.).

Interested in purchasing a home in one of these fantastic communities?  Please call or email me!  408 204-7673  or mary (at) popehandy.com

  1. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 2,959 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,218 sqft
  2. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 5,674 sq ft
    Lot size: 3.12 ac
  3. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 814 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,384 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,621 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,911 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,220 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,172 sqft
  6. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,715 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,006 sqft
  7. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,190 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,471 sqft
  8. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,206 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,102 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 4,940 sq ft
    Lot size: 26,885 sqft
  10. 6 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 3,881 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,499 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Cupertino.
(all data current as of 7/23/2018)

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

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Translation

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
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Santa Clara County,
San Mateo County, and
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Saratoga, Campbell,
Almaden Valley,
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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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