Waves of flowersOften home buyers assess real estate location issues based on only a few criteria, such as being within a particular zip code or school district, or opposed to a few things, such as busy roads, high voltage power lines or commercial properties.  Either approach can be too narrow (or too broad), so I’d like to suggest a few more elements to for factoring into the Silicon Valley neighborhood search.

  • Look at the street and several blocks surrounding it: are the homes and yards maintained?  Are there too many cars parked on the road or in driveways? Are there eyesores?
  • The nearby housing types and quality will impact properties values in the surrounding area.  If a house is too close to an apartment building, the apartment will hurt the value of the house.  If a small house is surrounded by larger, more expensive ones, they will pull the value of the small house up.  The old adage that it’s best to be the least expensive property in a more expensive area is true. So is the reverse.
  • Check sites such as CrimeReports.com to see how safe it is generally
  • You may also want to check the Megan’s Law database online too
  • Consider positive attributes, such as the walkscore or walkability.  You may not want to buy a house right next to a 7-11, but having one 3 blocks away may be very convenient for you (and good for resale value).
  • Also consider access to commute routes and transportation. The newest “plus” for a given location could be the bus stops for commuters working for Google or Apple.  Convenience is highly prized in Silicon Valley, hence the eternal popularity of homes in Santa Clara, for instance.
  • Asl yourself what makes this location good? Will it be a drawing card always?  Homes with views, for instance, are likely to continue to enjoy them unless the view is threatened by the construction of something blocking it.
  • Certain builders have better reputations than others. If you purchase a home construction by a very highly regarded builder in a subdivision of that company’s homes, it will be a location plus.

While many San Jose and Peninsula area home buyers really focus on school API school scores, those are not the only drivers of value.  Several places with lesser school scores (think Willow Glen and some of the downtown SJ neighborhoods) remain desirable for other reasons, such as architectural uniqueness and beautifully maintained neigbhorhooods (such as these areas – Rosegarden, Shasta Hanchett, Naglee Park, parts  of Alum Rock, Japantown, Vendome and more).  There are many reasons why a home, subdivision or community can be viewed as a great location.  Consider varied aspects when deciding where to live.

Please also read How to Choose Where to Live in Silicon Valley or Santa Clara County