A few months back I had a Silicon Valley first time home buyer who was viewing & assessing homes; she asked me what the metallic “thing” was on top of some homes. Being from a newer community in Southern California, she had never seen them before. After a bit of dialogue, I realized she was talking about antennae.

Wheneever I have new home buyers, there are always components in houses for sale (or condos or townhomes) which need explaining. There are so many things which Silicon Valley home owners take for granted as known and understood, but sometimes they aren’t so obvious to new home buyers. So today I’ll share a few photos and simply explain what each is.

Ever see one of these (photo below) protruding from a garage on your way up to a front door? It’s the dryer vent!

dryer vent
Dryer vent

How about this next photograph – a funny hole with a wire or wooden opening at the base of the home out into the yard?

Crawl space access on the outside (older home)

Crawl space access on the outside (older home)

This one, above, is the access to the crawl space.

How about this big boxy thing?

Air conditioning condenser unit

Air conditioning condenser unit

 It’s an air conditioning condenser unit.  If you see this, it usually is good news and means you’ve got A/C!
How about this thing, which are usually found on the floor but sometimes on a wall or ceiling? 
Heat register for forced air heating system

Heat register for forced air heating system







These are the places where forced air heat comes out into the room.  They are called the heat registers and behind them are the ducts that carry the hot or warm air to each room.

Next, the other side of the equation. Recognize this in a house?

Cool air return for forced air heating system

Cool air return for forced air heating system

It’s the “cool air return” for forced air heating system.  And next? This one is a (very old) furnace).  The furnace may be in a closet inside the home or it could be in the garage.

Furnace (older model)

Furnace (older model)


These are just a few of the items you’ll be learning about as you begin to try to find your first home to buy in the San Jose or Santa Clara County area.  It’s extremely helpful to work with someone knowledgeable who can help you to learn about the components of a house or home so that you understand what you’re attempting to buy!

If you’re gearing up to buy a home, you may want to learn more about how to save money in your transaction

Please call me if I can be of help to you!


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Mary Pope-Handy
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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Valley Of Hearts Delight
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
with an interest in history

Silicon Valley relocation info

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focus on home selling

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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