Select Page

Finding scenic places in which to live in Silicon Valley

View from Montevina Road in Los Gatos, Scenic Silicon ValleyIf you arrived into Silicon Valley via Highway 101, driving south from San Francisco, you might believe that the Santa Clara Valley, the San Jose area and Silicon Valley as a whole has got to seem to be the ugliest place on earth. Although heavily traveled, that is not the “scenic route”.

So, too, if you are looking for a place to live and are groping to find a place that is reasonably priced, fairly safe and not a terrible commute distance. You might not even have “is nice looking” on your wish list. You might not think it’s possible if all you ever see are the ugly concrete tilt-up buildings in north San Jose, Santa Clara, Alviso, or anywhere along the 237 corridor.  That area is an architectural wasteland.

Let me assure you: there are a lot of beautiful places in Silicon Valley where you can rent or buy a home. But how do you find them? It helps a lot to have a local give you a few pointers.  I’ll give you some tips today on finding a scenic place to live.

Hills – An easy way to find a scenic location to make your home is to settle near the hills, especially those in the west valley (the Santa Cruz Mountains or the Coastal Range) as they are green year-round. Communities at the base of the west valley foothills include, in Santa Clara County, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, and the Almaden Valley area of San Jose. All of these areas are adjacent to the hills or mountains and offer far better than average schools (many of them qualify as great – compare costs between these areas). (more…)

Comparing the real estate markets in Almaden, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Los Altos

Days on market for several "west valley" communities within Silicon Valley

Days on market for several “west valley” communities within Silicon Valley

For people relocating to Silicon Valley, often there’s not just one city, town or area which seems like a good fit.  Sometimes it may come down to what your money can buy or how difficult it is to purchase in one area versus another.   This is frequently the case with the “West Valley” areas where schools are good and the neighborhoods are tidy.

There are two statistics which are especially helpful in understanding the Santa Clara County real estate market.  One is the “days on market” or DOM.  The shorter this is, the hotter the market – and the harder it is to purchase.   The second is the sale price to list price ratio, which hints at the existence of multiple offers, overbids, and buyers giving away all of their rights.

Today, then, we’ll have a look at these, starting with Almaden, the southernmost area, and working our way north along the coastal range.  The charts below are all for single family homes (houses and duet homes, not condos or townhomes).

Almaden Valley is a district within the city of San Jose.  Its boundaries roughly follow the 95120 zip code, though there are some parts of nearby zip codes which somewhat overlap into Almaden too. How’s the Almaden market?  Red hot!  Days on market is crazy low – a mere 16! And the average sale price is almost 104% of list price…and rising!

Trends At a Glance May 2013 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $0 (N/A) $0 $0 (N/A)
Average Price $0 (N/A) $0 $0 (N/A)
No. of Sales (N/A) 0 (N/A)
Pending (N/A) 0 (N/A)
Active (N/A) 0 (N/A)
Sale vs. List Price 0.0% (N/A) 0.0% 0.0% (N/A)
Days on Market (N/A) 0 (N/A)
Days of Inventory (N/A) 0 (N/A)
Los Gatos is a bit north of Almaden and has many micro-markets within it based on proximity to downtown Los Gatos, the school districts, view of the hills or valley and many other factors. (This is “in town”, zip codes 95030 and 95032, not the Los Gatos Mountains 95033.)  The market is also red hot in Los Gatos! The days on market are significantly longer (36 as opposed to Almaden’s 16), but the sale price to list price ratio is a tad higher here. (more…)

Average Days on Market and Sale Price to List Price Ratio in Santa Clara County Communities

Today let’s look at the Santa Clara County real estate market, the days on market (DOM) and the sale price to list price ratio for houses and duet homes (single family homes). This will primarily be graphs that I created using MLSListings.com (our local MLS, to which I am a paying member).  We’ll consider the county as a whole and various cities or towns within it, plus areas of San Jose, as it has about a million residents.

First: Santa Clara County homes over the last year.  Please note the decreasing days on market, the increasing sale price to list price ratio in recent months.  This is exactly what an appreciating market looks like!

 

Santa Clara County average days on market and sale price to list price ratio

Santa Clara County average days on market and sale price to list price ratio

 

Next, let’s have a peek at how some of the hottest markets in Silicon Valley look, starting with Sunnyvale. It is odd to see any kind of a blip on the sale price to list price ratio.  Are buyers giving some push-back?  We keep hearing stories of homes selling 30% or more over list price with gobs of offers.  So the SP – LP ratio change is a surprise.

 

Sunnyvale average days on market and sale price to list price ratio Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale average days on market and sale price to list price ratio Sunnyvale

 

Palo Alto is always the hottest ticket in town. (more…)

20 Harps for the Holidays in Los Altos

The Los Altos United Methodist Church (LAUMC) ad Harpeggio present “20 Harps for the Holidays” with holiday harp music, solos, ensembles and featured guest artist Natalie Cox on Saturday December 3, 2011 at 4pm at the church: 655 Magdalena Avenue, Los Altos.  The program includes a festive selection of traditional carols, classical music, and a variety of holiday and Christmas music.

According to the Harpeggio website: “Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for children (4-12) and $12 for seniors (60+). For more information and to buy tickets, please contact Stephanie at (408) 366-8810 or email events@harpeggio.com”

The LAUMC website lists more events online too.

 

 

 

Best places to live in California includes several Silicon Valley communities

AreaVibes.com ranks cities all over the United States and recently came out with the top 100 for California.  Many of our Silicon Valley cities and towns made the grade!

  • Los Altos Hills # 3
  • Monte Sereno #  6
  • Los Altos # 8
  • Saratoga #  9
  • Palo Alto #  10
  • Foster City # 11
  • Cupertino # 26
  • Mountain View # 27
  • Belmont # 29
  • San Carlos # 35
  • Menlo Park # 38
  • Woodside # 46
  • Portola Valley # 50
  • Atherton # 64
  • Los Gatos # 67
  • Sunnyvale # 82
  • Scotts Valley # 89
  • Daly City # 96

They called the Loyola area of Los Altos a city and it was on this list too (# 39 ) but it is only a district, not a city or town. Surprising, then, that they didn’t include Almaden Valley (part of San Jose) or other nice districts as well.

To see the entire list, please visit their website:
http://www.areavibes.com/best-places/california/

 

 

 

Sereno Group Annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest for Kids

Sereno Pumpkin Decorating contestHalloween is almost here and it is time to get creative! Sereno’s in on the spirit too.   Each year, Sereno Group Real Estate offices in the San Jose and Silicon Valley area have a Halloween pumpkin decorating contest for kids.  Winner’s pumpkins (and names of winners if parental permission is received) will be advertised in our local papers after the contest is finished.

Contest Rules:

No Carving

Decorate your own small pumpkin, or pick up a complimentary pumpkin at one of our offices in Los Gatos, Saratoga, Soquel/Santa Cruz, Los Altos, or Palo Alto.

3 age groups: toddler, early elementary, late elementary

All contestants will receive a gift goodie bag

One grand prize per age group, per office, will be awarded

Any carved or punctured pumpkins will be disqualified due to rotting

All entries must be dropped off at your nearest Sereno Group Office by Friday, October 21st at 5pm.  Judging will happen the week of October 24th during our regular real estate marketing meeting.

Where and when can you drop off a pumpkin?  Please find the office locations and hours below.  We are looking forward to seeing some wonderful kids’ creations!

 

 

 

 

A summary of tips for multiple-offer situations in Silicon Valley real estate contracts

Multiple counter offer Word CloudMultiple offers have returned to many segments of the Silicon Valley real estate market.  We are hearing about them in Palo Alto, Cupertino, Mountain View – areas where newly minted IPO money is having an impact – but also in more modest, middle class areas such as San Jose’s Cambrian neighborhood. The trend appears to be spreading.

What Silicon Valley home sellers need to know and do to attract multiple offers

If you’re a Silicon Valley home seller, what do you need to know to try to get multiples on your home?  What should you beware of?  In short, here’s what needs to happen if you want to attract multiple offers on your home for sale:

  1. The home must be turnkey, either fully remodeled or close to it – it must look like there’s nothing or very little for a buyer to do.  In addition to being turnkey, it must be squeaky clean and well staged! It needs to be comfortable – not too hot, not too cold. You want buyers and their agent to linger longer.
  2. The price must be at or even under market value.  That is, you must be willing to price it aggressively.  Think it’s worth $1,050,000?  You might list it at $999,999 to get in under a major price threshold and to be the very best, most attractive property for the money. Yes, it might be under priced.  Over priced listings get either one offer at best or, more likely, none at all.
  3. The property must be highly accessible. If it is hard to see, you probably won’t get multiple offers (and may get none at all).  (Please see articles on accessibility and on open houses.)
  4. Finally, the property must be well marketed.  This includes a wide range of factors ranging from photographs, text, fliers, signs, and even the commission rate offered to the buyer’s side.

What Silicon Valley home buyers need to know and do to compete with multiple offers

If you’re a Silicon Valley home buyer, how do you win out in multiples without giving away all of your rights or overpaying for your house/home? (more…)

Los Altos Country Club Area View Home for Sale

 

Permission to blog about 1557 Plateau Avenue, Los AltosSituated on a small knoll in the prestigious Los Altos Country Club neighborhood, the home at 1557 Plateau Drive features many of the most highly regarded elements which make a house a luxury property and a joy to see.

The Los Altos Country Club Neighborhood

The Country Club area of Los Altos is highly sought after for many reasons, including its scenic green views, proximity to the Los Altos Golf and Country Club, gently rolling hills, a semi-rural, quiet, understated and private ambiance, easy access to major roads and highway 280 – and, of course, fabulous Los Altos schools. Additionally, some locations enjoy fabulous views of the golf course or the bay, too.
Several years ago I had the pleasure of selling an estate home on Hillview Avenue, which is just a stone’s throw from the lovely house for sale on Plateau in the Country Club neighborhood. I got to know the area and came to appreciate why it has such a strong and enduring appeal to Silicon Valley home buyers.  It’s not a region with a high turnover – instead, people move there and stay put.  The area is hard to beat!

 

Younger, Elegant Mediterranean View Home

The Country Club area was first developed decades ago, so many of the houses in this area are fairly old (mid century and later ranch style houses are not uncommon).  Slowly, homes are being either extensively remodeled or rebuilt and a few are less than 20 years old.
Living Room with view at 1557 Plateau Avenue, Los Altos (Country Club area)The property at 1557 Plateau Avenue is younger, just 18 years old, constructed by a builder who was making it for himself and his family.  As you might imagine, the owner-builder utilized the land to make best use of the view opportunity.  He also created it with many extra features & finishing touches which distinguish a quality, custom home from tract housing.
What about the views?  This Mediterranean style house enjoys panoramic views of the peninsula and eastern foothills.  On a clear day, you can see the bay and the bridge too!

The floorplan is flexible. There is a 2 car garage at street level, but a third which is accessed from the rear of the property – ideal for RVs, boats, and extra cars or vehicles. The 3rd garage can be used as built, or as a rec room, extra storage, or a number of other options.

Please see the MLS information on this elegant home below! Open house Sat June 25 and Sun June 26, 2011. (more…)

Ratio of Listings to Sales in Silicon Valley Real Estate

Today we’ll look at the ratio & relationship between real estate listings and sales of houses and duet homes in Silicon Valley over the last eighteen months. The goal is to get a sense of the market trends in terms of the overall absorption of homes for sale.  (We’ll give a glance at condo and townhome sales but the focus is on single family homes.) How hard is it to sell a home?  The answer has to do with supply and demand – the number of listings and the number of sales.

In the graphs below, the reddish brown line represents the number of pending sales.  The blue line indicates the number of listings or homes for sale. Put simply, the closer these two lines are together, the hotter the market – that is, the more of a seller’s market it is.  When they are far apart, it’s more cold, more of a buyer’s market.  If the lines cross, it is a wild frenzy (that does happen in one case, as you will see). Below please find the graph for the homes in Santa Clara County overall (all areas).

 

Santa Clara County listings to sales Jan 2009 to June 2010

 

You can see that these two lines pinch together in about December 2009 to January 2010.  Prices had dropped and investors were swooping in! The  market has cooled since then.

 

Santa Clara County condo & townhome listings to pending sales March 2008 to June 2010

Santa Clara County condo & townhome listings to pending sales Jan 2009 to June 2010

 

For condos and townhouses, all of Santa Clara County:Here the two lines  – or the market – were close together for about 3-4 months.  Buyers understood that condominiums in Silicon Valley were bargain priced, and they responded by buying.Now let’s look at various areas around the county.  We’ll take these in Alphabetical order, beginning with Almaden Valley.

 

Almaden Valley listings to pending sales March 2008 to June 2010

Almaden Valley listings to pending sales Jan 2009 to June 2010

 

As you can see, the market improved but never got as “hot” as in the county generally.  This is because it’s a more expensive area, and most of what was selling in winter consisted of entry level housing.

(more…)