How is the Monte Sereno real estate market? Because the city is small, with just about 3,500 residents, there usually are few homes listed for sale or selling, and with small numbers we can get seeming volatility. This article is updated monthly with new data and analysis, so scroll down to read the latest and check back regularly. Here are a few details from the latest market update:
With so few sales and listings, Monte Sereno real estate data can swing quite wildly in the charts below so take it with a grain of salt.
This city appears to be in a seller’s market with severely low inventory, just 8 available homes at the end of August. That’s huge growth, but still a drop in the bucket for what’s needed.
There were just 3 closed sales and 2 pending sales, both up from this time last year.
August of 2022 had zero closed sales, so there isn’t much to compare the market to on that front.
There are ALMOST no condominiums or townhomes in Monte Sereno. As of August 2023, the MLS showed just 6 sales in these two categories in total – and that’s going back to 1998! And one of those, at least, appears to actually be in Los Gatos. One of the major challenges for this city is to ensure that at least some housing units are deemed “affordable.” You can find the city’s housing plan here (an online pdf): http://www.montesereno.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/674
Because this is such a small city and there’s a tiny pool of data, please also have a look at the Los Gatos real estate market post on this site.
Below is a quick market profile for the Monte Sereno real estate market. This is updated automatically weekly, so please check back often.
Saratoga has a diverse real estate market due to a wide range of home prices, square footage, lot sizes, school districts, and more. The luxury tier, generally $4 million and up (but in Saratoga, that’s really still just a house in an expensive zip code) normally moves slower than other price points. Saratoga’s entry level housing is usually the strongest. If the numbers swing wildly at any given month, it could be that more or fewer homes in a particular school district and pricing tier.
To really understand the Saratoga CA real estate market, you’ll need to get hyper local data for that home’s pricing tier, school district, and any other impactful data points.
With a mere 17 sales in August, the numbers are not as reliable as if we had either a larger pool or if the homes sold were all in the same school district, tract, etc. No just 21such luck. What’s best at times like these is to study the absorption rate and sale to list price ratio. The absorption rate is just 30 days of inventory (a warm seller’s market) and the sale to list price ratio is 101.2% (a seller’s market). The days on market are a swift 21. See a good property? Don’t assume it will last or that it will sell under list price!
Trends at a Glance for the Saratoga CA Real Estate Market
Data below for the Saratoga CA real estate market is from the ReReport.
Trends At a Glance
No. of Sales
Sale vs. List Price
Days on Market
21 ( no change)
Days of Inventory
Next, a quick glance at the Altos Research market profile for a quick summary of the Saratoga CA real estate market conditions. Altos uses LIST prices, not sold prices, for this chart and the others, below.
Altos Research – list prices for Saratoga CA 95070(more…)
What is the agent visual inspection, or AVID, and why is it required with home sales in California?
The short answer on the purpose of the AVID
When real estate sales people represent buyers and sellers on residential real estate transactions in CA, they must do a visual inspection of the property as part of their disclosure obligations. In other words, they are required to walk through the property, inside and out, and look carefully at what they sell and advise the parties to the contract of any red flags noticed.
This is required by the state. It is not optional.
If an attentive Realtor walks through and notes something that would make a buyer unhappy to discover after close of escrow, that agent needs to note it on the required form so that any such concerns are disclosed to the home buyer(s).
Video discussing the AVID, or Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure
Where do the agents write up their visual inspection disclosure comments?
Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure, top of page 1
Sometimes the real estate licensees will simply make a few comments on page 3 of the Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS). More and more, though, they are completing the separate 3 page AVID (Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure) form instead. It is larger and allows for more thorough list of items noted. Both approaches are permitted by law to fulfill that obligation, though.
Hunting for more Campbell’s most affordable homes for sale? It can be argued that nothing is either inexpensive or affordable, however we want to consider the Campbell real estate options relative to other Silicon Valley communities and their prices. There are always higher and lower priced properties.
Campbell’s most affordable homes: beware the price mirage
Sometimes the lowest listing price of a home on the market is not actually going to be the lowest selling price. It could just be bait. Some sellers and their listing agents vastly underprice houses, townhouses, and condos on the market in order to get an avalanche of offers. I refer to that as a price mirage – it looks good but isn’t real.
Don’t be fooled be an artificially low list price. Often a quick check of the property on Realtor.com can provide some decent pricing input. The pages for listings usually include a RealEstimate section that features up to 3 auto comp values. These automatic valuations aren’t foolproof, but if a house is listed for $900,000 and the Realtor.com page suggests a value of $1.6 to $1.8, you are put on notice that it may be grossly underpriced. You can check the other large portals, too, as a reality check on values.
Elements that create opportunity to get more home for your money
Every city, town, and community has more and less affordable pockets and properties. Campbell’s most affordable homes for sale may have one of these elements at play.
The pricing variation often has to do with a few major areas: (more…)
First time home buyers may have heard the word crawlspace (or crawl space) but not had a good idea of what it refers to – especially if they have only lived in houses built on slab foundations. So let’s touch on it today.
When homes are built on a raised foundation, also called a perimeter foundation, rather than slab foundation, there’s space between the dirt under the house and the house itself – often 3′ (but not always), sometimes more. Unless the structure is built on a hillside, there won’t be enough height to walk around in that space, hence the need to crawl in the crawlspace.
Most of the time, access to this space is indoors and specifically on the floor of a closet, where there appears to be a flat opening of about 3′ by 3′, sometimes smaller. This can make entry tight. At other times. the access is via the outside, as with the photo at the left (more likely the case in properties built before 1950 in Silicon Valley than in newer properties.)
Here it’s a lot easier for homeowners, inspectors and repair people to enter – but also easier for animals and pests, such as rats, to make their way in. Care must be taken, as with the vent screens, to keep unwanted visitors out!
Monitoring the crawlspace
If your home has a crawlspace, you will want to monitor it. Plan either to enter it to check on things periodically or pay an inspector to do so as this is an area which can reveal problems like the presence of termites, water damage to the bathroom floors, damaged heat ducts, cracked water supply or waste lines, and more.
It is also important to periodically check to make sure that there are no intruders (rodents), standing water, or other issues such as cracked foundations.
Which is better – having a crawlspace, or having a slab?
There are pros and cons to each type of foundation. Having a crawlspace makes rewiring, plumbing repairs, and waste line repairs much easier since you don’t have to jackhammer the concrete to get to them.
The newer houses are often built with post-tension slab foundations. Those require special efforts when repairs are needed, and there are warnings stamped into the garages about not jackhammering. That said, they are supposed to be excellent in case of earthquakes.
Houses from pre 1950 or pre 1945 may be on concrete perimeter or raised foundations but without reinforcing bar. Those homes may or may not be bolted to the foundations.
There are many factors to consider and it’s not an easy, black and white answer as to whether or not you will prefer a house with a crawlspace or not.
Not sure if your San Jose area house is on a slab or raised foundation?
Here are some clues as to whether or not the house has a perimeter or raised foundation:
If you have to walk up a step or two to enter the house, that points toward raised
If the front door is at the same level as the front walkway, that indicates a slab
Along the outside of the house, do you see vent screens along the bottom of the house? If so, the foundation is a raised one. They could be on either the concrete foundation itself or higher up (at the wood or stucco siding).
Does the interior of the house have heat registers on the floor? If so, the house enjoys a perimeter or raised foundation.
Does the inside of the home have hardwood flooring? If so, it’s probably on a raised foundation as it’s challenging to put hardwood directly onto slab (you’re more likely to find something like Pergo rather than hardwood on a slab)
If the home has a crawl space, it’s important to make sure that the access hatch works. Sometimes there’s a handle, but often not, and one of the best things you can do is to add a handle to the top for better accessibility.
If the hatch is outdoors, check it every 6 to 12 months to make sure that there’s no rot or termite damage setting in, that it is sufficiently painted, and that the hatch can still open and close.
Often I have clients who are interested in purchasing a 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in a good school district in Silicon Valley, particularly in the South Bay and West Valley areas. But what does it cost to buy that “average home”? Tonight I did a study on the MLS of homes that have sold and closed escrow in the last 4 months with these characteristics:
single family home (house)
2 full bathrooms
1800 to 2200 square feet of living space
6000 to 10,000 sf lot
Disclaimers aside, here are the numbers for select West Valley Communities in the West/South Bay area with good schools.
Cost to Buy 4 Bed 2 Bath Home in Popular Silicon Valley Communities
The first number is the number of sales during that time (more sales = more reliable averages). This one is not in the older charts, but with inventory as low as it has been lately this makes a huge difference. The second number is the average sales price per square foot, the third number is the average sales price, and the last number is the average days on market:
And now a look back to late winter, early spring of 2017…
What’s changed? A lot! The order has shifted some, showing where demand has increased or decreased. Most noticeably, the prices are mostly up significantly, which is most noticeable in the price per square foot. Cambrian has traveled a good deal up the ladder. Palo Alto and Los Altos were displaced by the sole Saratoga sale, and Blossom Valley of San Jose remains in it’s regular position at the bottom.
The home prices tend to run with school rankings. Previously this was by district API scores. You cancheck the 2013, three year average, API scores in Santa Clara County for both the districts and the individual schools online here, however that system is no longer used. So how to people judge? Most buyers use sites like GreatSchools.org when looking for a home with good schools which ranks schools on a scale of 1-10 in a few categories. (more…)
The scenic Strathmore neighborhood of Los Gatos lies close to the foothills, including both Blossom Hill and the coastal range rising behind it. Homes here in east Los Gatos enjoy that very beautiful backdrop and access to the park and trails, but many other benefits too.
Enduring qualities that make this area highly favored include:
scenic area with close proximity to the foothills plus tree lined streets
community pool & nearby park
strong public schools
good location for commuting, shopping, and easy access to downtown Los Gatos
It’s a pedestrian friendly area with sidewalks and tree lined streets, so it is not uncommon to see people out enjoying a stroll, a jog, a bike ride or otherwise taking in the peaceful region.
Additionally, Strathmore residents share a community pool (or cabana) with a neighborhood swim team. As of 2022, dues for the HOA are approximately $400 per year.
One of the biggest draws of all is that on top of these features, kids in Strathmore get to attend highly rated public schools too. The profile on this neighborhood is overwhelmingly positive!
When a parent, spouse or loved one dies and he or she owned a home, there’s a lot for the survivors to do in addition to the very real and painful process of mourning. I have been through this with my own parents (and their house in Saratoga), a great aunt in Willow Glen, and many clients in San Jose, Los Gatos, Palo Alto, and elsewhere in Silicon Valley.
Death, Dying, & Real Estate: Where to begin?
In terms of settling the estate, it is wise to first speak with an attorney and tax professional about the property to find out what is required and adviseable.
You might recieve very different guidance depending on if there was a will, or how ownership was held. They will try to help you to legally minimize capital gains and estate taxes and can advise you on topics such as when might be the best time to sell vis a vis the tax liability. This is extremely important and it can be very expensive to not seek professional council on this point, so I strongly recommend that you or other beneficiaries discuss everything with the attorney or accountant prior to electing whether (or when) the home will be sold, rented etc., even in the short term.
Try not to wait too long before speaking to a tax or legal professional, as there may be a timeline or deadlines for you to consider in regards to settling the estate. I have some wonderful people I can suggest if you would like a referral.
First Steps, and how can a real estate professional help?
Something you’ll need for the lawyer and CPA or other tax professional is a valuation of the home as of the date of death, whether or not there is a surviving spouse or co-owner. You can obtain this by hiring a licensed residential real estate appraiser who will do an appraisal for you. Alternatively, you may be able to engage a real estate licensee (salesperson) to do a competitive market analysis or comparative market analysis (CMA), which would provide the probable buyer’s value for the property. (more…)
Can a real estate professional help you to buy a foreclosure? There are some nuances to this answer, but in short, it depends. We haven’t had many foreclosures in recent years, but once in awhile we find them popping up here and there.
There are several stages in the foreclosure related sales in California. Often, homes somewhere in this quagmire are listed on our Silicon Valley area MLS or multiple listing service. If a property is listed in the MLS, then yes, we Realtors can help home buyers with a distressed sale purchase.
The stages of foreclosure
Pre-foreclosure (where payments have been missed and a Notice of Default or NOD has been filed – sometimes these homes are on the market and included in the MLS.
If they’re in the MLS, I can help.
If these properties are for sale, often these are short sales (but short sales are not always in pre-foreclosure – they may not have missed any payments).
Trustee’s sale, or actual foreclosure on the courthouse steps. This does not involve the MLS or Realtors at all. There is literally no role for the real estate agent here unless you, as the buyer, want to pay the commission (most buyers don’t in this circumstance).
There are some big caveats and warnings!
First, often what’s owed against the home is more than it’s worth and the only way to purchase a home here is to pay off all the debts (so it may not be much of a deal!). Some buyers who “bought” a home actually have only purchased the second deed of trust, not the first, and are left empty handed.
Second, if you buy here, you get NO inspection contingency and must pay cash for the house. End of story – no backing out. Worse, you cannot inspect it ahead of time!
Third, you are likely to be bidding against flippers and builders who can more affordably rehab the home than you or I could do.
There are a lot of risks, so buyer beware!
Bank owned or REO. REO means Real Estate Owned (by the bank).
These are usually listed on the MLS and if so, I can help you with it. Sometimes banks hold onto them between the trustee’s sale and prior to listing them with a broker. Often this is only for a month or two but sometimes it’s longer. If it’s not on the MLS, it’s very very hard, or maybe impossible, to buy it.
Want to buy a foreclosure? Want professional help to do so?
While it’s not hard to locate homes where owners have missed some payments, it should not be assumed that these houses are either for sale or that the owners have any intention of selling them. In my opinion, it would be harassment if consumers showed up on their doorsteps trying to purchase a house where a payment has been missed.
Most, maybe all, of the residents there would be offended. They may be trying to get a loan modification (it does happen, I’ve known people to work through it that way) or have family & friends helping them to get back on track. If it is not listed in the MLS (which you can find at MLSListings.com – the public portal of our agent multiple listing service), the odds are overwhelmingly against it being available to you.
The short answer to the question “Can a real estate agent help you to buy a foreclosure?” is that the answer is generally NO if it’s an auction on the courthouse steps.
Did you do the repairs outlined when you bought your home?
Recently I showed a home where the owners had been there 7 or 8 years but never did any of the suggested repairs from their pre-sale inspections when they purchased the home “As Is“. The As Is part means that no repairs were provided by the sellers, with the idea that buyers would do whatever was needed later. Desperate to get in when prices were appreciating fast, it seemed that most home buyers said “we’ll take care of it after we own it“.
But many of them forgot.
Today, with the whitest hot market I’ve ever seen in my career, most sellers fix the major items because they understand that it will net them a higher sale price. They fix the foundation, electrical, plumbing, waste lines, roof leaks, pest items, safety issues, and do whatever other repairs would make a buyer pause.
Some, though, don’t do any repairs at all – none! Often they are the same sellers who won’t stage their homes, or for whom scheduling a showing is a big effort, and maybe the disclosures aren’t so thoughtfully done. (In recent weeks I saw a disclosure package in which the sellers wrote on every page, “AS IS SALE” and refused to answer each question.) It’s a giant red flag that these may be difficult sellers.
If you want to maximize your profits, don’t let that seller be you. As Is certainly is the norm, but it’s As Disclosed. Wouldn’t buyers pay more if they weren’t worried about needing to do a lot of expensive and time consuming repairs? You bet. Confident buyers pay more. Let that be your mantra, home sellers.
Pull out your old file, find your inspection reports and review them, especially if you are preparing to sell your home
Christie's International Real Estate Sereno, Los Gatos, CA 95030 408 204-7673 Mary@PopeHandy.com License# 01153805
Clair Handy, Realtor
Christie's International Real Estate Sereno 214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd Los Gatos, CA 95030 ClairHandy@sereno.com License# 02153633
Mary & Clair sell homes throughout Silicon Valley: Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County. with a special focus on: San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell, Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park.
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