Los Gatos

The Monte Sereno real estate market is similar to Los Gatos, but distinct - Monte Sereno shares many features with Los Gatos but is a distinct cityHow is the Monte Sereno real estate market? Because the city is small, with just about 4000 residents, there usually are few homes listed for sale or selling, and with small numbers we can get seeming volatility. Last January, for instance, there was only one home listed and none sold!

There are no condominiums or townhomes in Monte Sereno at present (we are watching closely the proposed development at La Rinconada, which is unincorporated as of this writing). 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 (a pdf online):
http://www.montesereno.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/674

How much home do you get for your money in Monte Sereno?

Altos Research does weekly reports, to which I subscribe. You can see the full weekly report for Monte Sereno HERE and you can click the subscribe button there if you’d like to get it weekly (or navigate to another zip code or city and subscribe to that). Here’s the data on home descriptions per price quartile in the report for today, Oct 10 2018:

2018-10-10 Altos Report for Monte Sereno CA 95030

2018-10-10 Altos Report for Monte Sereno CA 95030

 

Recently closed home sales in Monte Sereno

Here are the quick statistics for the closed sales in the last complete month to give a sense of how things are going with the Monte Sereno real estate market. Sales data comes from my Monte Sereno Real Estate Report. Given that the supply of homes to study is tiny, what can we tell from this data?

It’s true that an average Monte Sereno house is about $2.5-3.5 million, and often higher in the current market – a little steep for most folks! With 11 active, 6 pending, and 4 sales this past month, low data makes it hard to get the most accurate market information. During times like this, it’s more important to look at the trends over multiple months than to base your understanding of the market off a single month, and to compare with similar, nearby markets such as Los Gatos.

Below are the charts from the last two months. Overall, the market is this part of the valley is mostly flat month over month, but up double digits year over year. (Oddly, this market has been heating up while most of the valley has been cooling!)

Trends at a Glance

Trends At a Glance Sep 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $3,650,000 (+47.9%) $2,467,810 $2,625,000 (+39.0%)
Average Price $3,655,000 (+24.1%) $2,944,770 $2,576,250 (+41.9%)
No. of Sales (-16.7%) 6 (-16.7%)
Pending (-60.0%) 5 (-50.0%)
Active (+50.0%) 4 (0.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 101.3% (+4.7%) 96.7% 97.5% (+3.9%)
Days on Market 20 (-5.2%) 21 26 (-23.1%)
Days of Inventory 35 (+74.0%) 20 29 (+20.0%)

 

And last month:

 

 

Trends At a Glance Aug 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,467,810 (-14.9%) $2,900,000 $3,562,500 (-30.7%)
Average Price $2,944,770 (-2.7%) $3,027,330 $3,755,000 (-21.6%)
No. of Sales (0.0%) 6 (+50.0%)
Pending (-16.7%) 6 (+25.0%)
Active (-33.3%) 6 (-20.0%)
Sale vs. List Price 96.7% (-3.6%) 100.3% 97.2% (-0.5%)
Days on Market 21 (-0.8%) 21 82 (-74.8%)
Days of Inventory 20 (-33.3%) 30 38 (-46.7%)

 

Continue reading to view live Altos Research charts for the real estate market in Monte Sereno, including by pricing quartile. Continue reading

Leo or Leona - the mascot of Los GatosMost of the Santa Clara Valley is undergoing a cooling trend. With Los Gatos 95030 & 95032, though, it has not been a straight decline as in some areas, though the peak of the market was in March (think February sales with closings 30 days later).  Here are the current numbers, per my Los Gatos real estate report (click on the link for full information).

The Los Gatos Mountains are a distinctly different market and as such are covered in a separate market update, updated less frequently than here, but with live Altos charts for that area.

Los Gatos / Monte Sereno housing values and pricing trends (aka “area 16” for our MLS, zip codes 95030 and 95032) – month over month, it’s down 10.3%, and year over year,  down 16.1%. It remains a sellers’ market in most segments of the Los Gatos real estate market, but if the current trends continue, it will be a buyers’ market in a few months.

Los Gatos Trends at a Glance

Trends At a Glance Sep 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,000,000 (-10.3%) $2,230,000 $2,384,000 (-16.1%)
Average Price $2,417,500 (-10.4%) $2,699,150 $2,567,270 (-5.8%)
No. of Sales 25 (-7.4%) 27 44 (-43.2%)
Pending 42 (+10.5%) 38 39 (+7.7%)
Active 62 (+1.6%) 61 47 (+31.9%)
Sale vs. List Price 101.0% (-0.1%) 101.1% 101.1% (-0.1%)
Days on Market 25 (-29.9%) 35 42 (-41.3%)
Days of Inventory 72 (+6.1%) 68 31 (+132.2%)

 

And from last month:

 

Trends At a Glance Aug 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,230,000 (-7.5%) $2,410,000 $2,297,500 (-2.9%)
Average Price $2,699,150 (+11.3%) $2,424,220 $2,742,170 (-1.6%)
No. of Sales 27 (-12.9%) 31 32 (-15.6%)
Pending 38 (+11.8%) 34 47 (-19.1%)
Active 61 (-18.7%) 75 52 (+17.3%)
Sale vs. List Price 101.1% (-0.8%) 101.9% 101.1% (0.0%)
Days on Market 35 (+38.0%) 25 43 (-18.4%)
Days of Inventory 68 (-6.6%) 73 49 (+39.0%)

 

Tips to sell home fastIf for some reason you find yourself in a very big hurry to get your Silicon Valley home on the market, you may not know where to begin or how to get it done.  Today I’ll give you a quick list of the best things to do, and in order, too!

First, hire a great, full time real estate professional.  This Realtor or other sales person will be your partner from the beginning and can give you insight and advice on the best place to spend your time and money for the best return on investment – and which items are the most important in your house or condo’s particular case, given the time restrictions. Your Realtor can also help you with time lines, managing pre-sale inspections (worst case, they can happen after your home is on the MLS), etc.  Sometimes home owners begin on their own and make less than ideal choices when choosing paint colors and so on.  Since part of the service provided when you sign a listing agreement is good advice, do hire first!

Second, think clean, uncluttered, and “good working order”.  The rest of the tips all fall under the broad umbrella of staging – mostly de-cluttering, cleaning, and making sure that things work as intended.  Perhaps you won’t be able to make everything immaculate and perfect, but in many cases, with even a  few days you can hit the biggest areas fast.

Make a list of everything that needs some kind of minor repair or adjustment. Getting those items fixed will send a message to home buyers that your house or condo is turnkey and not a “fixer”.   It may not be conscious, but if home buyers find doors that squeak loudly, doorbells or lights that don’t work, they begin to wonder if there are any big ticket items that are in need of repair or replacement, too.  Hire a handyman or contractor as needed so that your home gives the right first impression.

Moving at lightening speed, with the listing signed today and the home on the MLS tomorrow? This isn’t fun, but I’ve done it with sellers at times.  In those cases, you may have one frantic 24 hour period. Think of it like you do when entertaining relatives who may go anywhere in your home…

What would you do if you had one hour’s notice before company would be arriving at your doorstep? Here are some quick fixes for the hurry up sale:

  1. Be armed with large boxes or laundry baskets so you can begin to collect things where are where they do not belong and get them at least generally to where they do.
  2. Get the floors, counter tops and surfaces almost completely clear.  If it’s newspapers, throw them out (show no mercy!).  Have a box or basket for each bedroom or room of the house and put the items into the correct basket as you go through the house.  For example, you could have one box for the garage, another for the master bedroom, another for the hall bath, etc.  Bring all boxes into each room that you are “clearing” and take just one room or area on at a time.  You may be moving 6 or 8 boxes or baskets from one room to the next, but it’s a faster way to sort and move things.
  3. If there’s no time to actually put all of these items away, do what most of us did in college: put the basket or box in the closet.  And then close the door.  No, it’s not ideal. It’s a quick fix and it will do the job 90-95% of the way.  If you’re in a rush, it’s got to be good enough.  Ditto that with the garage.  If all else fails, put things into the garage.  Some buyers may chuckle, but yours will most certainly not be the only house where they see this happen.  If you have a truly excessive amount of stuff, get a pod or use a service such as Door to Door, where they bring a container to your driveway, you load it, they then take it away and you get it back when you’re ready to move. Continue reading

The Heintz farmhouse in the Heritage Grove neighborhoodThe Heritage Grove neighborhood in Los Gatos had an interesting beginning. An old apricot orchard used to line Blossom Hill Road between Union and Leigh Avenues until the 1990s. The former owners, Ralph and Sophie Heintz, lived there in their farmhouse until their deaths, at which time the property was willed to the University of California at Berkeley for eye research.

Sophie and Ralph were interesting people. He ran a small train on their property and was an inventor. She was a ham radio operator.

In 1998, the Heintz land (and house etc.) was sold to Summerhill Homes and a portion developed as housing by Summerhill. A few of the homes higher up in the neighborhood were built by different builders.  That Los Gatos neighborhood is now called Heritage Grove. A strip of trees was planted along Blossom Hill Road, reminiscent of the history of the area.  A wonderfully large section of land was made a permanent open space, now known as the Heintz Open Space Preserve.  This open space connects directly with Belgatos Park, which also connects with the Santa Rosa Open Space Preserve. So the network of trails is quite extensive. (Link to Town of Los Gatos page with pdf files of these three trail maps. Link to Google Maps map of Blossom Hill Trails, drawn by Jim Handy.)

In 2015, I did a video drive through of the Heritage Grove neighborhood. Please take a look:

The Heintz’s big, old farmhouse has been renovated and is being lived in.  Ralph Heintz’s old workshop, the Ramohs Laboratory, is preserved with signs explaining the history of the place nearby.

Summerhill Homes did a nice job of developing the land to keep some of the historic character.  Please enjoy the slideshow below to get a feel for the area…. This scenic spot is well worth a visit: enjoy!

Where is the Heritage Grove neighborhood?

Map of Heritage Grove area

Heritage Grove is a neighborhood in east Los Gatos off Blossom Hill Road near Union Avenue

There are only five streets that make up Heritage Grove:  Regent Drive, Regent Court, Ayala Court, Ramohs Way, and Heintz Court. Regent Drive is a long loop road while the rest of the streets are quite short, so the vast majority of Heritage Grove homes are on Regent Drive.

How big are Heritage Grove homes and lots?

The size of the 44 houses and lots within Heritage Grove varies a bit, as you might expect in any subdivision, but additionally there’s the historic Heintz farmhouse.

The farmhouse is appx 4100 square feet and sits on 3/4 of an acre (31,000 sf lot). There are 2 other homes over 4,000 SF also. Most are between 3,000 and 4,000 SF, but 4 houses are 2695 square feet, and two others are appx 2950 SF.

Parcels of land may be as small as 10,000 SF (appx 1/4 acre) to as large as 25,000 SF (a little more than a half acre).

Photo slideshow of the Heritage Grove neighborhood:

2 Heritage Grove sign 2 framed3 Hertigage Grove Home near entrance4 Bees humming closeup5 Street View Improved6 Blossoming Hills of Los Gatos7 Ramohs Lab8 Ramohs Laboratory9 Heintz farmhouse10 Another neighborhood view11 Flowering Tree12 Another home13 Heintz Open Space sign14 Heintz Open Space Entrance15 Valley View

What does it cost to buy a home in the Heritage Grove neighborhood?

There are a lot of variables here!

Potential ingredients to make a home more affordable would be smaller home, smaller lot, proximity to Blossom Hill Road, a backyard or home with another higher up (and “looking in” – a lack of privacy).

Raising the value of the home would be things like a view, having open space or a large lot adjacent (less crowded feeling), being further into the development, having a larger home, larger lot, three car garage.

Historically, prices have gone from over $1,000,000 to under $2,500,000. This is a low turnover neighborhood, and nothing has sold in there too recently, but it’s safe to say that a huge home on a large lot with a view would likely go into the low 3 millions.

Other items of note:

Regent Drive rises as it gets away from Blossom Hill Road; many of the homes nearest to the Heintz Open Space Preserve enjoy nice views of Santa Clara County and downtown San Jose in the distance.

Heritage Grove is a great commute location as it’s close to Union Avenue, which provides fast access to highway 85.

It’s also close to shopping – the Downing Oaks Center, which includes a Safeway, a local (non chain) coffee house, a restaurant, and other services, is less than a mile away.

Heritage Grove is served by the Union School District and the Campbell Union High School District.  Schools are Alta Vista or Noddin Elementary,  Union Middle School, and Leigh High School.

If there are any Heritage Grove homes available, they will be listed here. Below that list, please find properties for sale in Los Gatos with the 95032 zip code.

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Related reading:

Belwood, Belgatos & Surmont neighborhood (adjacent on the east – article on the Live in Los Gatos blog)

Del Oro neighborhood of Cambrian on the Los Gatos border (almost directly across the street)

Strathmore neighborhood (close by)

Los Gatos Real Estate Market Trends & Statistics (updated monthly)

Mary Pope-Handy’s YouTube channel with Los Gatos videos

 

The Santa Clara County real estate market is cooling off, which is very often the case in summers here. It varies from place to place within the region, and one pricing tier to the next, but I am definitely seeing and hearing about fewer offers, more lowball offers, contingencies creeping back into sales, etc. In red hot properties with great schools, you might get a half dozen offers…and three of them may be “bad” offers from home buyers who are pessimistic on the market. They do not get the sale, of course, but it is interesting to hear about an increase in those kinds of bids.

My RE REport just came out, and here are some images and data from that for Santa Clara County. First, the market barometer. Here, you can see that sellers had stronger power in March than they do now – by quite a lot! (Click on the image to go to the report and see a clearer version of it.)

Graphic image - Santa Clara County market barometer.

 

Next, the average and median sale prices and the number of units (again, click on the image to go to the report). This graphic does not look as bad or as much of a change as the one before, though you can see that since May prices have gone down a little, and sales are now tipping downward and are fewer than sales for this time last year.

Graph of Santa Clara County home prices and sales

Next, the sale price to list price ratio is a bit more startling. Sales are still averaging about 1-05% of list price – so that is hard for sellers to complain about – however, it is unmistakable that the climate for home selling in Silicon Valley is undergoing a change and this is literally past its peak. Buyers and sellers alike need to wonder whether it will calm down or continue at the current rate of decline. Is it a buying opportunity, or the beginning of a correction?

Graphic of the Santa Clara County sale price to list price ratio

The numbers themselves point to a turnaround in the market. I’ll jot the median sale price for the county here – it’s a large enough pool of sales to be pretty reliable as a gauge of the real estate market in the San Jose area:

July 2018 $1,350,000
June 2018 $1,402,000
May 2018  $1,416,000
April 2018  $1,420,000
March 2018 $1,450,000 – PEAK
February 2018 $1,380,000
January 2018 $1,163,000

Between March and July, the median sale price dropped $100,000, or 6.89%. As you can see, it had also jumped considerably between January and March, and even at today’s lower median sales price, it’s still higher than January. It will be interesting to see where it ends up in January of 2019.

A quick look at the numbers for this month’s Santa Clara County RE Report:

Trends at a Glance

Trends At a Glance Jul 2018 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $1,350,000 (-3.7%) $1,402,000 $1,175,000 (+14.9%)
Average Price $1,624,690 (-5.1%) $1,712,500 $1,409,380 (+15.3%)
No. of Sales 847 (-13.3%) 977 1,015 (-16.6%)
Pending 924 (-0.6%) 930 931 (-0.8%)
Active 1,151 (+8.0%) 1,066 816 (+41.1%)
Sale vs. List Price 105.6% (-2.0%) 107.8% 105.5% (+0.1%)
Days on Market 19 (+13.7%) 17 20 (-6.7%)
Days of Inventory 41 (+28.8%) 32 24 (+69.0%)

 

It’s now August 10th and it’s too early to know for sure what the August numbers are doing, but normally August is a quiet month with sale prices a little off. So we’ll see. Continue reading

Cameo Park West - Leep Homes in Campbell with LG mailing addressThe Cameo Park West neighborhood is located close to where Los Gatos, Campbell, and Saratoga meet. It’s actually in the city of Campbell but has a Los Gatos mailing address. This is a tidy community bordered by Pollard Road, San Tomas Aquino Creek, the Highway 85 freeway, and Rolling Hills Middle School.

The 122 or so homes here were built in 1966 and 1967 by one of the better tract builders in the area, Leep Homes. Houses range from 1380 square feet to 2620 SF, and lot sizes run between 6000 SF and about 12,600 SF. A typical home might have around 1800 SF and be situated on an 8000 SF lot. The houses have thoughtful floor plans and the bedrooms and living areas are usually a good size.

Leep homes tend to have a fairly consistent layout – here are the 1 story home traits

  • most are single story homes
  • front porch with two bedrooms facing the front (sometimes one goes further into the front yard than the other)
  • formal entryway, often with double doors
  • step down living room straight ahead from the foyer (the rest of the house is all the same level)
  • fireplace located on side of living room closest to kitchen – it’s often a two way fireplace
  • kitchen (and sometimes also a family room) just behind the garage
  • laundry in the attached 2 car  garage but close to the kitchen, usually immediately next to the door from the garage to the kitchen
  • bedrooms are all down a hall in the opposite direction from the kitchen.  Just before the master bedroom suite there will be the hall bath (then inside the master suite, the owner’s bathroom and then bedroom)
  • the master bedroom faces the back yard, often leading to a patio shared between the kitchen (family room) and living room
  • central, forced air heat
  • hardwood floors
  • copper plumbing
  • no formal dining room (but plenty of space in the kitchen for eating)
  • sliding glass doors from the master bedroom, the living room and kitchen / family room

Below is a pan of one of the streets in Cameo Park West, taken in 2011.

Cameo Park West street in Campbell

 

Strengths and weaknesses of the Cameo Park West neighborhood

It’s very easy to list the strengths of this neighborhood: it’s very clean, well kept, had a good builder, convenient location (close to two schools and only a block or two or three to Safeway and nearby shops). Major shopping is within easy reach at Westgate, El Paseo and nearby (appx 7 minute drive). For those wishing to take Lawrence Expressway, it’s a breeze – just hop onto Quito and it becomes Lawrence, making a lot of commutes simpler, easier and faster. For Los Gatos, this location is closer to places like Apple, Google, and other high tech centers (as compared to downtown Los Gatos or east LG).

The elementary school is Marshall Lane, the middle is Rolling Hills and the high is Westmont. Both the elementary and middle enjoy API scores of over 900 and Westmont has a very respectable score that’s more than 800.

The negatives do not impact everyone, but that said, they do exist. At one end of the neighborhood, there’s super close proximity to highway 85, to the train tracks and to the high voltage power lines and towers. Those are never a plus.

Many homes along Elwood back up to Rolling Hills Middle School. Is that a negative or a positive? That really depends on your point of view, and some would prefer to back to a school yard than to another house. But most buyers would prefer another home.

What do homes cost in the Cameo Park West area?

Like most of the 95032 zip code, it’s unlikely to find a house for  under $1.5 million there today (if you do, it is likely in “fixer” condition). To be able to purchase one of these homes, be prepared to pay between $1.7 million and $1.8 million in most cases. Of course, it could always be less or more depending on exact location, size and condition of home, plus the marketing situation (is it easy to see, is it clean and without bad odors, has it been fairly updated etc.).

  1. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,364 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,298 sqft
  2. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,871 sq ft
    Lot size: 12,863 sqft
  3. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,485 sq ft
    Lot size: 13,094 sqft
  4. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,133 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,000 sqft
  5. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,684 sq ft
    Lot size: 10,537 sqft
  6. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,350 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,298 sqft
  7. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,108 sq ft
    Lot size: 3,545 sqft
  8. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,677 sq ft
    Lot size: 8,999 sqft
  9. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,322 sq ft
    Lot size: 5,998 sqft
  10. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,472 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,459 sqft

See all Real estate in the city of Campbell.
(all data current as of 10/23/2018)

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

House for saleIn a raging hot seller’s market such as we are experiencing today in Silicon Valley, home owners may be subject to some very costly temptations.

Home seller temptation # 1: overconfidence on the market

Because folks read about the dozens of offers on some homes, by extension, it’s easy to believe that every home sells, for top dollar, with no effort or planning on the part of the seller. This is a huge mistake. Perhaps we should even call it a myth since it may be commonly believed.

In today’s wildly hot market, there are still some homes that DO NOT SELL. 

What are the odds that your home won’t sell?

I just pulled some numbers from the MLS today, July 23, 2018. You may find them surprising!

  • In Santa Clara County, there are currently 1274 single family homes on the market
    • 490 of them have been on the market at least 30 days – 38% are not moving quickly & likely need a price reduction, if it hasn’t already been done
    • 211 of the 1274 have been for sale for at least 60 days – 17% have had 2 months worth of open houses, keeping the home spotless, etc.
    • 107 of the 1274 have a “days on market” of 90 days or more – 8% have serious market rejection
  • These are not all luxury homes!
    • 9 are listed at under $1 million
    •  13 are offered between $1 million and $1,499,999 (“normal” houses in our area)
    •  9 are on the market between $1.5 mil and $1,999,999
    • 14 are listed at $2 million to $2,499,999 (these are still not luxury homes in most cases)
    • 11 are priced between $2.5 mil and $2,999,999
    • That’s 56 homes of 107 that are under $3 million. The balance are “high end homes”, which usually are more challenging to sell

The best homes, those which are well priced, well marketed, and are easily shown, sell within 2-3 weeks. After that, home buyers view them as stale listings and assume something terrible is wrong with them. After three weeks, unless the home gets a deep price reduction, it’s unlikely to get multiple offers.

This first temptation is the greatest one, and it often leads to mistakes in areas #2 and #3, listed below. Continue reading

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 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

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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
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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2009: Sellsius list of top
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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.


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