Surrey Farms neighborhood in Los Gatos

Surrey Farm Neighborhood Los Gatos CA (Silicon Valley)A Los Gatos neighborhood which is “close to town” but feels further out is the highly sought after Surrey Farms area, located off Kennedy Road less than a mile from Los Gatos Boulevard, and less than 1.5 miles to all the local public schools:  Van Meter or Blossom Hill Elementary, Fisher Middle, Los Gatos High. Adjacent to Surrey Farms is the independent Hillbrook School.

About Surrey Farms

There are about 70 single family homes or houses in Surrey Farms, most of them on quarter-acre to half-acre lots, but a handful are on over half an acre, and four are over one acre.  The houses were mostly constructed from the mid 1950s into the mid 1960s, though development has continued since with over 30% of homes built between the 1970s and 2010s.  Original construction was all done in the “ranch style” and consisted of about 2,000 to 3,000 SF in most cases.  Today many have been remodeled, enlarged or even fully rebuilt, and the home sizes are bigger, currently with 50% of them over 3,000 SF and more than 15% over 4,000 SF.

More land is slated to be developed soon, with 12 units (2 story homes) proposed for the 12 acre parcel which is currently under contract with some kind of contingency (it is listed at about $16 million). That’s all that I  know as of right now – things could change.

 

Surrey Farms Gate

 

Regarding the name: folks in Los Gatos do call this subdivision “Surrey Farms”, but I did some research on the county records and it appears that the original name was “Surrey Farm” – singular!  My best guess is that it was a farm or horse ranch by that name prior to the housing being built…but that would take a bit more research that I haven’t yet done.

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Cambrian Park: Good Schools, Low Crime, Close to Los Gatos and Campbell

Cambrian Park, or more broadly, Cambrian, is a west San Jose neighborhood or district and is one of the high-value areas in Silicon Valley. The schools are good, the crime is low, and the commute is not too bad.

Cambrian Park Plaza signFor people relocating to Santa Clara County, this is a place to know about since quality education and affordability are often high priorities! Most Silicon Valley home buyers would say that Cambrian Park real estate offers a very good value.

What’s the compromise for the more reasonable prices of homes for sale? Well, Cambrian doesn’t have an interesting, upscale downtown area like Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga, or Willow Glen. (It may, when the Cambrian Park Plaza redevelopment takes place.)

But it does have tons of shopping & restaurants and even a Farmer’s Market. It also enjoys a top notch hospital (Good Samaritan) and plenty of parks as well as a fantastic rec center with a large park adjacent to it, the Camden Community Center, which has loads of programs (including an after school program for youth), classes, and a fabulous pool.

Altogether, there are about 75,000 to 80,000 residents in Cambrian, spread throughout part of two zip codes, part of 95124 and some of 95118.

If there is a “central Cambrian Park”, it would have to be near the original Cambrian Park Shopping Center, which was the first actual mall in San Jose! That area is sometimes known as Cambrian Village.  People sometimes use the three names interchangeably: Cambrian, Cambrian Park, Cambrian Village.

 

Where is Cambrian Park? Map of approximate Cambrian Boundaries:

 


View Cambrian Area of San Jose in a larger map

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Cambrian & Cambrian Park Neighborhoods: How to Choose Where to Live?

Cambrian Park neighborhoods are very popular within San Jose. With close proximity to Los Gatos, Campbell, Willow Glen and Blossom Valley, there’s lots to do within Cambrian itself or very nearby.  Cambrian also enjoys good schools, low crime, two newer libraries, two Farmer’s Markets, and a fabulous rec center, the Camden Community Center.

Cambrian Park neighborhoods

cambrian-park-plaza-signWhere is Cambrian Park and how big is it? The 2010 census reported Cambrian Park as having less than 4,000 people, but it didn’t include all Cambrian Park neighborhoods! In contemporary usage, though, Cambrian consists of much more than the area known as “Cambrian Village” (which has this small population), and now includes about 75,000 residents in all.

The area includes most of the 95124 zip code plus the 95118 zip code. Historically, though, Cambrian was really a very vast area including much of Campbell and many areas now falling under different district names.  The area is alternately known as Cambrian, Cambrian Park, and Cambrian Village – the latter referring to the area near Union & Camden Avenues.

Related posts not to be missed:

 

Cambrian Park neighborhoods area with general boundaries

 

How do you decide where in Cambrian to live? Many aspects of home buying will likely come into play, from schools desired and budget available to the ambiance and practical things you desire such as RV parking, an extra large garage, family room, guest suite, commute issues (proximity to freeways),  etc.

School Districts serving the Cambrian Park neighborhoods

Your decision might be influenced by the school district you want; the Cambrian Park neighborhoods have three elementary school districts. Most are good to great – Cambrian Park almost no low scoring schools – but some are exceptionally high. Some districts may have more offerings for special needs kids or gifted kids – if you have children and are looking at placing them in the local public schools, do your research before you house hunt!

  1. The north and northwest side of Cambrian Park (going into Campbell and Willow Glen) has schools belonging to the Cambrian School District (see map).
  2. The east side of Cambrian Park (going toward Blossom Valley) is part of the territory of the San Jose Unified School District.  Schools for all of San Jose are beautifully mapped out by the district – you have to zoom in to see the boundaries around Cambrian but it includes all three local districts so is worth the extra steps!
  3. The southwest side of Cambrian (and east Los Gatos) is within the boundaries of the Union School District, which also has a helpful map of the borders. The map is a pdf and it is very detailed.
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University Square neighborhood in Santa Clara

Quiet residential zone sign in the University Square neighborhood near SCUThe University Square neighborhood in Santa Clara is walking distance to Santa Clara University. I grew up there, riding my bike in the forbidden college walkways, and recall my Realtor mother referring to the area as “Little Professorville.” That was a reference to a lovely Palo Alto neighborhood in the shadow of Stanford University. She wasn’t wrong – we knew some professors who walked to SCU each day from that neighborhood, including my grandfather.

Where is the University Square neighborhood?

The neighborhood may not have exact boundaries, but appears to be bordered by Park Avenue on the east, Washington Street on the west, the University to the north, and Newhall Avenue to the south.

The area closest to the campus is fairly congested, both with density of housing and the amount of cars parked everywhere. This is where you’ll see the reminder that it’s a quiet, residential zone.

 

University Square neighborhood in Santa Clara

 

A drive through the area will make it clear where there are tons of cars – and where it’s less congested.

 

Alviso Street in University Square close to Santa Clara University

 

Get past Poplar, though, and suddenly it’s a completely different feel, with almost no cars on the street and homes being spread further apart.

 

Ranch style house in University Square with large picture window facing front

 

The homes found between Washington and Park, and along Alviso Street, are mixed architecturally. Some streets, like Circle Drive and College Avenue, are primarily ranch style houses built from 1955 – 1950 (some of the county records say 1900 – that just means they lost the records and don’t know!). Some of these have been expanded tremendously. The house I grew up in as a child was 1400 square feet, but it’s been added onto a couple or more times and is now more than 3000 SF.

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Saratoga’s Portos-Harleigh Neighborhood

Portos-Harleigh NeighborhoodThe Portos-Harleigh neighborhood is a highly sought after community in Saratoga. Suburban yet centrally located, walkable, and easy access for commuters. Keep reading to learn more about this neighborhood, its homes, the local amenities, possible concerns, and home costs.

Neighborhood Profile: Boundaries and Property Descriptions

This community encompasses a number of streets north of West Valley College, and is named by its most prominent streets: Portos Drive and Harleigh Drive. It’s major borders are Saratoga Ave to the north west, Fruitvale Ave to the west, and Allendale Ave to the south between Fruitdale and Via Alto Ct.

This community lies within the greater Gardiner Park neighborhood (according to NextDoor), which also includes the Saratoga Gardens subdivision, Aspesi / Casa Blanca, and Riverdale communities to the north, and Peremont tract to the east.

It includes multiple tracts and was primarily built up in the 1960s and 1970s, but there are younger homes as well. Kerwin Ranch Ct and the end of Ronnie Wy are two smaller tracts built up between 1987 – 1995. Throughout the neighborhood there have been individual rebuilds over the years.

Most homes are on large, standard lots, but there are a smattering of flag lots as well.

The Average Portos-Harleigh Home

If I pull the data on homes in this mapped area. Here’s what the “average home” would look like:

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Why do real estate agents do a visual inspection of the properties they sell?

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

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.

 

Why is the AVID required?

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Montevideo Neighborhood

Montevideo neighborhood in San Jose's Almaden Valley area San Jose zip code 95120Located close to the Guadalupe Creek and the foothills of the coastal mountain range, the Montevideo neighborhood enjoys tree lined streets and scenic green views of the hills. Houses and yards are nicely kept. It is fairly convenient for commuting as it’s not too deeply into the San Jose area of Almaden Valley. About 500 residents call this beautiful neighborhood home.

In addition to the pleasant vistas, the Montevideo home owners and residents enjoy the cabaña, which includes a community pool, clubhouse, recreation grounds (shuffleboard, volleyball court and more), a fun swim team for kids. There are very few cabañas in the west valley, so this is a big draw.

Adjacent to it is the very highly regarded Guadalupe Elementary School.

Where is the Montevideo neighborhood located?

The Montevideo neighborhood is situated close to the intersection of Camden Avenue and Coleman Road (not quite to Redmond Avenue) in southwest San Jose (Almaden area, zip code 95120). The development was built in two phases – the map below shows in a darker green the “Montevideo 2” area. The lighter area was the original Montevideo tract.

 

Map of the Montevideo neighborhood in San Jose's Almaden Valley - click on the image to go to the live map on Google

Map of the Montevideo neighborhood in San Jose’s Almaden Valley – click on the image to go to the live map on Google

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Parker Ranch neighborhood

The Parker Ranch neighborhood is found in the low western foothills of Saratoga along the Cupertino border, making it a fantastic commute location for many high tech workers.  With larger homes and lots, it’s easy to stretch out!   The rolling hills make a pleasant vista, or, if you’re in a higher elevation provide beautiful valley views.  The Parker Ranch subdivision boasts highly acclaimed Cupertino schools.  There are many reasons why this is a much beloved area of Saratoga.

Parker Ranch neighborhood home - Beautiful hillside estates, many with views

 

There are just shy of 80 houses and luxury homes in Parker Ranch, so it’s not a hugely populous area, but it is fairly large.  Here are a few quick facts on this scenic subdivision:

  • Range of home size:  2,797-7,500 SF
  • Average SF:  4,517 SF
  • Range of lot size:  22,000-146,361 SF
  • Average Lot:  70,786 SF
  • Years Built:  1900-2013, lots of development in the 1980s

Side note for history buffs: this land was once owned by Painless Parker, the famous – or infamous – dentist. Click on the link to learn more!

 

Parker Ranch neighborhood home - 2 - August 2021

What do homes cost in the Parker Ranch area?

Because there’s an incredible variety in home and lot size, as well as age and condition, it’s not easy to pinpoint the likely price of the neighborhood.  However, as a very broad rule, most homes will currently sell north of $3.5 million.

What are the subdivision’s boundaries?

Map Boundaries:  Streets include Vista Arroyo Ct, Star Ridge Ct, Prospect Rd (pasture only), Picea Ct, Pheasant Ridge Rd, Parker Ranch Rd (major road), Parker Ranch Ct, Farr Ranch Rd (2nd major road), Farr Ranch Ct, Diamond Oaks Ct, Continental Cir, Comer Dr, and Chiquita Ct. To the W and N, the border is Prospect rd. A SW portion borders the Saratoga Country Club. To the S is Mt Eden.

 

Parker Ranch subdivision map - Saratoga, CA

 

Any special issues with Parker Ranch homes?

As with all homes in or near the coastal foothills, there are special challenges that go with the scenic views and abundant open spaces. Water and drainage will be very important to manage here, controlling the flow of the water away from the home and away from crawl spaces takes more work when there are slopes.

There are high voltage power lines running through part of the community, with some homes built very close to both the lines and the towers.

Part of Parker Ranch may hear train sounds. Some of the area may be in unstable soils zone (landslide areas, common west of Saratoga Sunnyvale Road). Most or perhaps all of it is in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, which is a higher risk area for fire, but also means the insurance premiums will be much more expensive.

 

Parker Ranch in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone - Saratoga hazard zone

 

 

Homes for sale in Parker Ranch

 

 

Related Reading:

Saratoga, CA – on the popehandy.com site

 

 

 

San Jose CA 95129 Real Estate Market

The San Jose CA 95129 real estate market area, which is sometimes referred to as the “Cupertino Border” area and is generally part of West San  Jose, is highly desirable for many reasons, including a short commute to tech employers such as Apple. Below we’ll review home values by school districts, both for starter homes and for homes with more than 1500 square feet.

If you love West San Jose, please also check out our post on the nearby Happy Valley neighborhood.

The 95129 zip code and school districts

The school district situation is a little confusing in San Jose CA 95129, but as schools are a major driver of real estate values, it’s imperative to consider their impact on housing prices.

  • About 60% of this zip code is in the Fremont Union High School District (Lynbrook High) and in the Cupertino Union School District (several different schools)
  • The rest is in the Campbell Union High School District (Prospect High), with most of that area in the Moreland School District, but a little bit in the Campbell Union School District (several schools)
  • On Great Schools, the scores for these schools range from 4 or 5 on the low end to 10 on the high side.

Here’s a map that I’ve marked up. The initial map came from the MLS, which shows the approximate zip code boundaries (bright blue) and the high school district boundary (purple or berry colored). These are never 100% precise, always check with the school district to be sure about the assigned school or district.

 

San Jose CA 95129 with school districts - real estate info for West San Jose

 

In the upper right corner you can see a tiny little polygon, almost a square, for the part of 95129 with Campbell Union School District. Moreland schools are mainly on the southeast side of the zip code. Cupertino schools are on the far west and northern section, except for that postage stamp area with Campbell schools.

The homes with Moreland and Campbell schools sell at lower prices than those with Cupertino schools, making them more affordable and also very desirable as a close in commute location.

The homes in San Jose with Cupertino schools sell for less than those houses in the City of Cupertino with the exact same schools, making this pocket a relative bargain, too.

No matter which district  you’re considering, most of this area is a good ‘bang for the buck’ part of the valley.

San Jose CA 95129 real estate stats for starter homes

Today we’ll consider the real estate market activity for houses in this area today and in relation to recent history as of today, July 18, 2023, and looking at sales data for the last 60 days.

In the last 60 days, there were 29 single family homes sold in this zip code. Of them, 15 were “starter homes”, meaning that they have 1500 SF or less. Here is the data for the starter homes in all school districts of this zip code area:

  • Days on market – 13
  • Average square footage – 1392 SF
  • Average lot size – 6227 SF
  • Average list price – $2,035,056
  • Average sale price – $2,294,453
  • Average age of the home – 62 years
  • Average sale to list price ratio – 113% (range of 94% to 138%)
  • Average price per SF – $1,652.29

For the 10 homes with Fremont Union High School District:

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Cameo Park West: Campbell neighborhood with Los Gatos mailing address

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 high scores on the major school assessment websites.

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 location for their 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.).

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