The Villages

The Villages ClubhouseNestled in the rolling foothills of San Jose’s southeastern Evergreen area is a hidden gem known simply as the Villages.

As you drive up to the secured entrance, you’ll spot a sign: The Villages a Country Club Community. They take that claim to heart. A gated, community-oriented neighborhood centered around numerous country club amenities creates an immersive home for its residents.

However this is a senior community, so to live at the Villages you have to be 55 or older (also known as an adult community or seniors community). Therefore many residents are retirees who are active, love entertaining guests, and don’t want to mow the lawn every week. But you don’t have to be a resident to enjoy the country club side of things.

 

The Villages

Only about a 20 minute drive from downtown San Jose, this area was once agricultural land with vineyards. It is still home to the impressive William Wehner historic mansion, constructed in 1888 and designed by architect David Burnham (this estate is currently closed to the public). The mansion is sometimes called the Cribari Mansion for its later owners, a name that was adopted by the first Village development. The original stone columns (circa 1891) for the estate’s original drive still stand as a prominent feature on one of the golf courses.

Today, the community is still surrounded by untouched rolling hills. And that natural beauty is staying put, as the Villages owns 550 acres of open space with community hiking trails. All together, the campus consists of 2,309 condominiums and 227 single family homes.

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Ranch Style Homes

Oster Area Ranch Style HomeLove it or hate it, you can’t escape it: the Ranch.

By far the most abundant architectural style among Silicon Valley homes is the ranch. A recent resurgence in interest in this unique and pervasive house design suggest it is regaining popularity, and there are plenty of reasons to love it! Here we’ll take a peek at the history, how to identify, and the function behind the ranch design. Ready to meet America’s dream home?

New modern ranch homes for town or country living by the National Plan Service, Inc (1956) on Archive.org

by the National Plan Service, Inc (1956) on Archive.org – Click to see

Back on the Ranch: A Brief History

In the early 1930s, San Diego designer Cliff May took the architectural world by storm with his spin on the Spanish colonial revival home. Inspired by adobe ranchos and modern design with an emphasis on comfortable California living, May developed this unique style. This soon evolved into the quintessential California ranch style.

It’s no surprise that the ranch has come to be known as a suburban style. Its popularity was widespread during the booming post-war years through the 1970s, peaking in the 1950s with ranch homes accounting for as many as 9 out of 10 new homes! (Witold Rybczynski, p 207)

Having saturated the market for decades, and with buyers wanting bigger homes, the market shifted away from building the sprawling single-story ranch in the later decades of the 20th century. Still the design retained popularity in the resale market. With more ranch homes celebrating their golden jubilee (some of the earliest are approaching 90) and some gaining historic designations there has been a renewed interest in ranch architecture over the last decade or so.

Design Elements

 “Today, almost any house that provides for an informal type of living and is not definitely marked by unmistakable style symbols is called a ranch house.” (Sunset Western Ranch Houses (1946), IX – 1946).

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Property Tax Basis Transfer for Seniors

Interested in moving your property tax basis when you sell your current home and buy the next one? For those over 55 in California, this is a great one time option.

There are actually two propositions involved.  Prop 60 applies to moves within your own county, and Prop 90 relates to moves between counties which are participating in the transfer arrangement. Unfortunately, of California’s 58 counties, only 10 have the cooperative agreement to accept a property tax basis transfer from other participating counties.

Cooperating Property Tax Basis Transfer Counties (Prop 90)

The counties cooperating in the property tax basis transfer are only these, as of the date of this posting: Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Tuolumne, and Ventura.

Some of the basics for the property tax basis transfer:

  • Homeowners must be 55 and older at the time of sale of the original property.
  • Homeowner must be on record both for the home that’s sold and the replacement property.
  • The replacement residence must be equal to or lesser in value than the original residence.
  • There are special rules for multi-family (duplex, triplex, fourplex) properties and for mobile homes.

In the most typical scenario, a senior homeowner would sell a house (or townhome or condo) and “downsize” to another, less expensive, smaller house or condo.  If the homeowner had been in the first property for a very long time, then the low tax rate would be hard to give up, but Props 60 and 90 enable that homeowner to go to another, less expensive home and carry the old tax rate along – one time, and either in the home county or in one of the participating counties.

I have known seniors to sell a house in Los Gatos, Saratoga or San Jose and move to The Villages or to gated senior communities out of the area but closer to their grown kids and make use of these two propositions.

It should be noted that while the price of the replacement home must be less than the home being sold, that doesn’t mean that the new home must be smaller. I’ve known people to move out of area and get a larger, newer, nicer home – at a lower price tag. So it’s really an economic downsizing (or “right sizing” as some like to say now).

For more information and to get all the details, please click on the California state page for these two propositions.

Senior homeseller resources

Now that many home owners in Silicon Valley have equity again, the possibility of selling and moving has opened up once more.  Seniors have special needs and in many cases could use a little extra help.  Here are a few resources:

AARP.com – this is the # 1 advocacy group for seniors and this website has a tremendous wealth of information.

AgeInPlace.com – find info on creating a safe environment that’s easier to live in, plus monitoring services.

MoveSeniors.com – a resource for downsizing, moving and remodeling plus other helpful avenues.

RetirementHomes.com – a senior living directory for North America (from independent living to assisted to memory care and nursing).

SilverPlanet.com – help with “aging in place” options and more.

TheSeniorList.com – ratings and review site for a wide range of sernior services and living arrangements.

As a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, I enjoy working with and assisting seniors.  Please call me for help with seniors selling (or buying) homes anywhere in Silicon Valley!

 

 

 

Time to downsize but don’t want condo living?

At some point, the family home may become too much work, expense, and worry for seniors and the decision may be looming about when and how to downsize.   There are many decisions to be made, including:

  • What to keep, what to give to relatives and friends, sell, donate or throw out?
  • How big of a space should the next home be?
  • What type of housing should be targeted – a condo, townhouse, apartment, senior living community, duplex, smaller house or cottage, duet or something else?
  • Is a home with stairs an option?
  • Is outside space a requirement?
  • Will the next home be purchased or rented?
  • Is outside care needed?

Particularly for those accustomed to a large house and garden or yard, going to a living arrangement with shared walls and no yard may not be appealing.   An option for those wishing to buy(and are still very independent) that is sometimes missed is a type of housing which is sort of a gray area, and those are houses held in condominium ownership (such as the Villas of Almaden), as well as patio homes (as we see in some of the Almaden Winery neighborhood).  In both cases, as well as in some planned unit developments, there’s a home owner’s association which will usually do all of the front yard landscaping.  If the back yard is small, it’s possible to have it planted in a low-maintenance manner to maximize your enjoyment while minimizing the yard work.

As part of your recon efforts, be sure to sit down and discuss your thoughts, hopes, wants and needs with a good Realtor familiar with the area where you want to live.  He or she can point out potential alternatives or options that you may not even know exist.

Patio Homes or Zero Lot Line Houses in Silicon Valley

What Is the Difference Between CID Ownership in a Condo, Townhouse or PUD?

When A Parent Has To Sell The House