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.

Relocating to Silicon Valley? We Have Micro-Climates!

Micro-ClimatesLocals to the San Jose area (Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County) know, and newcomers often do not, that we have micro-climates here. Our weather is mild everywhere, of course – we enjoy a “sub tropical climate” where citrus grows and palm trees thrive – but it varies a lot nonetheless.

What kind of variation exists in Santa Clara County’s weather?

Consider that our terrain is shaped somewhat like a funnel with the San Francisco Bay on the wide end, and the two mountain ranges making up the sides of the funnel, narrowing at its base (near Morgan Hill).

View Larger Map

Together with our funnel shaped valley, the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay are the major influences on our climate. The Santa Cruz Mountains are warmer and wetter than the eastern foothills. The Pacific Ocean brings in the rain, fog and winds pulling storms in from the ocean to the valley. Much of the weather stops at or near the coastal mountains, though, and the influence lessens as you go east such that the east foothills are very, very different from the Santa Cruz Mountains. The areas close to the bay get more breezes than those sheltered by smaller valleys or nooks.

So what are Silicon Valley’s Micro-Climates?

Here are a few basic notes for newcomers:
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Why are those Silicon Valley HOA dues so high?

Homeowner Association DuesWhy are some HOA dues so high in certain Silicon Valley townhouse or condo communities?

If you are shopping for a Silicon Valley condominium, townhouse, loft or other property that’s part of a home owners association or “HOA”, you may find yourself flabbergasted at some of the dues being charged in San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, and all over Santa Clara Valley. Today we’ll go over what may be happening in them to cause this problem.

HOA dues may cover a number of things, and if it’s a luxury complex with luxury amenities, those dues will be high:

  • common areas, such as driveways, parking, pool, fitness center, rec room, elevators, landscaping, golf course membership, etc.
  • insurance: regular homeowners or blanket insurance but perhaps also earthquake or flood insurance
  • reserve account funds for planned improvements may have run too low and need bolstering (repainting, termite work, reroofing, repaving, pool plastering etc.)
  • covering the defaults from units where the owners are in or about to be in foreclosure

What is the range of pricing for HOA dues in Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley?

Depending on the age of the property and the amenities, the dues may run between $300 and $350 on the low end (newer, no amenities) to close to a thousand on the high end (The Villages retirement community has extraordinarily high dues but they may include membership in the golf course too). I’ve seen some in Menlo Park closer to $2,000 per month!

“Normal” is anywhere from $400 to $500 per month for a typical condo or townhome community.

Dues over $600 per month will deter investment buyers.  Dues over $700 per month will deter almost everyone! (more…)

Cupertino View Homes

Large Cupertino view home now available!   10387 Amistad Court, Cupertino California

Fabulous 5 bed + den, 4 bath home with lovely valley views from several rooms!  Room to accommodate two or more generations or live in help if so desired.  Lower level includes 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and bonus room or retreat.  Upstairs are the main living areas (living, dining, family, kitchen, nook), master bedroom suite, one more bedroom and a large den or office.  Living room, office, balcony and master all enjoy views.  Good sized, private yard.  Located on quiet cul de sac in lower foothills, a very easy drive.  Best schools, including Monta Vista High School!

Please enjoy a gallery of this fine home, and click to see larger photos.

 

 

This property is co-listed

10387 Amistad Court, Cupertino California is co-listed with Mary Tan and George Tan of Coldwell Banker in Cupertino, tel # 408 861-8832.

Please stop by our open house this weekend!

This fine home will be open Saturday, 3/31/2012 from 1:30 – 4:30 (hosted by Mary Tan) and Sunday, 4/1/2012 1:30 – 4:30 (hosted by me, Mary Pope-Handy)

More information on  10387 Amistad Court, Cupertino California – a beautiful view home in the prestigious Cupertino foothills!

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 81211438 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

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Campbell Real Estate Market Update, Nov 2009

The Campbell real estate market appears to be “past the bottom”, as is the case with much of the Silicon Valley housing market. In some parts of San Jose, “the bottom” was in February or March of this year.  Campbell may have hit that point sooner – but in any event it is now heading back toward a balanced market (30 is the balance point for this formula). (Images and charts from Altos Research, to which I have a subscription and permission to use these, as well as the RE Report, another subscription service of mine. Altos uses list prices, the RE Report uses sold data as well as list prices.)

 

campbell-CA-home-sales-market-action-index-11-10-091

 

Let’s look at the data for October in Campbell – actives, pendings, and closeds (care of the RE Report).

 

Trends At a GlanceOct 2009Previous MonthYear-over Year
Median Price$671,500$697,500 (-3.7%)$730,000 (-8.0%)
Average Price$717,461$760,850 (-5.7%)$783,941 (-8.5%)
No. of Sales2820 (+40.0%)17 (+64.7%)
Pending Properties4239 (+7.7%)18 (+133.3%)
Active5568 (-19.1%)105 (-47.6%)
Sale vs. List Price96.1%98.6% (-2.5%)96.1% (0.0%)
Days on Market3642 (-14.0%)77 (-53.5%)

 

While in many parts of the greater San Jose area the Days on Market (DOM) are lengthening, they are shortening in Campbell! Sales are up, but prices are still declining a bit (in several areas of Santa Clara County, prices are again inching up – this tends to happen in less expensive areas).  Pending sales are up and inventory is down.  So there are some mixed indicators but Campbell appears to be at or near “the bottom”.
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The Monte Sereno Real Estate Market Update, November 2009

The post below was published in November of 2009. For a more current look at the Monte Sereno real estate market, please see:

The Monte Sereno Real Estate Market

 

 

monte-sereno-homes-for-sale-median-list-priceThe Monte Sereno real estate market is trickier than most Silicon Valley markets to gauge because it’s so tiny.  With just four thousand residents, there simply aren’t that many homes for sale in Monte Sereno at any given time and there are even fewer solds.

Monte Sereno Real Estate Trends at a Glance

The info below is from my Silicon Valley REReport, which comes out monthly. Click on the link to see the full report on October’s home sales activity in Monte Sereno.

 

Trends At a GlanceOct 2009Previous MonthYear-over Year
Median Price$1,450,000$1,641,000 (-11.6%)$1,322,500 (+9.6%)
Average Price$1,450,000$1,689,750 (-14.2%)$1,322,500 (+9.6%)
No. of Sales1(-75.0%)(-50.0%)
Pending Properties4(0.0%)(+33.3%)
Active2324 (-4.2%)29 (-20.7%)
Sale vs. List Price104.6%97.3% (+7.5%)95.3% (+9.8%)
Days on Market977 (-88.3%)81 (-88.9%)

Home Values in Monte Sereno

Sellers often want to know, perhaps more than anything, what is happening to home values. “What’s my house worth?” is a perennial question because the answer can change from month to month.  Buyers want to know what any particular property should be worth – and often do not see eye to eye with sellers on this point.  Hence, few homes go into escrow (or under contract) each month. (The months supply of inventory has averaged 19 months in MS this year – more on that below – which indicates that there’s a bit of a standoff between buyers and sellers. Buyers aren’t buying in the vast majority of cases.)

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Almaden Valley Real Estate Market Update for Autumn 2009

Single family homes in the more affordable price ranges seem to be flying off the market in the San Jose district of Almaden Valley.  For the last twelve weeks or so, the absorption rate or months of inventory in the 95120 zip code has been hovering around 2 – 3 months. That’s fast!  (6 months is a balanced market, less a sellers market, and more a buyers market.)

This comprehensive post will include data from three subscription based  sources.  First a summary of the October 2009 sold data (care of my RE Report ).  Then, with the aid of Clarus Market Metrics (a subscription through my MLS and real estate board), we’ll take a two year view of the Almaden real estate market, its months of inventory and supply & demand ratios.  Then we’ll incorporate data from Altos Research, another subscription service I utilize, to look at the data for listed homes today, broken down by price quartile (since what may be happening in Almaden overall may not be the experience in a subset of this market).

 

Trends At a GlanceOct 2009Previous MonthYear-over Year
Median Price$990,000$860,000 (+15.1%)$976,500 (+1.4%)
Average Price$1,052,370$914,410 (+15.1%)$1,045,160 (+0.7%)
No. of Sales2839 (-28.2%)16 (+75.0%)
Pending Properties3938 (+2.6%)13 (+200.0%)
Active6161 (0.0%)122 (-50.0%)
Sale vs. List Price97.5%98.0% (-0.5%)95.6% (+2.0%)
Days on Market4854 (-11.4%)65 (-27.0%)

 

Fewer homes are coming on the market now, so the old inventory is getting absorbed.  Prices often are getting pushed up in multiple offers if the home sells quickly (in 3 – 4 weeks).
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Tips for Home Buyers Competing Against Multiple Offers – More Financing Tips (Part 4)

financing-terms-multiple-offers-silicon-valleySan Jose is a hot seller’s market in entry level prices of many neighborhoods (Alum Rock, Evergreen, Blossom Valley, South San Jose, Willow Glen, Cambrian and more), and because of that, we are finding that in many cases, homebuyers are having to compete in multiple offers. (Offer writing generally tends to produce a lot of anxiety for buyers, and there are a lot of questions you may have about the whole real estate purchase offer process. Please also see my Q & A on Making an Offer on my other website.)

This post is part of a series on how to write a competitive offer when bidding in a multiple offer situation in Silicon Valley. We’ve looked at what terms are and why terms matter generally, and then we drilled down to particular financing terms: the deposit (and related issue of liquidated damages & default), loan type, downpayment amount & percentage,  and loan terms.

Today we’ll finish up the section on offer finance terms and will cover a couple of “easier” financing items:

  • presenting a pre-approval letter for your loan
  • having  a copy of the check when presenting the offer
  • providing “proof of funds” with your offer

This will be the last post on financing terms for your Silicon Valley real estate purchase agreement. After these we’ll move into a discussion of other terms in the contract.

The Importance of a Pre-Approval Letter

Why be pre-approved? Why not just be pre-qualified? A “pre-qual” is not very helpful to you in negotiating for the best price with any offer, so even if you are not in a multiple offer situation, I would encourage you to go to the trouble of getting your loan pre-approved.   Getting pre-approved is either no cost or low cost (I know one B of A lender who charges $50 to do a pre-approval, but many will not charge you for this service).  It does take time because you must gather together your financial documentation, but it is in your best interest to do it for a variety of reasons.  You do not want to find the perfect home only to find that you really don’t want to get the only loan that will help you to purchase that property, for instance. Know what your budget is before you shop and you will save yourself time, energy, and disappointment.  And when you are ready to make a bid, you will be far stronger.
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