Live in Los Gatos

A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

The Monte Sereno real estate market

Elm Park in Monte Sereno, sold by Mary Pope-Handy

Ranch style home on Elm Park in Monte Sereno, sold by Mary Pope-Handy

The City of Monte Sereno is quite small, with just about 4,000 residents, so the number of houses sold in any given month will always be extremely small. For that reason, the data may appear to jump around wildly compared to Los Gatos or Saratoga, which each have about 30,000 people living there. Please take all the stats with a tablespoon of salt, and be sure to view the Los Gatos housing market data to get a more accurate picture of what’s happening with Monte Sereno homes (just add a little to the price tag as homes there tend to sell for a bit more than LG properties).

Something else to be aware of is that most houses are in the Los Gatos Union School District, but a small pocket of properties lies within the Campbell School District. Those with Campbell schools usually sell for a little less. Additionally, most of this city is within the 95030 zip code, but again, there’s a small pocket which is in the 95032 area.

Finally, there are only houses in this cities – condos, townhomes, or any other type of housing – and there are no businesses, either. Being 100% residential and single family homes most likely has a large impact on the home values here, though in many areas of Silicon Valley, being in “walking distance” to a coffee shop or grocery store can be a huge plus.

Disclaimers aside, here’s the most recent info:

Monte Sereno Real Estate Report (click to view the Real Estate Report)
Trends At a Glance Aug 2017 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $3,562,500 (+20.8%) $2,950,000 $4,000,000 (-10.9%)
Average Price $3,755,000 (+11.3%) $3,373,000 $4,322,670 (-13.1%)
No. of Sales (-33.3%) 6 (+33.3%)
Pending (0.0%) 4 (+100.0%)
Active (-44.4%) 9 12 (-58.3%)
Sale vs. List Price 97.2% (-4.1%) 101.4% 98.2% (-1.0%)
Days on Market 82 (+17.7%) 70 76 (+8.4%)
Days of Inventory 38 (-16.7%) 45 120 (-68.8%)

And the chart from last month for comparison:

Trends At a Glance Jul 2017 Previous Month Year-over-Year
Median Price $2,950,000 (+8.3%) $2,725,000 $1,435,000 (+105.6%)
Average Price $3,373,000 (+17.6%) $2,867,500 $1,720,000 (+96.1%)
No. of Sales (-25.0%) 8 (+100.0%)
Pending (0.0%) 4 (+33.3%)
Active (-25.0%) 12 14 (-35.7%)
Sale vs. List Price 101.4% (+2.2%) 99.2% 96.3% (+5.3%)
Days on Market 70 (+84.5%) 38 24 (+194.4%)
Days of Inventory 45 (+3.4%) 44 140 (-67.9%)

Another great source of realty trends is Altos Research, to which I also have a subscription. Altos uses list prices, though, whereas the RE Report uses sold. What I really love about these reports, though, is that market can be viewed by price quartiles, as sometimes the luxury market in an area may be behaving very differently from the entry level market. The charts below are dynamic and will be updated weekly.

app?pai=50109450&service=chart&st=CA&cid=79&zid=2891558&rt=sf&ra=a&q=t%2Cu%2Cl%2Cb&s=median price&sz=l&ts=e&theme=oldchart - The Monte Sereno real estate market

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East Los Gatos view home

SALE PENDING – 12 DAYS ON THE MARKET!

East Los Gatos view home for sale! Rare opportunity to purchase a beautifully updated and remodeled home with enticing valley views in a close in location adjacent to Belgatos Park!  4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and offered at $2,288,000. Stunning vistas, stunning home – check out a few details here, then head to the virtual tour to get the whole story.

East Los Gatos view home - 211 Westhill Drive, Los Gatos CA

This stunning single story house features valley views from all of the main rooms: living room, dining room, kitchen, and family room. Additionally, there’s a large and comfortable deck leading to the front door from which the views can be enjoyed as well.

Brazilian cherry hardwood runs throughout the house, part of the extensive updating and remodeling done by the sellers in recent years. The kitchen and all 3 baths have been remodeled as well.   The remodeled kitchen offers stainless, granite, vaulted ceilings, recessed lights, a pantry, nook, and views to both the valley and the back yard.  It’s also open to the kitchen. The dining room and living room are both just off the entry, and makes for a nice “open floor plan” feeling.

The house features 2856 SF of living space plus a home office with approximately 256 SF just off the 2 car garage, for a total of 3112 square feet. Both the office and garage have been improved with drywall, heating, and air conditioning.  The garage is currently being used as a gym, but it has a beautiful 2 car carriage style garage door, electronic door opener, and regular slab floor under the gym mats – so can use used as a garage within minutes.

The lot is 13, 939 SF and provides a lovely flat area in the back yard for entertaining. A large pool and spa make a fantastic centerpiece with a backdrop of nature. Along the side yard there’s more space with another patio area and planting beds.

So many extras – plantation shutters, dual pane windows, air conditioning, fan lights, superior access to the back yard to name just a few.

With 4 bedrooms and 3 full baths, this lovely East Los Gatos view home will steal your heart. Please check out the virtual tour of 211 Westhill Drive, Los Gatos to see all of the details and photos, or enjoy a sample from the slider, below, of this striking east Los Gatos view home!

 

SLIDESHOW OF 211 WESTHILL DRIVE, LOS GATOS :

  • Aerial view of 211 Westhill Drive, Los Gatos CA 95032
    Aerial view of 211 Westhill Drive, Los Gatos CA 95032

 

Please also see info on this lovely East Los Gatos view home at 211 Westhill Dr., Los Gatos,  at the Valley of Heart’s Delight blog.

 

August and the Los Gatos Housing Market

The August real estate market in Los Gatos is usually a bit slow.  Inventory, even in a normal year, tends to shrink in August, and with it, a lot of sales activity. Many home buyers and home sellers take the month off, sneak in one last vacation, get kids ready to school, or perhaps deliver older ones to college. Real estate often takes a back seat for a few weeks in August (and sometimes early September, too).

August and the Los Gatos Housing Market: it’s all about inventory levels

This year is worse than most in terms of buyers having any selection with record low levels of inventory throughout Silicon Valley. Have a look at the chart from January 2011 to today for Los Gatos single family homes – zip codes 95030 & 95032 (pulled from MLSListings this afternoon):

Los Gatos real estate market inventory SFH Aug 2017

Buying and selling homes in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno right now

For home sellers, this August has been a great month to market your home and to get it sold, despite vacations and student issues, because demand is so high for the minuscule amount of housing for sale. For home buyers, it feels like a crazy real estate game of inventory limbo: how low can it go? How many offers can get thrown at a single listing?

One way of looking at it is to consider the ratio of available houses for sale vs those under contract.  Right now in Los Gatos 95030 and 95032, there are 55 single family homes on the market, and there are 50 in some stage of “sale pending” (with or without contingencies). That’s pretty close to 100%.  (Monte Sereno is such a small market area that the numbers are too wonky to be useful – we need a larger sample for reliability.)

The number sold and closed in the last 30 days is 31. The months of inventory is the actives divided by the closed in the last 30 days, so 55 / 31 = 1.77 months of inventory for ALL houses, all schools, all price points, all conditions, all locations – good and bad alike. That is a red hot sellers’ market!  (Every month or two I update this article here on Live in Los Gatos: “Los Gatos real estate market trends by price point and high school district” – please check back for an update on those numbers soon.)

What has been true for most of  2017 still holds true in August: the nicely updated and remodeled homes in the lower prices to move-up prices in Los Gatos continue to sell well (quickly, often with multiple offers) if they are priced right. Specifically, these are homes under $3 million with no special challenges (location issues, lot issues, strangely configured layout, too many stairs, too much deferred maintenance, a combination of a large pool and small back yard, and so on).

What does it take to be a successful home buyer in Los Gatos or Monte Sereno right now? How to maximize buying or selling in the current market conditions

Shannon Valley Ranch house 2015Buyers: For the lower priced homes, you will need to be quick as they usually won’t last more than 8 to 10 days before the offer date and multiple offers pour in. If you can get out to see the property soon after it hits the market, you’ll have enough time to study the disclosures and get guidance from your buyer’s agent on those and the comps. If you wait to see something on a Sunday afternoon and offers are due Tuesday, you will have a very unpleasant couple of days as you rush to be ready and prepared. With the more expensive properties, they may take longer to sell, but at any given moment things could change and suddenly there are 2 offers rather than just your one.

Sellers: Being super well prepared so that you hit the ground running is absolutely key to selling your home quickly and for top dollar. That means doing the presale inspections, ordering HOA docs (if applicable), and having your disclosures completed before a buyer ever sees the home. It also means taking your Realtor’s guidance to heart in regard to staging / decluttering and easy access for buyers. If it’s too hard to see, or it does not show well, you may not sell it for as much.  Price carefully!  The number 1 problem with homes that do not sell is price.  Aim too high and you won’t get the traffic or the offers. If you aim a little low, you may draw multiple offers and push the price higher than you could have imagined.

The market can be a little funny sometimes. I’ll attend an office meeting and hear discussions about multiple offers and once in awhile there’s a particular property that seems to have trouble.  When that happens, it’s very important to try to get feedback from the buyer’s agents.  While often the problem is a too-high price, sometimes it’s something easier to adjust to effect a sale. Communication between Realtors can be invaluable so that you don’t reduce the price when perhaps a less expensive fix will do.

September is just around the corner, and it promises to be a busy one as a slight influx of inventory should bring a strong flurry of activity.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, please contact me for a confidential consultation on what it takes to get the best deal possible in the current market.

 

Screen on the Green in Los Gatos

MoanaEvery September, the Town of Los Gatos hosts a free movie at Oak Meadow Park in the month of September for kids and kids-at-heart. This is the annual “Screen on the Green“.

September 15th’s the night for the 2017 Screen on the Green! Fun activities for children begin at 6:00pm, with train rides, carousel rides, face painting, games and more. The film, Disney’s Moana, will begin at 7:30pm and will be projected onto a 25′ inflatable screen on the meadow. A snack bar will be open from 6:30-8:30pm, so have dinner before or bring a picnic. Bring a picnic and some blankets, then come early to grab a good seat!

Attendees, it is important to bring layers and something low to sit on – blankets, cushions, or low backed lawn chairs, are alright. I always bring a flashlight for after the show. The gopher holes in the lawn are easy to find by accident with your foot.

For additional details, please see the Los Gatos town website page for Screen on the Green:

http://www.losgatosca.gov/342/Screen-on-the-Green

 

 

Los Gatos Park Dance

musical notesNeed something to do on Labor Day weekend? The Los Gatos Park Dance is back during the holiday weekend – the 5th annual at Oak Meadow Park. The first year over 2000 people attended and it’s been growing ever since!

Los Gatos Park Dance Details

Cost: FREE – courtesy of the Los Gatos Community Foundation

Date & Time: Saturday, September 2nd, 5:00 – 7:15pm

Location: Lyndon Bandstand, Oak Meadow Park, Los Gatos

Same musical lineup as the last couple of  years: The Johnny Neri Band opens for The Houserockers (a Los Gatos band).

What else: to get a good spot, arrive early! Bring a picnic supper. Beer and wine are allowed with meals (no other alcohol). Bring layers, as it cools down once the sun sets. Prepare to dance on the lawn, so wear comfortable shoes and watch out for gopher holes as you leave – they can be hard to spot in the dark.

Parking at Oak Meadow Park is free to town residents, but if you’re a local, you know that it fills up fast. You can park on nearby public streets if that happens, or try Vasona’s parking, which will cost a little.

 

Learn more about Music in the Park and the Dance through the link: http://lgmip.com/

dance - Los Gatos Park Dance

 

End of Summer Night Ride

Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad - End of Summer Night Ride happens here in Los GatosEach August, the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad and W.E. “Bill” Mason Carousel host their End of Summer Night Ride, a spaghetti dinner fundraiser! This year, the event will be held on Saturday, August 19th from 5:30pm – 8:30pm.

The carousel and train keep up an active summer season by participating in parades and holiday events (the train always draws a major crowd during the Independance Day celebrations in Oak Meadow) and with more open hours through the long, dry days. Even during the chilly rains of autumn and winter, they celebrate with the Holiday Train run during the Festival of Lights and are open on weekends. But what keeps the carousels running and the trains on track? Volunteers and donations! And they always appreciate more of both.

These popular Los Gatos legacies rely on donations to survive, and there are multiple opportunities throughout the year to spend a little extra time with your favorite local attractions and help them keep doing what we love.

At the very end of the summer season, the railroad and carousel hold their second major fundraiser of the year – the End of Summer Night Ride and Pasta Dinner. Evening activities begin at 5:30pm, and the last train departs at 8:30pm. You can either purchase one combo train and carousel ticket, for one ride on each, at $6, or get the unlimited pass (sold per person) and ride as many times as you want all evening for $18. Remember that children 2 and under ride free with paying adult. Dinner is served from 6-8pm, and a $10 donation will get you a plate piled high with spaghetti and meat sauce, a garden salad or caprese, and garlic bread. Vegetarian options are available, and beverages are an extra fee (beer and wine will be available for purchase). Additional donations are always welcome.

Check out more event details, other events, and regular ticket pricing and open hours on the BJWRR website: https://bjwrr.org/event/end-of-summer-night-ride-pasta-dinner-3/

Share your interest in attending or invite your friends on the Night Ride and Pasta Dinner Facebook event page.

 

Claws for a Cause in Los Gatos

claws for a cause los gatosEach year, in early to mid-Septemeber, the Los Gatos Morning Rotary Club, together with CB Hannegan’s Irish Pub in downtown Los Gatos sponsors a fun end of summer bash: Claws for a Cause. The annual lobster block party features good food, live music, and dancing. It is often a sell-out event! Three thousand Maine lobsters will be delivered the morning of the feast.

Proceeds going to the Los Gatos Morning Rotary Charitable Foundation (supporting music, art and youth scholarships).

This year it’s Saturday, Sept 9, 2017, from 5:30 pm to 10pm.

Last year, tickets sold out! Learn more and buy your tickets here:

http://lglobsterparty.com/home.html

 

And see last years Mercury News article with more details, also:

Los Gatos: Claws for a Cause returns on Sept. 17

Los Gatos Community Concert Association Musical Series

musical notesThe Los Gatos Community Concert Association is about to begin its 69th season, again bringing delightful music to our town from fall through spring. “A first class concert series at affordable prices” is the goal, and by all accounts it is consistently successful at it. The first concert debuts on October 1st and tickets for the series are open to the public for purchase. Tickets are on sale as a season pass covering all four shows and cannot be bought individually for each concert except when there is availability at the door and online shortly before the event.

What’s on the agenda for this season?

 

Sunday, October 1st: Steven Vanhauwaert

Sunday, November 19th: Neave Trio

Sunday, January 21st, 2018: Andy Hackbarth

Sunday, April 29th, 2018: Two on Tap

 

All performances are at Los Gatos High School. Fore more info on musicians, times, ticket pricing, discounts for seniors and students, as well as subscription pricing, please see the LGCCA website.

LGCCS - Los Gatos Community Concert Association Musical Series

Los Gatos Dammit Run

Dammit Run - Los Gatos Dammit Run

Click the image to visit the Dammit Run website!

The annual Los Gatos Dammit Run is this Saturday, August 5, 2017. This is the 44th annual run to benefit the Los Gatos High School Track Repair Fund.

Beginning and ending at the track of Los Gatos High School, the 5 mile race takes participants through beautiful flatlands and hills. The treck includes the Los Gatos Creek Trail, the Jones Road Trail and a trip to the Lexington Reservoir dam (hence the name, Dammit Run). At the end, runners return to booths, raffles, refreshments, music and more on the Los Gatos High School campus.

In 2011, over 800 runners participated. To get all of the details, please see the website for the Dammit Run:

http://losgatosdammitrun.com/

 

Fiesta de Artes in Los Gatos

Fiesta2017 - Fiesta de Artes in Los GatosSaturday August 12th and Sunday August 13th mark the return of the Fiesta de Artes Los Gatos, Art & Wine Festival, the only Art & Wine Festival in town all year! This has been a Los Gatos tradition for decades, two in fact, with 2016 as the 20th anniversary of the event sponsored by the Kiwanis Club.

What happens at the Fiesta de Artes?

Think food & drink, art & shopping, dancing & socializing! Once again, there will be more than 150 vendors with a huge variety of artists and vendors displaying and selling their artwork, plus booths with food and wine and of course loads of music throughout both days. The hours are 10am to 7pm Saturday and 10am to 5pm Sunday, but music plays a little longer ending at 9pm on Saturday and starting an hour before Sunday events open.

Where is the Fiesta de Artes held?

In previous years, the festival reserved the Civic Center lawn across the street from Los Gatos High School, but this year, for the first time ever it’s a block party –  North Santa Cruz Ave and the Los Gatos Town Plaza Park will be open to revelers and closed to cars! See the map below or click the map to be directed to the Fiesta De Artes page with directions on how to get there.

For more information, please visit http://www.lgfiesta.org/

2017 Fiesta Map - Fiesta de Artes in Los Gatos

Click on the map to go to the Fiesta’s with more directions and a larger map.

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, with
special focus on
Los Gatos

and nearby areas,
including
Monte Sereno,
Saratoga,
Campbell,
and the San Jose areas of
Cambrian and Almaden Valley

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