Live in Los Gatos

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

Valentine’s Day in Los Gatos

catlove3z4b 300x274 - Valentine's Day in Los Gatos

Valentines Day in Los Gatos!

It’s February and, for couples, that means it’s time to plan your Valentine’s Day! And what better place to celebrate your love than in the Valley of Heart’s Delight (Silicon Valley’s old nickname), or more specifically, in the Gem of the Foothills – our very own LG! Here we’ll give you some ideas on how to celebrate a romantic Valentine’s Day in Los Gatos.

Valentine’s Day on a tight budget: picnic with your sweetie

Los Gatos is filled with beautiful parks, and lately the weather has been in the low 70s. If you want or need to be frugal, get a simple assortment of cheeses, crackers, grapes and wine and enjoy a picnic at Vasona Park or your favorite of any one of the lovely parks in town. It’s affordable, easy, and you can enjoy some lovely views.

How about a walking tour of Los Gatos?

Stroll through scenic downtown Los Gatos. The “village” area is full of neat shops. Head over to Old Town too, and while there, walk across the pedestrian bridge between Old Town and Forbes Mill. There is something about being still on this little bridge with the world passing by underneath that’s very special. Have a look at the old mill. This was the first commercial venture in Los Gatos – and it’s tucked away, off the beaten path. . . . But easy to find if you know what to look for.

You might also consider doing the “LOST Gatos” historic walking tour – just put it on speaker. Check out the free app the various tours you can hear at the link above.

After you’ve dined, head back to North Santa Cruz Avenue and pick up some dessert at Dolce Spazio.

Dinner out in Los Gatos for Valentine’s Day? Reserve early!

Need to do the official Valentine’s meal out? Los Gatos is oozing with great restaurants. Just don’t wait until the last minute to call in for a table. Some of my favorites include the Wine CellarI GattiViva, and Pedro’s, Looking to totally “wow” him or her? A world class restaurant is Manresa. I haven’t eaten there yet but understand that it’s one of the finest restaurants to be found anywhere (it’s just not as affordable as the other places I’ve suggested).

Shopping for Valentine’s Day in Los Gatos : Flowers, Chocolates, and Lace

Need flowers? Bunches in downtown is very nice. Do yourself a favor and visit a proper flower shop if you’re going to do it. The grocery store flowers just don’t tend to last very long.

Need chocolate? I love Chocolate Dream Box on Union Ave by Safeway (this shop was previously in King’s Court Shopping Center after moving out of downtown), it makes mouth watering truffles in beautifully delicate shapes and prints. Another good option is Fleur de Cocao, which sells truffles, artisan chocolate bars, and cakes. Their downtown location is also a cafe, so you can sit with your sweetie over a cappucino and some sugary treats.

Need something sensual? Romantiques on University Avenue near Old Town, Los Gatos, is worth a visit! Ladies intimates line the wall, beautiful silk goodies that you are not likely to find in a chain store, with articles ranging from the luxurious yet practical to the, well… less practical and significantly more luxurious. Maybe don’t bring the kids on this shopping trip.

Wishing you all a wonderful Valentine’s Day, no matter where or how you celebrate it!

 

Related – please also read:

Great Places to Kiss in Los Gatos

Affordable Treasures in Los Gatos: Great Place for Party Favors & Stocking Stuffers

Los Gatos is a Great Place for a Weekend Away, a Family Reunion or Romantic Date

JCO Art Haus holds its first The Very Very Rare Affordable Art Fair this spring!

0001c 169x300 - JCO Art Haus holds its first The Very Very Rare Affordable Art Fair this spring!Art lovers, this one’s for you! JCO Art Haus, an appointment-only gallery near Vasona Park in Los Gatos, will be open to the public for one weekend only selling their curated collection at studio prices. The Very Very Rare Affordable Art Fair goes on Thursday to Sunday, April 26-29 at the studio with a special Artist Meet and Greet on Thursday evening (RSVP required for the meet). The fair will represent local and international artists in a warehouse space.

Whether you’re planning on decorating your new home, or just want to window shop, this is a great opportunity to check out a large collection you might not otherwise see.

For more information and to RSVP, visit the JCO event page at this link: http://www.jcosplace.com/art-fair/

Planning on going? Check in or share your interest on the Facebook Event Page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/314816675694157/permalink/320539011788590/

 

Los Gatos Lions Club Annual Cioppino Dinner and Auction

 

2018 Los Gatos Lions Cioppino Feed

The Los Gatos Lions Club is hosting its annual Cioppino Dinner & Auction at St. Mary’s in downtown Los Gatos this Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 at 6 o’clock pm.  The Lions Club website says that tickets are $55. The Lions’ Facebook page says “Los Gatos Lions Club Cioppino Dinner, silent auction and raffle, January 27, 2018, 6:00 PM. Held at St. Mary’s Church, Howley Hall, 219 Bean St., Los Gatos. You will not want to miss this outstanding dinner and fun filled event. Proceeds benefit Los Gatos Lions Club Charities for sight, scholarships and community programs. Tickets sold by Lions Club members. $55 each.”

 

Take a Trip Back in Time Aboard the Trains of Los Gatos

Title 300x300 - Take a Trip Back in Time Aboard the Trains of Los Gatos

I purchased Derek’s books after the lecture, but you can also buy them online through Amazon (linked at the bottom of this post).

Grab your ticket and hop on board. Tonight, January 11th from 6:30 – 7:30PM, drop by NUMU Los Gatos for a lecture by local historian Derek R Whaley on the railroads of Los Gatos.

Derek, author of the book, “Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Monterey Bay,” and a website by the same name, has tracked the history of railroads in the Santa Cruz mountains. Learn little remembered stories of the growth of Los Gatos as a travel destination, local train trivia, the disappearance of the rail lines, and how it exists today.

With trains coming back in vogue, RSVPs for this event have been fully booked and closed, but if you haven’t made reservations available seats will be given out on a first-come-first-served basis. This event is free to NUMU Members and $10 General Admission to the museum for non-members. See you there tonight!

Read more on NUMU’s event page: http://www.numulosgatos.org/events/2018/1/11/all-aboard-the-history-of-the-railroad-in-los-gatos

NUMU’s website: http://www.numulosgatos.org/

For more on Derek Whaley and local train history, visit his website: http://www.santacruztrains.com/

Follow the latest updates on Derek’s blog: http://santacruztrains.blogspot.com/

Books may be available tonight at the museum, but they are also purchasable online through Amazon at this link.

Los Gatos Downtown Holiday Shopping Stroll

Yule Love it logo2 - Los Gatos Downtown Holiday Shopping StrollDecember 05, 2017

Downtown Los Gatos has much to offer, particularly during the holidays, but now we can add one more thing for which to be grateful – downtown Los Gatos is working to bring the holiday joy into your shopping experience!

This Sunday, December 10, from 11am – 4pm Los Gatos encourages you to shop local for the holidays at the 2nd Annual Holiday Stroll. In addition to the seasonal decor, there will be carolers, hot chocolate sales, a visit from ol’ Saint Nick, and plenty of kids activities for revelers and shoppers alike. Additionally, there’s free valet parking!

 

More details on the Stroll at the event page.

For valet parking, check out the flier.

 

 

 

The Holiday Season in Los Gatos: So Much To Do!

100 2661 e1448929055737 b - The Holiday Season in Los Gatos: So Much To Do!December is upon us, and with it are all kinds of holiday wonders in beautiful Los Gatos.

Lots is happening in and around our quaint corner of Silicon Valley, and keeping up is half the battle. To make your holidays a little less stressful and a little more jolly, I have organized a list of events and activities going on in Los Gatos this holiday season. Below you will two lists – one with unique holiday events by date and a separate list of ongoing events. These lists do not include religious services, so please check your preferred place of prayer for those schedules.

 

Here’s the rundown on carriage rides, the Fantasy of Lights, the tree lighting ceremony, the Los Gatos holiday parade, and more:

Continue reading

What do you need to know before buying a house in Los Gatos?

 

What do you need to know before buying a house in Los Gatos? Particularly for people relocating to Los Gatos (or generally to Silicon Valley) from other areas, or from parts of Santa Clara County not close to the hills, there are a few home buying tips you’ll want to know before purchasing a home in our fair town.  (For locals, these may seem obvious!)

1. Los Gatos & Schools

Whether you have school aged kids or not, you’ll want to know that there are several school districts covering the Los Gatos area. School district lines do not follow the town’s boundaries. (Not too long ago I met someone with a home to sell in the Belgatos area and he had no idea that his home did not belong to the Los Gatos Union School District. This caused him to misunderstand the likely market value of his property.)

Santa Clara County Office of Education School District Boundary Map – Sadly the map no longer exists
Town of Los Gatos: List of Schools Serving Los Gatos Students

2. Historic downtown Los Gatos areas

Areas closest to “downtown Los Gatos,” especially the historic neighborhoods (including Almond Grove, Edelen, Broadway, Fairview Plaza) tend to be much more expensive than those further out. The “walk to town” or “close to town” proximity makes them highly desireable, but also these regions of town are very scenic and have some fabulous Victorian and other beautiful architectural styles. Many are tree-lined, too.

Related to both #1 and #2, the public schools are not all that close to downtown Los Gatos. (St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School is in the downtown area, as is the adjacent Los Gatos Parent Nursery School.)

 

3. Hillside locales

If you buy a house close to a hill, among some hills or on a hill, you will need to pay close attention to issues which are less common in flatter areas further from slopes. Among them are foundation, water and drainage concerns. Some flat areas near the hills may have a high water table, may springs that come seasonally or in very wet years as well as runoff problems.

Water is often far more damaging than termites but it is not really uncommon to find water in a crawl space during the rainy season. Learn about it and pay heed to property inspectors’ suggestions regarding remediation if it’s a condition in a house you want to purchase.

I wrote about this on my Valley of Hearts Delight blog (covering all of Santa Clara County, but mostly the west valley) and suggest these two articles:

What To Consider When Buying a Hillside Home in Silicon Valley

Cracked Foundations, Adobe Clay Soils and Water in Silicon Valley

 4. Los Gatos address

Some homes with a “Los Gatos address” may not actually be in the town of Los Gatos. Many are in a county pocket or area (and may not have all the services of the town). A very few are actually part of either Campbell or San Jose but were assigned the Los Gatos mailing address for ease of the US Post Office.

How can you tell if a residence is part of the town of Los Gatos, is unincorporated or part of another city? The website for the county of Santa Clara has a lookup service. First you must accept the terms of service (see link above), then you will be allowed to input an address. If you type in a location’s address and it says “not found”, either you’ve got a typo in the building number or a mistake in the actual city, so perhaps it’s unincorporated or belonging to another adjacent municipality.

What difference does it make? The actual address (not mailing address) will impact a variety of things such as services (sherriff vs Los Gatos Monte Sereno police, free access to Oak Meadow Park), planning (any additions, remodels etc. will need to be approved by your actual city), voting in Los Gatos elections, etc.

5.  Los Gatos is a town, not a city

Los Gatos is a town. (Monte Sereno, with whom we share some services, is much smaller but is a city, not a town.) This means our government is run a little differently. For instance, we don’t vote for mayor.  Instead, we vote for town council members. They, in turn, vote for mayor. (Usually it’s a rotation.)

According to Wikipedia: “There are 481 incorporated municipalities in California, of which 459 are called cities and 22 are called towns.” [Edit: this quote was accurate as of Feb 28, 2011, but has been edited since. On Oct 24, 2017, the page lists 482 municipalities, 22 of which call themselves Towns.] I was surprised that there are so many towns – had thought it was only a handful!

Los Gatos is an interesting, fun, welcoming town. If you’re moving to the area, it’s a vibrant place you should check out. Please call or email me if you’d like more assistance.

 

 

Los Gatos Mountains 95033 Real Estate Market

Looking for great schools, more space, and a less suburban environment? Just beyond the borders of the Town of Los Gatos lies a collection of rural communities situated in the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains, or Coastal Range and together there are known as “The Los Gatos Mountains.” This large region sits above Almaden Valley, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, and a bit north of there in Santa Clara County, and just over the summit and toward Scotts Valley, Soquel, and Aptos in Santa Cruz County. As the description implies, it is a sprawling area and within it there are different school districts, views, levels of sunshine, natural hazards such as earthquake faults, and amenities which can all impact housing prices and real estate market trends and the market may be very different from one segment or price point to another.

All of these areas fall under the 95033 zip code and have a Los Gatos mailing address, so they are viewed together. Don’t be confused into thinking that areas in the Los Gatos Mountains are the same as the Town of Los Gatos, though – they are quite different.

 

95033 Los Gatos Mountains Real Estate Market Update

Unfortunately, my usual resource, the RE Report, has no section for the Los Gatos Mountains. Instead, the analysis I have written below is based off of data collected directly from the MLS over September and to date in October.

In the month of September, 6 homes sold in the 95033 mountain area of Los Gatos. Sale price ranged from $550,000 – $1,950,000 with an average of $1,055,750. Wide ranges like this are not unusual. While lot size is usually larger than in-town properties it can also vary a great deal, as does building age and size. For instance, the highest priced home had nearly 10 times the building size of the lowest priced property. Now let’s compare this with October sales, since we are coming towards the end of the month. This time, the range of sales is between $890,000 – $1,887,500 with an average of $1,330,625. What does this show us? The range is fairly consistent. In the mountain area you can still readily find properties for under $1 million – something we are not seeing in any other Los Gatos market at the moment – but you can also find large properties with big homes selling at what would be the medium to high-end for an in-town home.

What else can we learn from the sold listings in September and October? Well, the listing price tells us a lot. In September, only one of the six homes sold for higher than list, two sold exactly at list, and three sold below list price. In October, one out of four sold above list price and the rest sold for less than listed. Inventory is taking longer to sell as well. Some homes are still selling rapidly with two selling in under a week last September, but many are taking longer; in the same month, one sold that was on market for 204 days. The average days on market for September 62 days and 45 days in October, while most of the South Bay has an average of a month or less. What does this all mean? Buyers are having an easier time in the mountain market. Listings on-market longer are receiving fewer offers, and offers under list price are more regularly being accepted. The fastest selling properties where there is greatest demand and where homes have sold over list are within a range of $1 – $1.3 million, which would be considered entry-level in the rest of town but is mid-priced here.

So what about active listings? There are currently 15 active properties on the market. The most recent listing has been on the market only 4 days, while the longest has been active for 238, with the average being 117 days on market. List price ranges from $550,000 – $5,800,000 with an average list price of $1,863,267. Another way to tell that this market is cooler than elsewhere in Silicon Valley is the number of active vs sold, which shows that there is a lower ratio of demand to inventory in the mountain market.

Although the market is noticeably cooler in the mountains than in town and many other areas around South Bay, the market here is still more active than it usually is. Buyers not wanting to deal with the stress of the strained seller’s market, or who are looking for lower-priced homes and don’t mind the drive and other special concerns with hillside properties will find the Los Gatos 95033 market to be a good option.

 

Mountain Market Trends by Quartile

Below is a chart taken from the October 2017 Altos Research market update. It divides properties into four price quartiles to show variances in market trend. Surprisingly, the last year has been looking a little backwards with prices rising in winter and falling in spring. This might have to do with the available inventory elsewhere, since we typically see more homes go on market around spring and inventory lessening in winter, giving buyers fewer options. The luxury market bounces around a lot because of the extreme variety of homes in that range.

LGMountainQuartiles - Los Gatos Mountains 95033 Real Estate Market

 

Live Altos Charts

While I do not frequently update the Los Gatos Mountain market post (there are agents who specialize in the mountain market – I am not one of them, though I have sold a number of mountain homes) the charts below will always be up to date. These are live charts, regularly updated and constantly tracking sales and listings from the MLS.

 

The median list price of homes for sale in the Los Gatos Mountains 95033 – all price points combined:

app?pai=50109450&service=chart&st=CA&cid=70&zid=335&rt=sf&ra=a&q=a&s=median price&sz=m&ts=e - Los Gatos Mountains 95033 Real Estate Market

 

The median list price of homes for sale in the Los Gatos Mountains 95033 – showing info by price quartile:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

 

Average days on the market (number of days the home’s been listed for sale on the MLS), all price points combined:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

 

Average days on the market for 95033 by pricing tier – it’s typically erratic as the amount of inventory tends to be small:

Real Estate Market Chart by Altos Research www.altosresearch.com

Subscribe now to learn dozens of LOS GATOS real estate trends and other important market measures!

 How’s the Real Estate Market in the Los Gatos Mountains 95033?

500px - Los Gatos Mountains 95033 Real Estate Market

 

  1. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,650 sq ft
    Lot size: 11,591 sqft
  2. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,520 sq ft
    Lot size: 4.03 ac
  3. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 5,559 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.39 ac
  4. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,344 sq ft
    Lot size: 6.33 ac
  5. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,491 sq ft
    Lot size: 15,729 sqft
  6. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,859 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.04 ac
  7. 5 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 4,938 sq ft
    Lot size: 30.00 ac
  8. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,316 sq ft
    Lot size: 1.89 ac
  9. 4 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 2,862 sq ft
    Lot size: 6.36 ac
  10. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,578 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.50 ac

See all Real estate in the Los Gatos Mountains community.
(all data current as of 4/23/2018)

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

Pumpkin Train at Oak Meadow Park

The Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad is getting into the Halloween Spirit!  Costumes are encouraged!  Get all the details at

http://bjwrr.org/pumpkin-train-at-oak-meadow/

Or, find information on the BJWRR calender page.

pumpkin train - Pumpkin Train at Oak Meadow Park

Sereno Group Annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Pumpkin Contest Sereno GroupIt’s time to decorate some pumpkins! Sereno Group is hosting its 8th annual pumpkin decorating contest and invites kids to transform a small pumpkin into a work of art! This is not a carving contest and there should be no punctures of any kind as these works of art will need to last, and any cuts will cause rotting.

Every child who enters will get a small gift. Voting on the best work of art will take place during office meetings for each of three age groups, with the winner of each getting a prize.

Small pumpkins are being given away at the Sereno Group office locations in Los Gatos, Saratoga, Willow Glen, Aptos / Santa Cruz, Los Altos and Palo Alto – please see flier for office hours. O[tionally, entrants may bring their own small pumpkin.

The deadline is Friday, October 20th, 2017. Have fun – we cannot wait to see the decorated pumpkins!

Sereno Pumpkin Decorating MailChimp 2017 01 e1507252769900 - Sereno Group Annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest

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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Mary's other sites
and blogs


ValleyOfHeartsDelight blog
Santa Clara County Real Estate,
especially the West Valley areas

Move2SiliconValley.com
Silicon Valley relocation info

popehandy.com
Los Gatos real estate
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focus on home selling


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