Live in Los Gatos

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

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: 2,637 sq ft
    Lot size: 5.32 ac
  2. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,012 sq ft
    Lot size: 71.36 ac
  3. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,600 sq ft
    Lot size: 30,853 sqft
  4. 2 beds, 1 bath
    Home size: 1,044 sq ft
    Lot size: 9,853 sqft
  5. 4 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 3,269 sq ft
    Lot size: 39,334 sqft
  6. 5 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 3,774 sq ft
    Lot size: 2.66 ac
  7. 4 beds, 5 baths
    Home size: 3,844 sq ft
    Lot size: 10.00 ac
  8. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 3,286 sq ft
    Lot size: 48.00 ac
  9. 4 beds, 6 baths
    Home size: 7,733 sq ft
    Lot size: 5.28 ac
  10. 4 beds, 4 baths
    Home size: 1,878 sq ft
    Lot size: 22,023 sqft

See all Real estate in the Los Gatos Mountains community.
(all data current as of 6/20/2018)

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

St. Mary’s Country Fair in Los Gatos

St. Mary’s Country Fair in Los Gatos is a fun, annual community event that always occurs the second weekend of October. This year, it’s October Oct 6th – 8th, 2017.

St Mary's Country Fair in Los Gatos - 1st weekend in October every year

St Mary’s Country Fair in Los Gatos – 1st weekend in October

Open to everyone, and with no admission fee, the three day fundraiser is a great place to enjoy so many cool things, including:

  • carnival rides
  • bouncy house (several)
  • country store shopping
  • arts & crafts (such as pumpkin decorating)
  • martial arts displays
  • dancing
  • dining (good and affordable!) – several food booths to choose from
  • pancake breakfast on Sunday morning
  • raffle
  • play games
  • giant slide
  • spaghetti dinner
  • full service coffee shop
  • talent show
  • live bands
  • bingo (of course!)

This is a fabulous place to walk through and simply bump into friends & neighbors from all over Los Gatos and the nearby communities. It’s also a fun place to take photos. Each day is a little different, some return again and again!

Details

St. Mary’s Church and School are located in downtown Los Gatos on Bean Avenue near Tait (and near North Santa Cruz Avenue) in the historic Almond Grove neighborhood. You can also reach the party by coming from Main Street and Lyndon Avenue.

Purchase advance tickets for rides, raffles, food, and more using this form. To get all the details on the hours, booths, events, please check the St Mary’s Country Fair website.

Extra tips:

Like a bargain? There’s an easy way to save money. Visit the parish or school office before Friday at 2pm and buy your Butler ride tickets at a substantial discount – and avoid the lines! (Tickets are sold in the 2 weeks leading up to the fair most years.)

Also, much of the Almond Grove District of Los Gatos has permit parking only in the evenings. So don’t park in the neighborhood! There are lots of public parking spaces between North Santa Cruz and University Avenues in Los Gatos, and they are no cost, so park there instead. I usually like to park between North Santa Cruz Avenue and University Avenue in the public lot. If you’re in biking distance, consider cycling in – just remember lights are required when biking in the dark, and remember road safety!

Los Gatos, Saratoga fall events

Hello fabulous Live in Los Gatos Blog readers!  Here’s a quick update on a few Los Gatos, Saratoga events coming up in early fall:

Hope to see you at some of these soon!

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.

 

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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