Live in Los Gatos

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

Case study: online home valuation sites

Are you tempted to look at online, auto valuation websites to check Los Gatos real estate values?  Those online home valuation sites (including mine) can be very tempting.  After all, who wouldn’t want a real-time update on home sale prices?

A few times, I’ve had clients or potential clients who relied very heavily on a well known real estate portal for information on “what that home is really worth“.  The trouble, of course, is that the folks running the algorithms haven’t been to that street or to that house.  They don’t know if it’s exquisitely updated or if it’s in a state of ruin.  They don’t know if it seems well loved or if it has terrible odors.  

Usually the portals have a very wide target. One of them claims that they want to be within 20% of the market value 80% of the time.  Let that soak in.  For a million dollar home, that’s  a range of $800,000 to $1,200,000 not all the time but 80% of the time!

More convincing than my saying, “hey, that site is usually way off”, I like to just demonstrate what happens when I plunk a property’s address into a number of these auto valuation sites.  I find the range of estimated pricing to be very compelling.  Please have a look at the wide range of projected values – all for the same home & land!

Online Valuations for the same house

                                       Online valuation sites. (Weiss Analytics is by paid subscription.)

How would you like to own a home worth  $2.6 million and hear that it’s worth $1.6 million from online home valuation sites?  Or what if you put your condo on the market based on this kind of pricing, only to find that it was 20% off?

No, the better approach is to have a relationship with a local Realtor who can help you determine the probable buyer’s value for your home. It’s never going to be one exact price, because each buyer will have different terms, motivation, ability, and so on. If you get a lot of offers all at one, it will shoot the price high. If it takes more than 3 weeks to sell and you get just one buyer, it will be lower.

Online home valuation sites can be fun, but please remember that most of the time, they aren’t very accurate.  Want help knowing if you have enough equity to sell? Please call or email me and we can meet and go over market conditions, the comparable sales, improvements that will give a good return on value, and the marketing needed to obtain your best price so that you can make an informed decision.

Los Gatos Downtown Holiday Shopping Stroll

December 01, 2016


On Thursdays in December, a number of merchants in downtown Los Gatos will keep their doors open until 9pm to facilitate holiday gift buying. Additionally, there’s free valet parking!

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 keep the holiday joy in your shopping experience!

Sunday, December 11th, from 11am to 5pm is the first annual Holiday Shopping Stroll hosted by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce. In addition to the seasonal decor, there will be carolers, hot chocolate, and plenty of kids activities for revelers and shoppers alike. More details on the even page.

 

Please see the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce’s page for a list of participating stores & shops as well as info on the valet parking…and more!

http://losgatoschamber.com/holiday.php

 

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

100_2661December 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

Thanksgiving Interfaith Service in Los Gatos This Tuesday

 

Cornucopia - Thanksgiving Interfaith ServiceThe annual Thanksgiving Interfaith Service in Los Gatos is this Tuesday, November 22nd, from 7:30 to 8:30pm. All are welcome!  Each year, the ecumenical service is held at a different house of worship. The organization under which this happens is the Los Gatos Interfaith Clergy Association.

This year it is held at Los Gatos United Methodist Church, located at 111 Church Street.  A big highlight of the event, which often draws about 350 attendees, is the joint choir.  A reception is held afterwards.

Those attending the Thanksgiving Interfaith Service are encouraged to bring canned food to donate to Second Harvest food bank and St. Luke’s Pantry. Cash donations will be taken for refugee services, too.  The St. Mary’s website additionally requests these items: “Please bring suggested donation of liquid laundry soap, dish washer soap, and paper products like paper towels, toilet Paper, and Kleenex for New Immigrants Downtown San Jose.”

Thanksgiving Interfaith Service sponsors include:

Congregation Shir Hadash
Faith Lutheran Church (ELCA)
Los Gatos United Methodist Church
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
St. Mary’s Catholic Church
The Baha’i Faith of Los Gatos
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Los Gatos Ward
The Presbytarian Church of Los Gatos
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Los Gatos
And also chaplains from Good Samaritan Hospital, the Terraces and Stanford Health Care.

For more information, please click on the following article from the Mercury News:
http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/11/10/los-gatos-interfaith-thanksgiving-service-is-coming-up/

I wish each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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 7th – 9th, 2016, 5pm-10pm.

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
  • car 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.

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 Monday, October 24th, 2016. Have fun – we cannot wait to see the decorated pumpkins!

Los Gatos Terrain Map

Do you ever wonder about the hills that create so much beauty in and near Los Gatos?  Here’s a Los Gatos terrain map (also called an elevation map) that you can play with – zoom in and out, scroll around the valley and generally investigate the varying hills, valleys, and elevations in Silicon Valley. It is a fun way to check out the altitude or grade of hills.

http://maps.stamen.com/#terrain/12/37.2410/-121.8959

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 4th 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 3rd, 5:30 – 9:30pm

Location: Lyndon Bandstand, Oak Meadow Park, Los Gatos

Same musical lineup as the last couple of  years:  The Johnny Neri Band 5:30 – 6:45 and then The Houserockers (a Los Gatos band) 7:15 – 9:30pm

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.

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.

 

Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening

The Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening took place a couple of nights ago and it was both extremely well attended and well received. By 4:45pm, a few dozen fans and friends had gathered near the front door of the brewpub, awaiting the ribbon cutting and the chance to enter Loma for the first time.  The owners, Scott Youkilis (image left in blue shirt) and Kevin Youkilis (right side of photo), each held one end of the ribbon, and Barbara Spector, mayor of Los Gatos, cut it with a large, gold, ceremonial pair of scissors. Also shown is the talented BrewMeister, Warren Billups (just behind Scott).  Apologies that I do not know the names of the others in this photo.

Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening - Scott Youkilis and Kevin Youkilis, owners, hold the ribbon while Barbara Spector, mayor of Los Gatos, does the cutting.

Inside, Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening was an immediate mob scene!  Someone at the reservation podium was asking who had reservations (had I known that was possible, we’d have reserved, but that wasn’t the case so we made a beeline for the bar).  I was extremely impressed that the staff handled the hyper rush with speed, skill, and calm.   (This wasn’t just any rush: this was the entire place filling up instantaneously!)   The staff was amazing.

Loma Brewing Company Los Gatos Beer Flight on Grand Opening Night Aug 18 2016I wanted to try a flight of beer to get a sampling and to take me out of my comfort zone a little. My better half, despite living in Belgium for four years, is not a beer fan, but there were tons of other offerings and he was very  happy with a glass of wine.  All of the beer I tried was delicious. Most surprising to me was how mellow the stout was. I’ve been to the Guinness Factory in Dublin, and  honestly, this was far better.  Kevin Youkilis told me that they use a  different process involving nitro which seemed to take out the bite.   All four of them were great, but I only finished one – and to my surprise, it was the stout. (Even if you don’t usually like the darkest of beers, give it a try!)

Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay long enough for a meal, or for me to finish my flight completely, as we had another grand opening to attend at the same time, so after an hour we needed to get going.  We did peruse the menu, which was impressive and offered quite a few temptations.  Many patrons were eating around us, and the food looked wonderful. Very few breweries around here seem to qualify as a Gastropub, so I’m anxious to try the food next time.

Old brewery location, but not the old brewery

Some Los Gatans may have been expecting a revival of the former brewery on this site, the Los Gatos Brewing Company.  That would be a mistake, despite the same physical address.  This is a whole new venture, with new owners, new beer, new food, new equipment, new recipes, new talent, new everything. Go to it with an open mind, not expecting to see or taste or experience what was there before.

Loma Brewing Company has been set up with the contemporary and low key warehouse style of decor, which is so popular today. (As with the new Super Duper Burgers and also the new Mooya Burgers, both in Los Gatos, or with the many public markets springing up around the state.) Don’t go expecting the soft, cushy seating of the LGBC.  At the bar there are tall metal chairs with backs, and at the tables, metal stools (no backs).   I did not notice an acoustics problem, which seems to happen with the warehouse style, so kudos to their designer for addressing that so well.  We sat at the bar and it was comfortable in every way. And I appreciated the hooks for purses there, too.

If you love beer, you will love this place.

More photos of the Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening

A crowd gathers in Los Gatos for the Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening. Scott Youkilis and Kevin Youkilis will hold the ribbon, while Los Gatos mayor Barbara Spector will cut it with the large, ceremonial, gold scissors. A very healthy turn out for a warm Thursday afternoon. When the ceremony was over, people flooded in - and the place was full immediately. Ribbon cutting time at Loma Brewing Company Loma Brewing Company ribbon has been cut Loma Brewing Company beer menu...with more to come soon. A flight of beer - $12 for the sampler, and worth every penny.

 

Loma Brewing Company address, contact info, and locations online

Loma Brewing Company is located at 130 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030 tel is (408) 560-9626
Right now, it’s open 5pm to 10pm, but starting sometime in September will also be open  for lunch.
Find them online at http://www.lomabrew.com/  and also on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

Prior posting on the Grand Opening:

The Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening will take place on Thursday, August 18th, per the brewery’s Facebook page and the Loma Brew website:

Join us for our grand opening celebration on Thursday, August 18, starting with a ribbon cutting at 4:45 p.m., followed by our official opening at 5:00 p.m.

We will be open for dinner from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. daily. In September we will extend our hours and begin serving lunch as well as weekday happy hour, in addition to dinner nightly. Stay in the know by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media for the latest Loma updates – @lomabrew.

We look forward to serving you – cheers!
The Youks and Team LBC

Loma Brewing Company Los Gatos logoI plan to stop by for the Loma Brewing Company Grand Opening and wish them well – hope to see you there!
The Loma Brewing Company is a new Los Gatos brewery in an old Los Gatos brewery location – it’s on the site of the former Los Gatos Brewing Company at 130 N Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos CA 95030. Keep posted at the LomaBrew.com site:  http://www.lomabrew.com/

Related reading:

More info on Loma Brewing Company on this site

Loma Brewing Company opening soon

Kid Friendly Restaurants in Los Gatos

Jasmine Chinese Food, Los GatosLos Gatos is home to a great many restaurants. But your kids may not want to try Romanian or Thai food, or perhaps a great steakhouse won’t be well appreciated by younger teens and younger people. But there are many, many places with simple fare, simple decor and sometimes too other things going on that are truly more kid friendly.

So here is the Mary Pope-Handy list of kid friendly restaurants in Los Gatos. Have I missed one? If so, let me know and I’ll add it.

Kid Friendly Restaurants in Los Gatos for Breakfast

Los Gatos Cafe (2 locations) Breakfast place – great food. Downtown is at 340 N Santa Cruz Av., Los Gatos 95030.
East or Uptown is located near the Nob Hill grocery store at 15662 Los Gatos Blvd  Los Gatos, CA 95032-2504 (408) 356-0600  http://www.losgatoscafe.com/

Southern Kitchen another great breakfast place – amazing menu. 27 E Main, Los Gatos 95030 http://www.southernkitchenlg.com/

 

Kid Friendly Restaurants in Los Gatos for breakfast and lunch only

Sweet Pea’s – breakfast and lunch (and catering) but not supper – very low key, they also do catering. Crepes (both savory and sweet), salads, sandwiches, quiche. Great prices for downtown Los Gatos. Order at the counter and eat indoors or out. Limited seating and even more limited parking. http://www.sweetpeascrepes.com/

Purple Onion – Open for breakfast and lunch, not dinner – sandwich and salad shop, (never tried them for breakfast) two locations, casual environment with good food.  One location is downtown at 26 E Main, the other in northwest LG at Vasona Junction 14107 Winchester Blvd.  Good salads.  http://purpleonionlg.com/

 

Kid friendly lunch & dinner spots in Los Gatos

The Diner of Los Gatos  235 Los Gatos Saratoga Rd Los Gatos, CA 95030   (408) 354-4886. Great milkshakes, hot dogs served in paper “cars” and a casual ambiance are perfect for kids.

Andale (Mexican) 21 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos. 408 (395)-4244. Features casual fare and a lovely outdoors dining patio and fountain.

Los Gatos Pizza – out on the east end of town at Blossom Hill and Harwood, this pizza and sports bar place has some of the very best pizza I’ve ever had. Plenty of TVs, a sports bar, and great variety of pizza offerings. 14080 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032 http://www.losgatospizza.com/

T-Birds Pizza 444 N Santa Cruz Ave Los Gatos, CA 95030-5313 (408) 395-2525. Low key, good food. Small salad bar, too.

Jasmine Chinese Cuisine 20 S Santa Cruz Ave Ste 204, Los Gatos, CA 95030-6827  http://www.jasminelosgatos.com/

Double D’s Sports Grill 354 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030   (408) 395-6882 – s of this update, they’ve just had a fire but will be rebuilding, so keep them on your list. http://www.doubleds.com/

Malibu Grill – not actually in Los Gatos, but not far from the east end of town. This is a simple sports bar with loads of TVs. Good food, fair prices. 5735 Camden Avenue, San Jose CA 95124 408-448-7300 http://www.malibugrill.com/

Kid Friendly Restaurants in Los Gatos that are beyond casual: burgers and dogs

Classic Burgers – old style burger shack, beyond casual, but great food and at least two dozen different milkshakes offered. 15737 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos, CA 95032  They don’t have a website, but I have blogged about them previously on this site: Classic Burgers of Los Gatos: Best Burgers in Los Gatos

Happy Hound – great hot dogs! a throwback to the 50s and worth the visit. Great prices.  15899 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos, CA 95032. Almost no inside dining. Prepare to eat out doors or take to go.

Dessert

Kids been extra good? Got a sweet tooth? You are covered in Los Gatos!

Dolce Spazio – a fantastic gelateria in downtown Los Gatos, this has often been voted the best place for dessert in Los Gatos. 221 N Santa Cruz Ave.  Some inside dining, some outside dining, or you may just take it to go. Yum! http://www.dolcespazio.com/

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe in downtown LG has every kind of candy imaginable (and they are open late). They offer gelato, too. 35 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030. For some reason, on Yelp there are folks reporting it closed but that is not the case, it’s open. http://www.powellsss.com/go/index.cfm/locations/california/los-gatos/contact-hours/

 

Of course, there are many other eateries in town that may work well, whether it’s a doughnut shop, a pastry shop, a sandwich hut or any other type of establishment. If I’ve missed anything noteworthy, please let me know and it will be added here.

 

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

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