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

Mary Pope-Handy

Exquisite, expansive, remodeled Belwood home – 127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos

Looking for a turnkey Los Gatos home with room for everything? I have a beautiful new listing which is an extensively remodedl 5 bed, 3 bath plus office home with 2448 square feet on a big lot of 10,760 SF – and the yard is professionally landscaped!  Offered at $1,650,000.  MLS # ML81550702.

Hurry over to the open house events this weekend and check out 127 Belhaven Drive in the Belwood neighborhood, near Belgatos Park! This is truly gorgeous Los Gatos real estate and a wonderful opportunity to live in a great neighborhood close to the hills.

Open Saturday 2-20-2016 and Sunday 2-21-2016 from 1:30 to 4pm.  (Offers due Wed 2-24 at 11am please.)

Get all the details on the flier:  http://valleyofheartsdelight.com/agent_files/Flier_Belhaven_4-Sided.pdf

127 Belhaven Drive, Los Gatos CA - an extensively remodeled home!

 

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 81550702 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

Ohlone Court

Ohlone Court, Los GatosLooking for a neighborhood with attractive, younger homes that’s still close to everything in Los Gatos? The properties along Ohlone Court fill that bill as the community sits along the Los Gatos Creek Trail, across from Vasona and Oak Meadow Parks, and is equally near to downtown Los Gatos on one side and the main shopping district on Los Gatos Boulevard on the other.

Built in 1996 by Summerhill Homes, a very well respected local builder, the residences on Ohlone Court are relatively young by Los Gatos standards, and feature many elements prized in newer construction, such as open floor plans. It’s a pretty area where the neighbors all seem to care about maintaining their homes and yards nicely,  and it enjoys the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools, too.

How’s the terrain? The road climbs from Roberts Road, where it is near the Los Gatos Creek, up a knoll. The top is of course sunny and some homes enjoy fantastic views. Some homes are nearer to the creek and toward the bottom of the hill, where it’s shadier. There’s an easy to miss staircase that allows pedestrians to take a shortcut to access Blossom Hill Road and the parks from the top of the court.

This is not a big subdivision. The 25 properties are mostly single family homes, but there are also a couple of duplexes. And the surprise element is that they are condominiums. That is, although most are houses, they are held in condominium ownership (local Realtors will recognize the same situation from the Villas of Almaden, though that community has the houses show up in the MLS under condos, whereas Ohlone Court appears under single family homes). Learn more on what the different type of ownership means here: What Is the Difference Between CID Ownership in a Condo, Townhouse or PUD?

A few weeks back, I did a “drive through” of the area.  My daughter was at the wheel so I could try to capture a sense of the neighborhood for my viewers.  Hope you find it helpful.

Every neighborhood has good and not-so-good features.  What’s the catch here?  It sounds too good to be true! One issue for some buyers is the close proximity of highway 17.  Not all homes are impacted, and only a few back up directly to the freeway, but it is noticeable. This is especially true when you’re high up as there’s nothing much to block the noise. One other issue is that some of the homes are in very shady locations at the bottom of the hill.  This may bother some people who want sunnier homes. Homes on the side of a hill or at the bottom of a hill sometimes have hill related water issues. These are not insurmountable problems but it’s very important to have good drainage, proper grading, and possibly other elements such as sump pumps to keep the water out from the crawl space.

Ohlone Court plat map

Above: Ohlone Court plat map.

The historic Broadway area neighborhood in Los Gatos

Broadway and El Sereno The very first subdivision or planned neighborhood in Los Gatos was along Broadway and nearby (Clifton Avenue, Browadway Extension and Wood Road).  There had already been quite a few houses built at that time in Los Gatos, but none were planned areas per se. John Lyndon was the developer and he bought the land and created 48 parcels which were sold in 1881 – a good six years before the far larger Almond Grove district was created and 6 years before the town was incorporated, too. A few homes in this area may already have been present, though, and seem to predate the 1881 date.

No doubt, Mr. Lyndon’s real estate buying decision was at least partially influenced by the location of his Lyndon Hotel, a whose bar was a popular hangout for the likes of John Steinbeck and Charlie Chaplain, which was located at the corner of Santa Cruz Avenue and Broadway, and now is the Lyndon Plaza (since sadly the hotel was torn down in the 1960s).

What was once a fairly quiet end of town is today mostly in the heart of it. The area closest to the post office enjoys a wide road (if desperately in need of repair), a good variety of Victorian and mostly older, historic homes, and is very uniformly well kept. Because it is either “in town” or “close to town”, the road is lined with cars most days – perhaps also because these houses of course pre-dated garages.

  • View of Broadway on a day with few cars - the hill is called El Sombroso
  • One of the many older looking homes on Broadway which includes a welcoming front porch
  • Colorful old Victorian era home
  • Many of the Los Gatos historic homes have picket fences, but this one also has dense shrubbery, making it fairly private
  • View from the sidewalk on Broadway
  • The Waterman House on Broadway appx 1875
    The Waterman House - appx 1875
  • Larger Mediterranean house on Broadway
  • A welcoming home on Broadway
  • An unusual sight in Los Gatos: a shingled home
  • Another Victorian era home
  • Lovely old colonnaded home
  • Broadway looking toward Monte Sereno and Saratoga
  • Often there are many cars along Broadway today

Where is the Broadway Historic District in Los Gatos?

The Town of Los Gatos has a Historic Districts Map – have a look:

Town of Los Gatos Historic Districts Map

 

Broadway neighborhood of Los Gatos real estate information

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Home prices in Los Gatos & Monte Sereno: how much home can your money buy?

money blockHow far will your home buying dollar stretch if your goal is to buy Los Gatos real estate or Monte Sereno real estate? Housing prices in these areas are steep, but it’s interesting how different the market is from one price point, zip code, and school district to the next.

Today I spent some time doing the very mundane task of pulling and crunching the data from MLSListings.com to give my readers and clients a sense of the housing market in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno.  I teased it out by zip code and high school district (476 is Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District and 473 is Campell Union High School District).  The 95032 zip code stretches to the far east and far west corners of this area  and if there were more sales I’d want to pull out the west vs east parts of the zip code – but with scant inventory and sales, that just wouldn’t work well right now.

The following statistics reflect Los Gatos and Monte Sereno single family home sales in the last 90 days in the 95030 zip code:

There are very very few homes in 95030 with the Campbell Union HSD, but there are a few and in the last 90 days there were two such sales / closings.  Obviously I cannot break 2 sales into 4 pricing quartiles too well, so left them lumped together – but you can see from the price per square foot that this area is selling incredibly well!

For those who insist on 95030 “in the schools”, the good news is that the real estate market is much softer here than in much of the valley – homes are generally selling at or under list price, rather than over, and they are not selling, on average, with just 10 days on the market or less.  Some do, of course – but most do not.  That makes it a great buying opportunity!

95030

 

Los Gatos and Monte Sereno single family home sales in the last 90 days in the 95032 zip code:

Next let’s look at Los Gatos and Monte Sereno 95032.  MOST of Monte Sereno is in the 95030 zip code, but a portion is not and has 95032 and/or Campbell Union HSD.

For the part of 95032 with CUHSD, the market is actually quite hot with most sales at 105-106% of list price.  Please note that in this grouping, there’s a very big jump in what you get for your money between the under $1 million quartile and the next quartile up – the house size about doubles, actually, but the price does not likewise double.  The next tier up has a far smaller jump, but when I was exporting the date from the MLS I saw that there was a very large clustering of homes sold between about 1.3 and 1.9 million and almost just combined them since an awful lot were sitting right around 1.5 – 1.7 million.  In any event, if you want to live in Los Gatos with about 2500 Square Feet with Leigh or Westmont High, the homes are running about $1.5 to $2 million.  Often they are a little higher on the west side of town as opposed to the east – my best guess is that it’s because that end is closer to pricy Saratoga and is a closer commute to many of the high teck work places.

The 95032 area “in the schools” is popular – you get a more affordable zip code with the famed Los Gatos schools. Interesting that again, this area is not as hot a market as the part of LG and MS with the Campbell Union HSD.  Perhaps that is because the elementary and middle schools are now very comparable, and only the high schools have a gap?  Many buyers are not willing to pay a giant premium for Los Gatos High – though some, of course, are.  (And they will also be happy to be in a location closer to downtown.)

95032

 

So where are the opportunities in this market?

Buyers:  If you want to buy in Los Gatos and get a home with Los Gatos Schoools, the market is not as competitive as the areas further from downtown with Union or Campbell schools. It is not cheaper, but it’s not quite so competitive, and you may not need to give away all your rights just to buy a home. Also, many Silicon Valley home buyers will push themselves to get into a home or school or zip code.  If you are able to get out of the bottom tier and into the 2nd from the bottom tier of pricing, you will find less competition and a whole lot more house for the money in most cases (just check the price per SF).

Sellers: Ovviously it’s a great time to sell a home in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno, and some segments are a whole lot hotter than others.  With the right pricing, staging, pre-sale prep and marketing, a solid home in this area can sell in under a month and often in under 2 weeks.  Home buyers are clamoring to live in Los Gatos and are often frightened by biting off more than they can chew, especially after the last mega recession, so having a good plan to ease buyers’ fears is truly imperative for selling fast and at top dollar (those two usually go together).

Interested in buying or selling a house in Los Gatos or Monte Sereno? Please give me a call or shoot me an email and we can set up a time to talk and see if we might work well together.  I’m a Los Gatos resident and a Los Gatos Realtor, a valley native and I appreciate the nuances of our area and market.

Los Gatos Realtor and Resident Mary Pope-Handy

Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor, Sereno Group, Los GatosDo you only sell Los Gatos homes?  That’s a question I hear a lot as a Los Gatos Realtor and resident.  Typically, there are perhaps 35 closed sales a month of houses in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032, and maybe 15 per month more of condos and townhomes. Just now I ran the closed sales of single family homes, townhouses and condominiums for the last 365 days in this area and it was a mere 453 units sold & closed.  Most of the time there are two agents involved, one for the buyer and another for the seller, so that means 906 total “transaction sides” at most.  There are more than 906 Realtors in town – the last time I counted, it was around 1,000. For that reason, I think it’s fair to say that all of us sell outside of Los Gatos as well as within in.  (If you look at all the Los Gatos Realtor ads in the local news paper alone, you do get the sense that you cannot throw a stone 5′ without hitting a real estate licensee – this area is saturated with Realtors.)

My own sales are mostly people-centric in that I really do focus on working with “nice people” rather than those with a certain budget or strict geographical boundary.  Normally I limit myself to Santa Clara County generally and focus on the west side, primarily Los Gatos, the Cambrian area of San Jose, the Almaden area of San Jose and other nearby communities such as Saratoga (where I grew up), Campbell, Cupertino, etc.  But I have sold in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Los Altos, San Jose (many areas, including downtown, Japantown, Blossom Valley, Silver Creek, etc.), Milpitas….  A few times I have gone much further at my clients’ request (going the extra mile that’s not my target):  Scotts Valley, Redwood Shores, Livermore, Morgan Hill and a few other more remote areas.

What should you expect to find with a Los Gatos Realtor?  Here are a few things:

  • Hopefully, it’s clear that Realtors in Los Gatos are working areas broader than just our town
  • An agent who is paying attention to the housing market in town and has a sense of what areas and price points are moving and which are market challenged or sluggish
  • A real estate professional who understands what kinds of offers are being presented on homes for sale and what pricing and terms are winning the bids – for example, are there overbids? if so, what kind of amount or percentage over?  Are buyers able to have any contingencies? Do sellers need to stage and underprice to get top dollar?  What worked a year or two ago may not work now – a good Los Gatos Realtor will keep a pulse on the market and be able to relay what’s happening now
  • A realty sales person in Los Gatos should know what kind of challenges are creeping up in the escrows: are homes not appraising to the contract price? Are there issues from the drought, from floods, from past damage to the property?  If the home is vacant, have their been squatters (sometimes happens in the mountains)?   Are buyers having trouble due to a recent stock market correction? Or is there difficulty getting money to Silicon Valley from another country?  The better versed your agent is in the hurdles of the sale process, the better prepared you can be, whether buying or selling.
  • Networking within one’s own office and with the local companies is very common for both Realtors working with sellers and those working with home buyers.  Friendship and word of mouth can both open doors and make either selling or buying go more smoothly (and often profitably).

If you want to buy a home in Los Gatos, it does help to have a Realtor who is working in a Los Gatos office because he or she is going to hear more about what is happening with the market and the inventory by virtue of that affiliation, especially if that person attends office meetings when everyone shares their “wants and needs”.  Recently I was able to get some home buyers into a beautiful Charter Oaks Townhouse by the Los Gatos Creek Trail by networking within my office.  This would be far less likely for someone not so connected.

All that said, I’ve mapped out some of my sales to offer a sense of where I work and have worked with Los Gatos real estate sales and sales in nearby areas (not comprehensive – a sampling).  Of course, my real estate experience goes far beyond the closed sales and includes previewing properties for sale, talking with potential seller clients, showing my buyers homes, bidding with my buyers on homes they didn’t actually get (due to multiple offers),  touring office listings, attending the real estate board tour’s open house for agents, etc. – if every home I’d ever seen were on this map, you’d be unable to read any street names at all!

If you are looking for a Realtor who both lives and works in Los Gatos, hangs her license in a Los Gatos office, is highly experienced (20+++ years), sells in this town, and loves this town, I may be a good fit for you.  Please read through the articles on this Live in Los Gatos Blog site, check out my neighborhood descriptions, photos and videos, and check my web presence for Los Gatos real estate market statistics and other information.  Please drop me a line by email or give me a call (please don’t text as a first means of saying hello) and we can set a time to chat and see if we might be able to work together.

Mary Pope-Handy, Realtor, Los Gatos - home sales

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
Silicon Valley real estate,
focus on home selling


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