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

Silicon Valley

If you love Los Gatos, but it’s not in your budget

Once you have visited Los Gatos – the charming architecture, the backdrop of the hills, the vibrant downtown, the great schools, and all the trees and parks – you may want to call it home. I sure did. But the town is expensive and for some it may be out of range. What if you love Los Gatos, but it’s not affordable? There are nearby areas that may work, so I’ll mention them here. They are all discussed in depth at my Valley of Heart’s Delight blog and mentioned in my Move2SiliconValley or popehandy blogs too – the links will be to any of my own sites.  For people relocating to Silicon Valley especially, where “sticker shock” is a normal part of the welcome package, these other areas which are a little less pricey might be helpful.

Less Expensive Alternatives to Los Gatos

Almaden Valley, San Jose 95120

A little further southeast than Los Gatos, the Almaden Valley is a very scenic suburb with the Santa Cruz Mountains on one side and the Santa Teresa Foothills on the other.  There’s no “downtown”, however you’ll find a large shopping center with a remodeled Safeway, banks, Starbucks, etc., along Almaden Expressway.  This area features the New Almaden neighborhood, which is where the area began with mercury mining operations long ago.    Almaden real estate market post

Cambrian, San Jose 95124

On the north and northeast side of Los Gatos sits the Cambrian area of San Jose (which has 2 zip codes, but the part adjacent to LG is 95124).  The Union School District serves both part of Cambrian and part of east Los Gatos.  There’s a noticeable price drop going into Cambrian, but the hills and the town of LG are still close.   Very good schools and a good “bang for your buck” in terms of what you get in education for the price of the home.   Cambrian real estate market statistics

Willow Glen, San Jose 95125

Willow Glen is closer to downtown San Jose than to Los Gatos, but it has much of the charm that LG is known for, includes a lovely downtown area with its own identity, and boasts some of the most scenic streets in all of Silicon Valley.  The public schools are generally not a drawing factor. Willow Glen real estate market article

Campbell 95008

Campbell is probably the most happening city in Santa Clara County right now in terms of home buyer popularity.  Campbell provides a lovely downtown, light rail access to downtown San Jose and beyond, a great parks system (especially along the Los Gatos Creek Trail), unusually good shopping, and in some areas really excellent schools.  This is a “closer in” location than Los Gatos or Almaden, so it’s an easier commute for that lower price, too.   Campbell housing market trends and stats

Los Gatos Mountains 95033

The 95033 zip code covers a lot of land in Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County too.  Part of it is just beyond the Los Gatos town border, but the majority of it is quite a bit further.  School scores are high, air is clean, trees are everywhere and valley views (or in the next county over, Monterey Bay views) are not uncommon.  The prices are much better than in town, but the tradeoff is that you have to deal with Highway 17 every day, plus some issues that are particular to the mountains, beach traffic, etc. Please also see this article on the Los Gatos Mountains or Santa Cruz Mountains     And on the market – Altos Live RE Market Charts for the LG or Santa Cruz Mountains area

Help me to sell my home!

Computer_MouseWant or need to sell your Los Gatos home, or a nearby property?  Please fill out the form below and I will call or email you to set up an appointment for a no-obligation consultation- or we can chat by phone if you are not quite ready to meet in person.

If you are not really interested in selling at this time, but would like an approximate range of the likely market value of your home based on MLS comps only, please fill in the form at this link instead. This will give you an “auto comp” value.

 

 

I help people to sell homes in Silicon Valley, particularly in Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Campbell, San Jose and nearby areas of Santa Clara County.   (If you need help outside of Silicon Valley, I’m very happy to help you to find a great Realtor in your own area.)

Holiday events in San Jose, Campbell, Los Gatos, and nearby

Below please find a lengthy – but still not fully comprehensive – list of fun holiday things to do in Santa Clara County between now and Dec 12th, listed in chronological order plus a list of ongoing events.  Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and happy holidays to one and all!

 

Date Time Event Address City Cost More info: Contact
Tue, Dec-1 5pm-7pm Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce Holiday Happy Hour and Open House Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce
10 Station Way
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Los Gatos Free Website
Tue, Dec-1 6-9pm Learn to Paint with VinoPaint “Holiday Ornaments” Tessora’s Barra di Vino
234 E Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35 Website
Wed, Dec-2 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Wed, Dec-2 6-8pm Christmas in the Park Movie Night: The Santa Clause Christmas in the Park
Plaza De Cesar Chavez Park
101 West Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose Free Website info@christmasinthepark.com
(408) 297-XMAS (9627)
Thu, Dec-3 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Thu, Dec-3 6:30-8:30pm Los Gatos Museum Gallery Holiday Reception NUMU – New Museums of Los Gatos
106 E. Main Street
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Los Gatos Website 408.354.2646
Fri, Dec-4 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Fri, Dec-4 5-9pm Kick Off Ice Rink & Tree Lighting Santa Clara Central Park
969 Kiely Blvd
Santa Clara, CA
Santa Clara Website Santa Clara Senior Center at 408-615-3170
Fri, Dec-4 5-7pm Pottery Painting Plate Pizza Party: Owl on a Winter Branch The Art Beat
68 E Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $40 Website
Fri, Dec-4 5pm-7pm 43rd Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony Town Plaza Park
Los Gatos, 95030
Los Gatos Free Website Jackie Rose at 354-6853
Fri, Dec-4 6-8:30pm Christmas Cozies Kids Workshop The Art Beat
68 E Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $45 Website
Fri, Dec-4 7:30pm Festival of Lights: Santa Clara University Concert Choir and Chamber Singers Mission Santa Clara de Asís
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
Santa Clara $5-$15 Website
Fri, Dec-4 7:30pm San Jose Dance Theater presents their 50th production of The Nutcracker San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
255 Almaden Boulevard, San Jose
San Jose Prices vary Website (408) 286-9905
Fri, Dec-4 7:30pm Los Gatos Ballet presents ‘The Nutcracker’ Flint Center of the Performing Arts                               21250 Stevens Creek Blvd
Cupertino, CA 95014
Cupertino $20-$52 Website
Sat, Dec-5 10am-3pm Girl Scouts’ Winterfest 2015 Santa Clara County Fairgounds
344 Tully Rd.
San Jose, CA 95111
San Jose $15, $10 early bird Website
Sat, Dec-5 10am-2pm Northside December to Remember Northside Branch Library
695 Moreland Wy.
Santa Clara, California 95054
Santa Clara Website
Sat, Dec-5 10am-4pm Holiday Craft Faire 2015
Presented by Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends
Santa Clara City Library
2635 Homestead Road –                              Redwood and Margie Edinger Rooms
Santa Clara, California 95051
Santa Clara Free Website 1-408-615-2988 or holidaycraftfaire@yahoo.com
Sat, Dec-5 10am-6pm Holiday Gift Fair with a special Triton Free Friday performance by Charged Particles Triton Museum of Art
1505 Warburton Ave.
Santa Clara, CA 95050
Santa Clara Website
Sat, Dec-5 11am The 59th Annual Los Gatos Children’s Christmas/Holidays Parade Downtown Los Gatos Los Gatos FREE Website
Sat, Dec-5 11am-3pm Hands on History Days: Children’s Holiday Festival History Park, Kelley Park
635 Phelan Avenue
San Jose $5, Members and children 2 and under free Website
Sat, Dec-5 11am-3pm Dog Day presented by Unleashed by Petco Christmas in the Park
Plaza De Cesar Chavez Park
101 West Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose FREE Website
Sat, Dec-5 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Sat, Dec-5 2pm San Jose Dance Theater presents their 50th production of The Nutcracker San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
255 Almaden Boulevard San Jose
San Jose Prices vary Website (408) 286-9905
Sat, Dec-5 2pm & 7:30pm Los Gatos Ballet presents ‘The Nutcracker’ Flint Center of the Performing Arts 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd
Cupertino, CA 95014
Cupertino $20-$52 Website
Sat, Dec-5 2-3:30pm Children’s Holiday Cake and Cookie Decorating Workshop! NUMU – New Museums of Los Gatos
106 E. Main Street
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Los Gatos $35 Website 408.354.2646
Sat, Dec-5 4-9pm 17th Annual Festival of Lights 3rd Annual Walk-thru Night! Vasona Lake County Park
333 Blossom Hill Rd • Los Gatos
Los Gatos $6/Children 3 & under free -PREPAY ONLY Website
Sat, Dec-5 5-8pm 30th Annual Carol of Lights Celebration Downtown Campbell
E Campbell Ave and N 1st St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell Free Website
Sat, Dec-5 6pm, 7:30pm Nova Vista Symphony & San Jose Symphonic Choir present Holiday Magic 6 Church of the Ascension
12033 Miller Ave
Saratoga, CA
Saratoga $25/$15, under 12 free Website 408-624-1492
Sat, Dec-5 7:30pm San Jose Dance Theater presents their 50th production of The Nutcracker San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
255 Almaden Boulevard San Jose
San Jose Prices vary Website (408) 286-9905
Sun, Dec-6 11am-2pm, registration 10:30am Santa Paws Benefiting Humane Society Silicon Valley Park Valencia, Santana Row
377 Santana Row
San Jose, CA 95128
San Jose $20 Website
Sun, Dec-6 12pm-5pm Horray for Hanukkah Childrens Discovery Museum of San Jose
180 Woz Way
San Jose, CA 95110
San Jose $13/$12 Infants under 1 free, $1 off with canned food donation Website Rabbi James Greene, rabbijames@apjcc.org or 408.357.7413
Sun, Dec-6 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Sun, Dec-6 1pm San Jose Dance Theater presents their 50th production of The Nutcracker San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
255 Almaden Boulevard San Jose
San Jose Prices vary Website (408) 286-9905
Sun, Dec-6 2pm Los Gatos Ballet presents ‘The Nutcracker’ Flint Center of the Performing Arts 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014 Cupertino $20-$52 Website
Sun, Dec-6 7pm Cantabile’s 11th annual Holidays with Cantabille concert California Theatre
345 S. 1st St.
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose $25-$60 Website
Mon, Dec-7 7:30pm You-Sing-It Messiah – San Jose Symphonic Choir California Theatre
345 S. 1st St.
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose $20/$15 Website 408-286-2600 x. 23 or emailbmchenry@symphonysiliconvalley.org
Tue, Dec-8 10am-12pm Mommy & Me Free Kids Club, Celebrate the Season Santana Row, CinéArts Santana Row
3088 Olsen Dr
San Jose, CA 95128
San Jose FREE, optional One Warm Coat donation Website  408.551.4611
Tue, Dec-8 6-9pm Holiday Open House + Wine Stroll, benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank Santana Row
377 Santana Row
San Jose, CA 95128
San Jose $40, get $5 off with a canned food donation Website
Tue, Dec-8 6:30-6:59pm Northside Puppet Company Presents. The Grunch Who Stole Christmas Northside Branch Library
695 Moreland Wy.
Santa Clara, California 95054
Santa Clara Website
Wed, Dec-9 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Wed, Dec-9 6-8pm Christmas in the Park Movie Night: ELF Christmas in the Park
Plaza De Cesar Chavez Park
101 West Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose Free Website info@christmasinthepark.com
(408) 297-XMAS (9627)
Thu, Dec-10 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Thu, Dec-10 6:30pm-9pm, five 30min performances nightly Bethlehem: Experience the Birth Santa Clara First Baptist Church
3111 Benton Street, Santa Clara
Phone: (408) 241-7635
Santa Clara Free admission & hot drinks Website 408-241-7635
Thu, Dec-10 7pm Mix 106.5’s Very Merry Mixxer 2015 City National Civic
135 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose $15-$20 Website
Thu, Dec-10 8:00pm Heritage Theatre presents A Classic Rock Christmas Campbell Heritage Theatre
1 West Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $44 Website 408-866-2700
Fri, Dec-11 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Fri, Dec-11 6:30pm-9pm, five 30min performances nightly Bethlehem: Experience the Birth Santa Clara First Baptist Church
3111 Benton Street, Santa Clara
Phone: (408) 241-7635
Santa Clara Free admission & hot drinks Website 408-241-7635
Sat, Dec-12 8am-5pm “Super Saturday” Toys for Tots “Stuff the Bus” Christmas in the Park
Plaza De Cesar Chavez Park
101 West Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose Donation Website 1 Website 2
Sat, Dec-12 9-11:30am Annual Breakfast with Santa The Fairmont San Jose
172 S Market St
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose $20/$30 SOLD OUT Website
Sat, Dec-12 11am, 2pm Heritage Holiday Champagne Tea hosted by History San José Renzel Room at the Pacific Hotel
1650 Senter Road
San Jose, 95112
San Jose $45/$40 ’til 11/20, then $50/$45 Website Juanita Lara (jlara@historysanjose.org) or call 408.918.1045 for tickets. 408.287.2290
Sat, Dec-12 12:00pm and 12:30pm Holiday Tea and Tours at Ainsley House Ainsley House
300 Grant St
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $35/$40 RSVP Required Website Laura: 408-460-7048 or email laura@campbellshowroom.com
Sat, Dec-12 1-3pm Holiday Lights Drop-in Workshop NUMU – New Museums of Los Gatos
106 E. Main Street
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Los Gatos $15 Website
Sat, Dec-12 1-3pm DIY Art: Festive Family Fun San Jose Museum of Art
110 South Market Street
San Jose, California 95113
San Jose Free with Museum Admission Website
Sat, Dec-12 2pm, 7pm Santa Clara Ballet performs its 42nd annual Nutcracker Santa Clara Convention Center Theater
5001 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, CA 95051
Santa Clara Ticket Prices Vary Website 408-247-3754 or info@santaclaraballet.com
Sat, Dec-12 6:30pm-9pm, five 30min performances nightly Bethlehem: Experience the Birth Santa Clara First Baptist Church
3111 Benton Street, Santa Clara
Phone: (408) 241-7635
Santa Clara Free admission & hot drinks Website 408-241-7635
Sat, Dec-12 7pm Carols in the California California Theatre
345 S. 1st St.
San Jose, CA 95113
San Jose $26-$36 Website
Sat, Dec-12 7pm A Winter Wonderland by the Academy of Classical Ballet Campbell Heritage Theatre
1 West Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
Campbell $20 Website tickets: 408.866.2700, info: 408.355.3767

Visit the Los Gatos Farmer’s Market!

The Los Gatos Farmers’ Market is a community treasure and gathering point for the townsfolk.  Every Sunday, Los Gatans gather downtown at the Town Plaza Park area for a little shopping, casual munching and entertainment.    The outdoors market iss full of organic produce, plants and cut flowers, ready made food, include delicious crepes, and often music or other entertainment.  While many Santa Clara County Farmers’ Markets are seasonal or subject to weather conditions, this one is open year round, every Sunday, from 8am to 1pm (though some booths begin to break down around 12:30 or so)

The Los Gatos Farmers’ Market is located in Downtown Los Gatos at the Town Park Plaza on Main Street & N. Santa Cruz Avenue (Montabello Way & Broadway).  Pets are not allowed in the market, which wraps around the park on the paved roadway, but may be in the park itself.

Over the years, I’ve taken a number of photos of this local gathering spot.  Some are current images and others are 5-10 years old.

Listing Agreement, Purchase Agreement Forms: Consumers, You May Have a Choice in Silicon Valley

Real estate forms and contracts PRDS and CARMost consumers don’t realize that there are two sets of real estate forms used by Realtors and other real estate professionals in Silicon Valley and nearby areas. The California Association of Realtors provides the paperwork found throughout most of the state (“CAR forms”). The Peninsula Regional Data Service authors a more local set (“PRDS forms”); these are seen from Los Gatos, Saratoga and Cupertino up through the Peninsula to just south of San Francisco. The logo of one or the other will be displayed so you’ll know which one you’re looking at. By the way, real estate brokerages often have their own paperwork too, whether it’s a final walk through form, an explanation about something such as arbitration, disclosures they don’t believe are adequately covered elsewhere (such as one regarding parking and storage for use with condominium and townhouse purchases).

Did you realize that the CAR and PRDS contracts, addenda, disclosures and forms are a little different from each other, and each provides different protections and “teeth”?

Here are a couple of the key differences within the purchase agreement between buyer and seller:

  • The CAR purchase agreement is an “as is” form; the PRDS purchase agreement states that the home will have certain basic conditions met (no termites, no leaks, no broken glass, all systems functional)
  • The CAR purchase agreement allows repairs to be done by a handyman; the PRDS form requires that repairs be done by a licensed contractor
  • One has more penalties built in for defaults; one allows the seller to cancel more easily on a buyer who’s not performing
  • Using a “contingent offer” addendum (for the sale to be contingent on the sale of another house)? The CAR permits a protection period before the seller can use the “kickout clause”, but the PRDS does not
  • The listing agreements vary too – one protects the agents’ position better than another.

There are pros and cons to each of these sets and individual forms. When you go to list, sell, or purchase a home, be sure to discuss the plusses and minuses of each with your agent. One set is not 100% better for you as a buyer or a seller. There are clauses in each, though, which may protect your interests best. Continue reading

Los Gatos sidewalks: some unfinished business

January 30, 2014

Like many places in Silicon Valley, Los Gatos has its share of work needed on roads and sidewalks.  But sometimes, the work in progress seems to stop at an odd juncture.  The photo below is a site you’ll find on Belgatos Road in east Los Gatos (in the Belwood of Los Gatos neighborhood).  On the left, you see a newer looking bit of sidewalk with a normal curb.  And to the right of that – but not connected – a very, very new looking ramp.

What are they thinking?

A Los Gatos sidewalk and ramp - which do not connect to each other!

Perhaps stranger still, the sidewalk on the left doesn’t have a ramp at the other end of the block, either. In fact there are very few ramps anywhere nearby. Maybe the home owner is going to add a sidewalk by the street?

We’ll be watching!

 

Related reading:

See also a San Jose Mercury News article from July 2013 on a related topic

Silicon Valley Short Sale Listings: Tracking the Numbers in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga and the Cambrian Park Area of San Jose

September 25, 2010

How’s the Silicon Valley real estate market? One way of knowing is to keep a pulse on the number of short sale listings, sales and closings. Most regular “real estate reports” don’t track distressed property sales too well.  (Even mine, which is quite good – I invite you to take a look at www.popehandy.rereport.com.)

Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga – high end, west valley communities – all continue to feature very few short sale listings, and these markets remain stronger. San Jose’s Cambrian Park neighborhood (or district) is a more affordable area and it tends to reflect how Santa Clara County is doing as a whole, if perhaps a little more optimistically.  Today we’ll see how these four areas are doing.

The homes referenced here are houses, duet homes, townhouses, and condominiums (for agents: class 1 and 2 on our MLS).

There are far more pending short sales than closed short sales. There are many reasons for this but the bottom line is that many never close at all.  They can be a fantastic deal for those who are patient – but most buyers are not! homes”>http://www.realtown.com/LiveInLosGatos/blog/short-sales-and-bank-owned-homes

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Silicon Valley Short Sale Listings

September 25, 2010

How many short sale listings are there in Silicon Valley right now?  Silicon Valley is primarily covered by Santa Clara County with a bit in Alameda, Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties. Today we’ll just focus on Santa Clara County, which is a large area covering about 1.8 million people and includes San Jose as its biggest city with about 1 million residents. 

Distressed Sales in Santa Clara County
as of Sept 25, 2010:
30% of Inventory is Short Sale or Bank Owned Homes
Available homes for sale in Santa Clara County 4800
Homes listed on the MLS as “Short Sales” 1266
Homes listed as Bank Owned Properties (REOs) 478

As of Sept 25, 2010, there are exactly 4800 houses, duet homes, condominiums and townhouses for sale (but not yet under contract, not sale pending) which are listed on the MLS as available. Of those, 1266 are short sales and 478 are bank owned properties or REOs, so a total of 1444 are “distressed sales”, and that’s 30% exactly of the available inventory.  This does not count those who are for sale with a missed payment or who have a notice of default filed but do have enough equity in their properties to close escrow without asking the bank to get shorted in the process. The true number of distressed sales is a bit higher than 30%.

What’s It Like to Live in Los Gatos?

Los Gatos - aerial view from over Lexington Reservoir

Los Gatos – aerial view from over Lexington Reservoir

What’s it like to live in Los Gatos?  The answer to that depends on who you are, where you live, and what you love to do.  Generally speaking, people who live in Los Gatos have a sense of belonging both to this great town and also to nearby areas such as San Jose & the greater Silicon Valley or “South Bay” communities or the mountain communities if they are in the hills over town in places like Redwood Estates, Chemeketa Park, etc.  The town is very much self-contained, but not insular.

At the core, Los Gatos is a scenic, historic, vibrant community with great affection for culture, entertainment, parks and schools. In many ways, it feels a bit European.  Los Gatos has an artistic flare.  It is not “sleepy”. The town gets 300 sunny days a year and the townsfolk love to be outdoors.  There’s a lot of community involvement and volunteerism.  If you want to help out, there are loads of ways you can do that and get to know your neighbors.

The town enjoys two main commercial areas: the historic downtown area of Los Gatos (Main Street, University Avenue, North Santa Cruz and Los Gatos-Saratoga Road area) and The Boulevard (Los Gatos Blvd, which is what Main Street turns into as it heads north past Blossom Hill Road and Los Gatos Almaden Road).  If you live here, the odds are that you’ll have occassion to visit both fairly often. We’re a place which values history but also embraces high tech.  Netflix calls Los Gatos home, and so does Cryptic Studios (video game company).  There are plenty of grocery stores, including Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Nob Hill and Lunardi’s, plus several small corner markets too. The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce provides a fabulous community calendar and runs several excellent events during the year, including horse drawn carriage rides during the holidays.

Residential areas span the town’s 10 square miles with some charming historic homes in historic districts, but most properties do not have 100+ year old houses. Most neighborhoods are tidy and fairly scenic. The town has some modest condominiums and townhomes as well as smaller single family homes and ranges up to large luxury estates with huge acreage or spectacular views.  Prices run from under $1 to about $5,000,000 for most houses, but once in awhile we find more expensive properties, and as of this writing there have only been 2 over $10 million.

Los Gatos holiday parade

Los Gatos holiday parade

We know how to have fun as a community and enjoy events year round.  In summer, Los Gatos comes together to appreciate 3 free musical concert series, , Fiesta de Artes, and so much more. September brings us Screen on the Green. In winter there are holiday happenings with the light festival at Vasona Park, a tree-lighting ceremony the first Friday in December and a huge holiday parade the next day. Year-round, visiting the Farmer’s Market is as much fun as it is serious shopping (every Sunday morning in front of the post office).

Need some down time? Los Gatos can help you there, as well, as we are brimming with salons and places for pampering and massage.  Or shop yourself happy at our many many stores.  Love expensive cars?We’ve got that too.  We have restaurants ranging world class dining to 50s style hot dog and hambuger joints and everything in between.  We have wine bars and tasting rooms – right in town but also in the Santa Cruz Mountains and neighboring San Jose and Saratoga.   Los Gatos is a wonderful place to spend a quiet weekend for R & R.

Just want to be somewhere that looks unique?  We understand.  So often, you go to Anytown USA and it looks just like everywhere else (especially when you shop).  First, our town, once called the Gem City, is snuggled into the Santa Cruz Mountains – so there’s a gorgeous backdrop.  Second, we care about preserving our historic features, so you will find classic architecture of several kinds in homes and commercial buildings both.  Our scenery is both natural and architectural!

No shortage of cultural things to do in town either. In addition to the music and art & wine festival, we also have two museums combined into one, the NuMu (New Museum) – one for art, one for history.  And maybe the brightest star in the sky for culture right now is our newest project: a great new library for which was recently completed. (The library and history museum have a fantastic project on Los Gatos history, too.)  If you cross the pedestrian bridge between Forbes Mill and Old Town, you’ll find that kids have been encouraged to get artistic (they have painted the walls along that bridge).  Beautiful, professional murals can be found throughout the town.

 

Los Gatos High School, facing Main Street

Los Gatos High School, facing Main Street

The public schools are a very big priority for many people in Los Gatos. The town and the Los Gatos Mountain areas have a few different school districts, with scores ranging from good to great.  There are no bad schools in Los Gatos.  Parents are very involved and care about their kids’ success.  Not every child is in public schools, though: interestingly, about 1/3 of the children in Los Gatos attend private schools either here in town or in a neighboring community.

Los Gatos is a very “fit” place overall – if you like to hike, bike, jog, walk, swim you’ll have ample opportunities, alone or in groups.  Parks & Rec is also vibrant in Los Gatos.  There aren’t many communities where you can have your kids attend a camp and learn to sail, but you can do that here!  There are all kinds of community classes and camps.  Additionally, the town includes many private businesses for fitness (swimming, tennis, weights, yoga, pilates, classes, and more) and the gorgeous Los Gatos Creek Trail beckons.  Horseback riding can be found too – all within Los Gatos. Whether you want to find a personal trainer, work out at the fabulous new JCC complex, sail at Vasona or walk in Belgatos Park or along the creek trail, there are almost infinite options for exercise here, many of those options in scenic places.

Spirituality and religion are also a part of life in Los Gatos for many residents.  The town is home to many faith communities (about a half dozen of which do interfaith activities each Thanksgiving and sometimes more often than that). Many of them have outreach to the community with assistance for the homeless, bereaved, jobless, and many other needs.

Los Gatos is very kid friendly, very seniors friendly, and very dog friendly.  The first two might not surprise you as we have so many events and in many places it’s a “walkable” town which has amazingly good weather.

Kids and Los Gatos

The parks, schools, and myriad of free and low-cost events make Los Gatos a fabulous place for young people. The big town in Silicon Valley, San Jose, was recently named as one of the top 100 cities (ranking # 39 – Fremont, btw, was # 5) in the country to raise kids.

Dogs in the Town of Cats

The dog thing surprises many since the town is Los Gatos, meaning The Cats, and you will see cat logos every
where.  But visit downtown and you’ll find an awful lot of shops and restaurants have places for dogs to be tethered or watered.  At Halloween there’s always a pet parade which benefits the Los Gatos – Monte Sereno Police K9 unit.  And Los Gatos shares a dog park with our neighboring city of Campbell.

Seniors in Los Gatos

Housing:  There are a couple of condo complexes in town which are specifically for seniors.  They are more affordable than “regular” housing.  One is on West Parr Avenue and the other off Alberto Way (The Commons of Los Gatos).

Additionally, there are other types of senior housing too, including independent living (rental), assisted living and nursing. (I wrote a lenghy post on downsizing and retiring in Los Gatos which you might find helpful.)

Entertainment:  Los Gatos has a very active Seniors Center and our Parks & Rec Center features many offerings at low cost too. Many restaurants in town offer special pricing for early bird or senior suppers, so there are plenty of excuses to get out!  If you visit Oak Meadow Park on a Saturday morning, you may be able to watch some older gentleman playing a little Bocce Ball.  They are regular fixtures there!

What are the people like in Los Gatos?

Old and young, area (Silicon Valley) natives, replanted Americans and immigrants all make this place home.  (Many of the newcomers are in high tech, just like the rest of the valley.) Demographics sites like can give you the breakdown by zip code on income, education, etc., but because this is a pricey area, it does tend to attract those who are very well educated and who have professional jobs. Please just google that to find the most current demographics site – my old favorite, ZipSkinny.com, has disappeared.

Some of the well-to-do in town can be identified as such by their cars, clothes and jewelry, but just as often, it’s more like “the millionaire next door”.  Some of the best paid (or best at saving) don’t drive the newest luxury vehicle or wear the biggest diamonds.  So don’t be fooled – the guy in the Honda minivan or the woman in the old Toyota may just be anti-status symbol. (And it can run the other way too: some of those with expensive vehicles, clothes or jewelry may put all their eggs into the appearances basket.)

Several famous people have chosen to make Los Gatos their home. They blend in just like everyone else. You may bump into them at Whole Foods, FedEx Office, the car wash, a community event, the Chocolate Dream Box or anywhere in town.  I’m not going to list them here – most probably prefer to be left alone unless contacted through their websites, and I’m happy to not contribute to their being hounded by star crazy people.   (Los Gatos has been home to many other famous people, and had famous visitors too, in the past.)

Los Gatos is not just for the wealthy – there are many middle class and some economically disadvantaged people here too.

There is not one “Los Gatos Lifestyle”. Some residents may focus their activities on sports, others on wine or coffee bars, still others on a school, church, synagogue or even the town government.   We see a lot of different hobbies and interests, whether it’s volunteerism, art, history, government, business, or sports (to name just a few!).  The beach is only a half an hour away too, so that is also part of the fabric of the community.

To learn more about life in Los Gatos, please read other posts on this blog, view the photos and if you want personalized information, please contact me!

Relocating to Silicon Valley? Consider Los Gatos!

Relocating to Los Gatos?

View more slideshows of Los Gatos & nearby areas

 

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
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